- Revelation 1 on Jesus as the risen and glorified Lord,
- Rev 2-3 on the Church’s earthly struggles to be purified,
- Rev 4-5 on the heavenly awesomeness of God and Jesus as the only one worthy to open the scroll in heaven, and
- Rev 6 on the wrath of God that will not befall believers as Jesus had taken the wrath on our behalf at the cross.
Rev 7 now gives us a vision of the saints in heaven so that we can live faithfully even in very trying times.
Rev 7:1-7 gives us a picture of the 144,000 Israelites who were sealed from all the 12 tribes of Israel which is reminiscent of the Israelites in battle formation as they travelled from Egypt into the Promised Land. This is a picture of the church militant on earth whereas Rev 7:9-17 is a vision of countless multitude of the saints in white robes from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before Jesus and the throne of God praising and worshipping God. This multitude has chosen to live faithfully and come out of the great tribulation (Rev 7:14). Thus we have the enigma of tribulation and celebration which are two sides of the same coin. God’s ways are higher than our ways.
We thus learn from the first seven verses that God’s people are sealed first before trials, troubles and tribulations come. We know today this is the sealing of the Holy Spirit as we ask Jesus into our lives to be our Lord and Saviour (2 Corinthians 12:2; Ephesians 1:13).
The next eight verses tells us that, like the first century Christians who were persecuted by the Caesar cult (emperor worshippers), heretics and the class whose commercial interests were threatened by the radical lifestyle of Christians, we today should expect to face trials, troubles, temptations and tribulations, even of an extreme nature.
In all of this we need to live faithfully. Here are some thoughts on living faithfully at home, church, school and work. At home we need to at least have family prayer and devotion time. At church, let us at least come to worship each Sunday, tithe, participate in a home group, and serve in a ministry. At school and university, work hard to complete your courses successfully, do not plagiarise, help your friends and introduce them to Jesus. At work, work as if working for Jesus and if you are an employer, treat your employees well.
Let us all practise lifestyle evangelism (living faithfully and joyfully). Hallelujah and God bless!
Pastor Boo Teong