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They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)

The Revelation is a poetic picture of the triumph of Good over Evil, of God over the Devil. But the triumph is unlike that of any worldly government. Evil is portrayed as a cruel, destructive Beast; and God is represented by an innocent Lamb. More than that, He is represented by what appears to be a dead Lamb. All of the power appears to be on the side of the Beast.

Throughout history masses have cried with the Psalmist, "Lord, how long will the wicked triumph?" (Psalm 94:3) Over and over the question is asked in one way or another throughout the Psalms. But the answer always comes back that "in the end" the tables will be turned. The wicked rule the world now, but there is a day coming when it will all change.

Israel looked for that day in the coming of her Messiah; but her King wore a crown of thorns and ruled his kingdom from a cross, and so she rejected Him. The Lamb was not only slain, but he was slain by his own people.

Today the church looks again for a King to right the wrongs of the world. But the Bible warns that before Jesus returns in triumph, there will be another king who will promise liberty and justice for all. He is the false Messiah, but he will be more appealing to a world that does not want dead Lambs. The Bible says "All the world will wonder after him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb." (Revelation 13:3)

To be written in the Book of Life of the Lamb, is to fully embrace the principles of his kingdom, that is, the principles of the cross and the blood as God's weapons against the Beasts of the world.

There are many who are prepared to wear gold crosses around their necks and to utter mumbo-jumbo about blood to scare away evil spirits; but the Lamb asks much more than that of his followers. Jesus asks us to take up our crosses and follow him. He asks us to lay down our lives in love for his kingdom.

The means of our triumph will be to face everything that the world calls failure, and to do it willingly. We will, of course, all die some day; but the Lamb calls on us to hasten that day through faithful obedience to his teachings.

We also find in the teachings of the Lamb a roadblock to every path that might be expected to give us some form of worldly success. Even the praise that comes to philanthropists will be denied to us if we are to keep our charitable works secret, as he teaches.

But the final test is our willingness to face the "last enemy", i.e. death (1 Corinthians 15:26), and to do so with a smile, as we do it for God.

Yes, the Lamb has died to forgive us for all of our shortcomings, and we thank him for that, because none of us is perfect. But he asks us who would avail ourselves of his mercy to die with him, for the good of others. He asks us to die to our selfish desires and ambitions. He asks us to die to reputation and honour. He asks us to die to the emotional pleas of well-meaning friends and relatives. He asks us to die to the comforts of the beaten path. And he finally asks us to die to life itself.

They loved not their lives unto the death. With that standard before us, the little sacrifices of living with others become insignificant by comparison. And with that standard before us, we will be able to overcome the lies and tricks of the devil.

As our blood mingles with the blood of the Lamb, our testimony becomes more than words; it takes on the authority and power of God. The world can sense when we are prepared to die for what we believe, and it responds accordingly.

Others have been prepared to die fighting for their country, fighting for their religion, fighting for their family, and fighting for their possessions. But we must be prepared to die loving... loving and preaching the truth that God is love above all else... loving and believing that this doctrine of love, which was paid for in the blood of the Lamb, is the only real answer to the world's problems.

(See also Fanatical Sacrifice, and The Cross.)

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