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“Who Are These” – Week 5 / January 25
“Then one of the elders answered, saying to me,
“Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where
did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you
John, escorted by one of the angelic elders, sees a vast multitude of people, of every tribe and tongue, standing before the throne of God. He is thus overcome with awe at this spectacle and subsequently hears the “elder” escorting him ask the question, “Who are these?” The angelic answer to this question is worthy of our thoughtful meditation.
1. They are a suffering people (V14b)
With John, we are told that they have come out of the “Great Tribulation.” The immediate lesson we learn is this, that to be a follower of Jesus does not mean that one is freed from persecution and difficulty. Like their Lord they are a people of sorrows and so we are reminded that life is not easy at the best of times but especially if one elects to reject the values of the world and follow Jesus. This is an uncomfortable truth for many Christians to swallow today but it is vital that we learn it.
2. They are a cleansed people (v14c)
It is important to notice that this fact, in context, is set before us after the testimony to their suffering in the great tribulation. The reason is clear; for these Christians the trials of life and those associated with following Jesus, only strengthened their appropriation of Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf. Their robes here are a picture of their lives which are dirty and thoroughly polluted by ingrained sin. Only the blood of Jesus, and nothing else, can wash them clean. This is true for everyone; only Jesus can save us and Jesus’, once for all spilt blood, makes us “accepted in the beloved.”
We should meditate on these things carefully especially as we see so many of our brethren in the world facing great tribulation. So, the question we should ask is, “Who am I?
We are then told that the heavenly response to the faithfulness of Jesus’ people will be:
1.They will dwell before the throne of God. (V15a)That is, they will reign with God in Christ.
2. They will serve the God of the universe day and night forever in His temple. (V15b) That is, they will enjoy God’s powerful presence forever.
3. They will forever be freed from life’s pains, sorrows and difficulties. (V16) That is, they will know God’s perfection……and,
4. They will forever walk and talk with Jesus and have within them a fountain of everlasting joy. (V17) That is, they will experience God’s supernatural life forever.
Sadly, a deviant teaching in the church today has assured believers that they are only destined for faith, wealth, well being and prosperity. As for the notion of “great tribulation”, they have been assured that they will not be around on earth for this. The Bible warns that a great falling away or apostasy is coming and I have no doubt that one of the reasons for this is, false teaching on what it means to truly be a Christian and that’s why the question, “Who are these?” is so important for all of us.
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries