Steve Coerper (3 Mar 2024)
"Where is the church?"

Dear John and Doves -

We see in Rev. 7:4-8 that 144,000 Jews are sealed, and right after that we see "a great multitude which no one could number" standing before the throne and before the Lamb in heaven.  This group, we are told in verse 14 "are the ones who come out of the great tribulation."

So these are all - presumably - people who were saved after the rapture, and the assumption is made that they were saved when the 144,000 Jews preached the gospel to them.

My question is:  where is the church?  We see the post-rapture saints in heaven, but WE also "washed [our] robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."  Don't we get palm branches?  Don't we stand before the throne and before the Lamb?  After all, we are in His presence too.  How come we're apparently not invited to this assembly?

Is it possible that this "great tribulation" (one of three mentioned in the New Testament) is what we call the "church age"? 

I should mention that this scenario was not new with John, but that John was essentially quoting 2 Esdras 2:42-48 where Ezra wrote:
I, Ezra, saw on Mount Zion a great multitude, which I could not number, and they all were praising the Lord with songs.
In their midst was a young man of great stature, taller than any of the others, and on the head of each of them he placed a crown, but he was more exalted than they. And I was held spellbound.

Then I asked an angel, “Who are these, my lord?”

He answered and said to me, “These are they who have put off mortal clothing and have put on the immortal, and they have confessed the name of God; now they are being crowned, and receive palms.”

Then I said to the angel, “Who is that young man who places crowns on them and puts palms in their hands?”

He answered and said to me, “He is the Son of God, whom they confessed in the world.” So I began to praise those who had stood valiantly for the name of the Lord.
48 Then the angel said to me, “Go, tell my people how great and many are the wonders of the Lord God which you have seen.”
This book was quoted by Jesus and was found with the Dead Sea scrolls, so was NOT written by some faux "Ezra" in the second century.

Stand valiantly!