Who Are These?

David Bast

Read: Isaiah 49:14-21; Revelation 7:9-17

I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. (Rev. 7:9)

It’s difficult for us to imagine how devastating the Babylonian captivity was for the people of Judah. They were exiled from the land–Israel, the Promised Land! Jerusalem had been destroyed–Zion, the City of God! The Temple lay in ruins–God’s house, once filled with his glory! It was easy to believe God had abandoned and forgotten them (Isa. 49:14).

I could never forget you, says the Lord, any more than a mother could forget the baby at her breast. “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (v. 16). What, God has hands? They’re tattooed with the names of his people? It’s a shocking image, and meant to be. And, of course, one day he would have hands, and they would be permanently marked with the nail-print scars that prove how much he loves.

So we can trust him not to forget us, never, ever, no matter what. And one day Zion, who thought she was bereaved and barren, will look in wonder and ask, “Where did all these children come from? Who are these?”

“They came from every tribe and tongue and nation,” John answers. “These are those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. They came out of great tribulation, but now their God has wiped away all tears, and they will praise him forever and ever.”

—David Bast

I praise you for that great multitude. May I be part of it.