The Book of REVELATION
James J. Barker
PEOPLE SAVED DURING THE TRIBULATION PART 2
- Two major
groups of tribulation saints are mentioned here in chapter 7: the 144,000 from
the twelve tribes of Israel (7:4), and "a great multitude, which no man could
number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues"
- In contrast to
Revelation chapter 6 which gives the chronological sequence of the major events
of the great tribulation, chapter 7 does not advance the narrative but gives us
information regarding these two major groups of saints in the
- The opening
portion of the chapter pictures 144,000 saved Israelites who will minister on
earth during the great tribulation. The latter part of the chapter describes
this great multitude of martyred dead in heaven.
- We already
spent much time describing the 144,000; tonight, we will focus on the "great
multitude" (7:9). These are
described as believers who died as a testimony to their faith from every
kindred, tongue, and nation, and they are pictured before the throne of God in
THE GREAT MULTITUDE
- A distinction
is made between the 144,000 and the "great multitude, which no man could number"
- This second
half of Revelation chapter 7 teaches that not only will many Jews be saved
during the tribulation, but also many Gentiles.
- In his vision
John sees "a great multitude, which no man could number" coming from "all
nations, kindreds, people, and tongues" standing before the throne, clothed with
white robes, with palms in their hands, ascribing salvation to God and to the
- In contrast to
those coming from the twelve tribes of Israel, pictured earlier in the chapter,
this throng comes from all nations. Their white martyr's robes were mentioned
back in Revelation 6:11.
- The palms in
their hands indicate their triumph (7:9).
- This great
multitude is heard by John in a great symphony of praise as they ascribe
salvation to God. The fact that they are martyrs is stated later in Revelation
13:15 says those who will not worship the image of the beast will be
- Revelation 20:4
says these martyrs will be "beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word
of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had
received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their
- I believe that
in the coming tribulation it
will be very difficult to publicly declare one’s faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ. Today there is a growing
hostility towards Christians, even here in America.
- I read an interesting article
recently. It was written by a woman
named Jen Floyd Engel. She asks, "Why do people hate Tim Tebow?"
- It is obvious many people hate him
because he is a committed Christian.
Our Lord said in John 15:18, "If the world
hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated
- I will not read the entire article,
but will quote part of it.
- "A good many NFL
players and fans seem to be rooting for this guy (Tim Tebow) to be a massive
failure. I could not figure out
what was causing this onslaught of venom for a guy almost everybody claims to
like, and I finally decided it is more about us. He makes us uncomfortable. He
is a reminder that the blue-red, liberal-conservative fight over taking God out
of everyday life is intellectually dishonest. He is too good. Tebow is proof that God goes comfortably
into whatever arena of your life you wish to take Him. I used to work with a
great guy, Simon Gonzalez, a very devout Christian, and he prayed before every
meal. Others would be killing free press meals and he would stop, bow his head
and silently say thanks. He was not making a spectacle of his beliefs. He
believed that God deserved thanks for what was before him, and not just when
convenient for Simon. And people would squirm -- not because what he was doing
was wrong but because it was right. It is the same for
THE WORSHIP OF THE HEAVENLY HOST
- Joining the
multitude of the saints, the angels and all those in heaven are described as
falling down before the throne to worship God in a sevenfold ascription
of praise similar to that we saw in Revelation chapter 5:12
- One of the four
and twenty elders asks, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and
whence came they?” (7:13).
- This makes it
clear that the four and twenty elders are representative of a group different
from those who are here pictured as the great multitude in white robes.
- As we saw in
our study of Revelation 4, the four and twenty elders represent the New
Testament church. The great
multitude here in Revelation 7 represents those tribulation saints who will be
martyred for not submitting to the antichrist.
- In answer to
the question from the elder, John confesses that he does not know; whereupon
John is told, “These are they which came out of great
- In the Greek,
it means literally, “These are those who came out of the tribulation, the
great one.” It is clearly a reference to the seven year tribulation period
of which our Lord spoke of in His Olivet Discourse.
- Our Lord said
in Matthew 24:21, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not
since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall
- The scene here
in Revelation 7:9-17 is in heaven, during the time of the tribulation. The
martyrs are before the throne and before the Lamb. The picture is similar in
many ways to Revelation chapters 4 and 5.
- The “great multitude”
represents a large portion of those mentioned in Revelation 6:9-11 who are
given white robes as faithful witnesses to the Word of God and to the
testimony of the Lamb.
- During the
tribulation, countless people of all nations will come to know Christ. Many will be saved despite severe
persecution and even martyrdom.
- In his book, We Can Have Revival Now,
John R. Rice refers to the great revival that will take place during the
tribulation, and that is recorded in Revelation 7.
- "In this blessed revival to come and spread over the
whole earth during the reign of the Antichrist, during the tribulation period
itself, when true preachers and Christians will have been carried away in the
rapture, to Heaven, and the churches will have been taken over by unbelievers,
and when it may mean death to turn to Christ -- then uncounted multitudes that
no man can number from every nation and kindred and tongue and tribe will turn
to God. What a revival! Nothing less than millions could be meant by these
terms, 'a . . . multitude, which no man could number.' Past counting will be
the converts in the marvelous revival yet to come in the Great
Tribulation. The Great Tribulation revival, so clearly prophesied in
Revelation 7:9-14, proves that the day of great revivals is not passed, shows
that the greatest revivals are yet to come."
WASHED THEIR ROBES IN THE BLOOD OF THE
- Revelation 7:14
says the martyrs have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the
Lamb. Normally one cannot make anything white with
- But according
to the Bible, the only way sins can be washed away is through the precious blood
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus. -- Robert
- Leviticus 17:14
says, "The life of all flesh is the blood thereof.”
- Hebrews 9:22
says, "without shedding of blood is no remission.”
- Acts 20:28 says
the church has been purchased with the blood of Christ.
- Romans 5:9 says
we are “justified by his blood.”
- The martyred
saints are described as being before the throne of God -- a place of prominence
and honor. "Therefore" (7:15)
indicates they are honored because they were faithful even unto
- Their special
privilege includes serving the Lord day and night in His temple
- This reminds us
that heaven is not only a place of rest from earthly toil but also a place of
- Those who have served well on earth will have a ministry
in heaven. Their service is said to occur in the temple of God, a reference to
the temple in heaven (cf. 11:19; 14:15, 17; 15:5-8; 16:1,
- Revelation 7:16 says that they will be delivered from
the afflictions of life such as hunger, thirst, and the heat of the sun. This
may refer to some of their sufferings which they endured in the
- According to Revelation 13:17, those who refuse the mark
of the beast will not be able to buy or sell. Many believers will probably go hungry
during the tribulation rather than submitting to the worship of the
- Their trials and troubles now behind them, Revelation
7:17 pictures them being led by the Lamb to "living fountains of
- The concluding statement in Revelation chapter 7 is that
“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" (cf.
- Our Lord will tenderly comfort them, and their tears
shall be wiped away. The grief and tears of the past, which speak of their
trials in the tribulation, will finally be over when they get to
- Once they arrive up in glory, these tribulation saints
will be occupied with the beauty and wonder of heaven, and the worship of their
Lord and Saviour.
- Revelation 7 teaches that God is going to judge Israel
during the coming tribulation.
Jeremiah 30:7 refers to the tribulation as "the time of Jacob's trouble."
- Furthermore, 12,000 Jews from each tribe, totaling
144,000, will be protected and sealed from the judgments which will fall upon
Israel in particular and the world in general.
- In addition to the great number of Jews saved during the
tribulation, a great multitude of Gentiles will also be saved, but many of these
will be martyred. Revelation 7 pictures "a great multitude," representing every
tongue and nation, of these martyrs in heaven worshipping
- It is an indication that even in the dark days of the
tribulation, many souls will receive Christ as their Lord and Saviour and be
saved by His grace.
- The book of
Revelation has much to say about heaven. The word "heaven" is found 56 times in the
book of Revelation.
- And the book of
Revelation has much to say about the wonders of heaven. We're told there's a throne
set in heaven, and there's "a rainbow round about the
throne, in sight like unto an emerald" (Rev. 4:3).
- And there are
innumerable angels in heaven, and together with the four and twenty elders, they
worship God day and night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which
was, and is, and is to come" (4:8).
- But the most
wonderful thing about heaven is we will spend eternity with
- I was reading a sermon by W. A. Criswell, and in this
sermon he quotes the famous 19th preacher from Brooklyn, Dr. T.
"I do not want to go to the skeptic’s, the
rationalist’s, the materialist’s heaven.
I would not exchange the poorest
room in your house for the finest heaven that Tom Paine,
John Mill, Huxley,
Darwin, or Ingersoll ever dreamed of—those great infidels—their heaven has no
Christ in it."
- Thank God, our
heaven has Christ in it.
- Jesus said,
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my
Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go
to prepare a place for you. And if
I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto
myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John
- The emphasis
is: "Where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3).
- Revelation 7:16, 17.
Since Christ my soul from sin set free,
has been a Heav’n to me;
And ’mid earth’s sorrows and its woe,
my Jesus here to know.
O hallelujah, yes, ’tis Heav’n,
’Tis Heav’n to know
my sins forgiv’n,
On land or sea, what matters where?
Where Jesus is, ’tis
Once Heaven seemed a far off place,
What matters where on earth we dwell?
top, or in the dell,
In cottage, or a mansion fair,
Where Jesus is, ’tis
Heaven there. (Charles