Summary: Tribulation saints from all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues.
Revelation 7: Thanksgiving...In Heaven! (vs 9-17)
Last week, we entered our study in Revelation 7, and saw how everything stopped--how there is a pause in the action of Revelation. During this pause, the four angels charged with the judgments on the earth are told stop the winds and also the judgments while 144,000 "super evangelists" were sealed on the foreheads by a designated angel. This sealing would be authorize these Jewish men, protect them from the evil forces of Antichrist and empower them with a special witnessing ministry.
This week, we will be discussing Revelation 7:9-17, part of the parenthetical passage between the sixth and the seventh seal judgments. This group of people will be radically different from the men mentioned last week, the 144,000 Jewish "super evangelists" that will lead a great soul harvest. Yet, they are related in two key ways.
First, they are united by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus Christ is the great leveler. As it has been said, the ground is level at the foot of the cross.
Second, we will see that many of these men and women will come to faith because of these 144,000 super evangelist's ministry.
I love how God does things, and how He brings things together! This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving; this message is about thanksgiving! We often think of thanksgiving as a time of celebration of food, family...and football. However, if you think that it ends at that, you are sorely mistaken.
Today, we will discover how Heaven is all about Thanksgiving, and how we should have an attitude of thankfulness each and every day.
The Great Multitude
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!" Rev 7:9-10 NKJV
Have you ever been to a Steelers game? It sure is a lot of fun. And part of the fun is that there are over 50,000 other people having fun. It is an awe-striking thing to be amongst a big crowd with the same mind, the same emotion as you are. The largest crowd I was ever a part of was back in 1997 at the Promisekeepers event "Stand in the Gap", held on the Mall at Washington DC. It was estimated that well over 1 million men were in attendence--all with one mind, all with similar emotion, all with the same Spirit. The worship there was amazing, it was a time of brotherhood that I will never forget.
The scenery changes with the term "after these things", as John gazed upon a great multitude of people that no one could number. The term number is the Koine Greek word arithmeoo, the term which we get arithmetic from. In short, no one could do the math to figure out how large a number the men and women were in this great group! If you think about that, back in Revelation 5:11 the number of people in heaven around the throne could not be calculated but was "ten thousand times ten thousand" (100 million) plus thousands of thousands. Here we see John say that this group could not be numbered.
Who were these people? Of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues. Let's take a quick look at each of these terms.
Nations: ethnos in Koine Greek, meaning ethnic peoples, or from particular nations. Tribes: phule in Koine Greek, meaning kin, tribe or clan--in other words, familial groups. People: laos in Koine Greek, meaning number of people being joined together by the common bonds of society. For instance, the British Empire has different nations (England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, etc.) but also different clans with in it. Tongues: glossia, meaning different languages. It will not matter where you are from, what your last name is or what language you speak, people from all walks of life--just like now--will be saved during that time.
These people will be wearing bright, shining full length robes and will be waving palm branches; it will be a celebration of victory (represented by the robes and palms), a celebration of togetherness, a celebration of thanksgiving like no time prior has occurred. Not only will it be a happy, joyous time but it will be a loud time! The Koine Greek terms phone megale, meaning loud voice is the term we get megaphone from; it will be a cheering, shoutin' time in heaven. Why? "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
Our salvation--soteria in Koine Greek--means "rescue, safety, deliver, health, salvation, save, saving" (Strong's). There is also a flavor of victory to the term. The song "Victory in Jesus" could well be sung here! " Oh Victory in Jesus! My Savior, forever! He sought me, he bought me, with His redeeming blood." We have victory in Jesus because of what Jesus did for us! Talk about thanksgiving!