The white-robed tribulation saints, Revelation Chapter 7 Verses 9-17 (NASB)

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    After these things I looked,
These things probably are the six seals and the 144,000 Jews being sealed.
    and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count,
The focus has changed from earth back to heaven because the THRONE and LAMB are here. The great multitude are Christians saved during the Great Tribulation (verse 14).
    from
    • every nation and
    • all tribes (Jewish?) and
    • peoples (Gentiles?) and
    • tongues (mixed? Genesis 11:1-9),
The expression "all peoples" is used in John is given a glimpse of the fulfillment of Jesus words, Matthew 24:14. All the world hears it before the end comes; the Great Commission is completed (Acts 1:7-8).
    STANDING before
  • the THRONE (fullness of God) and before
  • the LAMB (the redemption price)
    CLOTHED in white robes (special reward) and palm branches were in their hands;
"Standing before" vs. "fallen down before" ... denotes a victory which is confirmed by the palm branches in their hands. These are ones who truly overcame the beast, antichrist, and martyrdom, and followed Christ even to death. They can hold their heads high in VICTORY!
This is a celebration like the Feast of Tabernacles, Leviticus 23:39-41. It is a joyful time (in heaven) especially after the 6 seals were opened (on earth). What the 'great multitude' must have endured (on earth) to get here (in heaven)! Truly, "O DEATH, where is your victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)
    and they cry out with a LOUD voice, saying,
No timidity in this group! After all they DIED for having accepted Christ  God and the LAMB are real to them.
    "SALVATION (like HOSANNA! John 12:12-13)
    • to OUR GOD who sits on the THRONE and
    • to the LAMB."
"Saved" is the verb form of "Salvation" that believers use to describe: This salvation is associated with the final act of God's power and kingdom: Salvation is the resolution of GOOD vs. EVIL. The "day of salvation", Isaiah 49:8-13, is again quoted by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:1-10.

The LOUD voice cry by the THRONE and for the LAMB parallels the expression in the previous verse.

    And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures;
John repaints the picture he saw in chapter 4 . Here he adds angels to the picture and shows that they are STANDING around the edges of the picture along with the GREAT MULTITUDE in verse 9 .
    and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
The angels are so overcome by the shout of SALVATION by the multitude that they fall down and worship GOD. Doing this, they acknowledge the GREAT ACT (Luke 15:8-10) Christ did for mankind , and which they will never experience because angels have no need for redemption.
There is a difference between this verse and chapter 4. Here the angels fall down; in chapter 4 the twenty four elders and the four living creatures fall down.
    saying,
This is audible speaking it, not mentally thinking it. This indicates that worship prayers should be spoken and not just thought.
    "Amen,
    • the blessing (7) and
    • the glory (6) and
    • the wisdom (3) and
    • the thanksgiving ((2) riches) and
    • the honor (5) and
    • the power (1) and
    • the might (4) be to our God forever and ever
    Amen."
The AMENS bracket the sevenfold doxology. The angels agree entirely with the multitude.

In the original version, each attribute is preceded by "the" as shown here. This gives the sense of all or complete. For example, "the power" means all powerful.

The () denotes the order of these attributes as found in Revelation 5:12 . There may be some significance to the order; however, this is not clear. This listing goes from praise words (blessing and glory) to strength words (power and might). The recipient here is GOD (be to our GOD) while in Revelation 5:12 , the recipient is Jesus (Worthy is the LAMB).
    And one of the ELDERS answered, saying to me,
This is the second time an ELDER has spoken to John; the first is found in Revelation 5:5 . In the beginning of Revelation, it was angels passing on information to John. But here close in to the throne, it is an elder communicating with him. Also recall that in verse 11 , the angels are totally involved in worshiping the LAMB and Him who sits on the THRONE.
    "These who are clothed in the WHITE ROBES,
    • who are they, and
    • from where have they come?
The ELDER must have seen a puzzled look on John's face because he ANSWERED John. John doesn't recognize this multitude because he will have come to heaven before they did. If they came out of the tribulation as the next verse says, then they are not Old Testament saints or Church/Grace Age/preRapture saints.

It is important to God to have these martyrs truly identified. Their WHITE ROBES (Revelation 7:9 ; Revelation 6:11 ; Revelation 3:5) give them away. To John, it is a special sight.
    And I said to him, "My lord (Sir), you know."
John acknowledges that the elder since his death has had access to the knowledge of heaven. John doesn't have this privilege yet.
    And he said to me, "These are the ones
    • who come out of the GREAT TRIBULATION, and
      This is the tribulation, Christ refers to in Matthew 24:21 , where 'the then' refers back to Matthew 24:15 when we see the "abomination of desolation standing in the holy place"

      Caution: the Rapture appears to be an absolute dividing line. That is, if you rejected Christ before the rapture, you will be deceived forever. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). Others believe you have a chance during the tribulation (2 Peter 3:9-10), however, since this verse comes after verse 9 .

      There will be plenty of Bibles, Christian literature, 144,000 sealed Israelites, and this Internet study remaining during the great tribulation.

    • they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
      The white robes are the "righteous acts of the saints.", Revelation 19:8 . That this multitude are redeemed believers cannot be questioned because of the washing of their robes.

      To Sardis, Revelation 3:4 , the soiled garments, that is, the unrighteous acts, keep most from walking with Christ. The walking is fellowship, and we can only do that if there is no sin. Sin is cleansed by His blood, 1 John 1:7 .

      Isaiah 1:18 refers to this process. Sins are equated to scarlet, yet they will be made white as snow.

There is no doubt about it, though, a multitude of believers come out of the GREAT TRIBULATION period!
    "For this reason, they are before the THRONE of GOD;
What is the reason? In the previous verse, these are the ones who came out of the GREAT TRIBULATION (includes saved Gentile martyrs and the 144,000 sealed Jews, for certain) and washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.
    and they serve HIM day and night in HIS temple; and
They show a singleness of purpose: TO SERVE GOD!

`Day and night' means continually like the four living creatures do in Revelation 4:8 . That there is day and night at this time of John's vision indicates that the first heaven (Genesis 1:6-8) and the first earth have not passed away yet, Revelation 21:1 . Symbolicly, this matches with Christ's prayer that we are in Him and He in us, John 17:20-26 , and His teaching that as a vine we abide in unity, John 15:1-8 . Then we, as believers, being His temple right now, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 , also should have this same singleness of purpose:

TO SERVE GOD!

The result of SERVING GOD:

  1. Protection - this verse
  2. - next verse
  3. Guidance - verse 17
  4. Comfort - verse 17

These are all things they did not have during the GREAT TRIBULATION! Luke 9:23-27 is fulfilled.
    He who sits on THE THRONE shall spread his tabernacle over them.

    This is so typical GOD - He did the same with His shekinah presence on the Old Testament:

    • Exodus 40:34-38 - The people journied with God's protective cloud.
    • 1 Kings 8:5-13 - The ark is brought into the new temple Solomon build. The cloud of God, the glory of God, is overpowering.
    • Ezekiel 10:1-4-5, 18-19 - Vision of heavenly THRONE with cherubim (4 living creatures) and the glory of God cloud again.

    Later on Jesus himself defined the TRUE LIGHT in John 1:9-14 . And we get to partake of it! AMEN.

NEVER AGAIN will these people go without the protection of God!

HALLELUJAH!
  • "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
These tribulation martyrs must have gone hungry often and had their water supply cut off. Either they were living in very isolated or barren places, or they may not have been able to buy any food, Revelation 13:17 . What a slow torturous way to die!
    neither shall the sun beat down on them nor any heat;
If Revelation is not necessarily a chronological book, then Revelation 16:8 -9 , the 4th bowl, may have affected them too. This scorching was not selective. The believers who were there experienced it too. To some of these, not to be thirsty or have the sun scorching down on them was real relief.

This verse fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 49:8-13 .

Incidently, if one reads Matthew 25:31-40 as the 1000 year reign, there will be righteous people who helped "one of these brothers of Mine' who are rewarded even to the least one of them.

Lastly, real satisfaction comes after being really hungry or thirsty after righteousness, Matthew 5:6 . How hungry or thirsty are you after righteousness? Perhaps, your "satisfaction" isn't complete. Recall where this part of the vision is taking place. It is before the Lamb who gives you and me that perfect thirst quenching drink, John 4:7-15
    for the LAMB in the center of the THRONE shall be their SHEPHERD,
Here are all these horribly persecuted, physically hungry and thirsty saints seeing Christ the LAMB Himself being their SHEPHERD; this isn't assigned to some group of angels; it wasn't part of the 4 living creatures jobs; it is the LAMB Himself to be their SHEPHERD. So what does a shepherd do?
and shall guide them to springs of the WATER OF LIFE;

When these saints were hiding from AntiChrist authorities, they were on their own - intuition was their guide along with a complete faith in Christ. Now their faith yielded results. The SHEPHERD takes responsibility to GUIDE them.

The water of life is a whole topic unto itself. We find it

  1. and God shall wipe EVERY TEAR from their eyes.
These saints must have gone through horrible events: torture, seeing loved ones killed, compassion of others to give them food and water, and on and on. But GOD Himself (not the LAMB) will remove all the tears.
Mercifully, the remembrances of bad times will be removed from their minds. There will be no tears in the new heaven, Revelation 21:4 . The Lord God will throw a lavish banquet for all peoples (the marriage supper), Isaiah 25:6-12 . Isaiah also reminds us what it will be like in the new heavens, Isaiah 65:17-19-25 , where there will be no voice of weeping and no sound of crying. JOY replaces the sorrow and weeping, Psalm 16:5-11 .
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only.