As I mentioned yesterday, it is difficult to comment on Revelation in this short style. Throughout this whole year, I’ve been trying to pick up on something that sticks out to me or something that I feel needs to be rethought in our time. Call it cherry picking if you like. Unfortunately, that’s what I feel like I’m doing in Revelation – cherry picking. And that is exactly what you should never do! It’s frustrating.
To that end, I have something for you to consider.
“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters—their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them.” (Revelation 6:9–11, NLT)
How many ways can one be martyred? I don’t mean hanging, shooting, burning, beheading, etc. I mean symbolically? Metaphorically? The Christian life is a life of martyrdom! Paul said he was crucified with Christ. Jesus said he who loses his life for my sake will find it!
Deitrich Bonhoeffer once said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
Notice something else from the next chapter of Revelation.
“And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white. “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”” (Revelation 7:14–17, NLT)
Those in heavenly glory are the ones who died. Their robes are washed in blood – yet white. They were hungry and thirsty, yet they shall never be that way again. They were tortured by the elements, though now they rest in peace. You can’t have tears wiped away if are not shedding tears now.
I think we, especially in the USA, are spoiled for our ease of life, lack of suffering, pain, and struggle. We often don’t sense the nearness of death, loss, and scarcity. We tend to keep death and scarcity at arm’s length and turn our heads while we focus on more pleasurable things. Sadly, many people search out for Jesus to only make their lives better here and now. I wonder, what will God wipe from their eyes?
Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on us all.