Daily Readings & Thought for December 24th. “FROM EVERY NATION”
Our readings in the book of Revelation are about coming dramas in human history, as Jesus revealed them in largely symbolic language to his disciple John – the one “whom Jesus loved” [John 21 v.7,20]. The description builds up to the climactic failure of human life on earth. We read of visions, largely, but not entirely, in symbol, they ‘picture’ God’s awesome judgements. Eventually it is a time for opening the book of life. There are blessings for those he judges as righteous and the opposite for others: there is no neutral third group.
John looks and sees “a great multitude that no one could number from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the lamb clothed in white robes …. crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb’” [7 v.9-10] “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.” [v.17]
Jesus is the Lamb and we read in the Gospels of him speaking of ‘living water’, “If anyone thirsts, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” [John 7 v.38] Jesus had spoken about this to the Samaritan woman saying, “whoever drinks of the water I will give him, it will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” [John 4 v.14] We can understand that kind of symbolic language.
One would like to ignore the other side of the picture! The angel is told, “Do not harm the earth … until we have sealed the servants of God on their foreheads” This reminds us of the blood on the doorposts in Egypt when God was about to bring the final plague!
In Revelation we also read of plagues on “the rest of mankind” continuing on to affect those “who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent … nor give up worshipping demons and idols … nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality …” [Ch.9 v.20-21] It is interesting that in the margin of the NKJV Bible sorceries is given the meaning of drugs!
We live at a time when the climax of human history is approaching fast, how great is the need to fill our minds with God’s word in contrast to what occupies the minds of nearly every else: they are ‘blinded’ by the non-stop intensity of life: there is no thought to there even being a God! How much are you and I affected by this? How well are you coping with it? Are you genuinely looking to the “shepherd, (so that) he will guide (you) to springs of living water”? [Rev 7 v.17]
We show how genuine we are in this in the way we feed on his “living and abiding word” (1 Peter 1 v.23) every day – enabling us to be more sure of being among those “from every nation” in the time soon to come.