Revelation 7:13-17: ‘That morn shall tearless be’.
13 Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes – who are they, and where did they come from?’
14 I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’
And he said, ‘These are they who have come 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 “Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,”
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the centre of the throne
will be their shepherd;
“he will lead them to springs of living water.”
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” NIV
Today, we consider two further blessings of heaven:
- The blessing of complete protection: ‘’…and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them…’’ (15c). I understand that if you are travelling in the desert, and some of the nomadic peoples meet you and invite you into their tent, they regard it as their sacred duty to not only give you hospitality, but also, as part of that, to protect you. To be under the roof of their tent is to be in a protected zone. Think also about these words: ‘’For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them…’’ (17a). The Eastern Shepherd was a leader and a protector. He had both ‘’rod and staff’’ (Psalm 23). The white-robed saints we see in chapter 7 have come through big trouble, but now they are beyond its reach. They are safely home; sheltered in heaven’s harbour. The big waves and ferocious gales are in the past.
- The blessing of an end to all suffering: ‘’The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat…And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’’ (16b, 17b). There is something rather tender about that last phrase, like a mother stooping down to comfort her distressed child. God, the high and Holy One who inhabits eternity, can nonetheless stoop, and come close to the poor and needy. What a gracious God! (Isaiah 57:15).
‘O Joy, that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.’ George Matheson.