Saturday, 14 January 2017 19:09

48. The great multitude * Revelation 7:9-12

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9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and tribes, 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 who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four living creatures, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God,

12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen.

 

*** And after these things, John looked ***: We see a literary pattern going on in the way John describes what is happening around him in the visions. He first hears things, then he turns around to see them, he describes them in a different way.

What John Hears

What John Sees

Verses

Loud voice like a trumpet

Jesus walking in the middle of the lampstands

Revelation 1:10-13

Lion from the tribe of Juda

Lamb as having been slain

Revelation 5:5-6

The number of those who were sealed was 144,000

A great multitude, which no man could number

Revelation 7:4,9

The great prostitute sitting on many waters

A woman named Babylon, sitting on a scarlet beast

Revelation 17:1-5

The bride, the wife of the Lamb

The holy city Jerusalem

Revelation 21:9-12

In Revelation 5:5-6, John heard about the Lion of the tribe of Judah, but when he turned to look, he saw a lamb that had been slain. In Revelation 7:4, John hears the number of the sealed people of God, 144,000, but when he looks (verse 9), he sees a group he cannot even count. At a first glance, we may think that the 144,000 and the great multitude are different groups of people. One is from the tribes of Israel, and the other is from every nation in the world. But when we study them closely, we will see that they are actually the same group of people, being described in a different timeframe. The great multitude is being described in some point in time “after these things” (verse 9). This means that the period “after these things” happens after he hears the number 144,000, after they were sealed, and after the people were organized in a military formation for the spiritual battle. After John heard these things, he looked and saw what was happening after all that had taken place.

*** All nations, tribes, people’s, and tongues ***: In Revelation 7:4, John heard that the group of sealed people were from “all the tribes of the children of Israel". But when he looks, in verse 9, he sees that they are actually from "all nations, and tribes, and people, and tongues". This underlines the symbolic nature of the 144,000, as the spiritual Israel the apostles talked about (Galatians 3:29). The Bible could not be any more clear about who will be saved. Salvation is available to everyone. During the last days, cultural labels will not be what divides the faithful people. Their belief in God's truths, their obedience to His Commandments, and their faith of Jesus are what will unite and describe them (Revelation 14:12). We can further identify this great multitude by reading the song in Revelation 5:9-10. It talks about the redeemed people, who came from "out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation", and were made kings and priests to God.

*** Standing before the throne and the Lamb, dressed in white ***: This part of verse 9 tells us where the saved people will be after they are sealed, and are able to see Christ's return. After the battle is over, the army of God will no longer be in a military formation, but united as a multitude, standing before the throne, and before Jesus. The need for an army no longer exists. They stand before God with the white outfit He had promised to the overcomer in Revelation 3:5. We can see the verses describing the path of the overcomer through time. The ones who believed will be saved through all the chaos on Earth, described in the beginning of the sixth seal. Their reward will be spending precious time with Jesus.

*** Palm branches in their hands ***: In John 12:13, we read about the multitude in Jerusalem celebrating Jesus' arrival into the city. They had palm branches in their hands. During the Feast of Tabernacles, the people were to “rejoice before the Lord” with branches of palm trees (Leviticus 23:40). Like the white robes, the palm branches are a symbol of victory and celebration. The large crowd before the throne cannot keep themselves from praising God. The battle is over. Once again, we see the natural behavior people display when standing in the presence of God. They praise Him.

***Salvation to our God***: John describes the redeemed. They are celebrating their victory over the decade evil. But they do not take any credit for their accomplishment. Christ was the one who delivered them, through His blood. And just as we saw the heavenly beings do during Christ’s enthronement (Revelation 4 and 5) the redeemed also sing with a large voice, praising God. The redeemed are not the only ones worshiping God. Revelation 7:11 describes a familiar scene. Just like John did in the begging of the book, the heavenly beings fall at Jesus’ feet in worship. Their song seems to be the same one sung in Revelation 5:9-14: "Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen.” (Apocalipse 7:12).

*** Overview ***: The sealed people of God are numbered, but not in a human way. To God, the symbolic 144,000 is a total that “no man could number” (Revelation 7:9). It is up to God to know when all the people have made up their minds, and chosen to be or not to be on God’s side. When that “number” is reached, the two groups will be defined. The faithful people are described in a different way than they were in the beginning of the chapter. They are no longer described in a military formation. They are wearing the robes of victory, celebrating, praising and worshiping before the throne of God. The great multitude of saved people and the angels are all worshiping God, in the same way the heavenly beings did when Christ returned to Heaven after His resurrection (Revelation 4 and 5). All the honor and glory, all the merits for the victory over evil go to the One sitting on the throne and unto the Lamb. It is because of God’s everlasting glory, power and might that the redeemed are able to endure to the end. The saved standing before the throne are there because they have trusted God with their lives.

   
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