Within the book of Revelation, there are inset chapters. An inset chapter is one that does not follow the time sequence established by the rest of the book. It explains in more detail events that are necessary to understand more fully what is happening in time sequence, so the insets are historical digressions that give greater clarity to the revelation.
In Revelation 6:12, we find the sixth seal is opened. But the seventh seal is not opened until Revelation 8:1—a whole chapter and a half later. But between these occurrences is a description of an event that is a necessary digression so that we will understand what is happening to a group of people during some of the events that have already been prophetically described. In the case of chapter 7, the digression is very close to being within the sequence of events, but it is still a digression, still an inset chapter.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 10 and the Laodicean Church
The Bible tells us that all the redeemed will see God's face. Here is a picture of the redeemed, projected forward to the time when they are in the Kingdom of God before His throne. What are they looking at? The Bible says they will see His face.
God has a face, prosopon, which literally means "toward." It also means "the eye" or "the face." When used in reference to a person, it means "the part toward, at, or around the eye," "the face," or "the countenance."
Why would John use this word? When one person is talking with another, they are looking at each other, beholding what is toward each one, and the focus of their attention is on the other's face, that is, the eyes and what is around them. Hence, this word is almost variably translated face, countenance, presence, or person in the New Testament, depending on how expansive the context is.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)
In Revelation we see that a main theme in the Kingdom at the throne of God is thankfulness. This song of the angels, elders, and the four living creatures shows the reverence that all have in God's presence. There are seven aspects of praise listed here in this spiritual worship of God. Seven signifies totality and completeness. Thankfulness comprises part of this list. In great contrast to this present evil world's gross ingratitude, God has revealed to those who will listen and act that thankfulness is a duty to which the elect of God are bound. Praise and thank God for all His works and for providing brethren by whom we can be encouraged. By developing a thankful attitude now, we prepare ourselves for the soon-coming Kingdom of God.
Martin G. Collins
Revelation 7:1-8 describes the 144,000, then verse 9 begins with "after these things." This is simply a time marker in John's vision, not in prophetic time. It means afterward, later, John saw an innumerable multitude. The Greek does not say that the events of Revelation 7:9-17 immediately follow or that they are part of the preceding information—only that John received this information after the previous information. Perhaps it could follow right after, but the Greek does not require it.
John says "no one could number" this multitude (verse 9). Why? Notice that this multitude is comprised "of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues." That would seem to be a great many people! The context indicates a large number, not just an indeterminate one.
John sees these people "standing before the throne and before the Lamb"—not with Him on the throne ruling, but before the throne in judgment. Remember, judgment occurs over a period of time. The firstfruits have already been judged and have risen at Christ's return, so this multitude has to be people in a different group who are judged later.
Revelation 3:21, written directly to Laodicea, says God grants overcomers the reward of sitting with Him on His throne! Thus, they have qualified to be in the first resurrection, having been judged to be worthy now (I Peter 4:17). We have already seen that whether we die in Christ or are still alive, we are "changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet" (I Corinthians 15:51-52) as firstfruits. None of those in the first resurrection will stand "before the throne" for judgment when He returns, for we are currently under judgment, which God will complete and reward us at His Son's return (Revelation 11:18).
This multitude, then, cannot be in the first resurrection! In the process of judgment, they have donned white robes, a growth in spirituality that takes considerable time.
The Innumerable Multitude
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Revelation 7:11: