Standing before the Lamb

Revelations 7:9-14

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” 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.”

As John’s vision continue, he sees two crowds: one having 144,000 people from every tribe of Israel, the other so vast that no one could count them. We are among those who are part of that second crowd. We stand before the throne and the Lamb. We worship and praise our God “who is seated on the throne and the Lamb.” Angels join us in giving praise to our God. We are those “who have endured the great ordeal and “have washed [our] robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

When we see ourselves in that crowd, when we image ourselves standing before the throne and the Lamb, when we realize that we are among those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, then we can face any ordeal with hope in the power of God who has made us part of that crowd.

This vision gave hope to the early Christians who wondered what would ultimately happen to them. They had seen the destructive power of the Romans and witnesses the martyrdom of many of their fellow believers. John’s vision assures them that destruction and persecutions in this life are not the end of the story. No matter what sufferings they may endure, they will one day stand before the throne and Lamb with countless others who have endured the great ordeal.

This vision can also be a sign of hope for us who face trials and tribulations in this life only if we see ourselves in that crowd.

When I was a child, I failed third grade twice. So, I spent two school years and a summer in third grade. I was told I was a failure, and I began to believe it. Three years later, my family moved to a new neighborhood, and I attended a new school. There, no one knew that I had been a failure. There, I began to be treated like any other kid. There, I began to believe that there was more to me than my past failures. By the end of the year, I was one of the top students in my grade, all because I began to see myself differently.

When we see ourselves not only as sinners, but also as those who are part of that vast crowd in John’s vision, it can change our lives. When we truly believe that we are already redeemed, washed in the blood of the lamb, then we can begin to truly live as the saints God intended us to be. A change in attitude can make a great difference, not only in how we see ourselves, but in how we live because we see ourselves differently.