12/16/Th – The Prelude to Victory

Zechariah 6:1-15; Revelation 15:1-4; Psalms 143:1-6; Proverbs 30:5-6

OT: “The word of the Lord came to me: “Take an offering from the exiles, from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go that same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. Take silver and gold, make a crown, and place it on the head of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. You are to tell him: This is what the Lord of Armies says: Here is a man whose name is Branch; he will branch out from his place and build the Lord’s temple. Yes, he will build the Lord’s temple; he will bear royal splendor and will sit on his throne and rule. There will be a priest on his throne, and there will be peaceful counsel between the two of them. The crown will reside in the Lord’s temple as a memorial to Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen son of Zephaniah. People who are far off will come and build the Lord’s temple, and you will know that the Lord of Armies has sent me to you. This will happen when you fully obey the Lord your God.”” (‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭6:9-15‬ ‭CSB)

The word of the Lord came to Zechariah to gather silver and gold from some of the exiles, and use it to construct a crown for Joshua the High Priest. That was an unusual directive because priests wore turbans. They didn’t wear crowns, which symbolized the authority of a king. The Lord was doing more in His directive than just crowning Joshua. He was painting a prophetic picture of what was to come.

Zerubbabel and Joshua were providing leadership for the building of the new temple. However, there would come a day when a Branch would sprout up from the root of David. The Branch would hold the title and position of both High Priest and King. He would branch out from Jerusalem to build a temple for the Lord through people who were both near and far off. That Branch is Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest who is also the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  He has built a temple, a house for the Lord made up of living stones from every tribe, nation, tongue and people… and in Him, there is peace.

NT: “Then I saw another great and awe-inspiring sign in heaven: seven angels with the seven last plagues; for with them God’s wrath will be completed. I also saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had won the victory over the beast, its image, and the number of its name, were standing on the sea of glass with harps from God. They sang the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb: Great and awe-inspiring are your works, Lord God, the Almighty; just and true are your ways, King of the nations. Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you because your righteous acts have been revealed.” (‭‭Revelation‬ ‭15:1-4‬ ‭CSB)

After John’s vision of the reaping of the earth, he saw another great and awe-inspiring sign in heaven as the angels prepared to pour out the completeness and completion of God’s wrath on the world below. The sign John saw harkened back to the Exodus, when God’s people were delivered from bondage through the blood of lambs, and were saved from destruction by crossing through the Red Sea.

Just as was recorded in Exodus, John saw the people of God standing on the shores of a vast sea that looked like glass mixed with fire. The multitude consisted of all who had won victory over the beast through the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and not loving their lives even to death. Just as God’s judgement and wrath was literally poured out on the Egyptian armies, those in God’s company were about to see God’s wrath and vengeance poured out on the enemies of God: the Dragon, the beast, and all who worshipped them.

A prelude is defined as an introductory piece of music – a short musical opening to a longer and more complex piece of work. During the exodus, the people of Israel sang after their enemies were defeated. In John’s vision, God’s people lifted up a prelude to God’s final work of vengeance and victory. The song of Moses, recorded in Exodus 15, begins with, “I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; He has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation…” The song went on to describe how God utterly defeated their enemies and saved them. In John’s vision, as God’s redeemed from the world stood safe in heaven on the shores of the vast sea of glass and fire… as they looked across the sea and saw their enemies gathering their forces… as they looked up and saw the angels gathering seven bowls full of God’s wrath, they began singing a song of praise to their victorious God and Lord whom all the nations would soon acknowledge as sovereign over all.

Prayer: Lord, I praise You for who You are: Lord God the Almighty who is just and true in all Your ways, King of kings, Lord of lord, and the Great High Priest for all who have been redeemed by Your blood. I thank You for delivering me from the bondages of sin and ultimately saving me from Your wrath to come. May I never take lightly what You have done for me, and may I always walk in humility and gratitude as one of Your chosen people… one of Your living stones that has been brought together with the rest of the body to be Your glorious temple. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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