New Defender's Study Bible Notes
7:9 no man could number. In contrast to the specific number of saved Israelites which have just been given, “a great multitude,” some in every ethnic group, will be saved during the tribulation period (Revelation 7:14). Though no man could be capable of knowing how many people there will be, their number is known to God.
7:13 elders. Note that both the elder and John himself are individual men. Yet, since they clearly are not a part of this great assemblage, they represent another multitude of saints who were already in heaven before this new multitude arrived there.
7:14 great tribulation. This phrase is, literally, “the tribulation, the great one.” It will follow immediately after the Antichrist has his great image, “the abomination of desolation,” set up in the new temple at Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15-16,21; Revelation 13:6-8,11-18). This will be the signal for the most intense of all persecutions, and a great multitude of new believers will be executed, with their souls joining those of the martyrs of the early years of the tribulation (Revelation 6:9-11) who also have “white robes” and are waiting for them.
7:15 his temple. This scene is parenthetically inserted for John’s benefit between the events of the judgments of the sixth and seventh seals. It is apparently set at the end of the yet-to-come “great tribulation” (that is, the last half of the seven-year tribulation period). It does not look forward to the ultimate eternal age, when there will be no temple and there will be no night (Revelation 21:22; 22:5). Therefore, it must refer to the millennial temple of the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth (Ezekiel 43:1-7).
7:16 nor any heat. During the three-and-one-half-year reign of the Beast, there will be an intense effort to kill all Christian believers and to keep them from even buying food or drink without the mark of the Beast (Revelation 13:15-17). Their only hope of escape will be to flee to the wilderness (note Matthew 24:16; Revelation 12:14), and try to live off the land. Multitudes will die, either by the Beast’s executioners or by hunger, thirst, or heat, but then they will enter into a very special realm of service in the presence of Christ.