Summary: Tribulation Saints
During this time already in this study we have seen the six seals opened and God’s will to protect His own people during this time of tribulation. The remainder of this chapter will open up with a glimpse of the tribulation saints. All these people pictured here will have died during the tribulation. This shows us once again that God is in control. This is the message of Revelation that God is in control despite all that is going on. The Spirit is still at work even during this time drawing people into a relationship with Jesus. This will be the time Isaiah 26:10 describes, “Your kindness to the wicked down not make them do good. They keep doing wrong and take no notice of the Lord’s majesty.” The following chapter can be broken into the following. First is the action of the people in heaven in verses 9-12, second is the question of the elder to the Apostle John in verses 13-14a, and the answer in verse 14b-17.
Revelation 7:9-12, “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation, and tribe and people, and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God on the throne and from the Lamb! And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell face down before the throne and worshipped God. They said, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever. Amen!”
After this I saw a vast crowd great to count refers to the amount of people that the Apostle John saw. The Greek word for tribe is Phule meaning a company of people united by kinship or habitation, a clan, tribe is used of the tribes of Israel in Matthew 19:28, Luke 2:36, 22:30, Acts 13:21, Romans 11:1, Phil 3:5, Hebrews 7:13, Jas 1:1; Rev 5:5, 7:4-8; 21:12. The Greek word for people is
They were clothed in white and held palm branches in their hands refers to the state they were in. They had not yet achieved glorification but that they are clothed in white refers symbolically to leukos (bright) as lekano figuratively to white or make white. This means that they had not yet been made white but they appeared bright. Palm branches in Scripture are associated with celebration, deliverance and joy. They were especially prominent during the Feast of Tabernacles, the Old Testament commemorative celebration of God’s provision for < during their wilderness wandering being employed for the construction of the booths the people lived in during that feast (Neh 8:15;17). During Jesus triumphal entry the joyous crowed palm branches as they welcomed Him into Jerusalem, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of Lord, even the King of Israel” (John 12:13). The palm branches in the hands of these redeemed saints are a fitting celebrative symbol of the unequaled provision of salvation from the world, Satan, Antichrist, sin, death and hell provided by them by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Salvation comes from our God on the throne and from the Lamb! This describes the action that is going on around the throne. They are praising the Lord for His provision to save them in the person of Jesus. Then after this the angels join in with the praise of the triumphant tribulation martyrs and say, “And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell face down before the throne and worshipped God. They said, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever. Amen!”
Blessing is a noun in the Greek eulogia meaning good, speaking, praise, God and Christ. They are giving God the blessing and the honor due to His name for the impending judgment will show the world as it has already that He is on the Throne and deserving of all the praise. Despite the times that we may not “feel” God’s presence we still must give Him praise because He is deserving of it. Wisdom is in the Greek Sophia used of God in Romans 11:33; 1st Cor 1:21, 24,27; Eph 3:10, Revelation 7:12. Thanksgiving in the Greek is Eucharista meaning thanks in Revelation 7:12. Honor in the Greek is time meaning honor, or esteem used in ascriptions of worship to God in 1st Tim 1:17; 6:16; Revelation 4:9, 5:9, and 7:12. Amen refers to let it be so.