Washed by the Blood of the Lamb
Jerry A Collins
· Will there be believers during the tribulation?
· What is the significance of 144000 and the great multitude?
All of us remember the devastation of the tsunami in December 2004. I vividly remember watching the videos of the surge as the first of the monstrous waves crashed inland and the waters from those waves submerged towns, cities and streets with several feet of water. When the surging waves would recede, before the next wave arrived, the surge would suck and vacuum everything back with it, including people. The resulting carnage left nearly 300000 people dead. The aftermath was complete devastation. You wondered how anyone could have survived. Yet, there were incredible stories of survivors amid the destruction who against all odds found a way to survive. So, too, the question has been asked, Who will survive the devastation of the last days of God’s judgment upon the earth? John pts it this way after the vision of he first six seal judgments in , …for the great day of their wrath Has come and who is able to withstand it? Chapter 7 answers that question. This is the 1st parenthesis of the book. This one is between the 6th and the 7th seal. God will deliver two groups of people during this period of tribulation. He will preserve 144000 Israelites alive on the earth and take a multitude of people from all nations to heaven who die then.
1. GOD WILL DELIVER SOME OF HIS PEOPLE THROUGH THE TRIB
Like Job and the saints of Heb 11:35ff God will deliver His people thru tribulation. Here God will preserve 144000 Israelites and protect them and use them during the tribulation.
God holds back his judgment 1-3 John saw four angels at the four corners of the earth—compass points of earth--holding back the four winds from blowing across the earth, sea and forests. Winds can often refer to God’s judgment coming on the world in scripture in light of vs 3 (Isa ; Jer 49:36; Mt 24:31). God’s judgment is being held back by these angels, who often in scripture participate in the execution of God’s judgments, while another angel somehow is coming from the sun crying out to these four angels granted authority to harm the earth, to not do so until they have sealed God’s bondservants on their forehead. So God marks his own and so does Satan. This mark signifies ownership & guarantees protection from God and His judgments.
God seals 144000 Israelites 4-8 144000
are sealed—12000 from each of the 12 tribes—all 12 mentioned except Dan and Ephraim
but Joseph in his place (Levi mentioned tho no
territory). It means these tribes still exist and God knows who they are. God
will deal with
2. GOD WILL DELIVER SOME OF HIS PEOPLE FROM THE TRIB
Like Noah and Rahab and the saints in 1st half of Heb 11 God will deliver His people from tribulation. Not only will many Israelites but also many gentiles will come to Christ and die by as martyrs or consequence of natural or violent death.
A great multitude in heaven 9-10 John has a second vision here (cp to vs 1)—the 1st on earth—this one in heaven. An enormous crowd that noone could number made up of people—both Jews and gentiles—from every nation, tribe, people, language. So the contrast between the 12 tribes from one nation and this throng from every nation. Two different groups—one on earth preserved, witnessing—the other in heaven praising and worshipping. Before God and in front of the Lamb they are wearing robes and holding palm branches. Probably signifying triumph, festivity and joy (like triumphal entry). Their joy and triumph encapsulized with phrase Salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb. See how the Bible always directs praise to the Father and the Son—the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Our world will acknowledge God but not the Lamb. The Bible acknowledges and worships both! They have not died in vain and they know it. God has delivered them to heaven from the tribulation. God is praised by all in heaven 11-12 In a series of concentric circles—these saints, then all the angels around the thone, then the 24 elders, and then the 4 living creatures—they all prostrate before the throne and worship in a 7-fold ascription of praise: (1) Praise, what God deserves from us (2) Glory, honoring His character—strengthening His reputation (3) Wisdom, God’s infinite knowledge displayed in His plan to deliver (4) Thanksgiving, expression of gratitude for favor (5) Honor, esteem deserved (6) Power, acknowledging God’s omnipotence (7) Might, or strength enabling God to perform. God is worthy of this ascription throughout eternity! ‘Amen’ underlines this fact!
The identity of these people 13-14 One of the elders asked John where the people came from. This led to a clarification of identity of the multitude in this vision (cp to 5:5). John did not know but says the elder does. They come from great tribulation—term Jesus coined (Mt 24:15, 21) possibly referring to last half of trib when many die as martyrs with increased persecution due to wrath of antichrist. Many killed by earthquakes, war, pestilence. Others as special objects of persecution because they refuse to worship beast with his mark upon them so under a death sentence (). Those with faith faced with solemn alternative of either renouncing that faith and worshiping beast or being slain. They have been delivered and purified by Lamb’s blood. Safely arrived in heaven. Noone gets there without the blood of the Lamb shed for them. So many gentiles saved during trib. So spread of gospel today will allow for many to be saved during the trib—not something done to usher in rapture but the 2nd coming.
Service in heaven 15-17 These will serve God before the throne—a place of prominence and honor as it is thurout history. Serving in this heavenly sanctuary continually—a temple, throne and tabernacle all indicate some type of heavenly sanctuary showing that heaven will be a place of privileged service and ministry. Then, they are delivered from afflictions of this life—hunger, thirst, exhausting heat—possibly referring to what they experienced during trib on earth. Contrasted with this trial is abundant provision in heaven—tender care of the Lamb as the fountain of life. God will wipe away every tear resulting from their suffering on earth. Brand new way!
(1) God keeps His promises specifically--His to us and His to Abe. (2) There is only one way to stand before the throne—and that is to have your robe—spirit—washed by the blood of the Lamb. No other possible way to stand there. (3)Heaven will be a conscious place where we are comforted, cared for, serve, worship, live and praise God. We will serve with all of God’s human & spirit beings.