Revelation Chapter 7
Revelation 7 is the first Parenthetical passage. A chapter that explains more detail of what is going on between the sixth seal and the first trumpet judgment.
Rev 7:1 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 7:2 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 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
The wrath of God and judgment of God are never to be poured out upon those that are faithful to Him. We may suffer persecution, tribulation and sorrows for the gospel's sake in other words those that live godly in Christ may suffer the wrath of men because of their testimony but never the wrath of God. God's wrath is poured out in judgment upon those that do not keep His word and that harm His believers. It is never poured out on believers. Before anything is allowed to happen here God is going to place a seal upon those that are His chosen.
I believe that those sealed here are those that were saved during the first part of the tribulation and are kept here probably to preach the gospel to the rest of the world primarily in the land of Israel. These are natural Israel, the different tribes of Israel. We may think that the tribes are lost but God knows where they are. They are not lost to Him.
The group that is sealed here are not Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, those that keep the Sabbath, or some religious group from the United States or any other part of the world. This is to be taken literally. These sealed are from the 12 tribes of Israel. The number is exact.
You may notice that the tribe of Dan is not mentioned. It could be that no one from that tribe just happens have been saved yet, have not yet giving their lives to Jesus Christ. Some have stated that this tribe was the first tribe that went into idolatry so it is speculation as to why they are not mentioned.
This mark is not given to any but the tribes of Israel. It could be that the Gentile believers have already been killed as we shall see toward the end of the chapter. There are a few people that think others are sealed here but God just doesn't mention it. I personally disagree with that statement. I believe the sealed here are Israel only at this particular time.
Many of the church, even some existing today have mistakenly tried to replace Israel with the church for centuries. Even some prophecies in the Old Testament were explained to mean the church instead of Israel. We must not make that mistake again here. God's plan has always been for the natural branches of Abraham to be saved in the long run. He promised this to Abraham and that promise still stands. By the time of this great tribulation, the time of the Gentiles is ending and God's attention returns to Israel.
Since 70 AD there was no nation of Israel, so I can see the temptation of bible theologians trying to come up with another explanation to these verses other than the literal interpretation but we must always be careful never to interpret bible prophecy to match the times we are living in at present or we will get it wrong. Since 1948 we have no excuse to substitute the church in place of Israel in these passages.
Rev 7:4 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 7:5 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.
Rev 7:6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Naphtali were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
Rev 7:7 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.
Rev 7:8 Of the tribe of Zebulun were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
God knows the difference between Israel, the different tribes and the church. I hope none of us make the mistake of trying to supplant them. These remain on the earth for the purpose of spreading the gospel since the true church has left. Just like the first preachers were Jews, the last preachers of the gospel will be the Jews again. These are the first fruits of Israel, made pure and righteous by the blood of the lamb and are not defiled by the sexual immorality and spiritual fornication that is in the rest of the world.
Rev 7:9 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 7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
I found two interpretations for these people: These are what we call the tribulation saints that were killed after the first set of martyrs from chapter 6. This is probably who God was referring to when the first martyrs were told to rest a while until their fellow servants should be killed.
Here is a repeat of that verse.
Rev 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
Rev 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
The 144 thousand are still on the earth at this time or they would not need to be sealed before the judgments begin.
The other explanation is that these are the great company who previously went in the rapture of the church and that there is a mixture of those killed and those that died natural deaths, and those that were taken before the tribulation begin. Because of the number of people being so great a number, many hold this view. My Dad held this view on one occasion when we discussed it. However, there are a few questions I have with that view. First of all where then are the ones that were to be killed that were spoken of in chapter six when souls were crying out for vengeance? If these are not they, were are they and when do they get to go to heaven? Another thought is that these came out of great tribulation making it appear that they were killed during the tribulation. Wow, so many. This may be why there are so many different opinions on the timing of the rapture because of the different scenes of saints that are seen in heaven. It is rare but a few have stated that perhaps there is more than one rapture. We do know that Enoch and Elijah were taken to heaven without dying so it is possible. This is so exciting to study and think about.
We do know for sure that since the beginning of the church during the apostles time until now many were killed for the gospel's sake. If this company are the raptured church, then not all would be martyrs because some faithful believers died without particularly dying a martyrs death. We still are not quite in the middle of the tribulation yet at this point in scripture so even if these were the church they didnít go through all the tribulation. If the pre-tribulation teaching is correct these might be those that went in the rapture before this all began but we just didn't see them previously.
Rev 7:11 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 worshiped God,
Rev 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen.
If we are uncomfortable around people that continually praise the Lord, heaven will be the wrong place to be in for continual worship abounds because we are so thankful to God for allowing us to be among those that make it to heaven and stand before His throne.
Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
How do we become worthy?
First believe on the name of Jesus Christ. The next part is contained in the following verses:
Rev 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
They preserved the word until the end. They stood fast, unmovable in the truth. They did not deny His name in the face of opposition. What He said, they believed and kept hidden in their hearts not allowing any teaching or doctrine to persuade them other wise. We must keep the word.
So many are teaching less and less of God's word and substituting other things. Here are many ways we can do this:
1. First of all praise and worship is wonderful. We see much of this in heaven in this book of Revelation. Genuine praise and worship should be the norm rather than a rarity. That is how the whole congregation joins in to worship. The word read, studied and taught by those called of God to teach is needed just as much as praise and worship. We need the word taught in all our assembly meetings without neglecting the worship time as well. Sometimes we see one emphasized above the other and we get unbalanced.
I realize Sunday School was something added to the church later and we didn't see that in the book of Acts but that is where we get the teaching of the word that is badly missing from today's church services. Many have dropped Sunday School. That word is what sustains us when the music stops. That word is what gets hidden in our hearts so that we do not desire to sin against God. That word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Without the word, we are easily deceived by every new fad and doctrine that comes along and there are many.
Some may run out and buy every new book that comes out by a popular author when the greatest book ever written lays on our shelves collecting dust. We need to devour the word, study it and live by its teachings. I know we look up verses to support some pet theory we are trying to teach at times but that is not a true bible study. We can teach almost anything we attempt by hunting and picking favorite pet scriptures by proof texting. We need more verse by verse teaching and discussion.
2. Feeding the hungry is a wonderful work but it is so easy to get so busy in good works that the gospel that saves the soul is neglected. The world loves the churches that have feed the hungry programs but they prefer that the name of Jesus is left out or way back on the back burner. Yet we see from this prophecy that those that did not deny His name are the ones that stand before the throne of God and escape the wrath of God. Yes Jesus warns against neglecting the poor and we should give them clothes to wear, food to eat and water to drink but the word is food for the soul. That should be the priority.
3. Churches having fund raisers, quilting bees and scrap booking workshops may have their place but if the word is not the priority, they are a waste of time and effort.
4. What ever happened to the prayer meetings? We need to pray. We can't do anything on our own. We need the word and the Spirit of God to quicken that word and apply it to our hearts. The only draw back to a prayer meeting is the temptation to talk away our prayer time. We sometimes spend an hour talking compared to 5 minutes of praying. Even taking prayer requests can get lengthy and take up more time than the actual praying.
Fellowship is good but when its time to pray, we must pray.
5. One of our latter day temptations is to get mixed up in politics. I realize that we get tired of being small and the underdogs of society. The temptation to band together for a common cause is tremendous. I too hate abortion, sexual perversion, pornography, filth, and kicking God out of schools. There is not a bigger sidetrack though for a church to become involved in than getting into politics and badly neglect the gospel that Jesus told us to preach. It is much better to preach the gospel, preach against abortion and see someone's heart change so that they do not desire abortions than to lobby Congress to pass laws against it although that is not wrong since abortion is murder but the power of the gospel is a greater way. The gospel is still the most powerful weapon against sin if we are faithful to it. Also politics stirs up hate if we are not careful. We can't love and hate at the same time.
6. Another side track is to become so envious of another churches' success that we continually tear them down and point out their errors instead of majoring on the gospel ourselves.
7. The opposite of striving for the wrong kind of unity by joining others in a political movements is to become so inward that we come to church every week praying for the same requests and focusing on our own sicknesses, job losses and troubles that we forget about the lost souls around us. I realize that caring for one another does have a place for the bible teaches us to weep with those that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice but we can get so bogged down with our own troubles that we fail to spread the gospel.
Rev 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
Rev 7:14 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.
They Verse 14 supports the ones that believe all these people seen here were those that were killed during the tribulation. They were faithful even if they had to die for being faithful. First of all these were those that accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is the gospel? They believed that Jesus was the one God sent to die for their sins. They repented of sin and received Jesus Christ. They began to follow Him and believe His word. When opposition came along they stood fast and did not falter. When their enemies threatened them with death or deny His name, they stood firm and allowed themselves to die rather than have their lives spared a little longer in to please man.
If we can't boldly stand up for Jesus Christ now when it is easy (at least for those in free countries), how would we stand against persecution and the threat of death? If we are afraid to name the name of Jesus in public because we might offend someone, how would we be able to refuse to deny His name in the face of death?
Rev 7:15 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.
This shows us that there will be things to do in heaven but it will not be anything that would cause stress and or that would be burdensome. This verse also would give some credence to the second explanation for these people and that they were the previously raptured church instead of tribulation martyrs because they appear to have been serving him night and day in his temple dwelling with Christ. It would appear from this verse that they had not just arrived on the scene.
Again and again we see so many different ways to look at things. Instead of letting it divide us and cause arguments though it should be something we discuss with a heart that is seeking, searching and studying. We miss so much biblical fellowship because we can't discuss things without fighting and trying to prove ourselves right and bad mouth those that have a different view than the one we may hold. I've been on many online social media groups that discuss these topics and sadly had to depart from some groups because someone will start name calling and shut down any opposing opinions. They will post you tube videos either to prove their point or destroy the ministry of one that disagrees with their point by calling them false teachers just because they disagree on something. It is so sad. This is why many churches shy away from this topic and avoid it when the very first chapter in Revelation promises us a blessing if we read and keep the words within that prophecy. What should be exciting and a learning issue becomes a point of division instead.
Rev 7:16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. This would indicate that when they were upon the earth, they did hunger, thirst and suffer intense heat.
Rev 7:17 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.
All sorrow, hurt, pain, and suffering will be taken away from them replaced by everlasting joy, comfort and peace. They were willing to suffer for His sake so no one can now harm them any longer. Here are some verses to go along with these:
Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
Luk 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
Luk 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
Luk 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Luk 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
Luk 12:9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. About the washing of their robes in the blood of the lamb.
Their sins were cleansed. They were not born perfect but came by way of faith to be saved by trusting in Jesus.
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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