The multitude before God’s throne, defining the identity of the 144,000 sealed Jews.
Rev 7:9-17 KJV
(9) After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
(10) And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
(11) And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
(12) Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
(13) And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
(14) And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
(15) 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 among them.
(16) They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
(17) 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.
In chapter 6, we begin to see the seals being opened. All seven seals represent for us the events that will lead up to the the Christian’s receipt of their eternal inheritance:
Opening Seals 1-4 (Revelation 6:1-8) – All four of these seals affect everyone who is living on earth
- 1st Seal – White Horse – False Teachers/Christs 1-2
- 2nd Seal – Red Horse – Wars and Rumors Of War 3-4
- 3rd Seal – Black Horse – Famine and Scarcity 5-6
- 4th Seal – Pale Horse – Death 7-8
Opening Seals 5-6 (Revelation 6:9-17)
- 5th Seal – Persecution/Martyrdom 9-11 – This seal is pointed towards Christians (faithful servants of Christ)
- 6th Seal – Heaven’s Shaken – God’s Wrath Falling 12-17 – This seal is pointed towards the unsaved (those who oppose the work of Christ on earth.
Keep in mind seal six was revealed in Rev 6:12-17. The seventh seal, which represents the Lord’s wrath falling upon sinful mankind at His second coming, will be opened in Rev 8:1. The events of chapter 7 take place following the end of seal 6 and prior to the opening of seal 7.
In other words, chapter 7 explains the events that take place immediately prior to, and in preparation for, the second coming of Christ in wrath.
What has to take place immediately after the events of today’s time, but before the second coming?
The Lord will take His people off the sinful, fallen earth and give to them glorified bodies (1 Cor 15:50-54, Matt 24:29-31 etc). In doing so, He will be removing them from the wrath that is about to fall upon the sinful earth (2 Pet 3:10 Rev 8:1-on). It is the taking of Christ’s people that will be in view in this section of our study…
THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:
(Please notice, in this text, we see the sealed Jews are being identified in great detail. We will see that they are the protected saints of God. They are the ones protected from the falling of God’s wrath against sinful man (Rev 7:1-8). They are now identified as those who will enjoy a secure eternity with their Lord. In vs 1-8, they were seen as needy mankind who could only be saved from God’s wrath through His intervention, now in vs 9-17, they are seen as enjoying their eternal deliverance from His wrath. Rev 14:1-5 ties these two sections together as it describes the 144000 standing before the throne of God enjoying eternity with Him.)
(Please notice especially vs 15-17 helps us to understand that the eternal state of God’s people is in view in this section of the study. Compare Rev 7:9-17 with Rev 21:1-5 and Rev 22:1-5.)
As the symbolic 144,000 Jews are sealed, protecting them from His wrath that is about to fall (vs 1-8), John’s attention is turned to a multitude of men that stand before the throne of God…
Rev 7:9-17 KJV
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, Who is the great multitude of people? They are the saints of God who have been protected from His wrath and now enjoying eternal communion and blessings with God…
Notice how they are described…
of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
- They are made up of all: ethnic groups, families & ancestries, geographic regions, and languages.
- They are in the presence of God and the Lamb eagerly desiring to learn of, and obey, them.
- They are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, standing sinless in God’s presence
- They are prepared to worship and honor their God and Lord.
- Their cry is a proclamation of the Lord’s gracious working in their lives. They recognize they have been saved by a sovereign God through the precious shed blood of the Lamb that was slain. They can boast of nothing but of their Lord and all He has done for them.
Based upon these 5 different descriptions of this multitude, it is very easy to see that this multitude that has been sealed and protected from God’s wrath are all the redeemed of God who will enjoy eternity with Him….
Rev 5:9-10 KJV – “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts,
In response to cries of the multitude, the angels now bring praise and honor to the Redeemer and Protector of the saints…
and fell before the throne on their faces,
the angels bow down with their faces to the ground in submission, humility and awe, standing before the Most High God.
and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
the angels worship the Lord by verbally proclaiming His awesome character .…
- blessing – Men are to only speak well of Him. They are never to speak words of displeasure towards Him.
- glory – Men are to hold Him in esteem. They are to honor Him in their thoughts, motives, desires, lives and speech.
- wisdom – Men are to live their lives for Him by applying His Word to their lives
- thanksgiving – Men are to appreciate all His workings and verbally proclaim all He has done for them
- honour – Men are to value and treat the Lord with the dignity and honor He deserves.
- power – Men are to exercise all their physical strength, and authority to serve Him
- might – Men are to use all their talents and other abilities to serve Him
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me,
One of the elders (representing the saints of God who are holders of God’s eternal blessings), now come to John to reveal to John the identity of these people. Why does the elder know who these people are? Because he is one of them! A saint who has been given the eternal blessings of God.
What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.
The elder now asks John if he knows the identity of the multitude who are clothed in white robes. He knows that John does not understand and needs the identification of them.
And he said to me,
The elder identifies the multitude in two ways: their past on earth and their eternal future on the New Earth…
These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Their past identifies them as:
- they came out of tribulation – the tribulation on earth that is symbolized by the six seals (Rev 6:1-17)
- they have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb – their salvation experience while on earth, followed by their faithful service to Him through His grace.
These are clearly describing those who are redeemed by the blood of Christ and experiencing trials on earth. This description goes hand in hand with (vs 1-8), the 144000 sealed Jews.
Heb 11:35 KJV – “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:”
1Co 6:11 KJV – “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
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 among 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.
Their future eternity on the New Earth:
- they will worship and serve God day and night, submitted to His authority – Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple:
- they will live in the presence of God – and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
- they will no longer suffer physical cravings and needs – They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;
- they will no longer suffer physical discomfort or discontentment – neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
- they will be totally fulfilled and content physically and spiritually – For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them,
- they will have access to the source of eternal life – and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters:
- they will no longer suffer, feel physical pain or the pain of loss. – God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes
These are clearly describing genuinely saved who are protected in Christ and experiencing eternity with Him.
In other words, John who has just seen the saints of God sealed/protected on earth, now sees their identity revealed in the multitude before God’s throne. They are those who are:
- redeemed by the blood of Christ;
- having experienced the tribulation of this time frame, but protected from His wrath to come;
- and are experiencing a wonderful eternity in the very presence of their Savior.
Psa 121:4-7 KJV – “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.”
Psa 28:7-9 KJV – “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.”
(see also Rev 14:1-5 which is a combining the same symbolism describing God’s people in eternity with Him. Also see Rev 21 & 22 for an in depth look are the eternity awaiting God’s people)
In this section of Scripture, we saw Christ as the Eternal Lord over His people, the One who has redeemed His people through His shed blood and then made them secure throughout eternity….
Rom 5:8-11 KJV – “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)
Our understanding of eternity, although not complete, is one of the great encouragers for Christians who are striving to remain faithful to Christ in the midst of this fallen, sinful world. In this text we have gotten a glimpse of what our eternity with God will be like. Never-ending worship and service, a cessation of suffering, sorrow and want. These all are overshadowed by enjoying the never-ending presence of our Lord and Savior…. what a wonderful eternity awaits us.
May we all keep this wonderful eternity in mind, and allow it to motivate us to a faithful continuance of our service for Him…
2Co 4:15-18 KJV
“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.