(v.5-8. These verses foretell a literal sealing of a literal number of people taken from these tribes of Israel. No Israelite now knows for certain his tribe, but the Divine sealers know. 144,000 are set apart for God's purposes. The number 144,000 are just a number meaning spiritual completeness. It means the number God chooses is correct. Dan and Ephraim are omitted, Levi and Joseph taking their places. For the reason, see Lev. 24:10-16. Deut. 29:18-21. Judg. 18:2-31. 1 Kings 12:26-33. Hos. 4:17. Their restoration to earthly inheritance is shown [Ezek. 48], the reason being given in Rom.11:29.)
5: Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
6: Of the tribe of Asher were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Naphtali were sealed twelve thousand. of the tribe of Manasseh were sealed twelve thousand.
7: Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were twelve thousand sealed. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
8: Of the tribe of of Zebulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
D² A 7:9-12. The heavenly voices and utterances. B 13,14. The great multitude. From which place they came. B 15-17. The great multitude. Where they are. A 8:1-6. The heavenly silence and activity (seventh seal)
9: After these things I beheld (= saw, later in same Lord's day), and, lo, a great multitude (these are converts during the great tribulation), which no one could number, of all nations, and tribes, and people, and tongues, were standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; (only here and in John 12:13. These that have accepted Christ are holding that which is symbolic of the life-giving tree of life in their hands, the palm.)
10: And they cry with a great voice, saying, “Salvation to our God Which sits upon the throne, an to the Lamb.”
11: And all the angels were standing round about the throne, and about the elders and the four living creatures, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, (The 4 beasts are the 4 living creatures that guard the throne of God.)
12: Saying, “Amen (see 1:6): The blessing (a sevenfold ascription. Cp. 5:12, where it is to the Lamb, while here it is to God), and the glory, and the wisdom, and the thanksgiving (replaces the riches of 5:12), and the honor, and the power and the might, be to our God for ever and ever. Amen.”
13: And one of the elders asked, saying to me, “Who are these which are arrayed in white robes? (= your righteous acts in flesh on earth, see 19:8) and from which place came they?” (Who are these standing here with white robes? Why are they holding palms in their hands?)
14: And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who come out of the great tribulation (cp. Matt. 24:21. See Jer. 30:5-7. Dan. 12:1. Nothing to do with Christ's suffering and death on the cross. These are they that overcome the tribulation of antichrist), and washed their robes (these wash "their own robes"-the standing of works, not of grace. For latter see 1 Cor. 6:11), and made them white by the blood of the Lamb (i.e. by virtue of. See 1:5; 5:9).
15: For this cause (or on this account) are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His Temple (Hebraism for continually): and He that sits on the throne dwell over them (see John 1:14 and cp. Isa.4:5,6.)
16: They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor scorching heat. (They don't hunger or thirst anymore because the Shepherd is with them. Remember, we will be in spiritual bodies at this time.)
17: For the Lamb Which is in the midst of the throne will tend (or shepherd) them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (quoted from Isa. 49:8-10; 25:8. See also Jer. 31:9,10-25. Ezek. 47:1,12. There will be tears until Satan and those that follow him go into the lake of fire. After that, they will be blotted out never to be remembered again. No tears shed then after that.)