To Follow, or Not to Follow – the Crowd
Has anyone ever told you not to follow the crowd? Most of the time this is wise advice. Choosing to follow Jesus daily usually means we are not following the crowd. But one day, there will be a Big, Big Crowd that I want to be a part of. You’ll find it in Revelation Chapter 7, verses 9-17. Earlier John has heard the number of God’s servants that were sealed, 144,000. Now he looks and sees a great multitude that no man can count from all nations and tribes and peoples and languages (Rev. 7:4, 9).
Wait a minute, he heard 144,000 and now he sees more people than can be counted. What’s that all about? This is not the first time this has happened to John. He probably was as surprised as we are. There are several other places in the book of Revelation where John hears one thing, but when he looks to see what it is, it looks different. He hears a loud voice like a trumpet and turns around and sees Jesus walking by the seven candlesticks (Rev. 1:10-13). Later he hears the Lion from the tribe of Judah has overcome. When he turns to see the lion, he sees the Lamb as having been slain (Rev. 5:5-6). There is a pattern here. What he hears and what he sees are actually the same thing, even though they are described differently. At first glance the 144,000 and the great multitude might appear to be two different groups, but they are probably the same group in different situations. Many scholars have called these two groups, “The Church Militant” and “The Church Triumphant”. The 144,000 are organized for battle – the Lord’s army. The great multitude are celebrating victory in Jesus after the battle is over.
Who are these people?
Even so, John was still wondering who exactly this big crowd was. It’s a little funny that John doesn’t get to ask the question. One of the elders around the throne asks John, “Who are these people in white robes, and where did they come from?” As if John would know! So he quickly replies, “Sir, you know?!”
Yes, the elder does know and tells John, “These are the ones who came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” (Rev. 7:14).
Now here’s a question. Who in this world has never had any trouble or tribulation? Did Joseph have trouble? Did David have tribulation? Did the prophet Elisha or Queen Esther? All of these great men and women of God went through tribulation. Jesus’ disciples, without exception, experienced great trials and troubles. Jesus was very clear when he said, “In the world you shall have have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
While there will be a great tribulation at the end of time that will be like none other (Matt.24:21), it is also true that all people who stand in front of the throne of God will have experienced the tribulation of living on this world of sin and the trials of being in the greatest spiritual battle this universe has ever seen. The only way they will make it through is to be saved by the blood of Jesus, just like verse 14 says (Rev. 7:14).
No More Trouble!
Just like the blood of the lamb on the doorposts protected the Israelites from the last plague to fall upon Egypt, so Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross, protects all those who follow Him. No one will be saved except through the grace and mercy of Jesus. He died for our sins so that we may live forever with Him. Will you choose to give your life to Jesus today? If you do, He promises that when He makes a new Heaven and new earth for you, He will wipe all your tears away and there will be no more trouble (Rev. 7:17, 21:4).
I want to be in that Big, Big Crowd that bows down before our loving, merciful God and says, “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever!” (Rev. 7:12) They won’t be people that followed the crowd here on earth. They will be those who followed Jesus.
I hope to see you there!
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