Bible Verse: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Revelation 7: 9)

Scripture Reading: Revelation 7:9-17

If you have ever coached a little league sports team, you have probably seen a young player get “turned around” during the game. For some reason they get their directions mixed up and there they are running toward the wrong end-zone or shooting at their own net.

What may be hilarious in a game can be tragic in the real world. When believers become confused about the “end goal” their words and actions become divisive and help the “other team” rather than contributing to growth in God’s Kingdom. Without a clear understanding of God’s plan, even sincere believers can be at cross purposes with the work of the Spirit of the Lord?

So, what is the “end goal” of all Creation?

John, an apostle of Jesus, was given a vivid and complex vision of the end of time. One of those dramatic scenes takes place before the throne of God. His attention was drawn to those who were there to celebrate the victory of the Lamb. This heavenly community included people from every nation, tribe, culture and language, and they were celebrating the amazing goodness of the Lord together.

This vision reveals God’s plan for all Creation. From the beginning of time it has been God’s intention to create a community where he will live among his people, giving love, life and energy to sustain and enjoy Him and it forever. The end goal is a family gathering around the throne of God, including every tribe and nation.

John’s vision is not only a future reality. The formation of this eternal community is happening right here and now in the Church. As Jesus promised, God is already dwelling among his people by his Spirit. He is creating worshipping communities that come together to form the eternal community. The Church is the prequel of that heavenly community. God’s eternal community is present in both realities, the heavenly one which John describes and the one we see in the church today.

God’s goal is to form a diverse community of believers that is unified in worship and obedience to King Jesus. Is that your goal and the goal of your church? Are we moving in the same direction? Are we playing on the same team? If we are, then our churches and faith communities will begin to look like the community of heaven where Jesus is King and believers from every tribe and nation will feel welcome.

— Paul Kroeker, author, in In the Way of Jesus


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