Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The crowd's future (Rev. 7:15-17)

John is informed that the great crowd will be worshipping God for ever in his temple. Where or what is that temple? It is the heavens and new earth in which righteousness will dwell. The redeemed will be priests in the worldwide temple, leading the praise of the restored universe. They will be the nearest to the throne, lifting their voices in the everlasting song that will reverberate throughout the new heavens and new earth for ever.

Moreover, the Lord, who sits on the throne, guarantees their permanent safety and satisfaction. In this life they had known times of deprivation; often life had seemed as if they were travelling through a desert, at least in the spiritual sense. But in heaven it will all be different. Instead of hunger and thirst, there will be satisfying provision; instead of sunburned deserts, there will be heavenly springs.

There is also a sense of continuation between what Jesus had done for them as the good shepherd in this life and what he will do for them as the eternal shepherd. In this life, he had given them times of spiritual refreshment, as described in Psalm 23. He made them lie down in green pastures beside the waters of rest, a picture of occasions when he fed their souls, by various means, on his wonderful acts and promises. But they had to get up and continue their journey through the valley of the shadow of death. The Jesus who fed them on earth will feed them in heaven, with the big difference that it will be a constant supply of heavenly provision.

The third detail to observe is that each of the great crowd will receive personal consolation from God: ‘God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’ Why will they have tears on this great occasion? Who can say? A more important question is, Who can take these tears away? The gentle, tender touch of the heavenly Father will wipe away every tear. This suggests that God will take the time to deal with every tear that his people have had or will have on that day. Samuel Rutherford once commented that ‘It is the sweeter, that no napkin, but his own immediate hand, shall wipe my sinful face.’  None of the Lord’s people there can deal with my tears, any more than I would be able to deal with theirs. We don’t know how he will take them away. But he will.

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