1 November 2007Revelation 7:9-17
"Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God forever and ever." (v.12)
The book of Revelation is, as its name suggests, an
'apocalyptic' text - one that reveals hidden meanings. It describes
a series of visions of the 'end-time', when the great battle
between good and evil would be resolved. It was written to offer
encouragement at a time when Christians were being persecuted -
suffering 'the great ordeal' (v.14).
This is a day to use your imagination as you read, to revel in the pictures that flow into your mind and let the experience wash over you. The whole of history seems to be there in the mind's eye. Destruction, suffering, salvation and deliverance all happen together and apart. A multitude in time and space, the saints, robed in white, are those who have known trouble and persecution, but have found salvation (victory) and now offer a chorus of praise to God.
The final message of this passage is derived heavily from the Old Testament, and is one of comfort and confidence. John especially draws upon the prophetic literature for his imagery. For example
"They shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them." (Isaiah 49:10)
The image of the kingdom here is once more of justice, peace and joy with Christ at the centre.
On this All Saints Day you may like to take time out to remember those people who have been an important part of your life's journey and give thanks.
What are the signs of God's kingdom of justice in the world today?
In what way are you a part of that, as one of his 'saints' today?