As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God in whatever way that may take place.
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14 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.
15 For this reason they are before the throne of God,
and worship him day and night within his temple,
and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
16 They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
the sun will not strike them,
nor any scorching heat;
17 for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
We have been doing a study at my church on the Book of Revelation and this passage deals with the 144,000. If you believe it is the people with an Israeli bloodline or if you view this as symbolic for the church, either way it is dealing with Martyrs. Martyrs are an often overlooked group. We don’t experience real persecution in this country compared to people around the world in places like China, the Middle East, India, and Africa. In these places you can be jailed, beaten, and many other horrific things, even executed for having any connection to Christ. Revelation deals with martyrs in the previous chapter not dealing with the 144,000. We read this, NRS Revelation 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; 10 they cried out with a loud voice, “Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” As Christians, we are not to be blind and ambivalent to the cries of our brothers and sisters in foreign countries. We need to pray for them and support them. We do face persecution in the form of peer pressure in this country, but when we put that in perspective with those in countries harsh to the Christian faith, we have it really good. We realize how blessed we are and we as American Christians as Cumberland Presbyterians ought to cherish and read our Bibles and cherish our ability to meet freely.
Heavenly LORD, help us to appreciate what we have, help us to take advantage of the freedoms we have for your kingdom, and help us to be brave and share the hope we have in you with others. In Christ’s name, we pray, Amen.
Go with God!