These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country....But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
That passage from Hebrews is one of my favorite Scripture passages of all, and it seems to mean more with every year that passes. I realize that the people to whom the author of Hebrews is referring are the Old Testament saints. That is why he says that they died without having received the promises. They died before the coming of Jesus Christ. But he is also offering them to us as an example of faith, and their confession that they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth and their desire for a heavenly country are surely meant to be examples to us. We must confess that we are strangers and pilgrims here and that we seek a better country in order that God shall not be ashamed to be called our God. For He has prepared for us a city.
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are thy which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell amopng them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Rev. 7:13-17)The following song is another of those that I had forgotten until reminded of it by my daughter. Beautifully done by the Gaither Vocal Band together with Signature Sound. When the crowd comes to its feet during Guy Penrod's solo, I'm much inclined to do the same.
"These Are They":