Beth Moore - After This I Looked - Part 2
I want you to do something with me. I want you to turn to Galatians chapter 3. Galatians, so you're in Revelation. Don't lose it 'cause that's our text for this evening, but I want you to go back much earlier in your New Testament. Find Galatians, sit on 3 for just a second, and then what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna go to Genesis chapter 12:2-3 'cause I pray that one of the things that God does this evening with us, I'm always and forever hoping that somebody among us is brand new to Bible study and somebody who's just really never gotten a taste of it, and that something happens, if they just go, like something clicks and they go, "I wanna study this for the rest of my life". "Because in Christ," Colossians says, "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge".
I've said so many times I love the fact that when God described the Promised Land through Moses to the people, when he described what it would be like, he said, "And there will be copper to dig out of the hills," and I just love the thought of it because I don't want my copper laying up on top of the grass. I love digging for stuff in the Scriptures. I love the process of studying. I love discovery. I love going back and forth until something clicks and you think you have got to be kidding. This is so gorgeous, I cannot bear it. Just the pure beauty of it. I want you to leave tonight with confidence that the Word is so beautifully and perfectly put together, because what he's doing, what you're seeing a glimpse of in Revelation chapter 7, is what he promised from the very beginning, and it's a promise he is keeping.
Now, all the way back and you're in Galatians, but I am going to tell you what's in Genesis 12, verses 2 and 3, this is when God calls out Abram. Now this is really, really important because this is when he's gonna call out a people for himself through which to bless the rest of the world. And he says to him, in the call of God to Abram, he says: "Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father's house to the land I will show you". And he says to him in verse 2: "I will bless you," and he says to him in verse 3: "And I will make you a blessing". In other words, and it says, and I'm quoting here: "all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you".
So you need to know that from the very beginning, like, were the Gentiles an afterthought? Are you kidding me? It's in Genesis 12. From the very beginning he is pulling out a nation so that through this one nation, and we see in Revelation chapter 7, and through that tribe Judah that is named first, through this one nation, all the globe will be blessed, that every tribe, every tongue, every nation, of those who will believe, will receive that blessing. Keep that in mind, and now let's look at Galatians. Galatians chapter 3, verses 7 and 8, I love this so much, I love it so much. It says and this is Paul talking to the Galatians. He says: "You know, then, that those who have faith, these are Abraham's sons. Now the Scripture saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and proclaimed the gospel ahead of time to Abraham, saying, 'All the nations will be blessed through you.'"
The Word of God is laid out exactly like it is supposed to be. The plan has not departed one iota, not one. Every promise God has made, God will keep. And so, he's saying here, he says it in 19: "Consequently," this is still in Galatians 3. "Consequently, those who have faith are blessed with Abraham, who had faith". Goes on to say at the very end of 3 that, in verse 29: "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise". In other words, we all, every single person in here and every single person listening or viewing, if we have faith in Christ, we are heirs of Abraham. We are the fulfillment in part of the promise made all that time ago in Genesis chapter 12, verses 2 and 3. So it's imperative to see that lined up right next to one another in Revelation 7, are you all tracking with me?
In Revelation chapter 7, what is he doing here? He's talking about the sealing off of what's going on in earth, of the promise that he has brought through that nation, and then he takes it immediately over into this scene in the throne room of God with every tongue and tribe and nation. Nothing is accidental about that. This was the promise made to Abraham. So y'all, the whole storyline from Genesis to Revelation, my very favorite part, if we could have done a series instead of just doing one evening, I'll tell you what I would have wanted it to be. Where we could look and see every single time something in Revelation ties back or echoes what was originally in Genesis, because it's perfection. It's perfection. The paradise of God. Everything from the beginning of Scripture, all the way from Genesis chapter 1 to Revelation 22, everything about it has been God coming to dwell with humanity so that humanity could come and dwell with him, those who believe. Anybody getting that with me?
From the very beginning. So he creates the heavens and the earth, he plants a garden, he puts man in it, he's gonna bring woman from that man, and what he's going to do then, they are created in the image of God. And what do you see? Genesis chapter 3, he just, like, walks among them in the garden. So the garden is on the globe. It's on planet Earth. But God's, just like, chilling with them, just chilling with them. Just walking with them. Because he created them so that he could walk with them so that they could walk with him. He came to be with them on Earth so that then they would be with him in the everlasting and the eternal new heavens and the new earth. He's doing exactly, laid out from Genesis to Revelation, the plan of salvation and redemption, just exactly as he said he would. Came to them in the garden, dwelled among them in the tabernacle, then the temple, then he said during the period of time where this marvelous moment where God is showing the prophet Ezekiel that the city, this is not gonna sound very marvelous.
The marvelous part's coming in just a moment. The city of Jerusalem is gonna be destroyed. The temple will be destroyed. It's been so defiled by now, that it's just, it's an absurdity before God. And so, he shows Ezekiel that there's going to be this dispersing of all of these peoples, of his own people, a dispersing of them, and this will be the captivity. And what he's talking about there is that he says something. He uses some terminology, and some of the translations called, "I'll be a little sanctuary among you". In other words, "I'll go with you where you're going, and I will bring you back". And then, the next thing we know after the period of silence after those four centuries. The next thing we know is the Word is made flesh and dwelling among us, and the first time God in the flesh emits a sound from his mouth, it is the cry of an infant.
It's the most marvelous, mysterious, gorgeous plan. Then he ascends to heaven after he's been crucified and raised, and sends his Spirit. And then, he'll return and take us with him. All of it, same thing. There are a couple of things I'm hoping you take home with you after our lesson today. First one is, promises fulfilled. That's what we've been talking about. The God who made promises will keep them down to the last detail. I want you to see with me over the next couple of minutes the practice of worship in Revelation chapter 7, and I also want you to see before we leave this place the permanence of joy.
Now would you look with me back to 7:9, there's things I do not want you to miss. "After this I looked," John says, "and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb". If you like to write in your Bible, you need to circle the word "standing," because it is critical. So once you get it circled, let me show you why. Would you look back at the very end of chapter 6. The very end of chapter 6, it talks about all these, all the people who have not believed.
In verse 16 it says, I mean, they're just watching these catastrophic events and they're just calling out to the mountains: "Fall on us and hide us from the one seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come"! And it asks a question at the end of 6, do you see it? "And who is able to stand"? Well, every tribe, tongue, and nation before the throne of our God. We're meant to get a glimpse that they are standing because we are so present oriented, because that's the nature of humanity. So in the moment, so obsessed with the things of earth because we can see them and we can touch them, that we honestly think we will never get through this alive. And there we are, standing.
We are so present oriented, because that's the nature of humanity. So in the moment, so obsessed with the things of earth because we can see them and we can touch them, that we honestly think we will never get through this alive. And there we are, standing. There are glimpses of this in Scripture. You've seen it. It's repeated over and over, right there in Ephesians chapter 6, verse 10, when he says, "Stand therefore and take up the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand. Withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand". Over and over, stand, stand, stand, stand. Through the New Testament, "stand firm, stand firm, stand firm, stand firm".
And really, the idea of it is that we will stand, this is what we're meant to do, until we drop and go home. Anybody get what I'm saying to you? That's how this ends. We stand firm in Christ, forgive me for being blunt, 'til we drop dead and then we stand before the throne. There we are. You're gonna be standing. You may not feel like you are, but you really are going to be found standing. Can somebody say to somebody not far from, "You're gonna be standing". If you're in Christ, you're gonna be standing. Standing before the throne. And it says, I love this because it tells us that "they're clothed in white robes and they have palm branches in their hands".
Now these palm branches are extremely, extremely symbolic. This would go all the way back, this is drawing them back, this was something that the Israelites would have completely understood because seeing those palm branches, it was representative to them of the feast of tabernacles and I want you to understand that palm branches represented two things. They represented festivity and victory, both. Festivity and victory. They were festive. I mean, they would hold those palm branches and they would just wave them before the Lord, just wave them. This was one of the feasts, one of the annual feasts, a really, really big feast. In fact, it sometimes was called by the definite article, "The" feast, so it was talking about, and it was the time of the feast. That was the feast of Tabernacles. That was the one where they'd used the palm branches.
Here's what's so cool about it. The feast is also called not just the feast of Tabernacles, but the feast of ingathering. And that's what we're supposed to not miss in the passages, is that right there in Revelation chapter 7, it's the ingathering of the redeemed, the people who have called upon Christ and received so great a salvation from him through the cross. These are people, this is the ingathering of every tribe, every tongue, every nation, at the feast of the Lord. And what it was doing, it was looking back to the faithfulness of God in the wilderness when the children of Israel just moved through the wilderness in just temporary shelters.
And so, after that, they commemorated it, still commemorate it if they're orthodox or even conservative. They'll sometimes do it out in their backyard now. They'll build some kind of a little shelter where they go out for the evening. Sometimes they may sleep out there. And different ways that they will celebrate that particular feast, but it's huge. It was just absolutely huge to the Jewish people and it was not meant to be deprivation. It was meant to show that they were always under the shelter of God, that he is a God who sees us through. I love that particular festival. I mean, it was to be rejoiced in. It was, I mean, there was, like, dancing with this ingathering. Be the ingathering of the harvest, it was also the ingathering of the harvest of souls. And there would be great joy, great celebration, and it included family and in Deuteronomy 16, if you look at it, "servants, widows, orphans, Levites, sojourners, everything, everyone," it said, was welcome.
Notice with me in verses 13 through 15, it says, and if you drop down because it says that "one of the elders asked John, 'Who are these people in white robes, and where did they come from?'" Notice that one is present and one is past. Who are they, the "are," who... what are they now? And then, the other question is, "Where did they come from"? Who were they then? Where did they come from? I just love the two because what it's showing is, the answer is going to be, 'cause, I mean, John says back to 'em and it reminds me of Ezekiel 37, do you remember when the Lord says to Ezekiel, he shows him a valley of dry bones and he says to Ezekiel, "Son of Man, can these bones live"? And I mean, Ezekiel's like, "Lord, you know, not me".
Same thing happening here. He's like, "You tell me". And so, he says, "I'll tell you who they are". He says, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. And for this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple". Okay, do you remember that it's like, "Who are they? And where did they come from"? Because "Who are they," okay, these are the ones sitting there in white, celebrating before their God, waving their palm branches. I mean, singing in a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to the Lord". And where did they come from? The terrible tribulation, terrible. We're meant to get the feeling of, "Wow, we're not even gonna be all bruised up".
Anybody know what I'm talking about? Anybody just feel like you're in a season, like, you're just getting a beating? I need to see somebody's hand. Anybody? I mean, anybody just asked lately, "When are things gonna let up? When"? Anybody just like, it's just going like a freight train, like we can't get a breath, like we thought we were gonna get a breath and we can't get a breath, after something's chasing us down. It's demoralizing, and yet I want you to know in the words of the apostle Paul, some of the last words he wrote in 2 Timothy, "We will all be delivered safely to the heavenly kingdom".
Can somebody just let that fall on you? That after all of this, we're gonna be safely delivered home and people are gonna go, like, "There in one piece. How can that even be? They're like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They've been in the fire and they don't smell like smoke. How is that possible"? Because God is faithful, that's how. God is faithful. And where we're going, there will not be a scratch on us. We're not going bloody and bruised. These people are rejoicing and praising loudly.
I thought it was so interesting that a number of my commentaries, I don't remember seeing this before. I guess I just picked up different commentaries this time, and it's been a couple of years since I've studied Revelation and I was so intrigued to see some of the commentators translate the great Tribulation, "the Great Ordeal". I can't even count the times lately that I've said, "God, what an ordeal". Y'all, too? Just like, "What an ordeal". They have, if we were looking at Paul's terminology, these that are gathered around the throne that he's looking at, have fought the good fight. I tell you, can you remember a time in your life when you just had that sense come all over you in worship that you had survived something that should have killed you? Have you ever had that thought? Where you're thinking, like, "Oh, I'm alive".
Where you even look at somebody and go, "You're not gonna believe this, but I'm actually alive. You don't know, I should be dead. This should, I was sure this would kill me. I was sure this would kill me". Oh, there's just nothing like it, of going, like, "What? What? I made it? We made it"? I don't know if there are some of you in the house tonight that perhaps have never been in this size corporate worship. I always wanna ask that question. "Who would be able to say, 'This is the biggest group of worshipers I've ever been in'"? Because as much as I love private worship, and I don't think that public worship means a whole lot if there's no private worship life, but as much as I love it, there's nothing quite like being in a throng of people and I mean, like, the music is up and loud, I mean, they're doing it with loud voices.
I love that. I love it to be loud enough where I can't hear myself singing, anybody? Anybody know what I'm talking about? I love that. I wanna just be able to, like, wail, clean out the lungs, you know what I'm saying? Just like holler some holy praise. And the music up loud enough to where it just blends in. There's nothing like it because just look, we were the dead and dying, and we could not be more alive.
Now, of course, you didn't miss that definite article, "The" great tribulation, the great tribulation. The Word of God talks about tribulation from the beginning. The word that you would see if you look up the word, sometimes even "trial" is a pressure, stress. Those words that are translated in various translations of the Scriptures, very often they're coming from the same Greek word or a form of that same Greek word. Even when Jesus said in John chapter 16 and verse 33 when he said, "In this world you will have trouble, but you need to take heart. I have overcome this world". Said from the very beginning, I mean from the get-go, from the get-go, there was going to be tribulation. There will not be a time on this planet in the kingdom agenda that there will not be tribulation for the saints. And tribulation for the globe. There just will be.