The Greatest Story Ever Told About
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived
                                                                             CHAPTER 7

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the
earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.  Then I saw another
angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the
four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea:  “Do not harm the land or the sea
or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” 4 Then I heard the number
of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.   From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were
sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000,  from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh  2,000,  from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from
the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

The 144 thousand that were sealed must be Jews that are Christians.  It is clear that they were from
the 12 tribes of Israel, and the scripture “servants of our God” would indicate that they are
Christians.  Not much more is revealed about them here, but they appear again in Chapter 14 and
more will be said about them there.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every
nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing
white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice:  
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”  All the angels were standing
around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces
before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and
honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever.  Amen!”  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.  Therefore, “they are before the throne of
God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his
presence.  ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on
them, nor any scorching heat.  For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will
lead them to springs of living water.  ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

This scripture describes the rapture perfectly.  It's a huge number of people.  They are from all over
the earth.  They are standing before God and Jesus.  They are wearing white robes.  They are
believers.  They were not killed.  And the elder specifically asked the Apostle John who was writing
this down, "where did they come from".  In other words, he wants us to KNOW where they came
from.  And the answer was "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation".  Now
remember, this is just the BEGINNING of the Great Tribulation, it's barely started.  So far all that has
happened is the four horsemen have been released and there has been an economic collapse, a war,
and an earthquake.  There is a whole lot more coming with the other judgments.  Yet this elder says
they have "come out of the Great Tribulation".  Notice he doesn't say they were killed, or that they
were beheaded like some other scriptures, it says they "came out" of the tribulation which has just
started.  How did they "come out"?  Were they raptured?  It sure sounds like it and the description
fits perfectly.  This is the only place in the Bible where this kind of event is described as accurately
as this.   What else could it be if it’s not the rapture?

These believers could not have been killed because they were "from every nation, tribe, people and
language."  The chances of them all being killed at once from all over the world, from many different
countries is very slim.  And they were a great multitude making it more unlikely that they were all
killed at once.  Furthermore with the Great Tribulation just starting it's highly unlikely that there was
an event that killed so many Christians in so many countries of the world all at once without there
being reference to it in the Book of Revelation.  We are specifically told they came out of the Great
Tribulation.  For all these reasons it's more likely that they were raptured.  There have been other
raptures in the Bible, but the rapture in Revelation Chapter 7 is the "big one".  This is where a huge
multitude is taken at one time.  If we consider that the current world population is 7 billion, and the
latest statistics show that 32% of the world is Christian, if we only use 25% that's about 1.75 billion
people that will be raptured at one time if it were to happen today and that’s not counting the dead in
Christ that will rise first.   I'd say that's a multitude that no one could count.

At that point, there are no more Christians left on earth, they have been raptured and the dead
Christians resurrected.  Right after this and during the Great Tribulation, many people will BECOME
Christians, and these are the ones that will be killed, either for refusing to worship the image of the
beast or refusing to take the mark, or just because they are Christians, or they are killed due to the
wars, famines, plagues, etc.  Then in Chapter 20 those Christians are resurrected and that completes
all the raptures/resurrections of believers that has happened during the Tribulation.  This is known as
the first resurrection.  The "second resurrection" (is actually not a resurrection but is called a second
death) is for all unbelievers, not Christians and comes later.

This is the only place where you can put the rapture.  And if you put it anywhere else, then you can't
explain what happened in Chapter 7 any other way.  Who were these people, how did they get there
and where did they come from.  And you would be disbelieving the elder who tells us where they
came from and who they are.  Those who believe the post tribulation view say that Christians will go
through the Great Tribulation and that the rapture will happen after that.  The problem with this view
is that by that time there will be almost no Christians left on the earth because in Rev 13 the
Antichrist orders all who refuse to worship the image he sets up to be killed.  This would be all
Christians because they will NEVER worship that image.  It also says that
"He was given power to
make war against the saints and to conquer them."
 And again "then the dragon went off to make war
against those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus."

So the Antichrist constantly hunts down and kills Christians throughout the Great Tribulation. In
Revelation 14 it says
"blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on" indicating that
Christians will be killed but don't worry, they will be blessed.  For those who say the rapture will
happen at the end of the Tribulation, in Chapter 20, that is not possible because with all the other
judgments  which happen before Chapter 20, many many people including Christians will be killed so
after all this, there will be very few Christians left to rapture.  In Chapter 20 only the resurrection of
those Christians who died in the Tribulation is mentioned.
"and I saw the souls of those who had been
beheaded for their testimony of Jesus and because of the Word of God.  They had not worshipped the
beast or his image and had not received his mark..they came to life and reigned with Christ for a
thousand years."
 There is no mention of a rapture in Chapter 20.  In contrast to Chapter 7 there is a
multitude of believers that "came out" of the Great Tribulation.  So if the rapture happens in Chapter
20, how could the multitude come out of the Great Tribulation in Chapter 7 they should come out in
Chapter 20 at the end of the Tribulation.  

Another reason that the rapture will happen before the tribulation is because the purpose of the
rapture is to test those who live on the earth to see who they wish to serve.  Christians don’t need to
be tested, they have already made their choice.  As Jesus said in Rev 3:10  
” I will also keep you from
the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.”
 So it
makes sense and fits the scriptures to take those who have already made their choice off the earth
before the Tribulation starts.  

The main reason that this is definately the resurrection/rapture is because the resurrection/rapture
happens as one event.   You can see my other study on this for the scriptures and explanation.  Also
see the study on what happens after we die to see the scriptures and explanation that No One goes
to heaven until the resurrection/rapture.  This is how we know this IS the resurrection/rapture.  They
are all standing around the throne.  They would not be there unless the resurrection/rapture has
happened would they?  So this is where the great multitude came from.   They are all resurrected and
raptured believers that ever lived since Adam and Eve until this event.  The rest will be raptured later
and some will survive until Jesus returns.  

The unbelievers do not go to heaven of course, but they don't go to hell either.  They too rest in their
graves until the second death which is after the 1000 year reign of Christ and then they come alive
(not eternal life) and are judged.   More on that in the Eternal Judgment study.
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