All Saints’ Sunday
Trinity Lutheran Church
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
All Saints’ Sunday
7 November 2010
The red dragon and his two beasties (one from the earth and the other from the sea) are frauds. They act like little messiahs. Little saviors. Little gods. In John’s day the emperor claimed to be god. And one’s entire existence depended on him. If you would not offer sacrifices and promise total loyalty to the deified emperor, you could lose your job, your family – and maybe even your life.
Have you ever heard of Polycarp? He was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. He was the bishop of Smyrna. Arrested. The Governor offered to set him free if he would just curse Christ. Bishop Polycarp wouldn’t. “Eighty and six years have I served Christ and He has done nothing but good. How then could I curse Him, my Lord and Savior?” And so he was burned alive.
Ever heard of Ignatius? Another disciple of St. John the Evangelist. He was bishop of Antioch. He too was arrested. The emperor Trajan sentenced Ignatius to death – to be thrown to the wild beasts at Rome.
Economic, political and religious utopians are totalitarians that brook no opposition. Especially from the church. Especially from Christians who bear the mark of God’s holy name on their foreheads.
Want to succeed in the world? Want to enjoy life? Then deny Christ. Curse Christ. Live as if Christ is a nothing. Live outside your Baptism. And the utopian totalitarians won’t harass you or kill you. The red dragon and his two beasties (the political and religious totalitarian powers in every age) form an unholy and evil trinity to deceive and defraud. They promise everything – world transformations – hope and change — and yet they deliver nothing. They promise life – a life without end — but they only give death. They promise heaven but their ways of idolatry and immorality lead the inhabitants of the earth (unbelievers) to a hellish end.
Do not compromise. Do not give in. Follow the Lamb – the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is the Savior. Polycarp and Ignatius followed Good Shepherd Lamb Jesus even when death stared them in the face –even when the temptations of Satan and his little beasties were so enticing and alluring.
And Polycarp and Ignatius are not alone. Millions more have not compromised the faith. Those who follow the Lamb who died for them are an immense crowd. A mega church of enormous proportions. Here the Book of Revelation reveals what is genuine. What matters. What is real. What is permanent.
And here is what is true, genuine and real. “A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language” is white robed because they are covered with the Blood of the Lamb. Palm branches in their hands. They’ve come out of the great tribulation of this life in which the red dragon Satan and his two little beasts rage against Christ and His church on the earth. These believers have followed the Lamb to the end. Even if their confession of Jesus cost them their life. And now they rest.
In heaven. “Standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.” Eternally safe. The victory has been won! Good Friday’s Lamb is the Savior. “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.” All the angels in heaven join in the praise. A sevenfold praise of: “Amen!” [True!] To our God be the praise and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength for ever and ever. Amen!” In other words, if there is any glory it belongs to God. If there is any wisdom is comes from God, ect. Even salvation comes from God and the Lamb Jesus who gave His life into death as the only atoning sacrifice for the salvation of sinners! This is true. This is genuine. The sevenfold doxology of praise means completeness! I.E. All there is belongs to God and to the Lamb. The economic, political and religious utopians are frauds. Fakes. Antichrists!
Satan and his beasties will oppress and persecute the church and those who follow the Lamb. Such tribulation comes through oppression and injustice of all kinds: political, social, economic and religious. All to tempt you to forsake Jesus. To compromise. To call it quits. To stop following the Lamb.
But Lamb Jesus has won the victory! Salvation belongs to Him. He won it! That’s Calvary. And it’s all for you. And for all those loved ones and friends who believed in the Lamb and followed Him too. Faithful until the end.
And now they rest. They too are part of this worship that is described here in the Book of Revelation with all the angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven. All the sin and all the consequences of sin in this world are no more in heaven. No more hunger. No more thirst. No more cancer causing ultra violet rays from the sun. No more tears. No more death. Only life. “For the Lamb at the center of the throne is their shepherd.” He is the living water that grants eternal life to those that believe in Him.
Jesus is the real deal. He wins and delivers salvation. He uses the troubles and heartaches of this world to strengthen our faith in Him. Do not despair. Heaven is yours. Death is changed. Death is now the doorway to heaven.
And today in the Lord’s Supper the Lamb gives you a foretaste of that heavenly feast to come. He spreads His tent over you right now. You too, at the Sacrament, are before His throne. And He reigns right here and now – for you. With His Body. With His Blood. And the Lamb promises that all your sin is forgiven and that eternal life is yours. What is there left to say? How about this?
“Salvation belongs to our God … and to the Lamb … To our God be the praise and the glory and the wisdom and the thanks and the honor and the power and the strength for ever and ever. Amen!”