Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God,17 saying,
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
18 The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
– Revelation 11:15-18 [ESV]
I don’t consider myself to have many enemies. I don’t avoid certain people or constantly look over my shoulder in my day to day life. Perhaps that’s because I tend toward the safer places of the world. I don’t hang out in places where crime is rampant, or danger lurks. I live a fairly protected life – as far as day to day life is concerned.
But that view is truly myopic. It does not take into account the terrors of war, the tumult at the border, or the tragedy of human trafficking. I’m too prone to bemoan these things from afar. I pray about them – though not nearly as often or fervently as I should. And when I read the Imprecatory Psalms, I cringe at the strong language and ill will the psalmist focuses toward his enemies. The expressions of anguish at God’s distance and disappointment at his delay in rescue seem far removed from my life. I live too often in blissful ignorance of the evils all around me.
But that does not mean evil is not present and pressing in on me from every side. Nor is it far from you or any of us. The devil roams around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Sin and death claw at us daily, and the terrible realities of our fallen and broken world are ever present.
But one day – the Great Last Day – all these things will be no longer. Relief will be more sweet to those who suffer under sin’s weight, and evil’s influence. But we who have not had to bear the direct threats of death, torture, or persecution will also discover a new joy. We will discover just how oppressive Satan and sin’s power truly are. A weight we did not realize we were carrying will be lifted and the lifting will bring us such relief and joy that we will gladly join in the hymn of praise to God, the Lamb, the One who will take his great power and assume his rightful place in the hearts of all.
His servants will be rewarded. His enemies judged. His people – great and small will fully and finally enjoy the salvation he has won for us. And as I think of this, I wonder why he did it? What is the purpose of all this? Why is there a heaven? Why will there be a Last Day? And while I’m not sure I should ask why, I can at least surmise that it is because God loves us and has redeemed us. And we who fear him and not those who can kill the body, will rest forever in his gracious love and the scales that have been balanced at the cross. The empty tomb is a guarantee of all this. And as we wait for the destroyers to be destroyed, can look forward to the restoration of all things and know that some Day all things will be made right with the world.