Seventeen years ago, I woke up wondering if the Revelation was relevant.
We’d preached through Revelation 13 and met the beasts.
In chapter 14, we’d meet the harlot.
The beasts are politics and religion and together they’re especially wicked.
The harlot appears to be a city, world trade, and a tower—like the tower of Babel—she’s the whore of Babylon.
That morning I turned on the TV and watched two planes fly into the World Trade Center, and then I watched the towers crumble to the ground.
I think it was politics and religion that flew the planes . . . and, perhaps, a harlot built the tower. In chapter 18, a voice cries, “Come out of her my people.”
That night, not knowing what to do, we gathered on the mountain, prayed, and sang.
A friend saw a rider on a white horse, galloping up and down the isles of the church. There were mounted troops behind Him. I’m guessing 144,000.
Jesus goes to war. But how does He go to war, and how do we go with Him?
How do we declare war on terror?
On 9-11-01, 2,977 American civilians were killed.
In the following 17 years, and in response to the attack on 9-11, far many more civilians were killed . . . by terrorized Americans.
What could the government have done differently? I don’t know.
What could we have done differently? Perhaps, we could’ve not been so terrified of death . . . and listened for the Song.
John sees the beasts and then he sees something entirely different.
He sees the Lamb standing with 144,000 redeemed from the earth.
They sing the New Song that is the Eternal Gospel that was sung as the Lamb prepared to open the scroll outside of space and time . . . but now they sing it on Mt. Zion, in space and time.
They are soldiers and virgins—female it would seem—who follow the Lamb, in perfect harmony, wherever He goes, whether that be a party or a cross.
They are dancing. They might be us.
“I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as an undefiled virgin to Christ,” writes Paul.
He writes this to some harlots (the Corinthians) that are now the Bride, the Dancing Bride.
The dance is eternal and so it’s always new; it’s perfect rest and it’s absolutely free.
They dance to a song that surrounds us all.
But the harder I try to dance, it seems that the less I do.
Perhaps, you must hear the song, to dance the Dance.
The Song is sung to the glory of God.
But the life I lead is—basically, pretty much, upon reflection—the the glory of me.
I can’t comprehend the logic in a song. But if I forget about me and listen to a song, the logic in a song can comprehend me and set my feet to dancing.
The song destroys the beast and transforms the harlot into the Bride. It was the song they sang, that toppled the walls of Jericho and liberated Rahab the harlot, who became a bride and a mother to Christ. It was Psalm 22, sung on the cross, that broke the gates of hell, and lead the host of captives free.
A voice cries, “Happy are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” According to Scripture, we’re already dead . . . and enslaved to a beast that is our own self-centered self. It’s hard to dance if you’re dead or self-concious.
Satan has kept us in lifelong bondage through the fear of death.
And yet, we’re already dead . . .
And the death of death is eternal life.
That’s Eternal Gospel that liberates you from the dragon and his beasts. And it liberates you from the tyranny of your own ego.
The Gospel is a song. The Great Dance is Love.
God is Love: three persons, one Dance.
And He’s calling you to join Him.
This world is passing away. Only the Dance is truly relevant.
Lose yourself in the Song and you will find yourself dancing.
*Discussion questions are available for this sermon here: Discussion Questions”The Dead who Die and Dance”