Monday, December 01, 2014, 7:44 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Draw Me Close to You.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 7:9-17 (NASB).
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying,
“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
To Revive God’s Church
In the past week we have studied about the letters to the seven churches, the opening of the book sealed with seven seals, Jesus Christ as the Lion of Judah and the Lamb who was slain for our sins, how he was the only one worthy to open the scrolls (the book) and to break its seals; how he has overcome, and how he has become our Savior, and has made us, his church, to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and that we will reign with him upon the earth.
I am no expert on the book of Revelation or on End Times prophecies. There is a lot I don’t understand, but I am continually learning. Yet, one thing that has often struck me about the sequence of the beginning part of this book, at least, is how the judgments of God are preceded by letters to the churches, some of which were encouraging, yet most of which were warnings, not to the unsaved world, but to the worldly church to repent of her sins and for the people of God to get their hearts right with God or else face divine discipline (judgment). In fact, the whole of Revelation was written to the church. We, the church, are to heed (to listen and obey) the things written in this book.
Yesterday, when I studied chapter 5 concerning the book with its seals and how Jesus Christ was the only one found worthy to open the book and to break its seals, the Lord Jesus gave me a picture of John weeping over a fear that there was no one worthy to open the seals. The Lord then paralleled that over to me weeping over the spiritual condition of today’s modern church, and how much I miss church as God originally designed it to be. The encouragement for John was that Jesus Christ was worthy, for he had overcome. The encouragement to me was that Jesus Christ had overcome, and that he, being worthy, will accomplish his will and his purposes for his church, which is to make them a kingdom and priests to their God, and that they will reign with him on the earth.
There was another aspect of this, though, that I did not feel led to discuss yesterday, but I sense may be relevant to this passage of scripture today. In paralleling my concern for the church with John’s concern that someone be found worthy to open the book and to break its seals, I sensed very much so that there was also a parallel between the actual breaking of the seals and God fulfilling his purpose and his will for his church to bring them back to him. What I mean is, based upon the fact that the letters to the seven churches gave warnings of judgment to the churches, and based upon what the Lord was showing me yesterday, as well as based on the fact these judgments were preceded by the letters to the churches, I believe that the judgments listed for us here in chapter 6 of Revelation are, at least partially, for the purpose to revive God’s church, which then fits with chapter 7.
A Great Multitude
In the beginning of chapter 7, we have a picture of four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding back judgment on the earth. Another angel cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” And, then the bond-servants of God (of Jesus Christ) were sealed.
It was after these things that John looked, and he saw a great multitude which no one could count, from every tribe, nation, peoples and languages. They were standing before the throne and before the Lamb, and they were clothed in white robes. They cry with a loud voice proclaiming the salvation of our God and of the Lamb. They cry (crying; not cried), meaning this is active and ongoing, I believe.
Although this may be speaking specifically of the saints of God who will come through the Great Tribulation at the end of time just prior to our Lord’s return, I believe there is application for all of us in the here and now, too. Personally, I believe this great multitude may represent many of those believers in Christ still on this earth, as well as it may represent many (or all) of those who have left this earth and who are presently with God in heaven. What brought me to that conclusion? For one, we as believers in Jesus Christ, via Jesus’ blood shed for us on the cross for our redemption, have complete access to the throne of God, and we can come before the throne of God any time day or night. So, we also stand before the throne of God, even while still on this earth.
Another reason I believe this is because, if we have truly died with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self, we have been transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and we have been given new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness,” then we have been made clean by the blood of the Lamb, and the righteousness of Jesus Christ has now been credited to our account. As well, we should be ones crying out and declaring the salvation of God and of the Lamb to the world around us.
As well, if we are truly in Christ, by God’s grace, through faith, and we have washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, we should not only be consistently before the throne of God, but we should also be serving our Lord day and night, and he who sits on the throne, will cover us with his divine protection, care, blessings, and provisions. We will no longer hunger and thirst after what is of this world to satisfy the deep longings of our souls, for Jesus Christ is our shepherd, and he supplies all that we need. He will guide us daily to himself, to his word, to listen to him and to obey him, and to trust in his love, care, and sovereignty over our lives. And, he will, even in this life, wipe away the tears from our eyes, as he encourages us daily and strengthens us in our faith, and as he assures us of his power, his mercy, his love, and his watchful care over every aspect of our lives.
In White Robes
Another aspect I see here in relation to those who have come out of the great tribulation and who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, is in relation to the revival of God’s church – the church which is presently living in idolatry, spiritual adultery and/or in utter complacency with regard to the things of God, and with regard to walking in his holiness and righteousness. I believe that God will judge his wayward people in order to bring them back to him, that he will revive their hearts, renew their faith, and that he will restore the church to what he intended her to be all along.
Parallel this concept over to Revelation 19:7-8:
“’Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.’ It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
In context, Babylon the Great had just fallen. She represents all the evil that is on the face of this earth. Although I believe she represents a specific physical place on this earth, I also see much Biblical support that she, as well, represents this world’s system, even or most especially within the church, with all its corruption and evil practices, which is why the church here (See: Rev. 18) is told to come out of her, so that we will not participate in any of her sins and receive her plagues, “for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.”
If she represents the spiritually adulterous church, which has given herself over to the world’s system, and God has just judged her, then it makes sense that through judgment, and through repentance, the bride of Christ has made herself ready for the marriage of the Lamb. Then, she was given to her to clothe herself in the righteous acts of the saints, i.e. now she is dressed in white and ready to meet her husband.
So, although it is true that via faith in Jesus Christ we have Christ’s righteousness credited to our accounts, and thus we are dressed in white, there seems to be taught in scripture that not only are we holy because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, but daily we are to be holy in our actions (the righteous acts of the saints), and that this is the white robes talked about here. I believe with all my heart that God has been calling out to his worldly church for many years to repent of her sins, so that he can revive her heart, but that the majority of his church, which is presently living in idolatry and spiritual adultery, is not listening. He has warned of judgment, and I believe judgment will be the means of reviving the church, so that she will make herself ready to meet her Lord. Don’t wait!
Draw Me Close To You / Donnie McClurkin
Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I’m Your friend
You are my desire
And no one else will do
‘Cause nothing else can take Your place
To feel the warmth of Your embrace…