REASSURANCE TO THE REDEEMED
In chapter 6 we read about the breaking of the seals.
Then the fifth seal is broken…and the souls of those who had been slain because of the word…cried out, “How long, O Lord, will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
And when the sixth seal is broken a picture of judgment and destruction is painted for us.
And the chapter ends with this question: …for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?”
And here in chapter 7 the writer answers this question.
7:1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth (Four relates to the world: east, west, north, south) , holding back the four winds of the earth(winds here represents the activity of God. In Exodus 10: 13 God told Moses to stretch out his hand and when he did an east wind brought locusts on the land. In Exodus 14: 21 God used a strong east wind to turn the sea into dry land. See also Isa. 57:13; Jeremiah 18:17; Dan. 7:2) , so that no wind should blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. (They hold the wind back so that no destruction on Rome can take place until God’s people are identified. This gave God’s people comfort. When Rome is destroyed God will know whom to destroy and whom to save.)
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun (This angel comes from the east…from where the light originates. His message is one of cheer.), having the seal of the living God; (The seal indicates that God owns sealed ones and would keep Satan from tampering with them. This message here in this chapter is for the saints. They are under God’s protection. Is this a protection from death? No, many will die. But when they do they will not be condemned like the wicked. Ezekiel 9 and 21: 3-4 will help you understand the principles of sealing.)
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”(This angel calls for delay. The reason for the delay: the welfare of the righteous. “Don’t hurt the earth until the righteous are marked.”)
Notice that the “bond-servants of God” will be sealed.
4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
Now, let me give you some thoughts about the number 144,000.
Notice the phase: “from every tribe of the sons of Israel.”
To speak of “Israel” is to speak of God’s redeemed people.
14:1 And I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. 4 These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.
“Israel” is an established name for the redeemed people of God.
Rev. 7:4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:5 from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6 from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7 from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.
9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues (four statements: four is the number of the world. Indicates these people were once in the world) standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands(Lev. 23, 40. Palm branches were used in the “Feast of Tabernacles.” It was a time of celebration, joy, thanksgiving.”
10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation to our God (Salvation is attributed to Him) who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,
“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
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?”
14 And I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation (probably the great tribulation mentioned back up in chapter 6. Daniel told of the time when the kingdom of God would destroy the 4th great kingdom on the earth.) , and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 “For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple (notice, they are priests); and He who sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them. 16 “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes. ”
This chapter reassures these saints…the redeemed of God that when judgment and destruction comes on Rome…even though some of them may be killed in that judgment and destruction…they will be in heaven with God and the Lamb.