Revelation Chapter 7: 9-17
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’
“Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ So, he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
The response to the last article was great. I continue to get emails and questions, and I appreciate that. It is making me ask more questions and learn more. I was away at a Men’s Retreat with some of the smartest Bible guys I know. We looked into the life of Jonah, and we were challenged to consider our own obedience. I was reminded that obedience is the highest form of worship; and I was reminded that God is gracious even and especially to me – his complaining, pouting child – and even in my disobedience, He is glorified.
Today we will pick up where we left off in Revelation 7. The 144,000 Jewish men have been selected and sealed for the work of evangelizing the Jews in the Tribulation. We mentioned the tribe of Dan and spoke about the Lord’s redemptive power in our last post. Today we will explore the multitude before the throne of God.
A great Multitude, Revelation 7: 9
Up until about the early 1900’s, most people in the world lived and died relatively close to where they were born. Land travel, except on a train, was slow and tedious; and many did not have the means to afford travel. There were some adventurers that pioneered the west, for instance in the US, and there were those explorers that mapped out the world. But, for the most part, people did not travel far. John would have done some travelling as an apostle. He was currently off the coast of Asia Minor, and some of the world would have traveled to him.
We recall in Acts 8 that an Ethiopian eunuch was in Jerusalem for the Passover and that there were men of many languages on the day of Pentecost. But here John observes a “great multitude.” They are from every tribe, tongue and nation. The number in John’s estimation could not be numbered. We are told in Revelation 7:14 that “these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation.” They were redeemed after the church is raptured and the Anti-Christ is on the scene. The fact that we are told that they are from the “great tribulation” may suggest that they or the vast majority of them were not redeemed until after the third Temple had been defiled by the Anti-Christ.
Just because the church age ends, it does not mean that God gets out of the saving business. He simply changes gears. God was saving people before the Law; He saved people during the law; He sent Jesus to satisfy the Law; He is saving now in the church age. There is salvation in the Tribulation, and there will be the offer of salvation in the Millennial kingdom as well. From what I can see and understand, these would have been killed in the Tribulation, many dying as martyrs.
Keeping the context of the passage, it would seem that these people before the Throne of God are mostly, if not all, Jews. I could be wrong. Jews from every nation, from all the Tribes, from every language and peoples. These Jewish missionaries went out and did their job; they went all through the earth showing that Jesus is the Messiah. Millions responded to them. Wow! Salvation does belong to our God.
As we enter the death throes of the church age, we get this self-pity going, ‘woe is me,’ kind of like Elijah in 1 Kings 19:10…
“I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too!“
But God responded that He had over 7,000 men who had not bowed to Baal besides Elijah – men with wives and families. Elijah thought he was the only one, and God reminded him that he was just one of thousands.
God is not going to lose the numbers game to Satan. Forget what you can see. God has millions more than you can see. Many of us think, as the church age comes to an end, that salvation will stop and be limited. But God still is in the saving business. God made a promise to Abraham that He would have descendants as innumerable as the stars of Heaven. There have been Jews saved over the years, beginning with the apostles, then Paul and others throughout the known world. Over the last almost 2,000 years of the church age, many, many Jews have been redeemed. But it is in the Tribulation that the masses of Jews turn to their Messiah.
Any ‘Bible teachers’ who teach that God has replaced the Jews with the church are simply calling God a liar, and they are calling into question the character of God. God wrote an entire book called Hosea to prove to us that, even when Israel acts like a whore, He—God—will redeem her like Hosea did for his earthly wife. Please read Hosea 3:
“The Lord said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.’ So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, ‘You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.’ For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.”
God makes it clear that “in the last days” the Jews will return to God and to David their king; this is a picture of Jesus. At the time of this writing, David is dead. Jesus is the King like David that they are returning to. I do not know how much clearer this can be. Those who teach ‘replacement’ of Israel with the church are simply blaspheming; they are calling God a liar. They say that God can and will break a promise, and they question the Holiness of God. These people are false prophets, and many of them are very, very famous in the ‘church’ world.
Many of the Lord’s people do not study the Bible for themselves, nor do they understand that God made Israel, knowing they would play the whore, and He still called them His.
Salvation Belongs to Our God
I was confronted, not in an aggressive way, by someone questioning that Jesus was the only Way to Heaven. Just yesterday, a co-worker asked me if Jesus had ever sinned. I answered ‘No’ and then I sent him Hebrews 4:14-18 as the scripture to back up my statement. We must not waver on this. If we do, we condemn a lot of people to Hell. Jesus/God has the only way of salvation. It is in Jesus and in Him alone.
God offers salvation to everyone: every nation, tribe, tongue and people through Jesus. No other options. The Muslims are not coming to Heaven their way, the Hindus are not getting to Heaven their way, the Gypsies are not getting to Heaven their way, and so on. God pre-ordained that ALL who would come to Him must come through Jesus. All who will be saved must come through Jesus. The apostle Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 1: 1-2…
“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I decided to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
Paul made it clear that it is Jesus and Him crucified that is our only message. It has been the message from Genesis 3:15 to the hill of Calvary; it is the cross today, and it will be the cross in the Tribulation. Zechariah tells us that the Jews will “look on Him whom they have pierced.” Jesus and Him alone is the answer. His death, burial and resurrection are all we need; and if not, we have no hope at all. We are dead in our sins and we can never approach God.
Peace in the presence of Jesus
Today, the Jews live in turmoil. In the days of Saul and David, they lived in constant war. In the time of the Judges, they lived in constant war. They have been hated and despised everywhere they went. But there, at the foot of Jesus throne, they finally have peace.
“They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
It took them a long time to find their peace in Jesus, and it took a lot of pain to get here. Sadly, I am like that. Jesus offers peace; and I create turmoil by my sin, my rebellion, my lack of faith, and a fleshly desire to ‘solve it.’ I often trade my peace from the Lord for turmoil from me. I wallow in self-pity and doubts rather than put my full reliance on Jesus and His faithfulness.
You and I do not need to wait to get to Heaven to have peace. Jesus is here with us ALL THE TIME. He never leaves us, ever.
We equate peace with the lack of conflict or trouble. But true peace can transcend all of our troubles and simply place all of our reliance on God. We do not have to perform to have God’s love; those of us who are redeemed have “passed from death to life.” We are no longer the enemies of God, and we are not trying to win His favor. We have His favor in Jesus. Stop trying to get what you already have. Simply live in it. You and I have peace with God in Jesus. We just don’t believe it, and so we remain in turmoil. Most of us are so accustomed to turmoil that we are afraid of peace.
These millions of Jews at the foot of God’s throne found their peace. God wiped away their tears, and they never cried again. God offers you this peace, in Jesus, today. My brother and my sister, this is Jesus’ promise to you; own it and trust in it. The same God who clearly keeps His promises to Israel will keep His promise to you.
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.”