STUDY: PART 22
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. 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, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda 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 Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses 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 Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand” (Revelation 7:1-8).
V. 1.Chapter seven of Revelation takes place after the church has left the earth and been taken to Heaven by Jesus. John was told in the beginning of the vision to tell us only what he saw. What he saw was Christ glorified, or given very great praise and honor. Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, “says the Lord, “who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
What he also saw was that Jesus, the only One worthy, opened six of the seven seals. These seals released the Four Horsemen and their horses who would conquer the nations and bring war, death, destruction, famine, and injustice. When the fifth seal was opened, we saw the martyrs under the altar of sacrifice, those who had died for their faith in Christ and for teaching it to others. The sixth seal loosed what my Bible calls “cosmic disturbances” where the sun was blackened, the moon became like blood, the sky was scrolled back, and men trembled and hid under rocks, in mountains, and in caves, begging these enormous natural materials to fall upon them to crush them rather than to fall on Christ who would save them!. It saddens me to think this will really happen because their petrified hearts (both their natural hearts and their spiritually stony hearts) will condemn them to hell eternally.
Then John was to tell the things which “are”. Notice that the seventh seal has not yet been broken. John is taking a break here to explain things to us. The seventh seal will be opened in verse one of chapter eight. What questions is he explaining? If the Holy Spirit takes the church to heaven and delivers it to Jesus, how will people in the Tribulation be saved? If the Holy Spirit is not on earth, then who will turn the hearts of men toward Christ for salvation?
First, let me assure you that the Holy Spirit of God will be here during the Tribulation. It’s the Spirit-filled church that will be taken out. The Holy Spirit will be here, but what He will not do is function in His capacity as Restrainer. Sin will run rampant in this earth, and the only way people will find salvation in the blood is by the word of witnesses. When the Holy Spirit came to earth on the day of Pentecost, it was to stay until the end of the ages. He will not leave the earth permanently until all who can be saved are, the devil and his entourage are cast into the hell of burning brimstone, and the New Jerusalem comes down.
The words, “After these things” with which chapter seven begins refers back to the judgment that came with the horsemen and the sixth seal. The angels at the four corners of the earth, north, south, east, and west, who are holding back the winds are actually holding back judgment. We know this fact by reading the next verse, 2, “... the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea.”
What is another reason why this intermission is taken in chapter seven? It is so the multitude might be saved. God’s main purpose on this earth is the salvation of His creation. If none were being saved, only destroyed as a quarter of the population was in chapter six, He might as well call lights out. But He is a gracious God, and has given the people who survived the chaos caused by the rapture to make a choice for Him, and I believe many will.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
V. 2, 3. “Then I saw another angel,” or a fifth angel. This angel shouted as one in command. He shouted in a loud or great voice. The Greek for this phrase is phone megale. Megale means great and phone means voice or noise. It’s the root of the word megaphone. So this fifth angel shouted loudly to the other four angels to hold back the judgment they were sent to loose until the saints of God could be sealed. The seal is not a mark as of the beast, but the protection of God for those who bore this seal. Jesus spoke of this seal in Matthew 24:21, 22. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be”.
For the sake of the elect, the days will be shortened. Many consider that to mean those saved ones of the church, when in actuality, it will be those saved during the Tribulation for whom the days will be shortened. If the angels loosed this judgment before the saved were sealed, the saved would have to walk the same judgment as the unsaved, and they would not survive. God is righteous and will not allow this to happen. We can understand by this shouted command that the judgment will soon come to the earth. God is saying, in essence, “Get My people ready, things are going to pop very soon, and I want them protected.”
Who will do the sealing of these saved ones? The Holy Spirit. It will be His ministry function here to make sure everyone who calls on the name of the Lord and are saved, receive the seal of God for their protection. Many have asked me how the Christians in the Tribulation will eat since only those bearing the mark of the beast are allowed to buy and sell. My humble opinion of this is that as the Lord provided manna in the desert for Israel, He will provide all that the Tribulation saints will need, food, clothing, shelter, etc... Can I prove that from Scripture? Probably not to anyone’s satisfaction, but as I read the Word I see manna, water, and birds provided for Israel in the desert. I see 5000, then 3000 hungry men, their wives, and their children fed from a child’s meager lunch. I read that the Lord even provided homes and food for the birds, clothes for the lilies of the fields, and holes for the foxes (Matthew 6:26, 28; 8:20). Why would such a loving gracious God allow His people to starve to death during the Tribulation? I don’t believe for a minute that He will. It’s my belief that this will be part of the protection provided for having taken the Seal of God.
V. 4, 8. There are so many contradicting theses about these two verses that it gets very confusing trying to sort fact from fiction. Personally I take the purest view of these two verses. God said it, it’s so. Many expositors want to add the church to verses 5-8. Can we really do that? I believe so if we look at it from the perspective that once saved we are of Jewish heritage. The problem enters, however, when we realize we cannot define which tribe we are from. In the Old Testament there were ways to prove which tribe you descended from. We don’t have this historical connection to any tribe, but rather we are connected through Jesus, to Abraham, and Jesse. These verses are very specific in number and name. God uses those two facts always when dealing with Israel, but not when dealing with the church.
Much is made of the fact that the tribe of Dan and Ephraim are not among those listed. Levi, who is never listed in the censuses and Joseph replace them. The reason for that, from my belief and what I researched, is that these tribes of Dan and Ephraim left God for idolatry. It is speculated, by reading Jeremiah 8:16 that the antichrist will come from the tribe of Dan.
Remember this, the Jehovah Witnesses claimed they were the chosen, and that when they reached the 144,000, they would be taken to heaven and the world would end. There are hundreds of thousands of them now, so why are they still on earth? That’s easy, it’s because their claim was untrue. When you hear their spiel now, they claim that the 144,000 were the founders and leaders of the Witnesses, the pure ones, who will rule from heaven while the rest of their congregation will serve here on earth. Well, I want to know what happens when the sun, moon, and stars no longer give light, and all waters are dried up. They believe that Jesus was a good man, even a prophet, but they do not accept Him as Savior. How will they survive on earth when the New Jerusalem descends? God is the Light in the New Jerusalem and the new earth, and the Living water flows from under His throne. If they are not saved, they are not allowed anywhere but hell.
Don’t be deceived, my brethren. There is only one true God and one true Savior, and one true Spirit. Those of us now; and those in the Tribulation who have the courage and foresight to accept Jesus as Savior will reign forever with Christ, not some group of people who deny the absolute deity of the Christ, Messiah.
Please don’t allow the news reports scare you or cause you to worry.
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2).
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
STUDY: PART 23
“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; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 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, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 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. 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. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 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” (Revelation 7:9-17).
V. 9. “After these things” is an often repeated phrase in John’s Revelation. Here it refers to the sealed of the 144,000 of the tribes of Israel.
What did John look up and see and hear? It is what those 144,000 Christians will supply the kingdom with, born-again Christians from all over this globe. They will “go forth into all the world making disciples.” These people are to be saved out of the worst situations and taken into the kingdom by the blood of Jesus because they have gone to teach them. These are the ones who will stand before the throne one day. They will be clothed in their white robes of righteousness that is of Jesus because there is no way to stand before Him in our own righteousness that God considers “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by
They will carry palm branches of victory. They are the ones who have overcome the adversary through the blessed Savior! There will be so many of them, a man by himself will not be able to number them, or count them. J. Vernon McGee says that the 144,000 will do more in seven years to lead people to salvation in Jesus than the Christians have done in the time since Jesus was resurrected. More will be saved in that 7 years that at any time in history.
In Matthew 24:13, Jesus said that those who stand till the end shall be saved. He was speaking of Tribulation saints. But how could they stand in that terrible time? Was it by their might and power? No! They were sealed by the Holy Spirit. We are taught that as we sit under someone’s anointing we partake of that anointing. The same will be true for these saints. They will sit under the seal and anointing of the 144,000 and they will also be sealed.
V. 10, 11. Their praise is not unfamiliar to us. David cried out these words to the Lord also. “Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.” (Psalm 3:8).
“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:10, 11).
Can you imagine what the scene was like for John? He was watching the Old Testament, New Testament, and Tribulations saints praising the Lord. That not being enough, the angel, elders, and four living creatures joined the worship. Everyone and everything God had created, and those who were saved, would raise their voices as one! What a melodious demonstration of praise and worship that will be. Know what? We will be in it! Our voices will shout out blessings to God along with Moses, Job, Peter, Anna and all the saints and created beings. What a heavenly celebration that will be. Look at what’s going on there though. These people are not Catholic, Baptists, Pentecostals, or even Jews. These are all of them in one body! This vision of worship should broaden our worldly view now. See these others for what they are, if they are born of the blood, Spirit, and water. With God there is no division. The only division in that scene is between the sinless angels and the redeemed saints. The angels will shout praises to God, the redeemed will sing!
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not advocating a one-world religion. That would leave God out completely as it does now. I’m contemplating us being one family with the Son of God through salvation and His righteousness.
V. 13-17. In verse 13 when the elder asked John who the white robed figures were, John shrugged his shoulders and said, “I have no clue!” Well, he didn’t really say those words, but they have the same meaning. “Sir, you know,” meant I don’t know in John’s day. So the elders made this information known to John. Now, understand this. The elder is not asking John if he recognizes the prophets, Old Testament saints, or New Testament saints. John knew of them, or knew them personally, or had at least written to their churches. The elder was asking about those whom John knew not. He took it upon himself then to explain them to john. They were the martyred saints of the Tribulation. These are the ones who had been under the throne who were “slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held.” No one will suffer in heaven, and these whom God has sealed will be worshipping before His throne through eternity. They will certainly never suffer again.
We can use this passage of Scripture to further assure ourselves that the church will not be here for the seven years of tribulation that will come. John’s knowledge ended with the church age. This is an entirely different group of people. These came after the church was taken home to be with Jesus. If you read what God will protect them from, it gives you an idea of how they died: Hunger, thirst, and burning.
“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. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 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” (Revelation 7: 15-17).
At the end of Revelations when in the New Jerusalem, there will be no temple. This temple is for the Tribulation saints. It’s the secure place where God will “dwell among them” and keep them safe from all harm. Jesus, their shepherd, will feed them, give them drink, and protect them from the sun and heat (Isaiah 49:10). He will lead them to “the living fountains of water” (Psalm 23:2). God will wipe away their tears (Isaiah 25:8).
To wipe away, or wipe out, exaleipho: Strong’s 1813: From ek, “out,” and aleipho, “to anoint”; hence, to wipe out, wipe off, wash. Used metaphorically, the word signifies a removal or obliteration, whether of sin (Acts 3:19), of writing (Colossians 2:14), of a name (Revelation 3:5, or of tears (Revelation 21:4).