Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev 7:13–14)
They’re countless. They’re like the sand on the beach, the stars in the night sky. They’re Abraham’s promise fulfilled. In fact, he’s there, too. They’re “a thousand thousands.” (Dan 7:10) They’re “ten thousand times ten thousand.” (Dan 7:10) They’re countless—”a great crowd that no one can number. But they’re not nameless, faceless.
You know them. Well, some of them. You know their names. You know their faces. You know them. They know you. They’re your family members, your friends, but they’re also your brothers and sisters in Christ. They’re your fellow baptized. They trusted in the Lamb slain for them, they were given the white robe of His righteousness, they were washed, they were purified by the blood of the Lamb. Now, they are those “who have come out of the great tribulation” of this life. You know that about them. But you also know them, and because of what you know or maybe in spite of what you know about them, you love them.
But more important than you knowing them, or them knowing you is that the Lord knows them. John doesn’t quite know who they are, the elder knows who they are, but the Lord knows them, knows you, too. They’re His saints, His holy ones. You’re a saint, too. The Lord sanctifies you, He holies you, He “saints” you. He’ll also bring you through “the great tribulation” of life to Himself in heaven.
It might be “a great multitude that no one can number,” but they’re not nameless, faceless. They aren’t indistinguishable to the Lord. He knows them. He names them. He saves them. He “saints” them, holies them, sanctifies them. You, too!
THE LORD KNOWS HIS SAINTS AND SAVES THEM.
((I. The Lord knows all His saints.))
The Lord really does know His saints. He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows those who’ve gone before you better than you know them, better than they know themselves. And in spite of all that He knows about you and them, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)
And so now the Lord “knows” us. He’s made Himself right with you because of what Christ, the Lamb of God, has done for all of us. The Lord knows those who are His, and doesn’t know those who aren’t. He knows His saints. He knows them by name. In fact, He “names” them. He gives them a name—His name—in the waters of Holy Baptism. There He “names” them, “saints” them, holies them—you, too. There He delivers the “white robe,” there the “washing,” there the “blood of the Lamb” delivered to you.
That’s what true. That’s what’s knowable. You don’t just know it. You trust it. Trust Him, what He’s done for you. The Lord knows you. He will never leave you or forsake you. That’s His baptismal promise to all His saints. When life is more “great tribulation” than not, when anniversaries of “great tribulation” roll around again, we doubt that promise. But the promise stands firm. Jesus died and rose. You died and rose with Him in Baptism. His robe is yours. You’ve been washed. He loves you, and nothing can change that. Confess your doubt, your faithlessness, but not even doubt undoes His Font-delivered promises, as Paul says, “If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him…if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim 2:11, 13)
((II. The Lord saves all His saints.))
The Lord certainly knows His saints, and so that means He also saves them—all of them. THE LORD KNOWS HIS SAINTS AND SAVES THEM, after all. That’s just who the Lord is and what He does for you. Salvation is His and His alone. Not no one, not nothing saves you but Him, His Son, the Lamb, dying and rising for you and for all. It’s why the angels, the archangels, the four living creatures praise Him. “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
He really does save them because His blood is for them. He shed it for His saints to make their robes white and pure forever. No tribulation, no sin, no death can ruin the garment that’s given, washed, and whitened by the Lord. He shed His blood for all and for them, and so He also delivers His blood to them, to His saints—all His saints. That means you, too.
The washing, the blood was delivered to the saints before the exited the great tribulation. It’s why they can endure the great tribulation of life. In fact, it’s how the Lord Himself brings them through. It’s how He shepherds them. It’s how He leads and guides them to the springs of living water. You, too! How much more you today, and every time we celebrate His Supper. The Lord leads you to the stream of blood that flowed from His side. That you might receive His body and blood to continually save, sanctify, “saint” you.
They’re countless—”a great crowd that no one can number. They’re “a thousand thousands.” They’re “ten thousand times ten thousand.” But they’re not nameless, faceless. You know them (some of them), and they know you. But more important than that is that the Lord knows them, and He knows you, too. THE LORD KNOWS HIS SAINTS AND SAVES THEM.
The Lamb’s blood shed for them. Given to them. They were washed in it, Fed with it. You are, too. That’s how the Lord “saints” people, “saints” you. He holies you with His holiness and righteousness. He baptizes you. He feeds you with His own body and blood. Now, you’re not nameless, faceless. Not to the Lord ever.
You’re in on what those who’ve gone before you are already in on. They’re saints. You’re a saint, too. They’re in eternal life—in the resurrection. You’re in on that, too. You have to be. The Lord knows you. He’s “sainted” you, saved you. Of course He has. Because THE LORD KNOWS HIS SAINTS AND SAVES THEM.