THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT

Scripture Reading: Revelation 7:9-17

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'” (Revelation 7:9,10)

Theologians in describing the church use the distinction between the Church Militant to describe the church on earth and the Church Triumphant to describe the church which is now in glory. We are part of the Church Militant. It is called the Church Militant because we are engaged in warfare with our great enemies — the world, the flesh and the devil. But one day our battles will be over and we will become a part of the Church Triumphant in heaven.

In our passage that focuses on the Church Triumphant we can learn a great deal about what our loved ones, who died in the Lord, are experiencing in heaven. Notice the composition of the great multitude who are in heaven. They are from every nation, all tribes and peoples and languages. They are standing before the throne and before the Lamb, which means they share intimate fellowship with God. They are in awe of the glory of God.

The saints in glory are dressed in white robes, a symbol of righteousness and holiness. They have palm branches in their hands. The psalms indicate salvation. They ascribe to God alone the work of salvation — “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

A multitude of angels surround the throne. All in heaven fall on their faces before the throne and worship God –“And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God” (v. 11). We are given a picture of the glorious worship that goes on in heaven. The saints and the angels join together in a glorious worship service. It must be spectacular!

The saints in heaven also serve God — “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 shelter them with His presence” (v. 15). Our loved ones who are in heaven are involved in unceasing worship, intimate fellowship, and continual service. God spreads His tabernacle over them, meaning that He protects and provides for them — “They shall hunger no more, mother thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (vs. 16, 17).

Take time to read Psalm 23 with this picture in mind — “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name sake…Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The Lamb who died for us becomes the Shepherd who cares for us throughout all eternity.

Lord Jesus, Lamb of God, thank You for making salvation possible for me through your sacrificial death and resurrection. Thank You that You are my Shepherd who protects and provides for me now and who will do so throughout all eternity. Thank You for the hope of glory that is ours when we become a part of the Church Triumphant.

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