In the second half of Revelation 7, John said that he saw
a great multitude up in Heaven. We read in Revelation
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 and
cried with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God
which sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb." 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 saying, "Amen. Blessing
and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and
power and might be unto our God forever and ever. Amen."
And one of the elders answered saying unto me, "What are
these which are arrayed in white robes and whence came
they?" And I said unto him, "Sir, you know." And he said
to me, "These are they which came out of great
tribulation [the Greek says literally "out of the
great tribulation] and have washed their robes and made
them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Some claim that this great multitude from every tongue,
tribe and nation who obviously are up in Heaven—John sees
them there—are the Church which has just been raptured out
of the world to Heaven as one body in between the breaking
of the sixth seal and the breaking of the seventh seal.
And some would say, "See, the sixth seal is the
forewarning that the day of the Lord is about to begin but
then after the breaking of the sixth seal the Church is
removed from the earth by Rapture and then with the
breaking of the seventh seal you have the day of the Lord
beginning with God’s wrath starting to be poured out upon
So is this "the great multitude" the Church? It really
can’t be. Let me explain to you why we would say that.
Please note that the Apostle John clearly stated that all
these people who make up this great multitude came out of
the great tribulation. In other words, every one of
these persons was living here on the earth during at least
part of the future Great Tribulation and then come out of
that to Heaven.
If this is the Church, then you’re forced to conclude this
would be a partial Rapture of the Church or a part of the
Church being raptured out of the world. Only that part of
the Church which would be alive on the earth during the
Great Tribulation of the second half of the 70th
week of Daniel 9. Where would be all the rest of the
Church that has lived and died in the centuries preceding
the Great Tribulation and who as a result of dying in
preceding time will never be here on the earth during the
Great Tribulation and therefore do not come out of the
When you look at the Rapture passages, it clearly
indicates that all the Church is raptured together at the
same time as one group, not those from one period of time
at one point and those from another point of time at
In light of that, if this is the Church, this is a partial
Rapture of the Church but that goes completely contrary to
the clear teaching of the Rapture passages in the Bible.
In addition, when one of the 24 elders said to John,
"These are they which came out of the great Tribulation,"
the verb translated "came" is in the Greek present tense.
The normal significance of the present tense—unless the
context indicates otherwise, which it doesn’t do here—the
normal significance of the Greek present tense is
So in essence, the elder is saying to John, "These are
they who are coming out continuously, one after another,
from the Great Tribulation to Heaven." How? Through death,
through martyrdom, or through natural death.
Interestingly, Dr. A. T. Robertson who has been regarded
as the foremost Greek scholar of America in the twentieth
century, talking about the significance of the present
tense of this exact verb here in Revelation 7:14 says it’s
indicating continuous action. And again, what it’s
stating is, these saints are coming out of the Great
Tribulation one by one by one by one as they’re
experiencing death, either through martyrdom or natural
death throughout the course of the second half of the
By contrast, the Rapture passages indicate that the Church
is not raptured one person and then another person and
then another person, but the Church is raptured in one
lump sum, one group, at the same time caught up from the
earth to meet the Lord Jesus in the air and taken to the
Father’s house in Heaven to live in the mansions there
that Jesus is preparing for His Church right now.