Saturday, 19 December 2020
They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; Revelation 7:16
The verse is much more striking in the Greek, bearing several emphatic negatives that increase in intensity as the verse progresses –
“Not they will hunger anymore, neither will they thirst anymore, nor at all shall fall upon them the sun, nor any scorching heat.”
The emphasis is given to show the complete contrast to their having come out of the Great Tribulation. The terrible woes they faced are behind them, because the Lord has redeemed them. As none of these negative things will ever affect them again, then the opposite can be expected (as will be seen in the coming verse).
The words of this verse are based upon words found in the first half of Isaiah 49:10 –
“They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Neither heat nor sun shall strike them.”
The seventh chapter of Revelation corresponds to the seventh letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet. The seventh letter, zayin, pictures a mattock, and it signifies “nourish.” In this chapter are found the great multitude. Because of Christ, they shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore. They are secure in Christ for all eternity.
With these things in mind, the elder speaking to John says of them, “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore.” As noted above, the Greek is much more emphatic, saying, “Not they will hunger anymore, neither will they thirst anymore.”
In the coming time of tribulation, there has already been a note of famine, as evidenced from the rider on the black horse with a pair of scales in his hand. The words uttered then were, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius.” One’s very means of existence will be measured out by weight. And that is only for those who are willing to submit to the authority that controls making purchases (the mark of the beast of Revelation 13:16, 17). For those unwilling to take the mark, there will only be deprivation and hunger.
Jeremiah, in the book of Lamentations, reveals how terrible death by hunger truly is –
“Those slain by the sword are better off
Than those who die of hunger;
For these pine away,
Stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.” Lamentations 4:9
Along with the hunger is the greatest of terrors when it is faced – thirst. Of all of the agonies that Christ faced on the cross, the only one He called out for relief from was His thirst. Man was created from the dust. Only a continuous intake of water is what keeps us from returning to the dust. Without it, we will die, and the death that is faced is excruciating as the body desiccates. The pangs of hunger are surely outweighed by the terrible pangs of thirst.
Despite having faced these deprivations, those standing before the throne are guaranteed eternal relief from such ever again. Never again shall hunger or thirst pursue them. Instead of selling themselves out for temporary relief, they anticipated the glory that lay ahead of them, having faith that the word of the Lord would provide them relief. Instead of following unrighteousness, ultimately leading to eternal deprivation, they hearkened to the words of Christ in the beatitudes –
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6
After proclaiming these things, the elder speaking to John then says, “the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat.” Again, as noted above, the Greek is more emphatic – “nor at all shall fall upon them the sun, nor any scorching heat.”
The idea of the sun falling upon someone is open exposure to the sun. Those in the tribulation who do not submit to the rule of the authorities will have no home to dwell in. There will only be exposure in the open areas – heat, anguish, and burning. The sun will be so oppressive that it is as if it is literally pressing down upon them, igniting their skin until it burns.
The “scorching heat” is the Greek word kauma. It signifies a glaring, burning heat. It is only found elsewhere in Revelation 16:9. Thus, it is another clue that Revelation is not chronological in these events. Rather, they are categorical. These people in Revelation 7 are those who have come out of the great tribulation at any time during its seven-year period. This shows that evaluations anticipating a “pre-wrath,” or a “mid-tribulation, ” rapture are unsound because they rely on a chronological analysis of that which is not necessarily chronological.
This wind, described here as kauma, is known as the sharav in Isaiah 49:10. That signifies a burning heat and parched ground where the air carries a quivering glow or glare. The Greek translation of Isaiah 49 uses the term, kausón – a burning heat. It used twice in the gospels and also James 1:11 –
“For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.”
This burning heat – described as kauma, sharav, and kausón – is the burning heat found in the Mideast that arises and scorches everything. The temperatures can rise from a favorable day to a terrifying heat in a very short amount of time, killing anything unprepared for its onslaught. Without adequate protection and sufficient water, anguish and death can be anticipated during such an event.
These people, standing before the throne, have prevailed. They were willing to give up their lives in order to gain eternal life. The promises of never facing such terrors again have been given. The Lord is faithful to those who have demonstrated faith.
Life application: The time of the tribulation will be agonizing even for those who can buy and sell, meaning those who have received the mark of the beast. How much more difficult for those who have chosen Christ over the devil, and who are willing to die rather than take the mark?
For those who fail to call on Jesus before the rapture, there will be a chance to turn to Him during the tribulation, but it will be a terrifying time of deprivation and death. How much better to get right with the Lord now and avoid the terrible choices that must be made during those terrifying days to come! Don’t wait until the world quakes with war, famine, disaster, and calamity. Call out to God through Christ now.
His plan was set in motion from the very beginning. But man’s fate was also sealed at that time as well. Without accepting what God’s plan offers, the ultimate fate will come about – separation from God for all eternity. But through hope in Messiah, God’s offer of peace to humanity, we have the assurances of eternal delight and filling in His presence. This is all because of God’s offer of pardon and reconciliation. This is all because of JESUS!
Jesus, You are abundantly merciful to the fallen sons of man. How great is Your love that You will continue to stretch out Your hands to man, even during the time of tribulation that lies ahead! Your promise to those who respond to the call is beautiful – never again shall they hunger or thirst or be destroyed by the heat of the day. Praises to You for Your tender mercies. Amen.