REVELATION

Chapter Seven


It should be pointed out that each chapter of Revelation speaks of the same thing, the purpose of God, and each chapter adds more details on how that purpose will be carried out. The purpose of God is to create a spiritual family. This has been so from the very beginning. To this purpose the whole host of heaven are engaged.

Isa 14:24,26

24. The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.

26. This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. (NIV)

    All chapters of Revelation directly relate to this same purpose and theme and many chapters reiterate what has already been stated to allow more information and greater detail to be added. With this understanding let us begin chapter seven.



Rev 7:1-17

1. After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. (NIV)

    We have already learned that the four beasts with eyes all about them spoken of in earlier chapters symbolize four cherub angels.  They were described as strange symbolic beasts, only to identify them as the angels that are in charge of the things pertaining or relating to the earth.  Yet these angels do not do things on there own but await instructions from God, which are sent, in this chapter, by another angel.  Since these four angels have been identified, as those governing Gods events on earth, the Bible no longer refers to them as beasts.  This is particularly true since this chapter begins to specify directions concerning those judged worthy to be collected from amongst the really true beasts of the earth, which are controlled by Satan and his demons.

"The Four Corners of the earth" is, of course, referring to the four cardinal points of the compass.

    The symbolism of wind has throughout the Bible represented actions taken by God concerning and effecting the earth and its inhabitants.  Look up the word wind in a concordance and you will see a seemingly endless list of scriptures to back this up.  Even the direction of the wind has bearing on whatever that action may be.   East winds usually represent angry or forceful actions while west winds usually are related to calming or soothing actions.  The plague of locust were brought by an east wind and taken away by a west wind.  In the next verse it is the east wind spoken of.

Rev 7:2

Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: (NIV)

    Notice that these four angels have already been given the power to harm the land and sea.  (The sea here refers to mankind in general not oceans or literal water.)  These are the same four angels that have introduced the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  They are not doing anything on their own volition but being given specific direction as to how and most importantly when the wrath of God will be executed.  It should also be obvious at this point in Revelation that the time of the end begins with the wrath of God.  Nonetheless, before that wrath really starts on the planet the Almighty wants all his family clearly marked for the whole host of heaven to see.  Therefore this angel is sent to tell the four other angels who will direct this wrath on earth:

Rev 7:3

"Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."

    We now come to something that needs clarification.  The family of God or the bride of Christ has been from the very beginning, predestined to exist.   But those that belong to the family are not predestined and never were.   If they were it would negate free will. It would mean that man had no choice in this, which is clearly not the case.  The choice to obey and listen to God has been with us since the first man, Adam, was formed from the dust of the ground.  An individuals own choice to follow Christ and worship God is the backbone of the family of God.  That is why free will was given to begin with, not only to mankind, but to angels as well.  God does not insist that you accept his offer of eternal life. BUT, he does insist that if you want that free gift of eternal life you must follow his only begotten Son.  There is nothing unreasonable about this and that choice to follow Christ is available to anyone that wants it.

Rev 21:6-7

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.

7. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (NIV)

"To him who is thirsty" cannot be construed to mean anything but a free choice.  Which leads us to how those who thirst for and accept this free gift of eternal life are sealed.

    To expect a huge stamp to appear in the sky and pound "Official Christian" in block letters on ones forehead would be ludicrous to say the least.   Nonetheless, that seal is placed on true Christians and becomes obvious to all in the family of God.  For they brandish the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.  They wear the armor of God which is knowledge, they stand firm, there loins girded with truth, facing evil with a breastplate of righteousness, under a helmet of salvation with there feet shod in the gospel of peace, and carry the shield of faith.   All this leads to a specific life style, which means, "By their actions they shall be known" and those actions are the seal that they are marked with and it is this seal that makes a true Christian stand out from the crowd.

Eph 6:12-17

12. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual {forces} of wickedness in the heavenly {places.}

13. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

14. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil {one.}

17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (NAS)

    Now John speaks of some numbers that represent the amount of those sealed. Again we must remind everyone that Revelation is a symbolic book.  Everything in it is symbolic and that includes numbers.  The numbers we are about to read of symbolize or represent a quality of Christian not a quantity.  In fact the verses themselves make this clear which shall be pointed out as we reach them.

Rev 7:4

Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. (NIV)

    Notice this verse is not saying they’re just or only 144,000 but that no one from the original 12 tribes of Israel would be forgotten.  The number twelve in Hebrew symbolically meant something that was complete, such as twelve months complete a year.  Therefore the complete number of faithful servants from the 12 tribes of Israel, whatever the total amount comes to, is sealed.

    Now this seal was to distinguish the human servants of God or all those that belong to the family of God.  All servants of God are chosen people and this is symbolized by the count beginning with the twelve tribes of Israel.  For the house of Israel was a chosen nation among all nations of the world.  They were so chosen because of the covenant made by God with Abraham.  The division of the house of Israel into twelve tribes symbolized the complete number of those chosen by God to be his people regardless of what the quantity of that number of people added up to or what period of history those servants lived in.

    There have been servants of God since Abel and the word here makes the point that God has not forgotten any of his servants.  Servants such as Enoch, Job, Melchizedek, just to mention a few of Gods people that lived before the Almighty named the twelve tribes of Israel.

Rev 7:5

From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000,

6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,

7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,

8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000. (NIV)

    One other thing has to be said about chapter seven, which concerns the difference in the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The original 12 had a tribe named Dan, that tribe does not appear in Revelation.  Dan was cancelled as a tribe because they betrayed all of Israel.  God therefore designated the half tribe of Mannasah as the replacement just as Judas, who betrayed Christ, was replaced by Mathias.

    However, just because a person, male or female was born into any given tribe did not automatically make that person a true servant of God.  A person had to prove his qualification to be sealed as a servant of God by both their faith and their actions.  This is just as true with Christians today as it was with the Jews then.  Many claim to be Christian, but God expects, and requires, that their faith and actions prove that claim.  Just as the house of Israel, as a whole nation, had to maintain the old covenant with Jehovah, the Bride of Christ, as a whole, has to maintain the new covenant.  The only thing that has changed in all this... is time.

    Now God has told us "To come, let us reason together" (Isaiah 1:18) Is it reasonable to assume that there were exactly twelve thousand true servants in each of the twelve tribes of Israel?   No more, no less!   We of course have no way of knowing the exact number of true servants of God throughout history.   Nonetheless, what would happen if there were 12001 in a given tribe would God cancel out one that was faithful just to make the number correct?   Or if there were only 11999 would God accept an unfaithful person from that tribe just to keep the number correct?   Of course not, which means that the number is a representative number signifying whatever the total number of faithful in each tribe was, be that amount one, twelve or twelve thousand.

    Just the slightest bit of thought on the subject proves what is being said here.  For instance, what tribe did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob belong to?    What tribe claimed Melchizedek or Job or Enoch, to say nothing of the unknown number, by us, that served God before the nation of Israel was born such as Abel?

    Now we know that the number 12 is representative of something complete, and twelve thousand in each tribe would mean that the Almighty has elected to multiply that number 12 a thousand times. The twelve tribes together are multiplied by themselves which makes up the number 144,000 which represents or symbolizes the total family of God, throughout history, regardless of whatever that exact amount of true servants might add up too, 12 thousand, 12 million, or twelve billion.  It is a sealing of everyone that is considered by God to belong to the family of God.  It is this final tally of true servants that is represented by the number 144,000 just as the final tally of each tribe is represented by the number 12,000. God knows to the last man what the total number is and that is all that is important here.

    This is why John has heard these numbers.  So that we may know that no servant is forgotten that all are accounted for and all will be credited with their service which is the reason they are sealed to begin with.

BUT HOLD ON; THERE IS MORE TO THIS.

Rev 7:9

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

"A great multitude that no one could count" God himself is telling us this final tally is endless, uncountable, and infinite "A great multitude that no one could count."

    Now anything can be counted even the stars in the heavens.  God even knows all the stars by name. So why are we being told that this family belonging to God cannot be counted? The reason is due to the increase in that population or government. They cannot be counted because they never stop growing.

Isa 9:7

There will be no end to the increase of {His} government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (NAS)

    Now most religions look at this and see two groups.  Some see the 144,000 as those being resurrected to heaven and the great crowd being those that will be resurrected to the earth.  Barnes sees it as just the opposite. However, John is telling us this is not two different groups, but two different parts of the same group.  Parts of them come from the tribes of Israel or the past and parts have come from the great tribulation others will come from the future.  Regardless of where they come from, all are the members that make up the family, and there is only one family of God.

    Just as God told Adam and Eve "To be fruitful and multiply" He also has done so, and he has done so by an uncountable infinite number, which is why:

10. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."

11. All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,

12 saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!" NIV)

    It should be very clear to anyone reading this that the event just described by John has taken place in a symbolic heavenly court.  This is verified at the beginning when God told John to "Come up here..." Through a "Door standing open in heaven...)

Rev 4:1

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." (NIV)

    Let’s look a little further into this.  If this was really two different groups, one that will be resurrected to heaven and another group that will be resurrected to the earth why are they all in heaven.   The question now is who are these people to begin with?

Rev 7:13

Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes-- who are they, and where did they come from?" (NIV)

    Now the elder is not asking John this question so John could supply an answer.  The elder already knows the answer, which is verified in the next verse, he is asking John this to be sure JOHN knows the answer.

Rev 7:14

I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (NIV)

    Notice this elder is saying, "...They have come OUT of the great tribulation." He is not saying they came through it, but out of it, in the same manner that the house of Israel came OUT of the seed of Abraham, even though Abraham was long dead before God formed the 12 tribes.

    The elder continues his explanation of this great crowd:

Rev 7:15

Therefore, "they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.

    This great crowd, John is being told, are now spiritual beings that are living in the realm of God in heaven. They are part of the first resurrection over which the second death has no power.  This great crowd has already proved their faith by their actions and has been awarded their crowns of victory.  This is verified by the next verse:

16. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.

    In order for the sun to beat upon them they would have to be part of the physical world which they obviously no longer are.

    "...nor any scorching heat" is a simple statement that they are not subject to the second death or the threat of the lake of fire which is symbolic of total destruction.  They have proven their love for God and been justified by their faith in Christ.  They are therefore part of the first resurrection just as they had been promised.

Rev 7:17

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (NIV)

    What the above scripture is saying is that while we are in the temporary bodies we now possess we are not exempt from disease, pestilence, accident, mortal death or any other disaster that can befall one in this temporary world order of Satan.  However, the members of Gods family carry the seal of that family and are therefore under the wing of God.  No matter what happens at this time in history, in the end God has already set in motion what will make all things right for them. "...And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." What has been set in motion is His eternal kingdom.

We have up to this point in Revelation seen that God has chosen to explain what is to be the conclusion of this system of things here on earth through a vision to John. That vision spoke to the body of Christ through seven letters both complimenting their actions and correcting errors that were forming in to the church. We have seen the four horsemen set loose upon the earth to render Gods wrath. We have also seen that before those horsemen begin to vent that wrath they were held back by the creator so that first, the members of His family could be sealed, to make them easily recognized by all the heavenly body of God. Just as He did on the eve of the tenth plague on Egypt with the Passover.

    In the next chapter we will see the beginning of how all this effects man in general upon the face of the earth.



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