9 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. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
11 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, 12 saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
14 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. 15 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.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’[a]
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’[b]
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ Revelation 7:9-17
The after that John speaks of is previous he had seen in his vision the 144,000 Jewish evangelist coming forth from the twelve tribes of Israel. These Jewish evangelist will be sent forth during the time of tribulation that is coming to the earth and the company of people that John sees are those who will come to Christ during the tribulation and they will receive a white robe and serve before the throne of God in His temple. There is a distinction in scripture between the bride of Christ and those who lose their lives during the tribulation.
Those who are of the bride of Christ that were raptured before the tribulation began are those who will wear the crown of righteousness. For they received Jesus during the church age and will rule and reign with Him in His kingdom. Those who during the tribulation period who turn to Christ will receive white robes and serve before the throne of God in His temple. It is important to understand this distinction as those John sees at this time have died during the tribulation at the hands of the anti-Christ.
There are some who claim that the bride of Christ will go through the tribulation and this is a false doctrine that has been taught throughout the church age. Jesus is our blessed hope and even though in this life we will face trials and tribulation, we will not face the wrath of Almighty God. The seven year tribulation is the wrath and judgement of Almighty God. It is a period in which the restraining work of the Holy Spirit against the wickedness of this world is removed. The last three and a half years will be the great tribulation when the anti-Christ will have received his mortal wound and will seem as if he has been resurrected. When in fact Satan himself shall enter the anti-Christ and rule the world through him, empowering him will all the demonic power he possesses.
Our great hope is Jesus Christ. In Him we have salvation. That includes salvation from eternally being separated from God in Hell and salvation from the tribulation and judgement coming upon the earth because of the wickedness of mankind. Jesus made it clear that in the last days the wickedness of man would continue to increase. The wrath and judgement of Almighty God is because of the wickedness of mankind. Why on earth would the bride of Christ have to endure this? The answer is we don’t.
But God’s desire is that none would perish but all come to everlasting life. He will give people the opportunity to receive His salvation during the tribulation. As judgement is poured out, as the 144,000 witnesses go forth, and the angels are sent forth to proclaim the eternal gospel people will have a chance to respond to the mercy of God. Those who respond and receive Jesus will be put to death by the anti-Christ who will rule the world for a short time. Let us daily pray for those in our family, those we work with, those in our neighborhood, and in the world around us who do not know Jesus Christ. Our King is coming soon for His bride and the hour draws near when the last trumpet shall sound. Let us prepare our hearts daily in the place of prayer and the study of God’s word on a daily basis.