for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."Revelation 7:17(NASB)
The great tribulation, is often referred to as the '70th week of Daniel' or the 'Time of Jacob's Trouble', and occurs after the Christian church has been removed, from the world, at the rapture. It is the first seven years of 'the great and terrible day of the Lord,' which reaches forward into the millennial kingdom of Christ.
The book of Revelation gives tremendous insight into the happenings of this terrible time in earth's history - when the wrath of God is poured out on a God-hating, Christ-rejecting, sinful world, which concludes with Christ's second coming to set up His millennial kingdom on earth. But it is also a time when Israel finally recognises Jesus as their Messiah, and the gentile nations finally know that God is the Lord, and that He is in control.
Although this tribulation period happens after the rapture, it does not give Christians the mandate to ignore this book of Revelation, which is a vitally important prophetic book. Rather, we are commanded to read it, hear it, and take to heart the words of the prophecy. Indeed, a blessing is given to all who do so.
Numerous Old Testament quotes and various references to the Scripture are found throughout Revelation, which should prompt us to read and understand the whole counsel of God. However, on many occasions the book of Revelation, itself, gives us the interpretation of a passage, within the text itself!
In chapter 7 we see a great multitude of people, from every nation and language, which no one is able to number. We discover, that these are people, who trusted in Christ for their salvation, during the great tribulation period, but lost their lives as martyrs, during this time of terrible trouble and intense persecution.
For whatever reason, this great multitude did not believe in the Lord Jesus during the Church age, and are not part of the body of Christ, which is the Church. However, in the midst of great tribulation and fierce oppression, they believed God's word, and trusted Christ as Saviour.. and their faith was credited to them as righteousness.
However, this innumerable multitude is seen rejoicing before the throne of God, and we read that by His grace, they have been saved by faith, and have 'washed their robes,, and made them white in the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God' - in Whom we all trust.
Just as Christians, in this Church dispensation have been given the role of kings and priests in Christ's millennial kingdom, so these martyred, tribulation believers will also be given a very specific role within the coming kingdom of God. They will be commissioned to serve in the Temple of God, day and night, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who sits on the throne, will dwell among them.
The terrible persecution and severe martyrdom this great multitude experienced, ended in this heavenly scene.. and we read that they will not hunger or thirst anymore.. nor will they have to endure the blistering sun beating down on their parched lips, and emaciated bodies... for the Lamb in the centre of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.
What glorious blessings await these martyred saints, who for whatever reason did not trust in Christ during the Church dispensation. Praise God that they receive witness to the truth of His Word, during the great tribulation, and choose to believe in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and life everlasting. Jesus is the good Shepherd of Israel and He is the great shepherd of all His sheep. Jesus became our good and gentle Shepherd, when we trusted Him as Saviour, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.
Jesus died as Israel's Passover Lamb and gave His life as the ransom price for the little flock in the Church dispensation - and Jesus also gave His life for these tribulation sheep, just as He did for you and for me. He is the one Who offers the water of life to ALL who are thirsty, and He is the one who will wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Come unto Me all who are thirsty, weary and heavy-laden is Christ's offer of salvation throughout the generations.. 'and I will feed you with the bread of life, and satisfy your thirst with living water. I will carry your burdens, and I will wipe every tear from your eyes'. Such is the great promise of our eternal Saviour, to all who believe on His name - to Whom be all honour and glory and praise for ever and ever.
Heavenly Father, how I praise and thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and that it is not Your will that any should perish, but that all should come to faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thank You for all who have become part of Christ's body, by faith in Him, and we praise You that You are ready and willing to save all in the coming great tribulation, who place trust in Christ as their God and Saviour. Thank You that Jesus is the good Shepherd of the sheep, and the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world - to save us from our sin. Thank You that Jesus is the water of life, the rock of our salvation and the Lamb in the midst of the throne.. and we praise Your holy name that the day is coming when He will wipe away all tears from the eyes of all who have placed their trust in Him - thank You in Jesus name, AMEN.