We need a break. Not the moment to relax and get through the stresses of another busy day but a break from Revelation. The previous chapter is a difficult read. The Lamb opens the seven seals. We read of God’s wrath. The four horsemen riding horses colored white, red, black and pale bring war, famine, plague and death. A vision of the slaughtered martyrs. An earthquake and the sun turning black and the moon blood red. The people of earth from the greatest to the least call on the mountains to fall on them rather than face the wrath of the Lamb. Then there is a break.
The 144000 (representing the church on earth) is sealed. Then we have this reading from Revelation of a multitude from every tribe and nation shouting praise to God and to the Lamb. They have passed through the great tribulation.
Revelation is a calling for the followers of Christ to be faithful and this will not be easy. Jesus stood before Pilate and declared that his Kingdom was not from here. Pilate showed what the kingdoms from here do and that is crucify. Jesus showed what his kingdom does which is very different and still causes ugly debate today.
Jesus fed the hungry. In this country, we throw away nearly 40% of our food but can’t find ways to feed the hungry.
Jesus reached out to the outcast. Bring up gay, lesbian, immigrant, etc. and be prepared for a tough discussion.
Jesus healed the sick. Want to talk about healthcare? The debate will go on and on and on.
Jesus said that his kingdom is not from here. He is so true. To follow Christ, is to walk down the path of a different kingdom. The result can be persecution ranging from mild to martyrdom. This is the tribulation. We return to the multitude before God and the Lamb in Revelation.
The multitude will be before God and his protection will cover over them. Christ, the Lamb, will be a shepherd leading them to living water. There will be no more hunger or thirst or beating sun. The hand of God will wipe away the tears from our eyes.
So we take a break from the judgments of the Lamb against the world. The next chapter will have the judgments resume. For the moment, there is a much needed break. The faithful in heaven and earth will be protected from the judgments. They come to the reign of God where the tears of the struggle will be no more.