Revelation: Its Relevance (part 2)

They knew that following Jesus meant that they would conquer the world for God not militarily, but homiletically—”they conquered [the violent] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death” (Rev…. This is especially significant for USAmerican Christians who live as citizens of the world’s superpower — a nation that has formulated a theology of war to support its renewed sense of divine appointment and Manifest Destiny to rid the world of evil.

Chris Erdman has a great post about Preaching As An Alternative to Violence that focuses on both Jesus’ and his Church’s responsibility to wage war on evil not militarily, but homiletically. In his post, he discusses the Revelation’s depiction of the Church’s prophetic ministry as bringing about God’s kingdom:

“The only weapon Jesus used was the Word. The only weapon the church is to use is the Word (Eph. 6.17). We are told that the “weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but they have divine power” (2 Cor. 10.4). We are told that “through death Jesus destroyed the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and freed those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death” (Heb. 2.14-15). And we have the whole of The Revelation as a sustained testimony of the church’s understanding that Jesus has changed everything and is changing everything. It witnesses to the fact that the first Christians realized that just as Jesus’ preaching was the power above all powers, so too the word of their testimony, their preaching, had the power to… undo and redo the whole world. It was a word that could make the empires of the world tremble. It was a word that would shake the empires to their core and topple their arrogant usurpation of God’s authority. They knew that following Jesus meant that they would conquer the world for God not militarily, but homiletically—”they conquered [the violent] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death” (Rev. 12.11).”

As we have seen in previous posts, Jesus is the messianic Lion of Judah who has triumphed (overcome) by being God’s sacrificial Lamb. His people constitute an army that follows him into his messianic war against evil by joining him in his faithful witness, even unto sacrifice and death.

In this light, I believe that the Revelation teaches us as Jesus’ apprentices to embrace the spiritual discipline of non-violence. This is especially significant for USAmerican Christians who live as citizens of the world’s superpower — a nation that has formulated a theology of war to support its renewed sense of divine appointment and Manifest Destiny to rid the world of evil.

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