Revelation Chapter 7:14
Revelation 7:14 – And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation…”
The elder informs John that the multitude arriving in Heaven is coming out of the great tribulation. The Greek “erchomenoi,” translated as “come” is in the present participle form, which indicates it is a continuing action, or an incomplete action. This means the saints in the multitude are continually arriving in Heaven as they die in the Tribulation.
The multitude begins to arrive in Heaven after angels seal the 144,000 servants, which is right before the four angels release the “four winds” at the beginning of the Tribulation (Revelation 7:3), or the official start of “Daniel’s 70th Week.” Therefore the “great tribulation” mentioned by the elder is the seven-year “hour of trial” (Revelation 3:10). This conflicts with what scholars have generally designated as the “great tribulation,” based on the following passage:
Matthew 24:15-21 – “Therefore when you see the ‘ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Notice that Christ does not use the definite article to describe the last three and a half years of the tribulation as “great tribulation.” In other words, Christ was not calling the last half of the Tribulation “The Great Tribulation,” but a period of “great tribulation” worse than ever experienced in the history of man. Recall from Revelation 2:22, “great tribulation” speaks of a period in history characterized by tribulation greater than other times, comparatively. The elder designates the entire Tribulation as “the great tribulation,” while Christ specifies that the second half is “great tribulation,” being worse than anything ever experienced on earth.
This confusion on semantics has created conflicting arguments about when the saints arrive in Heaven and who they are. It does not make sense that the Tribulation saints would not die and go to Heaven for the first half of the Tribulation. In fact, the martyrs under the altar near the beginning of the Tribulation prove this isn’t the case (Revelation 6:9-11). Also, it has been proven extensively in earlier chapters that the Church does not go into the Tribulation, putting to rest a popular argument that the multitude in Heaven represents the Bride. Simply reading the text as is clarifies the issue. The 7-year Tribulation period is “the great tribulation,” and the last half will be “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
As discussed in Revelation 7:1, our chapter of discussion is an interlude which gives us additional information or a different perspective to the story in the narrative. In other words, an interlude is a background story to the narrative, with clear indications that each interlude reaches back or forward in time, and generally returns to where the primary narrative left off. Earlier we saw that the Tribulation saints will die and arrive in Heaven throughout the Tribulation period, but John sees only a snapshot of this ongoing “soul harvest.” Placement of this interlude in chapter 7 between the sixth and seventh Seals suggests John’s snapshot of the “soul harvest” arriving in Heaven takes place before Christ breaks the seventh Seal. In other words, the interlude begins at a time before the Lord breaks any of the Seal judgments and covers the time up to where the narrative left off between the sixth and seventh Seal judgments, but the Tribulation saints continue to arrive in Heaven throughout the Tribulation, as shown below:
“Great tribulation” (see notes on 3:10; 6:1, 9, 12). These people didn’t go with the raptured church, since they were not yet saved. During the 7 year 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 (compare Matt. 24:12-14).
“Washed their robes” (compare 19:8). Salvation’s cleansing is in view (see Titus 2:11-14).
“Blood of the Lamb”: This refers to the atoning sacrifice of Christ (compare 1:5; 5:9; Rom. 3:24-25; 5:9).
You see, he definitely already knew who they were. This was just emphasizing a lesson to be learned. This white is such a bright white that, I believe, it even glistens as the Shekinah Glory of God. Here again, white stands for righteousness. We are righteous because we have taken on Jesus’ righteousness. Notice also, that they were not saved from tribulation, but in it.
Don’t forget, every one of those new believers will have been left behind after the Rapture precisely because he or she had rejected God’s offer of salvation up to that point.
The white robes portray a standing of righteousness, and the multitude praises God especially for their salvation. Note the sevenfold praise (of verse 12).
The redeemed Gentiles of this vision are either saints who will be martyred during the tribulation, or believers who will survive the Tribulation and enter the Millennium in their natural bodies, or both. The temple may be either the earthly, millennial temple, or the throne and presence of God in heaven. Earthly sorrows will be over (21:3-4). Christ will give them spiritual sustenance. There will be absolutely no crying or sorrow in the presence of God, for He will have wiped away all tears from their eyes.
The Tribulation saints make their robes white by washing them in the blood of the Lamb. Do not mistake the washing of their robes with a work-based salvation, as salvation is always about faith (Romans 9:30-32, Hebrews 11). Jesus is the one that cleanses people from their sin:
1 John 1:7-9 – But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The washing of clothes is a work of sanctification. Sanctification means to consecrate or set apart. The Tribulation saints have trusted in the blood of the Lamb for salvation, and by washing their robes in that blood have set themselves apart to serve the Lord. Daniel describes their service and shows that their death is part of the sanctification process of refining and purifying:
Daniel 11:32-35 – Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.
The washing of robes goes back to the “dispensation of the Law.” The Hebrews washed their clothes to get ready to meet the Lord:
Exodus 19:10-14 – Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.” So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes.
The priests washed their clothes as part of a ritual that made them ceremonially clean to serve the Lord in the tabernacle:
Numbers 8:6-7, 21-22 – Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them ceremonially. Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean…. And the Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes; then Aaron presented them like a wave offering before the LORD, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. After that the Levites went in to do their work in the tabernacle of meeting before Aaron and his sons; as the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.
2 Chronicles 4:2-6 – Then he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. And under it was the likeness of oxen encircling it all around, ten to a cubit, all the way around the Sea. The oxen were cast in two rows, when it was cast. It stood on twelve oxen: three looking toward the north, three looking toward the west, three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; the Sea was set upon them, and all their back parts pointed inward. It was a handbreadth thick; and its brim was shaped like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It contained three thousand baths. He also made ten lavers, and put five on the right side and five on the left, to wash in them; such things as they offered for the burnt offering they would wash in them, but the Sea was for the priests to wash in.
The Church does not need to do this ceremonial washing because Christ does it for His Bride:
Ephesians 5:25-27 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
This shows the difference between the “dispensation of grace,” versus other dispensations; the Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints both wash their own robes, while Christ washes the robes of His Bride, who is in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit:
1 Corinthians 6:8-11 – No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
All saints will take part in the “first resurrection” and become priests of God. As priests they go through the sanctification process and ceremonial cleansing in the washing of robes through the blood of the Lamb:
Revelation 20:6 – Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
Those who take part in the “first resurrection” are also overcomers, those who believe Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4-5), and will wear white garments (Revelation 3:5), made white by the blood of the Lamb. This includes believers of all dispensations:
Revelation 4:4 – Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
Revelation 6:11 – Then a white robe was given to each of them [Tribulation martyrs]; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
Revelation 7:9 – After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude… clothed with white robes…
Revelation 19:14 – And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.
image courtesy: Revelation 7-14 – Brian Laing
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We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.