After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.( Revelation 7:9-12)
John’s vision progresses from the 144,000, to an innumerable company standing before the throne of God and of the Lamb. Someone once asked Jesus if there would be only a few saved. His answer at that time to the one who asked was, to “agonize to make sure that You yourself enter into the Kingdom”.
Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.(Luke 13:23-24)
But in this vision there is a much more satisfying answer to the question. A vast multitude from every walk of life, every class or station, every tribe or tongue, from all times and epochs, stand before the throne of the Lamb in bliss.
* They wear white robes- In the ancient world, most people possessed very few articles of clothing;they had work clothes and a special festal garment, kept clean and neat for special occasions. The word here is ‘stola’, festival clothing.
The work is over for the ones standing before the lamb in this vision. It is time to celebrate the last and ultimate great feast, the feast of tabernacles. All of the anxious toil is over, the crops are in, it is time to relax and celebrate the blessing of the Lord.
White is the color of victory, these have overcome the world, the Devil and themselves. They did not worship the beast, they remained faithful and true to the Lamb of God!
* They bear Palm branches- The holy feasts of Israel serve as an eschatological calendar. The spring feasts of Passover, unleavened bread and first fruits, have already been fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus and His conquest over sin and the grave. So also has the summer feast been fulfilled, Pentecost.
The fall feasts remain.Israel has an appointment to keep with God. The feasts of Trumpets, day of atonement and Tabernacles foretell the soon future. Trumpets sound to call Israel back to the Land that God gave Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The modern Exodus is underway, so that the dark night of repentance and soul-searching can commence, “The time of Jacob’s trouble”, a modern-day of atonement for a people who mostly rejected the true atonement of the Divinely appointed scapegoat, Jesus.
After the dark night, when all Israel is saved, and the redeemed are gathered before the Lamb, comes the greatest feast, the feast of tabernacles. God dwelt with Israel in the wilderness, thus tabernacles are built of Palm, citron and other greenery. God tabernacled with man in Jesus, when the “Word became flesh and tabernacled among us”.
And in the end, God shall dwell with men! So they stand holding palm branches of victory and celebration.They sing a revised tabernacle hymn. Through the long centuries the worshippers would sing Psalm 118 on the feast day, part of which is a heartfelt plea for salvation from God.
Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.(Psalm 118:25)
But in heaven the salvation is a completed fact, so the redeemed sing a new song, celebrating the sheer wisdom, love, mercy , kindness and sovereign power of the One who sent His Son to redeem them,
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb forever and ever!”
The Angels are utterly awestruck. The holy Angels have witnessed the ruin of sin and the degradation of God’s creation, man, and must have wondered how anything good could come of ruined, idolatrous, stained and degraded race.
But here they stand in the millions, their vain wondering is over. Once blind and hopelessly lost, but now worshipping and praising the Creator/Redeemer God, and adoring the Lamb, he who stooped so low to redeem them.
Even for Angels and Holy elders and Cherubim, it is too much to comprehend!
So they all fall on their faces together, before the Lamb and His Father, and utter forth praises and exaltation, laud, honor and glory.
This is the near future of all who love Him and have recieved His love.