“After this, I looked; and there before me was a huge crowd, too large for anyone to count, from every nation, tribe, people and language. They were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palm branches in their hands; and they shouted, “Victory [salvation] to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne, the elders and the four living beings; they fell face down before the throne and worshipped God, saying, “Amen! “Praise and glory, wisdom and thanks, honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! “Amen!” (Revelation 7:9-12).
Still in the interlude after the sixth seal, a large crowd gathers in front of the throne of Adonai. This crowd is not millions upon millions of angels, but people from every nation, tribe, and language. They represent the fulfillment of the covenant El Shaddai made with Avraham: ‘the father of many nations’ (Genesis 17:4-7). These nations with their varied languages and tribal affiliations stand before the King wearing white robes and holding palm branches.
In the book of Revelation, there are two different garments given to individuals in the Kingdom: white robes and fine linen. White robes symbolize the completeness of the salvation process. Salvation begins with justification through the blood of Yeshua at the cross. It includes the lifetime process of sanctification until the day of being resurrected, receiving an immortal glorified body (Romans 8:22-23, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Peter 5:10).
The other garment is fine linen, bright and clean. The Hebrew word for ‘clean’ is or tahor and means ‘pure’ referring to being ceremonially or ritually pure. This garment is given to the Bride of Messiah. This garment is a reward for righteous works; it is not a free gift, but a reward for living ‘ritually’ pure according to Torah (Matthew 16:27).
Feast of Tabernacles
Many believe those in white robes holding palm branches has something to do with ‘Palm Sunday;’ however, ‘Palm Sunday’ is not a Biblically-sanctioned holy day. Palm branches always allude to the Feast of Tabernacles and the Messianic Era when Yeshua rules the earth from Jerusalem.
The command for palm branches is found in the ‘appointed times’ of Adonai. The Feast of Tabernacles, –– on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, was given as a ‘rehearsal’ for this exact future event. It included not only waving palm branches, but branches of willow and myrtle. Called a lulav, these branches were waved to the north, south, east and west to prophesy the gathering of people from all nations who would come and worship the Lamb in Jerusalem (Leviticus 23:39-41, Psalm 118:26-27).
During the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot, the people of Isra’el live in sukkot or ‘temporary dwellings’ they built on the roofs of their houses or in their courtyards. In the days of Nehemiah, they also collected branches from wild olives symbolizing the nations (Nehemiah 8:14-16).
When Yeshua rode into Jerusalem with the Jewish people waving palm branches, he said “You will not see me again until you say, ‘Baruch haba b’shem Adonai'” (Matthew 23:39, Luke 13:35). These words held a double meaning. In Hebrew, the first two words, Baruch haba are a phrase that means ‘welcome.’ Only when Yeshua’s Jewish brothers and sisters welcome him back will he return to Jerusalem. This is the reason that gentiles need to make the Jewish people envious for their Messiah; only when the gentiles understand what their fullness means, will the Jews cry out.
The Jewish people waved palm branches because they understood the Messiah and the restoration of Isra’el. They believed it was beginning as Yeshua rode into Jerusalem. They believed he would set up his Kingdom and free them from oppression. Though they had the correct understanding of the ‘appointed time,’ their timing was off.
Yeshua took Peter, James, and Yochanan to a mountain during Sukkot where they saw him glorified. Peter understood the prophetic vision when he suggested putting up three sukkot — one for Yeshua, one for Moshe, and one for Elijah. He was not acting foolish or creating a new religious community. The Messiah was in front of him, the Messianic Era should begin, but his timing was off.
Yochanan witnesses final redemption in his vision of the multitude standing before the throne waving palm branches. Yochanan had been with Yeshua on the mountain top believing the Messianic Era had arrived; now he is seeing it being fulfilled in a time to come.
“One of the elders asked me, “These people dressed in white robes — who are they, and where are they from?” “Sir,” I answered, “you know.” Then he told me, “These are the people who have come out of the Great Persecution [Tribulation]. They have washed their robes and made them white with the blood of the Lamb. That is why they are before God’s throne. “Day and night they serve him in his Temple; and the One who sits on the throne will put his Sh’khinah upon them. “They will never again be hungry, they will never again be thirsty, the sun will not beat down on them, nor will any burning heat. “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will shepherd them, will lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:13-17).
The multitude have washed their robes that became white through the ‘blood of the Lamb.’ Sardis had people who had robes, but the robes were soiled. The people of Sardis had incomplete works and needed make teshuvah (repentance) and turn back to Elohim. They had the reputation of being alive, but were dead. They needed to put actions to their faith; they needed to wash their dirty robes.
Smyrna goes through great suffering even to the point of martyrdom in order to receive the crown of life. Martyrs were already given white robes and told to ‘wait’ until the fullness of all who were to be martyred had occurred. At this time, everyone before the throne is wearing a white robe.
According to the elder speaking with Yochanan, this multitude came out of the Great Persecution. Other versions of the Bible translate it the Great Tribulation. In Hebrew, the words mean ‘those who have been in persecution and great suffering.’ The Hebrew verb is in the present tense meaning ‘they come out as he is speaking’ or the ‘event is happening as he speaks’ (Ephesians 1:13-14).
The Great Tribulation will bring the salvation of the nation of Isra’el. The prophet Daniel spoke about this time calling it a ‘distress unparalleled between the time they became a nation (1948) and that moment’ (Daniel 12:1). As with all Biblical prophecy, the focus remains on Jerusalem and Isra’el with the promise that one day “all Isra’el will be saved” (Romans 11:26).
The Shepherd will lead the multitude to living water; springs that bubbles up with life (Isaiah 49:10). Living water symbolizes the Ruach haKodesh. The Ruach ‘sealed’ those who put their faith in Yeshua, guaranteeing their eternal inheritance until they could possess it (Zechariah 14:8).
‘Living water’ is another allusion to the Feast of Tabernacles and its culmination in the Messianic Era. On the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles, a Temple priest would pour out a pitcher of water he had collected from the Pool of Siloam. While the people shouted and danced at this joyous ceremony, he would cry out the words of the prophet Isaiah: “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). During this water-pouring ceremony, on the last and greatest day of the Feast, Yeshua stood and cried out in a loud voice: “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38)
When the multitude from every nation, tribe and tongue hear the voice of Yeshua, they declare “Yeshua is the Messiah” as they stand in front of the throne. They wear white robes as evidence of their faith and position in the heavenly Tabernacle of Adonai. They will never be hungry for His word or be thirsty for His presence. No sun or burning heat from the consuming fire will hurt them. Every tear will be wiped from their eyes; sorrow will have no part in the heavenly realm.
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