Introductory Note:

In the first of a three-part series, Richard J. Foster explores the ideas of what it means to be in the Lamb’s Army. Today he considers why we are “called into this army with the Lord Jesus Christ as the commander-in-chief who leads his faithful people through all of history.”

On Wednesday, Richard will look at the weapons we bring into these battles.

On Friday, we’ll look at arenas of action in the Lamb’s War.

Renovaré Team

All who desire to fol­low Jesus are called into the peace­able war of the Lamb against all prin­ci­pal­i­ties and pow­ers. Like any war­fare, it is waged on all fronts at once — inward and out­ward, per­son­al and social, indi­vid­ual and insti­tu­tion­al. The perime­ter of its con­cerns embrace three hun­dred six­ty degrees. Inward­ly the Lamb of God seeks to con­quer all forms of pride, lust, greed, hate, fear, envy, and every­thing that stands against life in the king­dom of God.

But Jesus, our con­quer­ing King, refus­es to stop with the pri­vate sec­tor of life. All kinds of injus­tice, oppres­sion, hatred, big­otry, cru­el­ty, tyran­ny, bru­tal­i­ty, and any­thing else opposed to the way of God are legit­i­mate bat­tle­grounds in this spir­i­tu­al warfare.

Con­quest by suffering

In Rev­e­la­tion 5 the Apos­tle John is told that the Lion from the tribe of Judah has con­quered sin and is wor­thy to break open the scroll that con­tains the mys­tery of human des­tiny. John turns, expect­ing to see a majes­tic Lion but instead of see­ing a Lion, he sees a Lamb — a Lamb split from ear to ear on the altar of sacrifice.

It is Jesus, the sac­ri­fi­cial Lamb of God, who has con­quered by suf­fer­ing and to whom all heav­en’s host pros­trate them­selves in wor­ship, declar­ing, You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood.”

In chap­ter 14 we see this same Lamb atop Mount Zion with all the redeemed gath­ered around him, and in chap­ter 17 we are told that the nations will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will con­quer them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings.”

Final­ly, in Rev­e­la­tion 19 this Lamb is described in a strange mix­ture of metaphors as a con­quer­ing king astride a white bat­tle stal­lion. He wears the roy­al crown, his eyes are like a flame of fire, and out of his mouth issues the sharp, two-edged sword. This con­quer­ing King/​suffering Lamb makes war on all who oppose the rule of God.

God’s mis­sion

This great end-times vision of the Lam­b’s war is a straight­for­ward descrip­tion of the total mis­sion and strug­gle of the pil­grim peo­ple of God. In it we can see a won­der­ful com­bi­na­tion of the tran­scen­dent lord­ship of Jesus with the suf­fer­ing ser­vant Mes­si­ah, of con­flict and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, of crown and cross, of coura­geous, mil­i­tant action with com­pas­sion­ate, redeem­ing love.

In the Lam­b’s war we have an attack on evil in all its guis­es, over­com­ing it with good. There is broth­er­ly love, rad­i­cal shar­ing, wit­ness with­out com­pro­mise, and an obe­di­ent, dis­ci­plined, freely-gath­ered, mar­tyr peo­ple who know in this life the life and pow­er of the king­dom of God. Such peo­ple are com­mit­ted in rev­o­lu­tion­ary faith­ful­ness to Christ’s ever­last­ing rule in an eter­nal king­dom of peace, not only immi­nent on the hori­zon but already com­ing to birth in our midst.

This is the vision of the con­flict of the Lamb. We are called into this army with the Lord Jesus Christ as the com­man­der-in-chief who leads his faith­ful peo­ple through all of his­to­ry, con­quer­ing evil at every turn and estab­lish­ing a total, new love rela­tion­ship among all peo­ple until the end of the age.

Pub­lished in Equip­ping the Saints (Spring, 1989).

Text First Published March 1989

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

View Selections & Learn More >