Revelation chapter 7

God gathers all twelve tribes of his chosen people the Jews, marking them for protection. Then a multitude of martyrs from every nation appears. [UPDATED]

 


 

THE 144,000 ISRAELITES ARE SEALED

 

VERSE 1. After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree.

holding the four winds of the earth. The angels have incredible power.

Four of them stop all wind on the entire planet. The power required to do that would be at least in the petawatts, and probably much, much higher.

Yet for these four angels, it is easy.

 

VERSE 2. I saw another angel ascend from the sunrise, having the seal of the living God. He cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to harm the earth and the sea,

having the seal of the living God. What is this seal? Perhaps it is something relating to Jesus Christ.

to whom it was given. These four angels have been given the authority to act. This authority is given them by God Almighty.

to harm the earth and the sea. The authority given to these four angels is to do great harm, on a planet-wide scale. No one on earth will be exempt from the devastation they will inflict.

 

VERSE 3. saying, “Don’t harm the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the bondservants of our God on their foreheads!”

sealed the bondservants of our God. What is this seal? Liturgical Christians imagine it is the chrism oil that a baby is anointed with at baptism. However, that does not fit:

  • At this moment in the text, nobody on earth has the seal yet. The angels have to run around and mark the saints with it.
  • At baptism, most Christians are NOT marked with chrism oil.

Having this seal on your forehead will be terribly important:

Ezekiel 9:4. The LORD said to him, “Go through the middle of the city, through the middle of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”

 

VERSE 4. I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel:

one hundred forty-four thousand. These are the famed 144,000. Later, in Revelation 14:1, they are seen standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion.

out of every tribe of the children of Israel. The 144,000 are from the tribes of the Hebrew people. They are Jewish believers.

Many Christians have forgotten that the Jewish people are still the chosen servants of the Most High God. God has never ever recanted his call upon them.

Ezekiel 9:4. The LORD said to him, “Go through the middle of the city, through the middle of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”

 

VERSE 5. of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed, of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,

 

VERSE 6. of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,

 

VERSE 7. of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,

 

VERSE 8. of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, and of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.

 

A VAST MULTITUDE FROM EVERY NATION

 

VERSE 9. After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could count, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.

a great multitude. This is a truly massive crowd. It is so large that nobody can count it. This great multitude fulfills the promise of the LORD to Abraham:

Genesis 22:17a. I will bless you greatly, and I will multiply your offspring greatly like the stars of the heavens, and like the sand which is on the seashore.

The Lord Jesus calls us to take his Gospel to the whole world. Here are the key Bible verses about this »

Some Catholics imagine this is fulfilled by the huge crowds at the pope’s World Youth Day. However, those crowds number in the millions. That is a countable number. The crowd in this verse is not countable.

Also, World Youth Day is not the largest human gathering. It is not even close. Every 12 years, there is a Hindu pilgrimage in India called the Maha Kumbh Mela. At the 2013 event, an estimated 60 million people gathered.

out of every nation. The Greek word is ἔθνος (“ethnos”). It refers to people who are joined by similar customs or a common culture. Think: ethnicity.

In this verse, there are people from every nation (“ethnicity”) on earth. This indicates how far from completion is the task of evangelizing and discipling the nations.

Even now, 2,000 years after the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, there are entire nations to which Christians have hardly bothered to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ.

We are very far from evangelizing and discipling all the nations.

all tribes. The Greek word is φυλή (“phulé”). It is often translated as “race.” It means the descendants of a common ancestor. Think: tribe.

Once again, we Christians are very far from having evangelized and discipled every tribe on earth.

peoples. The Greek word here is λαός (“laos”). It means people or crowd. There are entire people-groups that we Christians have left untouched by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

languages. The Greek word here is γλῶσσα (“glóssa”). It means language.

There are entire language-groups to which Christians have not yet even bothered to reach, even after 2,000 years.

Some language-groups will become extinct before we even get around to evangelizing them.

There is an entire language-group in Tibet whose population has dwindled so low that there is only one person left on earth who speaks it.

When she passes away, that will be a language-group that we Christians never, ever, ever reached out to in 2,000 years.

dressed in white robes. Apparently this is how the “saved” are identified. There is more on this in verse 13, below.

with palm branches in their hands. Biblically, this is associated with Jesus Christ’s triumphal arrival in Jerusalem, shortly before his death and resurrection.

 

VERSE 10. They cried with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation be to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Salvation be to our God. They are affirming a simple theological truth that salvation comes from our God.

Yet this is the one theological truth that just about everybody gets wrong. Just about everybody thinks they need to work their way to heaven.

and to the Lamb! This is another simple theological truth that a lot of Christians get messed up. They forget all about Jesus Christ.

 

VERSE 11. All the angels were standing around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before his throne, and worshiped God,

 

VERSE 12. saying, “Amen! Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might, be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

 

VERSE 13. One of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are arrayed in the white robes, who are they, and where did they come from?”

one of the elders. This elder is a very central figure. Yet he is willing to talk with John.

arrayed in the white robes. In verse 9, above, we saw that the great multitude was wearing these white robes.

 

VERSE 14. I told him, “My lord, you know.” He said to me, “These are those who came out of the great suffering. They washed their robes, and made them white in the Lamb’s blood.

washed their robes, and made them white in the Lamb’s blood. They became Christians. This verse is where people get the expression, “Have you been washed in the Blood of the Lamb?”

 

VERSE 15. Therefore they are before the throne of God, they serve him day and night in his temple. He who sits on the throne will spread his tabernacle over them.

 

VERSE 16. They will never be hungry or thirsty any more. The sun won’t beat on them, nor any heat;

 

VERSE 17. for the Lamb who is in the middle of the throne shepherds them and leads them to springs of life-giving waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

the Lamb. That is, Jesus Christ.

who is in the middle of the throne. The only place for us to give Jesus Christ is at the center of our lives. We center our lives on Jesus Christ.

shepherds them, and leads them. Jesus Christ is their shepherd. They will no longer look to church leaders to be their shepherds.

 


« rev. 6   REVELATION   rev. 8 »
outline   memorize

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

Author: Todd Van Natta

I was given a great gift. It is to be passionate about Jesus Christ and the Bible and the spiritual life. I am a Christian believer. I believe in Jesus Christ. I’m in love with Jesus! I believe the Bible. I love the Bible. For decades, I've been reading it cover-to-cover, again and again and again. I’ve memorized a whole lot of Bible verses. Most of all, I want the Bible to help us fall more deeply in love with God the Father, with Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with other people, and with ourselves. And I've been reading the great writings from the entire Christian heritage for decades. At Explore the Faith, I share what I have discovered.

Leave a Reply