Questions From Readers
▪ How can Revelation 7:17 be applied to Christians today, for we still cry sometimes?
Revelation 7:17 says about the “great crowd” who have hope of everlasting life on earth: “The Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”
The apostle John was told that the great crowd have “come out of the great tribulation.” (Revelation 7:9-14) We thus understand Revelation 7:14-17 to apply to persons who now take their stand on God’s side, accept Christ’s blood and survive when the present system of things ends in the “great tribulation.”
Revelation says that ‘they have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, they hunger or thirst no more, the sun does not beat down on them,’ and “God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.” These words are not to be taken in a literal, physical sense. Why not? Well, they have not literally washed their clothing in Christ’s blood. And on occasion they feel physical hunger and thirst, even as the perfect man Jesus did. (Luke 4:2; John 4:7, 8; 19:28, 29) So the primary application of Revelation 7:14-17 must be symbolic, or spiritual.
The book “Then Is Finished the Mystery of God,” pages 207 and 208, explains these verses Re 7:14-17. It shows that the great crowd do not now hunger or thirst spiritually; they feed on God’s Word and share in his service, which can be food and drink for them, as it was for Jesus. (John 4:32-34) They do not feel the heat of divine disapproval, nor will they during the great tribulation. Also they no longer weep (as they may have previously) over being ignorant of God or having a bad relationship with him. In this sense, God has already ‘wiped out every tear from their eyes.’
But later, in Revelation 21:3, 4, we are assured that after the great tribulation and the establishment of a righteous new system faithful humans will experience physical blessings that will include no mourning, outcry or pain. Then it will actually be that tears of pain, disappointment and grief will be no more.