The Berean Expositor
Volume 10 - Page 131 of 162
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Studies in the Book of the Revelation.
#31. The Great Multitude (7: 9-17).
pp. 1 - 5
There are some commentators of standing and repute who have, notwithstanding the
definite statement of the early part of Rev. 7:, interpreted the 144,000 of the tribes of
the children of Israel* as of the church.
It will be remembered that we considered this passage in our last article, and gave
evidence that the statements of the chapter were to be taken literally. We now approach
the second part of the chapter, and the questions arise, "Is the great multitude the church?
Are they Gentiles?" By far the great majority of writers take it for granted that this
company is composed of saved Gentiles. This we question, and ask the reader to reserve
his judgment until we have examined the Scripture together. It is no argument to produce
Scripture to show that the Gentiles will be blessed through Israel--that is a blessed fact,
but it does not prove anything here. The words of verse 9 are taken to indicate the
Gentile character of the great multitude:--
"After this, I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all
nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.'
The reader will doubtless be aware that the passage should be rendered, "out of all
nations". We have met with a similar expression in chapter 5: 9, 10:--
"Thou didst purchase for God, by Thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and
people, and nation, and didst make them to our God a kingdom and priests, and they
reign over the earth."
In article #24 (Volume VIII, pp. 161-164) we considered the passage, and concluded
that this was a redemption of scattered Israel, not out of one nation, nor as at the first
from Egypt, but from many nations (Isa. 11: 11, 12); the fact that those redeemed were to
be a kingdom and priests, pointed to Israel also. The great multitude likewise are
Israelites gathered out of every nation, they too are invested with priestly dignity, "they
serve Him day and night IN HIS TEMPLE". The great multitude were "clothed with
white robes". The only other mention of robes outside this chapter is in chapter 6: 11.
Under the fifth seal we heard the cry of the martyrs, to whom was given a white robe,
with the injunction to await the vengeance for their blood until their brethren and
fellow-servant who should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. When we see the
great white-robed multitude, we see the fulfillment of the promise of the fifth seal. The
white-robed throng bear palm branches.
[* - A note regarding the Studies in the Book of the Revelation.]
"D.T.S., Guernsey.--You remark in November Berean Expositor that `The omission of
Simeon from the blessing of Moses is unexplained in the narrative and so far as we know is
unexplained by any interpretation of Scripture.' Have you noticed in The Companion Bible that
the note on Deut. 33: 7 runs thus, `Judah includes Simeon by Fig. Synecdoche; for their
inheritance and blessing were one.' This is certainly confirmed by the two passages cited, viz.:--
Joshus xix.1 and Judges 1: 3. Doesn't this afford us some light, and it may be the only light that
Scripture gives us."