Extracts and comments from Revelation Chap. 7:9 & 7:14
After this I saw, and, behold, (a)a great multitude which no one could number, of all Nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, were standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, (b)clothed with white robes, and (c)palms in their hands;
(a) This multitude is clearly made up of all Nations of the world. This vision is a leap forward showing John and by implication anyone who can "see", that not just Jews are to be in this group, and the events from which they derive, (Isa. 49:6 & 7).
(b) "Clothed with white robes"; V.14 below clearly describes the reason for these "white robes". They are worn only by those people who are persecuted, many to death, for their testimony and faith in Christ Jesus, during the Great Tribulation period. This clearly shows that as the Church of Christ (the true Body) has probably by this time been taken from the Earth, that many people are truly converted to Christ in the terrible time of Antichrist rule and Tribulation. It also shows that although the main object of persecution by Antichrist is the Jews, any showing sympathy or kindness to Jews will also be so persecuted. It is interesting to note that the only test for the sheep and goat judgement at the beginning of Millennial by Christ is: "In as much as ye have done it unto one of even the least of these My brethren (Jews), ye have done it unto Me", (Matt. 25:40).
And I said unto him, "my Lord, thou knowest". And he said to me, (a)"These are they who came out of The Great Tribulation, (b)and washed their robes, and made them white by the blood of the Lamb.
(a) See comment on V.9 above. There are many teachers (if not most)! that emphatically state that the ones referred to here are all Christians of all Ages (i.e. different Age times). One of the justifications for that view is the reference in Rev. 4:1; "After these things", i.e. taught as after the seven Churches of Rev. 2 and 3, and implying or stating that at that juncture (i.e. between Chps. 3 and 4) the Translation of the Church (the Body of Christ) shall have taken place. This seems to be a majority view. However, the writers at this stage in time (Jan. 2014) do not hold to that view. To pivot so emphatically on Rev. 4:1 seems perverse, and stretches or ignores the meanings of Rev. 1:10 (see notes), where "the Day of the Lord (i.e. Jehovah), to the writers seems the most profound pivot point in time, and is repeatedly referred to throughout the Old Testament, as one of the most profound changes on Earth brought about by the Almighty. Also the whole scene is set by Christ before He addresses the 7 Churches, where, predominantly "overcoming" is a repeated exhortation, and specific time is given to "endure" to Smyrna of 10 days! Whereas, specific times are carefully avoided in general in the New Testament, but time given in “days” generally in Scripture refer to troubled times in the context of Israel!
It is of course held by many not impossible that the Body of Christ is still on Earth at that time and that "overcoming" is a later specific to be added to "faith". However, that would fly in the face of earlier teaching, especially by Paul, and would conflict with his writings, which were given veracity by our Lord’s comments “he is a chosen vessel”! As mentioned above, the writers at this stage hold to the view that "the 7 Churches", are specific to the 7 year period yet to be enacted of Daniel's vision, (see Rev. 11:2), which is in a different Age (Administration) of Jehovah, hence Christ’s new instruction and exhortation to them.
A further view is that the 7 Ekklesia, (called out ones) refer to the history of the Jews at their various stages, which is a view developed by men in an attempt to explain the difference to earlier Old Testament standards, but ignores the fact that Christ never has dealt with Israel direct except in the flesh! (see Matt. 15:24). It is the failure of men and women to discern the changes in God’s Administrations (Ages), with their changes of emphasis and rules, that has led, and still leads to wrong understanding and teaching. This leads to good hearted people being locked into wrong understandings and conflicting harmful teaching, with many people despairing. Most teaching groups are now iron-clad, and will not allow anything but their own standard view, even though they do not understand their own teaching, and are themselves confused.
(b) "Washed their robes"; this profound comment, defines the difference between these people, and the people of the Church (Body) of Christ. In the case of the latter, God sees the individual in Christ, through Christ, through faith alone. In the case of the former, "they wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb", so are accepted by the Father for their works and their faith in God and Christ in the Great Tribulation. Both groups have Christ as Saviour, in different Dispensations.