Washed in the Blood

Title: Washed in the Blood

Bible Book: Revelation 7 : 1-17

Author: Johnny L. Sanders

Subject: Blood of Jesus; Jesus, Blood of



It is possible that someone might look at all the suffering, oppression, and persecution in the world wonder how the Great Tribulation could be any worse. After all, how could anyone do any more than torture and kill a person? For anyone who may ask that question seriously, let me remind you that John warns about anti-Christs who would seek to destroy the saints. There are many anti-Christs which believers may expect to encounter in this world. Then the Bible reveals that there will be one Anti-Christ who will eclipse all the anti-Christs.

There have been intense persecutions - make that tribulations if you prefer - since the church was established in the world. Saints in the First Century were subjected to incredible persecutions. Believers were slaughtered by gladiators, torn to shreds by half-starved animals, and dipped in pitch, impaled on sharpened stakes and set aflame to light the emperor’s garden at night. Christians have faced severe tribulations throughout the entire history of the church. According to reports in THE VOICE OF MARTYRS, more people died for the cause of Christ in the Twentieth Century than in all the previous centuries put together. Six million of the fifteen million people Hitler killed were Jews, but millions more were Christians. Retired General Dutch Shoffner, who was in a position to know Germany better than most non-Germans ever will, corrected me on the number killed by Hitler. As I recall, he placed the number at 22 million. Muslims are slaughtering Christians in various parts of the world today. How could the Great Tribulation be any more severe than that? For one thing, it could be far more wide-spread. For another, all restraints could be removed.

In the seventh chapter of Revelation we are going to see a picture of the saints coming out of the Great Tribulation and we are going to see some inspiring revelations about them. However, my purpose today is not to dwell on every detail in this chapter as it relates to the Great Tribulation, or to those who are “coming out of the Great Tribulation.” We are simply going to skim the surface to see what blessings we may gain from this passage. In the first chapter, all who read this Scripture, or hear it read are promised a blessed.

There are a few things I would like for us to keep in mind as we look at the seventh chapter of Revelation. If you keep them in mind you will receive a blessing. In the first place, God is Sovereign, He has the right to reign over all He created. In the second place, He can and will do anything He elects to do because He is omnipotent - that is, He is all powerful. In the third place, he is Holy and He will never violate His nature and character, either in this world, in the Great Tribulation, or in Heaven. What this means is that you can trust the God of the Tribulation just as surely as you can trust the God of creation, and you can trust the God who sustains all He created just as you can trust the God of redemption. He is a God of grace, a God of mercy, and a God of judgment. He is also the sovereign God who can and will accomplish His purpose.

I began reading the first chapter of Amos the other day and observed that at some earlier date I had highlighted the times God said, “I will.” Over and over, God says, because they did thus and so, I will send fire on their palaces, I will break the gate bar, I will cast them off. He warned the nations of the world, because you have done thus and so I will send fire on your palaces or on the walls of your city. I hope you will never take the “I wills” of the Lord lightly.


“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, restraining the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.”

Let me assure you that this does not mean that there will be no judgment of sin in this world, or that there will be no judgment of any kind until after the four angels who are holding back judgment here have removed their restraints. I have written a large number of sermons from the Book of Jeremiah in THE SERMON NOTEBOOK series. I call this series Jeremiah’s America because I see America so clearly mirrored in the Book of Jeremiah. Read Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea, Micah, or Amos and you will see that while the love of God holds out hope to all who will repent and trut Him, the holiness of God demands punishment for all who refuse to follow Him.

Following the hurricanes that devastated south Louisiana and Mississippi and south east Texas, and parts of Alabama in August, September, and October, 2005, Pat Robertson made the statement that God was judging America (or that He might be judging America). Immediately, the networks called in their “religion” experts to try to show that Robertson was a right-wing fundamentalist, a fanatic who could never be taken seriously. In fact, one “bishop” declared that he didn’t see how anyone could take Pat Robertson seriously.

I drove to Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina for the semi-annual meeting of the board of trustees for LifeWay Christian Resources in September, 2004. As I drove up I-26 from Greenville, SC toward Ashville, NC, I began seeing signs one does not normally see as he drives along an interstate highway. Two are three signs warned of a mud-slide that had wiped out the east bound lanes of I-40. That happened just east of Ridgecrest. Other signs told residents where to go for water - I believe the signs read, WATER COLLECTION AREA. When I arrived at Ridgecrest I learned that Hurricane Frances (which had followed Hurricane Charlie through Florida) had swept through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and into North Carolina dropping about fifteen inches of rain in the area, causing mud-slides which broke water lines. People had been boiling water for days.

All the time we were at Ridgecrest we were receiving reports about hurricane Ivan, dubbed Ivan the Terrible because it was so powerful. I had planned to begin driving Wednesday and drive until I got tired and stop and get a motel room, something I do not remember doing before, but I had decided on doing that since the last time I had made reservations in Meridian, Mississippi and arrived there about 2:00 P.M. I could have driven on home. I had also made reservations at a Holiday Inn somewhere between Amarillo and Dallas the previous fall to break up my trip from New Mexico home after the board meeting at Glorieta.

We were warned about the traffic in Atlanta, so I drove to Knoxville and down through Chattanooga to Birmingham and across I-20 home. I discovered that people had been told to evacuate the coastal area all the way from Florida to New Orleans. There were no motel or hotel rooms available anywhere from the coast to Memphis.

Three or four violent hurricanes ripped through Florida in 2004. In 2005, hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated parts of Alabama, a major part of Mississippi, south Louisiana, and southeast Texas. We watched the horror story as it was unveiled before our eyes as a levy broke, flooding New Orleans, Over one thousand people were killed. Many thousands were rescued, as many rescue workers risked their lives to rescue people from house tops, hospitals, nursing homes, and elevated highways. Thousands upon thousands of people lost everything the had.

Why do I mention these hurricanes? There was a time when America turned to the Lord in any time of crisis. Now Americans turn to government, not to God. We have been moving more and more in that direction since we entered the post-Christian era in our history in 1935 - possibly twenty years later in the Bible Belt. There was a time when Christians would have been asking, is God trying to get our attention? They would have been calling on God for mercy and praising Him for protecting them.

Some claimed that there were two disasters in New Orleans, the hurricane and then the flood. I think we might add another disaster. Many who stayed in New Orleans stayed to loot, steal, and destroy. One doctor went back to check on his hospital and discovered that the looters had stolen all drugs and then vandalized the facility. Doctors were fired on by snipers as they were trying to evacuate the hospitals. According to some stories, thousands of would-be rescue workers were turned back because authorities felt that it was too dangerous for them to go into the area.

The question some will ask when there is a natural disaster is, did God cause the disaster to judge the place. The Bible is very clear about one thing: God sent floods, hail, famine, earthquakes, and war upon ancient Israel to judge them when the refused to follow Him. Do you think God has changed His spots or stripes so much that He would not use the same forms of judgment in order to try to cause America to return to Him? I am amazed at those who claim that God would never do anything like that. One Alabama senator made the statement on Fox news that when he got into the Bible he discovered God permits some things, and He cause some things. The “bishop” mentioned earlier gave the senator a lecture for taking the Bible that seriously.

God asked in Jeremiah, “Has a nation changed its gods?” They could not plead ignorance - they were guilty of iniquity, not ignorance. And so it is with America today. We have rejected the God of our fathers. Do you think God is going to let us go without any effort to return us to Himself? If He judge Israel, might He not judge America? If He destroyed two cities over the sin of homosexuality, how do you think He feels about this once Christian nation reaching the point that we would be going to the polls to vote to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman?

Not only may we expect God to punish evil doers, we can expect Him to save all those who trust in Him. With these thoughts in mind, let us look at Revelation chapter seven. In chapter six we saw the Lamb of God break six of the seven seals on the scroll He took from the hand of the One who was sitting on the throne of Heaven. Chapter seven in a interlude between the opening of the sixth and seventh seals.

“After this” is after the sixth seal is broken from the scroll, which seems to have been a deed or title to all God created. “Four angels are standing at the four corners of the earth.” The number four is the universal number. When you see a reference to the four corners of the earth, please do not think this means that ancients believed the earth was square or flat. I once hear about the man who insisted that the world is round, but still feared that he might fall off the edge of the earth. How could he fall off the earth if it is round. He explained, “It is round like a plate, not like a ball!”

The four angels were “restraining the four winds of the earth so that no wind of judgment would blow on the earth, the sea, or “any tree.” As I drove home last week, I began seeing the effects of the wind as I watched the trees along the highway. I drove across I-20 last Wednesday I could hardly believe the way grass was blowing along side the highway - and that was twelve hours before Hurricane Ivan reached the shore. Most of us watched, on TV, the effects of the 130 MPH winds on Pensacola and other cities. The hurricane spawned numerous tornadoes across Alabama and Florida.

Some creation scientists believe that at the time of the Flood, there were earthquakes, volcanoes, and tidal waves, driven by winds up to two hundred miles an hour - some say at minus 200 degrees, which would explain how giant mammoths could be flash frozen. We know they were because some have been found in ice banks with green grass between their teeth and in their stomachs. Wind can be very destructive, but here judgement is held back by the will of God.


“Then I saw another angel rise up from the east, who had the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were empowered to harm the earth and the sea: ‘Don’t harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the slaves of our God on their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel.”

“12,000 sealed from the tribe of Judah, 12,000 from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000 from the tribe of Gad, 12,000 from the tribe of Asher, 12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali, 12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh, 7 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon, 12,000 from the tribe of Levi, 12,000 from the tribe of Issachar, 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun, 12,000 from the tribe of Joseph, 12,000 sealed from the tribe of Benjamin.”

1) Another angel rose up from the east.

2) This angel held back the four angels from harming the earth.

3) This angel has the seal of the living God.

4) He cried out, “Don’t harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the slaves of our God on their foreheads.”

For two thousand years Christians have been trying to figure our the mark of beast. I have heard some interesting speculations over the years, but we will save that for another time. The question here is what is the seal which the slaves of God will receive on their foreheads? Let us just say that it is the mark of ownership. Why else would he use the word slaves to identify those who will receive the seal of the living God in their foreheads?

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of sitting at the table with Dr. Ed Blum, general editor of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, at a meeting of the LifeWay board of trustees. Someone asked Dr. Blum why the translators translated the word here “slave” rather than servant. The question is, why did the King James translators translate it servant rather than slave. For four hundred years preachers have been trying to explain what is meant by servant or bond servant in the King James Version. We are His slaves because He bought us with a price - His blood.

5) Now we see the number of those who were sealed - 144,000.

The number 12 is the number of organized religion. There were twelve tribes and twelve apostles. There are four and twenty elders around the throne in the Revelation. How do we arrive at twenty four? Twelve times 2 equals 24. If you would intensify, magnify, perfect a number, multiply it by it by two, by itself, by ten, or any multiple of ten. So, what do we have here?

12 X 12 = 144
144 X 1000 (10 X 10 X 10) = 144,000.

To some this is a literal number. Others see it as symbolic of the total number who will be saved during the Great Tribulation. Others, who reject the Tribulation, see it as a symbol of all who will be saved of all ages.

This much we need to know. All those who are born again by grace through faith belong to Him. We are His slaves, we bear His mark in our lives, or we are not His! Regardless of what the mark is during the Tribulation, we bear His mark in our lives today if we belong to Him. Sadly, many Christians are not easily identified as His slaves (or His children).

A friend and I were visiting for the Beacon Street Baptist Church, which was on Bienville Street in New Orleans when we were in seminary. We visited in one an apartment and were blessed by the testimony of a young lady. She lived with her mother and father-in-law. Her husband, their son, had abandoned her and a small baby and they took them into their home. The baby died but the young woman continued to live with them. She told us that when her baby was in the hospital she took off work and stayed with him. When he died she was so grief stricken she could hardly think, but some words kept coming to mind - “God so loved the world that He gave His Son.” She did not remember where they came from, or why she remembered them, but they kept coming to mind and every time they came to mind she asked, “How could He do that? I wouldn’t have given my son for anyone!” Finally, she remembered that her neighbors went to a Baptist church so she went over and asked them if they had her heard those words. They turned to John 3:16 and read it to her. They prayed with her and she asked the Lord to save her.

She went back to work and turned to a fellow worker and said, “I’m a Christians, are you a Christians?” Her friend stumbled around before overcoming her embarrassment and finally said, “Yes, I joined the church when I was a child.” This new Christian demanded, “What? You mean you have sat by me for eight years knowing that if I had died I would have gone to hell and you never told me how to be saved?”

Not only had her friend never told her how to be saved, there was nothing in her life that identified her as a child of God. How many people are going to hell because they see nothing in us that points them to Jesus?

Before we leave this, what about the 144,000? Well, maybe those are the Jehovah’s Witnesses who were saved before 1919! Seriously, all I know for sure is that everyone who is born again is a child of the King. All who are saved are slaves of the King and all who are children of God are going to spend eternity with Him in Heaven - and that applies to all who believe in him now, and all who believe in Him during the Tribulation period.

There is but one way to be saved and that is by God’s grace, through faith which He gives to us according to his sovereign will. We are not saved because we “find God.” We are saved because He chooses us and reveals His salvation to us. That is the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 14-16).


“After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb! All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Does this mean after the 144,000 are already sealed, or does it mean that after the angel commanded the four angels at the four corners of the earth to hold back their wrath until they were sealed? Does this denote the “vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” You will remember that the number 144,000 was arrived at by choosing 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes. If this denotes only 144,000 Jews who will be saved during the Tribulation, then the “vast multitude” is added to that number as they stand before the throne. Either the 144,000 symbolizes a vast number which no one could number, or there is an innumerable throng of people in addition to the 144,000.

But now, let us see what we know for sure about this.

1) They were robed in white (righteousness).

Donald Grey Barnhouse illustrates the importance of righteousness as we approach the jusdment bar of God:

“An analysis of the dust from the trousers of suspected counterfeiters disclosed that clothes can betray guilt. Particles of certain metals and chemicals used in this irregular way of making money convicted them. It makes no difference how you are dressed as you approach the Lord God of judgment. Your clothes will betray you; you will be cast forth as was the wedding guest who appeared without the proper wedding garment. The only way to approach the God of all holiness is to be clothed in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ that will stand the analysis of the light of God. Those thus clad will be seen as "faultless to stand before the throne” ( Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revell, 1967, p. 16).

2) They have palm branches in their hands (peace).

We sing, “Peace on Earth,’ but if there is one thing this world has never known it is peace. The Bible Illustrator makes this point:

“On the basis of the computation in the Moscow Gazette, Gustave Valbert in his day could report that "From the year 1496 B.C. to A.D. 1861 in 3358 years there were 227 years of peace and 3,130 years of war, or 13 years of war to every year of peace. Within the last three centuries, there have been 286 wars in Europe. He added that from the year 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1860 more than 8000 treaties of peace, meant to remain in force forever, were concluded. The average time they remained in force was two years” (Bible Illustrator).
This was written before Desert Storm, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, or the war on terror. What this illustrates is that man cannot produce peace. Only the Prince of Peace can do that.

3) They cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!

4) “All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength, be to our God forever and ever.”


“Then one of the elders asked me, ‘Who are these people robed in white, and where did they come from?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in His sanctuary. The One seated on the throne will shelter them: no longer will they hunger; no longer will they thirst; no longer will the sun strike them, or any heat. Because the Lamb who is at the center of the throne will shepherd them; He will guide them to springs of living waters, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

1) One of the four and twenty elders ask two questions.

a. Who are these people robed in white?

b. Where did they come from?

2) John said to him, ‘Sir, you know.”

3) The elder answered John.

a. “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.”

Here we find an answer to both questions people ask about this chapter - who are they and where do the come from.” They are coming out of the great tribulation. It will be very important for those who go through the Great Tribulation to know this. It is also essential for one today to know how we get those white robes.

b. “They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

For generations, Christians have sung, “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of the Lamb.” Now the country is filling up with big time big shot preachers who are ashamed to mention to blood. Some are very vocal about not wanting to hear anything so gory as the blood. My friend, the only way you will ever be dressed in the white robe of righteousness is for you to be washed in the blood of the Lamb! If you reject that there is no place in Heaven for you. There will be plenty room in hell, but none in Heaven.

Let us be very specific this morning? Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb? If you have, you are a child of God. You are sealed, secure, “Kept by the power of God unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last days” (1 Peter 1:3f).

I have just read the preface in the new Broadman and Holman book by Michael Reagan, TWICE ADOPTED. It is important to Mike that he was adopted by the late president, Ronald Reagan and actress Jane Wyman. It is far more important that he has been adopted into the family of God. He is a child of the king. He bears in his life the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ. You know what that means? It means that you can see Jesus in Michael Reagan. Can others see Jesus in you?

4) Now we find the benefits of being washed in the blood of the Lamb.

a. They are before the throne of God.

b. They serve Him day and night in His sanctuary.

c. The One seated on the throne will shelter them.

d. No longer will they hunger.

e. No longer will they thirst.

f. No longer will the sun strike them, or any heat.

g. The Lamb who is at the center of the throne will shepherd them.

h. He will guide them to springs of living waters.

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.

He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters
Psalms 23:1-2 (HCSB)

“Jesus said, ‘Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again——ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (HCSB)

“On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out,’If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.”
John 7:37-38 (HCSB)

i. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

“Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God’’s dwelling is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will exist no longer; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. “ Rev 21:3-4 (HCSB)


Remember, from the beginning of this series, I have known that I would not be answering all of your questions about Revelation, nor will I reveal all the great mysteries. My purpose is to skim the surface for the blessings He has in store for us right now. I have often said that only in Jesus can you have your cake and eat it too. You can drink as deeply from the springs of living water as you like and never diminish the supply, either now for eternity.

This interlude between the sixth and seventh seal stresses that those who stand before the throne of God in Heaven will be the ones who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb - and that is true whether we are speaking of those who are being saved today or those who will be saved during the Tribulation period. We also learn that there are many benefits for those who trust in Jesus Christ. Those benefits are available to all who are washed in the blood of the Lamb: they permit the saints before the throne to drink from the springs of living water and He wipes all tears from their eyes.

Now, here is the exciting part: “What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.” When you confess your sins and seek His forgiveness, the Lord will forgive you and give you eternal life. The hymn asks, “Are you washed in the blood” (of Christ). If you are a believer there is another question, and that is have your robes been washed in the blood? In other words, are you wearing the white robes of righteousness?


Our invitation is very simple. If you are lost I urge you to call on Jesus Christ for His great salvation. If you a Christians, I would challenge you to humble yourself before the Lamb of God, worship Him and serve Him.

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