Friday, May 13, 2011

Where We Look in Times of Trouble

This lesson is focused on Revelation Chapter 7, specifically verses 9-17. Chapter 7 comes between the sixth and seventh seals and introduces us to two important companies of believers. The chapter answers the question at the end of chapter 6, "Who is able to stand?" Those described in this chapter will stand in the sense that they will be spared to enter the Millennium with Christ. They are the Saved in the Great Tribulation.
The apostle John is in solitary confinement on a Roman penal island. The Lord Jesus commanded John to come to Him and, therein, he would be afforded visions of future events. John was in the Spirit and was able to record his visions in the Book of Revelations.
In verse 9 of chapter 7, John records that "After this..." meaning he observed four angels restraining the four winds of the earth and the sealing of the servants of God (twelve tribes of Israel except Dan), amounting to 144,000, he was surprised by another vision. A great multitude, instead of the comparatively small number on which the attention had been fixed, but a number which no one could count stood before the throne and before the Lamb. There was no need to attempt to count them for vast numbers of people will be lost, yet there will be a great number who will be saved. They shall come not only of Jewish descent but of all the nations of the earth.
The multitude stood before the throne of God and before the Lamb (Jesus). They shouted praises to both while waving palm branches. The palms are emblems of victory. The throne of God would be inaccessible to sinners were it not for the Lamb. The multitude "...cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb" Rev 7:10. In their song they celebrate their salvation and attribute it to their God and to the Lamb.
The angels stood around the throne of God along with the worshiping twenty-four elders and four, strange winged creatures. The angels continued the spirit of praise by falling prostrate before the throne of God. They worshiped Him "Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen." Rev 7:12 Note that the redemption factor is missing as compared to the multitude. Angels never will receive the joy of salvation.
At this point an elder decided to test John. He asked John if he knew the identity of the multitude. John claimed ignorance and stated "Sir, thou knowest" Rev 7:14. The elder quickly answered John. The great multitude was made up of all those who had come through the storms of tribulation and had washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb (Jesus). They also occupied the heavenly Temple and sang praises to God on a perpetual basis (Rev 7:15). They would never hunger or thirst again, neither would they be subject to the sun's scorching heat (Rev 7:16). We see here the great reversal of roles. We know that shepherds lead sheep; in this case the Lamb of God will be the shepherd for the crowd. He will lead them to fresh water. He will also wipe the tears of sadness from their eyes (Rev 7:17).
The simple idea is, that, amidst the storms of life, it is well to focus on the final prize, when innumerable hosts of the redeemed shall stand before God, and when sorrow shall be no more.
Psalm 23 is a great passage to read, meditate, and place into remembrance when you are looking where to go in times of trouble. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." (Psalm 23) I wonder how many members of the great multitutude had committed Psalm 23 to memory prior to the Tribulation.

Written by Deborah C. Davis

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