(7.9)    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; 

1.   “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues 

a.   The phrase “After this” translates that phrase that we have seen before in John’s Revelation, meta tauta. So, we again we see this Greek phrase that is used when some significant change is taking place or some gear shifting is occurring. Therefore, take note of this chapter’s second vision. 

b.   What a group of people John sees here. This is Bible language for a whole bunch of Gentiles. In addition, just why this great multitude of people is properly understood to be Gentiles, we will go into shortly. 

2.   “stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands 

a.   We know that these folks are believers, for three reasons: 

#1  They are in heaven, where only believers can be at this time. This whole scene takes place in heaven. 

#2  They stand before the God on His throne, and before the Lamb, which only believers can do. You see, until a person has faith in Christ he has no standing before God or before Jesus. That they stand before the throne of God indicates that they are saved people. 

#3  They wear white robes, which only believers can wear. The white robes represent the righteousness of Christ. Without faith in Christ, righteousness will not be imputed to the believer. That means, no faith in Christ, no white robes. 

b.   What do the palms mean? If you were a Jewish Christian of John’s day, reading this passage, would the palms mean something to you? You bet they would. Let me read John Gill’s comment about the palms in this verse to you: “the palm tree is well known to be a token of victory. So Philo the Jew says, the palm tree is sumbolon nikhv, ‘a symbol of victory’. Conquerors used to carry palm tree branches in their hands: those who conquered in the combats and plays among the Greeks, used not only to have crowns of palm trees given them, but carried branches of it in their hands; as did also the Romans in their triumphs; yea, they sometimes wore ‘toga palmata’, a garment with the figures of palm trees on it, which were interwoven in it: and hence here palms are mentioned along with white garments; and some have been tempted to render the words thus, ‘clothed with white robes’, and ‘palms on their sides’; that is, on the sides of their robes. The medal which was struck by Titus Vespasian, at the taking of Jerusalem, had on it a palm tree, and a captive woman sitting under it, with this inscription on it, ‘Judaea capta’, Judea is taken. And when our Lord rode in triumph to Jerusalem, the people met him with branches of palm trees in their hands, and cried, Hosanna to him. So the Jews, at the feast of tabernacles, which they kept in commemoration of their having dwelt in tents in the wilderness, carried ‘Lulabs’, or palm tree branches, in their hands, in token of joy, (Leviticus 23:40); and in like manner, these being come out of the wilderness of the world, and the tabernacle of God being among them, express their joy in this way; (see Gill on ‘John 12:13’).”[1] 

c.   Now turn to Leviticus 23.40-43 and we will see what the Bible says: 

40    And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.

41    And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

42    Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:

43    That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. 

d.   The passage in Leviticus referred to the annual feast of tabernacles, in which the children of Israel spent one entire week praising God for taking care of them during the time they lived in tents, in the wilderness. It was one of the most joyous occasions of the year for the Israelites, when they celebrated the feast of tabernacles. 

e.   The fact that these believers are of all nations and kindreds and peoples and tongues means that they are not Jewish believers, but are Gentile believers. That tells us that they are not celebrating the feast of tabernacles up there. When John refers to the palm branches in their hands, he is evoking a mental image of great joy and rejoicing to his readers. 

f.    Why the whoop-it-up good time? Why the great rejoicing in heaven? Is it somehow connected to these 144,000 Jewish people who have just been anointed? Yes, I think it is. Just how it is connected and just why all these believers are rejoicing we will see as we progress. 

(7.10)  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 

1.   Ah, these people are really airing it out are they not? They are not holding back at all. John Gill observes that they “cried with a loud voice” “To show the strength of their affection, and the greatness of their joy, and how sensible they were of the favour they enjoyed, and how hearty they were in the following ascription of glory to God, and the Lamb.”[2] 

2.   “Salvation to our God 

“The word rendered salvation--swthria--means properly safety, deliverance, preservation; then welfare or prosperity; then victory; then, in a Christian sense, deliverance from punishment and admission to eternal life. Here the idea seems to be, that their deliverance from sin, danger, persecution, and death, was to be ascribed solely to God.”[3] 

(7.11)  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 

1.   You might remember that in chapter 4, the angels praised God, and it resulted in the elders praising Him as well. Well here, the believers praise God in verse 10, and then the angels do the responding here in verse 11. Nice turn around. Amen? Notice, if you will the posture of angelic worship. They are on their faces. 

2.   “These are unfallen angels, therefore they have never known the joy of experiencing salvation; however, they always rejoice in the salvation of sinners on earth (see Luke 15:8-10). They add their ‘Amen’ whenever a soul is saved. In a day such as our own, when there is so little worship, this awe-inspiring scene of men and angels worshiping the Lord stands out as one of the most blessed in the entire Book. Here is true worship indeed! The redeemed ones come before the Lord with all their possessions, and they worship before Him (Deuteronomy 26:10). Our possessions keep us from worship. We call ourselves wise when actually we are stupid. Wise men linger long before the Lamb and present their treasure to Him (see Matthew 2:1-12).”[4] 

(7.12)  Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 

Take note of what is said by these sinless creatures who break out in a paean of praise: 

1.   The word “amen” simply means “so be it,” or “it is true.” It is a word you should be familiar with and you should practice the right use of the word. The Lord Jesus Christ made use of the word during His earthly ministry. The word occupies a significant place throughout the Hebrew Scriptures as a way of participating in the worship of the one true and living God. We see the word so used here. We should take a hint. 

2.   The rest of these things (blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honour, power, and might) are words associated with the worship and praise of God. Some of the words describe God’s virtues and attributes. Other words describe the proper response of the creature toward our great Creator. 

3.   This verse, which is really an angelic beatitude, began with the angels saying “Amen,” and ends with the angels saying “Amen.” Therefore, Amen it is.

[1] John Gill, The John Gill Library, (Paris, AK: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., 2000)

[2] Ibid.

[3] Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ NT Commentary, (Bronson, MI: Online Publishing, Inc., 2002), [email protected]

[4] Lehman Strauss, The Book Of The Revelation, (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1963), page 177.

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