The Kingdom Reigns (2)
I am mesmerized by my reading of Revelation at the end of the year. I must confess that the first time I read the Bible through in a year I spent all of New Year’s Day reading Revelation in order to complete the task. Obviously, you must discern that if I read Revelation on New Year’s Day I actually failed in my attempt to read the Bible through in a year. Oh, well, it was a task I laid out for myself for my own spiritual help and whether it was completed on time or not is immaterial. Now, I have read it through in the year and I am commenting on it as I go. A remarkable thing has happened. This reading and contemplating what I am reading has changed me. I am spiritually changed, I am physically changed, my view of the Scriptures had changed, and the events in my life are changing. To put it succinctly, I am beginning to see the kingdom of God more clearly and understand it more completely.
I am commenting on Revelation 6 and 7 right now. I have discovered something that is very encouraging related to our salvation and the Great Tribulation. For my own benefit and so that you will be easily able to read the quote I am referring to, I will include it here:
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
`Salvation belongs to our God,
Who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb.’
“All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
`Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor
And power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!’
“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. 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.
`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.’”
(Revelation 7: 9 – 17 NIV)
We will see as we continue through Revelation that these two themes will be emphasized over and over. Salvation belongs to God and the Lamb; the plan of salvation is completed. There is nothing more to do. It is finished! We walk in that salvation; the kingdom of God has come to earth. We are witnessing in Revelation the events that have happened in the heavenly or spiritual realm that have made physical reality on the earth. This will be emphasized over and over until we actually see the New Jerusalem come and dwell among men.
The second reality we are seeing emphasized here is that the Great Tribulation is completed and that those dressed in white robes (a multitude that cannot be counted) are the ones who have come out of the Great Tribulation and have white robes because they have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.