All Saints’ Observed 2022 (Rev 7, 2–17)

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“I heard the number of the sealed: 144,000 sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel.”

᛭ INI ᛭

(5. Oops!: You’ve got a list of those who’ve come out of the great tribulation.)

John heard names, too. In the vision he received from the Lord, he heard the list of names, heard their number. He saw them, too: “a great crowd that no one can number.” Faces to go with the names. Numbers of each name. The Lord’s list of saints, the 144,000.

You’ve got a list, too. A list of names and faces—of people!—who’ve “come out of the great tribulation.” Maybe they’re buried out there. Maybe they’re buried somewhere else. Their names emblazoned on rock, on stone, on dirt. Their lives and actions remembered only by you, or a distant, faint echo captured by an obituary. An echo that grows ever more faint each passing day and year.

Now, they have “departed to be with Christ, which is far better,” as Paul says. Jesus Himself says that the LORD says, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God Jacob.” (Mt 22) The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is “the One seated on the throne and the Lamb” in John’s Spirit inspired vision. The Holy Trinity is also the God of “every tribe of the Sons of Israel.” He is also the God of the saints listed on your ledger, too. For “He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.” (Lk 20)

(4. Ugh!: One day you’ll be part of someone’s list.)

Your list of names, of faces, of people, depending on your age, might be long, might be short. How they found themselves added to that list—we might be okay with it, or really not. “They are those who are coming out of the great tribulation. “In the world you’ll have tribulation,” Jesus says. Tribulation itself isn’t all that pleasant…

But no matter the list you have, it’s very personal to you. But one day, you’ll intimately be aquatinted with such a list. You’ll be on it one day. Might be soon, might not be; maybe sooner than later; maybe later than sooner (whatever the case may be!)—nevertheless you’ll be a part of someone’s list. The list of list of names and faces—of people!—who’ve “come out of the great tribulation.” You, too, will die in such way and time and place that only the Lord knows.

(3. The list in Revelation 7 is meant for our comfort, for the Lord’s knows those who are His.)

The names and list from Revelation 7 aren’t given to bring up bad memories. Such is the trap of the devil, a trap our flesh falls into. The list is actually meant for your comfort! “We do not mourn as others do who have no hope,” Paul says. The list that John hears, the numbers that he hears, the “great” and innumerable “crowd” that he sees “from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue”—it’s all revealed to John and written down by John to give you comfort and peace.

The comfort and peace from that list, the list of saints, is hidden in its number: 144,000. 12 x 12 x 10 x 10 x 10. Twelve tribes times twelve apostles times ten for the Father times ten for the Son times ten for the Holy Spirit. It is the Lord’s perfect number, the number assigned to a crowd you can’t number. That’s just holy math. Who likes math? (No one likes math...)

The comfort and peace from the list of names is more than just the symbolic number: 144,000. It’s a fulfillment of the Jesus promise: “My Sheep hear My voice…and I know My own and My own know Me.” He knows them by name; they are his. (Is 43:1) He makes them His. Those on your list, who’ve departed and become part of the Lord’s list in Revelation, are known, known to Jesus. By faith they’re not only sons of Abraham (Gal 3:7), bear that name.

They bear the name of Jesus. Later in Revelation John says, “I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.” Those “are the ones coming out of the great tribulation who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”


No matter which one of Jesus’ sheep, one of His saints, that makes it on anyone’s list, they are on His. They don’t escape His notice. He shepherds them. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Them departing this life—you departing this life—is all part of His shepherding them.

He shepherded them in this life. He washed them in His blood, even as He shed His blood for them. “I lay down My life for the sheep.” He was “the Lamb of God” “slain” for them! He clothed them, cleansed them, protected them, cared for them. You, too! “Nothing can snatch them out of My hand” He says.

Jesus, the Lamb of God, shepherds His saints—His whole flock and each saint. He shepherds them to the place where He gives them life.


These waters flow from His spear pierced side, when “water and blood poured out.” The Lamb once slain sits in the midst of the throne, and so “the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb,” even as the primordial river flowed out of Eden, becoming four rivers to water the earth. So John saw, “On either side of the river the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

The water and blood from Jesus’ side give life to His saints. It’s why He shepherds them to “the still waters” and to the “table He prepared before them in the presence of their enemies.” As proclaimed in the 23rd Psalm.


(1. Yeah!: These streams assuage our tears now and forever.)

So, now even today


He’s shepherding you there today. It’s not just a future reality. It’s right now. The Lord brings His comfort to you today. He brings His body and blood for us to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of all our sins. In forgiving our sins anew, He makes us new, “washing our robes, making them white in the blood” that “poured from His sacred veins.”

When Jesus comes down, He’s not alone. “Glorious is God with His angels and saints.” He brings with Him, His Father and the Spirit, of course, but also “angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven,” those saints on our list. The heavenly reunion and banquet begins and is promised and sealed at Communion. Yet another benefit of frequent communion. Hebrews 12 tells us:

You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

This is why angels used to be painted up around the altar at Immanuel. This is why coming up to communion the way we do is important. The half-circle here is made full by the saints in glory. “Time with eternity.”

Until you “depart to be with Christ,” the Lord keeps you on His list, the “Lamb’s book of life,” keeps track of all your tears, too. “Are they not in His book?” He will wipe those ones away. In the meantime,


Eat and drink and live forever.

᛭ INI ᛭

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