“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!””
“Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?” 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””.
Revelation 7:9-10,13-14 NLT
Again the scene changes before John in his vision. He now becomes aware of a “vast crowd, too great to count”. They were wearing white robes and held palm branches, and their focus was on God, sitting on His throne, and on His Son Jesus. A “great roar” rose from them, as they shouted out the phrase, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”
Immediately, our thoughts take us back to the last time a crowd shouted out praises to Jesus. Do we remember when Jesus was riding a donkey into Jerusalem and the people were crying out “Hallelujah”? We read in John 12:13, the people “took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!”
But back to John’s vision. Who were this “vast crowd”? One of the twenty four elders must have had the same thought because he asked John the question, “Who are these who are clothed in white?” John was unable to comment and instead respectfully referred the question back to the elder, who then supplied the answer. The “vast crowd”, too numerous to count, consisted of all the Christians who had died in this time of Tribulation. And in the vision, John recorded, “They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white”. What can this be otherwise than a graphic description about how each of the Christians had gained righteousness and holiness through their acceptance of Jesus’ death on Calvary, crucified on a cross so that His righteousness would be traded for their sin. What a wonderful Saviour!
A thought occurred to me this morning. Are we pilgrims prepared to shout out the declaration John heard in Heaven? Or would we become all embarrassed and instead whisper it under our breath. Do we belt out the songs of praise in our churches and fellowships, or do we mutter under our breaths, afraid that someone might hear us? Are we a people who are openly and honestly prepared to state our faith before all men or do we hide our lights under a bushel, as the phrase goes? Do our workmates, neighbours or families know that we belong to God? Or would they have doubts? Hmmm…
One day, we hope to be numbered with the inhabitants of Heaven, shouting out our praises to our wonderful Heavenly Father and to His Son, Jesus. We need to get into practice here on earth – there will be no passengers in that mighty crowd, or any other gathering of God’s children in Heaven. We will find ourselves in an atmosphere of uninhibited praise and worship, straining every part of our new bodies and souls to give God all the glory.
Dear God. We thank You for all that You have done for us. How can we not praise and worship You? Please help us to cast aside our inhibitions and instead grant You all the praises, all the honour, all that You deserve. Amen.