The Sealed Tribes and the Great Multitude

(Revelation 7:1-3, 9-17)

Lesson 11 -- second quarter 1997
May 11, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications

How are your robes?
Why did God give us this preview?

Just last night I read of a missionary friend who had a special appointment for a Bible study in which he normally does not participate. What a thrill! But time got away, and personal and family preparation time was rapidly dwindling. While he quickly showered, his wife laid out fresh clothes for him and hustled the rest of the family out to the vehicle. My friend finished in medal-worthy time, leaped into the vehicle and took off. Then his wife noticed that in his distracted haste he had reinstalled his dirty work clothes. Special appointment! First-time opportunity! And dirty clothes. They went back.

Jesus told a story of a man who went to a super-special event. This wedding occasion was so significant that the host provided wedding garments for the guests. This man decided his attire was adequate to the occasion and not at all inferior to that which was provided. So he just walked in, wearing his own clothing. Special appointment! Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! And unacceptable clothes. He was sent out.

Two men, two opportunities, two attitudes, two vastly different outcomes. My friend decided he needed proper clothes for the occasion, changed, got to the Bible study just fine, and had a super time there. The other fellow figured he had what it took, skipped the provisions, and was damned for ever.

What about you? What are you wearing? What is your attitude? How many opportunities do you expect to "get it right"? It seems to me that we easily fall prey to the mindset that we can let down our vigilance and faithfulness. Sometimes it seems we live with a I'll-have-another-chance-anyway mentality. This is a "good" way to get tossed out into the darkness!

Please consider the personal implications and practical applications of the verse snippets I share with you. "...Have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment" (Revelation 3:4,5). "I counsel thee to buy...white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed" (Revelation 3:18). "I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem" (Job 29:14). "...He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness..." (Isaiah 61:10). "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints" (Revelation 19:7,8).

Why did God decide to give His people this preview of such a glorious occasion? I don't know. But let me do a little guided guessing here. God doesn't want us to fear what may come, so He wants us to know that in the end there will be only absolute glory and triumph. Furthermore, God wants us to have the long range view that transcends this life--He wants us to see the joy set before us so that we can endure victoriously without focusing on the tribulations. And God knows the human spirit quails and at times collapses in the face of apparent solitude, so He shows us that we belong to a huge group of people. Take heart! The faithful will live happily ever after!

Return to Sunday School Comments index

[Anabaptists: The Web Page]