What’s the lesson from the World Cup? The difference between winning and losing. There are winners and losers not just here in this world but even in the next world. As the Book of Revelation says, heaven is for “those who prove victorious”.
I’m all in favour of that logic called the “win-win” deal, where both sides get something they need and everybody walks away happy. But it doesn’t always work that way. The whole point of revelation is that we must take sides. We are caught up in a war between God and Satan. One side is going to win, and the other is going to lose. Jesus said, “Anyone who is not with me is against me!” You really do have to choose. Are you determined to be faithful to Jesus no matter what happens? Will he be able to tell you on Judgement Day: “Well done, my good and faithful servant! Because you have been faithful in these little things, I will entrust you with greater things. Enter into the joy of your master”?
The analogy between salvation and the World Cup has its weakness. The losers in a football match are not evil. Sports is based on competition, where both teams are trying to achieve something good. So, this is where the analogy breaks down. God’s plan is to achieve something good, but Satan’s plan is the opposite. God sets us free, so we can be happy forever in a kingdom of light. Satan wants to enslave, making us miserable forever in a realm of darkness and death.
STRUGGLING TO ADVANCE
The World Cup teams are struggling to advance to the quarter-finals. In two weeks, the moment will come for one of them to lift the cup, and shout of victory. Something similar awaits all those who call Christ their king. We struggle now, but we hope to shout of victory when the kingdom comes. Two episodes in the Bible describe that moment of exaltation. One comes from Exodus and the other from Revelation.
It’s victory in the Old Testament under Moses and victory in the New Testament under Jesus Christ. You have seen a stadium full of fans delirious with joy after witnessing the triumph of their team. Imagine the joy of that huge number of saints, “impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and tongue, standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb.”
According to the Book of Revelation, they will sing the Song of Moses, sung by the Israelites after God destroyed Pharaoh’s army: “You alone are holy, Lord God Almighty! Victory to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”