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 Revelation Chapter 7

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 7   Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:11 pm


The Two Companies of Redeemed

(Parenthetical, Rev. 7:1-17)

Revelation 7 is the first parenthetical passage of the book. It is inserted between the sixth and seventh seals and contains explanatory matter about things which will transpire after the sixth seal through the rest of the Week, and which are not contained in the seals, trumpets, and vials. Parenthetical to us as instead of the natural order of events with the seventh seal following the sixth immediately, this explanation of two companies of redeemed is given, which breaks the thought of the seals and explains certain things that will transpire in and between the main order of events. This parenthesis in the chronology of Revelation, showing God's program of grace and salvation during the period of judgment. The winds depict God's judgment of the earth, and the four angels are restraining agents who hold back the judgment until God's special servants can be sealed.

The Sealing of the 144,000 Jews

Rev. 7:1-8: Suggest that before the world is plunged into the plagues and disasters ushered in by the sixth seal judgment at the end of the first quarter of the Tribulation, God will raise up an army of 144,000 Jewish evangelists to spread across the globe and bring in a soul harvest of unimaginable proportions. Each of these "servants" of God will receive a "seal" on his forehead. While we don't know exactly what this seal will be, the text seems to suggest it will be visible, (at least to Christians). Whatever the seal is, it affords these 144,000 Jewish witnesses "of all the tribes of the children of Israel", some kind of supernatural protection.

The four angels of Rev. 7:1 are to be good angels for “another” angel is to speak to them of “our” God, the living God.

They (these angels) will be the first four of the seven trumpet angels to whom will be given power to hurt the earth and the sea and the trees. A comparison of the judgments which these angels hold, together with the judgments the first four trumpet angels hold (Rev. 8:7-12), proves that they are the same, else we two sets of the same judgments. The expression “four corners of the earth” (Mt. 24:31; Rev. 20:Cool. The winds here refer to the judgments of God which the trumpet angels hold and which will be poured out immediately after the seventh seal. Cf. Dan. 7:2; 8:8; 11:14; Zech. 2:6; 6:5.
Just as God reserved 7,000 men who would not worship Baal in Elijah's time, so God will have 144,000 Jews who will not bow to the infernal designs of the whore in the first part of the Week during the rise of the Antichrist over the ten kings. They will be Jews, as is clear, in that 12,000 will be sealed from twelve of the thirteen tribes of Israel.
They are to be sealed for the express purpose of being kept through the trumpet judgments during the first part of the Week, for the angel that does the sealing cries to the first four trumpet angels saying, “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Special direction is given to the fifth trumpet angel not to hurt the 144,000 Jews (Rev. 9:4), which also applies to the sixth trumpet angel. They (The 144,000 Jews) will be caught up to heaven in the seventh trumpet, for immediately after it blows they are seen in heaven before the throne (Rev. 14:1-5). The trumpets will begin immediately after the seals and continue to the middle of the Week.
The Antichrist angered by the sealing of these servants of God in their foreheads, will try to destroy the 144,000 in the middle of the Week and will begin to seal his servants in their right hands or foreheads.

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree” (Rev. 7:1).

This "after" is after the happenings of the first six seals. These angels (ministering spirits), were to do something to the whole earth (four corners of the earth). These angels were waiting for orders from God.
The 4 quadrants of the compass; that is, the angels will take up key positions on earth. Their job at this moment was to control these four winds until God said release them. The four winds is a figurative expression, indicating all the earth's winds, those from south, east, north and west. The 4 angels will turn off, for a brief interlude, the essential engine of our earth's atmosphere. The wrath is held back until those who must be sealed are sealed.

"And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea," (Rev. 7:2).

This angel sent from God. This angel is entrusted with the job of taking a signet and putting God's mark upon the group that God will protect in the midst of the wrath of God. Even though this group will be on the earth during this terrible wrath that shall fall on the inhabitants of the earth, they will be protected, for they are sealed with God's name on their forehead in full view.
God has said over and over throughout the Bible that there has been a remnant of Jews who have not bowed their knee to false gods. We read (in the 11th chapter of Romans), that God told Elijah that there were 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal.
Romans 11:4, "But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal."
You see, God has always had a remnant of physical Israel.
This angel comes from the east. This is the same location from which the light comes. This angel has authority over these four angels.

"Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads" (Rev. 7:3).

"Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea ... trees": Let the winds be restrained until what is here designated shall be done. The "sea" here could be a literal sea or as in other places it means large groups of people.
These destroying angels were commanded to suspend the work of destruction until the servants of God could be rendered secure. The division here (as in Revelation 7:1), of the "earth, the sea, and the trees," seems to include everything; water, land, and the productions of the earth. Nothing was to be injured until the angel should designate the true servants of God.
It was common in John's day for masters to seal or brand their slaves on the forehead or the hand to declare ownership. This mark also granted them protection for those who would steal or misuse them. In future days, when the seal of the Antichrist signifies death or life, Satan will have marked his followers, but God's witnesses will be sealed as well, with the name of the Father "in their foreheads".

Verses 4-8: The seal shows ownership and security, as a king's signet ring was used to authenticate and protect official documents. The promise of future restoration is given to all 12 tribes (compare Isa. 11:11-13; Ezek. 37:15-28). There are no lost tribes. In the list of tribes, Joseph stands for Ephraim, and Dan is missing, possibly because it was the first tribe to go into idolatry and apostasy (compare Judges chapter 18). The 144,000 will apparently be converted and commissioned to be a light to the Gentiles during the Tribulation.

“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed a hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel” (Rev. 7:4).

"A hundred and forty and four thousand": A missionary corps of redeemed Jews who are instrumental in the salvation of many Jews and Gentiles during the Tribulation (verses 9-17). They will be the firstfruits of a new redeemed Israel (Zech. 12:10). Finally, Israel will be the witness nation she refused to be in the Old Testament (Cf. Rom. 11:25-27).
"All the tribes of the children of Israel": By sovereign election, God will seal 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes, promising His protection while they accomplish their mission.
"You Shall Seek Me and Find Me When You Search For Me with All Your Heart". This is a promise from God Almighty (Deut. 4:29). God has never been without a witness of His salvation on this earth. Since all believers from this present age will have been suddenly and miraculously removed by the event known as the Rapture, new witnesses must be raised up immediately.
Imagine what would happen if, suddenly, in the midst of some very trying times on earth, 144,000 Israelites instantly and miraculously became devout believers in Jesus as their promised Messiah and Savior. This will occur much the same as Saul of Tarsus (Paul), was miraculously brought to faith on the road to Damascus. I don't know what will cause the conversion, other than the power of the Holy Spirit upon them.
But in multiple miraculous incidences, 144,000 Jews will be brought to faith in Jesus the Messiah and Son of God, and will become powerful evangelists. Picture 144,000 Hebrew Billy Grahams' running around the world and bringing this miraculous saving truth to a troubled and confused populace. That's just what's going to happen.
God's Special Protection for the 144,000. Since these servants will be marked men on earth, working directly counter to the interests of the global leader, they will be "marked" men in more than one sense of the word. They will be under constant attack by the Antichrist's forces as well as the demonic powers unleashed upon the earth. At various times, they will suffer from hunger, exposure, ridicule, torture and imprisonment. But they all will be miraculously preserved to continue their witness throughout the tribulation period. This seal will be a literal mark as an object of sight because: 1. There is nothing to the contrary in the passage. 2. The locusts out of the abyss will be able to see it, Rev. 9:4. 3. It is expressly stated that they will be sealed in the “foreheads,” Rev. 7:3; 14:1.
At the very end, the 144,000 witnesses will stand triumphantly on Mount Zion with Jesus. Jesus refers to them as "these brothers of mine". (Matt. 25:31-46). The way a person treats these evangelists during the Tribulation will reflect whether he is a believer in their message or not. Keep in mind, it will be extremely perilous to aid and abet them. They will no doubt be on the Antichrist's "most wanted list". But the lesson is that God's man or woman is indestructible until God is finished with him here on earth.
Just the fact that there is a specific number given tells you that these are not the believers of our present age. The believers cannot be numbered for multitude. The Christians are not from the tribes of Israel necessarily. Many of them have no Jewish blood whatsoever. In (Galatians chapter 3), we read that believers in Christ are Abraham's descendants because of faith, not blood.
In (Gal. 3:Cool, the believers are called heathen, which people of physical Israel are never called. Abraham is not the father of believers because of blood line, but because they (the same as Abraham), are saved by faith.
Galatians 3:7-8, "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed."
You see, the tribes we are about to see listed are all of the nation of Israel. The only way this makes any sense is that this 144,000 is the remnant of physical Israel that God has always had.

Verses 7:5-8: Some scholars argue that the 144,000 evangelists aren't necessarily Jews? But a reading of (Rev. 7:4-Cool, tells us they are wrong. Those verses go on to identify the "tribes" that each of the 12,000 comes from.

"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." "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." "Of the tribe of Simeon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar [were] sealed twelve thousand." "Of the tribe of Zebulon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin [were] sealed twelve thousand" (Rev. 7:5-Cool.

Most Jews alive today do not know which tribe they come from. But God does! And He purposely selects 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. You may notice when you read (Rev. 7:5-Cool, that 2 tribes are missing and 2 others have been substituted in their places. Why?
Some scholars believe the tribe of Dan is missing because the Jewish Antichrist, known as the False Prophet, will be a descendant. This certainly seems to be the meaning of an ancient prophecy that Jacob gave about the tribes of Israel in the last days:
Gen. 49:17 "Dan will be a serpent in the way, a venomous viper by the path, that bites the horse's heels so that his rider falls backward".
We can expect the Holy Spirit to move on the hearts of people at the beginning of the Tribulation and culminate with the second coming of Christ.
From this list of 12 names both Dan (who we just discussed), and Ephraim are omitted. Dan was omitted because of the evil in his life. On the other hand, Levi, Joseph, and Manasseh help to make up the twelve. Levi was not listed before, because he received no land. He was of the priestly tribe which inherited no land. God chooses whom He will.

The Great Tribulation Saints

Rev. 7:9-17:

Verses 9-12: Many Gentiles will be saved during the Tribulation, apparently through the evangelistic ministry of the sealed Jews. The "white robes" portray a standing of righteousness, and the multitude praises God especially for their "salvation". Note the seven fold praise of verse 12.

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;” (Rev. 7:9).

The phrase “After this” shows that this company will be entirely different from the above, for the expression in Rev. 7:1 shows the 144,000 to be a subject different from the seals among which it is inserted. These versus portray the second and last company of redeemed saints seen in the book of Revelation, after the picture of the Church and the Old Testament saints with God in heaven, represented by the elders throughout chapters 4-19. These are all martyrs, while the above are a living company only. These are martyred throughout the Week and caught up at the end of the Week, while the above company is protected through the trumpets and caught up to God and His throne in the middle of the Week. This company is not to escape the tribulation as do the living saints in the Church, because they were not saved and ready to escape the tribulation with the Church.
We have seen under the fifth seal that the “souls under the alter” will be slain from the rapture to the fifth seal They were told to rest yet for a “little season until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” This clearly implies that they are to join all other martyrs of the tribulation and that they will make one company.
This company is pictured with “white robes” which, in this book of Revelation, clothe only Christ and redeemed humanity with “white robes.” These martyrs have also “palms in their hands” which is always a sign of rejoicing and victory. They are seen as distinct from the elders, living creatures, angels and all other beings. They come out of “the great tribulation,” or literally, “the tribulation the great,” which refers to the future tribulation. They will receive salvation in the same sense we do today and will be martyrs for the Word of God and the testimony of Christ as well as their own testimony, as was stated of the martyrs of the fifth seal, Rev. 6:9-11. They will all be saved after the rapture, for if they would be “in Christ” at the time of the rapture they will be raptured also. The majority of them will be slain by the Antichrist, Rev. 13:7, 15-18; 15:2-4; 20:4.
While the tribulation period will be a time of judgment, it will also be a time of unprecedented redemption (compare verses 14; 6:9-11; 20:4; Isa. 11:10; Matt. 24:14).
"All nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues": All the earth's people groups.
One comforting truth gleaned from Revelation is that although Antichrist will have power over all peoples and languages, he will not deceive every individual. (verse 9), makes it clear that the preaching of the gospel by the 144,000 Jewish witnesses will reach a multitude that no one can number, from every language, tribe, and people. Therefore, even Satan's control will not keep people from receiving Christ individually.
This is in accord with the way it has been all during the Christian dispensation. Nations and peoples have rejected Christ, but individuals have received Him (according to John 1).
John 1:10-12 "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him." "He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."

“And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” (Rev. 7:10).

"Salvation to our God": Salvation is the theme of their worship, and they recognize that it comes solely from Him.
We cannot take credit for our salvation. Our salvation is a free gift through grace. Jesus deserves all the credit. He purchased our salvation with His precious blood. We must praise and worship Jesus for He alone deserves all the credit.
Of course, the triune God (Elohim), sits on the throne.

“And all the angels stood round about the throne, and [about] the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,” (Rev. 7:11).

This is another view of the throne area. Of course, Elohim God is on the center throne. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father. The four living beings are very near the throne. The twenty-four elders, representative of all Christendom, are very near as well. The angels encircle the throne. All fall before the throne of God in total adoration and worship.

“Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, [be] unto our God for ever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 7:12).

The "Amen" is saying, "so be it", to the praise and worship of Almighty God. This blessing here is seven fold. Spiritually complete blessings are spoken here in this heavenly setting.
Verses 13-17: The redeemed Gentiles of this vision are either saints who will be martyred during the "tribulation", or believers who will survive the Tribulation and enter the Millennium in their natural bodies, could be both. The "temple" is the "throne" and presence of God in heaven. Earthly sorrows will be over. Christ will give them spiritual sustenance. There will be absolutely no crying or sorrow in the presence of God, for He will have wiped away "all tears from their eyes". The principal activity of the redeemed for eternity will be to "serve" God (verse 15).

“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” (Rev. 7:13).

This elder is certainly representative of the church. He must already know who these are. He probably asks this question to teach those who do not understand who these are.
They have been taken out of the great tribulation on the earth. The seven years are broken up into two 3-1/2 year periods. The first 3-1/2 years are called tribulation, and the last 3 1/2 years are known as the Great Tribulation.
Christians will know tribulation, but will be saved from the wrath to come.
1 Thess. 1:10 "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."
I believe this rapture, or catching away of the Church, occurs before these seven years.
Daniel 12:1-4 "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt." "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."
You see there is no question that this (we read in Daniel), is the same time as what we have been reading in Revelation.
Daniel 12:9, "And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end."
God is the same in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament. It appears to me that the most important thing in our life, even more than eating and sleeping, is making sure that our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

“And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14).

"Great tribulation". These people didn't go with the raptured church, since they were not yet saved. During the 7 year period, they will be saved, martyred and enter heaven. Though it is a time of unparalleled judgment, it is also a time of unparalleled grace in salvation (compare Matt. 24:12-14).
"Washed their robes" (compare 19:Cool. Salvation's cleansing is in view (see Titus 2:11-14).
"Blood of the Lamb": This refers to the atoning sacrifice of Christ (compare 1:5; 5:9; Rom. 3:24-25; 5:9).
You see, he definitely already knew who they were. This was just emphasizing a lesson to be learned. This white is such a bright white that, I believe, it even glistens as the Shekinah Glory of God. Here again, white stands for righteousness. We are righteous because we have taken on Jesus' righteousness. Notice also, that they were not saved from tribulation, but in it.
Don't forget, every one of those new believers will have been left behind after the Rapture precisely because he or she had rejected God's offer of salvation up to that point.
The white robes portray a standing of righteousness, and the multitude praises God especially for their salvation. Note the sevenfold praise (of verse 12).

“Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them” (Rev. 7:15).

"His temple": This refers to the heavenly throne of God. During the Millennium, there will also be a temple on earth, a special holy place where God dwells in a partially restored, but still fallen, universe (see Ezekiel chapters 40-48). In the final, eternal state with its new heavens and earth, there is no temple; God Himself, who will fill all, will be its temple (21:22).
"Shall dwell among them": God's presence will become their canopy of shelter to protect them from all the terrors of a fallen world and the indescribable horrors they have experience on the earth during the time of tribulation.
We Christians, are before the throne because we decided to follow Jesus, to accept His salvation, to be washed in His blood, and to believe in the resurrection. We are to be His servants and to dwell with Him forever. It speaks of "day and night" here, but there is no night in heaven with Jesus. We are in the presence of the Light, and there is just one eternal day with Him.
Ephesians 5:27 "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
Revelation 21:3 speaks of this very thing, "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God."
How much more wonderful could it be?

“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat” (Rev. 7:16).

If we read (in Isaiah 49:10), we will read, "They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them."
Both of these remind us of the 23rd Psalm. Jesus is the Shepherd. He sees to the needs of His flock.
Jesus is the Light, and there will be no need for the sun or the moon in heaven for light. There will be a presence of Light.

“For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17).

God's Son is both a Lamb and a "shepherd". In a beautiful mix of images, the Lamb has always been the Shepherd (Psalm 23; Isa. 49:10; John 10:14; Heb. 13:20).
This is surely heaven where there is eternal peace and joy. Here again, we see Jesus as the Shepherd of His sheep, providing for all our needs, and making us blissfully happy. We have tears on earth but not in heaven.
John 10:11 tells us for sure who He is, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."
"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" is very exact. The tears are not just wiped away, they are wiped completely from the eyes so that nothing is left but joy and abundant life in Christ (21:3-4).
The rewards for being faithful unto death during the tribulation are: to be before the throne of God; serve God continually in His temple; have God among them; never hunger or thirst; never have the sun or heat (Rev. 16:9) light on them anymore; have the Lamb feed (tend, or shepherd) them and lead them unto living fountains of waters of life; have God wipe away all tears; rest from their labors and be commended for their work; have harps of God and sing upon the sea of glass; and reign with Christ forever, Rev. 7:14-17; 14:13; 15:2-4; 20:4.
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