Saturday, October 29, 2016

Revelation 7:11-17

Revelation 7:11-17
And all the angels had set in a circle around the throne and the elders and the four living beings.  And they fell upon their faces in the presence of the throne and they bowed down to worship God while saying, “Amen.  Praise, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and strength to our God into the eras of the eras, amen.”  And one out of the elders answered while saying to me, “These – the ones who have clothed themselves in the brilliant robes – who are they and from where did they come?”  And I have said to him, “My lord, you have known.”  And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great persecution and they washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.  For this sake they are in the presence of the throne of God and they serve him day and night in his dwelling and the one who sits upon the throne will dwell upon them.  Yet they will not hunger, nor thirst, nor should the sun not fall upon them nor all heat because the lamb – the one among the middle of the throne – will tend them and lead them upon a living spring of water.  And God will wipe away all tears out of their eyes.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

We turn to the great multitude.  Many people immediate look at these words and think about the return of Christ and the persecution that elsewhere in the Bible Jesus promises will occur.  Certainly there is nothing wrong with this interpretation.  But when we jump there, I think we miss much of the depth of this passage.  Remember when this letter is being written.  The Christians are currently being persecuted by the Roman leadership.  They are just coming out of a great persecution at the hands of the traditional Jewish leadership.  John’s listeners know persecution and they would likely have all known personally someone who has died because they refused to renounce Christ as the true God and instead acknowledge that Caesar is a god.  John’s people would know what this persecution feels like.  Furthermore, Jesus promises us that persecution will be with us at all times.  There isn’t a time or a place where persecution from the world isn’t likely.  John’s message is that when we know persecution we are not alone.  Other people have faced those issues.  God knows about our problems.  God can take care of us.  When we are persecuted for the sake of Christ, we can look forward to the day when we will be washed clean in Christ’s blood and welcomed into eternal life.

Where do you know persecution?  How can the promise of eternal life help you endure and persevere through persecution?

Second Thought:

Look at the function of the multitude.  They are in the presence of God all the time, serving.  They will not hunger or thirst because they have the spring of living water brought to them by the lamb.  This is a great look back to the Levites.  What function did the Levites play in the Old Testament?  They were the people charged with the spiritual health of the nation.  They served the people in their communities.  They served the people in the temple in Jerusalem.  It was out of their ranks that the priests and other religious leaders came.  Clearly what John is saying is that all those who are in Christ are priests under Christ.  Our purpose is to serve God in His calling.

How do you live the fact that you are a priest in Christ?  Why is it important to identify with this designation?

Third Thought:

This passage ends with a focus upon God.  He will wipe away all tears.  How great it will be to know an existence where there is no need to cry.  In God, there is no sadness.  There is no fear.  There is no disappointment.  There is no mourning over the way things could be.  There is no loneliness.  Every reason that we have for shedding tears is cast away in the presence of God.  He is the great provider of all of our needs.

How has God provided for you?  How has God demonstrated in your life that He can cast away the tears of this life?  What do you think life will be like in the eternal when are tears cast away so far that they don’t even occur in the first place?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 8:1-5
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