Our readings in Revelation give a description of the climax of human history – we read of visions, largely symbolic, picturing God’s judgements. It is a time for opening “the book of life” (3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27). The seventh and only other reference to “the book of life” is in Philippians (4:3). What blessings are in store for those He counts, by His grace, as righteous but the opposite for the others. There is no reference to any third group, it is clear we cannot remain neutral!

We read today that John looked and saw “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’” (7:9-10). “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” (verse 17).

Jesus is the Lamb and we read in John’s Gospel 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 7:38). 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 4:14). We can understand this kind of symbolic language.

One would like to ignore the other side of the picture, but we cannot. 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” coming on 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 …” (9:20,21). We noted with interest that in the margin of the NKJV Bible sorceries is given the meaning of drugs! The things some people take today creates a form of insanity. 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 and have our foreheads “sealed”, having established an enduring relationship with our Saviour.