Please turn with me in your copies of God’s Word to the book of Revelation, chapters 12 and 13. You’ll find them on page 1034-1035, of the church Bibles. Our passage tonight begins another section of the book of Revelation that runs all the way through chapter 15 verse 4. We will deal with the first half of it tonight; these two chapters. If you’ve been with us as we’ve walked our way through the book of Revelation you will see that it’s structured around cycles of seven that each recapitulate the message of a previous cycle of seven covering the whole period between the first and final comings of Jesus Christ. And so this section, like the others, is a cycle of seven vision that covers that same period of time. Let me give you fair warning. Tonight I am serving up a slab of raw beef that I hope will not give you too much spiritual indigestion. There’s an awful lot of material here; buckle up! We’re going to need to be focused. It’s a lot to take in and some challenging material to digest. So let’s turn our attention there, please. Revelation chapters 12 and 13. Before we read the text, let’s bow our heads as we pray.
Father, we need Your help so very much because we love the lie more than we love the truth, so often. We prefer when we hear Your Word, to distort it, to twist it, to make it fit our preferences. We like to dodge Your commands. We like our comforts more than we like sacrifice. We like to pursue our own pleasures more than we like to serve our Savior. And as we see those ugly realities and confess them before You and cry for forgiveness, we pray for grace that, by Your Spirit, You might truly show us ourselves, face us with the truth about ourselves, and then show us Christ, the king of Kings and lord of Lords who has triumphed over the great dragon, the evil one himself, and has won the victory for us and for our salvation. For we ask it in Jesus’ name, amen.
Revelation chapter 12 at verse 1. This is the Word of Almighty God:
“And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!’
And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.”
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?’
And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”
Amen, and we praise God for His holy, inerrant Word.
Imagine yourself, if you would, in the situation room with the commander in chief, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself – the heavenly situation room. Before you is an array of big screens, each providing a different degree of detail in the Theatre of War. On the first is a satellite image. It offers a macro-level perspective. You can see the main contours of the landscape and the various elements of the different sides in the conflict. The next screen, however, offers a live feed from a drone flying overhead. It’s still a large-scale perspective but now you can see in more detail elements that were only suggested by the satellite images. And then on the third screen is another live feed. This one comes from cameras embedded in the body armor of military units on the ground as they lead the assault. Now you can see the faces of the enemy. You see weapons aimed and fired. You witness the details of the war as it is being fought.
Revelation 12 and 13 is a bit like that. We’re in the situation room looking at three screens. Chapter 12:1-6 is the widest possible lens. It gives us the big picture in outline. Chapter 12:7-17 gives us, you might say, another large-scale view but in more detail. It’s the second screen. Now we understand the same scene with more clarity. And then chapter 13 gives us, if you like, the in-theatre bodycams of combatants on the grounds. Now we see the whites of the enemy’s eyes as we witness in these two chapters the cosmic spiritual combat, the conflict in which Christ and His Church are engaged.
The Satellite View
Let’s look at chapter 12:1-6 first. Here, if you like, is the satellite view – screen one; the widest possible angle. And we’re introduced here to the main actors in this combat. First, there’s the woman clothed with the sun with twelve stars in her crown, the moon at her feet. Jewish tradition, you might know, depicted Israel in precisely those terms, building on the vision of Joseph in Genesis 37 in which Jacob is the sun, Rachel the moon, the patriarchs of Israel the stars. So the woman here is a metaphor for the Israel of God, the covenant people. And she gives birth, verse 5, to a son “who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” John is quoting here from Psalm 2 at verse 9, a Messianic psalm that speaks about the rule of Jesus Christ breaking with a rod of iron all His enemies in His righteous judgment. So Jesus descends from the woman. That is to say, He will Himself belong to the covenant community. But this woman is not a symbol merely of the Old Testament church. Notice that even after her son is taken up into heaven, as we’ll see a reference to the ascension of Jesus Christ, she continues, this woman, as the focus of Satanic opposition. Do you see that there in verse 6? Jesus, we are told, is caught up to God and to His throne, whereas she takes refuge in the wilderness for 1,260 days. Time, times, and half a time – three-and-a-half years or forty-two months – a number that is repeated throughout these two chapters. We saw it already last week. And we saw then that it is really a way of talking about the whole Church age. That’s what that number is a metaphor of. And that means that this woman is a symbol for the people of God, both before and after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. She is the old and new covenant Church, one people of God from whom our Savior came and over whom He still rules and reigns.
The Great Red Dragon
And in verse 3, she is opposed – do you see this in verse 3? She is opposed by the great red dragon. He is equipped with seven heads and ten horns. Seven, remember, is a number associated with deity. Now in the ancient world, unlike today, the heart not the head is the organ of thought and intellect. So having seven heads is not about intelligence but rather about authority. So put that together. Seven heads. This is a counterfeit, divine authority being claimed by the dragon. And similarly, the number ten is used to convey completeness and a horn is the ancient symbol of power. So the ten horns of the dragon tell us that he appears to have limitless potency and power. And just in case we’re in any doubt now about his identity, verse 9 of chapter 12, clears up any remaining ambiguity. Look at verse 9. He is, the great dragon, “the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.” So this is the evil one himself, the prime evil serpent, who in Genesis chapter 3, deceived our first parents and plunged the world into sin and misery.
John says that his tail sweeps a third of the stars from heaven. Perhaps that’s a reference to fallen angels. Whatever it means, it’s clear that this dragon is a figure of great and fearful power. And do look at verse 4, again. He sits in wait, doesn’t he, poised to devour the Christ child. Jesus is his great enemy and he wants nothing so much as His destruction. And so we wait with bated breath to see what will happen when the woman finally gives birth. But no sooner does John take us to Bethlehem for the virgin birth in the text, in verse 5, then he immediately jumps to Christ’s ascension. Isn’t that fascinating? He skips all the other details about Christ’s earthly ministry not because he wishes for a moment to minimize His obedience or sufferings, but rather because he wants especially to highlight in this context Christ’s kingly reign. He was caught up to God and to His throne. That’s what Jesus’ ascension was, you know – a visible display of Christ’s coronation as a victorious, conquering King who reigns over all things from the throne of God.
The Triumphant Christ
And isn’t that important for us to see clearly as we take in John’s depiction of this fearful dragon with its claims to divine authority and absolute power? Don’t we often miss it? We can become so aware of the oppressive reality of predatory evil that we can virtually forget at times that however things may appear to us, Jesus Christ reigns triumphant over all. That’s the truth, however, things may appear. I wonder if you’ve allowed the darkness to obscure that fact from your view – the victory of Jesus, king of Kings and lord of Lords. Oh sure, John says of the dragon on earth is not His equal, that’s true enough, but his rage we can endure for lo, his doom is sure, because the often overlooked truth is Christ’s kingdom is forever. Though the malice of the dragon is terrible and the danger faced by the Church is real, Jesus is already the victor. Praise the Lord, Jesus is already the victor! He’s already been crowned. The dragon stands defeated, although he has not ceased to wage his war. So that’s the big picture; the satellite view, if you like. It gives us the cast of characters in the spiritual combat.
But then look with John at the next screen, verses 7 to 17. Here’s another account of the same cosmic conflict, still on a grand scale, but with some more detail. Verses 7 to 12, first. Michael and his angels fight against Satan and his forces. Daniel 10:21, tells us Michael is the angelic defender of Israel. So this is really just another perspective on the age-old conflict between the darkness and the light, between elect and reprobate angels, between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, between Israel and the nations, between Christ and the devil, the Church, and the world. Back behind the warfare of the Church with sin and evil, there is a cosmic battle in the heavenly places. And Satan, we are told, is on the losing side. Do notice carefully the text doesn’t actually say that Michael defeats Satan. It says that Michael and Satan fought and Satan was cast down, not by Michael in heaven, but by the Child of the woman who was born and died and rose on earth. Verse 10, tells us when Satan’s defeat took place. “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come.” Now already he is thrown down and defeated – now!
It's so important for us as Christians to get this straight. The outcome of the cosmic conflict is not in question. Satan has been cast down. When Jesus began His public ministry – I wonder if you remember the very first words He ever said in His public ministry. Mark 1 verse 15, “The time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God has come near.” Or in Luke chapter 10, when He sent His disciples out to preach that same message and they came back saying, rejoicing, “even the devils are subject to us.” You remember what He said to them – “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” When the virgin bore a Son and called Him Jesus, the kingdom of darkness began to crumble. When Christ in the wilderness answered all of the devil’s assaults and temptations with His refusal to put the Lord our God to the test, Satan’s rule was undermined. And when at last He declared in victory at the cross, “It is finished,” His dominion fell. Satan has been cast down.
The Accuser of the Brethren
But I do want you to notice as we rejoice – I hope you rejoice in that good news – I do want you to notice verse 10, what the dragon is called. He is called “the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them day and night before our God.” That is his favorite tactic after all, isn’t it? He hurls accusations, points out our failures, highlights our sin. “Look at the filth and failure that festers in the hearts of those who claim to follow You, God! Have you seen what those respectable folks at First Pres are really like, God? What a dishonor to Your name she is, God. See how she spoke to her children this afternoon? Do You really have room for him in Your kingdom, God? His heart is a festering sinkhole of lust and pride and gluttony and rage!” Well, how do we answer Satan’s attack? After all, he hardly needs to make anything up, does he? He needs only point out the facts. There’s plenty in my heart that would damn me forever. So how can I stand? How can you stand against the accusations of the great red dragon? Verse 11, “they conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,” that is, the Gospel message, “for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
Martin Luther tells the story of an encounter with Satan in which the devil wrote out a long catalog of Luther’s sins, every one of them accurate and true. They were all there – damnable; ugly. And Satan asked him, “How could such a one hope to be saved?” “All these are true,” Luther freely admitted, “but right at the end of your list, 1 John chapter 1 verse 7, ‘The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.’” Isn’t that precisely John’s point right here? The blood of the Lamb triumphs over Satan and his accusations. When he assails you and your conscience stings because he’s put his finger on the ugly truth about your wicked heart, here’s your answer. “The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. The Lamb has died. I’m forgiven! You’re defeated, Satan! None of your accusations stick, not because they are untrue, but because there is now, therefore, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Satan’s Relentless Pursuit
But you may object. “If that’s all true. Satan has been cast down. The Lamb has triumphed by His blood. How come the struggle for holiness and the fight to be faithful is so sore and so slow and so hard?” Great question! Look at verses 12 to 17; John tells us the reason Satan, even in his defeat, is so relentless in his assaults against us is because “he knows his time is short,” verse 12. Having been cast down, “he pursued the woman,” the Church. Verse 15, says a flood comes from his mouth to sweep her away. He lies and deceives and twists the truth and distorts the Gospel and sows the seeds of error and suggests the plausibility of sin, all in an attempt to destroy the church. Verse 17, even says “the dragon became furious and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring.” He is a defeated enemy, but in his rage, in the light of his defeat, he is no less dangerous. He may even be more so. And the balance of our text at this point, I think, is so helpful for us to grasp. Don’t you agree? Satan is defeated. Christ does reign. Sin is forgiven. And yet we mustn’t get complacent. He fights on, driven not by an attempt to win the war. No, he’s been defeated but in spite and in malice and in unrelenting rage in the midst of a war, he knows he’s lost.
Our Wilderness Years
And yet for all his opposition, verse 14, “the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle that she mighty fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to a place where she is to be nourished for a time, times, and half a time.” Like Israel in the exodus, the people of God escape into the wilderness to a place John said back in verse 6, “prepared by God,” to live securely for the whole Church age – a time, time, and half a time; 1,260 days; forty-two months – the period between the first coming and final return of Jesus Christ. But understand the image. This is where we now live – in the wilderness. We are a pilgrim, people. Here we have no enduring city. This world is not our home. We are passing through heading somewhere else.
And while we’re in the wilderness – do you see this in the text? The Lord God defends and protects her. What a comfort there is in these images. The serpent opens his mouth and this torrent, this flood comes pouring forth in an attempt to sweep her away. But verses 15 and 16, “the earth comes to the help of the woman, and swallows the river that the dragon poured from its mouth.” God, in His providence, protects the Church. “Lift your eyes to the hills. Where does your help come from? Our safety comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” God is our defender and we can take refuge there.
The Instruments and Actors in the Cosmic Battle
So the first and second screens in the heavenly situation room show us the landscape of the Church’s conflict, really on a grand scale. Now let’s look at chapter 13. Here’s an even closer look. Now we see the whites of the enemy’s eyes, we might say. Now we can pick out the instruments and actors in this cosmic theater of battle. There are two beasts, aren’t there? The first of them in verses 1 to 10, comes up out of the sea. Notice, I’m sure you saw this, he looks just like the dragon, doesn’t he? He has, verse 1, “ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems, crowns, on its horns and blasphemous names on each head.” He is the image, the representative of Satan, the great dragon, who gives the beast delegated “power and his throne and authority, verse 2. That is, he has given political and governmental power. For John, at the time when he was writing the book of Revelation, this meant, in particular, the Roman empire, personified in the person of the emperor himself. But the point of the passage applies to ungodly state power in every age. And the description of the beast we are given in verse 2, I think, drives that point home. John is building on the language of Daniel chapter 7, which portrays four beasts coming up from the sea. A lion, a bear, a leopard, and a fourth beast that is indescribable. Daniel likely has four great political empires in mind – Babylon, Persia, Medea, and Greece. John’s beast, however, takes that imagery and it seems to roll them all together into one. The message, I think, is that each of Daniel’s kingdoms are simply instances of this beast at work across the history of the world. They are political powers, evil empires, oppressing the people of God. John’s beast is the state and its representative rulers living in rebellion against God, using state power for wicked ends.
A Counterfeit Christ!
And this beast, notice, does three things. First of all, he counterfeits Christ. He is a false messiah. Verse 3, “One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.” This was a counterfeit resurrection. A state all too often takes a messianic posture, doesn’t it? You think about some of the great evil empires of our history – think of communist Russia trying to be a comprehensive answer to the needs of its citizens; North Korea even today. Think about Islam. Islam isn’t simply a body of theology; it is a set of political doctrines seeking to govern the entire life of those who submit to it, always lying to its adherents, as each of these systems always will, promising ultimate security. Saying, “You don’t look to Jesus Christ, look to me, and I will be your provider and your comfort and your security,” all the while, verses 5 and 6, blaspheming the truth.
Jesus not the Only Way!
And that’s the second thing the anti-Christian powers of state-ism does. It says, “Jesus is not, must not, cannot be the only way. To say that He is is intolerant and bourgeois and bigoted. It says that orthodox Christianity is elitist and judgmental and it might change to accommodate the morals and values of the age or be marginalized and excluded, oppressed, and opposed.” It opens its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming His name and His dwelling. That is, those who dwell in heaven and are “allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.” And the third thing he does in verses 7 through 10, is precisely that. He makes war on the Church. He compels the submission of the world to the lie and he persecutes the people of God for adhering to the truth.
The Saints Must Endure
Now that’s not at all an encouraging picture of life between the comings of Christ, is it? Not much of a pep talk. It doesn’t get us all excited and filled with warm fuzzies. So why is John telling us this? The end of verse 10, I think, helps us with the answer. “Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.” We ought to be so very thankful for the encouragement of chapter 12, that shows us that Jesus reigns and triumphs because here in chapter 13, let’s be honest, John shows us the same period of time in which we must live out our callings until He returns and it gets grim and real and hard. And we need to see that too if we are going to endure in faith. We need to set our jaws and clench our teeth and face the reality of life before Christ’s return. John is writing, actually, to generate a generation of martyrs who “love not their lives even unto death, for the sake of the Word of the testimony,” the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what he wants to make us into. If Christ reigns, then I am His subject and He claims first loyalty over whatever the world may demand. He wants us to see that following Jesus is not all sweetness and light after all. No, no. Following Jesus means that if anyone is to be taken captive, then into captivity he goes. If anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword he must be slain. If we are faithful followers of King Jesus, in these difficult days, it will take the endurance and faith of the saints. Do not trust in chariots and do not trust in princes. Trust in the Lord alone by whose blood we conquer.
And very quickly look at the second beast in verses 11 to 18. Together with the dragon and the first beast, these three form a kind of counterfeit, unholy trinity, mocking and mimicking the triune God of Scripture. Satan, the anti-Christian political power, and now the anti-Christian spiritual power, anti-Christian religion. The second beast, notice, looks like a lamb – gentle, comforting, safe. But he speaks with the voice of the dragon from the bottomless pit. What a perfect description of false religion. “What harm Buddhist meditation techniques? A little yoga never hurt anyone. What if it’s borrowed from Hinduism? My church says homosexuality is to be celebrated and the Bible is no longer a reliable guide for life in the modern world. But we’re all Christians after all, so what does it matter?” Looks like a lamb – safe. But the breath you feel on the back of your neck as you listen to its whispers has the stench of the pit. It is the breath of the dragon.
And the second beast’s role, verse 12, is to make the “inhabitants of the world worship the first beast,” always asking, “Did God really say?” Pouring doubt upon Biblical verities. Performing counterfeit miracles, notice. The powers to do signs and wonders; the supernatural. Let’s be clear, the supernatural is real and we ought not to be at all surprised at the eerie and the powerful and the spiritual and the supernatural coming from sources other than the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is cosmic deception by real spiritual forces designed to lead the world to believe the lie. And notice in particular verse 16. The second beast causes people to be marked with the name of the first beast or the number of its name. If you turn forward a little to chapter 14 verse 1, or all the way to chapter 22 verse 4, you’ll notice that God’s people have the name of Christ and of God the Father on their foreheads and hands. Christians, you see, bear the name of Jesus and have the stamp and seal of God upon them. Here is the Satanic counterfeit. All who reject Christ have it, they are marked by it, characterized by it. Those who worship the beast bear the stamp and the character of the beast. “Those who make idols,” Psalm 115 verse 8, “become like them and so do all who worship them.” You believe the lie, you’re taken in by the folly of the evil one, then that folly, that foolishness will begin to characterize your life.
Six Hundred Sixty-Six?
And before we’re done, do look at verse 18. It’s a controversial verse. We don’t have time, neither do I have the patience frankly to work through all the tangled, complicated explanations out there of its meaning. Many people think that this is an example of what is called gematria where numbers correspond to letters that spell out a name. So that if we just get the math right, we’ll know who the anti-Christ is. I’m not at all convinced. I think the way John uses numbers, the way we’ve seen him use numbers so far, is far more symbolic than that. Seven, you will remember, is the divine number. Six falls short. Six hundred sixty-six is perfect imperfection. Complete incompletion. The fullness of dissatisfaction. What an accurate symbol of false religion that is, don’t you think? This is what it’s offering us. Always falling short of the glory of God. Seems to get its devotees very far, but it always, always, always fails because there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved but the name of Jesus. The state can’t save you. There is no political redemption. Look at the political landscape right now. It should make that very clear, don’t you think? Vague spirituality won’t do it either – always falls short. World religions will not rescue you. They offer a counterfeit but they end always in emptiness.
But the Lamb, the one who conquers by shedding His blood, He can save you. And so we see here a cosmic battle, don’t we? There is an unholy trinity – the dragon, the beast from the sea, the beast from the earth; the devil, anti-Christian state power, anti-Christian spirituality, and religion. And they’re powerful and deceptive and cunning and deadly, opposing the Church and its testimony. But, you remember Luther’s hymn, don’t you? We quoted it earlier. “Though this world with devils filled should threaten do undo us, we will not fear for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us. The prince of darkness grim. We trembled not for him! His rage we can endure; for lo, his doom is sure. One little Word shall fell him. That Word above all earthly powers, not thanks to them abideth. The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth.” And so, “Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still. His kingdom is forever!” Right? Right? That’s John’s message here precisely.
Let’s pray together!
Our Father, we bless You that though Satan the great dragon is real and fierce, the Lord Jesus Christ has triumphed. Help us in the midst of the battle, in the trenches, on the front lines of our spiritual conflict, help us never to lose sight of the great truth that Jesus Christ, the blood of the Lamb, has triumphed. And in that truth’s light, help us to press on, to stay in the fight, knowing that the saints overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, help us not to love our lives, even unto death; to let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still because Your kingdom is forever. For we ask it in Jesus’ name, amen.