In the last blog, I spent much time in showing you the identity of the 24 ELDERS in Revelation 4 and 5. After looking at the wealth of information contained in their description, there's NO DOUBT about WHO these ELDERS are--the glorified Church in heaven, AFTER a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE and RESURRECTION.
I'm aware of other arguments (from people, who for some mysterious reason, seek to DESTROY the BLESSED HOPE of the Pre-Trib Rapture). One argument is that the Rapture happens in THE MIDDLE of the 7-year tribulation period, and the people who teach this idea use Revelation 7 and the picture of "the Great Multitude" as their proof.
But what does the Bible say? WHO are the GREAT MULTITUDE? WHEN are they presented before God's throne?
Let's begin by reading Revelation 7:9-10; also Revelation 7:13-17.
"After this I beheld, and lo, a GREAT MULTITIDE, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, STOOD BEFORE the throne, and before THE LAMB, clothed in WHITE ROBES, and PALMS in their hands; And CRIED WITH A LOUD VOICE, saying, Salvation to our God which sits upon the throne, and unto THE LAMB."
Verse 13: "And ONE of the ELDERS answered, saying unto me (John), What are these which are arrayed in WHITE ROBES? and WHENCE came they?"--(WHERE did they come from? And WHEN did they arrive in heaven?)
Verses 14 to 17: And I said unto him (unto the ELDER), Sir, you know. And he said unto 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. Therefore, are they BEFORE the throne of God and SERVE HIM DAY AND NIGHT IN HIS TEMPLE: and He that sits on the throne shall DWELL AMONG THEM. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall THE SUN light on them, nor any HEAT. 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."
First of all, let's answer the question! Is this a MID-TRIBULATION RAPTURE of the CHURCH. NO!!! And here's WHY!!!
The GREAT MULTITUDE come OUT OF "GREAT TRIBULATION." Jesus defines the GREAT TRIBULATION in Matthew 24:15-21. He warns about the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION by the Antichrist (which desecrates and unpurifies the rebuilt Jewish temple). The DESECRATION happens after THREE AND A HALF YEARS of "the Tribulation period" has already happened. He gives warnings to ISRAEL who will need to FLEE during that MID-TRIB TIME from the FURY of the Antichrist. AND AFTER the DESECRATION of the Jewish temple, there will come a time of the most terrible terrible trouble.
Let me quote Jesus' ACTUAL WORDS----"For THEN shall be GREAT TRIBULATION, such as was NOT since the BEGINNING OF THE WORLD, to THIS TIME, no, nor ever shall be."
In Jesus' definition, the GREAT TRIBULATION will be a TIME of exceedingly bad trouble (even worse than the flood of Noah's day). That terrible TIME-FRAME spans the LAST HALF of the seven-year Tribulation period.
The GREAT MULTITUDE come out of GREAT TRIBULATION!
The picture is NOT of a MID-TRIB Rapture and resurrection! Instead, these people arrive at God's throne at the SAME TIME as what's pictured in Revelation 20:4.
The GREAT MULTITUDE are RESURRECTED and presented at God's throne AFTER the WHOLE seven years of "the Tribulation" is finished. It's as BIBICALLY CLEAR as that!
Then WHY were the GREAT MULTITUDE described in Revelation 7, immediately AFTER the sealing of the 144,000 from the TRIBES OF ISRAEL? It's BECAUSE the TRIBULATION SAINTS are SAVED as a RESULT of the PREACHING of the 144,000. As SIMPLE as that!
Revelation is NOT always CHRONOLOGICAL in the recording of its events. Sometimes it SKIPS ahead to show something at THE VERY END of "the Tribulation." Sometimes, it GOES BACKWARDS to "pick up and elaborate upon a detail" that occurs much earlier. (As a writer, I'm familiar with these techniques--they're called "flashforwards" and "flashbacks.") MOST Bible prophecy (NOT just the book of Revelation) uses these techniques.
Now, I'll offer a COMPARISON of the GREAT MULTITUDE to the 24 ELDERS.
In the last blog, I established THE FACT that the 24 ELDERS are a SYMBOL for THE CHURCH in heaven AFTER a PRE-TRIB RAPTURE. Today, I've shown you HOW the GREAT MULTITUDE comes out of THE GREAT TRIBULATION--the LAST three and a half years of terrible trouble--to stand before God's throne.
BELOW is the list of COMPARISONS:
1. The CHURCH is "SITTING" ON THRONES. The GREAT MULTITUDE (Tribulation saints) STAND BEFORE THE THRONE.
2. The CHURCH is to CO-RULE and CO-REIGN with Jesus Christ. The GREAT MULTITUDE "serve God day and night in His temple."
3. The CHURCH is shown with CROWNS OF GOLD. The GREAT MULTITUDE "have NO CROWNS."
(Make note: the crowns are STEPHANOS WREATHS--given for OVERCOMING and OBTAINING a VICTORY. The OVERCOMER'S CROWNS are GIVEN to the true Church. BUT, the Great Multitude HAVE NO overcomer's crowns! WHY? Because, in the Tribulation, the Antichrist OVERCOMES them! Daniel 7:21 and Rev. 13:7. However, the GATES of HELL--the forces of Satan CANNOT overcome the true Church. Matt. 16:18.)
4. The GREAT MULTITUDE hold PALM BRANCHES in their hands. The CHURCH does NOT hold palm branches.
(Palm branches are another one of those JEWISH symbols. When Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, the JEWISH people waved PALM BRANCHES and shouted praises. The Great Multitude are SAVED during the upheaval of the Great Tribulation by the JEWISH testimony of the 144,000 servants.)
5. The CHURCH is shown to have WHITE RAIMENT, the specific Greek word "himation." The GREAT MULTITUDE have WHITE ROBES, the specific Greek word "stole."
6. The CHURCH, as THE ELDERS of Revelation 5, SING A NEW SONG. The GREAT MULTITUDE "cry with a loud voice."
7. The CHURCH is shown in scripture to REJOICE at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ; it will be a comfort; it's a "blessed hope"--a time of great happiness and rejoicing! The GREAT MULTITUDE have TEARS WIPED OUT OF THEIR EYES (the tears of the suffering they endured under the CRUEL JACKBOOTS of the Antichrist).
8. The GREAT MULTITUDE are promised to NEVER hunger again. In the GREAT TRIBULATION there will be plenty of FAMINE.
They are promised to NEVER thirst again. One of the TWO WITNESSES during "the Tribulation" will STOP rain from falling--just like Elijah did in the Old Testament. Several of the Tribulation judgments cause water to change to blood--therefore, it produces horrendous thirst.
The GREAT MULTITUDE are promised to NEVER experience LIGHT from the sun--and will be spared from the HEAT of it. In the Tribulation, one of the judgments is an ANGRY SUN which SCORCHES people with terrible HEAT.
These PROMISES from God are given to a people who LIVED THROUGH horrific judgments, and WHO DIED during that most terrible time, and who will be RESURRECTED to God's throne in Revelation 20:4.
9. The GREAT MULTITUDE have within their description THE CONCEPT of God "tabernacling" with them. The idea is presented in REVELATION 7:15--that God "SHALL DWELL AMONG THEM." This follows the concept of the Jewish feast of TABERNACLES--where booths are erected so God can LIVE with His people. After the second coming of Jesus, when He places His feet on the Mount of Olives, to BEGIN the 1000 year MILLENNIUM, the Jewish feast of TABERNACLES will be fulfilled and observed. Zech. 14:16.
What we see in the description of the GREAT MULTITUDE is a JEWISH flavor of SYMBOLISM that I elaborated upon in the previous blog, entitled "PROVOCATIVE QUESTIONS."
The GREAT MULTITUDE are TRIBULATION SAINTS--saved as a RESULT of the PREACHING of the SEALED 144,000 of the TRIBES OF ISRAEL. The time-frame of their RESURRECTION is soon AFTER Jesus sets His feet on the MOUNT OF OLIVES as He arrives to BEGIN the 1000-year MILLENNIUM. Jesus is called THE LAMB OF GOD to the GREAT MULTITUDE--maintaining the ISRAELI emphasis of the "70th WEEK" which YET DETERMINED to be FULFILLED--upon THAT NATION. God is WORKING like He did with the Jews in the Old Testament, to FINISH their TIME, which is YET ALLOTTED to them. Therefore, we see a STRONG JEWISH flavor in the SYMBOLS that are being employed.
MOST OF ALL, the GREAT MULTITUDE come out of the GREAT TRIBULATION--the FINAL THREE YEARS of the seven-year JEWISH (shabua) week of years--prophesied in Daniel 9:27.
The GREAT MULTITUDE have NOTHING to do with a MID-TRIBULATION RAPTURE of the CHURCH! In fact, the GREAT MULTITUDE is NOT a picture of the CHURCH at all! The descriptions, the symbols used, the picture presented, DO NOT MATCH the Church!!!
SIMPLE AS THAT!
In the next blog, I'll be writing about some NEWLY learned facts--concerning THE HOUR in which we live RIGHT NOW. I think you'll be interested to see what I've discovered. (I've studied prophecy for almost 38 years now--and I've NEVER had this QUICKENED to me--until just recently. It goes to show that we must always BE READY to have our understanding ENLARGENED.)
I believe this will be a blessing, be sure to find out what it is!
We live in MOMENTOUS TIMES!
EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS!