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Revelation 11, Zechariah 4, and Mission Theology: 'Not by Might, Nor by Power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord'

Introduction:

J. R. R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings, was a scholar of the faerie story genre.  In describing this genre, he coined a new word for the plot of faerie stories: 'eucatastrophe'.  We know what a catastrophe is, but the 'eu' in front of a word means 'good'.  A 'good catastrophe'.  Tolkien also described the Christian Gospel in the same terms--a eucatastrophe which also happens to be true.  Rev. 11, our text this morning, is a vision that describes the Church's mission in the world as a eucatastrophe.

My father’s premillennial, apocalyptic theology allowed no room for positivist views that believed society was getting better: evolution, socio-economic development, scientific progress.  His theology of ultimate doom served him better than those missionaries (fewer than often maintained, incidentally) who confused the Gospel with colonialism, whose postmillenialism led to a social Gospel activism ala Walter Rauschenbusch.  They believed things were improving at the hands of activist do-gooders bringing on God's Kingdom.  But in Apartheid South Africa, my father's theology served him well: things were wicked and getting worse.  His focus was the Church: 'I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail' was a favourite text.  His understanding of the use of power for good ends was encapsulated in a key text for us today, found in Zech. 4.6: 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.'  The possibilities of a transformational theology for society were for him dark shadows of speculation beside the clear light of a theology of transformed hearts as people repented of their sins and began to follow Christ in life.  Again and again he saw the remarkable change as murderers, thieves, witch doctors, idolaters, racists (black and white), wife beaters, and the like repented of their sins and began to follow Christ.  And, in following Christ, society was changed.  During the Sharpville massacre and unrest in South Africa in 1960, the chief of police asked my father to go into the black townships and preach because he had witnessed the social transformation that came as people turned to Christ.  My father had taken two truck-loads of stolen goods plus six uncut diamonds to the police as a result of people turning to Jesus.

Thus my father's Christo-centric, evangelistic theology did not remove him from social issues: it put him at the centre of them.  He found himself pleading for racial justice in the South African courts, witnessing to Christ's transforming power before the chief of police, preaching the love of God to racist Afrikaners, welcoming blacks into our home as friends to the fury of racist neighbours, arguing before government the need for inter-racial Bible colleges and being granted permission by Parliamentary vote to have the first (to my knowledge) non-quota, residential, inter-racial college in South Africa.  He also helped establish over 35 churches and one Bible college in South Africa, but he did not see these as his own achievements.  He lived by the verse 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.'

My father's theology was not only shaped by how he saw human effort in a sinful world.  Early in his ministry he saw the power of God to bring lasting transformation for those held captive by the power of Satan.  There are those in the West who do not believe much in evil, let alone Satan, unless it can be phrased in socio-political terms.  But my father knew what the Association of African Evangelicals now states in its statement of faith, that the devil is real.  Early in his evangelistic ministry, he encountered the spiritual power of witch doctors--no mere traditional healers--who challenged the power of God with the power of darkness.  Once one such person came to him for prayer, and immediately upon touching the man my father was electrically shocked.  He said it was like taking hold of a live electrical current.  He could not pull his hands off of the man and was in great pain.  At the same time, my mother, who was sick and at home, felt a darkness come over her that was so dark that she could not speak anything but the name of Jesus.  She knew my father was in danger and prayed in this way until the darkness left.  If you had ever talked with my father, you would not easily have found out any of this: he was a shy and quiet man, nothing like the stereo-typical Pentecostal on television screens, and he avoided sensationalising his ministry or giving any credit to the power of evil.

You would also not easily have found out about the demons possessing people whom he met from time to time.  Remarkable stories, those, for us Westernised theologians.  Take, for example, the woman in a rural village in the northern Traansvaal who could not speak a word of English but spoke, or the demon spoke, to my father in English with an American accent.  Or the woman diagnosed as schizophrenic in California whose demons knew of my father's casting out demons in South Africa.  Or the man who lived in the Orange Free State who was feared as a wild man and who lived among the graves.  Or the sangoma (witch doctor) who was capable of out-of-body spirit flight to other parts of South Africa.  They were all demon-possessed and all delivered from this power by God's almighty hand through my father’s ministry.  The first woman had to speak to my father through a translator after being delivered of this demon.  The Californian woman was let out of the asylum a week later.  The wild man among the graves married and became a school teacher.  The witch doctor sat with my father and discussed God's transforming power in his life.  My father knew that he could not in the slightest help these people, but God could, and did.  'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.'[1]

Revelation 11

In Revelation 11, amidst all the doom and gloom of apocalyptic judgement, we read of a measuring of the Temple, two witnesses, and the coming of the Reign of God.  The interpretation of the details are debated among scholars, as so often in apocalyptic literature.  But we are helped here by an awareness of clear references to the Old Testament.  First, Zechariah 4 also mentions two olive trees and a lampstand.  There, too, we find a Temple under construction.  Revelation 11 is using the vision of the restoration of the Israelite temple by Zerubbabel to make its point.  The measuring of the Temple has to do with restoring God's people and restoring them to their mission of witness among the nations.  This is not a mere protection of the Church during tribulation.  In Rev. 11, the building of God's people as the Temple also involves the light from the lampstands.  The lampstand in the Temple stood before the table on which was placed the bread of the Presence.  Filled with oil, it represented the Spirit of God.  Zech. 4 mentions the seven lamps of the lampstand as the seven eyes of the LORD ranging throughout the whole earth (cf. Rev. 5.6--the lampstand with seven 'eyes' is the horns of the Lamb).  In Rev. 11, the two witnesses are like this lampstand--or lampstands.  They represent the Law and the Prophets, or Moses and Elijah, bearing witness to God.  Standing before the ark, they witness that judgement is coming to those who break God's Law.[2]  It is at the end of this chapter that the final piece of furniture is fitted into the Temple: the ark of the Covenant.  This signifies the coming of Judgement on the earth.  But for now, this judgement is postponed.  Now is the time of building the Temple and the witness of the light from the oil-filled lampstands.  Now is the time to call people to repentance.

The other Old Testament clue to this chapter comes at the end of Rev. 10 (vv. 9-11), when John is told to eat the scroll.  This image comes from Ezekiel 3, where Ezekiel also eats a scroll sweet as honey in his mouth but which entails prophesying bitter words to the sinful exiles from Israel.  The prophecy is a warning to turn from sin.  So too in Rev. 11, the two witnesses deliver a message in Jerusalem as though it were Sodom or Egypt (note v. 8), wicked places in Biblical history oppressing God's people.  The message is not simply of judgement; it is a warning of judgement to come, as in Sodom and Egypt.  Those who heed the message will, like Zerubbabel's temple, be built up into the people of God.  Throughout the New Testament, the proper reading strategy is to adopt the perspective of Israel in exile for her sins being called out of exile into the Kingdom of God.  In Ezekiel 3, Ezekiel goes to the exiles to prophesy to them about judgement and restoration.  In Rev. 11, the warning to God's people of Ez. 3 becomes a warning not only to the Church but also to all people to turn to God.

But Rev. 11.7-8 says that the two witnesses will be killed by the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit.  Those given power to testify a message of warning in the wicked city will be overcome by evil.  But as we read on, this catastrophe turns out to have a good outcome: after 3 1/2 days of lying dead in the streets, being gloated over by the wicked, who even exchange presents and rejoice over the end of the voice of prophecy in a wicked world, the two witnesses are raised from the dead.  These two witnesses do not appear to me to be the Church itself, as some would interpret it, but they do represent the Church's witness in a wicked world.  Their experience is the experience of the Church of the 90's, when John's Apocalypse appears to have been written in the reign of the megalomaniac emperor, Domitian, who persecuted the Church.  They have born witness.  Some, like John, have been imprisoned.  And some, like the voices crying out from under the altar, 'How long?' (6.10), have already been martyred.  The answer to this cry is given throughout the book of Revelation, and it is that this is the time of witness.  The Church is not merely to witness the good news, the Gospel, but also to bear witness of God’s coming judgement.  The missio Dei in this world is the witness of God’s glory, which is both about His great salvation and grace and His impending judgement upon all wickedness.  Rev. 11 ends with a vision of the coming of God's reign and the opening of the Temple for all to see the ark of the covenant, which holds the tables of the Law.  It ends with God's coming judgement according to God’s Law.  People are raised from the dead in order to be judged.

In Ezekiel 3, Ezekiel is told to prophesy the words of the scroll that are sweet in his mouth.  But he is told that if he does not prophesy words of judgement, words of warning, the people will in any event be killed but their blood will be on Ezekiel's hands.  The people in view are the covenant people of God in exile for their sins--the message is at least first and foremost a message, like the seven letters at the beginning of Revelation, to the people of God.  But the role of witnessing in Revelation is also to the world.  It is a warning about disobeying God's Law, which, as the 10 Commandments in the Ark of the Covenant state, is first about worshipping Him and second about how we have treated one another.  The lampstand or lampstands are to shed light on both types of commandments.

The two witnesses are charged to bring the same witness as the Church and so they illustrate the witness of the Church in the world.  It is a witness to God's people (cf. Ezek. 3) as well as to those outside the Church (Rev. 11.10).  It is a warning to worship God alone and to practice justice and righteousness in this world.  It is not a charge to the Church to do so expecting great results, as though missions is a triumphant march of Christendom throughout the world.  Catastrophe is predicted, and the readers of Revelation have already experienced this.  Here is no postmillennial positivism, let alone prosperity Gospel: being a Christian may well mean martyrdom.  But if the Church loses its witness in the world, the blood of those whom God will judge will be on its hands--on our hands.  Yet this is precisely the challenge the Church faces today, as some are calling for a less-Christocentric and more generic, non-Biblical, theology,[3] and others are altering God's Laws and the teaching of Jesus to their own views of what is right.

Jürgen Moltmann and Revelation

Jürgen Moltmann, unlike my father’s theology and experience in ministry, has called for us to revise our reading of Revelation (Revisioning Our Reading of Revelation).  He says that we must 'Christianise the apocalyptic notion of Judgement, so that instead of awakening fears of hell it rouses hope for righteousness and justice.’[4]  He proposes this 'gospel of life' reading of Revelation over against three supposedly (this is all very fanciful!) earlier readings in Church history:

1.     Imperium Sacrum: Christian rule in God's name--'nothing less than the Thousand Years' Empire of Christ'[5]--meant 'missionizing' the heathen under Christian emperors, Tsars, Spanish Kings, and then 19th century Christian civilisation.  Moltmann suggests that it was mission in the name of God the Father and Lord.
2.     Church: 'We know Christian mission as the spread of the Christian church urbi et orbi, from Rome, from Wittenberg, Geneva or Canterbury.  The salvation of men and women is to be found in their subjection to the holy rule of the church, for its lordship is nothing other than the 'Thousand Years Empire of Christ' in the Spirit, in which Christ's people will rule with him and will judge the nations.’[6]  Mission in this sense has led to a spread of the divisions of European churches.
3.     Evangelisation: personal decisions of faith, 'personal acceptance in faith of Christ's holy rule.’[7]  Modern evangelism, says Moltmann, was in the name of Christ, was Christ-centred.

All three views depend on the apocalyptic expectation that Christ's rule has already begun and must spread in the world before the tribulation to come.  Moltmann proposes the following:

  • ‘How would it be if today we were to make the salvation, healing, liberation and affirmation of life the content of Christian mission, and link the mission of life with the gospel of the Spirit who is the life-giver?’[8]
  • 'What is now waiting for us at the end of the second millenium and the beginning of the third is mission in the name of the Holy Spirit'Missio Dei' must be understood as God's sending His Spirit.’[9]
  • 'The mission of Jesus and the mission of the Spirit are nothing other than movements of life: movements of healing, of liberation, of righteousness and justice.’[10]
  • 'So Christian mission isn't concerned about Christianity; its concern is the life of men and women.  And the church's mission isn't concerned about the church; its concern is the kingdom of God.  And evangelization isn't concerned about spreading the doctrine of faith; its concern is the life of the world.’[11]
  • Moltmann defines 'life' as a filling of our human life with God's life.[12] 
  • A hermeneutic is then proposed: 'What is to be worked out in the texts is what promotes life, and whatever is hostile to life will be subjected to criticism.[13]

This 'hermeneutic' allows Moltmann to alter the missionary question about 'anonymous Christians' in other religions to consider what in other religions promotes life:

Everything which ministers to life in other religions and cultures is good, and must be absorbed into the coming 'culture of life'.  Everything which among us and other people hinders, destroys or sacrifices life is bad, and must be overcome, as 'the barbarism of death'.[14] 

Moltmann is clear about his version of universal theology over against pre-modern and modern theology:

According to the earlier classification of the religions under the doctrine of original sin, these people must cut themselves off radically from the 'superstition' of their fathers and the 'idolatry' of their people, if they become Christians.  According to the modern, pluralistic theology of religion, they don't need to become Christians at all, if they have found the divine truth in their own religion.  In my own view, everything a person is, and everything which has put its impress on him culturally and religiously can become his charisma, if he is called, touched and stirred, and if he loves life and works together with other people for the kingdom of God.[15]

Moltmann's theology is a classic example of contextual theology gone wrong.  Like the Prosperity Gospel (and there are close links between this and Liberation Theology), it wants only to speak of nice things.  There is no bitterness to the Church's witness, only honey.  For Moltmann, there is only hope, not judgement; there is only the love of life, not a need for Christ's ‘good catastrophe’ of the cross at all. The Lordship of Christ[16] is itself surpassed, now, with the life force of the Spirit.  Moltmann's mission theology has no need of God the Father--a postcolonial theology will take care of that archaic patriarchalism for him.  It has no need of the Church, and no need of Christ.  Moltmann's 'gospel' is certainly only a 'pleasing' gospel, not an apocalyptic Gospel.  He constructs it with some confused understanding of the Spirit.  On the contrary, in Rev. 11, the Spirit is the holy oil of the Church's light, its testimony of Christ, in the world, a warning testimony to turn to God and live according to His Law.

The Importance of Apocalypticism in Christian, Mission Theology

But what if we discard the prophetic warnings of the Old Testament?  What if we discard the apocalyptic theology of the New Testament writings?  Apart from abandoning theology as Biblical interpretation, we also have then a theology that, like the social Gospel theology of the early 20th century, looks at the world through rose coloured glasses.  Culture is the Church’s dance partner.  Reinhold Niebuhr's criticism of this theology after two world wars was appropriate.  But, unlike Niebuhr, Revelation does not offer half-measures of the Gospel in the name of 'justice', such as 'Just War Theory'.  Revelation calls for the Church to find its voice in the midst of catastrophe and martyrdom, to proclaim the Gospel knowing that God can take our catastrophe in this life and use it to proclaim His glory as well as bring all things to a just end, even if this means resurrecting the dead for judgement.

Rev. 11 ends with a remarkably subversive telling of the Elijah narrative.  Faced with the wickedness of Israel in his day, Elijah despaired that he was the only one who had not bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kgs. 19.14ff).  Moses and Elijah are likely candidates for the proto-types of the witnesses in Rev. 11--representing the law and the prophets.  Moses and Elijah were expected to return at the end of this age (Mal. 4.5; Dt. 18.18; cf. Mk. 9.11 and Mt. 11.14; Mk. 9.4; Jn. 6.14; 7.40).  The witnesses' powers are those of Moses and Elijah (consume enemies with fire, 2 Kgs. 1.10ff; no rain, 1 Kgs. 17.1; turn water to blood, Ex. 7.14-18; bring plagues, Ex. 8.12).  Their departure to heaven is equivalent to the way Moses and Elijah were said to have departed (2 Kgs. 2.11; Assumption of Moses).  But God responds to Elijah that there are 7,000 in Israel that have not bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kgs. 19.18).  He also tells Elijah that He will destroy the others.  Reflecting this narrative, in Rev. 11 there is a reversal of this number.  We read in verse 13 that 'At that moment there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.'  The ‘good’ of the Gospel is that, though this wicked world will be brought to justice, the testimony of the Church and the work of God will be heeded by many.

The movement in Revelation is from catastrophe to praise.  Ch. 11 ends this way:

16 Then the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 singing, "We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty, who are and who were, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. 18 The nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth."

This praise involves catastrophe for the workers of catastrophe.[17]  Such a narrative is entirely consistent with God's self-revelation to Moses in Ex. 34, where both compassion and judgement go together:

6 The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."

This theology of God's future judgement in Revelation does not lead to a passive quietism in the present, as Karl Marx feared--religion as an ‘opiate’ of the people.  It leads to active witness, even when faced with death.  'Testimony' and 'witness' are words one finds a number of times in Revelation, as in ch. 11.  Jesus is the faithful witness (1.2) and the content of the Church's testimony (1.9, taking the Genitive as objective, but possibly also subjective).  Christians have the task of testifying or witnessing, usually unto death (2.13; 17.6; 1.9; 6.9; 11.3, 7; 12.11, 17; 19.10; 20.4).  What makes this testimony so dangerous?  The testimony to Jesus is a testimony to his Lordship over all, and this means a challenge to Rome's imperial power and wealth, the Emperor's pretences to divinity and the exploitation of the poor by the wealthy.

Nor is the Biblical hope that we will sit around with fellow life promoters from all religions and sing Kumbaya, as Moltmann offers.  Our hope is that people will fall to their faces and worship the one true God, who will bring justice to this world.  This hope of justice frees us in our witness to follow the way of the cross in our witness to the world.  We do not use the power of this age to achieve a form of divine justice.  And we reject the way of holy war, because we have a story that says that good is found on the other side of catastrophe, even our own, so we may leave vengeance to God (Deuteronomy 32.35; Romans 12.19).  Jesus rejected holy war.[18]  He did not say 'pick up your swords and follow me to Jerusalem' but 'pick up your crosses and follow me.'  Nor did he achieve a confused notion of retributive justice by giving his life to kill his enemies, as with today's suicide bombers and terrorists interpreting a different theology in a religion without the cross of Jesus Christ.  Instead, Christ gave his life to give life, even to his enemies, forgiving us of our sins.  We are a people, like the first readers of Revelation, who have a narrative that can interpret catastrophe, not deny it.  Rev. 11.8 ties the 3 1/2 days of death of the two witnesses to the 3 days of Jesus' death.  Afterwards comes the resurrection and exaltation.  Our hope is not in causing catastrophe, as in Northern Ireland, Iraq, North Ossetia, Nigeria, and other places witnessing terrorism.  Nor is it in denying coming judgement.  But it is in seeing catastrophe as culminating by God’s grace in something good, that through our cruciform witness we will save many and that God will bring judgement, not us, to the destroyers of the earth.  Only such a theology frees the Church to find its voice in a wicked world to warn against idolatry and evil practices, to deliver its Spirit-filled witness before the altar in a wicked land.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Rev. 11 depicts the mission of the Church as, in Tolkien's terms, a 'eucatastrophe'—a catastrophe that, like fairy tales (but one that is true), turns out to have a good ending after a frightful development in the plot.  The two witnesses may be eschatological figures in their own right, but they represent the Church in its missionary witness here and now.  We learn several things about the Church's mission from this chapter:

1.     The authority of the Church to fulfil its mission comes from God, who is sovereign and Almighty (11.17).  The Church's mission is to witness.  Indeed, upon completion of the Church's witness, this witness is destroyed by the one who rises from the bottomless pit. 
2.     The Church's witness is Christ-centred.  Every heresy begins by diminishing the centrality of Christ.
3.     But, as Revelation makes so plain, a witness to Christ is also an indictment of the Empire, with its pretentious and even blasphemous claims to power, its abuse of power, and its amassing of wealth (cf. ch. 18).  The Kingdom of this age is not the Kingdom of our God.  The Church's witness of Christ, if it is a true witness, will not be welcomed by the State.  The very notion of a State Church or of a Christendom is anathema, an inevitable compromise of the Gospel and grotesque distortion of Christian faith.  The idea that political power--or any human power--can be used to bring about God's Kingdom is unthinkable.  The Church's witness is always compromised when believers try to harness the Beast's power to plough furrows of righteousness in the sinful earth.  The message of the two olive trees is 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.'
4.     Revelation stands as a testimony that social transformation may ultimately be a doomed enterprise.  The relevance of Christ for present society cannot be underestimated, but too often in history has a witness to Christ been replaced by a social Gospel, which is all about human effort at what is deemed good and easily becomes nothing to do with Jesus Christ.  I have used the well-known scholar Jürgen Moltmann to illustrate this error.
5.      The witness of Christ, finally, is not only a witness to Christ but also the witness that Christ gave.  This witness draws people away from idolatry to the one, true God.  And it calls for righteousness--rightness--in the way we live here and now.  This witness is pictured in ch. 11 by the end of the Church's witness culminating in the revelation of the ark of the covenant, with its ten commandments that call people to worship God and to live righteously.  This is the whole Gospel witnessed in the whole world.



[1] For a biography of my parents’ ministry during the first 10 years of their lives in South Africa, see Rollin G. Grams, Stewards of Grace: A Reflective, Mission Biography of Eugene and Phyllis Grams in South Africa, 1951-1962 (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2010).
[2] They dress in sackcloth, the symbol of repentance (cf. Jonah 3.4-10; Mt. 11.21; Lk. 10.13) and call people to repentance, just as Ezekiel's message (Ez. 3).
[3] This may be true of David Tracy's theological project on the Spirit.  In an interview with Scott Holland of CrossCurrents Spring 2002, Vol. 52.1 (Spring, 2002) (http://www.crosscurrents.org/Tracyspring2002.htm), Tracy says, 'For Christians, the Scriptures end with, "Come, Lord Jesus." I now add the apocalyptic to my developing Christology in ways that my earlier work did not. You see, Christ has come but quite importantly, he still has not come. We must remain messianic as Christians. We don't fully know what Christ will be nor when his second coming will occur. So the second coming of Christ now becomes a symbol as important as the symbols of incarnation, cross and resurrection. Then, the work on Christology will open up into Spirit -- and into a theological interpretation of Christianity in relationship to the other religions.'  This approach to theology moves from concrete teaching to more abstract ideas, ‘symbols,’ which, in turn, are little other than a wax nose to be shaped however the interpreter wishes.
[4] Jurgen Moltmann, 'The Mission of the Spirit--The Gospel of Life,' in Mission--An Invitation to God's Future, ed. T. Yates (Calver, Hope Valley, Near Sheffield: Cliff College Academic Press, 2000), pp. 19-34, here p. 27.
[5] Ibid., p. 25.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid., p. 26.
[8] Ibid., p. 24.
[9] Ibid., p. 29.
[10] Ibid., p. 30.
[11] Ibid., p. 30-31.
[12] Ibid., p. 31.
[13] Ibid., p. 32.
[14] Ibid., p. 33.
[15] Ibid., p. 33-34.
[16] Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation.  New Testament Theology              (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993) (about p. 60): A peculiar grammatical use in Rev. might be explained by John's concern to include worship of Jesus in a monotheistic theology.  Mention of God and Christ together is followed by a singular verb (11.15) or singular pronouns (6.17; 22.3-4).  Whether Jn. refers to both together in the singular or reverts to speaking only of God, He carefully avoids speaking of the two as a plurality.
[17] Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation, p. 53: Regarding God destroying the destroyers of the earth (11.18), Bauckham says that this word play is also found in the Flood narrative of Genesis and with the word "sahat": Gen. 6.11-13, 17, God destroys those corrupting the earth.  The beast comes out of the sea--symbol for chaos (13.1), but in 21.1 the "sea is no more"--all corrupting influence is removed from the new creation.  The final judgment is not so much a destroying of the earth but a removal of the corruption from the earth.  (53).
[18] Richard Bauckham, Theology of Revelation: In the vision of Rev. 4-5, Jesus is both militaristic Messiah--the Lion of Judah--and slaughtered Lamb.  He conquers, to be sure, but He conquers through the cross and resurrection (74).  The militaristic and nationalistic hopes of Jewish messianism are reinterpreted by John in light of the cross.  All nations (5.9) worship Him.  Similarly, Christians conquer Satan "by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death" (12.11), i.e., by their own deaths as Christian martyrs following Christ's example and so bearing witness--witness to Christ's witness.