Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming 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.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
– Revelation 7:13-17 ESV
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 the 24 elders from chapters 4 & 5 identify 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.
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.