Summary: Tough times can drain our hope. But there is more going on in reality than what we can see. The sure and certain promise of glorious worship in the presence of God with countless others encourages us to faithfully endure hardships and share with others the hope we have been given.
Big Idea: Jesus helps us to keep calm and continue sharing His love, comfort and hope with a broken and dying world.
Ice-breaker question: Think of a time when you thought things were hopeless, but you found out later that they weren’t. What was that like for you?
Background: The entire book of Revelation is a vision given to John by Jesus. Written in an apocalyptic literary style, this book uses an abundance of rich symbolism to explain the unexplainable: the heavenly realities that parallel and infuse human history. Recorded to give hope and encouragement to those facing persecution and pressure to participate in pagan worship, the message of Revelation is, “Stand firm in your faith! There is much more going on around you than you know and you are playing a part in God’s plan of renewing and restoring all things through His Son, Jesus. There will be tough times for a while, but everything will be wonderful in the end.”
Read: Rev. 7:9-17
- What does the size of the crowd shown to John say about God and His plans for humanity in the life to come?
- What does the diversity of the crowd say about God and His love for human beings?
- Given these characteristics of God, what attitude ought we to have towards others, especially those who are different from us?
- The scene being described is like a liturgical worship service where humanity, represented in all its diversity, proclaims, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” and the angels and all other heavenly beings respond with, “Yes! It is true! Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Yes! It is true!!” If you were to write some words of praise for the salvation God has given you, what would you say?
- In verse 14, the “great tribulation” could be understood as referring to a specific time of persecution of Christians or the sum of all the sufferings of Christians throughout history. Either way, the result is the same. One day, that former suffering will be over and will be replaced by the glory of worshiping God with countless others in robes of righteousness made white by the blood of the Lamb, a reference to Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection. How does the promise of that future glorious worship give us hope when we suffer?
- What do you think it will be like to stand in God’s presence and serve Him?
- Verses 15 & 16 tell us that God will provide for us and protect us in the life to come. God is already doing that now in this life, but this passage implies that God’s protecting and providing care will be different then from what it is now. What might be some differences between God’s care for us now and His care for us in the life to come?
- Verse 17 tells us that the Lamb, Jesus, will be our shepherd. What does a shepherd do for their sheep? How does Jesus do that for us?
- Verse 17 also tells us that our Good Shepherd will lead us to streams of life-giving water. All living plants and animals need water for life, but the water being referred to here gives us eternal life with God that nothing, not even death, can take away from us. What does the gift of eternal life from and with God mean to you?
- This passage closes with the promise that God will wipe every tear from our eyes. Why does that promise give us comfort?
- How cane we share the hope and the comfort that we have been given with others so that crowd in heaven gets larger?
This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the message on Oct 28/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.