Before The Throne
Can you believe there was a time when the Jews thought Christianity was only for themselves? In fact, the only way the Jews believed Gentiles could come to the faith was by becoming circumcised, practicing Jews. In Acts 15, Paul makes his case at the Council of Jerusalem, defending the genuineness of the Gentiles he had seen come to faith. At this council, it is decided that the Gentiles do not have to be circumcised to be considered Christ followers; they just have to live a repentant life to the standard Christ has set. As Gentiles, we should all be very thankful for that. What is really crazy is that there are people who claim to follow Christ today who marginalize others from the gospel because of their race, social class, or education level.
In Revelation 7:1–8, we see the Jews taking their place in Heaven; but as we move into Revelation 7:9–17, we see another multitude taking their place in Heaven. The people described in verses 9–17 are made up of believing peoples from every nation, all tribes and all languages. And what are these multitudes doing? They are all standing before the throne, praising God and the Lamb saying, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10). All believers from every race, social class, and education level will fall on their faces before the throne saying, “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12). What a beautiful picture of reconciliation we see before the throne. Before the throne, man is reconciled back to God, being made righteous through the work of Christ. Before the throne, man is reconciled to man, for they no longer live in pride and selfishness, but have been perfected in Christ and live in equal unity with others. This picture of Heaven makes me wonder, How am I making the gospel available to all and contributing to that great multitude before the throne?
As believers leave behind a life of suffering, tribulation, persecution, and trials, they enter Heaven and wash their robes white in the blood of Christ. Standing before the throne, Revelation 7:15–17 paints the picture of a Shepherd taking care of His sheep. Before the throne of God, the sheep serve day and night in His Temple. They are sheltered with His presence. They do not hunger or thirst. The sheep are not left out in the sun to be struck by its heat, for the Shepherd, the Lamb, guides them to springs of living water. God wipes away every tear from their eyes, for they will never again suffer, endure tribulation, be subject to persecution, or go through trials. All believers from all nations, tribes, and languages have been brought into the presence of God. And it is here that they will dwell forever before the throne. Again, I wonder, How am I making the gospel available to all and contributing to that great multitude before the throne?
Note: Colton Taylor serves in our Christian Life Center. He is a student at Beeson Divinity School.
Revelation 7:9-17 (ESV):
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “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 shelter them with his presence. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”