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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 7

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

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Verse 1

The answer to the closing question of chapter 6 is found in this chapter. God sends four of his messengers to restrain the destructive forces.

Verses 2-3

A seal was used by kings to identify things, particularly messages or commands, as his. It left an impression in hot wax that belonged only to him. ( Gen_41:42 ; Est_3:10 ; Est_8:2 ) A fifth angel carries God's seal and commands the four angels to continue restraining the destructive forces until God's people could be marked. The East is the direction light comes from to a darkened world. Christians are sealed with the Holy Spirit to show they are truly God's people. ( Eph_1:13 ; Eph_4:30 ; Rom_8:15-16 ) However, when we see the 144,000 in chapter 14, they have the name of God written on their foreheads, so this may be the seal. Before the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B. C., Ezekiel had a vision of God's faithful being marked and kept safe. ( Eze_9:1-6 )

Verses 4-8

That the 144,000 cannot be literal, fleshly Israel becomes quite apparent when we note the tribes of Ephraim and Dan are omitted. The number is obtained by multiplying 12 x 12 x 1000. Shelly says, "Since twelve is the number for organized religion in apocalyptic literature and one thousand is the number for completeness and wholeness, this is simply a graphic way to refer to the totality of the faithful church on earth." The church is God's Israel today. ( Rom_2:28-29 ; Gal_6:15-16 ; Gal_3:27-29 ; Mat_19:28 ) We believe the 12,000 sealed out of every tribe is a symbol showing not one righteous one will be lost out of all God's people. God knows all those who are his. ( 2Ti_2:19 ) There is no promise that these will not go through severe trials, but we can be sure that God will not allow those trials to reach unbearable proportions, and those who continue to love the Lord's appearing will be crowned. ( 1Co_10:13 ; 2Ti_4:6-8 )

Verse 9

John's eyes are now lifted from the scene on earth to the one in heaven. Once again, the picture is of the redeemed, as we will see in verse 14, but this time God's protective seal is not required because they are now around the throne. They wear white robes of purity and carry palm branches, which symbolize joy. Palms were used during the Feast of Tabernacles, which was a whole week of rejoicing. ( Lev_23:33-44 , esp. 40) Also, palms were used to line the path of the Lord's triumphal entry. ( Joh_12:12-19 ) The multitude cannot be numbered by man and comes from every nation under heaven.

Verse 10

They shout praises to God and Christ because they have been saved from past sins, kept pure in times of trial and now stand triumphant before the throne.

Verses 11-12

Upon seeing the redeemed praising God for their salvation, the angels, 24 elders and four beasts join in. They say "be it so" and praise God with seven different expressions followed by another "be it so."

Verse 13

The question here asked by one of the elders is apparently for John's sake and to call attention to the means of their salvation.

Verse 14

Instead of "they which came," this would be better rendered, "they which are coming." Notice again, the tribulation was already a reality when John wrote. ( Rev_1:9 ) We wash our robes in Jesus' blood when we put him on in baptism. ( Act_22:16 ) Hailey notes the word washed is active, which indicates there is something for them to do. ( Rom_10:9-10 ; Act_2:38 ; Rom_6:3-5 ) Yet, in verse 10 they gave praise to God for salvation.

Verse 15

While Caesar was being worshiped for a few years on earth, God is worshiped continually around his throne. The word for temple here is for the actual building housing the holy place and most holy place. In other words, it is God's dwelling place. The promise to those who have washed out their robes in the blood is that God will dwell with them, which sounds like a later description of heaven. ( Rev_21:3 )

Verses 16-17

During the persecutions, Christians suffered for the want of food, water and adequate shelter to keep off the sun's burning rays. In heaven, Jesus will see that these needs are met. ( Rev_22:1-2 ) Also, God will wipe the tears out of their eyes. ( Rev_21:4 )

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 7". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/revelation-7.html. 2014.
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