III. Verses 9-17

After the Day of the Lord arrives and the church is removed from the earth through "rapture," and the 144,000 servants are sealed, then there will be poured out on the earth-dwellers, "the wrath of Him who sits on the throne and the wrath of the Lamb" through the 7 trumpets and bowls. Rev. 6:17; Luke 21:26, 34-35; 1Thes. 5:2-3; 2Thes. 1:6-7; Jude 14-15; Rev. 8:5.

Revelation 7 shows John a vision of two groups of people; one group on the earth (verses 1-8) and the other in heaven (verses 9-17).

1. The group on the earth is clearly identified as 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes mentioned. There is no reasonable basis for taking this reference to "Israel" as symbolic. To do so, violates the "golden rule of interpretation" and opens the door to unlimited speculation.
Refer to Revelation 7:1-8

2. The 2nd group is seen to be in heaven "standing" before the throne of God and having "come out of the great tribulation (verse 14)."
The passage does not tell us WHEN this multitude arrived. It just shows us that the multitude is in heaven as John is shown the next scene of his vision. And it certainly does not show them in the process of arriving.

Verse 9
After these things: This means AFTER the scene of the 144,000 bondservants. It does not mean that what John sees occurs after the sealing of the 144k, but simply that this is the NEXT thing that John sees in the vision. In actuality, since the rapture occurred in connection with the signs in the sun, moon and stars of the 6th seal, the presence of this multitude in heaven would have occurred at that time as well.
The flow of the context within the 6 seals is clear. From Revelation 6:1 through verse 17, the scene is ON THE EARTH. That continues in verses 7:1-8 without interruption.
The Lord Jesus arrives at the 6th seal after the signs in the sun, moon and stars, which is what Jesus described at Matthew 24:29-31.
At the moment of Christ’s arrival in the clouds of the sky, the elect (believers) are gathered up into the sky to meet the Lord in the sky (1Thes. 4:14-17; 1Cor. 15:51-52).
Immediately after this gathering (the rapture), men will begin to respond in faith to the message of the gospel which will have been proclaimed throughout the whole earth prior to that (Mat. 24:14). Among those will be the 144,000 who are the first fruits to be saved from among the Jews (Rev. 14:4).
The rapture event is not shown to us in Revelation 6, but we know from the rest of Scripture that it occurs at that time when Jesus comes in the clouds of the sky, and “every eye will see Him (Rev. 1:7).” The intent is to keep the focus on the earth as the 144,000 Jews begin to trust in Christ. And as they believe, they are sealed.

Then, when that earthly scene is completed for John, he is shown the result of the rapture event, which is the gathered elect now collected in heaven. John sees a great multitude that is basically innumerable; “a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and tribes and peoples and tongues.”

John does not see them ARRIVING, nor is he shown WHEN they arrived. Later he is told that they have come out of the great tribulation. That means that they had to arrive in heaven during the time frame of the tribulation or at its “interrupted” end which will occur when Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky in power and great glory.
Jesus taught that the tribulation would be “interrupted” or “cut short” from its EXPECTED duration of 1260 days by His sudden return in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, (Mat. 24:15-30).

As shown in the introduction to this chapter, it should be clear that this would refer to the same group of "elect" who are gathered "from the 4 winds" when Jesus returns "after the tribulation of those days."
And when John is told at verse 7:14, that “these are they who come out of the great tribulation,” he will make a direct connection to what Jesus taught, that the elect would be gathered together at the coming of Jesus after the tribulation is brought to an end (Mat. 24:29-31, 40-44).
And he would make a direct connection to what Paul wrote at 1 Thes. 4:14-17.

Furthermore, the language at verse 7:9 uniquely corresponds with the description of the church found at Rev. 5:9, “And you purchased for God with Your blood (ones) from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

This group of people is seen to be standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
The word, standing, is a perfect active participle of the verb, histemi. The perfect tense in this case indicates that they have taken there stand at some time in the past and are presently seen by John as STILL standing there in heaven. The participle is descriptive (adjectival) and simply describes their location and position; they are standing.

They are BEFORE the throne. At verse 4:6 we see that “before the throne there was, as it were, a sea of glass like crystal.” This sea of glass is empty at this point in the vision, however, after the 6th seal is opened, the sea of glass is now full; full of a multitude of believers.
The sea of glass is BEFORE the throne. The multitude at Rev. 7:9 is standing BEFORE the throne. Therefore, the multitude must be standing on the sea of glass.
At Revelation 15:2, we are shown that there is a group of believers standing on the sea of glass. This is describing the same group.
There the focus is on those who were victorious over the beast.
At verse 7:14, the focus is on those who come out of the great tribulation.
Those of verse 15:2 are certainly part of the great multitude of verse 7:14.

At 2Thes. 1:6-7, we learn that there is a generation of believers who will be persecuted by “those who afflict you,” and then be delivered by the return of the Lord from heaven.
“And to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.”

Paul has in mind the generation that will see the second coming of the Lord, and recognizes the POSSIBILITY that historical events might escalate to the point that the second coming might occur even within his lifetime.
The EMPHASIS in all these passages is on the LIVING believers who will be rescued at that time. But the rapture itself will also include the resurrection of ALL the believers who have died prior to that event.
At 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, we learn about this rapture/resurrection of believers. That passage makes no distinction between believers of the church age and believers of all previous generations; Old Testament saints. It simply declares, “for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”
Likewise, at Matthew 24:31, it is HIS ELECT that are gathered into the sky to be with the Lord, which refers to HIS people (believers) without distinction of when they lived.
This does not violate any dispensational distinctions between the Old and the New Testament believers, for those distinctions deal ONLY with function while living on the earth.
See Topic: PreWrath and Dispensations

Since the rapture involves the gathering and resurrection of all the believers from the earth AT THE TIME that the tribulation is occurring, it can be said of them ALL, that they have come out of the tribulation, even though not all of the dead ones will have experienced the tribulation.

At Matthew 24:31 Jesus describes a point-of-time event that will occur when He arrives in the clouds of the sky; at His second coming.
At that moment in time He will gather together HIS ELECT.
This refers to all people who have trusted in the Messianic promise throughout all of history up to that moment in time.
Everywhere the rapture is referenced as to its actual occurrence, it is described as a moment-in-time event.
John 14:1-3, "I will come and gather together."
1 Cor. 15:51-52, "Behold, I am telling you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
1 Cor. 15:22-23, "For as by means of Adam all die, so also by means of Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming."
1 Thes. 4:16-17, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord."

All the dead will be given a resurrection body and go into the clouds. Immediately, all the living will be given a resurrection body and go up into the clouds.
Thus all THE ELECT will meet IN THE CLOUDS and THEN go to the third heaven.
At Rev. 7:9 we see this entire group in one gathering, standing before the throne in resurrection bodies, clothed in white robes and holding palm branches.

And this is the result of the coming of Jesus that will occur at the 6th seal right after verse 14.
John sees a great multitude ALREADY gathered together and standing before the throne.
He does not see them gradually arriving.
Jesus will arrive right after the cosmic and earthly signs of Rv. 6:12-14 - exactly as He said it will happen at Mat. 24:29-30.
Every eye will see Him and the unbelievers will try to hide as is described at 6:15-17.
And at this time all the elect will be raised up to meet Jesus in the clouds and then be carried to heaven, where John sees them symbolically in his vision at 7:9.

We are also told that these people are clothed in white robes. This represents their salvation as is indicated at verse 14, “and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”


We have very little information about the palm branches that these believers are holding in their hands.
1. They are mentioned in connection with the feast of tabernacles at Lev. 23:40.
2. The palm is the only tree associated with the new temple in the millennium at Ezekiel 40:16-41:26.
3. Palms were carved into the walls and doors of Solomon’s temple. 1 Kings 6:29-35
4. They were engraved on the ten bronze stands of Solomon’s temple. 1 Kings 7:36
5. John 12:13, The people greeted Christ with palm branches upon His final entry into Jerusalem, in connection with their recognition that He was the true king.
6. Because of its endurance qualities, the palm tree is used two times to indicate social stability. Job 15:32; Ps. 92:12

It seems then, that the palm tree symbolizes royalty in connection with the Messiah’s earthly kingdom. Since believers will share Christ’s reign, and will function as the royal priesthood, the palm branch held in the hand becomes a symbol of that shared royal reign and the inception of their royal inheritance.
Revelation 1:6 (the royal priesthood of 1 Peter 2:9); 2:26; 3:21; 5:10; 2 Tim. 2:12.
This same group of raptured saints that are seen at Revelation 15:2 are shown to be holding harps rather than palm branches. That's because at Revelation 7:9, the focus is on the arrival of the raptured saints and the inception of their royal reign. At Revelation 15:2 and 14:2, the focus is on SERVICE activity. This is indicated by the song that is sung and given only to the 144,000 Jewish first-fruit converts, who function on the earth as bondservants of God after the rapture.

The early Christians viewed the palm branch as symbolic of the Christian’s victory over death through resurrection. Unger’s Bible Dictionary, page 822.
However, that does not mean they were correct in their interpretation. Nor does it mean that the symbol of the palm branch is to carry that meaning throughout the Bible or at Revelation 7:9. I see nothing that associates resurrection victory with the palm tree.

Verse 10, The proclamation of the raptured saints
And they cry out with a loud voice.” This is a proclamation of the entire group, as a whole. It is not something that each one is saying as they arrive. The entire group is already there.

“Salvation to our God . . . and to the Lamb.”
Of course, God is in no need of any kind of DELIVERANCE, so this is clearly a recognition of what God has provided to these the recipients of so great a salvation.

The reason for this proclamation is to recognize that God’s salvation program has reached a major point in its progress. The rapture of the saints fulfills “the release of the possession” of Ephesians 1:14, which is the salvation of the BODY.
Paul mentioned this at Romans 8:23, where he describes the yearning of the church as “waiting for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”
Jesus said that this will happen “at the last day.” John 6:39-40, 44, 54.

For details see: THE RAPTURE

Verse 11-12, the praise of the heaven dwellers.
“And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God.”

These heaven-dwellers are functioning here as part of John’s vision.
After the raptured saints are delivered to heaven and make their proclamation of verse 10, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb,” the heaven-dwellers make an affirmation of agreement, and then make their own proclamation of praise to God.
This MIGHT refer to just the angels, but it really does not matter whether it is angels only or angels, creatures and elders. But at verses 5:11-12, a similar expression of praise is made by angels only.

The statement, “amen,” means I believe it, or I affirm it. It is an expression of agreement and acceptance of what someone else has stated.

They then add their own expressions of worship which are contained in SEVEN words of descriptive praise to God. Each item in this list is preceded by the definite article (the) to indicate a superlative idea. For example, THE blessing indicates the very HIGHEST of verbal praise that can be expressed.

1. The blessing (praise): Seen also at Rev. 5:12-13. The word is eulogia. It means, a good word, or a good action for someone. Creatures do not BLESS God, that is, they do not BESTOW upon God something like a “blessing.” The creature SPEAKS WELL OF God or PRAISES Him. It thus refers to the proclamation of good things about God; a synonym of praise.
James 3:9, with the tongue, “we speak well about (bless) our Lord and Father.”
The adjective, eulogetos, occurs at Eph. 1:3, “praised (blessed) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Luke 1:68; Rom. 9:5; 2 Cor. 1:3; 11:31; 1 Peter 1:3)
The verb, eulogeo, occurs at Luke 2:28.

2. The glory: The word is doxa. This refers to those expressions or actions that bring specific attention to the supernatural character of God and His works. The focus is on His essence.
Thus, to glorify God means to do something that brings attention to WHO God is and what He has done for His creatures in the universe.
The word is also used for angels and man and various other things to indicate an integral essence or nature.

3. The wisdom: The word is Sophia. This does not BESTOW wisdom to God, but recognizes that He possesses the absolute fullness of wisdom and knowledge.
Isaiah 40:28; Prov. 21:30; Jeremiah 10:12; 

4. The thanksgiving: The word is eucharistia. This is a HUMILITY and GRACE word. It recognizes that God is the source of everything good and wonderful in the universe. This proclamation is an expression of humility that knows, accepts and thanks God for all that He has done. God alone is worthy to receive such high recognition by all the creatures in the universe.

5. The honor: The word is timA. This is a VALUE word. The proclamation recognizes that God is to be honored and respected as the One MOST worthy of such value and respect.
The verb, timao, is used at John 5:23, “In order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”
It is the word used in, “honor your father and mother,” to indicate great respect and that great value is placed upon them.

6. The power: The word is dunamis. This refers to absolute power; power that can accomplish ANYTHING including that which is beyond or outside of the physical laws of the universe. It is the word used to indicate miracle activity.
Jeremiah 32:17, “Ah Lord Yahweh! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.”
Psalm 62:11; Luke 1:37.
This is praise directed to God the Father - or to GOD in general.
At Revelation 4:11 and 5:12, power is used to refer to divine ability to execute justice and righteousness, and the power assigned to Christ is in view. There, the idea of RECEIVING power refers to the FUTURE administration of His power to carry out the final judgments against the evil of the darkness system and to reign in the universe with absolute and total sovereignty.
This was discussed in detail at verse 4:11.

7. The might (skill): The word is ischus. This refers to a more practical expression of ability. It is the enablement to DO THINGS that comes from His inherent omnipotence. It refers to a more SKILLFUL power expression.

These 7 resemble the 7 words of praise expressed by the many angels at Revelation 5:11-12, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and prosperity and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
The difference here is that “prosperity” is used instead of thanksgiving.
Ploutos, when used of Jesus (the Lamb) does not refer to wealth or riches, as with most translations, but to the CONCEPT of prosperity in general, and specifically prosperity of a spiritual nature. It thus indicates the PROMOTION and BENEFIT that accrued to Christ as a result of His victory on the cross. He is worthy to gain the spiritual prosperity that His victory accomplishes. Heb. 1:4, 9; 2:7-10;

There are also the 4 words expressed to both the Lamb and the Father by “every created thing” at verse 5:13, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
Here, the additional word is “dominion,” which is kratos, and means RULING power or authority, and thus, “dominion” expresses it accurately.

And at Revelation 4:11, the 24 elders proclaim, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed and were created.”

Continuing at Revelation 7:12,
“To our God forever and ever.” God is the eternal, supreme Being. He never had a beginning and will never have an ending. As the initial “prime mover” of the universe, He is the one who determines how that universe will function, and He is the one who will ENFORCE that function on His creation. Accordingly, it is His character and plan which is to be praised for all eternity.

“Amen.” They repeat the word of affirmation and agreement as an amplification of the seven statements of praise that they have just proclaimed.

THE FOURTH INDICATION OF RESURRECTION: They came out of the tribulation
It is clear that the gathering of Matthew 24:31 is the rapture as the rest of the context indicates.
It is the relief from tribulation that was promised at 2Thes. 1:6-7.
It is the gathering and resurrection of 1Thes. 4:14-17.

Verse 13, The question from one of the elders.
Now the elder knows the answer and knows that John does not know it. But he wants John to concentrate because the answer as to the origin of these saints is very important.
”These who are clothed in white robes, who are they, and from where have they come.”
The speaker uses the aorist middle indicative of erchomai. The aorist tense, USUALLY expresses a completed action idea, but depends on the entire context to determine the actual KIND of action that is in view. And here, the context was already established at verse 9, John sees the entire group already there.
This can't be translated as "from where are they coming" because the context of verse 9 has already established that they are ALL already there.
That is why the aorist tense is used, "from where HAVE THEY COME." The context shows us what the intent of the aorist tense is - that they ARE THERE right now.

At verse 14, John states that he does not know the answer, and the elder tells him.
1. These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation: 
The present tense of the verb, erchomai is in the participial form (present middle participle) and is descriptive (like an adjective) rather than durative (coming).
The descriptive use indicates that these are characterized by coming out of the tribulation - NOT, that they are in the process of coming out.
It has been claimed that the present tense of COME, at Revelation 7:14 requires an on-going arrival of the people in view. The original language IN THE CONTEXT DEMANDS that this refer to a group of people who are ALL in heaven at the time of John’s vision.

The context requires that the present participle describes the present characteristic of this multitude in reference to the question that was asked. It describes them as those who come out of the tribulation - Not CAME, and not ARE COMING. It is simply identifying them as to where they come from. It cannot be used to support a “just arrived” idea nor an “on-going arrival” idea.

And once again, the context of the previous verses shows us the INTENT of this present tense - that the arrival of this multitude is COMPLETE. They are ALL already there.

2. And they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb:
Both verbs here are in the aorist active indicative, and indicate a past completed action with regard to their spiritual status. The symbolism of washing sin-stained robes (their life) in the blood of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, fulfills the animal sacrifice TYPE established by God in the Old Testament. There is no LITERAL washing in literal blood. It is a SPIRITUAL issue that is resolved only by a spiritual solution. That solution is the SPIRITUAL death of Christ on the cross. The term BLOOD of Christ is simply a representative analogy that indicates that a “sacrifice” was indeed accomplished.
See Topic: The Blood of Christ

The fact that this IMAGE is described here indicates that these people in view previously, while on earth, made a decision to trust in Christ as savior, which established for them the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of God’s righteousness. The cleansing of the sin-stained life by the spiritual sacrifice of Christ on the cross (the blood of Christ) accomplishes forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7). Based on that cleansing then, God’s righteousness is placed upon the believer so that God now sees the believer as perfectly righteous IN CHRIST (justified). (2 Cor. 5:21)
See Topic:

THE FIFTH INDICATION OF RESURRECTION: They are viewed as possessing their eternal destiny.

Verse 15-17 The Statement of Eternal Destiny
Verse 15
1. For this reason: Because of their salvation status.
2. they are before the throne: Of course, ALL of them are there as an entire body of believers. They are not in the process of arriving or assembling, but are seen as ALREADY there.
And as I have already pointed out, they are on the sea of glass, which was empty at verse 4:6, and is filled at Rev. 15:2, which is describing the same group of believers as we see here.
3. and they serve Him night and day in His temple: The “idea” of night and day communicates a continuous HABITUAL function. In actuality, there will be no “night and day” in heaven (Rev. 22:5).
The same image is seen at verse 14:11, for the unbeliever who will reside in the lake of fire for all eternity. “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest day and night.”
There will be no day and night in the lake of fire.

The service at this time seems to be just worship activity, which is just as much service as witnessing, teaching, prayer and giving. So from the time of their arrival in heaven via the rapture, they will be involved in both the attitude and action of worship/service to God. This worship is expressed because of maximum love for God and the realization of perfect happiness as resurrected children of God now in His presence.
The temple location that John sees is just the initial staging area and part of the vision. In actuality, the saints are gathered together into the heavenly dwellings that Jesus promised at John 14:1-3, and the heavenly CITY that was promised to both Old Testament saints (Hebrews 11:10; 12:22) and New Testament saints (Heb. 13:14).

4. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.
The verb here is skAnoo, and it means to dwell or to place a tent.
The preposition is EPI, which means UPON, although at 2 Thes. 1:10, it has the idea of AMONG.
This is a promise of spiritual blessing that is seen as fulfilled by the saints living within the New Jerusalem at Revelation 21:3,
“Behold, the tent (tabernacle) of God is among men and He shall DWELL among them.”
The preposition here is meta to clearly indicate the idea of WITH or AMONG.
It seems best then, to understand this promise as a dwelling WITH or AMONG the resurrected saints who reside in the New Jerusalem.

Verse 16
The promises continue, and describe the physical comfort that will be experienced by these resurrected saints all throughout eternity. The contrast is made with the suffering from the cursed earth; the physically antagonistic environment that all saints will have encountered through living on the earth.
Some want to contrast this with the saints who were persecuted by the oppression of the beast during the tribulation, but I believe that the focus is more general. The focus is on the physical comforts that will be experienced in our heavenly abode in contrast to the discomforts of this earthly world.
At Revelation 21:4, the view is on the RESULTS of the physical discomforts.
(sorrow, mourning, crying, pain, death, etc.)
Here, the view is on the actual discomforts that CAUSE the unpleasant results.
(hunger, thirst, hot sun and extreme temperatures, etc.)
But then at verse 17, the ultimate result of all these discomforts is summed up by “every tear from their eyes.” Thus, both cause and result are dealt with here in promising the greatest human blessing that will be experienced by the saints in resurrection body for all eternity.

1. hunger and thirst: the most serious issues of physical discomfort while living here on earth. Both of these often lead to sickness and death.

2. No severe scalding rays from the sun that burn and cause illness. Given in the context of the ancient world, in an agricultural economy, when most people lived and worked OUTSIDE and suffered extreme discomfort from the scalding sun; the sun beating down on them.

3. Nor any heat: Very intense debilitating heat that saps all the energy from a person and renders them useless and susceptible to all kinds of disease.

4. The basis for these blessings is the shepherd activity of Jesus Christ.

Verse 17

1. BECAUSE: The word is hoti and indicates the CAUSE or the DOER of the things mentioned in the previous verse.
2. The Lamb in the center of the throne: This is His location in the vision. V. 5:6.
3. Shall be their shepherd: Jesus is seen as THE SHEPHERD in 4 ways in Scripture.

(A) The RULER shepherd over the nation of Israel:  Mat. 2:6 with Micah 5:2-4.
For out of Bethlehem “shall come forth a Ruler, who will shepherd my people Israel.”
As such He will deliver the nation of Israel through His second coming and the Day-of-the-Lord judgments. Isaiah 40:11; Micah 7:14-20.
And He will re-gather the believing ones of Israel and shepherd them in His millennial kingdom. Ezek. 34:11-15.

(B) The GOOD shepherd who provides salvation for those who will trust in Him.
John 10:11-16.
In addition, He provides guidance and spiritual resources for living an abundant life while living here on earth. John 10:9-10 “But I am come that they might have LIFE (salvation) and might have abundance (spiritual life blessing on earth).”
He is called The Great Shepherd of the sheep at Hebrews 13:20-21.
At 1 Peter 2:25, God the Father is called “the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls”
in a salvation context.

(C) The CHIEF shepherd who gives rewards to those who trust in Him for the righteous good deeds done while they lived here on earth. 1 Peter 5:4

(D) The ETERNAL shepherd who provides blessings for the resurrected saints for all eternity. Revelation 7:17; 21:4.

The shepherd/sheep analogy provides us with some interesting ideas associated with the believer’s dependence on God and Jesus during his life here on earth and even in eternity.
R. B. Thieme Jr. sums it up as follows.
There are seven areas in which our Lord provides for us as believers.

First of all the believer, like a sheep, is helpless. A sheep cannot guide himself, he must be guided by the shepherd. That is our status quo right now, we are unable to guide ourselves. Our destiny does not depend on us, it depends on our Lord and our positive volition toward His plan. We cannot guide ourselves we need Bible doctrine so our shepherd has provided for us Bible doctrine.

A sheep, by the way, cannot even clean himself, he must be cleaned by the shepherd. This reminds us of our Lord’s provision as our shepherd of the rebound technique.  

A sheep is helpless when injured. As we are injured in life by the various problems of life only our Lord can provide the therapy necessary.

A sheep is also defenseless and therefore depends on the shepherd — just as we must do.

A sheep cannot even find food or water for himself. He must depend on the shepherd to lead him to water. Unless our shepherd would provide for us we would be in the same status quo.

A sheep is easily frightened or panicked. Psalm 23 deals with this subject. A shepherd calms the sheep with his voice or a musical instrument. God has provided for us doctrine in the soul called “songs in the night.”

When the sheep produces wool it doesn’t really belong to him, it belongs to the shepherd or the one who owns the flock. This is a part of the concept of the angelic conflict and all of this is in view here when it says in verse 17: “Because the Lamb who is in the middle of the throne shall be their shepherd”. He is their shepherd in heaven as He was their shepherd during their life on this earth during the Tribulation. (Revelation, chapter 7, 1981)

Verse 17

2. and He shall guide them to the springs of the water of life.

This refers to the possession and ultimate experience of ETERNAL LIFE, which all those who trust in Christ will share in.
At Revelation 21:5-8, John is told to write an invitation to the one who thirsts; to the one who has not as yet trusted in Christ as Savior.

“I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.”

This reflects the same invitation extended at Isaiah 55:1, 3, “Behold! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and mile without money and without cost. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you according to the grace provisions shown to David.”

THIRST refers to the spiritual NEED for deliverance from the penalty of sin and the mortal human body that is cursed by the presence of the sin nature.

Jesus spoke of this “spiritual” thirst at John 4:14, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
And at John 6:35, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

And the final invitation of the Bible at Revelation 22:17 is extended to the entire human race, “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who WANTS take the water of life freely as a gift.”

Eternal life is the immediate possession of every one who trusts in Christ as Savior. (1 John 5:11-12) “He who has the Son has the life.”

But the FULL experience of that eternal life will not occur until the saints are in heaven in resurrected bodies. Jesus said, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day,” (John 6:40).

Resurrection is the redemption of the BODY and brings to completion God’s plan of salvation for the human race. Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:13-14.

And, once in resurrection bodies, the saints will reside in the New Jerusalem where the “river of the water of life, clear as crystal” will come from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Rev. 22:1).
And there, “there shall no longer be any curse,” Rev. 22:3.
Thus, the promise at Revelation 7:17, “And God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.”

This of course refers to the ULTIMATE in human happiness as is summarized later at Revelation 22:4, “And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall not longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Revelation 7:10ff thus initiates the resurrection life of God’s people that has been promised from the beginning. Job understood this promise (Job 19:26-27).
Resurrection was taught in “the law and the prophets,” (Acts 24:14-15; Dan. 12:2).

Once these two things mentioned in chapter seven are accomplished -

(1)The living saints are removed from the earth and ALL saints are gathered together in heaven through the rapture event taught at 1 Thes. 4:14-17 and 1 Cor. 15:51-52.

(2) The 144,000 new converts from among Israel after the rapture are sealed by God.

- then the justice of God via the trumpets judgments can be applied to the unbelieving earth-dwellers as expressions of divine wrath. This is covered in chapters 8-9, 11:14-19, 15-16, and 19:11-21, and includes the 7 bowls of FINAL wrath, which are part of the 7th trumpet.


Questions and comments are always welcome

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