The Redeemed of the Tribulation
Revelation 7 gives us a ray of light against the backdrop of gloom as the six seals have been opened. [Describe the grace of God in all the judgment - explain both the parable of the wicked husbandmen and the parable of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Silver Coin, and the Lost Son in Luke 15]. Rev. 7 answers, once and forever, the question, “Will anyone be saved during the tribulation?” It is also a description of what has happened and a preview of what will happen.
The latter question is often asked in view of the fact that the Holy Spirit has been removed from the earth. Will anyone be saved during the Tribulation and Millennium? (Explain what some believe relative to salvation in the Tribulation). It is important that we understand in what sense the Holy Spirit will be removed. We must distinguish between His presence and His residence. Christ ascended 40 days after His resurrection. Ten days later the Holy Spirit descended to earth and took up His residence in the life of every believer. The Holy Spirit who had been with them would now be in them. See John 14:17.
When the rapture of the Church occurs, the residence of the Holy Spirit changes. He goes with them. But being God, and therefore omnipresent, He will continue to convict of sin and bring many to Christ during the Tribulation. [Discuss the Holy Spirit’s work]
The Choosing of the 144,000
How did these hear the gospel so they could be saved? It is likely that they heard the preaching of the two witnesses of Revelation 11. Many others will be saved through the preaching of these two witnesses and also through the testimony of the 144,000.
Every Jew who turns to Christ will turn against the Antichrist, who has signed a covenant for seven years with the Jews for their protection. So many will turn against him that he will break the covenant. (Explain why the Antichrist will break His covenant) This brings intense persecution on Israel during the last 3½ years of the Tribulation. Temple worship will have been setup. He will have set up his image and will demand worship and obedience.
There will be more Israelites saved than just 144,000, but 12,000 out of each tribe are sealed from the wrath of Satan and the Antichrist. Satan will not be able to hunt them or take their lives. The twelve tribes will be in the land at this time. The so-called lost ten tribes will be there – 12,000 from each tribe.
We read in this chapter of another group (see Rev. 7:9-10). Who is this group? They are not the Church. The answer is given in Rev. 7:13-14: Martyrs (Gentiles-Jews). These are they who come out of the great tribulation (the last 3½ years). So then, the great multitude, which no man could number (Rev. 7:9), describes the saints who are saved and martyred during the last half of the tribulation.