Commentary by Walter Albritton


April 29, 2007


The Security of the Lamb Helps Us Face the Perils of Life


Revelation 7


Key Verse:  Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” – Revelation 7:14


News of the martyrdom of two Christian missionaries in Africa last week has not been widely circulated.  Friends in Africa reported the murder of a German missionary and a British missionary. Both were shot and beheaded by radical Muslims who barged into a conference where the missionaries were speaking. The location was not given because of safety issues.

News of such violence raises the question of security. Has the time come when Christians anywhere in the world must live in fear of Islamic radicals whose mission in life is to kill followers of Christ? Will the violence in Iraq soon become a daily reality in America? These are frightening questions.

Yet when we let John the Revelator speak to us our hearts are quickly encouraged. The future was not uncertain to John even though Christians were enduring great persecution in his day. John’s Revelation was brimming with confidence in the power of almighty God. Whatever happens, no matter how great the ordeal, John wants his readers to know that God is in control.

Like my good friend J. Ellsworth Kalas, distinguished author and seminary teacher, I have lived long enough to have some perspective on life. I could not agree more with Kalas’ conclusion as he addressed the security issue at the heart of this lesson. Amused by the idea that he was now at “a ripe old age,” Kalas said:

“So what do I know as a ‘ripe,’ old man? I know that I am profoundly grateful for the security I have found in Jesus Christ and for the foundation it has given me – whatever the times – for faithful living.” Yes!  The only real security we have in this troubled world is the security God has given us in Jesus Christ.

John is sure that sin will bring forth the judgment of God. There will be destruction, disaster, pain and suffering. But God will take care of his people. The symbolic total, 140,000, is a number given by John probably to indicate that all of the 12 Tribes of Israel – all who trusted in the Lamb – have the seal of God’s protection upon them.

Then John sees an even greater multitude, so great no one can count it, of people wearing white robes. The color of their robes symbolizes the purity of their lives. They have endured the great tribulation. Their robes have been cleansed from sin not by Tide but by the blood of the Lamb because nothing can wash our sins away but the precious blood of Jesus!

The global nature of God’s kingdom is obvious. The great multitude will come not from Israel alone but from every tribe and nation of the earth. God’s mighty angels control the winds of the earth, protecting the great multitude of God’s servants from destruction.

 John sees those in white robes holding palm branches in their hands as they praise and worship God. Their worship is not subdued. They are shouting and singing. Angels and elders are shouting Amen! Timid souls who prefer being mesmerized by quiet music would not enjoy this heavenly worship time!

Persecution did not intimidate John and it should not intimidate us. We know not what perils await us in the days and years ahead. However, we need not be afraid. We may indeed suffer but our God reigns. We who trust the Lamb of God for salvation have hope that, by the grace of God, we too shall receive a white robe and join that great multitude in praising God. What a day that will be!

If we will listen intently, as John did, we may hear the angel describe what God is able to do for those who worship the Lamb. Does not hope leap within us to consider that the blessings described by the angel include us also?

“. . . and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

To read these words is to be made aware of the tenderness of our God. No tear falls that he does not see. He knows the pain endured by every heart. Little wonder that the Christ invites us to come to him so that he can comfort us. He is, after all, the Comforter.

John wants us to rejoice in the certain hope that one day we shall be wrapped up in the arms of One who will gently wipe away the last of our tears and heal finally our broken hearts. Yes, in this world of pain there is tribulation, but, praise God, there is another world where faithfulness will be rewarded.

One can only shout Glory! One day the Lamb will be our Shepherd. He will lead us to springs of living water where luscious fruit trees will always be in season. There will be no more sorrow, no more pain, no more loneliness, and no more broken hearts.

We shall never grow weary of worshipping the Lamb who bought us with the price of his own blood. Such incredible joy shall be ours that we shall not be embarrassed to shout with the others, “Amen! Praise and glory be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”

Until then the security of the Lamb is enough to help us with hope face the perils of this life.

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