Unveiling the Symbolism in Revelation

Chapter 7

By Ernie and Mary Kroeger

"After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree." (v.1)

By now we know that angels are messengers. John saw four angels, four corners and four winds. The number four in the scriptures symbolizes completeness - for example, "the four corners of the earth" has nothing to do with the shape of the earth, but rather it symbolizes the complete earth. This means that this message is for everyone, and must therefore be very important!

The angels were holding back the four winds of the earth. Why must every wind of the earth be held back? Since this book is a message wrapped in symbolism, these winds cannot refer to the wind that we feel when we go out on a blustery, stormy day. So what do the four winds of the earth typify?

The word wind comes from the Greek ANEMOS, and in Eph. 4:14 it is used of different kinds of teaching. "As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming." Doctrines are formed in the mind, and they influence our thinking and our actions. Teachings or doctrines that are formed in the natural mind do not come from God, for they are winds of the earth. Earth represents carnal or natural thinking.

Divine thinking comes from the Holy Spirit, and in Acts 2 we read the Spirit came as "a violent rushing wind." He leads us into all truth, and truth protects us from the lies inherent in the doctrinal winds of this earth. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit of truth, for truth is our protection.

"...no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree." The sea represents the mass of unregenerate people. The earth is higher than the sea, so the earth represents people who believe in God but still retain their carnal thinking.

Trees are used in the scriptures to represent both knowledge and people. In the garden there was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. In Psalm 1 David pictures the man who abides in the law of God as a tree planted by the waters. The wicked "are like chaff which the wind drives away." Chaff has no roots, so it is easily swayed and blown about with every wind of doctrine.

"And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, `Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads." (vv. 2-3)

Into this heavenly drama comes another angel from the rising of the sun. This messenger comes from the Giver of light, so the message he brings has authority. Just as the sun brings light into this world, so Christ brings light into us. This book is about the unveiling of Christ to us and in us, and here we see a spiritual rising up of Christ in His people. This messenger declares that Christ's bondservants have to be sealed on their foreheads before the seventh seal is broken.

A seal speaks of ownership. A seal was like a signature; it had the backing of the person's whole character. In the East your signet ring was your credit card. This signature ring left an imprint, and that was as valid as your signature. If someone wanted to buy something and pick it up later, he would have his seal put on it. That was like a "sold" sign; it now had a new owner. Many slaves had the seal of their owner stamped on their foreheads. They were owned and they were sealed. It was the master's responsibility to care for them, so there was security in it. There was also protection, because he would make sure that no one else would get you.

In this heavenly drama the bondservants of Christ are sealed with the seal of the living God! God claims ownership of this company of people, saying, "You are Mine. I am going to look after you, feed you and protect you!" Vouching for that seal is the complete essence of God! What is that seal? Eph. 1:13 has the answer. "...having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise." The Holy Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are born of God.

There is no power greater than God's power! Actually, He is the only power! Every other power comes to us in deception, so it is based on lies - and lies have no foundation. We are protected by the power of God through faith, and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit. (1 Pe. 1:5; 2 Cor. 1:22) Knowing this eradicates all fear of the power any enemy could exert over us! Being sealed on the forehead symbolizes that our thinking is protected. Bondservants are being protected from the wrong doctrines that flood the thinking of those who are dwelling on the earth and in the sea.

When people reject God and do not honor Him as God, He gives them over to their own ideas. Rejection of truth automatically causes participation in lies. The natural mind is filled with lies against God, so the only way to get out of our dilemma is to believe God's revelation of Himself. If we reject that, we will become entrenched and institutionalized in our lies; we will become enslaved by every wind of doctrine! Subjugation to our own lies breeds every kind of evil, and the consequences of this evil become a judgment against us. We know that God's judgments are always according to truth!

God wants us to know that nothing can happen to us unless He gives the okay! The scriptures give us many examples of this. The flood of water in Noah's time could not come until Methuselah (meaning spoiling of death), died. His name carried the meaning that when he died, the judgment of God would come. Isn't it interesting that he lived longer than any man has ever lived - nearly one thousand years! What a graphic picture of God's patience! After Methuselah died, the flood of waters was released. Another example is Israel's release from Egyptian bondage. They were released on the very day God had foretold! God's timing is always perfect! When the time was fulfilled, Jesus came!

"And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed." (vv.4-8)

John heard a number; he didn't see the number. Numbers in this book are symbolic of a truth, not arithmetic. So here is a truth that is summed up in the term 144,000. It brings us back to the number 12, for 12x12=144. By now we know that 12 is the number of government, so 12x12 is the witness of God's government; it is a witness of God's government in earthen vessels. What an awesome thing for God to place His government in us, that we may be witnesses of the change His rule has produced in us!

And 10 is the perfection of number. We first count to 10, and at 10 we start all over again. Here we have 10x10x10  3 tens. 3 is the number of God, so this tells us that in His divine government there is perfection and completion. The number 144,000 is designed to give us a concept. It tells us that God has perfect control; He has His chosen mature sons (from the Greek HUIOS) to be the firstfruit of a tremendous harvest. These are sons who can hear the Spirit!

This is followed by a listing of those who were sealed. Who are the ones who were sealed? If they are Israel according to the flesh, then this is quite a messed-up list. Wherever there is a list of natural Israel in the Bible, it always begins with the firstborn. So it should begin with Reuben because he was the firstborn. But it doesn't begin with Reuben; he is placed second. We also note that Ephraim is left out. That is almost like leaving Ontario out when the provinces of Canada are listed. Ephraim was a very important tribe, for Israel was often called Ephraim. It was almost synonymous with Israel, and it was left out! So was the tribe of Dan! Obviously, this is not a listing of natural Israel.

Now let's look at those who replaced the tribes that were excluded, for we still need a total of 12 tribes. Here the tribe of Levi is included. Levi did not receive an inheritance, for his was the priestly tribe, and God was his inheritance. So he was not listed among the twelve tribes. Next, we are surprised to find Joseph listed as a tribe. There was no tribe of Joseph. Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and these sons received his inheritance. In this listing is the tribe of Joseph and the tribe of his son Manasseh; Joseph is added and Ephraim is left out. If this is a list of the tribes of natural Israel, it is very confusing. Reuben is in the wrong place; Ephraim, the most important tribe next to Judah, is left out; so is Dan; the tribe of Levi is included; so also is Joseph, who wasn't a tribe.

How can we interpret this correctly? In Romans 9 Paul carefully explains that there is a difference between natural Israel (according to the flesh) and spiritual Israel (according to the promise). All the differences that we have just pointed out show us that this is a spiritual company of people. To understand who this company is, we go back to Genesis 29 and 30 where about thirty verses are devoted to describe the reason why the mothers gave their child that special name. Those names have a tremendous significance! We need to understand that the events surrounding the birth of those boys were arranged by God, so that in the meaning of these names we would hear the whole gospel, and receive an insight into the nature of the children of God.

In Jesus Christ we have the fulfillment of the Old Testament picture. Christ is now our salvation! The completeness of our salvation has to be described perfectly. This helps us to understand why one tribe has to be left out here and there, and another has to take its place. This has to be a correct picture, so only those who fit the picture can be in it.

The first on this list of tribes is the tribe of Judah. In the previous chapters we saw that Christ is the Lion who comes from the tribe of Judah. The firstborn of this company of people according to the promise, is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The word Israel is important. It means "the prince that prevails with God". To prevail with God we have to be conquered by Him. Only those who are subject to Him can prevail with Him. So this is a company of those who have laid down their own will, and are submitted to His will. Their Lord is the Lion of the tribe of Judah!

Judah means "praise"; it is a company of people who are praising the Lord because they have been redeemed, not with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Lamb. (1 Peter 1:18) In the Old Testament, the parents of the firstborn had to pay redemption money to the Levites, because, in lieu of giving their firstborn to God, the entire tribe of Levi had been chosen to serve God. This tribe represented the firstborn of all the tribes of Israel. The idea of firstborn to an Israelite would be synonymous with the idea of being redeemed. Judah heads this company that has been redeemed with the precious blood of the Lamb!

The second name is Reuben. The name Reuben means "Behold, a son!" So this company represents the sons of God. In Romans 8:14 we read, "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." They are people who hear the Spirit and follow Him! They do not follow the dictates of their emotions, nor do they follow strange doctrines.

The third one is called Gad. Gad means "a great company". The Lion of the tribe of Judah is bringing a great company of many sons to glory. We often feel so alone in our desire for truth. It feels as though others are satisfied with their doctrines and traditions, and we alone are left. We feel like Elijah, who thought he was the only one left of those who followed the Lord. And God said, "I still have 7000 that have not bowed the knee to Baal." Things are not what they seem to be; there is Gad - a great company, a great troop of people! God has His complete number of people; He has everything under control. We don't see this great company, but we receive the message that Gad represents!

Asher is the fourth tribe mentioned here. Asher means "happy or joy-filled". This great company of sons praises God and is filled with unspeakable joy. "In Your presence is fullness of joy." (Ps. 16:11) In the presence of the Lord there is joy forevermore! This joy cannot be obtained by seeking "fun" experiences. It is only found in Christ!

The fifth tribe named is Naphtali. Naphtali means "to wrestle and overcome". One of the key words to the churches is "he who overcomes." This is a company of overcomers! They overcome their carnal thinking. They overcome all that is represented by the beast, the dragon, the woman clothed in scarlet, and every false thing that is on the face of the earth.

The sixth tribe mentioned is Manasseh, Joseph's son. Manasseh means "forgetting". Joseph had experienced a lot of grief. His brothers had sold him as a slave; later he was falsely accused and put in prison as a slave. Finally, after 13 years of misery, he became the ruler of Egypt, married an Egyptian woman, and Manasseh was born. He said, "Finally I have forgotten all my troubles, and I have forgotten all the ill that was ever done to me." Manasseh is placed in this list because these are people who have a gloriously short memory in regard to the misery and bondage they formerly endured. They have forgotten all the nasty, spiteful and unpleasant things that have been done to them! What a wonderful company of overcomers!

The seventh one is Simeon. Simeon means "hearing". This is a company of people whose ears are open to hear what the Spirit is saying. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice." Hearing and obeying the Spirit is the solution to all our problems - as we learned in chapters 2-3! This company of people has ears to hear what the Spirit is saying.

Hearing ears are associated with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Although Jesus was born of the Spirit, He followed the Law until He was baptized in water, and the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove. After that He was led by the Spirit, and only did what the Spirit showed Him to do. Before His baptism He did not do any miracles. The gifts of the Holy Spirit come with the Spirit. If the carnal mind is not subject to the mind of Christ, the gifts of the Spirit will be used to glorify man. This emphasizes the importance of hearing the voice of the Spirit and obeying Him.

The eighth one is Levi. Levi means "joined". These are people who are joined to the Lord. Jesus prayed, "That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us." What an awesome truth! In the Holy Spirit we are joined to the Creator of the universe! This glorious truth frees us from our old thinking - the thinking that we are still joined to the Adam man. We have become one spirit with Christ so that we can be an expression of the Lamb on earth.

The ninth tribe mentioned is Issachar. His name means "a price was paid". It's a company that has been redeemed with a price. Every member of this clan has been redeemed with the blood of Jesus Christ. He paid a price for our redemption - that is, our redemption cost Him a lot of suffering and pain, even death on the cross! It has absolutely nothing to do with Christ paying the devil some ransom money so we could be released from his grip - as is being taught by some Bible teachers.

The tenth tribe is Zebulun, which means "a dwelling place". A dwelling place is more than a hotel or a resort area that is enjoyed for a short season. It is the place where we live. This company is the dwelling place of the Spirit of God. In Eph. 2:22 we read, "In whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." Peter also said, "You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood..." (1 Pe. 2:5) Christ dwells in us, and we dwell in Him!

The eleventh tribe mentioned is Joseph. Joseph means "fruitful". Incidentally, Jacob referred to the meaning of Joseph's name, when he blessed him. He said that Joseph would be so fruitful that the boughs or branches of his tree would hang over the wall into his neighbor's yard. He was speaking prophetically. The fruitfulness would go over the wall to the Gentile land, and even the Gentiles would be included in this fruitfulness. So this company of people includes both Jews and Gentiles! They are people who have the Spirit of God, and the fruit of the Spirit is evidenced in their lives!

Number 12 is Benjamin. The name Benjamin is very interesting and very important. He was the second son of Rachel. Rachel was dearest to the heart of Jacob, and he wanted her to have children. She had Joseph, and at his birth she said, "May the Lord give me another son." But in giving birth to Benjamin, she died. In the agony and pain of childbirth, she named this child Benoni, meaning "son of my deep sorrow". However, Jacob would not accept that name, and changed the name to Benjamin, meaning "son of my right hand".

What a perfect picture of the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Benoni Benjamin. He was first the Son of sorrow, and after His resurrection He became the Son of the Father's right hand. "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear." (Acts 2:33) The fact that He has poured forth the Holy Spirit is the proof that He is the Son of the Father's right hand.

The Holy Spirit is the living guarantee within us that God owns us, and He will take care of His own property. In this world we walk by faith in the midst of economic struggles, natural disasters, injustices, etc. We don't understand all that God is doing, but we walk in the middle of it - unscathed! We feel the hurt and pain, but we know who rules! Our spirit remains whole, knowing that everything is under His control!

This great firstfruit company is described by these twelve names! They are sealed with the Holy Spirit! 144,000 is not a mathematical number; it is the description of spiritual Israel - the people of promise. They are a people of faith, and this company includes people from all nations and all walks of life! They are a people who are governed by God through the Holy Spirit. This company is perfect and complete.

Now we understand why Dan and Ephraim are not mentioned. Dan means "judged". The new creation man is not judged. All things are made new! Christ is the believer's righteousness, and His righteousness is perfect. It does not receive judgment. There is no condemnation in Christ. Ephraim means being "fruitful in the land of my affliction". We no longer belong to Egypt - the world. We have been transferred to the kingdom of God! We are living in a new kingdom, and are under a new government!

"After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, `Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'" (vv.9-10)

Here John saw an innumerable multitude before the throne. Picture this glorious scene. A vast multitude, beyond our imagination and comprehension, from every tribe and nation, all in white robes, waving palm branches and unitedly proclaiming the glory of God's salvation! What an awesome scene!

Notice that this great multitude is before the throne - not on the throne with the Lamb and the four living creatures and the elders. God has a place for every believer: those who are not on the throne reigning with Him, are before the throne, praising, worshiping and serving Him!

This multitude is clothed in white robes. White comes from the Greek LEUKOS, and it carries with it the idea of brightness. The white robes symbolize the righteousness of Christ! They are a redeemed people! They have been delivered out of sin and death; they have received life and joy. They have not yet matured in Christ in all things, so they do not qualify to sit on the throne and rule with Him. But they have a place before the throne!

This vast multitude is praising God and worshiping Him - the palm branches represent victory and worship. When Jesus rode victoriously into Jerusalem, the multitudes were waving palm branches and praising the Lord. He entered the city as the Son of David, the victorious King!

I believe this great multitude represents the harvest, and the former represents the firstfruit company - the overcomers, the royal priesthood. In v.15 it states that this great multitude was before the throne, serving God in the temple. In the imagery of the temple service, there was the high priest (Aaron), then the priesthood (the sons of Aaron) and the Levites (the progeny of Levi who were not descendants of Aaron). The Levites helped the priests in the performance of their duties. This vast company is serving the Lord. (v.15)

According to current translations, they are saying, "Salvation to our God," This is a strange saying, for our God does not need salvation; He is our salvation! Inaccurate translations give us wrong ideas. The text actually says, "Our salvation is of God who sits on the throne and the Lamb." The word "to" has been inserted. God and the Lamb are one; they are both on the throne!

"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, saying, `Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.'" (vv.11-12) The "forever and ever" should read "into the ages of ages."

In chapters 4 and 5 we have already learned who the elders and the four living creatures are. So here we have a picture of what is going on around the throne. There is worship and praise! In the worship of God, nothing of self can enter in! That is why the Adam man cannot worship God, for he worships self. Only the new creation man can worship God. Jesus said, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (Jn. 4:24) Whenever worship of God is corrupted by self and selfish desires, it is no longer true worship! To worship God we need to worship in spirit and in truth!

In Matthew 7 we notice that prophets, workers of miracles and exorcists were denounced by Jesus because they wanted to enter the kingdom on the basis of their works. They drew attention to their works, and desired some of the credit even though they had done them in the Lord's name. Their works had not come out of an intimate relationship with the Lord. Pride had entered in. The carnal mind is ever present to desire some honor! People can hide their inner desire for honor, but the eyes of the Spirit pierce every mask and all externalism!

In the throne room of God we recognize His government. He is the source of everything we have! He is our salvation, wisdom, righteousness, power and might! All honor, blessing and glory is His, and all praise belongs to Him! This is the worship He is worthy of!

"Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, `These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?' I said to him, `My lord, you know.' And he said to me, `These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.'" (vv.13-15)

To make sure that John understands who these people are, and from where they have come, some questions are addressed to John. John simply answers, "You know, lord." It was beyond John's ability to explain anything! When God asks us some questions, they are not for Him to receive information; they are to get our attention so we will listen to His explanation. After God asked Job question after question, He had Job's full attention, and Job recognized his true place in his relationship with God!

Those who are clothed in white robes have come out of great tribulation. The word "tribulation" comes from the Greek THLIPSIS, meaning "trouble, affliction or pressure". Have you ever had some great trouble in your life? Our troubles and afflictions come in many forms. They can be physical, mental or spiritual. They may be the result of our unrighteous conduct, accidents, hatred, persecution, scorn, etc., or they may result from the fire of the Holy Spirit consuming our dross. The important part is that these people are wearing robes of righteousness.

"They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." This statement puzzled me for many years. In my experience, blood left a stain on clothes - it certainly did not clean the garments! How could blood make them sparkling white? The explanation, that all things are possible with God, did not satisfy me. I put that in the same category as the explanation given a child that was not familiar with flat roofs, but only with steep slanted roofs. When it asked how David could walk on the roof of a house, it was told that nothing is impossible with God. There must be a better answer! And there is!

The correct translation of Lev. 17:11 provides the clue. "The soul is in the blood." Life is not in the blood; life is in the Spirit! The blood symbolizes the soul. Therefore the soul of Christ cleanses us from all sin. The soul is our sense of being. Christ's sense of being was free from all sin. He only wanted to do what the Father showed Him to do; He delighted to do the will of the Father! As our sense of being takes on the same sense of being Christ had, we will be cleansed from all sin! We too will only desire to do the will of the Father! Obedience to the Father's will cleanses us and keeps us!

"For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple!" In order to have the privilege of standing before the throne of God, they have to have their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb. This also qualifies them to serve God in the temple. The fact that they serve day and night tells us that there is light and darkness, so this cannot refer to life after physical death. It has to refer to our life here on earth.

They serve God in His temple. There are two Greek words, HIERON and NAOS, that are translated as "temple". HIERON refers to a physical temple and NAOS to the temple of our body. "Or do you not know that your body is a temple (NAOS) of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God...?" (1 Cor. 6:19) In the book of Revelation the word NAOS is always used, so we know that it does not refer to a physical temple.

We now come to a concept that is difficult for most of us to grasp. When we hear the word "body" we naturally think of our body of flesh. But does the Holy Spirit dwell in flesh? After we are born again and are baptized into the body of Christ, we become members of His body. His body is a spiritual body, and we cannot visualize it because we have never seen it.

The word "body" does not always refer to a physical body; it can also be used to describe a mass, such as a body of water. Christ is the truth! He cannot dwell in lies and deception. Since Christ is the truth, His body must also be a body of truth. When we are baptized into His body we are baptized into truth. Our spiritual life is a pilgrimage into truth - the Holy Spirit leading us, and revealing truth to us. To dwell in truth we have to dwell in Christ, and let the mind of Christ rule over the carnal mind. In 1 Cor. 2:16 we read that we have the mind of Christ.

The Holy Spirit dwells in the new man, that is, in the mind of Christ; He does not dwell in the old man, that is, in the carnal mind. He dwells in in the Christ man. We are being built into a spiritual temple (NAOS), individually and corporately! Our service to God takes place in this temple.

"He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them." This picture comes from the Old Testament. The cloud that covered the Israelites in their travel through the wilderness signified the presence of God. His abiding presence was like a canopy over them, and led and directed them in their travels. Today His presence dwells within us in the Holy Spirit. God wants us to be conscious of His glorious presence at all times! If we dwell in His presence we will be God-conscious instead of devil- conscious. His presence is our protection! Difficulties cannot remove His protection! When we dwell under the heavenly tabernacle or canopy that God has spread over us, our focus is on His sovereignty, and the fact that nothing can touch us without His divine permission! Our spirit is preserved intact even when our physical body is destroyed!

"They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." (vv.16-17)

The Lamb in the midst of the throne will feed them! This does not refer to natural food like hamburgers and French fries. Our inner longing for righteousness, peace and joy, is constantly being satisfied because the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and He is our supply! If we look to people for our supply, we will be disappointed. Our supply comes to us in the Holy Spirit through faith! It does not come as a reward for any works of righteousness that we have done, but it is ours through faith alone! The Lamb says He will feed us! His food consists of truth and life! Let's feed and believe, and lead a healthy Christian life!

"Nor will the sun beat down on them." Both light and heat come from the sun, and we need them to survive. However, He is speaking of a spiritual truth in this passage. When we have Christ, we have light! He has become our internal supply! We don't need external light (earthly philosophy) to guide us, because we have an internal light (Christ) to show us the way!

The cloud that covered Israel in the desert protected them from the heat of the sun, and symbolizes God's protection of us. Just as the cloud protected the Israelites from the heat that was too intense for them, so the Holy Spirit protects us. Heat is needed to refine silver and gold, and the fire of the Holy Spirit is needed in our lives to purify our walk. But God watches over us, and He won't allow that heat to destroy us. The fire of the Holy Spirit is always redemptive!

Why do we still need to be purified, for we are born of the Spirit? Everything that is born of the Spirit is pure and therefore does not need purification, but our walk needs to be purified. Paul spoke to this issue in Romans 7. He said, "So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh." Nothing good dwells in the carnal mind! Whenever we sin, we are being ruled by the carnal mind - not by the mind of Christ. The process by which we learn to be ruled by the mind of Christ, we call purification. This is a purification of our walk in Christ; it is not a purification of who we are in Christ. The new person that we are is completely righteous!

The Lamb is our shepherd! Since He is also the center of the throne, He is our government. He governs us from within; His righteous government can be trusted implicitly, and His shepherding is perfect! He leads us to springs of living water! He doesn't only have one spring - He has many springs! How does that fit our doctrine that Christ is the spring of living water? Since His words are life, everyone who speaks His words becomes a spring of living water. We praise God for all who have spoken words of life to us, for they have become springs of living water to us!

"God shall wipe every tear from their eyes." In Rev. 5:4, John wept because there was no one worthy to open the seals. His tears were wiped away when he recognized that there was the Lion of the tribe of Judah who was worthy! He could loose the seals and redeem us! When we recognize that God has accomplished our redemption, there is no longer a need to weep!

Weeping and crying are the result of extremely unhappy emotions; smiling and laughing are the result of happy emotions. So here is a promise that all unhappy emotions will be done away with! This is not speaking of literal tears. We can still have tears of joy, disappointment, pain, etc., in the natural. This is a description of a spiritual state. In the knowledge that God is our sufficiency in every crisis of our life, we will not panic. We will retain an inner calm and walk in peace and security!

Previous: Chapter 6 | Revelation Index | Next: Chapter 8