Summary: They (the great multitude) were saved by trusting the Lord Jesus. In their psalm (song) they celebrate their salvation and attribute it to their God and to the Lamb, and they thanked God for His gift.
By: Tom Lowe Date: 12/10/2015
Series: Verse By Verse Through Revelation--#21
Title: The Great Multitude in Heaven
Revelation 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.
We learned from the first eight verses that there will be souls saved during the tribulation, and that the first contingent will be (144,000) Jews. Here we meet another great multitude, but they are Gentiles, “of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” (v. 9). This sequence follows God’s plan, namely, “to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16), and then to the Gentile. This redeemed company, then, is neither Israel nor the Church. During this time of Gentile salvation, the Church is with the Lord, having been caught away by Him. She is seen “sitting” around the throne (4:4); these “stood before the throne, and before the Lamb” (v. 9). The number in this throng is beyond counting, as far as man is concerned. The exact number is known to God alone “. . . The Lord knows those who are his, . . .” (2 Timothy 2:19). They are the Gentile converts won to the Messiah as the result of Israel’s restoration, and of whom the Prophet Isaiah wrote (Isaiah 49:10-12; 16:1-3). This throng heard the good news of the gospel of the kingdom for the first time through the 144,000 redeemed children of Israel. [It is significant that this group, the 144,000, is only announced, not actually seen.]
This “great multitude” of Revelation 7:9-17 are the “sheep nations” of whom Christ spoke in Matthew 25:31-40. The 144,000 witnessing Israelites will be persecuted for their testimony. They will be hungry, thirsty, lonely, in need of clothing, and cast into prison. But those Gentiles who believe their message will stand with them and minister to them so that it is to them Jesus will say, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me” (Matthew 25:40). This throng will be preserved through the tribulation, not kept out of it as the Church will be— “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth” (Revelation 3:10). I know of no place else in Scripture where these are mentioned. They are an elect Gentile remnant in addition to the elect of the Church and of Israel.