Revelation 7:9-17 - The Great Multitude
 9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

   “Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

   “Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”

 13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”

   And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 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 shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
   never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
   nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
   will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.'
   ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
 

Revelation 7:9-17

The first half of Revelation 14 describes the 144,000; the last half describes the great multitude.  The great multitude represents the wheat harvest of the final generation.  Matthew 13:24-30, 36-40  They are the sheaves brought in causing great rejoicing.  Psalms 126:5-6  The great multitude come out of the highways and hedges of the world compelled to enter into the kingdom, but many in the church will have excuses.  Luke 14:16-24  What compels them?  The Spirit of God through the voices of the 144,000 prophets. 

The 144,000 are the laborers from inside the house of God that answered the first call during the first hour of the harvest.  The 144,000 represent the barley harvest which ripens before the wheat; therefore, the 144,000 are also known as first fruit.  Revelation 14:3-4           Many in the church will make excuses, but the 144,000 hear and heed the voice of God.  They were the first to hear the midnight cry because they are the watchmen.  Ezekiel 33:1-6   The great multitude join the 144,000 in the harvest of the last days.  Some will begin laboring at midmorning and some will only labor the last hour.   Matthew 20:1-16     

God wants us to know the beginning to the end.  He is calling for laborers willing to leave the banqueting table and work in His fields.  Luke 10:2-4  It is not a work greatly desired by the church; therefore, many will ignore the call.  They will jeopardize not only the souls of those in need, but their own souls as well.  This is the greatest work ever given to mortal man with a matching reward--a day's wages (penny/denarius).  Remember, the great multitude will consist of someone you love that probably would not have entered in had someone not been willing to testify to them.  Can we stand by gorging on God's bounty while there are many that have never tasted the word of God?

The rider of the black horse that comes upon the earth during the third seal ushers in the grain harvest--both barley and wheat.  Revelation 6:5-6   Anyone willing to work in the harvest will receive the same reward of a day's wages.  This makes sense in light of the following passage:  Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.    M Matthew 10:41  However, as a sign-on bonus, you can have all the oil and the wine your vessel can hold.  If you receive the outpouring of the oil (Holy Spirit) during the third seal, your will not run dry during the darkness and devastation of the fourth seal.  Therefore, you will be prepared to do what you were designed to do, give light.  Matthew 5:14-16

Revelation 7:1-8 describes the 144,000 completing their work on earth during the tribulation.  In Revelation 14:4 the 144,000 are called  first fruits which is a harvest term used in an agricultural society and tells us that the 144,000 will be redeemed prior to the great multitude and presented to the Lamb (Jesus) and the Father.  In understanding the festivals of Israel, it makes sense that the full harvest would be received based upon the acceptance of the first fruits which is a sample of the harvest to come.  First there will be the harvest of the first fruits (144,000), the plagues, and then the full harvest--including the dead in Christ and the great multitude.  

The great multitude are drawn out of Babylon as a result of the preaching and teaching of the 144,000.  The great multitude is the purpose of the tribulation of the last days.  God is patient and long-suffering and not willing that any should perish and this great multitude will include people loved by you and me.  In this group will be our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, spouses and other loved ones.  It is profound to know that the Father loves them even more.  For their sake, we must be willing to settle it in our hearts and minds to declare, "Not my will but thine."  To help us with that, the Father lets us see them serving Him at His throne so we know the end result of our efforts.  It is like knowing the joy of a boy child before a woman goes into labor. 

For the sake of the great multitude, the 144,000 willingly endure the tribulation because it is the will of the Father.  However, they do not experience the plagues because they are presented to the Father and the Son as a first fruit of the last day harvest just before the plagues begin to fall.  Once the 144,000 prophets complete their witness probation closes and their presence is no longer required,  They are rewarded with an early redemption.  Christ was also presented to the father as first fruits at His resurrection.  1 Corinthians 15:20-23; John 20:17  The difference is that Christ is the firstfruit of the dead, and the 144,000 are the first fruit of the final harvest.  Christ proved that He could overcome the sin of the world; and the 144,000 prove that through the power of Christ, they can also overcome the world even during Satan's time of terrible temptation.

The great time of trouble is different because it is the time when the world receives the wrath of God for shedding righteous blood of the prophets just like every generation before them.  The great multitude are still waiting for redemption during the plagues, but like the Israelites in Egypt, the plagues do not touch them because they heed the warning of the prophets and come out of Babylon to forsake the world like pilgrims sojourning in a strange land looking for a home.  They will choose to forsake this earthly home and desire to dwell with God so he will tabernacle them during the plagues to shield them from the death and destruction that falls on the unrighteous.  Psalm 91:1-11

The great multitude are the last of earth's inhabitants to be redeemed.  They are all that remain and are alive when Christ finally redeems them.  I Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23  They remain because the dead in Christ were raised and ascended first.  They are alive because the wicked that do not die from the plagues die from the presence of the Lord and his righteous wrath, but the great multitude are not slain by His coming since they will be changed from mortal into immortal and can stand at His coming.   

This change is more complete but similar to the change the apostles received on Pentecost Sunday.  The greatest outward sign of the inward change of the apostles was their move from cowardly and downtrodden to an empowered group of witnesses that could prophesy without prior contemplation because of what they now knew to be truth.  The great multitude will also receive a change in a moment, in the twinkling of the eye which enables them to stand without perishing in the presence of the law, the Lamb, and the One that sits on the throne.  II Thessalonians 1:7-10

The last few verses of Revelation 7 allow us to look forward in time and deep into space and recognize the reward and redemption of the great multitude.  Like the 144,000 the great multitude are also servants of God since He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward.  Matthew 10:41  The 144,000 served on earth and the great multitude serve Him in the temple because they are the only group of people to have lived during the great time of trouble (seven last plagues); therefore, they have much to say to the inhabitants of Heaven regarding the mercies of God.  In addition, God has much to say about His high regard for faithfulness and all of heaven will have ears to hear.

The great multitude are the full harvest of the living of the last age and will be harvested with the resurrection of the dead when the dead in Christ rise first and the ones that are alive and remain (great multitude) will then ascend on Pentecost.  Those in the great multitude are unique because they will see the plagues but the plagues will not harm them. A portion of the great multitude are among the living at the time of Christ's coming so they will never taste death. 

Now that God has beautifully revealed the end of the matter to us in His word, we can with boldness consider the time of tribulation (Days of Awe/Feast of Trumpets).  We know that the reward will be worth the labor so we should settle it in our hearts and minds that we will do the work of the Lord as He guides us into all truth.  Join me as we study about the seven trumpets and the trials they bring to the whole world.  You may tremble, but do not turn back as we learn more. . .

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