Micah 6:9-7:20; Revelation 7:9-17; Psalms 135:13-21; Proverbs 28:25-26
NT: “After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb! All the angels stood around the throne, and along with the elders and the four living creatures they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God, saying, Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen. Then one of the elders asked me, “Who are these people in white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple. The one seated on the throne will shelter them: They will no longer hunger; they will no longer thirst; the sun will no longer strike them, nor will any scorching heat. For the Lamb who is at the center of the throne will shepherd them; he will guide them to springs of the waters of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:9-17 CSB)
First, John saw 144,000 people on earth who were sealed with the seal of God. Then he looked and saw a vast, innumerable multitude of people in heaven. Those in heaven were not just from Israel, but were from every nation, tribe, people group, and language on the earth. One of the elders explained to John that the multitude was made up of people who were coming out of the great tribulation – people who had been redeemed through faith in Christ and washed by the blood of The Lamb.
One of the key things to see here is that this multitude did not come from some nations, or some people groups, or some languages – but all nations, people groups and languages. Jesus’ commission to go into all the world was not figurative… it was not symbolic – it was literal. The great commission is literal. There will be redeemed worshipers of the Living God and the Lamb from every people on the earth. Another key thing to see is the tense of the word ‘coming.’ This multitude is not made up of people who came out of the tribulation. It is not made up of people who will come out of the tribulation. The multitude is an ever-increasing number of people who continually come out of the tribulation until the time of tribulation ends. From the ascension of Christ into heaven until the great tribulation ends and Christ returns for His bride – as the message of the gospel spreads across the world… as the word of God and the gospel message is translated into every known language and dialect, there will be a continuing number of people across the face of the earth who will put their faith in Christ and become redeemed and cleansed by the blood of The Lamb – until there is a worshiping community in every nation, tribe, people group and language on the earth.
This particular passage has been a key motivating piece of scripture for me in my journey of faith. It was around 25 years ago that I really sensed the Lord calling me to be a worship leader. As I began to study the scriptures to learn what it truly meant to worship the Lord God, I discovered that true worship goes far beyond singing songs during a Sunday morning worship service or attending a worship event hosted by a worship artist of our day. More than singing songs, worship is about living your life fully submitted to the word, will and ways of God while, at the same time, honoring the Lord God in everything you say and do. Jesus said that the Father is looking for true worshippers, and he called us to go into the world and make worshipping disciples of every people group on the face of the earth. When I understood that, the call to worship and the call to missions became one-in-the-same. It then became my passion to be involved in the fulfillment of Revelation 7:9-17. That is a key reason why I just spent two weeks of my life in Kenya, sitting down with members of their worship leading community and teaching them about what true worship is and how they can truly lead the people in their communities to worship God. If you have a passion for worship, then you should have a passion for missions… and if you have a passion for missions, you should have a passion for worship. John Piper once wrote, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t.”
Very few things thrill my heart more than knowing that as we grow closer and closer to the end of this age, the gospel message is spreading across the globe and more and more people from more and more unreached people groups are coming to faith in Christ. They are being washed in the blood of the Lamb… and when they die, they join that innumerable multitude in heaven where Jesus Himself will wipe every tear from their eye as they bow before Him in worship, giving Him all the blessing, glory, honor and thanksgiving He is due. Let it be so, Lord!
Psalms: “Lord, your name endures forever, your reputation, Lord, through all generations. For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. The idols of the nations are of silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear; indeed, there is no breath in their mouths. Those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them. House of Israel, bless the Lord! House of Aaron, bless the Lord! House of Levi, bless the Lord! You who revere the Lord, bless the Lord! Blessed be the Lord from Zion; he dwells in Jerusalem. Hallelujah!” (Psalms 135:13-21 CSB)
There is a phrase that we say from time to time in the church that I attend: you become what you behold – meaning, you end up becoming like who you worship and hold in high regard. The Lord God is the true and living God who is faithful through the generations. His name and His reputation endures through the ages. Those who truly worship Him in faith will become like Him – pure in holiness and living for eternity. Those who choose to worship the gods and idols of this world will become like them: blind, unable to hear and understand the truth, and ultimately lifeless. So what should we do? Worship the Lord and follow Him as a devoted and faith-filled disciple.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You have provided redemption and cleansing from sin through the blood that you willingly shed on the cross. I thank you that by placing my faith in You and Your completed work, I will one day be dressed in white and will be able to stand before Your throne and gladly serve You day and night for eternity. Unto that day, I choose to worship You now. Help me, as I worship You, to take your good news into the world to see worshipping disciples come from every tribe, nation, people and tongue. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.