In Peru I remember well a conversation I once had with a little old man who lived on the outskirts of the village where I had my parish. He lived in a miserable hut, with his only possessions of a few pots and pans, and some rags of clothing. A scrawny little dog was always at his side. He was one of the happiest persons I have ever known. There was much peace and dignity about him. I cannot forget his smiling face. In conversation I soon discovered the secret of his joy. "Why are you always smiling?" I asked. "Because a joke a day makes me laugh--keeps me happy." "Well, what's the great joke?" "I am." "You?""Yes, me. I think of God who created me and loves me and I laugh. God is so great, and I look at myself and say, `He loves me, a good-for-nothing - and I laugh. I am the joke and He is the jester."
A. During our study of chapter 6, (during the 5th seal), we caught a glimpse "of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held." Vrs. 9
1. Clothed in white robes, they were asking the Lord how long it would be before He would avenge their blood!
2. HE told them to rest and wait a little longer for there were more to be martyred during this great tribulation.
B. Chapter 7 deals with these tribulation saints!
1. It is almost a "parenthetical" chapter if you will.
2. The 6th seal has been opened. The great earthquake has taken place. Kings and rulers, rich and poor alike are hiding themselves in caves to escape the wrath of the Lamb.
3. But, the 7th seal is not opened until chapter 8!
a) The Lord pauses here between the seals to give John and us a more complete picture of the redeemed saints before the throne!
(1) Keep in mind that John at his point has not seen the completed result of all this destruction!
(2) Perhaps it is for him that the Lord "pauses" to give hope and show His mercy toward the saints.
(3) Perhaps it is an answer to the question that ended chapter 6, "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"
(4) The Lord does both. He answers the question and gives John the encouragement he needs to withstand the rest of the revelation.
II. REVELATION CHAPTER 7
A. Revelation 7:1 1 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. (NKJV)
1. Those who would like to discredit the Bible claim this verse is "pre scientific". Claiming that the Bible assumes the world to be "flat".
2. It is the same Greek word used in Rev. 20:8 that is translated as the four "quarters" of the earth.
a) Mariners and geologists today call it the "four quadrants of the compass, or the four directions!
(1) Dr. Henry Morris (THE REVELATION RECORD) ". . accurate modern geodetic measurements in recent years have proved that the earth actually does have four 'corners.' These are protuberances standing out from the basic ...spherical shape of the earth."
b) Today, the most common usage would be North, South, East, and West!
c) These four angels are standing on the North and South poles as well as opposite end of the equator holding back the wind!
d) That means that the entire water cycle that makes life possible on earth will be halted for a season!
(1) No doubt this ties in with the great famine the world is experiencing from the 3rd seal.
(2) No doubt these 4 angels are assisting the LORD's two witnesses who are given the power to stop the rain for 3 1/2 years!
(a) Revelation 11:3-63 "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. 6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. (NKJV)
B. Revelation 7:2-3 2 Then 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 granted to harm the earth and the sea, (NKJV) 3 saying, "Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads." (NKJV)
1. The drought will lead to mass starvation, but this mighty angel brings the mercy of the Lord in the form of a "seal" to separate God's people from those for which the judgment is intended.
a) The Lord did this in Egypt as the Passover blood was applied to the doorposts of God's people and the angel of death passed over their houses!
b) The Holy Spirit is called the seal of God which no doubt these believers will receive, but along with HIM also comes a special physical protection.
c) The word "till" implies the restraining is temporary!
d) Many believe that this is a time for these new saints to get grounded in their new found faith.
(1) After all, these new believers will have a profound affect as evangelisists during the tribulation.
(2) They must get prepared spiritually, and protected physically, if they are to win "thousands of thousands" to the Lord during that time period.
e) This seal will also be physical! On their foreheads! Identifying them as God's special servants, under His protection.
(1) A procedure that the antichrist will duplicate according to Rev. 13:16.
(a) Revelation 13:1616 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, (NKJV)
C. Revelation 7:4-8 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed: 5 of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed; 6 of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed; 7 of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed; 8 of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed. (NKJV)
1. Remember this is not the church, they are already in the presence of the Lord.
a) Also, in the "church", there is "neither Jew nor Gentile" according to Gal. 3:27-28.
2. These 144,000 are literally Jews from the 12 tribes! They are not some select group that today claims to be the "only ones going to heaven"! There is not one Gentile mentioned among them!
a) Please don't misunderstand, there will be Gentiles saved during the tribulation, but they are not mentioned in this group that receives the seal and the special protection!
3. In this list, Dan is omitted! Presumably for the idolatry recorded in Lev. 24:11, and Judges 18:1-2.
a) Strauss = "William Barclay points out the fact that in Rabbinic symbolism Dan stands for idolatry and that Antichrist is to spring from Dan. This conclusion is based upon Jeremiah 8:16."
b) Manasseh, the first-born son of Joseph is mentioned in Dan's place.
D. Revelation 7:9 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, (NKJV)
1. As John looked , he saw yet another multitude no human could number.
2. He saw such a variety of Gentile nationalities that he couldn't even describe them.
3. The "sealed" witnesses of the tribulation have done their job! The Gospel has been preached to all nations and perhaps millions have come to know the Lord as Savior!
4. They white robes suggest that the saints from the earlier part of the tribulation is among them.
5. If you remember, in chapter 6 the Lord told them to wait and rest for a while 'till the others joined them!
E. Revelation 7:1010 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (NKJV)
1. With palm branches in hand, their cry, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" is essentially the same cry which another multitude voiced on that fateful Sunday Jesus entered the city riding upon a donkey as they cried, "Hosanna!"
2. The palm branches are used in worship of a God that delivers and protects.
As in the Feast of Tabernacles where they Israelites would move out of their homes and live in "lean-to's" covered with palm branches as a celebration of the LOrd delivering them out of the wilderness.
a) Here He has delivered SALVATION to those that believed on His name!!!
F. Revelation 7:11-12 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen." (NKJV)
1. Angel are created beings. They have never and will never experience what it is like to be utterly helpless, and by the mercy of God, know what it is like to be saved!
a) As they see the redeemed saints so full of appreciation they are reduced to praising the Lord along with them!
G. Revelation 7:1313 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?" (NKJV)
1. As we said earlier, John had not yet seen the results of the entire tribulation. He is only up to the sixth seal, so, He does not know until the next verse who they are, or how they got there!
H. Revelation 7:1414 And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (NKJV)
1. The Lord reveals their identity as the ones that made it out of the great tribulation by trusting in the Savior.
2. And the following is their reward:
I. Revelation 7:15-16 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 dwell among them. 16 "They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; (NKJV)
1. It is important to remember, that these Christians here at the throne are servants by choice, not by demand!
2. They have the privilege most dream of; to serve the Lord day and night! And have the Lord live amongst them!!
a) There is no day or night in heaven so this refers to the millennial kingdom!
b) Look at the rewards: no hunger, no thirst, no sunburn. In fact the temperature will "spiritually controlled".
J. Revelation 7:1717 "for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (NKJV)
1. HE claimed to be the "living water" to the woman at the well".
2. HE claimed also to be the "bred of life".
3. HE is much more that salvation to the Christian, we will live in and through Him!!
QUOTE: From Max Lucado's book "HE STILL MOVES STONES"