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.
Revelation 7 begins by telling us the good news that God is in charge. The worst would have happened but angels are ensuring extreme disaster does not destroy and end the world, Revelation 7:1. In fact, an angel orders other angels not to harm the earth until God has decided who amongst us belongs to Him and who is against Him, Revelation 7:3. God is in charge. There will be no nuclear disaster ending the whole world unless God says so. There will be no disease that will wipe out humanity unless God says so. God is in charge!
After that section, Revelation 7 goes ahead to inform us that God is identifying His people through a sealing process, Revelation 7:3. Sealing is a commitment we make to God by accepting what God has revealed to us in the Bible without compromise. Some Theologians and Bible students have correctly concluded that the Sabbath is the seal of God.
Confusion for some begins at this sealing message. Revelation 7 lists 144,000 people who are identified by the tribes of Israel as the ones who have been sealed, Revelation 7:4-8. Some mistakenly think that it means only 144,000 will be saved. Others wrongly teach that only 144,000 saints will be alive when Jesus returns. There is an attempt to limit the number of those being saved.
The confusion ends when John the Revelator writes that he saw more than 144,000 people among the saved, Revelation 7:9. He saw people who are so many that they can not be counted. People from every tribe, every nation, every language were present in this uncountable mass of saved people. This is good news that God will save as many people as possible as they are willing to listen to His voice. Heaven does not have limited chances of only 144,000. Heaven is limitless and all of us are welcome and invited to receive eternal life. Your space and my space are readily reserved in heaven.
The 144,000 are clearly introduced as the those God sealed and therefore they are the saved, Revelation 7:4. But who are these in the multitude? Our text today tells us that they are saved. The Bible tells us that the multitude who are eventually saved are people who have come from the tribulation. Tribulation has to do with intense suffering. The uncountable number of people will survive great suffering and will eventually be saved.
What tribulation are you going through today? You will survive and you will be saved if you remain faithful to God. The Bible says the saved have come out of tribulation. We will come out of the tribulation of betrayal. We will come out of the tribulation of heartbreaks. We will come out of the tribulation of rejection, separation, and even divorce. We will come out of the tribulation of persecution because of our faith. We will come out of the tribulation of diseases and death. We will come out of the tribulation of lack of money. We will come out of the tribulation of academic failure. The Bible refers to the saved as having come out of the tribulation.
The tribulations you are facing today are not your future, they are short term and will be your permanent past. You will be introduced as having come out of the tribulation. You will come out. I will come out. We will be saved from these tribulations and we will be saved eternally!
The Uncountable number of the saved is bad news to those who want to limit salvation to their prayer group, or their Bible study group, or their team of health watching “experts,” or a certain sect of the remnant among the remnant. God will save so many people throughout history and He will not use our guidelines that are strict and demanding. God will save by mercy and grace. Whosoever wills to be saved will be saved. The thief on the cross will be there, without any record of right living or doing good. God will save countless people, more than your crew of holy joes. That doesn’t mean you disband your group of heaven-bound people, it only means tone down your spiritual pride. Multitudes will be saved.
That doesn’t mean we get careless because multitudes will be saved. That does not carry the guarantee that your unrepentant life will be ignored then you get saved. God’s mercy and grace is not a license for careless and sinful living. The majority can be saved and you still be lost. Multitudes will be saved, strive by the power of the Holy Spirit to be among them.
The road to salvation is narrow and few walk in it. The road to destruction is wide and many walk in it. The few currently walking on the road to eternal life will accumulate with saints of all ages and they will be a multitude that nobody can count. Sinners to be destroyed eternally will also be many and countless, Revelation 20:7-10. The saved will be many and countless. During the walk of faith, sinners opposing faith are many, but the few saints will accumulate eventually and they too will be countless.
By God’s grace, many will overcome tribulations. Many will emerge winners. Many will remain faithful even when they suffer. Many will be saved. Many is not all, many means some. May I be among the many that will be saved, in Jesus’ name, Amen!