Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reveling in Revelation ~ The Good and the Bad of ‘Them-and-Us’

          Often, when we refer to the “them-and-us” scenario, we picture two groups of people who both think they are right and the others are wrong. Everybody picks a side. We are either “them” or we are “us”. Of course, both sides see themselves as the “us” and the other guys as the “them”. I suppose good grammar requires it.

          However, this morning God brought a “them-and-us” scenario into a far different light for me. Instead of two groups of opponents identifying which team they belong to, God uses the “them-and-us” relationship to reveal the wonderful blessings given to God’s children in a way that brings both sides together. The “us” is built up and blessed with the most amazing gifts from the “them”, and the “them” receives a return of praise and joy out of the “us” they have so bountifully blessed with their gifts.

          The “them” is first described as three persons, “…him who is and who was and who is to come, and… the seven spirits who are before his throne, and… Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth”.[1] This is a description of the Triune God, the God who is three-in-one, the Father, Holy Spirit, and Son. They are the “them” who bless the recipients of their gifts.

          Within the “them” is the one who has the primary role of making God known. Jesus is the “image of the invisible God”,[2] and so, in order to know God in his Triune glory, we must turn our attention to the One who makes them known. This is actually where the book of Revelation begins as we see that God, the invisible One, gives the revelation to Jesus, so that Jesus can make it known to his servants.

          As we move along through the early paragraphs of the book, we notice that from the “them-and-us” that is the Triune God blessing their people, the spotlight very briefly narrows onto one of the “them”. The picture now becomes “him-and-us”. There is little difference between “THEM-and-us” and “HIM-and-us” because one member of the Triune is greater than all of their creation combined (though such a thing as one member of the Triune acting independent of the others is impossible).

          If the “them-and-us” or even the “him-and-us” is all or one of them against us, we are hopelessly doomed. On the other hand, if this is a description of friendship between Jesus’ servants and the Triune, or, more specifically, between Jesus himself and his servants, then this is a wonderful revelation of the most incredible and overwhelming and glorious hope anyone could ever imagine.

          The “him-and-us” relationship looks like this:

·         HIM (Jesus) has loved US (1:5)

·         HIM (Jesus) has freed US from our sins by his blood (1:6)

·         HIM (Jesus) has made US a kingdom (1:6)

·         HIM (Jesus) has made US priests to his God and Father (1:6)

          If this is what the HIM gives to the US, in fact, has already done for the US, what does the US give to the HIM? Answer: “To HIM be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1:6)

          Now, I’m sorry to say, but, as much as the word of God reveals this amazing, gracious relationship between the “them-and-us” of the Triune God and his people, there is also the other kind of “them-and-us” that is painfully deadly. Those who are not part of the “them-and-us” of salvation, where they have become the beloved children of God[3] through faith in Jesus Christ[4], are still the enemies of God[5], still under the condemnation of God[6], and will one day stand before the throne of God where it will be very clear that the “them” is God and his children, and the “us” is the devil and those who have followed him[7].

          The book of Revelation is not a calendar of events we can check off so we know when we are close to the end of the year. It is a picture of the “them” of the Triune God and the “us” who are their children, and the blessings in store for God’s family at the end of all the troubles that will take place in this world. It is also a picture of the “them” who are the Triune God and their children, and the “us” who are their enemies and destined for destruction no matter how peaceful and happy this worldly life seems to be.

          Conclusion: being part of the “them-and-us” that is the Triune God and their children, is better by far than being those who have the Triune "them" against "us".
© 2012 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, Canada, V1K 1B8 ~

[1] Revelation 1:4-5
[2] Colossians 1:15
[3] Ephesians 5:1
[4] Ephesians 1:15
[5] Philippians 3:18
[6] John 3:16-18
[7] Matthew 25:31- 46

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