Posted by: Terry | April 12, 2011

A long white robe

"These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev 7:14 ESV)

The history of Christianity is a history of persecution. Jesus predicted “In this world you will have tribulation.” He taught that trials and tribulation would cause many to fall away. He told them in John 16 to not be surprised at what would come. Had he not warned them what would believers think about what was to come? Within a few years of his resurrection the persecution began and continues to this day.

The trials and persecution of the faithful began with Able and continued through all of the history recorded in the Old Testament. The faithful Jews under the leadership of the Maccabees were persecuted prior to the time of Christ. The early believers were persecuted by the Jews, then by the Romans. Believers were persecuted by leaders of the church itself when they chose to be faithful to God over the apostasy of the church. There is persecution of believers in much of the world to this day. There is great persecution yet to come at the end of the age preceding the return of Christ.

Daily, individual believers suffer for their faith. Some for proclaiming the name of Jesus, some for the ethics they exhibit. Some for reasons that are not clear, but troubled just the same. “In this world you will have tribulation” is a real part of life for all people.

It is revealed that one day the believers will gather, After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” (Rev 7:9)

We will stand there in robes of white, forgiven and purified by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Realizing the complete fulfillment of our salvation. Tears will be wiped away, all pain forgotten. Hunger, thirst, labor a thing of the past; replaced with refreshment from a spring of living water. The limited minds of us earthbound believers can only make futile attempts to comprehend what this will be like.

If this world is all there is, then where is the sense of it all. Yet the promise endures, and it gives hope in times of trial. In the words of the old song: “There’s a long white robe in heaven I know…” And one day we will cast off the trappings of this world, put on the new robe, and forever be in the presence and protection of the God that loved us.

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Responses

  1. Terry,
    This is encouraging for all of us who know the Lord and Savior. Easter is a good time to reflect on what Jesus and done for us and give thank and praise to Him.
    I will make a copy for my Bible Study.
    Mom

  2. Is your closing question “If this world is all there is, then where is the sense of it all?” rhetorical or genuine? Let’s pretend for a moment that this world IS all there is–that everything else we’ve been taught as biblical is so–a God in control, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the claim of Christ on our lives–but without eternal life. Our work for God, our trek toward holiness, our modeling ourselves after Christ and being his disciples–all this valid in this life, and then it’s over, left for our children, our younger friends, our students, etc., to carry on.

    Do we follow Christ for Christ’s sake, or for what we get in the end? If there is no eternal reward at the end, who of us would still follow Christ?

    Always wondered about that…

    • Valid thought and question. Though if we really understood God, we would follow him with no hope for the future, that is right. Yet I will let Paul answer the question

      1Co 15:12-19 NIV But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? (13) If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. (14) And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. (15) More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. (16) For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. (17) And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. (18) Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. (19) If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

  3. Especially in v. 19 of the passage you cited, the writer kinda answers my question rhetorically, not logically. (V. 17 is a tad stickier: of course if Christ is not raised, then a faith in that supposed resurrection is futile. It could be a jump, however, from there to “you are still in your sins.” Lotta assumptions around that statement.)

    Granted, if there’s no resurrection of the dead, then Christ didn’t rise, we won’t be resurrected either, and (still assuming there’s no resurrection) preaching and witnessing of a resurrection is useless. In which case, the writer concludes, a faith is useless that is based on resurrection.

    My point is prior to such an assumption (of a resurrection): pretending for purposes of speculation and examination that there is indeed no resurrection, no preaching of it or witnessing of it–could one still follow Christ, be his disciple, work the works of God on earth while we are here, and please God in the process?

  4. Nope. Sure you would be following a “good” person. But that would not be pleasing, the whole message of the Gospel is that nothing we do in our own effort measures up to God’s standard.

    The death and resurrection is th topic of the whole Bible, it all leads and point forward and backward to it, take it out and there is nothing left.


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