When was the last time you took time to celebrate the greatness of God for delivering and saving you from the things in your past? When was the last time you celebrated the future victories that God will bring about? We see the saints in John’s vision doing just that. Those who have conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name (v. 2), sing a song of thanksgiving to celebrate the greatness of God who delivered them from persecution and death. But it hadn’t happened yet in real time. The song emphasizes that all nations will recognize and worship the one true God. The nations will know that God’s judgments were just. God is celebrated for his great and amazing deeds, for His lordship/kingship, for His holiness.
On occasion, I realize that my prayers to God are mostly about asking for stuff. Not just for me, but I spend a lot of time praying for others and their needs. I forget that prayer is not just about petition or supplication. Prayer is also about praise and thanksgiving. As a correction, I sometimes set aside a prayer time exclusively for praise and thanksgiving. I ask for nothing and for no one. I simply recollect all the things that God has done for me and how God has blessed me with a rich and meaningful life. I think of all of God’s gifts to me. I think of all the answers to prayer. I think of all the people God has placed in my life. I spend time just acknowledging how good God is and name all the ways God has blessed my life.
But I do not think I have ever sat down and celebrated all the things that God is going to do. John’s vision of the future victorious church above was given to encourage and give confidence to the present suffering church below. Can you imagine giving thanks now and celebrating all the victories and triumphs that God will bring you through? Can you imagine yourself with a harp (or guitar or kazoo) singing songs of victory to God for his future goodness and blessings? I seemed trapped in the present and dwell on the past. Yet what gives us hope is allowing the future to break into the present and redeem the past. It is envisioning a better future through prolepsis that victory, triumph, and salvation are ours now if we take the time to access it through our prayers, meditation, and imagination.