Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 7:01 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Unless You Are Born Again.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 7 (Select vv. NASB).
The Bond-Servants of God (vv. 1-4)
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he 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 I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel…
What is a bond-servant? A bond-servant is “someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own. Ironically, 1401 /doúlos (‘bond-slave’) is used with the highest dignity in the NT – namely, of believers who willingly live under Christ’s authority as His devoted followers” (http://biblehub.com/greek/1401.htm).
When we believe (believing) in Jesus Christ as Lord, and as Savior of our lives, we are sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14). Yet, even before the world was created, God chose us in him, that we should be holy and blameless before him (Eph. 1:3-4). So, there are people alive today who have not yet believed in Jesus Christ, yet they were chosen by God to be his bond-slaves even before the creation of the world. A term used for this is “the elect.” And, they will receive Christ one day. At least, this is my understanding.
This seal (guarantee) of God for the salvation of the elect must be in place before the judgments of God can come. The elect are to be most certainly spiritually protected during this time of judgment, i.e. so that they are not under the condemnation of God along with the world with regard to their eternal destiny. Some people believe God will also protect them from the tribulations to come upon the earth. He may. I don’t know that for sure. But, from what I read in scripture, we are destined for tribulation, trials, and persecution, so there is no guarantee that we won’t have to go through a time of tribulation, because many, many Christians already have, and there is evidence here that the saints of God will be persecuted during this time.
A Great Multitude (vv. 9-12)
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.”
I believe that scripture teaches that Christians will go through the time of tribulation to come on the earth, which has already come in so many respects. I mean, if you live in the Middle East, and everywhere you go there is war, and Christians are being hunted down and killed for their faith in Christ, and foreign powers (the USA, for one) are coming into your country confiscating property, killing innocents, pillaging, and taking control, you are going to definitely feel as though you are going through what Revelation prophesies is going to take place in these last days. The things described in Revelation 13 have been going on for a long time, so maybe the 7 years are not 7 literal years. It is just American Christians, I think, who believe they will be raptured and that they won’t have to suffer such persecution.
I also believe that during this time of tribulation that many people will come to faith in Jesus Christ as the gospel goes forth throughout the earth. And, I believe, as God judges his adulterous and complacent church, that many will repent of their sins and will be restored to fellowship with God before the time of the end. Yet, they will go through much tribulation and persecution, and many will be martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ and for their testimonies for the gospel of our salvation.
Thus, we have this great multitude of people clothed in white robes who have come out of the great tribulation, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (v. 14). And, maybe this includes all tribulation, i.e. all the saints of God who have overcome persecution, hatred, physical and/or emotional abuse, and false accusations, etc. for the sake of the gospel, and for the sake of their faith in Jesus Christ. These are not just those who are now serving God in heaven, but who now serve him faithfully on this earth, even if it is at the very last minute, but who will one day be in heaven (Beulah Land), and who proclaim the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. One day they will be among that throng in heaven. Amen!
They proclaim the salvation of the Lord and give him praise because he rescued them from their sins and from the dominion of Satan over their lives so that they have heaven now as their eternal destiny. They tell of how Jesus died, not just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we leave this earth, but that he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. They proclaim the praises of him who called them out of darkness into his wonderful light, and for delivering them out of Satan’s clutches so that they can serve their Lord and follow the Lamb wherever he goes. And, the words they proclaim do not return empty. They will have their full effect in people’s lives as God has planned for the salvation of human souls.
Before the Throne (vv. 13-17)
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.”
This morning, before I woke up, the Lord gave me a dream about me arriving at Beulah Beach Camp Grounds (on Lake Erie) in Ohio. I entered from the right, and then I got in a long line, at the end, of a large crowd of people who were all facing to the right. I was feeling that I wanted to get closer to my Lord. I remember this camp from when I was a youth. The back of the line would have been near to the front of the building where the church services were held, and the front of the line would have been near to being in front of the dining hall. I believe the camp represents heaven, and the dining hall symbolizes the wedding supper of the Lamb, and the people in line are all the saints of God who have gone to heaven before us who are waiting until we all show up and then we will have that wedding supper.
Then, I looked up the word “Beulah.” It literally means “Thou art married.” And, it is often considered a symbol of our heavenly dwelling with our husband, Jesus Christ. We are his bride, and he is our husband. The word is found in Isaiah 62:4, which says, “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.”
When we go through the various trials and tribulations and persecutions we go through on this earth, we will be forsaken by others, even by those whose responsibility it is to love and to protect us. Many of these persecutors do not know Jesus as their Savior, though some do. They were never turned from darkness to light. They were never born again, and so they still walk in the darkness, largely because that is what they love, and so they will not come into the light. So, they are antichrist, and as such, they hate and persecute those who truly have been born of the Spirit of God.
So, this is an encouragement to us who are born again of the Spirit of God and who are among the abused, persecuted and abandoned of the world. Jesus has not forsaken us. He is our husband – our protector, our shepherd, our Lord. And one day we will get to be with him and we will no longer be forsaken and mistreated, for we will be with our Lord, and he will wipe every tear from our eyes, because he delights in us. Amen! This is our hope!
Unless You Are Born Again
An Original Work / November 3, 2013
Based off John 3:1-21
Nicodemus came to Jesus.
He acknowledged God was with Him.
Jesus said, “You can’t see heaven
Unless you are born again.”
“How can a man be born when he’s old?
Can he enter into his mother’s womb?”
Jesus answered, “Flesh is flesh,
So of the Spirit, you must be.”
Jesus said to Nicodemus,
“You’re a teacher, and yet you don’t
Understand of what I tell you,
Because you will not believe.
“For God so loved the world that He gave
His one and His only Son for your sin.
So, whoever believes in Him
Has eternal life in heav’n.
“Light has come into the world,
But human beings love the darkness,
Because their deeds are so evil,
So in truth, they stand condemned.
“Everyone who practices evil
Fears that the Light will expose his sin.
Yet, whoever lives his life by the Light
Does so through his God.”