Throughout Revelation, the reader is given glimpses of life in heaven is like.  Among these images is one given in chapter 7 during the interlude between the coming sixth and seventh seal judgments.

A large multitude of people who had been redeemed from every nation on earth surrounding the throne of God saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (v. 10).

And likewise angels also falling on their faces before the throne saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen” (v. 12).

So in this chapter we have images from heaven that are familiar (see also Rev. 4-5).  Yet something additional is also happening in these verses.  John is told the identity of these redeemed worshippers:  they are those who have come out of the Tribulation (v. 14) — unbelievers prior to the Rapture, they subsequently came to Christ during the Tribulation and were then martyred for their faith.  Their status on earth is further hinted at by the angel’s words in v. 16:  “They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat.”  So not only did they endure martyrdom, but it appears that they also experienced various forms of suffering on earth.

But in heaven their suffering been removed, and all the tears of sorrow and pain removed (v. 17), and they have been granted life that cannot be taken away (vv. 14, 17), and the Lord has spread His tabernacle over them (v. 15), a sign of the protective presence of God.

Two reminders are given to the reader:  all that was painful on earth will be removed for those who will be martyred in the Tribulation (and for all believers, 21:3-4ff), and although the believer is secure in what he will possess in heaven, faith in Christ is no guarantee of an easy life on earth.  Despite faith in Christ, our time here may be just like the coming Tribulation martyrs.  We may have suffering, tears, sorrows, pain, and even unjust death.  Yet like those in heaven, we do not despair over those heartaches.  Instead, we look with confidence to the One who will wipe away all the sorrow and eternally keep us secure in His presence.