Revelation
1-8 The Sealed of Israel 9-17 The Great Multitude From the Nations
The Sealed of Israel

1After 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. 2And 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, 3saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 5from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand [were] sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand [were] sealed.

Here actually a parenthesis begins before the seventh seal is opened. In this parenthesis, which consists of chapter 7, you hear what the believers are going through in this period of time of the sixth seal. You will also read how they are being preserved by God during this horrible time. It beautifully illustrates that God remembers mercy in the midst of wrath (Hab 3:22LORD, I have heard the report about You [and] I fear.
O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years,
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.
).

This chapter is as it were an answer to the question that was asked at the end of the previous chapter: ‘Who is able to stand?’ The answer is: A great number of saints, both from Israel (verses 1-81After 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.2And 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,3saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”4And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:5from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand [were] sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,6from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,7from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,8from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand [were] sealed.) and from the nations (verses 9-179After 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;10and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”11And 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,12saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, [be] to our God forever and ever. Amen.”13Then 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?”14I 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.15For 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.16They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;17for 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.”), is able to stand before God and the Lamb. Both groups of believers will go through the great tribulation. They will not die like the martyrs, but they will enter the kingdom of peace alive. The first group will be sealed before they enter the great tribulation, the second group is presented as coming out of the great tribulation.

V11After 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.. That the scene which John gets to see now, follows after what is previously written, is to be derived from the words “after this”. After having seen the Lamb That opens seals, John now sees “four angels”. When the trumpet judgments break loose in chapter 8, the sounding of the trumpets happens by angels (Rev 8:2,62And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.6And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.). Angels are also to be seen here. Angels are used by the Lamb to do His work. That work consists of protecting the saints (Heb 1:1414Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?) and the judgment of the evil in accordance to the purity of heaven, the dwelling place of the angels.

The four angels are “standing at the four corners of the earth”. That means that the whole earth is their work territory (cf. Isa 11:1212And He will lift up a standard for the nations
And assemble the banished ones of Israel,
And will gather the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
). The number ‘four’ that appears three times in this verse speaks of what is general, universal. While they are standing there they are “holding back the four winds of the earth”, so that these winds cannot cause destruction. The sealing of the elected of God happens in silence.

When the four winds will blow, animals as symbols of rulers of worlds will ascend from the sea of nations. You read about that in Daniel 7 (Dan 7:2-32Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.3And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.; cf. Jer 49:3636‘I will bring upon Elam the four winds
From the four ends of heaven,
And will scatter them to all these winds;
And there will be no nation
To which the outcasts of Elam will not go.
). Here they are still being stopped. God determines the time of their coming, but also controls them for the benefit of His own (Psa 105:1515“Do not touch My anointed ones,
And do My prophets no harm.”
). They are being ‘held’, for they try to tear themselves loose. But it is impossible to escape the grip of God Almighty.

V22And 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,. Then John sees “another angel ascending”. He comes from the east, from the side where the sun rises. When the sun rises, a new day lightens up. This speaks of the rising of “the sun of righteousness” (Mal 4:22“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.), which is Christ, Who expels the darkness and causes the dawning of the day. This ‘other angel’ is not an image of Christ. In the next verse he puts himself on the same level with the four angels when he speaks about ‘we’ and ‘our God’.

The angel has “the seal of the living God”. A seal is a mark of ownership. ‘The seal of the living God’ makes clear that he who bears it, belongs to Him and is known by Him (cf. 2Tim 2:1919Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”). Therefore the seal means also safety (cf. Eze 9:44The LORD said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, [even] through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.”) at the same time. It is the seal of the living God, which means that its bearers are untouchable by death.

When God is called 'the living God, then it is also to emphasize the contrast between Him and the dead idols (1Thes 1:99For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,). This is how He is called also in relation with Israel in the days of Joshua and Hezekiah (Jos 3:1010Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite.; 2Kgs 19:4,164Pehaps the LORD you God will hea all the wods of Rabshakeh, whom his maste the king of Assyia has sent to epoach the living God, and will ebuke the wods which the LORD you God has head. Theefoe, offe a paye fo the emnant that is left.’”16Incline You ea, O LORD, and hea; open You eyes, O LORD, and see; and listen to the wods of Sennacheib, which he has sent to epoach the living God.), which is at the beginning (Joshua) and at the end (Hezekiah) of his history in the land. Just like He intervened in the days of Joshua and Hezekiah for the benefit of His people, He will do that also in the time of the great tribulation. In that time He will lead and preserve His people right through the general idolatrous worshipping of the antichrist and the beast.

The angel gives a command on behalf of God to the four angels that have power over the winds. The winds want to harm but they cannot, because they are held by the angels. Only when the angels let them loose they will be able to do their damaging work. That means that it is not the winds that have the power to harm the earth and the sea, but the angels are the ones that have the power. Angels also have power over fire (Rev 14:1818Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.”) and over water (Rev 16:55And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things;). However, they do not act on their own, but they are under the authority of God.

V33saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”. Those that are sealed are “the bond-servants of our God”. They are the elect persons from the twelve tribes of Israel (verse 44And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:) who serve God. Their service seems to consist of the proclamation of His Name, the preaching of the living God, while everything around them has turned his back on Him. They will preach both in Israel and in the whole world and they will continue their service with which the twelve apostles have started when the Lord Jesus sent them out (Mt 10:2323“But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish [going through] the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.; 24:1414This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.). It seems that the result of their preaching is ‘the multitude’ which the second part of this chapter is dealing with.

It does not say what this seal exactly is. Possibly it is the name of God and the Lamb which they get on their forehead (cf. Rev 14:11Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb [was] standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.; 22:44they will see His face, and His name [will be] on their foreheads.; 3:1212He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.). There is a reasonable argument for this approach if you consider that the ungodly have the name of the beast on their forehead (Rev 13:1616And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,; 14:9,119Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,11And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”; 20:44Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I [saw] the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.). They are sealed “on their foreheads”. In that way it is a clearly observable mark to everyone that they have focused their thoughts on God and that God recognizes them as His own (cf. Rev 13:1616And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,). They openly testify of His Name in each part of the world wherever they were scattered. The angel confirms that the sealing is the reason why the winds were being stopped.

V44And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:. The number of the ones who were sealed is made known. It is one hundred and forty-four thousand. It is also mentioned who they are. Those are “the sons of Israel”. It is also said that they are each from a different tribe. From further details it appears that from each tribe the same number of sealed ones comes forth, namely twelve thousand.

The numbers have a symbolic meaning whereby it is not necessarily to be excluded that it should be considered literally. It is possible that in the time of the great tribulation one hundred and forty-four thousand servants of God will go out in Israel and in the whole world to proclaim His Name. But the symbolic meaning is important. The number twelve, which also in the multiples of one hundred and forty-four and twelve thousand stands at the forefront, is in the Bible continually the number of a perfect reign and government.

This number is especially related with Israel. At the beginning of the history of this people are the twelve patriarchs. This nation consists of twelve tribes. The breastplate of the high priest had twelve stones which represented the whole nation. Out of this nation twelve apostles were called. The twelve thousand from each tribe of Israel indicate a worldwide government, for the territory of their service is the world.

V5-85from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand [were] sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,6from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,7from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,8from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand [were] sealed.. In the Bible we find almost thirty lists of names of the sons of Jacob, whereby the rank order of the names is not always the same and sometimes a name is replaced by another one. This list that John gives, is led by Judah. Not Rueben, the firstborn, comes first, but Judah, the royal tribe. That is also understandable, for Judah is the tribe from which the King of kings, Christ, has sprouted (Rev 5:55and one of the elders *said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”; Gen 49:99“Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He couches, he lies down as a lion,
And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?
).

The tribe of Dan is not mentioned. The reason for that is not said. It is possible that it is because Dan has introduced the idolatry in Israel (Jdg 18:30-3130The sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image; and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land.31So they set up for themselves Micah’s graven image which he had made, all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh.). That does not mean that Dan loses his place in the land, for he will have his part of inheritance in the millennial kingdom of peace (Eze 48:22Beside the border of Dan, from the east side to the west side, Asher, one [portion].). The important thing is that God cannot use anyone from his tribe to testify of Him as one of His sealed people when the idolatry is general. Manasseh, the son of Joseph takes the place of Dan.

Now read Revelation 7:1-8 again.

Reflection: How can you show your ‘seal’, meaning: how can you show that you are of the living God?


The Great Multitude From the Nations

9After 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; 10and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11And 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, 12saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, [be] to our God forever and ever. Amen.” 13Then 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?” 14I 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. 15For 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. 16They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17for 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.”

V99After 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;. As it is already said at the beginning of the previous section, this chapter deals with two groups of believers. The group that you paid attention to in the previous portion consists of believers from Israel. The distinction between that group and the group that you now have before you is the multitude from every nation and not from Israel. It is also a group that no one can number, while the one from Israel is numbered. Another difference is that the first group gets the seal before the great tribulation begins, while the second group appears when the great tribulation is over (see verse 1414I 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.).

The fact that the first and second group of believers is presented distinctively, is also a proof that the time of the church is over, for therein is no distinction between Jew and Greek (Gal 3:2828There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.; Col 3:1111[a renewal] in which there is no [distinction between] Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.). Another remarkable fact is that it is not about resurrected believers, but about believers on earth who are alive. There are neither indications that they have died nor that they have glorified bodies. They also stand before the throne on earth and do not sit on the thrones.

They are clothed with “white robes” and have “palm branches in their hands”. The white robes speak of purity which they have gained through the blood of the Lamb (see verse 1414I 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.). That’s how they have been made acceptable to God. The palm branches in the hands are the image of the triumph that they have achieved over all resistance to which they were exposed. The white clothes were given to them, the palm branches are what they have earned.

V1010and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”. They give all honor to God and the Lamb for their salvation, because They have led them through the great tribulation and protected them against all hostility. Due to that they now may enter the full “salvation”, which is the salvation of the millennial kingdom of peace, as living ones. They are aware that they owe everything to God and the Lamb, which they also express.

V11-1211And 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,12saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, [be] to our God forever and ever. Amen.”. The praise of those who were preserved during the great tribulation, finds resonance in heaven with all the angels. Angels were used by God in that time as the executors of His judgments, but they are also the protectors of those who inherit the salvation (Heb 1:1414Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?). They stand “around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures”. The elders have made their praise heard in chapter 5 (Rev 5:9-109And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood [men] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.10“You have made them [to be] a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”) and the four living creatures in chapter 4 (Rev 4:88And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy [is] the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”). Here the angels are doing it, like in chapter 5 (Rev 5:11-1211Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”).

Their praise begins with “amen” and ends with it also. They agree with the praise of the countless multitude. They also confirm their own praise by that, because He has brought everything to a good end. Their praise is sevenfold, like in chapter 5 (Rev 5:1212saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”). Everything they say belongs to God and they ascribe all to Him. All these features or characteristics have become public in His acts, in the fulfillment of His plans. Just allow this sevenfold expression to sink in and say to God at each aspect: ‘It is ascribed to Thee!’

V1313Then 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?”. Probably there has been amazement on John’s face when he watched this scene. He does not know what he should think of it. What kind of people are they and where do they come from? One of the elders noticed it and responds to that. He formulates what John is thinking of. This may help us also to pay attention on someone’s face when we tell them something about God’s Word, which this person may be hearing for the first time.

V1414I 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.. John does not try to hide his ignorance by attempting to formulate an answer. By speaking out the words “my lord, you know” he acknowledges the insight of the elder with due respect. He takes in the place of a pupil. That is the right attitude and mind to receive teaching and to understand that teaching also. In his reply the elder deals first with his last question, which is the question where did they come from. He says that it regards people “who come out of the great tribulation” and who came to faith in that time through the testimony of the ‘brothers of the Lord’ (Mt 25:31-4031“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.32All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;33and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.34“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35For I was hungry, and you gave Me [something] to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me [something] to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’37Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You [something] to drink?38And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?39When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’40The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, [even] the least [of them], you did it to Me.’). He speaks about the great tribulation. The article “the” makes clear that it is not about one or another undetermined tribulation, but about the well-known tribulation (Jer 30:77‘Alas! for that day is great,
There is none like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s distress,
But he will be saved from it.
; Dan 12:11“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands [guard] over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.; cf. Mt 24:2121For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.).

Then the elder answers the question about who they are. He does that by pointing at their robes and what had happened to those robes. They have clothes which arrayed the whole body. Those robes were purified and made white. The means through which it happened is “the blood of the Lamb”. Clothes represent your conduct; it is what people see of you. By your conduct you reveal who you are. The conduct of the unbeliever is sinful. As a believer you are a new creation and your environment will see that by your conduct.

That this multitude has washed its robes in the blood of the Lamb implies an important truth. That truth implies that the blood not only purifies the believers of the church from their sins, but it also implies that the blood is the only way for purification of any sin from any believer of any time. Everyone who is saved is saved on the ground of the shed blood of the Lamb, whether it is regarding the Old Testament believers or the New Testament believers from after the rapture of the church. That the blessings attached to it, are different, is not the issue here.

V1515For 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.. Due to their purification through the blood of the Lamb they are able to appear before the throne and to serve Him. In their white robes they were made suitable to be in His presence. Therefore they are not there by their own achievements, but by grace. That grace also makes a person willing to serve God. Serving God happens in the temple of God on earth, by both Jews (Eze 40-47; Lk 2:3737and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.) and Gentiles (Isa 56:66“Also the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
To minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD,
To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath
And holds fast My covenant;
; Isa 2:22Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
; Zec 14:1616Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.). They will exercise this service without interruption, “day and night” (cf. Lk 2:36-3836And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with [her] husband seven years after her marriage,37and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.38At that very moment she came up and [began] giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.). What a privilege!

In His turn the Lord Jesus will serve them. He is in the first place the Ruler, then the One Whom they worship and then He is their Protector and Benefactor. He will make them enjoy His presence and protection (Isa 4:5-65then the LORD will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy.6There will be a shelter to [give] shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.). By spreading His tabernacle over them they will always be in the secret place of His tabernacle (Psa 27:55For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
). In that tabernacle they sought their refuge in the day of trouble and now they may dwell there forever at rest. That also goes for you. Your relationship with the Lord will not be different from now in the perfection. Only the circumstances are different, He is not. Everything will be perfect and will be uninterruptedly enjoyed.

V1616They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;. After the great tribulation in which they have suffered great shortage (Rev 13:1717and [he provides] that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, [either] the name of the beast or the number of his name.), a time comes in which they will lack nothing. Through the mercy of God an end will come to all hunger, thirst and heat which they have suffered (Isa 49:1010“They will not hunger or thirst,
Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down;
For He who has compassion on them will lead them
And will guide them to springs of water.
).

V1717for 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 change in their situation is the result of the reign of the Lamb. All blessings begin with the throne (verse 1515For 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.) and go back to the throne, because the Lamb is there. He is the Shepherd Who shepherds His sheep. He makes sure that they have no lack of anything. Therefore He “will guide them to the springs of the water of life”. That speaks of an abundance of life that is freely available. In that way an abundant refreshment is available which makes life a great joy.

That refreshment you can now already find in the Word of God which is a fountain full of living water, for it is all about Him, Who is the living water. Up till the last page of this book He invites you to come to Him and drink (Rev 22:1717The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.). That invitation applies to the unconverted man, but is also to be applied to the believer. If you drink from Him, you can have an unspeakable joy in your heart, regardless if you are still in a world full of sorrow (2Cor 6:1010as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.; 1Pet 1:88and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,).

Every hardship has disappeared out of the life of this multitude. These hardships will not be remembered or come to mind anymore (Isa 65:1717“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
). The remembrance of it will be erased by God Himself. He does that as it were with His own hand. He does not do that with a big swing. No, He pays attention to “every tear”. Every tear that is shed by one on His children in His sight, will be known by Him and will be taken away by Him with His own hand (Psa 56:88You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are [they] not in Your book?
). The time of sorrow is over, the ‘time of singing’ has come (Song 2:1212‘The flowers have [already] appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning [the vines],
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
).

Only then the sufferings for the believers will come to an end. This is one of the many indications that a gospel which proclaims ‘Prosperity NOW’, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’, is a false gospel.

Now read Revelation 7:9-17 again.

Reflection: Which blessings are the share of the great multitude and which of those are also yours? Thank God for that.


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