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Revelation Study Pages Eden To Eden Read Revelation for Christians Today Ordering Information Law of Knowledge of Good and Evil Revelation Graphics Benton Church of Christ Home Page


The Great Tribulation

In Rev 7:14 we read, "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." This passage along with passages in Matt. 24 are used by many today to promote premillennial theories of the second coming of Christ. These theories propose that there will be a literal 7 years of tribulation on this earth immediately prior to the time Christ comes back to earth and reigns on his throne in Jerusalem for 1000 years. As is the case with many passages in Revelation, the true meaning of this passage is found in its spiritual fulfillment, not the physical.

Once again all we really have to do in order to understand this passage is follow the pattern God established in the Old Testament. In the time of Moses, the children of Israel were held as slaves in Egypt. They were in great "physical" tribulation. God provided them a way of escape from this great tribulation of physical slavery by crossing the Red Sea. The same is true for us today, except today we are escaping great "spiritual" tribulation.

One concept which we must understand is that for a person to be in a state of sin is to be in "spiritual" slavery. John 8:32-34 says, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." Those who are committing sin are in the bondage of sin. Obedience to the truth will make us free from that "spiritual" bondage. We are made free from the bondage or tribulation of sin by crossing our Red Sea which is the blood of Christ.

That is precisely what Rev. 7:14 says. Those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb have come out of great tribulation. They have left the bondage of sin and crossed over into a place of spiritual freedom. Those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb are free from sin because the blood of Christ has cleansed them. They have escaped the bondage of sin.

I sometimes wonder today if we have not lost sight of the tragedy of rejecting Christ and living a life of sin. The pleasures of sin are glamorized all around us. People do not seem to see the need for Jesus, but actually they are living in the most tragic situation imaginable. They are living in great "spiritual" tribulation. But, thanks be to God that He has provided a way of escape by going down into the waters of baptism and coming out free from the "spiritual" tribulation of sin just as the Israelites passed through the waters of the Red Sea and were freed from great "physical" tribulation.

Please notice how the drawing below illustrates that a person moves from the spiritual tribulation of sin by crossing the Red Sea of the blood of Christ, thereby entering into God's spiritual kingdom where his sins are forgiven.


Rev 7:15 confirms this interpretation of 7:14. It says, "Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." Those who wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb come out of the great tribulation of sin and enter the temple of God where they serve him day and night or continually. The "Temple" is a symbolic representation of the church. Under the law of Moses, the Jews went into the temple to worship God. Today, those who are gathered into the church are the true worshipers of God. The spiritual Throne of God is located in His spiritual kingdom and He dwells among us.

This passage in Revelation teaches a wonderful lesson concerning the church. As Christians we are subject to the spiritual throne of God. That throne is located in His spiritual kingdom and if we are to worship and serve Him we must be in that kingdom in order to gather around His Throne. That is the picture which is given in Rev 7:9 which says, "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." Those of us who have had their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb are standing before the spiritual throne of God today as we worship Him in his church. The symbolism of "palms in their hands" indicates the service we render to Him. In a world that seeks to diminish the necessity of the church, we need to realize that the spiritual throne of God is located in His spiritual kingdom, and we must be in that church in order to gather around that throne.

Study Pages

Home Page
Lesson 1 -Pattern used to Study Revelation
Lesson 2 - Holy City - The Bride of Christ
Lesson 3 - Parallel comparison of Israel and the Church
Lesson 4 - Mount Sinai/Mount Zion
Lesson 5 - The 144,000
Lesson 6 - The 1000 Year Reign
Lesson 7 - Armageddon


Revelation Study Pages Eden To Eden Read Revelation for Christians Today Ordering Information Law of Knowledge of Good and Evil Revelation Graphics Benton Church of Christ Home Page


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