Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”Revelation 7:13-17 NIV
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. 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.
‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center 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.’”
Revelation is filled with terrifying images of punishment and wrath. But occasionally, we see a more positive picture, and this is one of them. John has seen a numberless multitude from every people group, clothed in white and praising God. And one of the 24 elders from chapters 4 & 5 identifies them as those who have come out of the great tribulation, who have washed their robes in the blood of Jesus, making them white. As a result of their faithfulness to God and to the Lamb, they will be in the presence of God forever, serving him, and being cared for by him.
Hold On to Hope
This is such an encouraging picture for those who are facing, sometimes overwhelming, difficulties in this life. Continue to be faithful because better times are coming. As Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Live your life now, looking forward to what is to come. Holding on to the hope we have been given, the hope that is pictured here. The one “who sits on the throne will shelter us with his presence.“