Revelation 7:9-17 | The Multitude
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Behold | Sermons through the Revelation

Sermon #16 | Revelation 7:9-17 | The Multitude | Dr. Randy White

Revelation 7:9-12 | The Songs of the Multitude

  • In verses 1-8 of this chapter, the 144,000 were sealed in the presence of their enemy.
  • The multitude in verses 9 and following are in the presence of their Redeemer.
    • The 144,000 was one part of the answer to the question of Revelation 6:18, who shall be able to stand?
    • Verses 9-17 are the second part of the answer.
  • In these verses, we have song from the multitude and a response from the angels.
  • The 144,000 was a precise number. This group is simply a multitude, which no man could number (v. 9).
  • This multitude is said to be of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues. However, that description in itself is not sufficient to determine these are gentiles, as it may first seem. These are literally said to be out of all nations, etc. They could, in fact, be Jews who are not part of the 144,000 but are faithful unto death (as in Rev. 2:10).
  • Because John saw as this multitude stood before the throne, we must presume one of two things:
    • This takes place after the tribulation since these individuals would be in Sheol, not before the throne (v. 11), if it took place during the tribulation or in the Old Testament days.
    • Or Sheol was emptied out at the cross and thus these people have been there since those times.
    • We will find our answer in just a few verses!
  • The multitude is clothed in white robes and has palms in their hands (v. 9).
    • Palms are seen in two places in Scripture: the Feast of Tabernacles and the Triumphal Entry.
    • Both are associated with the establishment of the Messiah on the throne.
    • Incidently, the word Phoenix comes from the Greek word for palms, φοῖνιξ [phoenix]. The mythical bird, which represents new life, is likely a perversion of the symbolism of the palm branches in the original religion.
  • The multitude sings Salvation to our God…and unto the Lamb. A song of praise (v. 10).
  • The angels also join in their own song of praise (v. 12).
  • Notice that in Revelation 5:9, the 24 Elders praised God for having purchased…men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Now, in Revelation 7:9 we actually see those people. Note also that in 5:10 we are told that this group shall reign on earth, which tells us that this multitude is of the Jews, not the Gentiles.

    Revelation 7:13-15 | The Identity of the Multitude

  • One of the elders asks John a question, certainly for teaching purposes, what are these…(v. 13).
  • John deferred on the answer, and the multitude was those who came out of the great tribulation. This answers our previous question of verse 11. Thus they are not “the church,” nor can they be “Old Testament saints.” Furthermore, this whole episode must, by logic, take place after the tribulation and thus during the coming Kingdom.
  • Notice that this group has washed their robes (in the active sense). Such language would be accurate after the age of grace, but not for those who are complete in Christ by His grace-gift during the age of Grace. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:11.
  • However, the blood of the Lamb is the cleansing power for salvation given through any means.
  • Since this is after the tribulation, and these people serve him day and night, then does this take place in heaven or on earth?
    • It is tempting to say in heaven because this looks like the throne room. (But things similar are not the same!)
    • In the Kingdom, God dwells on earth in the Temple (Rev. 21:3).
    • This scene is after the tribulation and after the Second coming and thus after the establishment of the Kingdom on earth.

      Revelation 7:16-17 | The Blessing of the Multitude

  • These two verses describe life on earth with the curse lifted.
  • These are days of utopia which the world has long dreamt for and often tried (unsuccessfully) to create. They are days that will only come when God tabernacles among men.
  • When we pray, Thy Kingdom Come, this is what we are praying for!
KJV: Genesis 1