In Revelation 7, we are standing in the throne room of heaven. John sees an innumerable multitude of people from every tongue and nation, standing gathered to worship God. The group consists of both Jews (Rev 7:5-8) and gentiles (Rev. 7:9) and they are joined by angels, the elders and the four living creatures who are in unity in adoration before God, worshipping Him.
What we see is the ‘finished product’ of the great commission we are all responsible for and part of. We see a spectacular multi-ethnic view of salvation standing before the Lamb of God. The people represented have endured great trials and tribulations (verses 14 and 16) and their faith is a testimony to their love for God. It is also a testimony that nothing could snatch them away from His love (John 10:29) as they are present in His throne room, standing in His presence. They have been delivered from their trials as “God will wipe every tear from their eye” (verse 16) and they are clothed in white robes, symbolising both salvation and victory.
The use of palm branches suggests a celebration is taking place and reminds us of the time when Jesus entered Jerusalem (John 12:13 and Matthew 21:9). “Hosanna! “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” A great triumph!
Revelation is a view into the future. The trials mentioned in Revelation 7 are a stark reminder of the inequities, discrimination, pride, prejudices and divisions which exist in our communities and churches today. It implies that those of us who follow Christ, still have a lot to do with our hands and feet. If we see that God’s heart is to reach the whole world, then our hearts need to do the very same. There is no differentiation based on nation, colour, gender, age or societal status before God. Our work should reflect the saving grace of God so that all will be saved, irrespective of the nature or focus of our work or who we are. Do we introduce Christ and His salvation through our daily work in HIV to the magnitudes, or are we just simply doing a job, forgetting the calling?
A single act of kindness, restoration of dignity or empowerment in knowledge, can also be counted as ‘done unto Christ‘ (Matt 24: 35). In 1 Corinthians 13 we are reminded to continue to share His tangible love, in everything we do.
During the Easter Weekend I met a missionary lady, who works alone in a community in Lesotho. She loves God so much and has so much love in her, that it just pours straight out and touches everyone around her. Drawing one, intentively closer to Christ! Her love and compassion has resulted in more and more of the community coming forward to be tested for HIV. For me this was an example of living God’s love in a community affected by HIV.
Draw closer to God, so you can be filled with His love, grace and kindness once again to share His hope, so people will be saved, spiritually healed and their relationship with God restored.
To think about: If I consider the magnitudes described in Revelation 7, is there anyone or group of people that I knowingly or unknowingly exclude in my attitudes and thoughts?
Written by: Elzaan de Villiers, Co-Founder, Building Hope Foundation, Churches, Channel of Hope Facilitator.