Revelation 7:9-17 takes us again to the throne of God. The vision is over-whelming in its magnitude, like the vision in Revelation 4 and 5. Again there are the four living creatures. Again there are the twenty-four elders. Again there are all the countless angels. Again, there in the centre, is the Lamb. Again there is a crescendo of praise and worship.

But there is another group that was not in the earlier vision. Now there is ‘a great multitude which no one could count’. John does not even try to indicate an approximate huge number as he did with the angels [5:11]. Here are gathered all the redeemed, all the sealed, from every age, and from every nation, tribe, people and language. This is the sum total, a massive number, the complete number of the redeemed. Not one is missing. [This assured completeness is indicated by the symbolic number – 144,000 of 7:4 and 14:1].

Standing in the presence of God
Before we are told anything else we are told of their secure position. Here they are, standing, in the very presence of God (‘the throne’) and of the Lamb. No sinner can stand there, but there they are. These sinners have, somehow, been granted this unheard of and impossible blessing of permanent access to God.  They, not only the Lamb, have somehow broken through all the barriers, all the prohibitions. They are not falling down on their faces, terrified before God’s awesome, holy majesty. They are standing. They are not excluded by the fearsome living creatures whose presence before God historically banned human access. They are standing, right there in the presence of God. Accepted. Unafraid. Filled with joy.

This amazing access to God hammers home to everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ: you do not have to fear the wrath of him who sits on the throne. You do not have to fear the wrath of the Lamb. You do not have to fear the Day of their wrath. You are already beyond the reach of that Day of Judgment. For you, the judgment is already past [John 5:24; Romans 8:1; Ephesians 2:18; Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19-22; 1John 4:16-18]. See the marks of slaughter on the Lamb! [Revelation 5:6]

Washed in the blood of the Lamb
This is yet another indication of the security of believers on the day of wrath and judgment: they are wearing white robes [7:9]. The reason their robes are white is that they have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb [7:14]. This is the key to understanding their unobstructed, fearless access to God. This explains how these humans, and no others, stand in the presence of God.

These white, washed robes of the redeemed point us to the ‘cleansing’ from sin granted to all who believe in Jesus Christ. This forgiveness is described in many ways, and its impacts are also many.

The concept of cleansing or purification: 1John 1:7,9; Titus 2:14; Colossians 2:14 [where ‘cancelled’ = ‘erased’]; Ephesians 5:26; 1Corinthians 6:11; John 13:10b; 15:3.

The concept of the imputed righteousness of Christ [= justification = legal acquittal = declared not guilty]: Romans 1:16,17; 3:21-26; 4:5,6; 5:16,17; 1Corinthians 1:30.

Associated with the previous two, the concept of being holy and perfect in Christ; Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 1:12; 1:22; Hebrews 10:10; 10:14.

The concept of our sin having been held against Christ, and therefore no longer held against us: Romans 4:7,8; 2Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 2:13-15; 1Peter 2:24.

There is no doubt whatsoever of their security and acceptance in the presence of God. They trust not in themselves, but in the Lamb who was slain. They depend not on themselves but on his blood, shed for them, for the remission of their sins. Only if that blood can fail to save, can the redeemed fail to stand here before the throne. Only if that blood can fail to justify, will the redeemed ever face the wrath of the Lamb and the wrath of the one on the throne.

And it cannot fail. They are secure. They are already, in Christ, beyond the judgment, beyond the wrath.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2015