At Home with God!
Francis Bourdillon, 1864
"And he said to me: These are those who came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple — and He who sits on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun strike them, nor any heat. For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes!"
Happy, happy place! Happy, happy people! All happy — perfectly happy, happy forever! They are "before the throne of God" — they see Him — but they are not afraid, for He loves them — and they love Him.
They have no sin now to make them afraid — nor even the fear that they may sin — for they cannot sin now. All sin is gone forever! There is no such thing in that place — none in their hearts, none in any around them.
Are they afraid? No! They rejoice to be before the throne of God. To be with God is their happiness. Heaven itself would be no place of happiness to them, without God. To be with Him, to see Him face to face, to love Him perfectly, and to rejoice in His love to them — this is their eternal bliss! "Perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). They knew that in a measure before — but now they know it fully.
They are not idle there. They serve God. But that service is not like service on earth, in which there is usually difficulty and fatigue. Whatever God gives them to do — that they do. They love to do it — and they can do it; for He gives them both the will and the power. They are never unwilling, never tired, never weak. All that they have to do — they do with joy and gladness. Adoring and praising and singing and serving — it is all happiness.
"They serve Him day and night." They need no sleep. No one sleeps there. Indeed, there is no night, such as we have on earth; and probably "day and night" only means always, without leaving off, as we now leave off our work when night comes and we need sleep.
"In His temple." Not that we are to think there is any temple or church there, such as we have here below. Heaven will be all one great temple of God — and the saints will never leave it! But serving God "in His temple" seems to show what kind of service it is — nothing worldly, like work upon earth, but all holy and spiritual.
"And He who sits on the throne shall dwell among them." He will always be with them — and they will always be with Him. That is now their eternal home. They have arrived at the Father's house, of which Jesus spoke: "In My Father's house are many mansions. I am going to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). They have reached their Father's house now. They used often to think of it and perhaps to long for it — and now they have reached it, and they find it better than all their hopes!
Many of them were poor in this world — but they are not poor now. They used to suffer from hunger, perhaps — but now "they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more." They went through many hardships of different kinds — but all their hardships and troubles are over now! "Neither shall the sun strike them, nor any heat."
They have one who will take care of them and supply all their needs. "For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters." The Lamb — the Lamb of God — the Lord Jesus Christ, He will take care of them! He was slain for them, like a lamb — as an atoning sacrifice!
He will take care of them, like a shepherd. Nothing shall ever hurt them. "The good Shepherd" is with them. He will feed them — that is, He will give them all they need or desire. He will "lead them unto living fountains of waters" — that is, He will refresh them and cheer them and make them eternally happy.
They are safe in the fold now — the Heavenly fold. They had sorrows upon earth, perhaps many and great sorrows — but they will never sorrow more. They used often to weep — but they will never weep again, for "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Not a tear will they ever shed — not a sorrow will ever distress their hearts — not one painful thought of past trouble will come to interfere with their perfect happiness. God Himself will comfort them. God Himself will dry their tears. God Himself will make them happy.
How did they get to that blessed place? Not by their own goodness, their own holiness, their own sufferings, their own patience. Not by anything whatever of their own. They "washed their robes — and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God!" Not one of them got there in any other way. Christ was their Savior. He redeemed them by His blood — and they through grace, believed and were saved. There is no other way to Heaven. He said Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life — no man comes unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6).
He is the way for us all — the only way. If ever we would join those blessed ones above — if ever we would stand before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in our hands — then we too must wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb! We must cast away all self-righteous hopes and go to Jesus as our Savior — mourning for our sins, feeling our lost estate, and placing our whole hope and trust in Him who died upon the cross. He Himself has said, "Him that comes to Me — I will never cast out!" John 6:37
"My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish — ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:27-28
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!" Romans 8:35-39