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Revelation 17:1-18



They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.

(verse 14)

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I love the simplicity that lies behind the explanation of the Lamb’s victory. Why does he triumph? Simply because he’s “Lord of lords and King of kings.” Of course. He’s the Sovereign One. He reigns over all. “Worthy is the Lamb … to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!” (Revelation 2:12). Of course. How could anyone ever hope to prevail against him?


And yet that’s exactly what his opponents attempt in this scene. The beast and the ten kings conspire together to make war against the Lamb. Right from the start the contest is clearly mismatched for we have been told that the beast is going to his destruction (verse 8) and that these kings will rule “for one hour” (verse 12). What presumption to pick a fight with the One who receives “praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13). His “kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and (his) dominion endures through all generations”(Psalm 145:13).


There was never any contest. Yet they launch into battle. And the Lamb, revealing his power and majesty, decisively overcomes them.


I love the last line of this verse – “with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” It’s not that the Lamb needs back-up, but rather that it has always been his mode of operation to draw his followers into his purposes. It’s what we see throughout the biblical story – from start to finish, the Lord chooses to use men and women and communities of the faithful to engage in acts of service which he himself prepared in advance for them to do. Think of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, the women at the empty tomb, and a converted legalistic Pharisee named Saul, to name just a few. Each of them engaged in the unfolding story, sometimes falteringly, but obediently entering into the activities the Lord placed before them, carrying forward his plans. In it all we see more of his amazing grace, for he allows us, his people, to step into the very stream of his own activity, thereby increasing his glory and allowing us the joy of participating.


One final thought. This scene of the assembled army of the Lamb, calls me to revisit Revelation 12:11, for there is a word used there that is also used here. There it was used of Jesus’ followers. Here it is used of Jesus himself. The word is “overcome.” When we’re told “the Lamb will overcome them” it is an indication of a decisive, triumphant, end-times victory that strikingly reveals the glory of our Lord. In that scene, wonderfully, his faithful followers join in.


But it turns out the Lamb has already entrusted this activity of “overcoming” into his followers’ hands. For in earthly battles previously played out, pitting God’s people against the forces of Satan, “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”


In that future great day, the Lamb will decisively overcome. Yes! How glorious. But he calls us already into the ongoing activity of overcoming, right here, right now. With heads held high to our victorious Captain, may we engage in all of his works, not shrinking back, even at great cost, but pressing forward, obediently following.

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Lord Jesus, exalted Lamb, I honour you as Lord of lords and King of kings. There is no contest – you are the Almighty Sovereign Lord. I submit myself to you, choosing to step into all that you have prepared in advance for me to do. Strengthen me by your Spirit to press forward, not shrinking back. Strengthen me to overcome.

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Prayer:

Take time to actively praise the Lord Jesus that he is the One who will overcome. Place before him different areas of your life in which you need his victory. Listen for any new direction he gives you.

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Image by ligiera from Pixabay


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