Items posted on 31 August 2012
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Revelation 11.3-11 God’s glory and victory over his enemies
Posted: 31 August 2012 in Revelation

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

Here is a passage which speaks of God’s final victory over his enemies. I suppose it could be asked, and often is asked by skeptics, why God did not simply destroy the devil, and all his other enemies, at the beginning of time. I imagine that question might be answered if it is noted that the purpose of creation is to glorify God, and that is in part to be achieved through God’s victory over his enemies. Herein also lies the reason salvation is not universal; which is something the Lord could certainly bring about if he wished to. It may be no accident that this passage is immediately followed by one in which the inhabitants of heaven fall down and worship the God of all glory. However, God’s glory can only be manifested in this way if his adverseries have first had time to emerge and range themselves against him, and that, of course, requires the passage of history.

To give glory God is to locate it in the one and only place it belongs. God is not being narcissistic in seeking his own glory, nor in governing his creatures in such a way as to bring about that end. He is seeking only the proper ordering of all things, and that includes the recognition of his uniqueness and greatness.

I am sorely tempted to add that the God who seeks to glorify himself through his creatures is clearly not the God of much present day theology. Implicit in contemporary theology is the idea that God does indeed will universal salvation, and that he is sorely disappointed when he fails to achieve what he desires – as if he was some kind of incompetent god (spelt with a lower case g) who had yet to complete his apprenticeship. God never fails to achieve what he desires, and he would hardly be worthy of the adjective almighty if he did. We can be certain that whatever God wills will surely come to pass, and nothing comes to pass which he does not will.

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