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The Innumerable “Great Multitude” of Revelation 7:9
Rev. 7:9 I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, out of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues, standing before the [heavenly] throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.
Question: How many people would it take that “no one could number them?” Not, “no man,” but “no one” (obviously excluding God), which would include angels.
We find the mention of a very large number in Revelation 9:
Rev. 9:16 Now the number of the army of the horsemen was 200 million; I heard the number of them.
So if 200 million (lit. “two ten thousands of ten thousands”) can be numbered, clearly the Great Multitude must exceed this amount. It is therefore reasonable to expect that the Great Multitude will number at least one billion people.
Current estimates of the number of professing Christians is in the range of 2¼ billion, out of a total world population of 7.2 billion. However, before the 1800s A.D., total world population was less than a billion, with the number of Christians very much less than that. Therefore, the total number of professing Christians that have lived on earth since the time of Jesus is estimated at 3+ to 5 billion; about half of which are currently alive. However, remember that “the gospel was also preached [and likely still is being preached] to those who are dead” (1 Pet. 4:6), so the total number of those coming to saving faith in the Christ will be significantly higher than 3-5 billion.
At the Rapture, when
1 Thes. 4:16 …the Lord himself will descend from heaven…with a trumpet of God…the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up/raptured together with them in clouds… Heb. 12:24 …to Jesus, mediator of the new covenant…22 to Mount Zion and to the city of the Living God, heavenly Jerusalem… 23 to a general assembly and Church of the Firstborn having been registered in heaven, and to God the Judge of all…
My previous blog article, The Firstfruits and the Harvest, explains the role of these firstborn: “Following the typology of the Mosaic Law, only the Firstfruits/Firstborn are to be brought before Godʼs sanctuary: in the Latter Days, that being the heavenly sanctuary.” This is the heavenly naos spoken of in Revelation 7ʼs passage about the Great Multitude:
Rev. 7:15 “Therefore they [the Great Multitude] are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his sanctuary/naos.”
In the blog article Job Openings in the Kingdom, it is shown that the Servants of the Priesthood in the heavenly sanctuary correspond to the Levitical servants of the Aaronic priesthood in the earthly sanctuary. Like the Great Multitude, the Levites were called out from among their brethren (the twelve tribes of Israel) to be a firstborn to God:
Num. 8:16 “For they are wholly given to Me from among the children of Israel. I have taken them for Myself instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the children of Israel. 17 For all the firstborn among the children of Israel are Mine…”
The tribe of the Levites comprised only a fraction of all of Godʼs people Israel. So too the Great Multitude, the Church of the Firstborn, will comprise only a fraction of the Lordʼs entire Church. Like the Levites, these are ones God has chosen to serve in holiness before Him. And like the Levites, who were Temple workers but not priests, these will not be granted heavenly priestly authority, a role reserved for the Melchizedek priesthood alone.