The Road To, And Through, Revelation (Pillar 7)

The Great Multitude. Is it the Church that has been raptured? Dr. Renald Showers on John Ankerberg Show. Published on May 28, 2009 – From our Series “35 Most Asked Questions Concerning Bible Prophecy” this clip answers the question: Is the great multitude mentioned in Revelation 7:9 the Church which has just been raptured out of the world to heaven?

The Road To, And Through, Revelation (Pillar 7)

“Step By Step,” we are studying the Book Of Revelation.” Key pillars of “The Revelation Of Jesus Christ” are being discussed, as opposed to a verse by verse study of one of the most neglected books of the Bible.

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References: SSB (Scofield Study Bible) SRN (Scofield’s Reference Notes). MAC (MacArthur Study Bible). JER (Jeremiah Study Bible). RYR (Ryrie Study Bible). RSB (Reformation Study Bible).WAL (Walvoord Commentary).
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Revelation 7:1-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

JER. Between the 6th and 7th seals is this parenthesis, which gives important information for understanding this hour of divine judgment. The chapter records two visions, each separated by the phrase, “after these things I saw.” The first vision (7:1-8) reveals 144,000 Jews from the remnant of Israel. The second vision (7:9-17) portrays a “great multitude” of Gentiles who have been martyred for their faith in Christ. The first vision shows the sealing of the servants on earth; the second, the glory of the saints in heaven.

The Parenthetic: Jews And Gentiles Saved During The Tribulation

1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,

vs 2. MAC. “seal of the living God.” “Seal” often refers to a signet ring used to press its image into wax melted on a document. The resulting imprint implied authenticity and ownership, and protected the contents. In this case, the mark is the name of God (14:1).

3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”

vs 3. RYR. The judgments are delayed until these 144,000 Jewish people can be sealed, i.e., protected supernaturally.

Remnant Of 144,000 Out Of Israel

4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:

vs 4. RYR. “144,000.” These are Jews from the 12 tribes of Israel (12,000 each), who are protected in order to perform some service for God during these days. Perhaps they are evangelists. The omission of the tribe of Dan may be because Dan was guilty of idolatry on many occasions (Leviticus 24:11; Judges 18; 1 Kings 12:28-29).

5 from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6 from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7 from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.

Gentile Multitude To Come Out Of The Great Tribulation

9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;

vs 9. RYR. “a great multitude.”This multitude is composed of many racial and geographic groups who will be redeemed during the Tribulation (v 14). In these difficult days, many will find Christ as Savior.

10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,

“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

vs 14. MAC. “the great tribulation.” These people didn’t go with the raptured church, since they were not yet saved. During the 7 year tribulation period they will be saved, martyred, and enter heaven. Though it is a time of unparalleled judgment, it is also a time of unparalleled grace in salvation (Mt 24:12-14). “washed their robes.” (Cf 19:8. Salvation’s cleansing is in view (See Tit 2:11-14). “blood of the lamb.” This refers to the atoning sacrifice of Christ (cf 1:5; 5:9; Ro 3:24-25; 5:9).

15 For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.

vs 15. MAC. “His temple.” This refers to the heavenly throne of God. During the Millennium there will also be a temple on earth – a special holy place where God dwells in a partially restored, but still fallen universe (See Ezek 40-48). In the final, eternal state with its new heaven and earth, there is no temple; God Himself who will fill all, will be its temple (21:22). “spreading His tabernacle over them.” God’s presence will become their canopy of shelter to protect them from all the terrors of a fallen world and the indescribable horrors they have experienced on the earth during the time of tribulation.

16 They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

vs 17. MAC. “shepherd.” In a beautiful mix of images, the Lamb has always been the Shepherd (Ps 23; Jn 10:14ff; Heb 13:20)

In review of John F. Walvoord’s commentary: We have discussed the Saints of The Great Tribulation, as follows:

1. The vision of the four angels. vs 1-3. 144,000 Jews will be protected by angelic seal. They will be saved in the time of tribulation, and will be set apart as a special divine remnant to be a testimony to God’s grace and mercy during this time of judgment.

2. The sealing of the twelve tribes of Israel. vs 4-8. 12,000 Jews from each tribe will be made secure in their salvation. There will be other Israelites saved, in addition to the 144,000, but many of them will die a martyr’s death. The 144,000 are those who are those who are delivered from their persecutions, and brought safely through this terrible time of tribulation. In Chapter 14, the 144,000 are seen triumphant at the end of the tribulation when Christ returns. 144,000 are present in chapter 7; and 144,000 are present in Chapter 14. We can see that all of the 144,000 Jews were saved “through the tribulation.” We can see from Revelation 3:10, that the raptured church will be saved “from the tribulation.”

3. The martyred dead of the great tribulation. vs 9-10. No only will many Israelites be saved during the tribulation, many Gentiles will also come to saving faith in Jesus. The fact that they are martyrs is shown in vs 13-14.

4. The praise of the heavenly host. vs 11-12. The angels and all of those in heaven will fall down before the throne in heaven to worship God.

5. The martyred dead identified as tribulation saints. vs 13-14. They have come “out of the great tribulation,” showing that Gentiles will be saved during the tribulation.

6. The heavenly bliss of the martyred saints. vs 15-17. The martyred saints will be in the presence of the Lord. They will be before the throne of God. They will serve the Lord day and night in His temple. Heaven will be a place of rest from the toil of the earth, but will also be a place of privileged service. The temple of God is a reference to His immediate presence, and not to any earthly temple.

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