13 And [kai] one [heis] of [ek] the elders [presbuteros] answered, [apokrinomai] saying [lego] unto me, [moi]What[tis] are [eisi] these [houtos] which [ho] are arrayed in [periballo] white [leukos] robes [stole]? and[kai] whence [pothen] came they [erchomai]? KJV-Interlinear
one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the
white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?" NASB
There are two groups in
view here, which are both in heaven at the time of this vision.This vision of John’s is of the Tribulation,
which is still a future event (as far as you and I are concerned).
The two groups are the
elders, and those in the white robes.
The elders were studied
in chapter four when twenty-four of them were mentioned. They are the
representative group of all those believers who were resurrected (and glorified
as noted by the crowns and clothing) in the Rapture, believers from our
dispensation, the Church Age.
How are they
different?The elders were dressed in
white raiment and had crowns of gold on their heads.
The other group in view here, have white robes, no crowns, and carrying palm
branches or leaves.
There is a distinctive difference
in the dress of each group.And there is
a reason for that difference.
One of the elders ‘answered.’And that word generally implies a response to
a question that has been asked.But we
have no question posed in the text of this verse, or anywhere for that
matter.But the word for answer, ‘apokrinomai’ is not the word that is typically used for a
response to a question that has not been voiced, or might be voiced because the
one posing the question just happens to be wondering.
But instead, here it is
used to indicate an approach, or someone who approaches you while you are
taking in all of the scene before you, eyes wide open
in awe and so forth.
And that is exactly what
is in view here.John was looking at all of the scene before
him, overwhelmed by it all.The look of
amazement and wondering about it all, was apparent
from the look on his face.
The elder, not identified,
moved over (approached) toward John.The
elder asked the question, of John, because John was looking at this one
particular group, the ones in white robes and carrying the palm branches.
The elder asked, ‘Who are
these,’ referring to the one group who were dressed in white and carrying the
branches.So John was looking at this
group and the elder referred his question toward that group, out of all the
groups that were present.
This was to single out
this particular group.
The elder did not pose
the question because he did not know the answer, but instead, posed the
question, so that John would identify them correctly.And that was for our benefit.He may have asked, ‘Do you know who these
people in the white robes and carrying the palm branches, are?’
And as we have said, this
was not really for John’s benefit, as he already knows the answer, and the
elder knows the answer, but you and I do not know the answer, until we are told.
And instead of answering
the question in this study, we will save it for tomorrow.
But think about what has
already been said, above, and why.
Who is the elder, who are
those dressed in white, and why is their dress different?And, to which group do you suppose John belongs?
And, one more question,
why is this important for us to know?Why would this question and answer even be written into the Bible?Why is it significant?