Today's devotion from Revelation 19 & 20.
As I read these chapters, I was particularly struggling with how to approach them. There is so much to wrestle with that I really don't know where to start. As is often the case, I decided to zoom out. I took a moment to look at the greater context of the verses. When I did, I was struck by a realization that was incredibly encouraging.
As chapter 19 begins, we find a celebration in heaven as they rejoice. They shout hallelujah. They praise God for salvation. They offer to Him praise for his glory and power. As the scene progresses, they begin to celebrate because the marriage of the Lamb has come. This is the moment when the church universal joins with Christ for eternity.
After this, the scene shifts. Heaven opens to reveal a rider on a white horse. This is the One named King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He goes out to defeat the beast and his armies. He binds Satan. He is victorious. This leads, eventually, to the great white throne of judgment and the end of sin and evil and all of its effects.
What encouraged me? Two things, actually. First, I was encouraged by the realization at the order of events. While Jesus is glorified in His righteous judgment, it seems right to me (I'm sure God took my opinion into account) that ultimate salvation should be celebrated before ultimate judgment should be concluded. After all, judgment is expected. Salvation is grace.
Second, I am encouraged that there is an end. While I do not long for death, I grow weary of this war. I fear for my children, that they will make the right decisions to live for and honor God. I mourn for those so hurt by sin and its lingering effects. Praise God that an end does come, not just to my pain, but to all pain in all of Creation.