Most of us have seen the Keep Calm and Carry On (KCCO) posters, t-shirts, and internet memes. The story behind them is very similar to the theme of Revelation.
The posters were produced by the British government (to be exact, by His Majesty’s Stationary Office) during World War II. London was under attack. The German Luftwaffe rained bombs down on Britain every night. The Brits needed some encouragement to keep a stiff upper lip. The poster campaign originally produced the KCCO images in case of a German invasion of the British Isles. Thankfully the Germans never crossed the English Channel and the posters have become an interesting piece of never-used propaganda. But the idea they express is similar to what Christians should understand from Revelation. When everything around us is exploding, we must carry on.
The church in John’s time was undergoing severe persecution. The most powerful empire in history seemed set against the disciples of Christ. Believers were beaten, banned from the marketplaces, and martyred in cruel fashion. The Caesars of the time declared themselves to be gods and demanded worship. In many cities, every citizen was required to burn a pinch of incense in worship to Caesar. Those who did, were allowed to buy and sell goods within the city. Those who did not, were not allowed into the marketplace and in some cases were rounded up as atheists and forced to deny Jesus. It seemed as if the church were going to be trampled underfoot by Rome. Christians were ostracized and even murdered. They needed a sense of hope.
The message Jesus sends to his churches through John is one of perseverance. Jesus knows it will be difficult. He says, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”-Revelation 2:10. It is both an encouragement and a promise. If we carry on, we will be given the prize.
For the Brits, the outcome of WWII was in doubt until late in the war. For Christians, there is no doubt to the outcome. That is the other message of Revelation. Jesus is triumphant! “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”-Revelation 3:21. Because Jesus has overcome, I can overcome. Keep calm and carry on, indeed.