Revelation Episode 7

Beth's Notes

Rescue The Perishing – Fanny Crosby
“Fanny Crosby, the blind hymnist, was asked to speak to a group of blue collar workers in Cincinnati.  Nearing the end of her speech, she had an overwhelming sense that “some mother’s boy” before her “must be rescued that night or not at all.” She mentioned this to the crowd, pleading, “If there is a dear boy here tonight who has perchance wandered away from his mother’s home and his mother’s teaching, would he please come to me at the close of the service?” Afterward a young man of about eighteen approached her. “Did you mean me?’ he asked. “I promised my mother to meet her in heaven, but the way I have been living, I don’t think that will be possible now.” Fanny had the joy of leading him to Christ. Returning to her room that night, all she could think about was the theme “rescue the perishing” and when she retired that night she had written the complete hymn. Many years later, Fanny was speaking in Massachusetts and she recounted the story behind “Rescue the Perishing.” After the service, a man approached her, his voice quivering.  “Miss Crosby,” he said, “I was the boy who told you more than thirty-five years ago that I had wandered from my mother’s God. That evening you spoke, I sought and found peace, and I have tried to live a consistent Christian life ever since. If we never meet again on earth, we will meet in heaven.  He turned and left, unable to say another word. But Fanny later described it as one of the most gratifying experiences of her life.” Robert Morgan
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15 (NIV)

1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. 5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000, 6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, 7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000. 9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”  11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen!  Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever.  Amen!” 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 spread his tent over them. 16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. 17 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 7:1-17 (NIV)

Prayer: Open our eyes that we might see wonderful truths in Your Law Oh Lord. Make Your Word come alive Oh Lord!  Make it come alive!  

Though the chapters of Revelation are not all in chronological sequence,  Chapter Seven depicts a scene in heaven which precedes the second coming of Christ to the earth and gives us further clarity of what is happening during the Tribulation period. Just to recap, the Rapture of the Church – those who have a saving faith in Christ Jesus – has already occurred and the Tribulation has now begun. The Second Coming of Christ has not yet taken place nor has the Millennial Reign of Christ nor the coming the New Heavens and the New Earth – those will all be future events addressed as Revelation progresses.  
Chapter Seven describes details regarding two major groups of saints – those who become believers in Christ Jesus after the Rapture – and how they are impacted by the Tribulation. The first group being the 144,000 Jewish people  sealed in a special way and the second group are a multitude of saints who have been martyred during the Tribulation and are now in heaven. 
While all of heaven is amazingly glorious and wonderful beyond our earthly descriptions or imaginations for everyone there, Scripture does appear to indicate how we live our lives on this earth will determine our positions (what we will be doing) in Heaven and perhaps even our possessions (which we will probably be putting at our Master’s feet!).  There will be a difference of how we are rewarded and/or treated according to how we lived our lives in the here and now. It will not all be the same. While all in heaven are saved, we are not all equal according to rewards. And, of course, Heaven is eternal, while earth is temporal.  Having this knowledge should keep us desirous of making sure we are standing firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured, Amen?  Doing what He desires, when He desires.  Delayed obedience is disobedience! Our Lord Himself talked of storing up for ourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. Paul also stated fire will test the quality of each man’s works when believers are judged for their rewards - not for their salvation - in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15:
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 

Before the Second Coming of Christ Jesus there will be a worldwide revival.  Albeit, from the time of the Apostle John to the present day, sadly, the Bible is clear that there will be a general falling away from the Lord – a love for Jesus that continues to grow cold for most - up until the time of the Great Tribulation. There will be pockets of revival but in general, Christianity will trend in a falling away from God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:12-14:
12 “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:12-14 (NIV)

Jesus also gave us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 which we would all do well to be reminded of:
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

Indeed, there would be pockets of revival but the first and greatest revival to date was the first hundred years after Christ – the Apostolic period.  During which time there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel was taken to all the world. A higher percentage of the world’s population than at any other time thus far was converted to Christianity.  This period was marked by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and miracles.  During this period it was the Jewish people who were primarily responsible for spreading the Gospel. At Pentecost, in Acts Chapter Two, we read about The Holy Spirit coming down. I have pulled several passages from this chapter to share. Peter states in Acts 2:1-12:
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 

Peter goes on to say in Acts 2:23-24:
22 “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”

Again, in Acts 2:32-33: 
32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
And lastly in Acts 2:36-39:
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ 38 Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call.’”

Paul also tells us in Colossians 1:22-23 that he was a servant of the Gospel (which we are to be as well):
22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-- 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. 

While great revival as in the Apostolic period does not occur again until the end times, God is still mightily at work – He is always working.  Indeed, even part of the purpose of the Tribulation – in His great mercy - is to bring as many as possible to the Lord Jesus before He returns and it will be too late. Each must make a decision to personally trust in Christ and not in themselves or in the world. It is often true that as long as we can stand solidly on our own we maintain a self-sufficient attitude towards God. It is only when God shakes our very foundations that we come face to face with our need – and that is a good place to be. His design is to move us from our false sense of security so that we may place our feet on solid ground – the Solid Rock of Christ. David states in Psalms 18:1-19:
1 I love you, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.  4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. 7 The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. 8 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth,  burning coals blazed out of it. 9 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. 10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him-- the dark rain clouds of the sky. 12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. 13 The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. 14 He shot his arrows and scattered [the enemies], great bolts of lightning and routed them. 15 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. 16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. 19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. 

On Christ the Solid Rock we stand – all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand. 
The question was raised in Revelation 6:17 of whether any would be saved in the Great Tribulation. The question is answered here in Chapter Seven.  It  begins with four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. The holding back of the winds has something to do with the coming destructive judgment of the Lord God.  And this scene clearly happens at the very beginning of the Tribulation. It is to prevent any judgment on the earth until God’s servants are sealed. We may depend on it that no calamity will happen to destroy the chosen people of God prior to being saved. There was no flood until there was first the ark. God will protect His own. In the verses that follow 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel are protected by this angelic seal.  It is implied that those who are sealed have been saved in the time of trouble pictured in Revelation and by this means are being set apart as a special divine remnant to be an amazing testimony to God’s grace and mercy. Also during this time of judgment they will be an unstoppable and an incredible evangelical force, filled with the Holy Spirit, much akin to the experience the original disciples had at Pentecost which we just read about.  

Scripture states that 144,000 are sealed with the seal of the Living God.  As God has done before, He is protecting and setting apart His chosen ones before He allows the full force of His wrath upon the earth. He is always fulfilling His promises to the Jewish nation. The most important fact taught here is that God continues to watch over Israel even in the time of Israel’s great distress. The seal on their foreheads symbolizes protection and ownership and God’s intention to protect the 12 tribes that are mentioned, much as He protected Noah from the Flood, Israel from the plagues of Egypt, and Rahab and her household in Jericho. In a similar way, in the time of the Great Tribulation, protection will be given to this group of 144,000 Israelites. They are preserved in safety through this dark period, as a testimony to the power and grace of God, and as a channel through which the gospel could come to the earth. How like God to leave a door of opportunity open for faith in His Son for those left to experience the Great Tribulation and who do not yet know Him. We will discover that their ministry had its fruit among the Gentiles, even as was true in the Apostolic age, the result being a great multitude of the Gentiles were saved.

These 144,000 people are not only all of Jewish descent but of very specific Jewish descent. These Jews will be a light to their dark world.  Just as God had intended in the beginning and where, through their foolishness, had sadly dropped the ball. The Church is to be careful now that we do not do likewise. We are not simply to meet together and entertain ourselves to death. We are to go forth, in His power, shining His light for others to come into it. The love of Christ and His Gospel is to compel us as it did the original disciples. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts was a foreshadowing of what would be coming in Revelation through the 144,000 witnesses of the Tribulation. As the anti-Christ gains strength, people will have to make choices of one mark or another – and they must take a position. There will be no lukewarm, no walking the fence – no gray area - it will be the mark of the beast or the mark of Jesus. Taking the position of a Christian will assure a person of a high probability of being martyred for their faith. It will not be easy times, to say the least. This matter is so significant to God that the names of the tribes and the number to be saved from each are given in detail. 

The Holy Spirit, like God and Jesus, continues His presence (even after all believers have been taken up in the Rapture). He will be on earth to empower the ministry of the 144,000. There will be a great soul harvest during this time. All who call on the Name of the Lord will be saved. If there will be in heaven a great multitude surpassing all human calculation, then the Gospel is certain to achieve a great success. Christ did not die in vain – He will not lose the purchase of His blood. Although it did occur partially at Pentecost, the primary teaching of Joel 2 concerns the work of God on the earth during the Tribulation period. The KJV states “And it shall come to pass afterward” is a direct reference to the Tribulation. The Prophet Joel foresaw this ministry of the Spirit of God in Joel 2:28-32:

28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.” 

The listing of the twelve tribes does not include Dan or Ephraim (Joseph’s other son). Much speculation has arisen about why yet this should come as no surprise as there are many variations of the tribes listed throughout the Old Testament but never more than twelve tribes listed. Scripture contains 29 lists of the tribes of Israel in the Old and New Testaments and in no case are more than 12 tribes mentioned. The tribe usually omitted was Levi, from which the priesthood came. Inasmuch as it is normal to have only 12 and not 13 tribes, the omission of Dan is not significant.

The most important fact taught here is that God continues to watch over Israel even in the time of Israel’s great distress, His eye is ever on them. Also, there is no justification whatsoever for spiritualizing either the number or the names of the tribes in this passage, to make them represent the church. That these 144,000 saved from all the tribes of Israel is a clear indication of God’s continued purpose for the nation of Israel and their preservation through this awful time of trouble. 
The mention of the twelve tribes of Israel is likewise a refutation of the idea that the tribes of Israel are lost, as well as of the theory that the lost tribes are perpetuated in the English speaking people of the world.  Obviously none of the tribes are lost as far as God is concerned. The vision given to John is prophetic of the fact that God has a future purpose for Israel and that in spite of satanic persecution, a godly remnant will be preserved to be on earth when Christ returns. There will be other Israelites saved besides these 144,000, but many of these will die martyrs’ deaths. The 144,000 are those who are delivered from their persecutors and brought safely through this terrible time of tribulation. In Chapter 14 they are seen triumphant at the end of the tribulation when Christ returns. 
The 144,000 will appear again Revelation 14:1-5:
1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. 

Remember, there are two classes of those saved that are mentioned here in Chapter Seven specifically (1) Those who are saved in Israel and (2) those of all nations who, though saved spiritually, are martyred.      

Next, we see a great multitude in heaven that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. This is the same group mentioned in Revelation 6:9:  
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 

Yet here they were wearing white robes and holding palm branches, apparently signifying their righteous triumph. Nakedness was revealed to man by sin in Genesis. But Christ comes and clothes us completely. The robes are white to indicate purity and an emblem of triumph over every foe.  How beautiful and freeing that righteousness of Christ will be when we stand clothed with it before the eternal throne of God. Our robes will be white because His robes were red, Amen? As this multitude ascribed salvation to God and to the Lamb, all the angels, the 24 elders, and the 4 living creatures joined them in worship similar to what was done in Revelation 5:9-10 which states:
9 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” 

Here, in Revelation 7:11-12 they sang: 
11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” 

In this we discover that among the Jews saved (not to include the 144,000 as they are still on earth), there will also be many Gentiles who will come to Christ from the testimony of these 144,000 fierce witnesses. This is a multitude beyond human computation coming from all nations, peoples, and languages standing before the throne. These saints seen in heaven are described as a particular group coming from a particular time, namely the Great Tribulation. Note that these converts are never described as the Church rather Saints or Tribulation Saints. They are definitely God’s chosen children but they are treated differently from those coming out of the “Church Age” – which is the time of God’s grace. 

This passage clearly teaches that many Gentiles will be saved during the Tribulation. The command to preach the gospel to every nation throughout the world will have its fulfillment in this way before Christ Second coming and comes back to establish His millennial kingdom. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:14:
14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”   
The requirement that all the world hear the gospel pertains not to the rapture but to the second coming of Christ to set up His kingdom. Though the Church should press on with all zeal in presenting the gospel to every creature, it is not necessary for the Rapture to wait until this task is completed. In spite of great difficulties, there will be worldwide preaching of the Gospel during the Great Tribulation – as God would have it!

These Tribulation Saints have come through much horror – martyrdom – sealing their testimony with their blood; earthquakes; war; pestilence; special persecution by the world ruler; and hounded to death much like the Jews in World War II. Because they will not worship the beast, they will be under a death sentence. Those who accept Jesus at that time may also be faced with the solemn alternative of either renouncing their faith and worshiping the beast or being slain. All this will result in multiplied martyrs. Yet, despite it all, during the tribulation period countless people of all nations will come to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord.       
In Verse 14 we discover a significant detail given. These martyrs have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Normally one cannot make anything white with blood. The passage is talking, however of spiritual purity. The only thing that washes away our sins is the blood of Christ. Through His sacrificial death and sacrifice on the cross He makes us clean again – whiter than snow. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Scripture tells us in Hebrews 9:22:
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 

And again in Acts 20:28:
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 

And lastly in Romans 3:24-26:
25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-- 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 

The frequent reference to blood in Revelation began in 1:5-6:
5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father--to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. 

As well as in Revelation 19:13:
13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 

All of this, of course, points to the necessity of Christ’s substitutionary death for the salvation of the believer. He did it for me, He did it for you, He did it for all who would receive Him.

The blood of Christ is exceedingly precious in the sight of the Lord God and is the only cleansing agent powerful and perfect enough for our sin. The blood of the Lamb is the assurance of cleansing and forgiveness for these Tribulation Saints just as it is true as for the Saints of all ages.  “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! Oh! Precious is the flow that makes me white as snow; No other fount I know; Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” (Robert Lowry).

When we thumb through Scriptures we discover so many beloved verses like these attesting to the awesome power of the blood:
“And when I see the blood, I will pass over you…It is the blood that makes atonement for the soul…For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins…The church of God which He purchased with His own blood…Christ Jesus whom God has set forth as propitiation by His blood…In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…With His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption…The precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb…The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”      

The chapter accordingly indicates how these martyred saints will be marvelously blessed in heaven after their trials on earth. They are before the throne of God, that is, they are in a place of honor and prominence.  We know so little of His glory, Amen? We scarcely know Who He is that has befriended us but in heaven we will. He will manifest His Godhead in all its wonderful truth. He is the Heaven we so desire. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:12:
12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 

The partial reflection of the present will give way to the splendor of perfect vision. Then Paul would see God as God now saw Paul. And the same is true for us. Then partial knowledge will be displaced by the perfect knowledge of God.
Their special privilege is further defined as serving the Lord day and night in His temple. This is significant as it demonstrates that heaven is not only a place of rest but also a place of privileged service. Those who have served well on earth will have a ministry in heaven. The temple of God mentioned here is a reference to His immediate presence not to any earthly temple.
They will be delivered from the afflictions, sufferings and trials of life. No more sin, no more pain, no more tears. Verse 17 pictures them being led by the Great Shepherd of the sheep, feeding them and leading them to fountains of living water. “Living” used here is from the Greek word “Zoe” denoting the very life-force itself; the vital principal which animates living beings.  It is life to the fullest – no wanting.
They are before the throne which is a pace of prominence and honor.  They, as we, will be delivered from all afflictions of life making up for all they have gone through – hunger, suffering, persecution – the glaring sun and burning heat and the trials that may have attended them as they fled from their enemies are far behind them in glory.  Instead verse 17 pictures the Lamb of God as feeding them and leading them to living fountains of water. The promise that God will wipe away every tear from their eyes pictures the Savior’s tender comfort – grief and tears form the past will be over when they (and we) get to heaven. Indeed, the saints in glory will be occupied with the beauty and wonder of heaven and the worship of the Savior.  
Revelation Chapter Seven serves as a review of the situation described in the previous chapters and emphasizes two important facts. First, God is going to judge Israel in the period of great trial, yet 12,000 from each tribe will be protected and sealed from the judgments that will fall upon the world in general. Second, a great multitude of Gentiles from every nation will also be saved, but many of these will be martyred, and a multitude of the martyred are found in heaven rejoicing in the presence of the Lamb. It is an indication that even in the tragic closing hours prior to the second coming of Jesus, countless souls will find Christ as their Savior and be saved through His grace.

Remember, no Word of God will ever fall to the ground. No Word of God will ever fail. His desire is for all to come to repentance and restoration. 

These are Beth’s personal notes, due to this fact sources are not often stated.

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