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Who are the Great Multitude in Revelation?

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

   "Salvation belongs to our God,
   who sits on the throne,
   and to the Lamb." All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
   "Amen!
   Praise and glory
   and wisdom and thanks and honor
   and power and strength
   be to our God for ever and ever.
   Amen!"  Revelation 7:9-12

  • Great multitude is a motley crew of believers, from every race and tribe who are standing before the throne in heaven.
  • They are wearing white robes, so they are righteously pure
  • They are holding palm branches meaning they are praising God for their salvation from the king.
  • There is no specific number, so it is huge (larger than 144,000)
Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?"


I answered, "Sir, you know."
And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,
   "they are before the throne of God
      and serve him day and night in his temple;
   and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. 
 Never again will they hunger;
      never again will they thirst.
   The sun will not beat upon them,
      nor any scorching heat. 
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
      he will lead them to springs of living water.
   And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."  Revelation 7:12-17

  • They are praising God and serving Him
  • They are there for eternity
  • They have come out of the Great Tribulation
Some possibilities as to their identity:

If the 144,000 represents all Believers (12x12x1000), the Great Multitude could be a NEW PERSPECTIVE on the same group.  Once they were saved by the work of the tribes and apostles (human effort), now they are saved by the finished work of Christ (God’s effort).

If the 144,000 represents Old Testament Jews, the Great Multitude could be NEW TESTAMENT BELIEVERS from all over the world saved after Jesus was on earth.  Maybe they were the Believers who endured Rome's persecution?

If the 144,000 represents all Believers on EARTH, the Great Multitude could be all believers in HEAVEN.

Some believe these are Tribulation believers from a future tribulation.  Some believe they are Tribulation believers from the time period of John.  The question is then what tribulation do they come out of?  There are many times in history when Christians went through a tribulation - Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Crusades, Nazis, the Middle East and Africa today, some time in the future?

Would I be counted in that group if I died without being persecuted during a tribulation?  I get harrassed on Facebook by friends but it's not like being slaughted with a machete.

No matter who they are, they are safe under God’s care in heaven.  No hunger.  No thirst.  No tears.  PRAISE GOD!  God takes care of those who die for him.