I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, thank God for N.T. Wright.
Too bad Julia Ward Howe didn’t have the benefit of his insights before she penned the words to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” I know she was writing during a time of war, so it makes sense that she viewed passages like Revelation 14 as a depiction of God’s wrath and judgment. But I love discovering that there’s another way to interpret this passage as one of victory and celebration. It’s just another example of how God delights in taking things that in oureyes may appear to be evil or inferior or unholy and turning them into just the opposite–he can even take an instrument of torture (the cross) and turn into a symbol of hope. He can take messed up, fallen people and fill them with his Spirit making them holy vessels. Glory, glory, hallelujah!