What a glorious day when the church militant becomes the church triumphant
… 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 7:14-17
Last Sunday, many Christian churches around the world observed the Christian festival of All Saints Day. This day is observed in commemoration of the faithfully departed souls – in other words, Christians or saints who have died and now rest with the Lord.
The readings for All Saints Day came from the book of Revelation. “Many people see the book of Revelation, with its many images and symbols, as a book of mystery.”
Notwithstanding this, Revelation, the last book in the Christian Bible, occupies a prominent place in Christian eschatology. Even though many Christians are overwhelmed by the book of Revelation or the apocalypse of John, it was given to the Church as a book of comfort.
In the text, the author, the apostle John, gives us hope as we struggle to cope with our losses in this world of pain and sorrow. He gives us a picture of God’s final victory in Christ.
John’s account of his vision, gives us a comforting picture of Christ and his church. The triumphant saints changed their circumstances. They appear before the throne of God wearing their white robes, which had been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
John paints a picture of full deliverance. “This deliverance is represented by hunger and thirst. These are the desire for food and drink which are necessary for life.”
During the writing of the Revelation, many Christians were oppressed and died of hunger and thirst because they refused to renounce their faith in the Triune God and bow to a false master. Hunger and thirst for them was starvation.
The text assures us of a land where there will be no more hunger. There will be no more thirst. All these desires of life will be satisfied in the great deliverance. Yes, like the saints who have gone before, we shall be at peace with the Lord when we pass from this life through death.
In verse 17 of the text, we get a glimpse of the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne. He is now in a place of supreme power, no longer the humiliated, but the exulted. He is king forever.
The rulers of this world and all other powers will submit to him who sits on the throne. Not only is he king but he is also the shepherd of the victorious saints. Here John gives a reference to the 23 Psalms.
The victorious saints are cared for and protected by the shepherd. He will lead us to springs of living water. In that land there will be no more tears. Yes, here on earth we shed many tears during our life time. We constantly live in brokenness, pain, suffering and disappointment.
But in this land of victory, where the Lamb who was slain rules, there will not be any pain or sorrow. Because in that land, the Lamb of God, will wipe away all tears from our eyes. What a happy day, what a glorious day when the church militant will become the church triumphant. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas, or telephone: 323-4107; E-mail: [email protected], Website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.