After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 ‘Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.’ 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
The great multitude in white robes
9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
‘Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.’
11 All the angels were standing round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, 12 saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honour
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
13 Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes – who are they, and where did they come from?’
14 I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’
And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,
‘they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
16 “Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,”
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the centre 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.”
Clothed in white robes. These simple words are filled with so much meaning. What a wonder to be perfectly right before God, to be completely without sin, to be acceptable in God’s presence. Jesus has done everything needed so that we can wear the white robes.
The good news of the gospel shouts out all through scripture reminding us of God’s love. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, the perfect Lamb and the only one who could bring about our salvation. As a result he is truly worthy of our praise. I often wonder why it seems that in heaven we will continually be offering praise to Jesus – when we look at what He has done for us, the answer is clear. Jesus should be central in our thoughts, our thanksgiving and our worship. Let us keep celebrating Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.
Prayer: O Holy God, what a wonderful picture this must be of multitudes of Your chosen people contently serving and worshiping You. People from all ages, tribes and tongues in numbers too numerous to count. What a privilege it is to know as Christians that we will be part of Your heavenly community. We so often look at the world around us, rather than look up to You and consider our wondrous future. Help us to be like Paul who was so focused on the goal – to be glorified and to live in Your presence.
We pray that we will rejoice daily in the promise of an eternity with You. We get so bogged down in our present circumstances that we don’t really appreciate what our future will be like. Help us to live here and now realising that our true citizenship is in heaven. Help us too, to be loving and encouraging to fellow Christians; our true eternal family. Lord, we pray that You will prepare us for heaven and as a result give witness to Jesus, drawing others to You. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.