There before me was a great multitude . . . from every nation, tribe, people and language . . . wearing white robes. (Rev. 7:9)
When you wake up from a dream, strange details are often enhanced while more mundane elements are obscured. Psychologists have studied the average person’s interpretation of dreams, and across many Eastern and Western cultures, people ascribe more meaning to a dream thought than to a waking thought. The Bible too has plenty of examples of God’s people interpreting visions and dreams, so as believers, this idea is not unusual to us.
In John’s vision, the overall impression seems to be more important than the details that we would anticipate in our fully awake lives. Dreams and visions evoke emotion, and similarly, there is an overall impression evoked by John’s vision. Individual crowd members were not significant. John didn’t seem to recognize the faces of congregation members or long-lost relatives. Clothing that might indicate geography or economic status was erased and replaced with white robes. Significance was placed on the size of the crowd and diversity of individuals, all collectively focused on one activity—praising God for salvation.
This is a scene of rescue. We are meant to feel deeply that there are many people who are looking for salvation, and here, at the throne, they have found it. The details of time, place, motivation, past sins, and human strivings fade, and all that remains is a multitude of people praising God for saving them.
As one of many, praise God for your salvation.
Erin Crisp is mom to three teenage boys, wife to a Wesleyan pastor, and vice president at an EdTech company. Erin loves to learn and to create meaningful learning experiences for others through teaching, designing, and consulting.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.