“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, ‘What are these who are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they?’ And I said unto him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are they who came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb’.”
Even if the road’s rocky and steep right now, press on, Pilgrim—for it’s not much further to the Finish Line and “the joy that awaits you” (Heb. 12:2).
Trials and transformation.
That’s one of the messages in today’s Manna, taken from John’s vision on the isle of Patmos. Although The Revelation is quite difficult to understand as we try to discern what is past and future. . .literal or figurative. . .the fact remains that one day the Lord Jesus shall descend and put an end to all the sin and suffering that’s existed on this earth since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.
Although Old Testament saints had no clearly defined picture of the afterlife, by Jesus’ day this had changed. The “righteous”—i.e., those who’d trusted the Lord like Abraham did (Gal. 3:6; Hab. 2:4)—went to “Paradise” or “Abraham’s Bosom” when they died (Lk. 23:43; Lk. 16:22-23)—while the unrighteous went to hell/hades, the place of suffering.
Yet, Jesus further refined their view by talking about His “Father’s House” and “a Place prepared” (Jn. 14:1-3). And, when He talked of the future Marriage Supper of the Lamb and His Bride (the Church). . .and John described what he saw in The Revelation. . .they further fleshed out the Hope that awaits all those who believe. Hallelujah!!
Now, we should note that the ones described in Rev. 7:9-17—that “great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues, who stood before the Throne and the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands” (v.9)—were Gentile Christians. And, we should also note that they came out of “great tribulation,” which means great suffering, deprivation, trials, etc., that ended up in death.
Yet, these were/will also be the ones whose “robes were made white by the Blood of the Lamb.” Prior to salvation, these robes are black with sin and “filthy rags of wretchedness in the sight of God’s Holiness” (Is. 64:6). But, the moment they believed, their sins—which “were as scarlet, were washed as white as snow. And, their transgressions, which were red like crimson, were made as white as wool” (Is. 1:18). Glory!!
Likewise, those saints, whose robes were stained by their own blood in a martyr’s death, will one day be clothed with Christ’s Perfect Righteousness and His red, Royal Blood will make those robes Lilly-white. Even now we can see those beautiful, gleaming-white robes glistening in the Light of Heaven’s Son. What a glorious sight! And, dear Pilgrim, you, too, one day will stand in this throng of the Redeemed if you, like them, have already been washed in His Blood. So, do not lose hope because of what you see or hear around you in these last days. Instead, fix your eyes upon Jesus (Heb. 12:2) and live in hope of what is yet to be. Amen and amen.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated November 5, 2010