And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
(a) Heard. John first hears about a large number of people who have been sealed and then he sees them (Rev. 7:9, 14:1).
(b) Sealed. Every believer has been sealed with the Holy Spirit.
(c) One hundred and forty-four thousand. The innumerably large body of Christ that is made up of believers from every tribe and nation (see Rev. 7:9). The number is symbolic, not literal. The true size of the multitude is a number “no one could count” (see verse 9).
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
(a) I looked. First John hears about a great number of people. (Rev. 7:4) and then he sees a great number of people. Indeed, the size of the multitude is beyond counting, and far greater than the symbolic number of 144,000.
(b) A great multitude. A church that began with just 120 people waiting in an upper room (Acts 1:15) will become a countless number. This is why the Lord tarries. Time is on his side, and the longer he waits, the bigger his family grows.
(c) From every nation and all tribes. No tribe is excluded from the kingdom. All may come to the feast, and people from all tribes will come.
The world of Biblical times was highly segregated. The Jews were prejudiced towards women, Gentiles, and sinners; the Greeks were prejudiced towards barbarians (non-Greeks), and the Romans were prejudiced towards slaves and non-citizens. In contrast, Jesus received everyone without regard for their race, gender or status. He said his kingdom was like a dragnet cast into the sea gathering fish of every kind (Matt. 13:47), and he commissioned his disciples to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). In contrast with the fallen kingdoms of this world, the kingdom of God welcomes people from every tribe and nation (Acts 2:5, 10:35, Rom. 10:12, Gal. 3:28, Eph. 2:13, Col. 3:11, Rev. 14:6).
(d) The throne; see entry for Rev. 4:2.
(e) The Lamb is Jesus; see entry for Rev. 5:6.
(f) Clothed in white robes. White robes represent the spotless righteousness of Jesus Christ that is offered to us as a free gift.
We come to the Lord wearing filthy rags and we are washed and made clean by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14). The moment we are put into Christ the Righteous One, we become as righteous and blameless as he is. See entry for Righteousness.
and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
(a) Salvation. The original word for salvation means deliverance or rescue. Jesus is the great Deliverer who rescues us from our enemies (Luke 1:71). See entry for Salvation.
(b) Salvation to our God; see entry for Rev. 19:1.
(c) The Lamb is Jesus; see entry for Rev. 5:6.
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?”
White robes; see entry for Rev. 7:9.
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.
(a) Great tribulation. Great trouble.
This is not the great tribulation that Jesus said would afflict Judea (see entry for Matt. 24:21). Nor is it the great tribulation that Jesus said would afflict Jezebel’s followers (see entry for Rev. 2:22). This is a great tribulation or persecution or trial that afflicts believers.
(b) White robes; see entry for Rev. 7:9.
(c) The Lamb of God is Jesus; see entry for Rev. 5:6.
The Grace Commentary is a work in progress with new content added regularly. Sign up for occasional updates below. Got a suggestion? Please use the Feedback page. To report typos or broken links on this page, please use the comment form below.