The Great Assurance
Revelation 6 ended with this sobering question; “For the great day of their wrath has come, who can stand?” Chapter 7 is God’s answer.
A Seal and a Robe
God protects those who belong to Him from the wrath that is to come. God protected Noah and his family during the flood, Lot from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the people of Israel from the death angel in the Passover. All were marked, set apart, as people belonging to the One true God. These events foreshadowed the wrath that will come to those who have rejected Jesus Christ.
To protect those who belong to Him, God has identified them with a seal and a robe. The seal is God’s Spirit. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit…” (Ephesians 1:13). The robe is Christ’s righteousness given to those who have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:22).
This salvation is God’s doing by grace through faith. The people of God will praise Jesus eternally for shedding His blood once and for all.
Is this a literal number, or does it represent the full number of God’s people? Theologians will debate this until Christ returns. The pattern set forth in verses 4-11 follows the pattern of Romans 1:16 – salvation first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. God’s salvation is for both Jew and Gentile. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. In this chapter, we see the people of God, made up of both Jews and Gentiles, praising the Lord.
The Great Tribulation
One of the twenty-four elders asked John about the great multitude of people dressed in white. John did not know. The elder identified them as the ones who came out of “the great tribulation.” Does this phrase identify a specific period of time, or is it a reference to the great affliction and trouble all saints endure? Paul wrote this to the church at Thessaloniki, “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them” (1 Thessalonians 3:2-3). “Trials” in this passage is the same Greek word translated “tribulation” in Revelation 7:14.
It is important to note this: the great day of wrath is something different than the great tribulation. The day of wrath is God’s judgment on those who reject Jesus Christ. Tribulation refers to pressures and afflictions caused by sin and evil. In this sense, all believers have come out of tribulation, having washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation for You
Think back on the day you trusted Jesus Christ. That was the day you were sealed with the Holy Spirit and were given the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
In light of this truth, will you ever suffer the wrath of God?
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