After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 7:9 – 12)

I need to do a reality check; I am assessing in my mind how large the known world was at this writing. And I have to wonder if this “great multitude” included the people and nations who had been enemies of Israel and Judah? Did it include Romans? Hittites? Gentiles? The term “no one could count” – does that literally or figuratively? Yes, beloved reader, I still struggle with the book of Revelation.

“Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” ( Verses 13 – 17)

I also wonder what the “great ordeal” was. The verse notes the “ordeal” as singular meaning one ordeal. I struggle here again. Does this mean that the “great multitude” endured the same “great ordeal”? It is hard for me to enter in to this writer’s vision. I remember even as a youth feeling off put by the book of Revelation. I can though appreciate that these who have washed their robes to whiteness are deserving of the honor, and see offering up praise to the Lamb as a reward for their endurance and victory.

I guess my biggest problem is that when I am in Heaven, I don’t JUST want to stand around forever praising. I have been since the time of my adult “conversion” desired to be a worker for the Divine. My idea of a reward and blessing is not to be included into a multitude so great that my individuality is lost. Do you think, beloved reader, that Heaven is a preset; or is their some latitude in what one’s Heavenly experience would be like? Remember, we are talking about eternity! I would hope and pray that after the endurance of life there would be an eternal existence that keeps one actively engaged. The bestowing of “creature comforts” like no thirst or hunger, no ultra bright light or heat, and no tears just seems lukewarm. I mean, I am no stranger to hardship, and have endured much so far in my life. I am not looking nor looking for a “soft” life in the life to come. I liken this scene from Heaven to an endless presence in a stadium constantly cheering. That’s just not for me.

Each of us, I guess, has their own idea of Heaven & utopia. I trust that the Divine who watches over our global community, and has done so since the beginning of time knows what is best for each of us in the world to come. May you endure, beloved reader, and receive the blessing and gift that is an apt reward for your endurance. Shalom & Selah!