Next verses to consider are:
"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of 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 in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 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 shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Revelation 7:13-17)
"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?"
When the disciple's consciousness moves away from the isolation of the dark night of the soul into the great communion with master souls who have overcome he is amazed and in a state of wonder and deep within himself a voice seems to ask: "Who are these souls with whom I am in communion and whence came they?"
"And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of (the) great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Note: Scholars say the word "the" belongs before "great tribulation." Most newer translations have added this correction. This changes the meaning away from the idea of coming through tribulation in general to a specific tribulation. The question is, what is that specific tribulation?
The orthodox interpretation is that it will be the tribulation at the end of the world. Actually the correct physical interpretation refers to tribulation at the end of one age and the beginning of the new as there is always a point of tension during the transition from one age to the next.
Correspondingly as we examine the spiritual interpretation we find there is a similar interpretation as the disciple passes from his old consciousness into the new.
After the disciple hears the question from within, his outer consciousness replies to the inner: "I sense that you can tell me who they are."
After sending this message through his soul he silently listens and hears this response:
"These are they who also passed through the great period of turmoil, the dark night of the soul, just as you did. They have washed their robes, or made the outer personality clean and useful in the service of the great Lord. This was accomplished through yielding the outer garment, or self, to the will of God and submerging that self in the life (blood) of the spirit, or Christ consciousness (Lamb). This has made your outer personality (robes) clean and white as the driven snow. Now you can shift your consciousness away from the concern for purity of the outer garment and away from guilt to communion through the soul."
"Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them."
Because the disciple's consciousness is shifted from the outer to the inner he is no longer plagued by guilt by reason of the imperfections of the outer. His intent is pure so his outer garment is also pure despite the fact that others may see differently because they are centered in the personality.
The overcoming of guilt allows him to bask before the divine presence within him continually, or to be "before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple."
What is his temple?
The scriptures give the answer:
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (1 Cor 3:16-17)
Many have studied this scripture and concluded the temple spoken of is our physical bodies, but that is only a part of the answer. The complete temple is constructed of all the ingredients of our lower self which is:
Within this temple of God, in which those who come out of the dark night dwell, we see they will serve their God and fellowmen ceaselessly (day and night).
"And he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them."
When the disciple communes with the saints, or the church of the firstborn, he will feel the presence of God dwelling with them all as if they composed one great life.
"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat."
During the dark night they hungered for spiritual knowledge and barely received enough to keep them going on the path. They thirsted for spiritual life and only received a trickle to keep their spirits from giving up. The outward light and heat of strong personalities, preachers and teachers (the sun) was overbearing and made them feel they would burn (the heat) for their sins.
Now the disciple joins those who have overcome and washed the outer garment of the personality in the spirit within. He now receives knowledge and spiritual life in abundance and no longer leans on the beast of outward authority nor is he burned by its threats. He unites with the spiritual sun within and basks in the flame but feels joy instead of the discomfort of heat.
"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 shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
By following the inner Christ rather than the outer he is continually fed with the hidden manna and is lead to "living fountains of waters."
Instead of going from false teacher to false teacher and receiving only a trickle of food to keep him going he is now lead by the inner spirit and this leads him away from the false to the good the beautiful and the true. The living fountains of truth have always been available, but before he knew not where to find them. Now he does.
Now he can recognize true teachers with pure hearts and soul contact.
Now he can recognize the best books containing true eternal words and inspiration.
Now he can see organizations for what they truly are and can sort the ones that render real service from those that glorify illusion.
Now he knows who are his true friends for he can see into their hearts.
Now his outer self is infused with his own soul and unlimited vistas of spiritual progress lie before him.
"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
Even though the disciple is in the world and subject to the same problems as anyone else he is so thrilled at the inner world he has discovered that all outer happenings which used to bring him sorrow now pale into insignificance to the extent that all tears are wiped away from his eyes.
The next scripture reads:
"And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." (Revelation 8:1-5)
There's lots to interpret here [in the above scripture].
"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."
-- Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)
Copyright © 2005 by JJ Dewey, All Rights Reserved