After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And 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. – Revelation 7:9-10.
As we covered in detail in our article, The Red Moon Rapture – The Biblical Timing of the Rapture, the multitude the Apostle John sees suddenly appear in Heaven, standing before the throne of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Raptured Church. In TheBeginning and End Rapture Series, we explained that the Rapture of the church – the supernatural catching up of all born again believers in Jesus Christ, to meet Jesus in the clouds in their glorified bodies and go to Heaven to be with The Lord during the Day of The Lord/Great Tribulation, takes place at the opening of the 6th seal of Revelation chapter 6. [B&E: And if you have not yet read the Rapture Series it is strongly recommended]. In the final verses of Revelation Chapter 7, we see the multitude now in Heaven, fulfilling prophecy and receiving the blessings and promises of the eternal Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Where Else Do You See The Raptured Church In Scripture?
The most popular Rapture timing models all claim that the Rapture takes place at a different time (i.e., Revelation 4, at the 7th trumpet of Revelation 11 or at the end of the Great Tribulation, just as Jesus is returning to Earth to fight the Battle of Armageddon). However one thing is always missing with these explanations – the actual Raptured church. In none of those points in Scripture do we see any description of a sudden catching up of millions upon millions of believers. Yet in Revelation chapter 7, in a momentary pause before the destructive judgments of the Day of The Lord are unleashed, we see the Multitude appear out of nowhere in Heaven. The Apostle John’s surprise at this is not lost on the reader as he uses the phrase “..I beheld, and lo..” All through Scripture every use of this phrase is done to indicate a surprise or revelation of something supernatural. Here are several examples:
- Abraham viewing the supernatural destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah for the first time:
And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. – Genesis 19:28-29.
- Jeremiah’s prophetic vision of the entire Earth being destroyed by Divine judgments in the end times:
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger. – Jeremiah 4:23-246.
- When the prophet Ezekiel was supernaturally transported by God to the temple in Jerusalem and able to see the secret pagan rituals taking place in it:
And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord God fell there upon me. Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber. And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy. – Ezekiel 8:1-3.
Even in the Book of Revelation we see the phrase used as well:
- When the Apostle John witnesses the Ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven after the Resurrection:
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. – Revelation 5:5-7.
The Biblical usage is quite clear. And in Revelation 7, the Apostle John again witnesses a supernatural occurrence, as a number of people so great that no one could ever count them, suddenly appear in Heaven out of nowhere, having just escaped the Great Tribulation.
A Prophecy Fulfilled
Though not as popular in end times studies and discussions as Matthew 24, Luke Chapter 21 is a parallel passage where The Lord Jesus Christ described many of the end times events to come to His disciples. He details “wars and rumors of war”, famine, earthquakes, being coming to Earth so frightening that men will have heart failure from what they see and other prophetic warnings. But after going through all of this description, the Lord reassured His disciples that they could escape all of this:
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. – Luke 21:34-36.
The multitude of Revelation 7 are not just escaped out of the Day of The Lord/Great Tribulation, they are standing before the throne of Christ.
White Robes and Palms In Their Hands
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
In our article on the Red Moon Rapture, we went into detail on the significance of the white robes worn by the Raptured Church. They are a sign of being fully righteous in Christ – receiving not just a born again spirit, but a glorified, divinely-made body as well. In Revelation 6 at the 5th seal, the souls of the Christian martyrs (their souls – as they are not yet in their glorified bodies) under the altar are told to “wait” a little longer for God to avenge their deaths by starting the Great Tribulation. And they are given their robes just before the opening of the 6th seal. This also shows the timing of the Rapture lining up at the 6th Seal.
But what about the palm fronds that the Multitude are carrying in their hands? What is the meaning of this? Of course Scripture holds the answer. This celebration is the Heavenly fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles as described in the Mosaic law:
Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. – Leviticus 23:39-41.
The greatest amount of offerings were required on this particular Holy Day. It is the time of giving the greatest thanks possible to God. And of course this is precisely what the Multitude is doing as they wave their palm branches singing praises of thanksgiving to Jesus Christ. Also of note, is that this celebration required the people to remain in their tabernacles or booths rejoicing for seven days – a prefiguring of the 7 years the Church will spend in Heaven with The Lord before the Second Coming and Armageddon. On the 8th day following this week, called the “Last Day” or “Great day” the people gathered for a great feast. Jesus Christ spoke out on this day in the book of John to proclaim the Gospel:
Now the Jew’s feast of tabernacles was at hand….In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) – John 7:2, 37-39.
The Feast of Tabernacles will be a mandatory celebration for all people on Earth during the Millennial reign of Christ. And the Raptured Church will be the first to experience the Holy Week in Heaven during the Great Tribulation.
The Future of The Multitude
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. – Revelation 7:15.
The Raptured Church will serve as priests in the Temple of God that is in Heaven. In ancient Israel, as seen in the Old Testament, the temple service was to be done only by priests. The Levitical priesthood was a figure and foreshadow of the superior divine priesthood established in Christ. This is explained in Hebrews Chapter 7:
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of [Judah]; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. – Hebrews 7:11-17.
The earthly priesthood consisted of men from the tribe of Levi. But Jesus, the High Priest in Heaven to all who believe, was from the tribe of Judah, not Levi. This passage explains that the earthly priesthood was just a shadow and inferior to the true priesthood of Christ.
And thus, those who are born again are “in Christ” and also are made into priests in Heaven:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. – 1 Peter 2:9-10.
The Apostle John also emphasizes this point in the Book of Revelation:
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. – Revelation 1:6-7.
In the temple in Heaven, the Raptured church will serve as priests under the High Priest, Jesus Christ.
The Church Are First To Receive The Blessings of the New Heaven and Earth
The Raptured Church will dwell in the presence of Christ at all times. And interestingly, they will experience the blessings of those who will live in the New Heaven and Earth described in Revelation Chapters 20-22. This again, is an important Biblical indicator that the Raptured Church will not be on Earth during the Great Tribulation. They are in Heaven experiencing a Divine “preview” of the blessings that come after Armageddon, the Millennium and the final judgment of Satan and evil forever.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. – Revelation 7:16.
Scripture states that the Multitude will no longer experience physical suffering. And they have no need of light from natural sources because they are now basking in the divine light of Christ. This is the same Light referenced in Genesis 1:3, when God said “let there be light.” This light appeared on Earth before the sun was created. How? Because it is God’s own Divine Light. This is mentioned again in the description of the new, sinless eternal Earth in Revelation 22: “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:5). Yet the Multitude experiences this Light well before the New Earth is created.
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. – Revelation 7:17.
The Church will also have no more emotional suffering as God will now wipe their final tears from their eyes. This again is another blessing of those who enter the New Heaven and Earth described in the final chapters of the Bible: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”(Revelation 21:4). But the Raptured church receives these blessings during the time of the Great Tribulation – another clear sign that they are in Heaven with Jesus during the the years that the wrath of God is poured out on the world.
Verse 17 also states that Jesus will lead the Church to living waters – again another preview of the living waters found in the New Heaven and Earth:
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: – Revelation 21:1-3.
Lord willing, this verse-by-verse study has shown the ultimate fate of the Church – to be Raptured supernaturally and suddenly at the opening of the Sixth seal of Revelation Chapter 6, only to be standing before The Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven.
In our next study we will explore the opening of the Seventh Seal in Revelation Chapter 8 and the meaning of the “Silence in Heaven.”