the silence of the damned

Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Anointed One have come. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who relentlessly accuses them day and night before our God, has been cast down and silenced. [Revelation 12:10 VOICE]

We live in a culture of guilt and shame. So many accusers believing the worst about us. Spewing hatred and lies they tempt us to join them in accusing. These who elevate themselves by accusing others seem to be children of the one who is damned. These keep others down when they fall.

This verse tells us that such ones will be silenced when salvation comes. Transformed brothers and sisters no longer shame and accuse. Those who have been born from above will silence accusations with encouraging and affirming words. Such is the way of the kingdom of our God.

Fill us with love Lord. That we might silence those who accuse our brothers and sisters.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Revelation

revelation as a satirical poem

The dragon became angry ... and went away to do battle against ... the ones who keep God’s commandments and hold on to the testimony about Jesus. [Revelation 12:17 ISV]

I recently read about a different way to read the book of Revelation. The view sees it as a satirical poem targeted at those who worshipped Domitian, the Roman emperor from 81 to 96. John's apocalyptic story seems to track with some of the events of Domitian's reign. The emperor regularly began his speeches commending his followers for what they were doing right and rebuking for what they did wrong. He demanded his subjects to worshipfully chant 'you are lord' in his presence. John's writing seem to be a direct mockery, rebuttal and condemnation of Domitian's reign and claim of being a god.

Yet Revelation is much more than satire. In it Jesus is revealed as King of kings and Lord of lords. Rulers like Domitian, and their claims of divinity, are put in perspective. John writes to us of a King that subverts the plans of despots and tyrants. A Lord who considers the cries and prayers of people who suffer at the hands of malevolent dictators. John tells us of a time when all will be made right and divine justice will prevail. The book of Revelation speaks to the worst and best of humanity. Of people who bow down to oppressors. And ones who do not bow when faced with death.

I find John's story to be a fitting and beautiful end to, and summation of, the bible.

Help us Lord to keep your commandments and hold fast to our testimony about Jesus.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Revelation

they did not love their lives

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even in the face of death. [Revelation 12:11 TLV]

I love how this verse likens the way that the saints overcame to the way that Jesus overcame. It reminds me of the time when Jesus taught his disciples that to be his followers they must deny what they want and do what God wants. To find your life you must first lose it. It is a kingdom principle.

The word testimony speaks to me about the power of our words when they are validated by our actions. In reality people testify to what they actually know by experience. If they know a loving God they will, most likely, be a loving person. If their image of God is not loving then they may not love.

Yet sometimes our new hearts are simply not strong enough to testify to the love of God. Those times help us to realize the importance of nourishing, exercising and strengthening our hearts. That we might overcome our earthly desires and our love of earthly things. To lose that we might gain.

Thank you Lord for the example that you have given us. May our lives testify to that example.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Revelation