- July 8, 2008
• Revelation 19:6-9, 11-16, 19-21
Christians take extreme points of view on the return of Christ. Some folks look at every event in history as a sign of the end times. Conflict in Israel signals Armageddon, and global warming indicates God’s wrath and return. Some Christians take another extreme. They say, “I don’t know when Christ will return, so let’s just live as if it will never happen in our life times.”
The ideal, it would seem, falls in between these two points of view. Jesus indicated a great deal of uncertainty would exist around when he would return and bring about the fully realized kingdom of God, and he simultaneously indicated we also should live in anticipation of when that will happen.
This week’s lesson is about finding a way to live fully in anticipation that Jesus will return and bring ultimate deliverance for believers. It is about the belief that Christ’s return will signal Christ claiming his people, bringing about God’s kingdom and defeating the forces of evil in this world. Therefore, we can rejoice in what Christ will accomplish when he returns, and we can choose to live life here and now with a sense of victory because of what awaits us at the return of Christ.
Claimed! (Revelation 19:6-9)
Consider how good it feels to receive an invitation to a party, or even better, to a really nice party such as a wedding feast. It is an honor to be on the guest list, to be thought of so highly by another that we are invited to a celebration. Now ask your learners to consider how good it must be that the Creator of the cosmos is inviting us to the most important party in the history of time—the wedding of the Lamb of God.
By inviting us to the wedding feast of the Lamb, God is claiming us as special and dear. We will be called to rejoice and celebrate that the Lamb of God—Jesus—has arrived. We can celebrate because we will then know for fact all the things we have accepted as a belief. We will know Jesus’ promise to return to us is real. We will know the battle of this world between good and evil will be won. We will know we are claimed by Jesus, and we are invited to the party.
Faith in this event can help us to realize how beautiful a gift our salvation really is. Faith in this event also can help us to live victoriously now by living as if the battle is won and done. Faith in this event can inspire us to live righteously and faithfully because we anticipate a different outcome than the evil one would have us believe in.
While this passage does not describe the wedding feast, it does announce it. Is this wedding feast at the immediate time of Christ’s return? Or some later time? We cannot know for sure, but the bottom line is the wedding feast will come with the new heaven and new earth mentioned in Revelation 21:2, 9.
Conquered! (Revelation 19:11-16)
In this section of Scripture, we see the rider of the white horse, and by name, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” we identify him as Jesus, the one who previously has conquered death and is about to conquer the Antichrist and the beast. This chapter is the “end game” account of what ultimately will happen to the beast and the Antichrist we discussed July 6 and 13, and it is their vanquishing that further fortifies the lordship of Christ over all the earth.
For discussion with your learners, you might want to ask:
• How can we be encouraged by the certainty of Christ’s return?
• How can we proclaim Christ’s lordship with our words and actions?
Crushed! (Revelation 19:19-21)
Some say the battle of Christ and his army against the Antichrist and his army as depicted in Revelation 19:19-21 is the battle of Armageddon, as referenced in Revelation 16:12-16. This final battle between good and evil will be decisive. John predicts Christ’s victory in Revelation 17:14 and shows the end that will come to the false prophet and the Antichrist—being cast into the fiery lake. Their armies don’t fare so well either; they are killed with the sword that comes from the mouth of the horseman—Christ.
Your learners can stand on these truths from this passage:
• No matter how bad things get in our lives, Christ ultimately will be victorious.
• When we stand with Christ in our daily living—by following his teachings and witnessing of our faith in him—then we unify ourselves with Jesus and will not become a follower of the evil one.
• Just as Christ’s return and the believer’s victory are sure, so is the judgment of Christ’s enemies. We can be assured that ultimately, justice will come to pass according to God’s plan of grace and mercy.