By Sally Lombardo
“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 addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’” (Revelation 7:11–14)
In Revelation 7, the Apostle John is talking to an elder in his vision, and they are both watching the angels standing around the throne. They are worshipping God. As if he doesn’t know, the elder asks John, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” (7:13). Answering his own question, the elder says, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14).
Jesus is the Lamb of God, and we love to think of him as the gentle and humble man who was authentic in his dependence upon the Father. But this passage shows us a different picture of the Lamb. As the first six seals of judgment are opened in Revelation 1–6, John recounts God’s judgment over the forces of evil. The Lamb has returned to judge the world, and the angels and saints fall on their faces, saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever!” (7:12).
God’s holiness is so glorious that the immediate reaction is to fall on your face in fear and worship. Then the passage reminds the saints of the goodness of the Lamb. “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (7:17)
This promise is a quote from Isaiah 49:10, a prophecy of restoration. In these few verses, the imagery from Psalm 23 and John 10 is brought together. When all is completed, the sheep are promised many good things. Those who are meek (like sheep) will inherit the earth. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled (Matthew 5:5–6). They will not be burned by life, and they will be clothed in the righteousness that Christ bought with his blood. What Jesus taught in his parables, and what the psalmist taught in Psalm 23, is that we can trust the Lamb who is our Shepherd. We can rest in God’s grace, receive his mercy, and follow him. Somehow on earth, we find that hard to do.
Next time you are confronted with a choice between seeking your own glory in life or walking by faith with Jesus, think hard about these promises. Next time you are ashamed of what you have said or done, remember that you are washed in the blood of the Lamb. Think about the eternal promises that come from faith in God.
Reflection: What robes will you be wearing when the Lamb returns? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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