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Revelation 7:14





14 And [kai] I said [ereo] unto him, [autos] Sir, [kurios] thou [su] knowest. [eido] And [kai] he said [epo] to me, [moi] These [houtos] are they [eisi] which came [erchomai] out of [ek] great [megas] tribulation, [thlipsis] and [kai] have washed [pluno] their [autos] robes, [stole] and [kai] made [leukaino] them [stole] [autos] white [leukaino] in [en] the blood [haima] of the Lamb. [arnion]   KJV-Interlinear



14 And I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.    NASB



John responds to the elder with a reply of respect, ‘My lord,’ which back in those days was a typical greeting to someone who is of a superior position.  The elder has a golden crown on his head.John yields to that position, a position that could have only come from God.


On the earth, people have a tendency to crown themselves.In heaven, God does all of the promotion and giving of honors.


These people, of whom they are referring, are the believers who have been martyred in the Tribulation.But this is referenced to a particular portion of the Tribulation, that is identified as the ‘Great Tribulation.’


Jesus Himself coined and identified this phrase and segment of history, as the last half of the seven year period, the last three and a half years, of what we generally call the whole Tribulation, Matt. 24:21.


It might be well to note that the Tribulation will last seven years in length, Matt 24:13-22; Mark 13:14-20; Dan 9:27). The last half will be forty-two months or 1,260 days, or three and a half years, Rev. 11:2-3.


The first half of the Tribulation, is called Satan’s failed utopia, by virtue of the white horse vision which fails as it is followed by the red horse, the black horse and the pale horse.


Recall our study wherein we discovered that one-fourth of the world’s population will die during this time.Not much of a utopia!


But after the sixth and during the seventh seal, the great tribulation will occur.  From the beginning of the Tribulation, people will die.That death rate will continue to increase as matters get progressively worse.


By the mid-point of the Tribulation, the death rate will increase dramatically and continue to grow at an even faster rate.And even during these times of extreme hardships, people will be believing in Christ at an extremely fast rate, as well.


The verb, ‘which came out of,’ or ‘erchomai,’ is a reference to an ongoing process over time.This process of people dying and going to heaven will occur all through the seven years.  It is not a one time event, as the Rapture is a single event.


These folks are not yet glorified by virtue of their lack of crowns and linens, as the elders are described with having.


They are not referred to as the Church as the seven churches are references in the first couple of chapters.


They are not referred to as ones coming out of a single event.


But they were referred to as a distinct group coming out of the last half of the Tribulation.  And as we already know, they number into huge uncountable numbers.


We have already seen that the elders are believers who are already in heaven, already cleansed, and already glorified.The elders are not counted among these martyred believers.  The elders came to heaven out of the Rapture, which will occur immediately before the Tribulation will begin.


And since all believers are raptured, leaving only unbelievers behind on the earth, then this passage as well as others, indicates that there will be huge numbers of people who will believe in Christ, during the Tribulation.Both in its beginning, and especially during the last half.


Washing their robes and making them white in the blood of the lamb, is a figure of speech, referring to the salvation work of Christ on the Cross.  Christ died, that all men might be saved, and for all who believe in Christ, salvation is secured forever.  These people will believe in Christ, while they are alive on the earth.


Soiled garments in scripture symbolize the defilement of sin, Isa 64:6; Zech 3:3, and salvation is often pictured as a washing or cleansing away, making white, removing sin, Rev 22:14; Ps 51:7; Isa 1:18; Titus 3:5.Together this is a reference to atonement or salvation through faith in Christ, because of His work on the Cross.


These are believers who will die in great numbers during the last and most extreme half of the Tribulation.


So, from this we know that the Rapture is not in view here (it has already occurred prior to this), the elders and these dressed in white have a distinctively different dress status.


The elder spoke of those who were in white robes as ‘they,’ not us or we.  So they are a distinctively different group from the elders.


These dressed in white will come out of the last half of the Tribulation, whereas we saw others in the fifth seal who will die due to the failed utopia efforts of humanity in the first half of the tribulation.They likewise were not grouped with the elders.


Huge numbers will believe in Christ during the entire period of the Tribulation.  There will be large numbers of evangelists from the onset of the Tribulation, especially those out of Israel, by which people will come to believe in Christ.



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