Revelation 7: The Saved Remnant

Revelation 7  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 12
We have already seen that during the period of these judgments God will have witnesses who will reach their eternal blessing through martyrdom. Now we learn that before the severer judgments that will follow the opening of the seventh seal God will have a great host of witnesses who will be preserved through “the great tribulation” (vs. 14).
John sees “four angels standing on the four corners of the earth” ready to execute judgments that will fall on every quarter of the world. But before these judgments commence he sees another angel ascending from the east, and thus the harbinger of a new day, who stays the judgments until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. These servants represented by a symbolic number of “One hundred and forty-four thousand” are drawn from the twelve tribes of Israel. This surely indicates that during this time of tribulation God will raise up His servants from amongst His ancient people Israel to be a public witness to Himself in every part of the world to which they may have been scattered.
Further, John sees “a great multitude, which no man could number,” gathered from the Gentile nations. They are described as standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and the palms in their hands. Standing before the throne would not necessarily imply that they are in heaven, but that they are accepted as in the favor of God. Do not all the symbols suggest that a great host of believers will be preserved through these terrible judgments for the blessings of Christ's earthly kingdom? When the wicked will fall before the judgments of God's throne and the Lamb that acts in judgment, there will be those who will stand in safety before the throne and the Lamb. When the nations are being judged for their wickedness there will be those whom God will accept as righteous, as witnessed by the “white robes.” When the world is led into rebellion against God by the devil, the beast, and the Antichrist, there will be those who will be victorious over all the power of the enemy, as symbolized by the “palms in their hands.” But if they are preserved through the judgments they take no credit to themselves, but ascribe all their blessing to God and the Lamb. In the very day when judgment is proceeding from “the throne” and “the Lamb” they can say, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb.”
The grace that gathers this vast multitude for blessing, in the very day when judgments are falling upon the world, calls forth a burst of praise in heaven. The angels, the elders, and the four living creatures fall down and worship before the throne, and ascribe to God “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might.”
In the first part of the chapter we have seen that in the time of these judgments God will have a saved remnant from Israel and the Gentiles. In the closing verses the question is raised, and answered by one of the elders in heaven, as to who this company may be and whence they come. It would seem that these verses apply to both classes, for in Isaiah 49 and verse 10 exactly similar language is used to describe the blessing of restored Israel. There we read, “They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them.”
It is explained to John that this blessed company has come out of “the great tribulation” about to come upon all the world under the judgments symbolized by the Seven Trumpets, as set forth in the following chapter. Of this solemn time we have already heard in the address to the assembly in Philadelphia, as “the hour of trial which is about to come upon the whole habitable world to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:1010Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)). Already we have learned in chapter 6:9-11 that there will be during this time of judgment a martyred remnant, but there is nothing to indicate that this great company will suffer martyrdom. It is said that they “came out of the great tribulation,” words that would indicate that they are preserved through the trials. They come under the cleansing of the blood of the Lamb, and for this reason they are accepted before God and have access to God, and are sheltered by God, for God “shall spread His tabernacle over them” (JND). If, however, they are preserved through the judgment this does not mean that they will not have to face trial and suffering, represented by hunger and thirst, and heat and tears. But in the end their sufferings will be forever past, for “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more.” The Lamb “shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
Do we not learn from this chapter that, as in this day, there are those who receive the gospel of the grace of God and come into heavenly blessing, while those who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ come under judgment (2 Thess. 1:8-98In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (2 Thessalonians 1:8‑9)); so in the day to come there will be a vast host who have never heard the gospel of the grace of God, but will receive the everlasting gospel of the kingdom and pass on to the earthly blessing of the millennium, while those who reject this gospel will come under judgment?