Saturday, October 29, 2005

Revelation 7:4-17

The best-seller lists of the past few years have been well sprinkled with books that purport to "crack the code" on one or another ancient mystery, and the Revelation has been subject of such books long before the current fashion. There was a time in my life when I might have been more interested in clues and esoterica, but that is not my interest now.

What captivates me now in this passage is this awe-inspring scene where a vast multitude of people (I should say, "peoples") from every nation are praising God in an all-filling chorus:

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen!

If one is counting, there is that number 7 again, 7 attributes of our God that the peoples, that white-robed incalculably numerous choir, are praising in their hymn day and night. They have excellent reasons for their praise: they have been through the great ordeal (or Tribulation). And now the Lamb, the Lamb whose blood was shed for them, so that by his death they are made pure and spotless, has become their Shepherd and their source of life. Nothing can harm them now. And, in the most comforting promise that has ever been made,

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

John on Patmos had seen a lifetime of pain and had survived the best efforts of those who wanted to silence him forever. Thank God that he lived to see this vision and record it for the millennia of those who have suffered and still will suffer for the Good News of the Kingdom.

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