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Multitudes in Heaven

Revelation 7:9-12


Revelation 7:9 - After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb...

After the angels seal the 144,000 servants, John sees a multitude arrive in Heaven that no one could number. As discussed in the last section, God uses the ministry of the 144,000 Jewish servants to gather the multitude for the wedding feast (Matthew 22:1-14). The 144,000 servants of God are the firstfruits (Revelation 14:4) of this great harvest.

The great multitude comes from all "nations, tribes, people, and tongues." Recall from Revelation 5:9, these divisions of country, family, race, and language covers all people groups:

Revelation 5:9 - And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation."

The four-fold aspect of these divisions shows a relationship between humans and the earth. (Click here for more on the number four). This shows that the 144,000 servants of God will complete the "great commission" and preach the Gospel into "all the world":

Mark 16:15-16 - And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."

After the 144,000 servants go to Heaven near the end of the Tribulation, the Lord continues to offer salvation through an angel to all people groups:

Population Curve
Source: Wikipedia
Revelation 14:6 - Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.

Considering the human population explosion in the last century shown on the graphic to the right, in addition to born-again Christians becoming a small minority, it is probable that more people will get saved in the Tribulation than during the entire Church Age. Most of these new believers will die and join the great multitude in Heaven which cannot be numbered.

The multitude stands "before the throne and before the Lamb," who is in the midst of the throne of God in Heaven (Revelation 5:6). Recall from Revelation 4:6, that the sea of glass is before the throne.

Near the end of the Tribulation we see this sea of glass mingled with fire:

Revelation 15:2 - And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.

Those who stand on the "sea" are the Tribulation saints, who choose Christ and reject the antichrist:

Revelation 20:4 - And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

The "mingled fire" appearance goes back to the jasper and sardius stone in Revelation 4:3, which are clear and blood-red in color, and represent Jesus. It is through Jesus that the Tribulation saints will wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb, as we will see later (Revelation 7:14). Take note that the crystal sea is not yet mingled with blood in Revelation 4:6 because the Tribulation had not officially started, and thus no Tribulation Saints had died and arrived in Heaven yet.

It is interesting that the multitude from all the people of the world stands on the "sea" before the throne of God in Heaven, because the Gentile nations are often pictured as the sea (Revelation 7:3).


Revelation 7:9 - ...clothed with white robes...

Recall from Revelation 3:5, soiled garments get removed upon salvation and replaced with white garments. White represents cleansing from sin (Isaiah 1:18, Psalms 51:5-7), and redemption made possible by the blood of the Lamb:

1 Peter 1:18-19 - ...you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Revelation 7:9 - ...with palm branches in their hands...

The only other time we see a great multitude with palm branches, is in the "Triumphal Entry" of Jesus a few days before His crucifixion:

John 12:12-15 - The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' The King of Israel!" Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt."

Palm trees and branches are widely seen as a symbol for victory, triumph, and peace (source). The first city the Hebrews conquered, after they crossed the Jordan in to the Promised Land, was Jericho, known as the "city of palm trees" (Deuteronomy 34:3, 2 Chronicles 28:15). The walls of Solomon's temple included carvings of palm trees next to cherubim and flowers (1 Kings 6:29-35, 7:36, 2 Chronicles 3:5). Palm trees will be found in the Millennial temple too (Ezekiel 40-41). The earthly temple or tabernacle serves as a pattern of heavenly things, so it is no surprise that palm trees adorn the earthly temples and palm branches are found in Heaven:

Hebrews 8:4-6 - For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."
Lulav
Source: Wikipedia

We also find palm branches in the Feast of Tabernacles included in the "lulav" (source), a bound collection of branches and fruit from a variety of trees:

Leviticus 23:39-43 - Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Nehemiah 8:14-18 - And they found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, and that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, "Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written." Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each one on the roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim. So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed manner.

For the Jews, the Feast of Tabernacles is like a Thanksgiving feast after the harvest:

Deuteronomy 16:13-14 - "You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.

But the feasts are more than holidays, they are "appointments" (Leviticus 23:2-4), or as some put it, "dress rehearsals" for things to come. Fulfillment of all the feasts is found in Christ and His redemption of man. Christ fulfilled the first four feasts at His 1st Coming and will fulfill the last three feasts at His 2nd Coming, with the Feast of Tabernacles being the last:

FeastFulfillment
Passover Christ's death on the cross
Unleavened Bread Christ's burial
Firstfruits Christ's resurrection
Pentecost Christ poured out the Holy Spirit on the Church
Trumpets Coronation of the King
Atonement Christ's return/Armageddon/Sheep and Goat Judgment
Tabernacles Assembling of saints/Kingdom established/Wedding feast

The last three feasts were not fulfilled at Christ's 1st Coming, because the Jewish leaders rejected Him as Messiah and King. Also, it was not the appointed time (Leviticus 23:2-4), which will be at the end of the "soul harvest", at the end of the Tribulation. Though the Jewish people proclaimed Christ as King on that Palm Sunday, Jesus knew they would reject Him as Messiah. This rejection paved the way for the Gentiles to take part in salvation (Romans 11) and become His Bride (2 Corinthians 11:2). The Feasts of Trumpets and Atonement will find fulfillment in the return of Jesus and His judgment on the nations. The Feast of Tabernacles will find fulfillment on the appointed day the year that Jesus returns, when He assembles all the saints from Heaven and Earth in His Kingdom:

Ephesians 1:7-10 - In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth - in Him.

The assembly of saints from all dispensations will celebrate Christ's triumph over His enemies and mark the beginning of His Millennial reign in the marriage supper, which is a reception for marriage between the Lamb and His Bride, the Church, who will rule and reign with Him in the Kingdom (Revelation 1:6):

Revelation 19:5-9 - "Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' " And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God."

Jesus spoke about this wedding feast and celebration of the Kingdom in parables:

Luke 14:16-18, 21-23 - Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' But they all with one accord began to make excuses... So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.' And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.' Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Matthew 22:8-10 - Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.

Recall from our discussion in Revelation 7:5-8, the servants who gather this multitude in Matthew 22 are the 144,000 servants of God through the Holy Spirit, who is the servant in Luke 14. For seven years, these servants will share the Gospel all over the world, harvesting the multitude that goes to Heaven during the Tribulation. The Jews celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days, which points to the assembly of saints in the Kingdom, after the great Harvest of souls in the seven-year Tribulation:

Leviticus 23:34 - "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.'"
Deuteronomy 16:13 - "You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress."

Every Sabbath or seventh year (Leviticus 25) on the Feast of Tabernacles, all of Israel was to assemble to hear the Word of the God, showing a picture of the great assembly of the saints after the seven-year Tribulation:

Deuteronomy 31:10-13 - And Moses commanded them, saying: "At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess."

The Feast of Tabernacles is the only feast shown in Scripture that all nations will celebrate in the Millennium. Failure to send representatives to Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles will result in punishment, which underscores how important this feast is:

Zechariah 14:16-19 - And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

In short, the multitude in Heaven wave palm branches during the seven-year Tribulation, looking forward to the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, when all the saints will assemble for the Kingdom, after the Jewish leaders accept Jesus as Messiah and King.

Like the multitude in Heaven, the Jewish people waved palm branches, accepting Jesus as King at His 1st Coming:

Matthew 21:8-9 - And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' Hosanna in the highest!"
John 12:12-13 - The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' The King of Israel!"

But the Jewish leaders rejected Christ the first time:

Matthew 21:42-45 - Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and marvelous in our eyes' ? "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder." Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them.
Matthew 23:33-39 - Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!'"

There will come a day when the Jewish leaders accept Jesus as Messiah, and corporately the Jews will acknowledge Christ as their King, in fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. Interestingly, we find this prophecy in the following Psalm, included in the "Hallel Psalms" (Psalms 113-118), which the Jews recite in full on the Feast of Tabernacles (source):

Psalms 118:22-26 - The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

Revelation 7:10 - ...and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"

The multitude breaks out in loud corporate worship to the Lord. In the last section, we discussed that the Jewish people and the multitude in Heaven who wave palm branches, proclaiming Christ as King, is a picture of the whole assembly of saints acknowledging Christ as King, which will find fulfillment in the Feast of Tabernacles (John 12:12-13, Matthew 21:8-9).

The word "hosanna" is a transliteration of two Hebrew words meaning "save I pray." Therefore, this group of Jews and the multitude in Heaven both acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah, with the power of Salvation. John the Baptist's father recognized this saving power of the Messiah:

Luke 1:68-69 - "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David."

The Greek word translated "salvation" comes with the meaning of rescue or deliverance. David spoke of salvation as deliverance from his enemies:

Psalms 3:1-8 - A Psalm of David When He Fled from Absalom His Son. LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, "There is no help for him in God." Selah But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. Selah I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah
Psalms 68:19-21 - Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah Our God is the God of salvation; and to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death. But God will wound the head of His enemies, the hairy scalp of the one who still goes on in his trespasses.

Most of the saints in the multitude in Heaven will die at the hands of the antichrist. Their souls will be saved, and in death they will be delivered from the suffering they experienced on Earth (Revelation 7:16-17). In the end, Christ will avenge their blood:

Revelation 12:10-12 - Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time."
Revelation 19:1-2 - After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her."

Recall from Revelation 5:13, Christ is both: "Him who sits on the throne," exhibiting His sovereign power, and the sacrificial "Lamb," which shows two aspects of Christ. Recall from Revelation 5:7, the Father is invisible and Jesus is the only visible form of God there is (Hebrews 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15 & 2:9). Therefore, the one on the throne and the Lamb are both Jesus, which demonstrates God's omnipresence, while showing us two characteristics of Him. Incidentally, Isaiah saw both aspects of the Lord when He called for an assembly of nations and people to hear that He was sending salvation through His servant:

Isaiah 43:9-13 - Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled. Who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified; Or let them hear and say, "It is truth." "You are My witnesses," says the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; therefore you are My witnesses," Says the LORD, "that I am God. Indeed before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?"

Peter affirms that Jesus is the only one with the power to save, thus Salvation belongs to Him:

Acts 4:8-12 - Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'Stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Revelation 7:11 - All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God...

In earlier chapters, we saw the elders fall prostrate in worship to God before the throne, in response to the verbal worship of the four living creatures:

Revelation 4:9-11 - Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created."
Throne in Heaven
Revelation 5:11-14 - Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

Recall from Revelation 4:10, the Greek word translated as "worship" literally means "to kiss towards." It comes with the meaning to pay homage, show devotion, or reverent adoration. Here the angels who are around the throne and around the living creatures and elders, they fall down and worship the Lord because of the saved multitude that arrives in Heaven and stands on the sea of glass (Revelation 15:2).


Revelation 7:12 - ...saying: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen."

The angels and every type of creature worshiped the Lord in similar praise in Revelation 5:

Revelation 5:11-14 - Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

Here the angels exchange "thanksgiving" for "riches" in their praise. The Greek word translated "thanksgiving" is "eucharistia," which can also mean a show of gratitude. The angels in Heaven are thankful for God's redemption of man, as we saw by their worship, in response to the saved multitude that arrives in Heaven in the last section. These angels also rejoice over repentant sinners who seek the Lord for salvation:

Luke 15:7, 10 - I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.... Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

The angels begin and end the praise with "amen." Recall from Revelation 1:7, "amen" is a Hebrew declaration used at the end of benedictions throughout the New Testament. "Amen" is also the standard ending to prayer which means "so be it" (Numbers 5:22). The angels are in agreement that Jesus deserves all the praise and that He is the God who lives forever. In Revelation 1:18, Jesus tells us that He is "alive forevermore." Our eternal life depends on His victory over death:

1 Corinthians 15:16-22 - For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
Romans 6:5-10 - For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

Revelation 7:13-17


Revelation 7:13 - Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?"

Apparently John was so astounded by the vastness of the multitude before the throne, that one of the elders engages him in conversation to make sure he knows who this multitude is and where they came from. The Greek word translated "answered" means to strike up a conversation, which shows that the elder was seeking a response from John.

In the next section, we see that John is clueless on who the multitude is in white robes (Revelation 7:9), which is interesting, since he somehow knew who Moses and Elijah were at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-10, Luke 9:28-36). However, John is confident the elder knows who the multitude is and where they came from.


Revelation 7:14 - And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation..."

The elder informs John that the multitude arriving in Heaven is coming out of the great tribulation. The Greek "erchomenoi," translated as "come" is in the present participle form, which indicates it is a continuing action, or an incomplete action. This means the saints in the multitude are continually arriving in Heaven as they die in the Tribulation.

The multitude begins to arrive in Heaven after angels seal the 144,000 servants, which is right before the four angels release the "four winds" at the beginning of the Tribulation (Revelation 7:3), or the official start of "Daniel's 70th Week." Therefore the "great tribulation" mentioned by the elder is the seven-year "hour of trial" (Revelation 3:10). This conflicts with what scholars have generally designated as the "great tribulation," based on the following passage:

Matthew 24:15-21 - "Therefore when you see the 'ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be."

Notice that Christ does not use the definite article to describe the last three and a half years of the tribulation as "great tribulation." In other words, Christ was not calling the last half of the Tribulation "The Great Tribulation," but a period of "great tribulation" worse than ever experienced in the history of man. Recall from Revelation 2:22, "great tribulation" speaks of a period in history characterized by tribulation greater than other times, comparatively. The elder designates the entire Tribulation as "the great tribulation," while Christ specifies that the second half is "great tribulation," being worse than anything ever experienced on earth.

This confusion on semantics has created conflicting arguments about when the saints arrive in Heaven and who they are. It does not make sense that the Tribulation saints would not die and go to Heaven for the first half of the Tribulation. In fact, the martyrs under the altar near the beginning of the Tribulation prove this isn't the case (Revelation 6:9-11). Also, it has been proven extensively in earlier chapters that the Church does not go into the Tribulation, putting to rest a popular argument that the multitude in Heaven represents the Bride. Simply reading the text as is clarifies the issue. The 7-year Tribulation period is "the great tribulation," and the last half will be "great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be."

As discussed in Revelation 7:1, our chapter of discussion is an interlude which gives us additional information or a different perspective to the story in the narrative. In other words, an interlude is a background story to the narrative, with clear indications that each interlude reaches back or forward in time, and generally returns to where the primary narrative left off. Earlier we saw that the Tribulation saints will die and arrive in Heaven throughout the Tribulation period, but John sees only a snapshot of this ongoing "soul harvest." Placement of this interlude in chapter 7 between the sixth and seventh Seals suggests John's snapshot of the "soul harvest" arriving in Heaven takes place before Christ breaks the seventh Seal. In other words, the interlude begins at a time before the Lord breaks any of the Seal judgments and covers the time up to where the narrative left off between the sixth and seventh Seal judgments, but the Tribulation saints continue to arrive in Heaven throughout the Tribulation, as shown below:

Revelation 7 Interlude

Revelation 7:14 - ...and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The Tribulation saints make their robes white by washing them in the blood of the Lamb. Do not mistake the washing of their robes with a work-based salvation, as salvation is always about faith (Romans 9:30-32, Hebrews 11). Jesus is the one that cleanses people from their sin:

1 John 1:7-9 - But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The washing of clothes is a work of sanctification. Sanctification means to consecrate or set apart. The Tribulation saints have trusted in the blood of the Lamb for their salvation, and by washing their robes in that blood have set themselves apart to serve the Lord. Daniel describes their service and shows that their death is part of the sanctification process of refining and purifying:

Daniel 11:32-35 - Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.

The washing of robes goes back to the "dispensation of the Law." The Hebrews washed their clothes to get ready to meet the Lord:

Exodus 19:10-14 - Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, 'Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.' When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain." So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes.

The priests washed their clothes as part of a ritual that made them ceremonially clean to serve the Lord in the tabernacle:

Numbers 8:6-7, 21-22 - Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them ceremonially. Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.... And the Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes; then Aaron presented them like a wave offering before the LORD, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. After that the Levites went in to do their work in the tabernacle of meeting before Aaron and his sons; as the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.

Interestingly, the priests washed in a "Sea," which is the earthly representation of the Heavenly "sea," where the multitude stands (Revelation 7:9, Revelation 15:2):

2 Chronicles 4:2-6 - Then he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. And under it was the likeness of oxen encircling it all around, ten to a cubit, all the way around the Sea. The oxen were cast in two rows, when it was cast. It stood on twelve oxen: three looking toward the north, three looking toward the west, three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; the Sea was set upon them, and all their back parts pointed inward. It was a handbreadth thick; and its brim was shaped like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It contained three thousand baths. He also made ten lavers, and put five on the right side and five on the left, to wash in them; such things as they offered for the burnt offering they would wash in them, but the Sea was for the priests to wash in.

The Church does not need to do this ceremonial washing because Christ does it for His Bride:

Ephesians 5:25-27 - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

This shows the difference between the "dispensation of grace," versus other dispensations; the Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints both wash their own robes, while Christ washes the robes of His Bride, who is in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit:

1 Corinthians 6:8-11 - No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

All saints will take part in the "first resurrection" and become priests of God. As priests they go through the sanctification process and ceremonial cleansing in the washing of robes through the blood of the Lamb:

Revelation 20:6 - Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

Those who take part in the "first resurrection" are also overcomers, those who believe Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4-5), and will wear white garments (Revelation 3:5), made white by the blood of the Lamb. This includes believers of all dispensations:

Revelation 4:4 - Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
Revelation 6:11 - Then a white robe was given to each of them [Tribulation martyrs]; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
Revelation 7:9 - After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude... clothed with white robes...
Revelation 19:14 - And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

Revelation 7:15 - Therefore they are before the throne of God...

Before the Throne of God

Because the multitude trusted in the blood of the Lamb for their salvation in the Tribulation, they are able to stand before the throne of God in Heaven on the sea of glass (Revelation 4:6, 15:2), near the Holy Spirit (Revelation 4:5).

There has been much confusion about whether the great multitude before the throne is the same as the martyrs under the altar in Revelation 6. The following will attempt to clear up any muddy waters on this issue.

It is not specified why the multitude of saints die, though Revelation 7:16 suggests they suffer and die in the Tribulation judgments. The Tribulation martyrs die because of their testimony of Jesus:

Revelation 6:9 - When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.

The harlot religion is responsible for murdering many saints for their testimony of Jesus in the first half of the Tribulation, which places this group among the martyrs under the altar:

Revelation 17:6 - I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

All the saints are given over to the antichrist, or the "beast" at the middle of the Tribulation. Any that do not worship the beast or take his mark are subject to death:

Revelation 13:7-10 - It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Revelation 13:11, 15-17 - Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth... He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

The only method described in Scripture of execution of the Tribulation saints for their testimony is beheading:

Revelation 20:4 - And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Note the different groups of people mentioned in the passage above. I believe every Tribulation saint is found in one or both of these groups as follows:

Martyrs venn diagram

The Scriptures do not show that every Tribulation saint will die of beheading as a martyr. Many will probably die as casualties in the Tribulation judgments, or perish if they cannot physically handle the stress of what is coming:

Luke 21:25-26 - "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken."

I believe this is why it is necessary for the Lord to seal the 144,000 servants with both a protective mark and the Holy Spirit. The severity of the judgments in the Tribulation will make men become rarer than gold:

Isaiah 13:6-12 - Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will be limp, every man's heart will melt, and they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; they will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; they will be amazed at one another; their faces will be like flames. Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. "I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, a man more than the golden wedge of Ophir."

In summary, the martyrs under the altar are a subset of the multitude of saints who arrive in Heaven through the Tribulation. Recall from Revelation 6:9, the reason the martyred saints are under the altar, is because their sacrifice is a fragrant aroma to the Lord (2 Corinthians 2:14-16), and thus have a special place in Heaven among the multitude before the throne.


Revelation 7:15 - ...and serve Him day and night in His temple.

Recall from Revelation 4:7, the temple on Earth is a pattern of the throne of God in Heaven, which is in the heavenly temple:

Hebrews 8:1-5 - Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle....
Psalms 11:4 - The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD's throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.
Revelation 16:17 - Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!"

The multitude will serve him day and night in the heavenly temple before the throne, never-ceasing (Genesis 8:22), like the four living creatures who continuously give praise to God:

Revelation 4:8 - The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"

It is not clear what the temple service in Heaven will be, as all saints are priests (Revelation 20:6), and there are no sacrifices in Heaven. Whatever the multitudes' temple service is, their role will certainly be special as it was for the Levites in their ministry. The temple service for the multitude in Heaven will likely continue through the Millennium, but end in eternity, as there will be no temple in the new Heaven or the new Earth:

Revelation 21:22 - But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

Revelation 7:15 - And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.

The Greek word for "dwell" means to pitch a tent or tabernacle. Someday the Lord will tabernacle with the multitude and all the saints:

Revelation 21:3 - And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Like David, believers should look forward to the time they will physically dwell with the Lord:

Psalms 27:4 - One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

Again, we see a picture of the Feast of Tabernacles. Recall from Revelation 7:9, this feast will celebrate the Lord's return and establishment of His Millennial Kingdom on Earth. He will tabernacle among His people, just as He promised Israel in the Old Testament:

Leviticus 26:11-12 - I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
Isaiah 4:4-6 - When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.
Ezekiel 37:21-23 - "Then say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God."
Ezekiel 37:24-28 - "David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore." ' "
Zechariah 8:3-8 - "Thus says the LORD: 'I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain.' "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.' "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, will it also be marvelous in My eyes?' Says the LORD hosts. "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.'"

Some believe a partial fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles was the birth of Jesus during this feast, because God came in the flesh to tabernacle with men:

John 1:14 - And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The possibility that the Lord was born during the Feast of Tabernacles fits in with the Lord's desire to tabernacle with His people, which will find complete fulfillment when the Lord returns to tabernacle with all His people, both Jew and Gentile:

Zechariah 2:10-13 - "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst," says the LORD. "Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!"

Revelation 7:16 - They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat...

On the earth, the multitude experiences hunger, thirst, and heat. This is what befalls those who live on earth during the Tribulation in several of the judgments:

Hunger 3rd Seal - Famine (Revelation 6:5-6)
4th Seal - Hunger (Revelation 6:7-8)
2nd Trumpet - Third of sea life dies (Revelation 8:8-9)
2nd Bowl - All of sea life dies (Revelation 16:3)
Thirst 3rd Trumpet - Third of rivers and streams turn bitter (Revelation 8:10-11)
3rd Bowl - All of the rivers and streams turn to blood (Revelation 16:4-6)
Sun 4th Bowl - Men scorched by the sun (Revelation 16:8-9)
Heat 6th Trumpet - death by fire and brimstone (Revelation 9:14-21)
4th Bowl - Men scorched with heat (Revelation 16:8-9)

There is nothing in Scripture that shows believers have any supernatural protection like the 144,000 servants and the two witnesses. The Jewish remnant that flees to the wilderness is only protected in the second half of the Tribulation. In fact, this passage of discussion indicates that Tribulation saints do suffer in some of these judgments. That being said, the last three Trumpet judgments, with the last Trumpet including all the Bowl judgments is for those who inhabit the earth:

Revelation 8:13 - And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"

The Greek word for "inhabitants" mean "those who dwell." Recall from Revelation 6:10, that the "earth dwellers" are unbelievers who murder the saints. Therefore, it is possible that the Tribulation saints are protected from the worst of the judgments. However, as shown earlier, some of the saints that die in the Tribulation suffer from heat and the sun. The only judgments that involve suffering from heat and the sun is the sixth Trumpet and fourth Bowl judgments, which suggest the saints are not spared from these particular judgments.

The Millennial Kingdom will be a time where no one will suffer from hunger, thirst, heat, or the sun. Isaiah looked ahead to this time, when the Messiah would restore Israel, when they would become a light to the Gentiles and help fulfill the needs of the people:

Isaiah 49:6-13 - "Indeed He says, 'It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.' " Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, to Him whom man despises, to Him whom the nation abhors, to the Servant of rulers: "Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel; and He has chosen You." Thus says the LORD: "In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; that You may say to the prisoners, 'Go forth,' to those who are in darkness, 'Show yourselves.' "They shall feed along the roads, and their pastures shall be on all desolate heights. They shall neither hunger nor thirst, neither heat nor sun shall strike them; for He who has mercy on them will lead them, even by the springs of water He will guide them. I will make each of My mountains a road, and My highways shall be elevated. Surely these shall come from afar; Look! Those from the north and the west, and these from the land of Sinim." Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.

Paul recognized that salvation would come to the Gentiles. Notice his quotes below, from the passage above in Isaiah:

Acts 13:46-48 - Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us: 'I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.' " Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 - We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Paul evangelized the world in the Church Age. The 144,000 servants of God will evangelize the world in the Tribulation, and Israel as a nation will serve as a light to the Gentiles and evangelize the nations in the Millennium.

In all dispensations, the Lord spiritually provides and protects His people, filling the hungry soul, giving water that springs up into everlasting life, and gives refuge from the elements and from distress:

Psalms 107:8-9 - Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.
John 4:13-14 - Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
John 6:35 - And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
Matthew 5:6 - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Isaiah 4:4-6 - When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.

Revelation 7:17 - "...for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

In a paradox, the elder tells John that the Lamb is the shepherd over the multitude. The Lord is the shepherd for all believers, but for those who suffer through hard times, the provision and protection by the "Chief Shepherd" (1 Peter 4:5) is especially comforting:

Psalms 23:1-4 - A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Living fountains of water are a picture of eternal life found in the Lord:

John 4:13-14 - Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
Psalms 36:7-9 - How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.
Jeremiah 2:13 - "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns - broken cisterns that can hold no water."
Jeremiah 17:13 - O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You shall be ashamed. "Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters."
Revelation 21:6 - And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

Wiping away tears is a sign of comfort:

Isaiah 25:4-8 - For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; for the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. You will reduce the noise of aliens, as heat in a dry place; as heat in the shadow of a cloud, the song of the terrible ones will be diminished. And in this mountain The LORD of hosts will make for all people a feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees. And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken.
Isaiah 51:11-12 - So the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away. "I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass?"

Wiping of tears also seems to indicate that God will wipe away our recollection of certain things that would take away our joy:

Isaiah 65:17-19 - "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying."

Whether or not our recollection of things is wiped away, certainly our perspective of things will be changed in Heaven in the comforting presence of the Lord. After the Millennium, God will wipe away the tears for all His people and tabernacle with them in the new heaven and on the new earth in eternity:

Revelation 21:1-4 - Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
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Revelation Flow Chart:

Revelation Flow Chart

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