The 7th chapter of Revelation is composed of a “parentheses” which means that, while the events are taking place on earth, other things are being done in Heaven. It’s the “other things” God informs us about which make up the 7th chapter. The chapter is made up of the following:
1. Sealing of the 144,000 Jews to Protect Them From the Trumpet Judgments
2. The Great Tribulation saints
The Sealing of the 144,000 Jews
The events of this chapter explain what will transpire from the sixth seal through the rest of the Great Tribulation period. The four angels John saw are the first four trumpet judgment angels. They are commanded not to blow their trumpets until the 144,000 Jews are sealed and marked for protection to go through the judgments. The 144,000 are sealed by another angel before the seven trumpet judgments.
In the first verse, we learn of the four trumpet judgments. In the second verse, we learn about “another angel.” We are not told who this angel is. The scripture just says that he has “...the seal of the living God:...” Though it is possible that the seal can be seen by others, it will probably be a spiritual seal and will be unseen by fellow humans. It is important to understand that the book of Revelation is an account of events occurring in the spirit world (Heaven) which triggers things that take place on earth.
When reading the book of Revelation, you find the “behind the scenes” account of things happening on earth. Many scenes are very strange to the human mind, but that’s because they are in another dimension.
In the third verse, when the angel says, “…Hurt not the earth,...till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” He is speaking of the first four trumpet judgments that will come to the designated parts of the world. So, we have a time period of unstated length before the four trumpet judgments. And these “servants are sealed.” Who are theses servants? It is very evident that these servants of God are 12,000 Jews of the tribes selected by The Holy Spirit. All of the tribes are included except Dan. The names of Dan and Ephraim are not mentioned here. The names of Levi and Joseph take their places. To explain the omission of Dan, many use Deuteronomy 29:18-21 which pertains to idolatry. But which one of the tribes did not go into idolatry? The real reason for none of the tribe of Dan being sealed here is that none are servants of God, according to Revelation 7:3, at that time. Dan will be restored with the other tribes in the Millennium, so the idolatry of Dan is no reason for the tribe being left out here. (Ezekiel 48:30-35; Revelation 21:12)
One thing we do know, these 144,000 Jews are not servants (saved by grace) when the Rapture occurs. Everyone saved at that particular time (Jews included) will go to be with The Lord in the Rapture of the Church. These individuals will be saved after the Rapture in the great revival predicted in Acts 2:16-21. They are to be saved and become servants of God by the time they are sealed.
Some state that God has a different plan of salvation for Jews than He does for Gentiles. This is false. The Word of God plainly tells us that God’s method of salvation is the same for Jews and Gentiles alike according to Galatians 3:28, there is neither Jew nor Greek, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. So, these individuals will be saved the same way that all men are saved, and that is by accepting Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior (John 3:16). The question must be asked, “What will precipitate this great spiritual revival among these 144,000 Jews?” Even though the church has repeatedly used Acts 2:16-21 as referring to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in these last days, (and that is certainly so), it will have an even greater fulfillment in the first half of the Great Tribulation period. At this time, the prophecy was given by Joel (Joel 2:28-29) and quoted by Simon Peter will come into full flower. Even though we do not know what will precipitate the great revival among the Jews at this time, we know it will happen. We are only given a hint in Acts 2.
Secondly, it seems the Jews spoken of will be Jews who are in the land of Israel. There are approximately 4 million Jews in Israel. Thousands more are coming in daily from the Soviet Union and elsewhere. So, this number will increase considerably by this specific time. There are 3 million Jews left in the Soviet Union. There are about 5 million Jews in the U.S.A. And 3 to 4 million Jews elsewhere, totaling roughly 15 million Jews on a worldwide basis. However, we believe that this sealing of the 144,000 Jews pertains only to the Jews in Israel simply because the region, which the first 4 trumpet judgments will affect in the generalized Mediterranean area. Of course, another question begging to be asked is this, “How can the exact 12,000 from each tribe minus Dan be saved?” There is no answer to that. If the Bible says there will be 12, 000 from each tribe, then there will be 12,000 from each tribe unless it is a symbolic number. The fact that 12,000 out of the 12 of the 13 tribes of Israel are mentioned as being saved and as being servants of God during these first 3 1/2 years of Daniel’s 70th week proves they are all Jews and not Gentiles. The time of the fulfillment is equal proof that they are all alive at the same time, being saved in a short while after the Rapture of the Church. They are protected through the trumpet judgments of Revelation 9:4 and will be translated as the man-child of Revelation 12:5, after which, they are seen in Heaven according to Revelation 14:1-5.
The Great Tribulation Saints
Then John sees another multitude of people that have no connection with the 144,000 that he has just related to us, not related as far as happenings are concerned but related as far as the acceptance of Jesus Christ is concerned.
Verses 9-17 portray the last company of redeemed in the book. They are all martyrs, yet the 144,000 are all living people translated without dying (Revelation 12:5). These individuals saw John beginning with the 9th verse as are martyred after the Rapture of the Church. They include the saints under the altar in Revelation 6:9-11 and the rest of their brethren that should be killed in the Great Tribulation period (Revelation 14:13). We note that this will be a tremendous number.
The statement “...which no man could number,...” in verse 9 does not mean that it’s impossible to number them. It simply means the number is so great that standing in one company, no person could tell the exact number. We are also told that these are Gentiles (all peoples, nations and tongues). They are standing before the throne of God and before the Lamb clothed in white robes with palms, symbolic of victory, in their hand. We all know of these individuals as martyrs. They are killed, they are resurrected and translated and given glorified bodies. This will take place towards the end of the Great Tribulation period, and it appears that this group will complete the first resurrection (Revelation 10:4-6). These individuals are saying “…Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:10). By this they are saying “God alone is the author of salvation and the Lamb is the one who purchased it.”
The Bible says the angels, the elders and the living creatures will fall down before the throne and worship God. They will say “...Amen:...” which means “So be it.”
Then, one of the elders will ask, “...What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” (Revelation 7:13) John answered, “...Sir, thou knowest....” And one of the elders answered, “...These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14) In as much as they came out of the Great Tribulation, we call them the Tribulation Saints.
After the rapture of the church and the Great Tribulation period begins, I believe huge numbers of people are going to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. No doubt, millions of backslidden Christians will not make the rapture, and immediately, when the rapture takes place, most of these individuals will give their hearts and lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be other tremendous outpourings of The Holy Spirit during this time as well according to Acts Chapter 2.
At the same time as the antichrist makes his bid for world dominion, even declare war and more and more, not only those who oppose him, but those who name the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ. Consequently, many millions will be murdered by the antichrist and his henchmen during this time. The intensity of this fulfillment will take place in the last half of the Great Tribulation period (3 ½ years). The door of mercy will never be closed to Jews or Gentiles for the scripture plainly says in Acts 2:21 that whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.
The 144,000 Jews
1 And after these things
-the first parenthetical passage coming between the sixth and seventh seals
I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth,
-represents the universality of God’s administration
holding the four winds of the earth,
-actually refers to judgment which will be stopped for a short period of time
that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
-The winds of judgment strive to be turned loose but they are held in abeyance by the omnipotence of Almighty God.
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east,
-The advent of this angel portrays the fact that this is the beginning of the restoration of Israel.
having the seal of the living God:
-pertains to the seal of salvation in 2 Timothy 2:19
and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
-the judgments are to be held in check
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
-This is not literal but rather, a token as the sprinkled blood on the lintel protected the house from the destroying angel at the first Passover.
4 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.
-12,000 from each tribe. These are the firstfruits of Israel which are included in the first resurrection with all of Israel coming to Christ at the Second Coming.
5 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.
6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
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.
8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph (Ephraim) were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
-The tribe of Dan is omitted and no reason is given
The Great Tribulation Saints
9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude,
-pertains to martyrs who gave their lives for the Lord Jesus Christ in the Great Tribulation
which no man could number,
-represents the many, possibly millions, who will be saved in the Great Tribulation
of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb,
-By the use of the word “Lamb” we know and realize that their sin-stained garments have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
-could be paraphrased “dressed in richest wedding garments of purest, dazzling white.” These are God’s blood-bought. The palms represent joy according to Nehemiah 8:17.
10 And cried with a loud voice,
-proclaims great joy
saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
-Once again, we are told here how God has brought about salvation. It is through what Jesus did at The Cross and through that means alone.
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,
-This tremendous volume of worship and praise has to do with what Jesus did at the Cross and in his atonement for all sin by the giving of Himself in sacrifice.
12 Saying, Amen:
-in this proclamation that God has provided salvation to humanity through the work of the Lamb
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
-As the praises to God the Father are seven-fold, they are also seven-fold to God the Son in Revelation 5:12. This shows that both God and The Lamb are regarded in Heaven as entitled to equal praise.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me,
-proclaims one of the 24 addressing questions that are in John’s mind but have not been asked
What are these which are arrayed in white robes?
-This would better be translated “Who are these?”
and whence came they?
-Where do they come from?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.
-presents reverent regard but definitely not worship
And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation,
-refers to a specific group
and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
-They were saved by trusting Christ and what He did at The Cross. In the book of Revelation, the emphasis placed on The Cross is overwhelming.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple:
-All of this particular group came out of the Great Tribulation
and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
-The One Who sits on the throne will cast His protecting tabernacle over all the saints of God which, in effect, is in His presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
-proclaims a perfect environment
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them,
-Not only did The Lamb save them, but He, as well, “...shall feed them,” Not only does our salvation come by and through what Jesus did a The Cross, but we “live” by what Jesus did for us at The Cross as well.
and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters:
-symbolic of The Holy Spirit in John 7:37-39
and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
-All things causing sorrow will be forever gone.
Scripture is in BLACK FONT
Words of Jesus in RED FONT
Notes in BLUE FONT
The Book of Revelation