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THE INTERVAL BETWEEN THE SIXTH AND SEVENTH SEALS
1. THE SEALING OF THE 144,000.
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And 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 given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have SEALED THE SERVANTS OF OUR GOD IN THEIR FOREHEADS. And I heard the number of them which were SEALED: and there were SEALED A HUNDRED AND FORTY AND FOUR THOUSAND OF ALL THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL.”
Here we have a respite in the breaking of the “Seals” that God’s “elect of Israel” may be “SEALED.” As God reserved 7000 in the days of Ahab who did not bow the knee to Baal (1. Kings 19:18), so there will be a “remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:4-6), and God will reserve 144,000 of Israel who during the period of the Tribulation will not bow the knee to Antichrist. This SEALING is not the Sealing of the Holy Spirit, by whom the Believer is sealed (Ephesians 1:13-14), but it is a “sealing” at the hand of Angels. Christ refers to it in Matthew 24:31. What this SEALING is we are told in Revelation 14:1. The “FATHER’S NAME” is to be written on their foreheads. They were “Sealed” on their FOREHEADS where others could see it. Theirs was no secret discipleship. In the same public manner the followers of Antichrist will be “Sealed” in their Foreheads or on their RIGHT HAND, with the “MARK OF THE BEAST” which is the NUMBER OF HIS NAME, or 666. Revelation 13:16-18.
The 144,000, 12,000 from each Tribe, will be of the earthly Israel, the literal seed of Abraham, living at that time, and not of a mystical or spiritual Israel. Though the “Twelve Tribes” were long ago lost among the nations, their whereabouts is not unknown to God. And though they may have lost their genealogical books and records, so as not to be able to trace their Tribal descent, God knows where they are, and who is who, and in that day the angels, with omniscient precision, will seal them according to their Tribes, 12,000 from each Tribe. The Angel who has charge of the SEALING comes from the EAST. This is significant. It intimates that the “Sealed Ones” have their gaze directed toward the “SUN-RISING,” as if looking for the fulfilment of the promise in Malachi, “Unto you that fear My name shall the ’SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS’ arise with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2. The “Elect” then of Israel will be those who “fear Christ’s name,” and who, like as Simon and Anna watched for His First Coming, will be looking for the coming of their Messiah.
There is a remarkable difference in the names of the Tribes as here recorded and the names of the original Twelve Tribes. Here the names of Dan and Ephraim are omitted, and the names of Joseph and Levi are substituted. Why is this? The reason is plain. In Deuteronomy 29:18-21, we read that the man, or woman, or family, or TRIBE, that should introduce idolatry into Israel, should have their or its name “blotted out” from under heaven, and be separated out of the Tribes of Israel. This is just what the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim were guilty of when they permitted Jeroboam to set up “Golden Calves” to be worshipped, one at Dan in the “Tribe of Dan,” and the other at Bethel in the “Tribe of Ephraim.” 1. Kings 12:25-30. This is the reason why the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim are omitted from the list in this chapter, and the names of Joseph and Levi substituted. But as the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim are in the list of the Twelve Tribes that shall occupy the Holy Land during the Millennium (Ezekiel 48:1-7; Ezekiel 48:23-29), it is evident that the SEALING of the Tribes in this chapter is more for HEAVENLY PRESERVATION, than to keep them for an earthly inheritance, and this view is confirmed by the fact that they are later seen with the Lamb on the Heavenly Mount Zion. Revelation 14:1-5. The omission of their names in this list of these “SEALED ONES” is to show that the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim must pass through the Great Tribulation unprotected by sealing.
2. THE BLOOD WASHED MULTITUDE .
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of ALL nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the Throne, and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, SALVATION TO OUR GOD WHICH SITTETH UPON THE THRONE, AND UNTO THE LAMB. 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 worshipped God, saying, AMEN: BLESSING, AND GLORY, AND WISDOM, AND THANKSGIVING, AND HONOR, AND POWER, AND MIGHT, BE UNTO OUR GOD FOR EVER AND EVER. AMEN.
And one of the Elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in White robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the BLOOD OF THE LAMB. 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. 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 water: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
This “Blood Washed Multitude” introduces us to another class of the saved of the “End-time.” They do not represent the Church, for the Church has already been taken out. They differ from the Elders, who represent the Church, in that they stand, and have “palms” in their hands, while the Elders have “crowns,” and “sit on thrones,” and have “harps,” and “golden vials” in their hands. They are an “elect body” of Gentiles gathered out from all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues. The statement that they “came out of great tribulation” does not necessarily imply that it was “The Great Tribulation” that they came out of, for that covers only the “last half” of the Week, and they are seen by John in the middle of the “first half” of the Week. The Revised Version uses the word “come” instead of “came,” and some versions the words “coming out.” It does not say that they came out of “THE Great Tribulation,” but simply that they came out of “great tribulation,” and as the whole of the Week is a period of tribulation they could come out of tribulation any time during the Week. They are a vast multitude saved by the preaching of the “Gospel of the Kingdom.” While the Holy Spirit went back with the Church to escort the “Bride to be” home, it does not follow that He remained there. For in Old Testament times, and during the earthly ministry of Jesus, He was active in the conversion of men, and so it will be after the Church is caught out. Those who are converted during the Tribulation period will be converted by the Holy Spirit.
The claim has been made that this “Blood Washed Multitude” represent the Gentiles who shall pass safely through “The Great Tribulation,” and who cry “SALVATION” because they have been saved from martyrdom and death during the Tribulation, and that they serve God day and night in the new “Millennial Temple” on the earth because there is no day or night or Temple in Heaven. While that is true of the Holy City, New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:22-25), it is not true of Heaven, for they are not the same. The New Jerusalem is the place (City) that Jesus went to prepare for His Bride, the Church (John 14:2), and John declares that he saw it coming down “out of” Heaven. Revelation 21:2. Therefore the New Jerusalem is not Heaven. That there is a “TEMPLE” in Heaven we are told in chapters 11:19, 15:5-8, and 16:1. And the statement “That 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,” is not Millennial but Heavenly in character. And further this “Blood Washed Multitude, being Gentiles, could not serve in an earthly Jewish Temple.”
The sight of this “Blood Washed Multitude” will so thrill and rejoice the Angelic Hosts that they will fall upon their faces and worship God, saying, “AMEN: BLESSING, AND GLORY, AND WISDOM, AND THANKSGIVING, AND HONOR, AND POWER, AND MIGHT, BE UNTO OUR GOD FOR EVER AND EVER. AMEN.”
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Larkin, Clarence. "Commentary on Revelation 7". A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany