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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Revelation 7

 

 

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Introduction

What About the Saints?

- Revelation Seven -

Revelation chapter six provided an announcement of the terrible judgment that was to come on the Roman Empire. The natural question would be "what will happen to those that have faithfully served God? Will they escape the judgment or will they also face destruction? "For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:17)

God has provided for the protection of His faithful servants. The forces of destruction were held in restraint until God"s servants had been sealed. The sealing applied to all Christian, not just Jewish Christians. "Seal" was very similar to Ezekiel 9:4-6 where the seal meant safety in time of trouble. "And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house."

After the Devil had tried his best to destroy the people of God a great multitude, which no man can number, is seen before the throne in heaven. God"s faithful people were victorious! They can now stand in the presence of the Almighty because their sins have been washed in the sacrificial blood of the Lamb!


Verses 1-3

The winds are restrained - Revelation 7:1-3 : After the previous visions John saw four angels standing at the Four Corners of the earth. God"s power restrained the destruction from the north, south, east and west. God Himself through Jesus Christ provided protection and victory for His people. The picture is that of the restraint of destructive forces by the angels.

The sealing pictured here extends throughout the entire Christian age. Jesus had promised, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20) The angle that had the power to seal came from the east, the direction of light for the world. This angel instructed the destructive angles to be restrained until God"s servants were sealed. This could only be accomplished at the end of the Christian age.

The children of God are sealed for the specific and unique purpose of glorifying God upon the earth. The picture of God"s people being sealed in the forehead provides both comfort and a great challenge. We are comforted with the assurance that we belong to God. The challenge is that we depart from all evil and boldly identify ourselves children of God. "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (2 Timothy 2:19)


Verses 4-8

The servants are sealed - Revelation 7:4-8 : The picture is that of 144,000 redeemed ones being sealed. They are the saved, not just physical Jews. Many of the fleshly Jews had murdered the Messiah and hindered the truth all over the world. The 144,000 pictured all the saved of the earth. Concerning the 12 tribes there are at least 20 different ways of listing the tribes of Israel in the Old Testament. Dan is not mentioned here, nor is Ephraim; but Joseph which included both Ephraim and Manasseh is listed. Levi is included in this list while not included in many other lists. The 144,000 must represent the whole church of the New Testament as spiritual Israel.

When God wanted a number to represent the total number of the redeemed He chose 144,000. We must keep in mind that this is a symbol and not literal. A "thousand" is a number that represents completeness. "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills." (Psalms 50:10) God sealed and protected these saints on the earth.


Verses 9-12

The glory that was given - Revelation 7:9-12 : John now saw an innumerable company in heaven. This innumerable company is the whole church of God. They are not sealed now because they were sealed while on the earth. God preserved these saints not from death but by death. The blood bought church of Christ will be triumphant in heaven. These Christians had prevailed over persecution and death because of the blood of the Lamb. Their cry of victory was "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." (Revelation 7:10)

Jesus had said, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14). This picture of a great multitude that no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues is evidence that the Great Commission will be fulfilled before the end of the world just as Jesus promised. This great host of redeemed ones gave honor and glory to God for the great salvation He has provided through the blood of the Lamb.


Verses 13-17

The happy state of the faithful - Revelation 7:13-17 : There is nothing in this text that points to one particular trial or distress. Those who continue to come out of the tribulations of the world faithful to God and washed in the blood of the Lamb are truly in a happy state. Great multitudes out of all races continue to come to God. After this earthly life the faithful stand before the throne of God singing the song of salvation. "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." (Revelation 7:15)

They are coming out of great tribulation. "Coming out of the great tribulation" is a continuing thing throughout the Christian age. They were washed in the blood and thus can now stand in God"s presence. He then spreads His perfect protection over 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 7:16-17) While their service to God might have meant some suffering on the earth their eternity will be a perfect life with perfect joy.

Christians who overcome the sorrows and tribulations of life will ultimately be in the very presence of God, and shall participate in the joys of heaven forever. The blood of the lamb and the joy awaiting the redeemed should motivate us to obey God quickly. Those who obey the gospel are washed in the precious blood of Jesus. To obey the gospel one must hear the salvation message (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Jesus as Lord and Christ (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) Have you obeyed the Almighty? Obey now because tomorrow might be too late.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 7:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/revelation-7.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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