THIS WEEK’S FOCUSED SCRIPTURE
Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” 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. 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. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center 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.’” Revelation 7:13-17 (NIV)
When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.” Revelation 8:1-5 (NIV)
THOUGHTS FROM JOEY
I can remember back when I was younger and being terrified of the book of Revelation, due to the fact it talked about the judgement of God upon this world — especially since I lived my life as a rebellious child of this world, and the outcome didn’t look good for people like me. But as I grew older and started leaving rebellious behavior behind and began to gain a personal relationship with Christ, the worldly fear of this book changed from gloom and doom to a sincere desire to help as many people as I could understand that they, too, could have a personal relationship with Christ and not have to live in fear anymore.
In Revelation 7, verses 13-17, it describes beautifully the Heavenly relationship between Christ and His people. We will serve Him constantly, and He will always protect us. All our other needs will be met by Christ, the Lamb, who is also the Shepherd. By admitting our sins and failures, accepting God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and obeying God, we can join this joyful multitude of people who have been saved by God’s wonderful grace. We can have a close and secure relationship, with all the tears of painful oppression, loss, and misunderstanding wiped away. What a wonderful hope these verses offer! When you are suffering or torn apart with sorrow, take comfort in this promise of complete protection and relief.
In Revelation 8, verse 1, there was a silence in Heaven for about half an hour. With all the activity, this pause must have seemed like eternity. During this time, the only activity was the prayers of the saints. We must seek God in times of silence; it is so important for us to be quiet and honor God for His power and might. Take time each day to be silent and exalt God. When we’re silent it shows trust in God. We can trust God that He will give us strength and provide the justice against the oppressors of this world.
I can still remember to this day the unfortunate instances that I experienced in my past, and the anger I felt due to them; I felt God didn’t care or understand my hurt. I remember crying out to God for justice asking Him, “Why?” I remember my mother assuring me that God hears our prayers, and in chapter 8:1-5, we can see that in verse 4 it says, “The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” This shows that judgement, vindication, and revenge are in God’s hands, not ours. No matter how strong the desire is to exact revenge and retaliation on our enemies, our work is to pray to God for His justice.
In reading the book of Revelation, I see and know God’s will must be done — and it will be done; the earth and its inhabitants and Satan must be judged. In making that statement, we have a job to do as well, and it is an urgent one:
Matthew 28:19-20 tells us, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”