How does the Church report to the great tribulation?

Question:

Please explain to us the texts from the book of Revelation 7:14 and 13:7. My question is: who are those  described in chapter 7 and 13? Thank you.

Both texts tell about people who are from “every tribe and people and tongue and nation”. Those from chapter 7 are the Church of God and stand before the throne in heaven in the period of the great tribulation, but those from chapter 13 are the unbelievers who are on the earth in the period of the great tribulation (time in which the antichrist will reign on the earth, ie the beast from chapter 13 and the little horn from the book of Daniel chapter 7).

Though, many have a question: are the people from the book of Revelation 7:14, who are described as coming from the great tribulation, the same people who are described in chapter 13:7 and will live in the time of the reign of the beast? In other words: Will the Church be on the Earth in the time of the reign of the beast?

To better understand the answer to this question, let us look at these verses in their context to find out more about these people:

Revelation 7:9-17
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” (14) I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 13:2-9
And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.  I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;  they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. (7) It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.  All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.

The description of the people in chapter 7

There was a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, they were standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice and they were praising God; the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;  for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes; the time of the action is after the breaking the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12).

From this description we see that this great multitude is the Church of God, who through faith in the Lord Jesus were saved from sins and set free from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). After the sixth seal, the Church is in heaven, before the beginning of the great tribulation, which will begin only after the sixth seal (Revelation 9-11), in the same time with the victory of the beast over the saints, ie over the people of Israel.

The description of the people in chapter 13

They were amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; the beast and the antichrist reigned over them for forty-two months (the period of the great tribulation); their names have not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb.

As you can see, these people worship the beast and their names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb. According to the book of Revelation chapter 20, the place for those who are not written in the book of life of the Lamb is the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.

If we do a study of the book of Revelation, we would see that the events described in chapter 7 take place after the breaking of the sixth seal, but the beast makes war to the saints and begins to reign after the sound of the sixth seal (Revelation 9-11). The great tribulation begins at the same time with the Beast entering into Jerusalem (the great tribulation is a period of a time, two times and half a time, or 42 months, or 1260 days in which the beast will oppress the saints, ie the people of Israel: the great tribulation is for the people of Israel. Hence, we see that before the beginning of the great tribulation, those, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (ie the Church made of Jews and Gentiles) are in heaven.

Let us not forget that every biblical text must be interpreted in the context of the whole Bible, and that an unclear or obscure text may not cancel a lesson clearly revealed in the Bible.

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