Following the sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7:1–8, John sees a “great multitude that no one can count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb” (7:9).
They are wearing white robes, holding palm branches, and crying out praises to God and the Lamb (7:10).
The angels, elders, and four living creatures join the great multitude in praising God (7:11–12).
Then one of the elders asks John, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” (Rev. 7:13).
After John pleads ignorance, the elder provides the answer: “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14).
Who are these people and what does it mean that they have come out of “the great tribulation”?
What is this great ordeal that these people have survived?
Daniel 12:1 supplies the likely background for the phrase “the Great Tribulation”:
At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.
In Daniel, God’s people are persecuted because of their covenant relationship with God (Dan. 11:30, 32), so that some even turn away from the faith. Yet those who trust in the Lord (i.e., “everyone whose name is found written in the book”) will ultimately be delivered.
The reference to the Archangel Michael is encouraging to us. In Daniel 12:1, Michael is called the great prince of Israel, who will fight for her in the future against Antiochus Epiphanes (167 B.C).
Another view of Daniel 12:1 is that Michael will defend Israel in the last days as the nation suffers the Great Tribulation. We know of Michael’s great power and might.
In Daniel 10 we know he took 21 days to come to the aid of God’s people because he had been fighting the Prince of Persia (Iran today!) On that occasion he responded in answer to Daniel’s prayer.
So as we start to see end-times events – wars, earthquakes – suffering – natural disasters, even a falling away by some from the church – we must intensify our prayers.
The Bible says Michael will respond, after all he is the great prince of Israel. This encourages me.
The last book in the Bible – the Book of Revelation is filled with Jewish existence and vitality.
Jerusalem is the prime location. John saw ‘seven golden lampstands.’ “Seven lamps of fire’ Rev 4: 5
Jesus is described as ‘the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The Root of David.’ Rev 5: 5
The tribes are mentioned Rev 7 = Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulan, Joseph and Benjamin – these were the 144,000 sealed as bond-servants of God.
Rev 12: 13-17 “And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
The woman in these verses is Israel – the woman who gave birth to the male child.
The dragon persecuted the woman/Israel and we have seen constant evidence of that. But she has been promised ‘the two wings of the great eagle, so that she will be covered and comforted.
Ex. 19:4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.”
Is. 27:1 “In that day the LORD will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, with His fierce and great and mighty sword, even Leviathan the twisted serpent; and He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea.”
Rev. 12:6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she *had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
What a wonderful day when here on earth – The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob reigns.
Israel will survive these difficult days, their trials and their persecution, and in the final battle some will die willingly for the Lord as they acknowledge their King and He embraces and comforts them.