(Part 52)




September 29, 2014

Today’s reading:  Revelation 12:7-12



Why are we empowered to witness? It is to be able to proclaim the salvation won by Jesus on the cross. Jesus was victorious on the cross. He crushed the head of the serpent with his death and resurrection. Who are to do such proclamation? It is us, the brothers/disciples/servants of Jesus. This is what the work of evangelization is about. “They (God’s people) conquered him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) and by the word of their testimony” (v.11a). The sacrificial death of Jesus resulted in the conquest of Satan, and such conquest is made concrete in the lives of people by means of our testimony. Thus salvation and witness go together.

Further, what did the loud voice in heaven proclaim? “Now have salvation and power come” (v.10b). For witnesses to do their work effectively, they need to be empowered by the Spirit. And so indeed we are empowered to witness. Thus salvation and power go together.

And what does doing such empowered witnessing do to us? We become involved in spiritual warfare, making us warriors. This work is directed against Satan, and Satan in turn directs his assault against us. Satan is the accuser of the brethren (us), ever since he was defeated by Michael and cast out of heaven (v.7-9). “For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night.” (v.10d).

This work is urgent. The intensity of Satan’s assaults is increasing. “But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time.” (v.12b). We are in the end times! The devil is working double-time, nay, triple-time. How about us?

God, even as He supports us with His angels in heaven, depends on us for this work. This is the greatest work there is. The greatest and most important work is not work with the poor, it is not work for social justice, it is not work for the environment, it not work for peace in the world (though all these are part of the work), but rather, it is the basic work of winning souls. This is why Jesus gave his life on the cross. Jesus gave his all, and so, as we continue his work, we too need to give it our all. We are to endure suffering for the cause, especially as we engage in spiritual warfare. We are to be willing to give our very lives. We should be as the martyrs of old, as “love for life did not deter them from death.” (v.11b).

We are empowered to witness. This is a work of the greatest privilege, given to mortals. We are co-warriors with “Michael and his angels” (v.7b). The whole plan of God depends on the response of His people. Only this work, done effectively as it is done in the power of the Spirit, can bring joy—to those who will be saved, but also to the angels and saints in heaven. “Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them.” (v.12a).


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