Redeemed by His Blood

The Book of Revelation applies several terms to the assemblies of Asia that are under assault from without and within. The men and women who have been redeemed by Jesus form a company that transcends all national, social, geographical, and cultural boundaries. For them, “tribulation” is not an aberration to be avoided at all costs. Persevering through trials while faithfully bearing witness is what it means to follow the “Lamb wherever he goes.”

Whether called “saints,” “witnesses,” or the “servants of God,” what sets this single company apart is that though its individual members come from different “nations” and “peoples,” they have been redeemed by Jesus through his death, and they now constitute a “priestly kingdom,” singular. Their task is to mediate the light of his Gospel throughout the Earth.

Lighthouse and stars - Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash
[Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash]

The purpose of the Church is presented in the Book’s opening paragraph. Jesus is the “
Faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the Dead, and the Ruler of the Kings of the Earth.” His sacrificial death is the basis of his present reign, and by it, he has freed his people from servitude to sin and made them into a “kingdom of priests” who reign with him. The mission assigned long ago to Israel has now fallen to the people who have been purchased by the “blood of the Lamb” - (Exodus 19:4-6, Revelation 1:4-6, 5:10).

The original recipients of the Book are identified as the “Seven Assemblies of Asia.” They are “fellow participants” with John of Patmos in the “Tribulation and Kingdom and Endurance in Jesus.

In the Book’s first vision, John saw a glorious figure seated on the “Throne” who was holding a Scroll sealed with Seven Seals. After a search of all creation, only the sacrificial “Lamb” was found “worthy” to open it because “he was slain and redeemed for God by his blood men out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation, and made them a kingdom and priests to our God.” His act of faithful obedience unto death qualified him to open the Scroll and to reign from the Divine Throne - (Revelation 5:9-10).

In the vision described in Chapter 5, the same category that was applied to the “Seven Assemblies of Asia” is applied to this great multitude redeemed by the “Lamb” from every nation, namely, the “Kingdom of Priests.”

THE MULTITUDE


In Chapter 7, John “heard” the “number” of God’s “servants” that were “sealed,” twelve thousand males from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, or 144,000 men. However, when he looked, he instead “saw” a vast multitude that “no one can number out of every nation, and all tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the Throne and the Lamb.”

What John “saw” interpreted what he first “heard.” The “innumerable multitude” from every nation is identical to the 144,000 males from the “twelve tribes of Israel,” the innumerable company of men and women purchased by the “blood of the Lamb” - (Revelation 5:9-10, 7:1-17).

In Chapter 11, the “Two Witnesses” are called the “Two Lampstands.” Elsewhere in the Book, lampstands” represent individual assemblies of believers. When the prophetic ministry of the “Two Witnesses” is finished, the “Beast that ascends from the Abyss will wage war with them and overcomes and kill them.”

However, the “Beast” cannot kill the “Two Witnesses” until authorized to do so, and their violent deaths do not mean defeat for the “Lamb.” Their martyrdom will be followed by the “Day of the Lord” and the consummation of the Kingdom of God when the “Seventh Trumpet” sounds - (Revelation 11:15-19).

In Chapter 12, Satan is expelled from heaven. No longer is he able to “accuse our brethren before God.” Enraged, he gathers his forces to “wage war against the seed of the woman, those who have the testimony of Jesus.” But the “brethren” overcome the “Dragon” by the “blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony,” and because they are willing to suffer martyrdom for his name and testimony - (Revelation 12:9-17).

The “Beast that ascends from the Sea” in Chapter 13 will make war on the “saints and overcame them.” This refers to the same reality as the war against the “Two Witnesses” by the “Beast from the Abyss,” and to the “war” by the “Dragon” against the “seed of the woman,” those men who have the “Testimony of Jesus” - (Revelation 12:17, 13:1-10).

Next, the “Beast from the Earth,” the “False Prophet,” causes all the “Inhabitants of the Earth” to render homage to the first “Beast,” and to take its “Mark.” In contrast, the sealed company of those who have been “redeemed from the Earth” by the “Lamb” are seen standing with him on “Mount Zion,” having been “purchased” from the Earth. Rather than the Beast’s mark, they have his Father’s name inscribed on their foreheads - (Revelation 14:1-5).

SAVED AND UNSAVED


In Revelation, humanity falls into two groups:  those redeemed from every nation by the “Lamb,” and the “Inhabitants of the Earth” who take the “Mark of the Beast.” The names of the latter group are NOTwritten in the Lamb’s book of life,” they have NOT been “redeemed by his blood” - (Revelation 13:15-18, 14:1-5).

The redeemed “saints” overcome the “Dragon,” the “Beast” and the “False Prophet” by enduring faithfully whatever they may inflict on them while maintaining their “testimony.” This is the “perseverance of the saints.”

Faithful believers who “overcome the Devil are “arrayed in white garments,” having made them white “in the blood of the Lamb.” Their names are written in the Lamb’s “Book of Life,” and they will stand in worship before the Lamb and the Throne in the “Holy City, New Jerusalem” - (Revelation 3:5, 3:18, 7:9-17, 21:24-27).

From start to finish, the focus of the Book of Revelation is on the one people of God, the men and women who have been redeemed by Jesus through his death.  Though different terms and images are applied, the same company is in view in each case.

The terms used are derived from the story of Israel, but Revelation now applies them to the followers of the “Lamb” redeemed from every nation on Earth. Consistently, what sets them apart from all other men is the fact they have been “purchased by the blood of the Lamb,” not their ethnicity or nationality.



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