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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 7

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-14

Throne section-The 144,000

12 Compare Mat_24:29 .

12 This cataclysm affects heaven as well as earth. There will be many quakes at the time of the end ( Rev_8:5 ; Rev_8:11-13 ; Rev_8:19 ; Rev_16:18 ).

Compare Hag_2:6-7 and Heb_12:26 . See also Hag_2:21 ; Zec_14:4-5 .

13 Figs which form in the winter are shaded so that they fail to mature and are easily shaken off in the spring. This is true also of figs without sufficient moisture or which are not fertilized. They wither and fall at the slightest shock. Figuratively the fig tree stands for government.

12 Before the great and terrible day of Jehovah comes manifestly "The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood" ( Joe_2:31 ; Act_2:20 ). Compare Isa_2:10-11 ; Isa_13:6-13 ; Isa_24:20-23 ; Isa_34:4 .

16 Our Lord quoted Hos_10:8 in referring to this time ( Luk_23:30 ). Compare Joe_2:10-11 ; Joe_2:30-31 ; Joe_3:15 .

17 See Mat_24:30 . The Son of Mankind appears immediately after the great convulsion. This seal takes us up to His advent, the same point we will reach under the seventh trumpet ( Rev_11:15 ). The following visions are a review of the period we have already traversed, filling in details and treating it from various viewpoints.

17 Two classes will be able to stand: the 144,000 and the vast multitude.

1 The four winds. Compare Mat_24:31 ; Dan_7:2 ; Dan_8:8 ; Dan_11:4 ; Jer_49:36 .

3 The wild beast's followers have the symbol of its name on their foreheads ( Rev_13:16 ); so these have His Father's name on their foreheads ( Rev_14:1 ).

4 Twelve is the number of government and the kingdom. There were twelve patriarchs, twelve tribes, etc. The Lord chose twelve commissioners who will rule the twelve tribes. The twelve times twelve thousand sealed will administer the kingdom. Here they are seen as slaves. Later they are seen as worshipers. Just as Jehovah reserved seven thousand for Himself in Ahab's days ( 1Ki_19:18 ), so He keeps these for Himself during this judgment era. Just as 1000 were taken from each tribe to go against the Midianites and none were lacking at the close ( Num_31:49 ), so with this chosen company. The full 144,000 will enter the kingdom unscathed.

Throne section-The Vast Multitude

7-8 Levi and Joseph appear here as tribes in place of Dan and Ephraim, who are "blotted out" because they introduced idolatry into Israel. Jehovah threatened to blot out the name of any tribe that served other gods and worshiped them ( Deu_29:18-26 ). The accounts of their apostasy will be found in Judg.18; 1Ki_12:28-30 . Ephraim, later, was joined to his idols ( Hos_4:17 ). They will, however, be restored to their allotment in the land (Eze.48) when the kingdom comes. But none of these are protected by God's seal during this time of affliction.

9 Palm branches were used in celebrating the feast of tabernacles ( Lev_23:40 ). It was a sign that they had come into the land. Here it is the assurance of entrance into the kingdom. The 144,000 are the first fruits ( Rev_14:4 ). These correspond to the feast of ingathering after the full harvest ( Lev_23:39 ). The fact that they come out of every nation and all tribes and peoples and languages does not forbid their being Israelites, for Jews are scattered among all the peoples of the earth. The fact that they keep this feast is sufficient evidence that they, like the 144,000, re out of the sons of Israel. These are those of the dispersion who conquer through the blood of the Lambkin ( Rev_7:14 ; Rev_12:11 ) and do not love their souls until death. They are the martyrs needed to complete those slain before the great affliction ( Rev_6:11 ) seen under the altar under the fifth seal.

14 Literal washing under the law was always in water, not in blood ( Lev_11:25 ; Num_8:21 ). The literal sense of this passage is that they cleansed themselves by their behavior, and faith in the sufferings of the One Sacrifice fitted them for God's presence. Such mingling of deeds and faith can have no place in this day of grace . Grace refuses to be mixed with deeds without losing its essential character ( Rom_4:4 ; Rom_11:6 ). God will deal differently in the coming era of vengeance.

14 This great affliction was foretold by our Lord ( Mat_24:21 ). It will be unexampled in the annals of the race. It will be shortened, or not even the elect would be saved. It is essentially an anti-Semitic outbreak on the part of the nations of the earth, in a last attempt to wipe out the name of Jehovah from the earth.

Verses 15-17

Throne Section-The Trumpets

15 The fact that they perform priestly functions shows that they are of the priest nation. No other nation will have access to the temple ( Exo_19:6 ; 1Pe_2:9 ; Rev_1:6 ) .

16 This description of millennial blessing is in accord with many passages in the prophets, notably the description of Jerusalem by ( Isa_4:5-6 ).

1 The hush is occasioned by the intense expectation which accompanies this, the last seal, just as the crowd who clamored for Paul's death hushed when he was about to speak ( Act_21:40 ). Hitherto there have been cries for vengeance and bursts of praise, but now the crisis has come and all hold their breath, as it were, to see the outcome. The delay shows that the inflictions are deliberate, not vindictive.

2 The trumpet was sounded in Israel in case of war ( Num_10:9 ). This was done by Ehud ( Jud_3:27 ) and Gideon ( Jud_6:34 ; Jud_7:8 ; Jud_7:18 ) and Saul ( 1Sa_13:3 ). ( Zep_1:14-16 ) calls the day of Jehovah a "day of trumpet and shouting". ( Joe_2:1 ) "Blow a trumpet . . . for the day of Jehovah comes". The trumpet judgments are the divine response to the prayers of the souls under the altar ( Rev_6:9 ).

2 The seven messengers may be identical with the seven who pour out the seven bowls ( Rev_15:1 ), and the seven spirits before the throne ( Rev_1:4 ), one of whom is Gabriel ( Luk_1:19 ).

3 The golden altar is distinct from the brazen altar of the fifth seal, which was in front of the temple and tabernacle. This altar was in the holy place, before the curtain, behind which was the ark and mercy seat, which was Jehovah's throne ( Exo_30:6 ; Exo_40:5 ; Exo_40:26 ) .

5 Compare the action of the messenger with the tenth of Ezekiel ( Rev_10:5 ; Rev_10:8 ), where fire is taken from between the Cherubim and strewn over Jerusalem in token of its doom.

7 Blood and fire are signs of the day of the Lord ( Joe_2:30 ). One of the plagues of Egypt was sounds and hail, and fire ( Exo_9:23-25 ). This will be repeated on a grander scale. Compare Joe_1:19 . We have no more reason to make the effects of the Trumpets figurative than the effect of Moses' rod in Egypt. A greater One than Moses is here.

8 This burning mountain may be a volcano, for this time is characterized by seismic disturbances of unparalleled violence ( Exo_7:20-21 , Psa_78:44 ; Psa_105:29 ; Hos_4:3 ; Isa_2:16 ).

9 If we believe that the river of Egypt was turned into blood and the fish in the river died ( Exo_7:20-21 ) when Moses smote the waters, what reason is there why we should not look for a similar judgment in Jehovah's day? ( Psa_78:44 ; Psa_105:29 ). But under no circumstances may these judgments be found in this day of grace.

10 The "star" seems to be a gaseous comet which will be readily absorbed by water. Absinthin, a yellow, crystalline compound, is the bitter principle of wormwood, which is highly poisonous when taken in large doses.

12 Signs in the sun, moon, and constellations precede the coming of the Son of Mankind ( Luk_21:25 ), though the usual reference is to the final cataclysm ( Rev_6:12 ).

Compare Amo_8:9 ; Jer_4:23:13 The vulture is noted for its swiftness ( Deu_28:49 ; Jer_4:13 ; Hab_1:8 ).

Unlike the eagle, it goes in company, seldom alone. Hence the significance of one vulture. It feeds on the carcasses of the dead, and is foraging for prey.


The last three trumpets, because of the unexampled and terrible nature of their inflictions, are called the three woes.

1 The abyss is a vast waste of waters which were on the surface of the earth after the cataclysm of Gen_1:2 , but which later subsided into its bowels, to emerge once more at the deluge ( Gen_7:11 ; Gen_8:2 ) and to recede again afterwards. It is called the abyss (depth) reclining under ( Gen_49:25 ; Deu_33:13 ). It is the subterranean source of springs ( Deu_8:7 ; Pro_8:28 ). In the beginning there was no abyss ( Pro_8:24 ), It occurs in Luk_8:31 ; Rom_10:7 ; Rev_9:1-2 ; Rev_9:11 ; Rev_11:7 ; Rev_17:8 ; Rev_20:1 ; Rev_20:3 . It plays a prominent part in this Unveiling, for the wild beast ascends out of the abyss ( Rev_11:7 , Rev_17:8 ) and Satan is imprisoned there during the thousand years.

1 The "well" is not a mere pit but is used of Jacob's well from which water is still drawn. This is in line with the meaning of abyss.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Revelation 7". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/revelation-7.html. 1968.
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