How the Great Crowd will survive and come out of the Great Tribulation?

It is written in the book of Revelation how a Great Crowd will survive in the Great Tribulation:

“After this I saw, and look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. And they keep shouting with a loud voice, saying: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

All the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell facedown before the throne and worshipped God, 12 saying: “Amen! Let the praise and the glory and the wisdom and the thanksgiving and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

In response one of the elders said to me: “These who are dressed in the white robes, who are they and where did they come from?” So right away I said to him: “My lord, you are the one who knows.” And he said to me: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. That is why they are before the throne of God, and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple; and the One seated on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down on them nor any scorching heat, because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them and will guide them to springs of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:9-17).

The third part of humanity will survive the great tribulation

“And in all the land,” declares Jehovah, “Two parts in it will be cut off and perish; And the third part will be left remaining in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire; And I will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people,’ And they will say, ‘Jehovah is our God’”

(Zechariah 13:8,9)

The word translated from Hebrew "haarèts", translated as "land", depending on the context can take the meaning of "earth" or planet earth, and this is the case in the context of this prophecy of the great world tribulation ( Zechariah 1:10,11; 5:3; 6:7; 12:3; 14:9,17). In this statement, God divides mankind into three "parts" (H6310 Strong's Concordance: "פֶּה" (peh) "part"). At first, one might think that it would be  "three parts" equal, or three "thirds" (H7992 Strong's Concordance "שְׁלִישִׁי" (sheliyshiy) "a third"). In the Hebrew text, it is a question of the first two parts (peh) and the third (sheliyshiy), according to the context of this sentence, third "part". So, these three parts of humanity are not necessarily the same number of humans (That is "Three Third"). To know what represent these three "parts" of mankind regarding the biblical context, we must take attention to the dramatic celebration of the Day of Atonement, Ethanim,10 (Tishri).

Even though Zechariah's prophecy does not directly make the connection between the "Day of Jehovah" and the "Day of Atonement", it does so in an enigmatic or cryptic way. The prophecy of the Sprout shows that Jehovah will take out the sin of the land in one day (Zechariah 3:8,9; 14:7). When did Jehovah remove the fault in the land of Israel? In the Day of Atonement, Ethanim (Tishri), 10 (Leviticus 16). That day was a celebration of Jehovah's Holiness: "In that day the words ‘Holiness belongs to Jehovah!’ will be written on the bells of the horses. And the cooking pots in the house of Jehovah will be like the bowls before the altar'" (Zechariah 14:20 compare with Exodus 28:36,37 and Leviticus 16:4 "The turban" it was written "Holiness belongs to Jehovah"). Therefore, the "three parts" are the three animals used in the first phase of the atonement sacrifices in this Day, which are to the three "parts of mankind".

Regarding the atonement sacrifices (and not the burnt offerings), there were three animals: a bull and two young goats (Read Leviticus 16). Two among the three animals were to be sacrificed, in an atonement way (the bull and the first young goat), while the third was spared (the goat for Azazel). Now it is important to know who these three animals correspond to (two sacrificed and one spared):

The bull that died made atonement for Aaron and his house, or for the priesthood (Leviticus 16:6,11). The priesthood class that will die, to be instantly resurrected in heaven, just before the great tribulation, is the death of the 7000, mentioned in Revelation: "In that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; and 7,000 persons were killed by the earthquake, and the rest became frightened and gave glory to the God of heaven" (Revelation 11:13). The falling of the “tenth of the city”, represents the group of 144,000 kings and priests, supplemented by the instantaneous death and resurrection, of the 7,000 Heavenly Holy Ones, at the beginning of Jehovah's Day, the great tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

The second animal, the young goat sacrificed on the day of atonement, represents the second part of mankind who will die during the great tribulation (Leviticus 16:5,15). The sacrifice of this second animal is represented in a rather terrifying way in Revelation 14:18-20 and 19:11-21 (in this biblical passage glorified Jesus Christ is represented as a king and high priest, as the "Sprout" (Zechariah 6:11-13)).

The third animal, the goat designated by lot for A·zaʹzel should be brought alive to stand before Jehovah in order to perform the atonement upon it, so that it may be sent away for A·zaʹzel into the wilderness" (Leviticus 16:8-10). Obviously, this "goat for Azazel" represents the great crowd that will survive the great tribulation, or the "rest" of the "city" which gives glory to God after the death of the 7000 heavenly holy ones: "And the rest became frightened and gave glory to the God of heaven" (Revelation 7:9-17; 11:13). This understanding, gives a glimpse of the joyful possibility that more than a "third part" of humanity could survive the great tribulation, probably several billions of people who would represent the "great crowd", only God and Jesus Christ know for sure because it is written that it cannot be counted (Zechariah 14:10,11).

For such many people to survive the great tribulation, it seems obvious, that a significant number of non-Christian people will survive the great tribulation, is this observation consistent with the context of Zechariah's prophecy (as well as Ezekiel's prophecy)? Yes it is.

"Everyone who is left remaining out of all the nations that come against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to bow down to the King, Jehovah of armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Booths"

(Zechariah 14:16)

This text shows without a shadow of a doubt that Jehovah will have spared an important part of humanity who symbolically "come against Jerusalem" or would not be part of this holy city (at first time), coming out of the great tribulation. On the other hand in the prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 40 to 48, here is what is written about the Jehovah's reproach against the Levites, a significant part of the great crowd, who will have survived the great tribulation: "But the Levites who strayed far from me when Israel strayed from me to follow their disgusting idols will bear the consequences of their error. And they will become ministers in my sanctuary to oversee the gates of the temple and to minister at the temple. They will slaughter the whole burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they will stand before the people to minister to them. Because they ministered to them before their disgusting idols and became a stumbling block causing the house of Israel to sin, that is why I have raised my hand against them in an oath,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘and they will bear the consequences of their error. They will not approach me to serve as my priests or approach any of my holy or most holy things, and they will bear their shame because of the detestable things that they did. But I will make them caretakers of the responsibilities of the temple, to take care of its service and all the things that should be done in it’" (Ezekiel 44:10-14).

There is, it seems, a convergence between this text and Zechariah 14:16, which mentions people who will have survived the great tribulation as they came "against Jerusalem" and the Levites who followed their "disgusting idols" (Ezekiel 44:10). Jesus Christ made an important statement which shows that sin in error does not always incur spiritual death: “Jesus said to them: “If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, ‘We see.’ Your sin remains"” (John 9:41). Jesus Christ speaks of unintentional spiritual blindness, the sin of which is not counted. Many people today are in involuntary spiritual blindness, according to this text, many of them could benefit from the mercy of God on the day of the great tribulation.

It is interesting to note, according to this same prophecy of Ezekiel, how the Sons of Zadok are described, in contrast with the non-priestly Levites: "As for the Levitical priests, the sons of Zaʹdok, who took care of the responsibilities of my sanctuary when the Israelites strayed from me, they will approach me to minister to me, and they will stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. ‘They are the ones who will enter my sanctuary, and they will approach my table to minister to me, and they will take care of their responsibilities to me'" (Ezekiel 44:15,16). Obviously, the Sons of Zadok who will approach Jehovah as priests, in the spiritual sanctuary, will be faithful and discreet Christians who will have well performed in their Christian ministry in the old system of things, "when the Israelites strayed from God", and will have survived the great tribulation (Matthew 24:45,46; 25:21,22).

This understanding, at first glance, seems at odds with the vision of the great crowd which survived the great tribulation and whole, manifesting their faith in the atonement value of Christ's sacrifice (Revelation 7:9,14). This difference is biblically easily resolved by an important information given in the prophecy of Zechariah, regarding this spared third part of humanity. It is written: "And I will bring the third part through the fire; And I will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people,’ And they will say, ‘Jehovah is our God'” (Zechariah 13: 9; Malachi 3:2-4). When should this essential refinement take place in order to continue living in paradise? According to Zechariah's prophecy and Revelation (11:19), Jehovah's Day will be on Ethanim (Tishri) 10. According to Ezekiel's prophecy 39:12-14, there will be a seven months cleansing of the earth, from Tishri (Ethanim), 10, to Nisan, 10 (with the intercalary month of Veadar). It seems obvious that it is in this time, that Jehovah will "refine his people", in order to prepare it for the coming to earth, of the New Jerusalem on Nisan, 10, following the great tribulation.

In Ezekiel 40:1,2, the vision of the temple city on earth, is on the date of Nisan, 10, which is the beginning of the earthly administration of the Kingdom of God. It corresponds to the description of the descent of New Jerusalem to Earth, in Nisan, 10 (Revelation 21:1-4). The vision of Revelation 7:9,14, of the great crowd which survived the great tribulation, is in Nisan, 10, by comparison with the text of John 12:12-16: "The next day the large crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, and they began to shout: “Save, we pray you! Blessed is the one who comes in Jehovah’s name, the King of Israel!”". If we compare this text with Revelation 7:9, it is a striking resemblance. What is the evidence that in John 12:12-16, Jesus Christ did indeed come as king into Jerusalem on Nisan, 10? A text that describes the same event informs us that immediately after, Jesus Christ drove out the merchants from the temple who were selling animals for the Passover (Matthew 21:10,11). When the Israelites had to buy the Passover lamb? In Nisan, 10: "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth day of this month, they should each take for themselves a sheep for their father’s house, a sheep to a house" (Exodus 12:3).

The description of the judgment by the King Jesus Christ, in Matthew 7: 21-23 and 25: 31-46, is mainly directed at the Christian congregation, because in the two quotes indicated, the people who have a judgment of condemnation seem to know Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:22; 25:44). The framework criteria for judging all of humanity, Christian and non-Christian, seem summarized in Jehovah's words in Ezekiel 9:4: "Jehovah said to him: “Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done in the city”" (Compare with James 4:4). Nevertheless, this destruction and selective preservation of the whole of humanity is also described by Jesus Christ: "Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken along and the other abandoned. Two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken along and the other abandoned" (Matthew 24:40,41) (Either one in two, will survive (repeated twice by Jesus Christ)).

Let Us Rejoice In Jehovah's Great Mercy

"I will favor the one whom I favor, and I will show mercy to the one to whom I show mercy"

(Exodus 33:19)

Thus, will be fulfilled Jehovah's declaration of mercy upon the very many people, who will come out of the great tribulation: “I will make all my goodness pass before your face, and I will declare before you the name of Jehovah; and I will favor the one whom I favor, and I will show mercy to the one to whom I show mercy” (Exodus 33:19). The situation will be like the mercy of God toward the unrighteous resurrected ones, who did not fully know the will of God in the old system of things (Acts 24:15).

Jesus Christ gave an image of the mercy of God, in the illustration of the "prodigal son", of a Father with the gaze strained towards the return of his son, always ready to forgive and to facilitate the repentance of the sinner in sight of everlasting salvation: "While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was moved with pity, and he ran and embraced him and tenderly kissed him" (Luke 15:11-32). Jesus Christ showed that his Father would accept the practical wisdom of humans in order to give them mercy: "And his master commended the steward, though unrighteous, because he acted with practical wisdom; for the sons of this system of things are wiser in a practical way toward their own generation than the sons of the light are" (Luke 16:1-8). Jesus Christ showed that His Father would show His mercy at the very last moment, by illustrating the eleventh hour workers (Matthew 20:1-16).

In two of the illustrations, The Prodigal Son and the Eleventh Hour Workers, Jesus Christ showed that some humans would lament God's mercy toward humans saved at the last moment. Some would think that they have "won" by "works", over many years, a reward far greater than that given to those sinners repented at the last moment: "When the 11th-hour men came, they each received a de·narʹi·us. So when the first came, they assumed that they would receive more, but they too were paid at the rate of a de·narʹi·us. On receiving it, they began to complain against the master of the house and said, ‘These last men put in one hour’s work; still you made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day and the burning heat!’ But he said in reply to one of them, ‘Fellow, I do you no wrong. You agreed with me for a de·narʹi·us, did you not? Take what is yours and go. I want to give to this last one the same as to you. Do I not have the right to do what I want with my own things? Or is your eye envious because I am good?’ In this way, the last ones will be first, and the first ones last”” (Luke 15:25-31; Matthew 20:9-16).

In Zechariah chapters 7 and 8, Jehovah encourages his servants to serve Him with love and without spiritual formality, without of feelings such as love for God and for mankind: “Say to all the people of the land and to the priests, ‘When you fasted and wailed in the fifth month and in the seventh month for 70 years, did you really fast for me? 6 And when you would eat and drink, were you not eating for yourselves and drinking for yourselves? 7 Should you not obey the words that Jehovah proclaimed through the former prophets, while Jerusalem and her surrounding cities were inhabited and at peace, and while the Negʹeb and the She·pheʹlah were inhabited?’” (Zechariah chapter 7; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8). Jehovah God asks for sincerity and love for Him and His principles contained in His Word, the Bible: "The word of Jehovah of armies again came to me, saying: “This is what Jehovah of armies says, ‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth month, the fast of the seventh month, and the fast of the tenth month will be occasions for exultation and joy for the house of Judah—festivals of rejoicing. So love truth and peace’" (Zechariah 8:18,19).

As the judgment draws near for each of us who will decide our everlasting future, shortly before the great tribulation, Jesus Christ recommended humility, modesty, and a righteous appreciation of ourselves. Jesus Christ used several illustrations such as that of the repentant tax collector and boastful Pharisee, or the wedding feast guest seeking the first place, to show the importance of not having too high an opinion. of ourselves, especially when we pray. Regarding this last illustration, here is what it is written: "He then told the invited men an illustration when he noticed how they were choosing the most prominent places for themselves. He said to them: “When you are invited by someone to a marriage feast, do not recline in the most prominent place. Perhaps someone more distinguished than you may also have been invited. Then the one who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Let this man have your place.’ Then you will proceed with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when the man who invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, go on up higher.’ Then you will have honor in front of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”"(Luke 14:7-11; Romans 12:3).

Therefore, let us rejoice in the mercy of God to "the prodigal sons", "the repentant tax collectors", "the eleventh hour workers", who will survive the great tribulation, while considering us personally and sincerely , as the last of humans worthy of this mercy of God and of Christ (Luke 18:9-14).

"Of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues"

 (Revelations 7:9)

These three expressions (Nations, Tribes, Peoples), in addition to the different languages, make it clear that Jehovah God, by means his Kingdom, will unify the different peoples while taking into account their cultural (Nations), tribal (Tribes) and racial (Peoples) differences. We can expect that, futures, there will be, maybe, a linguistic unity which purpose is to unify in the diversity, particularly in the worship of Jehovah God: "For then I will change the language of the peoples to a pure language, So that all of them may call on the name of Jehovah, To serve him shoulder to shoulder" (Zephaniah 3: 9)). There will be nations without nationalism and patriotism, tribes without tribalism and races diversities without racism and a worlwide unity in cultural diversities, without standardized globalism. There will be lovely unity in lovely diversities. 

Jesus Christ named the future humankind in the earthly paradise as the 12 tribes of Israel: “Jesus said to them: “Truly I say to you, in the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28). Also, in the prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 40-48, there the symbolic description of the earthly administration of the Kingdom of God, in the framework of the 12 tribes of Israel. This expression of "12 tribes of Israel" is prophetic, in the sense that for about fifteen centuries, the nation of Israel has been the theocratic representation of what Jehovah God would do on all the earth by means His Kingdom: "For since the Law has a shadow of the good things to come, but not the very substance of the things" (Hebrews 10:1).

Even before the founding of the nation of Israel, Jehovah God made the covenant with Abraham (the prime Hebrew ancestor), that by his seed would be blessed all nations: "And by means of your offspring all nations of the earth will obtain a blessing for themselves because you have listened to my voice" (Genesis 22:18). And as the Apostle Paul wrote under inspiration, through this Abrahamic covenant, Abraham became spiritually circumcised as he was uncircumcised in his flesh: "And he received a sign—namely, circumcision—as a seal of the righteousness by the faith he had while in his uncircumcised state, so that he might be the father of all those having faith while uncircumcised, in order for righteousness to be counted to them; 12 and so that he might be a father to circumcised offspring, not only to those who adhere to circumcision but also to those who walk orderly in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had while in the uncircumcised state" (Romans 4: 11,12). That means, in the future, all the Nations, Tribes and Peoples, uncircumcised in their flesh, could be spiritually circumcised in their heart, in the framework of the Abrahamic covenant, as the "Israel of God", the Christian congregation or the Christian church. Also, the spiritual circumcision of the heart, would be done in the framework of the New Covenant written by God "in their heart", according the prophecy of Jeremiah (31:31-33). It is Jesus-Christ who validated this New Covenant, by his own blood (Luke 22:19,20; Hebrews12:24).

And as the apostle Paul pointed out, under inspiration, what was in the flesh, the covenant of circumcision as the identity of a Jew, would become spiritual as identity of spiritual Jew, part of the spiritual nation of the "Israel of God", the Christian Congregation or Christian Church, through Jesus Christ: "Circumcision is, in fact, of benefit only if you practice law; but if you are a transgressor of law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. If, therefore, an uncircumcised person keeps the righteous requirements of the Law, his uncircumcision will be counted as circumcision, will it not? And the physically uncircumcised person will, by carrying out the Law, judge you who are a transgressor of law despite having its written code and circumcision. For he is not a Jew who is one on the outside, nor is circumcision something on the outside, on the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit and not by a written code. That person’s praise comes from God, not from people" (Romans 2: 25-29).

So, the future earthly 12 tribes of Israel, represent the spiritual Israel of God in the future earthly paradise: "As for all those who walk orderly by this rule of conduct, peace and mercy be upon them, yes, upon the Israel of God" (Matthew 19:28; Luc 22:30; Galatians 6:16).

And the Kingdom of God, will take into account this cultural and racial diversity of all "nations, tribes, peoples and tongues", united (in their diversities) in the only worship of Jehovah God by means of Jesus Christ, His Son: "You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they came into existence and were created" (Revelation 4: 11, Zephaniah 3: 9 "the pure language" which will unify the peoples in the same worship of Jehovah God (The End of Patriotism)). 

Share this page