Those Come Out of the Tribulation, Before the Throne

Revelation 7:14; Revelation 20:8‑10  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Question: Rev. 7. What is the meaning of this tribulation? If it be not the Church, properly so called, which comes out of it, of what other saved Gentiles does the Spirit speak? Is it of those converted during the millenium? Whence come the rebel Gentiles at the close? (Rev. 20.) D.
Answer: The great tribulation of Matt. 24. (and Mark 13) clearly identifies itself with Jer. 30. and Dan. 12., and is limited to the case of Jacob. This has a larger sphere, and is not even confined to the Roman earth. There are Gentiles spared, spite of association with idolatrous Jews, whom the Lord will judge at His coming. (Isa. 66.) That the saved here are not the Church is clear, from many considerations.
They are contrasted, in their whole condition, with the crowned elders. “Before the throne” is not necessarily to be taken physically, but morally. (Comp. chap. 14:3.) The singing of the 144,000 there applies to those on earth. The English Version goes too far in making God dwell among them: the true meaning is, that He will be a tabernacle over them, as the cloud of old overshadowed Israel. The sun not smiting them would tend to show they are on the earth. Nor does the temple set them in heaven: at least, there is no temple in the New Jerusalem. They are saved by Him that sits on the throne and the Lamb; which connects them with the time of introductory government, though not of the millennium. They give no motive for their praise, as the elders did in Rev. 4. and 5.—a mark of the intelligence of the saints who are properly heavenly. Their blessings are relief from sufferings, or being led by the Shepherd’s care to refreshment. In a word, their relationship with God as before the throne takes them out of association with it, according to the true character of the strictly heavenly saints. Even the angels are round about the throne: not so these. But they are certainly separated pre-millennially. They are in relationship with God, on the ground of the place He takes as introducing the First-begotten into the world. Hence they pass through the time of temptation which shall come upon all the world, instead of being kept from it, or called afterward. I do not see that the object is to state heaven or earth, but to reveal the character of relationship. As the elect perfect number of Israel would be sealed, so there would be a countless multitude of Gentiles spared in the time the throne of God held its place above, after removing the glorified saints, and before the First-begotten is brought again into the world. But this is a totally different subject from the nations at the end of the thousand years. These latter multitudes come into existence during the millennium, and have not eternal life. They render a feigned obedience to the King of nations; but there is no godly fear. So that they only want the temptable reduction of Satan to be led captive at his will. There is therefore no real difficulty.