Who Are These?
For the past few days we’ve been exploring the theology of advocacy for persecuted brothers and sisters. Being good advocates with resources from the Scriptures is very important, and we’ll look at more examples in the days to come. But we cannot forget why we do this. So let’s look more directly at those for whom we are called to be advocates.
People ask me how I have done this work for over 25 years. “Don’t you get burned out?” “Don’t you get discouraged?” Yes. And yes. If this was just about an issue that would be enough to give up. But this is about people, relationships, brothers and sisters.
With open eyes we see the beautiful truth that we are one Body around the world – that we worship One Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah. That truth gives us the grace to press on. And when we press on as one Body made of so many different parts, we share the burden of otherwise overwhelming sorrow. And we share the joy of being His together.
Before we venture into stories about Christ’s persecuted Body today, let’s focus on Eternity. That’s the underlying reality that gives us hope and keeps sorrow from overwhelming us.
WHO ARE THESE? (OR, WHAT JOHN FOUND OUT)
They are a great multitude – too many to count
standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes (innocent & guiltless) – with palm branches (victory!) And they are crying with a LOUD voice:
Salvation belongs to our GOD who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!
And all the angels took their cue from these, and they fell on their faces. . .
(That was great! Usually angels are having to tell we humans “Fear not” and we fall on our faces!) before the throne and worshiped GOD, saying:
Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our GOD forever and ever! Amen.
Then one of the elders addressed me:
(The jury is still out on whether or not I am actually one of the elders, which would be kind of interesting, but I guess since it would be me in the future, I would already have been addressed and written about it in the Revelation of the Messiah that I recorded)
WHO ARE THESE, Clothed in white robes, Where did THEY come from?
I assumed, correctly, that this was a rhetorical question so I said, Sir, you know.
He told me THESE ARE THE ONES!
The ones coming out of the great tribulation.
They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
And then he sang to me a promise that gave me courage on my lonely, rocky island prison:
“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.
They shall hunger no more, neither 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.”
(Based on Revelation 7: 9-17)
Memorize part (or all!) of the Lord’s promise that the elder gave to John. Listen to this song, and check out the comment section. Believers from ALL OVER THE WORLD made comments! Watch the worship on videos from GAFCON Jerusalem 2018 here or here. Every tribe and tongue worshipping together. Finally, discover more about and honor one of THESE who is now before the throne of God, with a journal entry, a picture, a poem, song, prayer, or essay, or whatever you want. But do some research and find one particular saint and martyr of any generation of the Church.
- Faith McDonnell, co-leader of the Suffering Church Network