Far from the feared demise of the Church, a grand vision of Christ’s triumph bursts onto the visionary stage. Not only would the Church survive, it would succeed! In the end, no-one will be able to number those who have joined it. Birthed (as what some have dismissed as) a sect of Judaism, the truth now gloriously unfurls that it is not a deviation from the spiritual lineage of God’s people - it is the continuation of it!
Even today it may look like the Church will soon falter and wither, but John sees that it shall instead be comprised of people from every nation, tribe and language! It is no mere institution these spiritual refugees have joined - it is to Christ! He had become their food to quell their hunger. He had become their drink to quench their thirst. He had become their shelter to cover, protect, and secure them. And ultimately He would wipe away every tear from their eyes! But more than this is depicted here in a little expression too easily missed. They will be enjoying the full sanctuary of Christ while holding "palm branches". It was ancient Israel's greatest victory against all natural odds that saw the walls of Jericho (the "city of palm trees") come crashing down as the Hebrews marched around them waving "palm branches". Forever after this, palm branches became the symbol of divinely-aided victory to God's people. The were boldly embossed on the Temple walls to remind Israel that with God's help victory was theirs. John reports that in the end, faithful followers of Christ will be holding palm branches!
Today, we should continue to serve Christ (especially in Missions activities) with both passion and a Biblically informed confidence. William Carey was someone who did just this. His counsel to us is- “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God!”