The Weekend Word
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”
- Who are these 144,000? The OT view of those sealed seen in the listing of the tribes.
- Who are the unnumbered multitudes? The NT view from Acts – the reversal of the Tower of Babel.
14 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.
- When John says “Sir, you know – what he is saying is “heck if I know.”
- Note the present tense of those coming out of the great tribulation.
- What creates the great tribulation? Where Christ is preached causes great tribulation. This is a direct attack on Satan and his minions – and they will fight back.
- We see great and puzzling imagery as John states that you make your clothes white by washing them in red blood.
15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
- Therefore = go back to the previous section.
- The result of being washed in the blood of the lamb.
- Verses 15-17 is a picture of all who are in Christ – the entire church of all time and from all places.
- This is not just those who have died and are in heaven, but also those who have not yet died — all Christians, living and dead.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.
- This language makes you think back to the Israelites wandering in the desert – fed with manna – water from the traveling rock – protection from the weather – clothes and shoes that do not wear out.
- The protection is coming from the one who occupies the tabernacle, the one who spreads his tent over them – the one who sits on the throne (v15).
17 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.”
- The reason for all we see in v16 is that the Lamb is there – he is the center, the Lamb who is slain. He is not only the good shepherd but he is our shepherd and he gave up his life for the sheep (John 10).
- Now for the paradox – who ever heard of a lamb leading the flock? Who ever heard of the lamb being the shepherd?
Closing Note: This could be a note of introduction that could be placed anywhere in the Book of Revelation, but my attention was drawn by the last 3 verses of this chapter (15-17).
- The readers need to be awakened to know and understand their Old Testament. Without a clear understanding, the best you can do is guess what Revelation is about. Many who do not take the time to clothe themselves in the OT tend to look in all the wrong places for meaning. This is why it is so easy in the 21st century to run first to Hal Lindsey or the Left Behind books, rather than spending 2 yrs in deep OT study before ever entering the book.
- Sad to say, but this is why it is so easy for these sensational writers to prey on the uninitiated. This is why in the recent past, books on rapture theology filled our bookstores.
- Revelation is filled with if not all OT quotations, but allusions to the OT writings.
- Language of the OT is front and center in Revelation and the one familiar is able to connect the dots.
- The beginning of Revelation states that this is the revelation of Jesus Christ. All of the OT language and imagery we now know is fulfilled in Christ – this is the heavenly life we now have in Christ.