Saturday, November 01, 2014

Coming out of tribulation

Multitude worshiping - Artist unknown
Multitude worshiping - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Revelation 7:1-17

TO CHEW ON: " ' These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' " Revelation 7:14

News, lately, of Christian churches burned, hundreds of school girls from African Christian schools kidnapped, and Christians of all ages beheaded for their faith makes one ask, how much worse can the "great tribulation" be than this?

My Bible's study notes on verse 14 say "This is not a post-consummation picture. Therefore tribulation is to some degree taking place throughout the entire church age" - Earl Wesley Morey, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1827.

Where I live, Christians don't suffer the persecution of outright violence but rather social exclusion, isolation, being left out, ignored, not heard. The leader of one of Canada's political parties announced a few months ago that under him, no candidate with pro-life (anti-abortion) views need apply. Trinity Western University (a local Christian university), seeking to start its own law school has come against opposition from the law societies of several provinces because of the university's charter which sets a biblical moral standard for student life. (The irony is that women on secular campuses feel in danger because of a rash of sexual assaults—but better that, I guess, than a code of conduct!)

Persecution of any kind feels bad. When I read about the "great persecution" ("The great persecution describes the acceleration and intensification of troublesome times as this Age comes to an end climaxing with the Rapture and Second Coming" - Ibid), I don't jump up and down exclaiming "I can hardly wait!" Instead I pray for peace, harmony, and favor for Christians in my land and all over the earth.

But God's plan will unfold, and here we get a glimpse behind the curtain of such ostracisms,  burnings, beheadings, and tortures. It's a picture of joy, victory, praise, worship, and thanksgiving:

"… a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!' " - Revelation 7:9,10.

So let's keep this triumphant scene in mind as we pray for those being persecuted and face our society's increasing animosity for holding onto Bible-based convictions.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for this scene of victory and overcoming. Help me to remember this final triumph when I feel discouraged about the world's rejection of You and Your church. Amen.

MORE: All Saints Day

Today the church celebrates All Saints Day. The day's liturgy begins with this prayer:

"Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen."

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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