Hey y’all! In case you have wandered into my little corner of the WWW, you will need to know that today’s post is part of a series that I am doing on Mondays on the book of Revelation. We started in January at the front of the book, and have worked our way through to this point in Revelation 7.
You must be asking who in their right mind would attempt to teach through the book of Revelation. Yeah, I’m asking myself the same question. I’m just trying to be obedient to what God asks me to do and leave the rest up to Him.
If you would like to catch up on some of the past posts, I have created a page on my website where I link to EVERY. SINGLE. POST in this series. And that is a lot of posts, but they are linked in order from Revelation 1 until now, so have at it. CLICK HERE TO GO THERE.
I also have a Facebook page where I link to each post, and provide space for discussion in addition to the comments section here on the blog. If you are on Facebook, and would like to join us there, click HERE.
Okay, on to today’s lesson.
In our final week in the seventh chapter of Revelation, we listen in to an exchange between John and one of the elders in heaven. Before we get too far into studying the exchange from a biblical perspective, I want to put my two cents worth in on one sentence that was uttered from John’s mouth in verse 14. Let’s read the passage first in Revelation 7:13-17.
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”
14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
When the elder asked John if he knew who the worshippers clothed in white robes were and where they came from, John immediately gave an answer that you and I would do well to memorize. He didn’t hem nor haw. He didn’t try to wing it with an answer. He simply said, “Sir, you know.” John’s answer was one born of humility. I would get myself in a lot less trouble if I would just be willing, in many situations, to say “I have absolutely no idea.” Can anyone go there with me?
Okay, now on to today’s lesson. The elder’s answer to John is clear. The ones around the throne, clothed in white robes are those who come out of the great tribulation. They are saved by the blood of Christ. The elder goes on to explain that these are people who gave their lives because of their faith in Christ during the great tribulation. They are martyrs who have entered their eternal rest. The serve God day and night and He is their shelter, shepherd and provision. Never again will they suffer, nor will they shed another tear. Their earthly life is finished, and their heavenly life has begun.
While there is much we could study from this passage, in fear and trembling, I am choosing to quickly pop open a can of worms, focus in on the phrase ‘great tribulation’, and then close said can until next week.
Before I studied the book of The Revelation in-depth, I was of the mind that the words ‘great tribulation’ referred to the entire seven-year period of trial and devastation on the earth. Certainly those seven years will be full of tribulation. However, since spending time studying the words ‘great tribulation’, I am convinced that when the Scripture says, ‘great tribulation’, such as in our focal passage and in Matthew 24, it is the final 3 ½ years that are being referenced, rather than the entire 7-year period.
Over the next week or so, I will seek to explain how I arrived at this conclusion. For now, let’s soak in the beauty, one more time, of what those who give their lives for the sake of the gospel during the tribulation period will experience when they see Jesus face to face.
Purity and holiness. No more violence or cursing or abuse. No more death or disease.
Their hunger and thirst will be perfectly satisfied, both physically and spiritually.
They will be guided and led to the best of everything that heaven has to offer: water, food, shelter, rest.
God, Himself, will wipe away their tears. Can you imagine being touched on your face by the very hand of God? Y’all, it is almost more than I can comprehend.
I do not know if I will be a martyr in the time of the great tribulation, nor do you. What I do know is that those who give their lives for the cause of Christ during that time will be rewarded greatly.
I often wonder if I would remain faithful under persecution, even to the point of death. I hope I would. I pray that I would. This one thing I know….God will give me whatever I need for whatever He allows me to go through. If it is persecution and death, then there will be fresh manna for that day, and I do not need to worry about it now.
I would like to leave you with a song by The Gaither Vocal Band that is written about this very passage of Scripture. Let’s worship, friends.