Summary: What is your highest goal in life? If it’s high enough, the Bible teaches it will require your death. This is true of many goals.
Revelation 7 – a Heavenly Worship Service
9. after these things I looked, and saw a huge crowd which no one could number, from every ethnicity, and tribe, and people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, all clothed in white, and palm branches in their hands
10. and crying with a great voice, saying, “Salvation to our God, the one sitting on the throne, and to the lamb!”
11. and all the angels stood round the throne, and the elders, and the four Living Ones, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying
12. “Amen! Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power and strength to our God forever and ever! Amen!
13. and one of the elders answered, saying to me, “who are these people clothed in white, and where have they come from?”
14. and I said to him, “my Lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are those coming out of the Great Tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15. because of this they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple; and the One sitting on the throne will dwell (tent/tabernacle) among them.
16. they will not hunger any more, nor will they thirst, nor shall the sun fall on them at all, nor the burning heat
17. for the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them, and He will lead them to the living fountains of water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
v 9 After these things is significant – see 1:19, 4:1 & 7:1 The multitude is explained in v 14. The white robes are explained in 3:5-it’s righteousness, bought by the blood of Jesus. Palms were used in the feast of Tabernacles as homes for one week, to symbolize the time of the wandering in the wilderness (Lev 23:39-40, 1 Kings 29-35; Ps 92:12; Eze 40:16). Palms were also used to welcome Jesus as king in John 12:13.
v. 10 Salvation to our God & the Lamb may seem like a strange accolade for us humans to give to God. More on this below.
v. 11 the hosts of heaven seem to spend a lot of time falling on their faces before the LORD. And the image in your mind should not be of a bunch of people facing one direction in a room with a throne at the end. Instead, the throne is at the center of everything, and everyone surrounds the throne, more a circle than a cuboid.
v. 12 Amen! This is the same word translated “truly” in the Gospel of John whenever Jesus said “truly, truly I say to you . . .” Amen, amen, I say to you, Jesus said. It is an old Hebrew root meaning steady, reliable, faithful, true. When you say “Amen!” you are saying “Truly!” or “Reliable” or “faithful!” or even “I think that too!”
v. 13-14 This is difficult for many people to process. If the Church is taken out of the earth before the Great Tribulation, where does this great multitude come from? If Billy Graham is right, and the 144,000 sealed Jews are “Super Evangelists” maybe there is a revival during the tribulation like none in history. But there is a price to be paid for being a believer during the Great Tribulation. You know what has to happen in order for you to go to heaven? You have to die. True believers in the Great Tribulation will die for their faith in Jesus.
v. 15 this reward, to serve Him day & night in the temple is similar to those promised in the messages to the Churches Revelation 2-3, to those who overcome, a promise of eternal intimacy with God.
v. 16 the hunger and thirst and sunstroke may all be elements of the suffering the Tribulation Saints must endure.
v 17 Notice the paradox. The Lamb is feeding and leading the multitude. See Jer 2:13; 17:3 for the fountain.
The Bad News & the Good News
The good news is there is a huge crowd no one could number in heaven. The bad news is they all go through the Great Tribulation, and, they have to die.
What is your highest goal in life? If it’s high enough, the Bible teaches it will require your death. This is true of many goals. If you want to compete in the Olympics, you will likely require roughly 5-6 hours of training a day for several years. You’ll have to die to whatever else you might have used that time for (like checking text messages and watching programs and such). If your goal is to rise up the corporate ladder, you will likely have to sacrifice time with your family, and church in order to show your full commitment to the company. If your goal is political service, you’ll likely have to give up some of your ideals along the path to power. If this is true of earthly goals it is surely true of better, heavenly goals. Jesus said “truly, truly I tell you, unless a seed of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces many seeds” John 12:24. The Tribulation Saints could be among those described in Hebrews 11