We hear often of the plight of refugees fleeing war, devastation, and disaster. Christians are to reckon themselves as Kingdom refugees while they endure this life. We do well to explore how we can glorify God as Kingdom refugees.
John is given a vision of what Christians will endure. Earthly powers empowered by the Evil One are strong and will make war on the saints. Christians can overcome the beast in faithfulness to God. What does it all mean?
And I heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe for the earth and for the sea: because the devil is gone down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time (Revelation 12:10-12).
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and them that come off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from the number of his name, standing by the sea of glass, having harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvellous are thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are thy ways, thou King of the ages. Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy; for all the nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy righteous acts have been made manifest” (Revelation 15:2-4).
Peter wrote to Christians in Asia Minor as “elect exiles”. He wrote from “Babylon”. The theme of life in exile pervades his letter; we do well to learn from him how to live as exiles in a strange land.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied (1 Peter 1:1-2).
And if ye call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to each man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear: knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ: who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of the times for your sake, who through him are believers in God, that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God (1 Peter 1:17-21).
Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your behavior seemly among the Gentiles; that, wherein they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evil-doers and for praise to them that do well. For so is the will of God, that by well-doing ye should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be in subjection to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward (1 Peter 2:11-18).
YHWH had rescued Israel from Egyptian slavery with a strong hand. Yet now they were in the wilderness. Every time a difficulty arose, they could have trusted in YHWH. Instead, they complained, remembering Egypt. It led to their death. We do well to heed their example lest we fall by the same pattern of disobedience.