If you’ve ever met me in the flesh, I’ve probably told you about the huge impact that Bible Study Fellowship has had on my life in the past two years. This year, we are studying Revelation. While I was theoretically excited about the study, it felt so abstract. In the bible, so much of what we are doing is studying what has been written in the past to people in the past, whereas with with Revelation we are studying what was written in the past that describes the future. Suffice to say that I had been having a hard time this year tying the coming Christmas season with the second coming we see in Revelation. I was loving both aspects of God’s plan, but had a hard time thinking of them being the same Jesus. That was, until one morning on my way to leader’s meeting on Saturday at 5:40 AM…
But first, by way of background, a quick story. If you’ve ever met me, the conversation has probably turned to music as well. And in that conversation I’m sure I’ve told you about how much I love Dustin Kensrue. About 5 years ago he put out a Christmas album with a combination of both original songs and covers. The original closing track1 of the album was a song called “This Is War”. While I liked the message, I didn’t love the music of it. The sparseness of the arrangement just didn’t hit me. Last year, Dustin released a new Christmas EP under the name The Modern Post. On that EP, he re-interpreted “This is War” and let me tell you I am a fan! Just listen to it!
The song just sounds apocalyptic. The crazy horns. The driving nature of the drums. I love everything about this version.
And so, that one Saturday morning, driving on the freeway at 5:40 in the morning, with the sky black and with a prepared heart, I saw the connection between Christ’s First and Second Coming. It’s maybe better if we look at some of the lyrics of the song.
This is war like you ain’t seen
This winter’s long, it’s cold and mean
With downcast hearts, we stood condemned,
But the tide turns now at Bethlehem.
This is war, and born tonight
The Word as flesh, the Lord of Light,
The Son of God, the low-born King,
Whom demons fear, of whom angels sing.
The first two verses of the song really got me into the Christmas mindset that Christ is coming as a baby. And then, it was like we were stepping right into Revelation:
Hallelujah! A Child is born!
He is the rescue we’ve waited for!
The Throne of David, He will restore
And reign with mercy forevermore!
So much of what we’ve been studying in Revelation 1-7 has been that Christ is the rightful king and He alone is worthy to take the scroll from God’s hand, open the scroll, and to fulfill God’s plan for the end of this Earth. He holds the “Key of David” (Revelation 3:7), and is the Root of David who has conquered (Revelation 5:5). This reminded me that he was born in the town of David. We are also spending so much time in BSF studying being in God’s throne room in Revelation 4-6. We see God on His throne, with the elders, living creatures, angels, and all of creation worshipping God and His Son, the Lamb.
Then, the next verse really solidified the connection:
This is war on sin and death,
The dark will take its final breath;
It shakes the earth, confounds all plans,
The mystery of God-as-man!
In Revelation we are seeing the finality of God’s judgment. We studied the Day of the Lord in Joel and saw how God has been calling for us to repent for millennia, yet we have hardened our hearts and reject Him as King. God is patient, giving all an opportunity to repent. Our during lecture, our BSF teaching leader pointed to the fact that Jesus completed the work of defeating sin and death 2,000 years ago on the Cross. That is something that is so easy for me to forget as we study God’s final judgment of those who are not covered by the blood of the Lamb.
As the line “it shakes the earth, confounds all plans” played, I couldn’t help think of Revelation 6:12-17 (ESV) (emphasis added):
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.  Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
The plans of those who did not trust Jesus to cover their sins are confounded, the earth is in disarray, this Lowborn King is bringing about God’s final plan for this current Earth. He will bring about the New Heaven and the New Earth. While we wait for His second coming, may we rejoice and share the good news He brought with His first coming.
It also makes me think of another Christmas song: “Come thou long expected Jesus”
Scripture quotations marked “ESV” are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.
- 2 additional songs have since been added. ↩