The 2001 Commentaries

The Large Crowd of Revelation

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Who are the people that are described at Revelation 7:9 as being:

‘a crowd so large that nobody could count them’ that come from ‘all countries, nationalities, ethnic groups, and languages… ’ And are found ‘standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb?’

Notice that they aren’t the same as the 144,000 ‘slaves of our God’ (as described in verses 3-8), nor do they seem to comprise the IsraEl from whom this first group is chosen (as mentioned in those same verses); For the large crowd was seen by John after he saw the first two groups (IsraEl and those chosen from IsraEl) in the Revelation vision.

Then Revelation 7:14-17 goes on to tell us concerning this larger group:

‘They’re the ones that have come out of the great time of difficulty and that have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. This is why they’re under the gaze of the throne of The God, serving Him day and night in His Most Holy Place. And the One that is sitting on the throne will spread His tent over them so they won’t be hungry or thirsty anymore, nor will the sun beat down on them with blistering heat; For, the Lamb that is in the middle of the throne will shepherd them and guide them to the springs of the waters of life, and The God will wipe all the tears from their eyes.’

So, since those in this huge group have ‘washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,’ the scripture seems to imply that they will have cleaned up their lives and gotten baptized. Also notice that they will have lived through the great time of difficulty, which (in the order of the Revelation) precedes the destruction of The Great Babylon and the Battle of Armageddon.

However, the fact that they are spoken of as coming from among the ‘nations, ‘gentiles,’ or ‘ethnics,’ appears to indicate that they have not been chosen from among the IsraEl of God (those in a covenant relationship with Him, possibly those from Judaic and Christian religions). Therefore, this could describe non-religious peoples or those with pagan religious backgrounds.

Then Revelation chapter 7 says they are shouting:

‘We owe our salvation to our God that is sitting on the throne and to the Lamb.’

And because they are seen standing ‘under the gaze of the throne’ (not in the presence of God and Jesus), they will have likely continued to live here on the earth. For, being ‘guided to the fountains of waters of life’ seems to indicate that their names have not yet been written in the Scroll of Life.

And while we have not necessarily concluded that they are part of the same group that Jesus described at Matthew 25:31-46 as ‘sheep’
(since we question whether that account has been badly corrupted), there do seem to be some similarities… if that account can truly be trusted. For, notice what Jesus said concerning the sheep in verses 32-34:

‘All the nations (gr. ethnics) will be led before him, then he’ll separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He’ll put the sheep on his right, but the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right:
Come, you who’ve been praised by my Father;
Inherit the Kingdom that’s been prepared for you since the founding of the arrangement.

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