End-Time People

The book of Revelation is addressed to seven first-century churches in Asia, and it deals with their real-life situations and trials. In the process, it presents messages relevant to all churches throughout the present age. Their daily struggles are a microcosm of the great cosmic battle being waged between Jesus and the Devil.

Every man and woman who heeds the book’s message is pronounced “blessed,” especially since the “season is at hand.” This clause alludes to the passage in Daniel where the prophet is commanded “to seal the scroll until the season of the end.”

In contrast, John is commanded NOT to seal the book since “the season is at hand.” What for Daniel was in a remote future is now a reality for the “seven churches” – (Daniel 12:4, Revelation 1:3, 22:10).


All this reflects the consistent New Testament message that history’s final era, the “last days,” began following the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Satan, sin, and death, all were defeated decisively on the cross of Calvary.

And following his resurrection, Jesus was exalted to reign “at the right hand of God,” and consequently, he poured out the Holy Spirit, empowering his church to proclaim his sovereignty throughout the earth. The bestowal of the Spirit was and is irrefutable evidence that the “last days” are underway – (Acts 2:17-21, Hebrews 1:1-3).

In Revelation, the followers of Jesus are labeled “saints,” the “servants of God,” the “seed of the woman,” the “kingdom of priests,” “brethren,” and the people who “have the testimony of Jesus,” “keep the faith of Jesus,” and have “washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.”

What determines membership in this end-time company is one’s identification with the “slain Lamb” - our allegiance to and emulation of the Nazarene.

The book is addressed to the “servants of God,” and they are identified as members of the “seven churches of Asia.” They have been “loosed from their sins” by the blood of Jesus and thereby constituted a “kingdom of priests.”

The latter phrase is found in the book of Exodus where Yahweh summons Israel to the same mission. However, that nation failed in this task, and it has now fallen to the churches of the “Lamb” to execute it - (Exodus 19:4-6).

When the “nationality” of God’s saints is revealed, they are identified as the men who have been redeemed by Christ’s lifeblood from “every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation” - (Revelation 5:8-10, 7:9-17).


The Great Adversary of the “Lamb” and his people is the “Great Red Dragon,” that “Ancient Serpent” who is called the “Devil and Satan,” the one who is “deceiving the inhabitants of the earth.”

Having failed to destroy the “son,” he is expelled from the heavenly courtroom. Subsequently, through his earthly vassals, he has been “waging war” against Jesus by persecuting his last days' people on the earth. Thus, the Devil’s war against the “woman’s seed” plays out on the earth as the “beast” is granted authority to “make war against the saints” - (Revelation 12:8-17, 13:7).

And in Revelation, martyrdom is not unexpected, and neither does it constitute a defeat for the saints. Satanic forces can only attack them when authorized to do so since the “Lamb” that “sits on the throne” remains in firm control of events on the earth.

And the “saints” are identified as those “that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” It is their identification with the “slain Lamb” – with Jesus - that enrages the “Dragon” - (Revelation 12:17, 13:6-10, 14:12).

In the end, the “Beast” and the “Kings of the Earth” unite to wage a final “war” against the “Lamb.” In describing that battle, John uses language from Ezekiel’s vision of “Gog and Magog.”

However, in Revelation, the attacking force consists of the nations from the “four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog…and they ascended over the breadth of the earth and encompassed the camp of the saints.” This describes the final worldwide assault against the church, Satan’s last-ditch effort to annihilate the “saints” – (Revelation 16:2-16, 17:14, 19:11-21, 20:7-10).

These cosmic battles portrayed so graphically manifest in the daily struggles of the churches. The evidence for this is found in the letters to the “seven churches of Asia.”

For example, the church at Pergamos lives in the shadow of “Satan’s throne.” The saints in Smyrna are under assault from members of the “synagogue of Satan.” Though local magistrates throw some members “into prison,” Jesus lays the blame for this squarely on Satan (“The devil is about to cast some of you into prison”). Members of the church in Thyatira are being deceived by “Jezebel,” a surrogate and agent for the “Great Harlot, Babylon” who is teaching the “deep things of Satan.”

In the province of Asia, the churches are battling “false apostles,” compromise, apathy, the “Nicolaitans,” the adherents of the “teachings of Balaam,” persecution, and so on, all attempts by the “Dragon” to deceive and derail believers. Satan’s war is with the “Lamb.” However, he cannot attack Jesus directly, so he seeks to destroy his people through his surrogates on earth.


None of this means the visions of Revelation amount to allegories intended to teach Christians how to live. The temptations, sufferings, and persecutions endured by the “churches of Asia” are all too real, just as has been the case with the church throughout the present age.

The attacks by the “Dragon” are deadly serious and have eternal consequences. And the war between the “Ancient Serpent” and the “Lamb” does consummate with the final assault against God’s people and the judgment of the wicked before the “Great White Throne of Judgment.”

But when we focus only or primarily on the end of the book, we lose sight of its relevance for every disciple of Jesus throughout the existence of the church. Nor does Revelation picture believers as mere pawns stuck between two great warring powers.

It is the “Lamb” who redeemed them “by his blood,” and the same sacrificial “Lamb” who will vindicate them in the end. Already they have been “loosed from their sins”; already they are a “kingdom of priests” and are “reigning with him on the earth.” Our final victory over sin, Satan, and death is a foregone conclusion.

In the interim, Jesus summons us to “overcome,” and thereby we qualify to reign with him and partake of the glories of “New Jerusalem.” And we do this through “perseverance,” faithful “testimony,” by recognizing and rejecting the lies of the Devil, understanding the true nature of our struggle, and emulating the self-sacrificial service of the “slain Lamb.”

As Revelation puts it, the “brethren overcame the Dragon by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and because they loved not their lives unto death.” And by recognizing just “WHO” and “WHEN” we are – the people of the last days - we learn how we must live in the present - “in these last days.”

Already, the present age and its institutions are “passing away.” They will not endure forever, and we must live accordingly. Both individually and corporately, we are “CAUGHT BETWEEN THE AGES,” still living in the old fallen age, but at the same time, citizens of the “New Jerusalem” that even now is “descending from heaven.”


Ekklésia - Assembly of God

Mercy and Enemies