Friday, 18 December 2020
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 dwell among them. Revelation 7:15
The ones referred to now are those standing before the throne who have come out of the great tribulation, having washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. Understanding this, the elder speaking to John continues, saying, “Therefore they are before the throne of God.”
Standing before the throne of God, then, is a result of having washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. The clear implication is that they would not be standing there otherwise. It is what Peter refers to –
“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:17-19
Paul speaks of the same type of cleansing in Ephesians 5 as well. They were impure due to sin, but they were redeemed unto God by His grace through their faith in the work of Jesus Christ. In this capacity, the elder says they “serve Him day and night in His temple.”
Here, the word latreuó is used. It signifies to serve God in worship. In the New Testament, it is always used in connection with serving a deity – be it the true God or otherwise (including the creation itself, such as in Acts 7:42 or Romans 1:25).
This was the original purpose of man when he was placed in the Garden of Eden. Translations say man was placed there to “tend and keep” the garden, but that is surely not the intent. He was placed there to worship the Lord and to observe the watch of the Lord, meaning serve Him.
This is now restored to these who have come out of the great tribulation. They will forever be in the presence of God, signified by the term “day and night.” It is there in His temple that this is so. The word translated as “temple” is naos. It signifies a temple, shrine, or sanctuary. In John 2:19-21, Jesus uses the term when speaking of Himself –
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’
20 Then the Jews said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.”
This temple of God is what Paul refers to in Ephesians 2:21 –
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22
These saints have found their place of rest, and they have found their eternal abode. This is evidenced by the next words, “And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.”
In this, the word skénoó is used. It signifies to dwell in a tent or a tabernacle. It is the word used when speaking of Christ’s incarnation –
“And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (YLT)
Here we have the realization of the Feast of Tabernacles from Leviticus 23 being applied to these people. The feast is fulfilled in Christ (as are all of the Feasts of the Lord), but they are applied to the believer only when the person comes to Christ. For example, Christ is the Passover Lamb of the Feast of Passover, but He is only a person’s Passover sacrifice when he comes to Christ. The same is true with the Day of Atonement. Christ is the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, but He only becomes the atoning sacrifice for a person when His work is applied to him by faith.
There are three “pilgrim” feasts in the Feasts of the Lord where all of the men of Israel were to go to worship the Lord in Jerusalem. These pilgrim feasts were given as typological representations of the believers’ inclusion in what the Lord had done. Those feasts are the Feast of Unleavened Bread (fulfilled as is recorded in 1 Corinthians 5), the Feast of Weeks (fulfilled as is recorded in Romans 16 and 1 Corinthians 16), and the Feast of Tabernacles (fulfilled as is recorded in 2 Corinthians 5:7, and elsewhere). These people, standing before the Lord, now participate in what Christ Jesus made available to all through His work.
These people of God are now eternally tabernacling with Christ who is the Tabernacle of God. He is the place where God dwells and reveals Himself, ceaselessly and eternally, to His people.
Life application: This great multitude has regained what was lost in Eden – direct access to God and the joy of worshipping and serving Him. Man was created outside the garden and only placed there afterwards. When he was placed in the garden, it was with the intent of eternally fellowshipping with God. That right was lost when Adam sinned, and man has been toiling the ground ever since.
For those mentioned in these verses of Revelation, that toil has ended. They are in His presence and view Him directly. It is the restoration of what was lost – granted to the fallen and redeemed sons of Adam. This is the hope of the people of God and the joy which each of us should long for with every fiber of our souls.
Jesus Christ came and tabernacled among us. But His glory was veiled during His earthly ministry. When we see Him in His temple, it will be with all of His unveiled glory. He will spread His glory over His people, and they will never again fear or want. This is the great hope of all believers in what God has done through Jesus Christ.
What was lost is regained. What is now wrong will be made right. Exile from God’s presence is restored once again. And it is all because of our glorious Lord – our Redeemer and our Savior. It is all because of what God has done through JESUS!
Lord, it is so marvelous to think on what You have done – a plan which spans time itself and which was meant to restore that which was lost so long ago. It is so beautiful to see how You have slowly and methodically revealed Yourself through the pages of the Bible and how those things are coming to a glorious fulfillment. Thank You for the story of Jesus. Amen.