Photo: Child Soldiers in the DRC
With this reading, skipping all the confusing stuff about the seven seals and the seven bowls, and most of the material about the false bride (the whore of Babylon), we come straight to the end of the beginning in chapter 19. We’ve returned to the throne room in heaven, now in victory!
Westerners, especially those of us born after the end of the second world war (which means most listeners to this podcast 😉 have difficulty really understanding this joy in heaven, most of our battles are such trivial ones. But live for a while with people far away, share their pain as their children get sick while a corrupt system that should provide treatment does not. Feel their anger at the tyrants who oppress, ruling at the end of a gun, burning crops and homes, raping the girls and working the men to) death. The horrors in places like Burma/Myanmar, Congo or Darfur hardly bear thinking about, but they are repeated in less extreme ways across much of the planet. Take a share in these feelings, and the victory of the lamb sounds just fine. Remembering my new friends in the camps on the Thai-Burma border, or thinking of my old colleagues in Congo, I’ll pray Maranatha Come Lord! So that they can join the celebration in heaven.
This chapter paints a Jesus the pious portrait painters never imagined, but when you think of what it really means
that our world is spoilt and broken by human Sin (not sins, as in the little wrongs we do but Sin the power that is woven of those little wrongs and becomes a cyclonic system in which fairly ordinary people commit monstrous atrocities) thinking of such a broken world makes sense of this Jesus.