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Not a God of Contradictions
by Jennifer Jerrome
At first glance, today’s passage contains a few ambiguities… How did a great multitude that no one could count end up crying out in one voice? Were they all given a script in the same language? Did someone count them down so they all started at the same time? All these people said in unison, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb” – because they were filled with the Spirit. I imagine in Heaven, we’ll all be able to speak and sing in perfect harmony and know every word in every language by heart.
Another question comes in verse 14, “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” How come their robes weren’t washed red? Well, Jesus’s blood is not just any blood. As the son of God, his blood washes away sins and makes us clean as snow. We get a fresh start. And the wonderful thing about this heavenly bath is that we’ll never get dirty again. No stains to pre-treat - just fresh and clean all the time.
One more contradiction comes at the end with verse 17, “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd.” Typically, sheep don’t serve as their own shepherd. They look to a human who has the knowledge and experience to lead them where they need to go. In Revelation, we are the sheep, and we look to God for guidance. “The Lord is my Shepherd.” The Lamb leads the way.
Sometimes when reading the Bible, God may seem like a god of contradictions, but he is far from it. He is the God of affirmation, verification, and coherence. Some things may not always make sense, but there will be a day when we’ll all speak in one voice, be washed white in his blood, and be led by the ultimate Shepherd. And what a glorious day that will be!