Scripture Readings: Revelation 7-11
Key Scripture Verse: Revelation 7:13-14 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’
I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’
And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’”
Revelation, the revelation of Jesus to his Apostle John, is a book of prophecy. My Bible states that “most biblical prophecy has both an immediate and a future application” (NIV, Life Application Bible, “Interpreting the Book of Revelation” commentary notes), and these particular verses indicate what is expected to happen to faithful Christians.
Faithful Christians who persist in faith will be granted salvation and are to live with Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit for eternity. These verses reflect that salvation, as the robes they wear are washed in the holy blood of Jesus who died for their sins on the cross at Calvary. Their sins have been forgiven and they have been made righteous in his eyes.
The “tribulation” in this verse refers to either the personal pain and suffering each Christian will have to endure or the great tribulation in the future, a time of great suffering for all the nations when it will be necessary to remain faithful in order to be counted among those who will be granted salvation.
If we read further, we learn that the elder continued to speak to John of the Christians in the white robes, saying, “‘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. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” (The elder references the scriptures from Isaiah: Isaiah 49:10, Isaiah 25:8.)
Faithful Christians will enter into God’s “rest,” being free of the unrest of this life and its difficulties. I love the verse from Isaiah 25:8 quoted here, “’And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” I have seen so many people with physical and emotional pain, people with true suffering that can only be endured with faith. It reassures me that when death comes, there will be no more suffering and no more pain.
Like it or not, in this physical existence, we will all suffer to some degree. Even Jesus suffered, and because he suffered, he understands our plight. But through his suffering, he took away the consequences of sin which would otherwise cause our separation from God, and suffered it for us and for our forgiveness, so that we may have eternal life.
These passages in Revelation are the culmination of the promise of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
It is through faith that we will realize this promise. May we know these scriptures deep down in our souls. May we study and read the Word and grow in faith so that we may withstand the evil one, that we may remain faithful to the one and only true God who loves us and who came “not to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3: 17) Amen.