Thoughts on the Passage
The third section of Revelation is “The Throne scene and the Seven seals” found in chapter 4 through 7. In this section of the art gallery, we see a picture of the throne of God at the beginning of chapter 4 and at the end of chapter 7. There is one big difference between the two pictures of the throne scene. In chapter 4, there are no people. In chapter 7, heaven is filled with people from every nation, tribe, language and people group. What causes the difference in the two throne scenes? It is the opening of the seven seals. When Jesus takes the scroll and opens the seven seals, it fills heaven with people from the nations.
The troubles of the world—and the troubles faced by the people of God—cause heaven to be filled.
God’s people in the churches of Revelation face terrible challenges, and the question they all ask is “Why must God’s people suffer like this?” and “What is the purpose of this suffering?” Jesus answers this question in this wing of the art gallery. The suffering causes people to look to God and seek forgiveness. If everything is going well, then the people will live their lives, but they will not seek God.
Jesus is saying to His Church, “My desire is to fill heaven; this will fill heaven. Can you be faithful in the midst of the difficulties? Can you speak my Word boldly to your world in the midst of these difficulties? If you do, then heaven will be filled!” When we see the end of the story, it is possible to get through the difficult times with a strong faith and bold testimony. Jesus, in His story about the end times, shares what it takes to fill heaven—going everywhere and bringing people to the wedding feast!
Father, in the middle of all the difficulties the churches faced, this question must have been on their lips often: “Why do Your people have to go through this suffering and when will it end?” In this portion of the gallery we see the answers. It is a tough answer. Yet it gives so much hope. All the effort that we face has a great outcome—heaven will be filled with people from the nations. That is a powerful picture that gives me hope. Too often I ask that the difficult times be taken away—when it is You that allows these times so that heaven is filled. So fill my heart with boldness; the challenges the world faces around me are exactly what are needed to fill heaven! The challenges I face are exactly what are needed to fill heaven. I do not understand why—just like the churches back then did not understand why. That is okay. I know that the nations will come to Jesus—that is what I want to see. In Jesus' name. Amen.