In the book of Revelation we are provided with a glimpse of heaven.
It begins at Revelation 7:9. As one reads from verse 9 to 17 it is as if we are window shopping and pressing our noses up against the window at a jeweller’s shop window. We see many beautiful items, but we know that what we see is only a small sample of the contents of the whole store.
So also the Book of Revelation is just a small sample, a very tiny peek, at what heaven is really like.
As you look through the window of these verses of Revelation what is it that impresses you the most?
Is it enormous crowd? These verses say, “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”
That is an impressive scene! Here before the throne of the Lamb we a see a mass of people, untouched by racism, sexism, nationalism, unionism or whatever other “ism” you can think of. Unique indeed! A crowd whose numbers defy calculation. In this crowd are people from every nation, from all tribes and language groups.
Or, as you look through this window into heaven, perhaps you are impressed by the setting of this magnificent scene. Here is this huge crowd of people standing before the throne of God in the presence of the Almighty. But not only are there people there but also angels and other heavenly creatures. Imagine yourself and those whom you love in that crowd, face to face with Christ, the risen, triumphant, living Lamb who has taken away the sin of the world. Every person in that crowd is evidence that Jesus Christ is indeed the totally successful Saviour of all people regardless of race, nation or language. He promised that those who live and believe in him will be saved and never die.
This scene before the throne of God is proof that He has kept His promise. The blood of the Lamb who was sacrificed for all people has cleansed this vast crowd.
These verses say, “They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”
The Lamb, Jesus Christ, died to make them clean and holy. It is only because the Lamb gave His life for those in that crowd that they are able to stand in the presence of the Almighty.
Or as you look through this window into heaven perhaps you are impressed by what is happening in this heavenly scene? Those before the throne are in the presence of the Almighty but they aren’t interested in making a good impression nor are they one bit nervous. They aren’t concerned about the future. They are happily engaged in worship. They cry out in a loud voice; “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
And then, “All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God. The crowd around the throne can do nothing else but join together in a chorus of praise for everything that the Lamb has done for them.”
What a magnificent scene!
But it is even more so when we ask the question as the Apostle John did, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
They are not people who have drifted through the years in spiritual ease, untouched by pain and sorrow. They are people who have gone through a great ordeal that included tension, afflictions, stresses, troubles and the testing which Christians experience because they are followers of the Lamb.
“These are they who have come out of the great tribulation.”
That is how the life of Christians is described as we journey here on earth from the time of the foundation of the church until Christ returns. A great tribulation!
They no longer live in fear or want. No hunger, thirst, no want or poverty, no hurt or sorrow will bother them again. God is there! He is their good Shepherd who will guard and protect them from all danger.
These verses conclude, “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 spread His tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the centre 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.”
When we think of those we love who are no longer with us, we miss them, but when we think that they are part of that enormous crowd, then that comforts us. It’s hard to be sad for them; they are enjoying the place where there is no more tears, and pain, suffering and dying. The only sadness really is for us who aren’t yet there. And for us in our own lives, it makes a difference to know that this is waiting for us some time in the future. This is what our faith looks forward to; it is the ultimate for us.
I don’t know about you but this little glimpse into heaven is amazing. This is a God-given insight into a glorious new reality – planned, prepared, reserved and
guaranteed for us by a merciful Father, a risen, victorious Saviour, and the all accomplishing Spirit. What a wonderful, glorious tomorrow for all those who put their faith in Christ as their Saviour!
It comes down to this – either we believe that with our last breath comes the end of us – the big full stop which shuts the door to anything beyond this life – or that death is a going back to the one who created us. Jesus promised that death does not have to have the last laugh. We believe Him when He said, “I am going to prepare a place for you.”