Testimony of the risen Christ as given to Apostle John continues and what we see now are events from the earth as the inexorable drive of events to the final judgment go on. What happens in this chapter can be considered as a mirror image of what went in the preceding chapters. The interface around which these halves hold are the white robes: martyrs in the altar of souls in the chapter Five and the martyrs whose robes were washed in the blood of the Lamb(Ch.7).
Time however is not consistent. The great tribulation has run its course on the earth while the martyrs from the time of Abel till the end are allowed to rest till their brethren also join their company.
Four beasts serving as memorial before the throne have their counterpart in the four angels. The Spirit using the number four tags these angels as necessarily having to do with the earth. These angels are set to punish, as four angels in the Book of Zechariah were sent for some other purpose.”These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth (Zech.1:10).” The number seven always is used in relation to the heaven. Seven lamps Seven stars and seven Spirits for example.
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree (v.1-2)”.
Here we see the angels are set to hurt the earth.
“….Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads (v.3).
Another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God restrains their hand till an hundred and forty and four thousand from the nation of Israel representing 12 tribes have been preserved. We see this group again mentioned standing with the Lamb on the Mount Sion having the name of the Father written in their foreheads(Re.14:1).
Testimony of Jesus Christ as shown to Apostle John is revealed by the Spirt from a Jewish perspective.
From verses 4-8 each of the 12 tribes is found mentioned there.
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude,…. stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;(v.9)
Apostle John is still in spirit and what he witnessed when the Lamb took the sealed book caused response from the heavenly choir(Re.5:11-13). He records the earth joining in the chorus, to which v.10 alludes:”….Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
In short verses 10 and 11 refer to the event. This time lapse we shall attribute to the dream quality of the vision. Time runs in a variable speed as with the narrative mode of the Spirit.
“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?(v.13)”
Given the peculiar nature of God’s Time the great tribulation is already past and the white robes given to the martyrs at the altar of souls (Re.6:11)indicate the group as both Jews and Gentiles alike made one by the righteousness of God. It is indicated by the blood of the lamb (v.14).
“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 (v.14)”.
The left out Church has been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb; so are the Jews.
“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…(vv.15-17)”.
These verses compress the time and events to take us to the point where New Jerusalem is yet to descend from heaven. What we do not see at this point is that they are part of the holy city of God (Re.21:2).