And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.Revelation 11:15 KJV
The words of the “Hallelujah” chorus in Handel’s Messiah are from Revelation 19:6, 16; and 11:15. Revelation reverberates with the power and majesty of God. It gives assurance to believers in Jesus Christ that God will keep His own children through suffering, persecution and death. Nations will know the wrath of His righteous judgment. Christians will realize our hope of glory.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.Romans 8:18–Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Corinthians 3:16–18
Be encouraged and with your love encourage other believers. Continue to trust God with your days, and as Paul enjoined us:
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.Colossians 3:1–4
On this last day of the year, take the time to read Luke 17:20–18:8, in which Jesus teaches about His second coming. I. H. Marshall writes:
Jesus’ warning against looking for signs seems at first to be out of harmony with His own words in 21:5–36….But premonitory signs were a recognized part of apocalyptic teaching, and Jesus had to warn people against trusting to them for security. At the same time, He had to prepare His followers for the troubles that lay ahead of them, lest they should lose faith (cf. 18:8).1
In other words we are not to confuse being aware and knowledgeable of signs of His return with trusting in those signs. We are to be faithful in our obedience and continue to trust in God until Jesus returns—not just until we think the signs are incontrovertible. Jesus tells this parable in 18:1–8 .
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’”And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”Luke 18:1–8
Marshall has these comments:
Although we think of this parable as being about prayer, it really forms the closing part of the teaching about the future given in 17:20–37….The point is that even if God gives the appearance of unwillingness to answer, like the unjust judge, yet He will certainly answer prayer without the need for importunity. He will vindicate His elect speedily (‘soon enough’ NEB) or perhaps ‘suddenly and unexpectedly’. The vital question is not whether He will respond to importunity but whether there will be faithful men, who have persisted in prayer, when the Son of man comes. Luke rightly characterized the parable as one to encourage men to continue in prayer without losing heart before the end comes.2
We must take care not to transfer the reluctance of the unjust judge to God. Luke tells us exactly why Jesus told the parable—at all times we ought to pray and not to lose heart! Whatever events may occur in our lives during this coming year, at all times we ought to pray and not to lose heart! One day the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever. Until that day, at all times we ought to pray and not to lose heart!
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Handel Messiah sketch by James Gurney using a water-soluble graphite pencil: posted originally in Handel’s Messiah at Gurney Journey. Mr. Gurney is the creator of Dinotopia. Used in 2012 for the first time by permission.
1, 2I. H. Marshall, “Luke,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1970) 914, 914–915.
Messiah: Libretto: Old and New Testament Passages selected by Charles Jennens
Oratorio: George Frideric Handel
Antony Walker conducting Cantillation and the Orchestra of the Antipodes.