Who Is The Group In Rev. 7?

Q. First I love your website!!! Very informative and has helped me so much in my study in end times prophecy! I used to be very uneasy about end times prophecy but now that I have accepted Christ into my heart, I don’t fear anymore!!! I know I have a one way ticket! Amen!
I have a question regarding Rev. 7:9. I am in a current debate with a non-believer of the pre-trib rapture. He insists that those mentioned in verse 9 are the church, still here on earth, therefore no rapture.

I had always thought that those mentioned in verse 9 were those martyred for their newfound faith in Christ by rejecting the Mark of the Beast.

A. Tell him to read Rev. 7 more carefully. When John asked who the people were, the angel said that they have come out of great tribulation and would serve God in His Temple. In the original language the word for “the” does not appear, and besides the Great Tribulation does not begin on Earth until Rev. 13, which is also when the mark of the beast is introduced. According to Rev. 6:8 millions of people will die before the Great Tribulation even begins, and many will be believers. This group represents the first of them.
But most importantly, the Church will be Kings and Priests seated with Christ on His throne (Ephes 2:6), not servants in God’s Temple. The group in Rev. 7 is not the Church.

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