Rev. 7:13-17 NLT
13 Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?”
14 And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.
15 “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. 16 They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. 17 For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
John's tour guide of heavenly visions and things outside of time, teaches John to consider and then learn in his question about the ones clothed in white. White always symbolizes purity in the scripture-- in human tradition too. That's why brides always wear white in our western wedding traditions. It is interesting to think that their robes could have been made white by washing in "the blood of the Lamb." This very metaphor confirms the meaning of these white robes because a literal act would not have made them white but brownish red. In stead, their outer selves are now visibly pure because Christ's sacrifice and their obedience to God through faith in Christ has caused their inner purity to form-- or rather, re-form in the image of Christ. When Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that he would give her water so she would never thirst again, He was inviting her to become one of these saints clothed here in white.
Since these are ones who came 'died in the great tribulation' and since Jesus invited persons in 33 AD to become one of these, then we have to think that this 'great tribulation' is a process going on all through time. It is the great contest between Good and Evil-- between God and Satan. Of course there is not a real contest on God's side, any more than it would be if you had a sports challenge by a two-year-old. But the enemy fights for all he is worth and part of his fight is with us. We will see that specified in a later chapter.
Many of us have had sadness throughout our days. Life has not been fair to some and heart-break has abounded for others. However, the promise to all who are willing to trust in Christ for it all- is at the end of verse 17-- "He will wipe away ever tear from their eyes." Would you like that to include you? It can if you wish. Just say "yes" and then "thank you" to the Lord.
Your servant in Christ's love