Key Verse: “[A great multitude] cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
AS AN END-TIME PROPHECY, this chapter describes some of the closing scenes of this Gospel Age preparatory to the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom when the saintly followers of Christ will be associated with him in blessing the human family.—Rev. 20:6
A vision concerning four angels standing at the “four corners of the earth” holding back the “four winds” suggests a great storm of trouble that is being restrained from coming upon the present social order until all the faithful of the church of Christ is complete.—chap. 7:1-3
The total number that comprises the body of Christ will be one hundred and forty-four thousand. “I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (vss. 4-8) Following mention of this class, a description is given concerning a “great multitude,” or a different category of individuals, that stand “before the throne, and before the Lamb.”—vs. 9
In our Key Verse, the ‘great multitude’ acknowledges that their salvation is attributable to the Heavenly Father, as well as Jesus Christ.
The identity of this class is dealt with in scripture after the completion of the one hundred forty-four thousand members of Christ’s church. “One of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to 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 sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”—vss. 13-15
This great multitude is a secondary class that attains a spiritual resurrection after the body of Christ is completed. In all likelihood, they were not as zealous as the little flock in fulfilling the terms of discipleship. It is for this reason that they have to experience tribulation, and must wash their robes before receiving salvation.
Another point for consideration relates to service on Christ’s throne. We read, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (chap. 3:21) The promise of sitting on Christ’s throne is reserved for the church, whereas the great multitude will not be on the throne but will render service before the throne.
The portion of the great multitude is mentioned in Revelation again in a later chapter. “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.—chap. 19:6,7
It is cause for rejoicing that this group of Christians can render praises to the Creator even though they will not be a part of the church. How merciful is our God!