What It Is To Be Washed in the Blood of the Lamb
March 24th, 1989 @ 12:00 PM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
3-24-89 12:00 Noon
Remember, this is your busy, noonday lunch hour, and if in the middle of a sentence or a syllable you have to leave, we all understand. You will not bother me nor anyone else.
The theme this year has been “The Revelations of God”: on Monday, What It Means To Be Lost; Tuesday, What It Means To Be Saved; Wednesday, What It Means To Fall In Hell; yesterday, What It Means to Live In Heaven; and today, What It Means To Be Washed In The Blood Of The Lamb. This is the day of the week when our Lord was crucified, and I read from the Revelation, chapter 7, beginning at verse 9:
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number… they stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palm branches in their hand . . .
And they cried, saying: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God, forever and ever. Amen.
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me: Who are these arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
And I said unto him: I do not know. Only you know. And he answered me: These are they which are coming out of the 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…
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more . . .
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God, God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
[Revelation 7:9, 12-17]
In this last book of the New Covenant, at the end of chapter 3, the saints of God are raptured into heaven [Revelation 4:1]. Those that are alive are transformed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye [1 Corinthians 15:52]. And those that have fallen asleep in Jesus shall be raised from the dead. And they are there in heaven [Revelation 4:1-4]. John is raptured at the beginning of the next chapter, chapter 4 [Revelation 4:1]. And in heaven he sees those saints of the Lord [1 Thessalonians 4:14-17]. He sees them under a symbol, twenty-four elders: twelve from the old covenant and twelve from the new covenant, and they are enthroned with golden crowns [Revelation 4:1-4].
But as John looks upon that great throng of the saved of Jehovah [Revelation 7:1-8], he is amazed in watching other multitudes coming into the new city, the holy Jerusalem, and he does not know who they are [Revelation 7:9, 13-14]. He is perplexed. It is not the church; had they been from the church, he would have recognized some of them. And they’re different from those who had already been raptured, the saints of God [Revelation 4:1-4]. These twenty-four elders who represent the people of the Lord in heaven, they are enthroned, and they wear golden crowns [Revelation 4:4]. And these that are now coming have no thrones and no crowns [Revelation 7:9]. And these that have already been raptured, the saints of God, the church of our Lord, and the saints of the Old Testament, they are seated on thrones [Revelation 4:4], and these stand [Revelation 7:9]. So while John looks in amazing perplexity at these multitudes that are coming into the holy city [Revelation 7:9], one of the elders asks him: “Do you know who these are?” [Revelation 7:13]. And John answers: “I have never seen them before. I do not know them. Nor do I know from whence they come” [Revelation 7:14]. And the elder replies: “These are they who are coming,” erchomenoi, present tense, “These are they who are coming out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” [Revelation 7:13-14].
There are these things to be observed about them. Number one: they are the multitudes that were left behind, when God spoke the word of life and raised the living from the earth in a great beautiful transformation of life and body, and raised those that had fallen asleep and are in the graves and in our cemeteries [1 Thessalonians 4:14-17]. When that awesome day came of the rapture of God’s sainted people [John 14:3], these are the multitudes that were left behind. As our Lord said, “Two women will be grinding in a mill; one shall be taken, and the other left [Luke 17:35]. Two will be sleeping in a bed; one will be taken, and the other left [Luke 17:34]. Two will be working in a field; one shall be taken, and the other left” [Luke 17:36].
And out of that great multitude that was left behind, these that are now entering heaven are those who have changed in their hearts and in their souls toward our Lord [Revelation 7:14]. At one time, they were indifferent; then they found deepening interest in the Savior. At one time they embraced a philosophy that looked in scorn upon Him; now, they listened in deepest interest to the gospel of hope and salvation. At one time they looked upon the followers of our Lord as fanatics; now, they are numbered among those who follow in His dear steps. At one time they were called the enemies of God; now, they are His friends. They have confessed their sins and have found refuge in the Lord Jesus. These are they who are coming out of the great tribulation and have been made white in the blood of the Lamb [Revelation 7:14].
Do you notice again, these are they who were coming out of an awesome darkness and hopelessness of life, called the great tribulation? [Revelation 7:14]. Did you know when you read through the Word of God, never, ever is there universal damnation in this planet Earth? Never! There is universal damnation in hell, but there is never universal damnation in the earth. Always, God has His own. When the earth was filled with violence and iniquity, Noah and his family were righteous before the Lord [Genesis 7:1]. In the days of the Babylonian captivity, Daniel and his friends were true to Jehovah God [Daniel 3:16-18; 6:9-11]. And in the days of pharisaical hypocritism, our Lord brought us the way of life [John 14:6]. Never is there universal damnation in the earth; God always has His own. There are always those who love the Lord and follow close in His way.
Here in the city of Dallas before you young people were born, but in the days of those that are my age, there was in West Dallas an awesome rise of violence, lawlessness. It was epitomized by Clyde Barrow, and Bonnie Parker, and Raymond Hamilton, and Floyd Hamilton. As you know, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were killed by the police in an ambush in Louisiana. Raymond Hamilton was electrocuted in Huntsville, Texas. And sweet Hattie Rankin Moore came to me and said, “Floyd Hamilton is under a life sentence in a federal penitentiary in Alcatraz, in the San Francisco Bay. Would you go and speak to him about the Lord?” I went to San Francisco, was welcomed by the warden of the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. Through doors, and walls, and bars I was taken to the inside of that awesome prison. And in a cubicle of solid iron, I was left with Floyd Hamilton. After speaking to him about the way of eternal life, we knelt and prayed, and he gave me his hand, accepting Christ as his Savior, and said: “Pastor, if I’m ever free, down the aisle of your church will I come, and you can baptize me.”
In the good providences of God, he was changed from Alcatraz to Leavenworth in Kansas, and finally pardoned. And the first thing that happened, came down that very aisle, announced publicly his confession of faith in the Lord. And I baptized him in that baptistery; and for the rest of his life, he went up and down this country, preaching the Lord Jesus, especially to young people, how the way of violence and iniquity and robbery and disobedience do not pay.
My sweet people, there is no one so vile, or so wicked, or so lost as to be beyond the love and mercy of God. Out of a world of darkness, these multitudes are coming, washed in the blood of the Lamb. They are in heaven, they’re in heaven [Revelation 7:9-17]. The one hundred forty-four thousand sealed of the twelve tribes of Israel are in earth witnessing [Revelation 7:1-8]. But these are in heaven [Revelation 7:9-17]. The one hundred forty-four thousand are sealed that they might be protected [Revelation 7:1-4]; these are not sealed, they’re in glory [Revelation 7:9-17]. No need to seal their foreheads, and they’re there with our Lord, and they’re there with the angels, and they’re there with the saints of God. And they worship Him in praise night and day. And they are washed in the blood of the Lamb [Revelation 7:14].
Three times, in that brief passage, it speaks that their robes are made white [Revelation 7:9, 13, 14]. The Revelation is a summation of all of the Word of God, all of it. It finds its ultimate climax in these concluding chapters. The patriarchs, Israel, Moses, the law, the prophets, the old creation, the new creation, the present world, all of it is summed up in the Book of the Revelation. And through it all, our blessed Lord is presented as the sacrifice for our sins [Revelation 5:6]. And He is worshiped as our living Redeemer [Revelation 5:12]. In the previous chapter, they sung a new song saying:
…Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood…
And cried saying, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature in heaven, and on earth, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power.
And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped Him that liveth forever and ever.
[Revelation 5:9, 12-14]
And this is the basis of our supernal joy and our everlasting gladness. Do you remember in reading the passage, it says, “They have palm branches in their hands”? [Revelation 7:9]. That is a reflection of the Feast of the Tabernacles, when Israel rejoiced in their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt [Leviticus 23:33-43]. These likewise have palm branches in their hands, praising God for the deliverance from the judgment and the damnation of sin [Revelation 7:9].
And do you notice it says, “And they serve Him day and night forever and ever” [Revelation 7:15]. In my humble persuasion, when the Book says that God is creating a new heaven and a new earth [Revelation 21:1-5], that does not mean the annihilation of this present creation. I do not think anything that God has ever created can ever be annihilated, ever. What it means is there is a renovation, there is a re-creation, there is a rebirth of all of God’s vast handiwork [Revelation 21:5]. Instead of dead planets, and instead of deserts, God will remake this whole creation—all of it!—the firmament above and the earth beneath [Revelation 21:5]. And God is going to give us the rulership, the administration of all of God’s new handiwork [Revelation 3:21, 22:3-5].
Think, how would you get from one to another? It would be a striving for us even from here to the moon. I think that in that day, in our resurrected bodies, we’re going to be able to move from place to place, and planet to planet, and universe to universe and solar system to solar system as you can move in your mind, in thinking, “I am now in London, walking down those streets; I am now in Rio; I am now in Hong Kong.” I think it will be like that when we come to that beautiful, resurrected life when God turns over to us the administration of this entire universe [Revelation 22:3-5]. Oh, what beyond imagination has God prepared for those who love Him! [1 Corinthians 2:9].
And last, it says that the Lamb will be in our midst, and He will lead us like a shepherd and feed us like a flock [Revelation 7:17]. Sweet people, when I pray now, I pray to an absent Lord. He is in heaven [Philippians 3:20], and I’m here. And when I bow my head, I don’t see Him. And I don’t touch Him. He is far, far away. But in that glorious day, He will be there. And I can speak to Him, face to face [Revelation 22:3-5]. And I can touch His blessed hands and His precious feet. He will be with us and we with Him forever and ever. Oh, glorious day! Oh, triumphant moment when we are welcomed into the presence of the great King, our Savior! Amen.
Now, may we bow in prayer? Our Lord, truly, truly, God has created us for some marvelous purpose [Ephesians 2:9]—not to be the dust of the ground or lost in the grave—but God hath made us to be kings and priests in His kingdom forever and ever [Revelation 1:6]. And our Lord, as we prepare and look forward to that triumphant day, may He find us faithful, even unto death [Revelation 2:10]. Bless this great throng, particularly and unusually our sweet children, the fellowship of the saints, and these, our guests, who have chosen to worship God with us, in Thy dear and holy and saving name, Amen.
WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB
Dr. W. A. Criswell
A. The church is raptured at end of chapter 3 (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
B. John raptured at beginning of chapter 4
1. Sees saints under symbol of the twenty-four elders(Revelation 4:1-4)
C. John amazed, perplexed to see other multitudes coming into the new city (Revelation 7:9, 13-14)
D. He asks, “Who are they?” – an elder answers (Revelation 7:13-14)II. People whom the rapture left behind
A. That day came as a thief in the night – these were unprepared(Luke 17:34-36)
B. The great change they madeIII. Found, accepted the Lord in the awesome tribulation(Revelation 7:14)
A. Never is there universal damnation in Earth
B. Never a day, age, era too dark but that God has His own
1. Noah (Genesis 7:1)
2. Daniel (Daniel 3:16-18, 6:9-10)
3. Jesus brought to us in the days of pharisaical hypocrisy
C. Speaking to Floyd Hamilton in Alcatraz about accepting JesusIV. They are in heaven (Revelation 7:9-14)
A. The 144,000 are in earth witnessing – sealed (Revelation 7:1-8)
B. These are not sealed – no needV. They are saved by the blood of the crucified One
A. Three times it speaks their robes are made white (Revelation 7:9, 13, 14)
B. The Revelation sums up all Scriptures
C. The Revelation finds all blessing in the sacrifice of Christ(Revelation 5:9, 12-14)
D. New heaven and new earth does not mean annihilation of this present creation – there is a re-creation, and God will give us rulership and administration of all His new handiwork (Revelation 3:21)
E. The Lamb will be in our midst(Revelation 7:17)