7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?"

And one of the ELDERS answered, saying to me,

This is the second time an ELDER has spoken to John; the first is found in Revelation 5:5. In the beginning of Revelation, it was angels passing on information to John. But here close in to the throne, it is an elder communicating with him. Also recall that in verse 11, the angels are totally involved in worshiping the LAMB and Him who sits on the THRONE.

"These who are clothed in the WHITE ROBES,

The ELDER must have seen a puzzled look on John's face because he ANSWERED John. John doesn't recognize this multitude because he will have come to heaven before they did. If they came out of the tribulation as the next verse says, then they are not Old Testament saints or Church/Grace Age/preRapture saints.

It is important to God to have these martyrs truly identified. Their WHITE ROBES (Revelation 7:9; Revelation 6:11; and Revelation 3:5) give them away. To John, it is a special sight.