Revelations 7:9-10 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” ESV
I remember as a young child, I would be terrified every time the church or my family would talk about the end times or Christ’s return. I would often wake up the night following these conversations with the fear that Christ had come and I had been left behind, or I would simply be afraid of the suffering and tribulation that was talked about. And honestly, Revelations can sound like a horror book, but it depends on how you read it. For I'm certain that the early church—the time when Revelations was written--read it differently. Christians were already living in great persecution, torture, and death. So the book of Revelations would have been a great encouragement to them. That is, the coming hope of Christ’s return will take us out of the suffering and trial, and usher us into future glory. Count me in!
So, ultimately, a lack of suffering, can produce a lack of desire to be rescued.
..with this in consideration, my childhood emotions surrounding this topic make same sense. I was raised with incredible parents, in a house with extra rooms, had an incredible community, and was living my best life—why would I want to leave? I didn’t.
But as Iv’e grown older, Iv’e began to see and experienced more loss, pain, and trial, and as I do, Revelations begins to look less like a horror novel and more like the book of peace and hope that it is.
Revelations 7:9-10 paints a beautiful picture of “togetherness” and how Christ’s rescue reaches for and wide. His salvation is for everyone who calls on His name.
John is not able to identify the multitude or know where they came from, but they are identified as saved survivors from the tribulation. They are now safe in God's presence, and will never again hunger or thirst. The Lamb, will be their shepherd, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
As we are given this picture of future glory, let it be a present hope in our current suffering. May it give us an eagerness for the day of Christ’s return, and may it grant us the desire to usher in the togetherness. That we might be a people that is known for belonging. Ultimately existing for the unity of the body and proclamation of the Gospel. Bringing together every nation, tribe, tongue, denomination, neighbor, and people, as we wait eagerly for the day of Christ’s return.
Don't let the good gifts you have on this earth, keep you from the greatest gift that is to come, and let any suffering that you might face, point you to the future glory ahead!