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Bible Commentaries

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation
Revelation 7

 

 

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Verse 1

Revelation 7:1

Revelation 7:1 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.

This chapter consists of two general parts; first, Christ's special care of his churches and saints in those evil times, which were to come shortly. { Revelation 1:1} Secondly, the peaceable and flourishing condition of the church of God, after those evil times, which of the Roman pagan persecutions are past; Revelation 7:9-17.

And after these things;

that Isaiah , after the former visions and matters revealed therein;

I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, etc.

By these four angels we may understand literally, evil angels; for the devil is called the prince of the power of the air, { Ephesians 2:2} whom God suffered to raise a great wind that blew down the house wherein all Job's children were feasting, { Job 1:18-19} and killed them. And metaphorically, evil ministers, such as the apostle Peter called false teachers. { 2 Peter 2:1-3} And such as the apostle Paul called ministers of Satan, { 2 Corinthians 11:13-15} deceitful workers and false apostles.

By

the four corners of the earth,

we may understand the four great cities of the empire, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Rome: And by

the four winds,

we may understand the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, in contradistinction to divers and strange doctrines. { Hebrews 13:9; Ephesians 4:14} False teachers cannot withhold or hinder the breathings of the Holy Spirit. { John 3:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5} But they may hinder and withhold the wind of sound doctrine from blowing upon the church militant on earth; or

on the sea;

that is the worship of God, {See Revelation 4:6} or

any tree

that Isaiah , fruitless professors; as Luke 13:7.


Verse 2

Revelation 7:2

Revelation 7:2 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,

This other angel is Christ, called the Angel of God. { Exodus 14:19; Exodus 14:24} And the Angel of the Covenant. { Malachi 3:1} He is said to ascend from the east, because he is the day-spring from on high, who will give light to them that sit in darkness. {Luke 1:78-79} And he is also called the Sun of Righteousness, { Malachi 4:2} who will rise unto and shine on the latter-day saints. { Isaiah 60:1-3}

Having the seal of the living God;

that Isaiah , the certain knowledge who are his, { 2 Timothy 2:19} for all God's elect are chosen in him, { Ephesians 1:4} and given Him of the Father, { John 17:6; John 17:10} and Christ must loose none of them. { John 6:37-39} HE hath redeemed them with his precious blood, { Revelation 5:9-10} and hath sealed them with his Holy Spirit. { Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:30}

And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it is given to hurt the earth and the sea.

Given, that Isaiah , permissive God did suffer them to do, but the time of their power was retained by Christ, who is the head of all principalities and powers. { Ephesians 1:21-22} HE is their sovereign Lord, and they are his creatures. { Colossians 1:16}


Verse 3

Revelation 7:3

Revelation 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

Till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads;

that is all God's faithful servants, both ministers and people, who were to be secured and preserved from these hurtful angels, as { Revelation 7:5-6} following. Whereby they were distinguished from all others, whom the four angels were permitted to hurt. { Revelation 9:4} And was it commanded them, that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads; {as Ezekiel 9:4-6}


Verse 4

Revelation 7:4

Revelation 7:4 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.

These

hundred and forty and four thousand

sealed ones were the seed of Abraham, Israelites indeed, the children of Abraham by faith, { Galatians 3:7; Galatians 3:26; Galatians 3:28-29; Revelation 14:1-5, etc} that Isaiah , a certain number known unto God and Christ, put for an indefinite number, not known unto any but God the Father, Word and Holy Spirit. { Revelation 7:9}


Verse 5

Revelation 7:5

Revelation 7:5-8 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 thousand6 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 thousand7 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 thousand8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

This the mystical number of

twelve

seemeth to be taken from the twelve apostles of the Lamb, whose names were written in the foundations of the holy city of God, called the New Jerusalem, { Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:10; Revelation 21:14} upon which the foundations (that Isaiah , the doctrine of the twelve apostles) the gospel church of God is built, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone, { Ephesians 2:19-22} called the heavenly Jerusalem; that Isaiah , the church of the first-born, which are written in heaven. { Hebrews 12:22-24} So then, by those many twelve thousands, we may understand the many thousands of God's Spiritual Israel, both Jews and Gentiles converted to Christ under the administration of the gospel of the grace of God. { Revelation 7:9} A great multitude, which no man could number, of all the nations, and kindred's, and people, and tongues. Even all Christ's redeemed ones. { Revelation 5:9-10} The Lord having given his gospel churches the name of Zion, and Jerusalem and his gospel converts the name of Israel, which is for the honor and dignity of his churches of saints in the latter days. The twelve tribes of Israel, are not so reckoned any where in the Holy Scripture, as they are here:. {Read Deuteronomy 33:6 ,26; 1 Chronicles 2:1-2} For neither Dan nor Ephraim are named here; that the tribe of Dan fell into idolatry, { 1 Kings 12:29-30} and Ephraim was joined to idols. { Hosea 4:17} Those two tribes being left out by Christ, are testimony of the displeasure of God against idolatry, and all false worship. God will not have any of them sealed with his seal in their foreheads, that receive the mark of the beast in their foreheads. But to be left under the dominion of Antichrist to worship the beast and his image, { Revelation 13:8} whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Not only Dan and Ephraim are omitted, but Reuben, the first-born of blessed Jacob, is passed by; for he went up to his father's bed. { Genesis 35:22-23} And Judah hath the preeminence; for our blessed Savior (who in all things hath preeminence); { Colossians 1:18} came of the tribe of Judah. { Hebrews 7:14} Levi is here numbered, though, that tribe was not so reckoned among the tribes, when Moses divided the land of Canaan, the land of Israel's inheritance: For God chose that tribe of the priesthood and for his inheritance. {Deuteronomy 10:8-9} And lastly, in this numbering and sealing the servants of God, the children of Leah are more than the children of Rachel; also the children of hand-maids are numbered before the children of married women. Whereby, we may perceive of a truth, God is no respecter of persons; he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. { Romans 9:15; Ephesians 4:5-6}


Verse 6


Verse 9

Revelation 7:9

Revelation 7:9 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 with white robes, and palms in their hands;

After John had seen the former part of the vision, he

beheld, and saw a great multitude, which no man could number.

Abraham's seed was like the stars, innumerable, { Genesis 15:5; Romans 4:18; Romans 9:8} his spiritual seed. { Galatians 3:28-29} sanctified believers, Christ redeemed ones, { Revelation 5:9-10} stand before the throne and before the Lamb; {see Revelation 4:2; Revelation 7:15}

Clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.

White robes signify their innocency, sincerity, and purity, { Revelation 19:8; Revelation 19:14} and by palms, we may understand first their victory over sin, Satan, the world; also their victory over the beast his image, his Mark , and the number of his name. { Revelation 15:2-4} Secondly, their joy and rejoicing. { Leviticus 23:40} And ye shall take branches of Palm-trees, and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. { John 12:13} The people took branches of palm-trees, and cried, Hosanna, Blessed is the King of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord.


Verse 10

Revelation 7:10

Revelation 7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

This verse contains the thanksgiving for their preservation and victory (called salvation) unto God the Father, the WORD and the Holy Spirit; for these three are ONE God. { 1 John 5:7}

and unto the Lamb,

who is the Savior of sinners, { Matthew 1:18} neither is there any other Savior. { Acts 4:12} This Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world; {see Revelation 5:9} in God's purpose and decree of the salvation of his elect, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. { Ephesians 1:4-6} Salvation, first, from wrath to come, { 1 Thessalonians 1:10} that Isaiah , from, hell, called the second death. { Revelation 20:6} Secondly, from the law, not from evangelical obedience unto the moral part of the law (for we are not without law to God, but under the law to Christ; 1 Corinthians 9:21), but from the ceremonial part of the law, { Romans 7:6} and from the curse of the law. { Galatians 3:13}

Thirdly, from Satan, being delivered out of his kingdom and dominion, and translated into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ { Colossians 1:13} Fourthly, from the servitude of sin, { Romans 6:16; Romans 6:20; Romans 6:22-23} that Isaiah , from the dominion and reigning power of sin, { Romans 6:11-14} and from law and captivating power of sin. { Romans 7:22-25; Romans 8:2} The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin, etc. and also everlasting and eternal salvation in heavenly glory, called everlasting life, { John 3:16} and eternal life, { Romans 6:23; 1 John 5:11-12} through Jesus Christ.


Verse 11

Revelation 7:11

Revelation 7:11 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 worshipped God

The holy

angels stand round about the throne;

that Isaiah , the church of God; {see Revelation 5:11; Jeremiah 17:12} The twenty four elders sate round about the throne; {see Revelation 4:4; Revelation 4:10} but here

all the angels stand round about the throne;

which signifies, first their readiness to serve God, fulfilling his will. And secondly, their privilege to be present in the church, where God is worshipped, { 1 Corinthians 11:10; 1 Peter 1:12} which things the Angels desire to look into. Thirdly, their ministration unto the church and saints of God, { Hebrews 1:14} especially for their preservation. And fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God. As the Seraphims are said to cover their faces, { Isaiah 6:1-3; Isaiah 6:10} because of the holiness and the glory of the Lord on his throne, in his holy temple: and as being ashamed to lift up their faces to heaven (as Ezra was; Ezra 9:5-6). The holy angels are spirits, and have not flesh and bones as the man Christ Jesus had, {Luke 24:39} or have the angel hands, or faces, or feet, as men have; but this, and other like things, are mystically and metaphorically spoken of the holy angels of God, to signify their sensible apprehension of the holiness and glorious majesty of JEHOVAH.

And they worshipped God;

that Isaiah , the holy angels joined with the holy saints in the worship of God in their kind.


Verse 12

Revelation 7:12

Revelation 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and Wisdom of Solomon , and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Saying, Amen.

That Isaiah , first, the holy angels gave their approbation unto the thanksgiving, which the church and saints of God gave to Him. { Revelation 7:10} Secondly, the angels all ascribed those attributes to God; that Isaiah ,

Blessings, and glory, and Wisdom of Solomon , and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might be unto our God;

See the exposition of Revelation 4:9-11 and Revelation 5:11-13.

See KNOLLYS: Revelation 4:9See KNOLLYS: Revelation 4:10

See KNOLLYS: Revelation 4:11

See KNOLLYS: Revelation 5:11

See KNOLLYS: Revelation 5:12

See KNOLLYS: Revelation 5:13

For ever and ever;

that Isaiah , always, to all eternity; for revealing and making known unto them by the church the manifold wisdom of God. { Ephesians 3:10} That unto him might be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen. { Ephesians 3:21}


Verse 13

Revelation 7:13

Revelation 7:13-14 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14And I said unto him, Sirach , 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.

These two verses contain in inquiry and an answer unto it, made by one of the twenty four elders. He inquired, first, who they where, and secondly, whence they came; unto whom John replied,

Sirach , thou knowest:

As if he had said, Sirach , I know not but thou dost certainly know. The elder's reply, for John's information consists of two particulars. First, he told him whence they came,

These are they that came out of great tribulation;

that Isaiah , persecution, and all kind of sufferings for Christ and the gospel, under the Roman pagan anti-Christian emperors, that the Christians endured. Secondly, he testified their present state;

And have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Which they did, first, by faith, applying the precious blood of Jesus, in the promises of the new-covenant of grace: And secondly, by sufferings, wherein they overcame all their persecutors; viz. Satan and all his instruments, by the blood of Christ, and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives unto death. { Revelation 12:11}


Verse 15

Revelation 7:15

Revelation 7:15 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.

The throne of God;

that Isaiah , God's sanctuary { Jeremiah 17:12} his holy temple, { Ephesians 2:21-22} the church of the living God, { 1 Timothy 3:15-16} wherein these served God day and night; that Isaiah , continually. And being slain; that Isaiah , martyred and murdered in their bodies, their souls lived, and served God continually in his temple, the New Jerusalem which is above, { Galatians 4:2; Galatians 4:6} in heaven. { Revelation 21:2-3}

And he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

And the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them. { Revelation 7:16} That Isaiah , they shall ever have the presence of God and of Jesus Christ: and their souls shall be fed with hidden manna, promised to them that overcome; see Revelation 2:17. Read 2 Corinthians 6:16-18. The beast, and will not worship his Image, etc. { Revelation 15:3-4; Revelation 20:4}


Verse 16

Revelation 7:16

Revelation 7:16-17 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat17 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.

By hunger, thirst, and heat, we may understand all hurtful things.

They shall hunger no more: for the Lamb

that Isaiah , Christ shall feed them, John 6:35; John 6:57

neither thirst any more

for Christ

shall lead them unto living fountains of waters

John 7:37-39

Neither shall the Sun light on them, nor any heat

That Isaiah , no sort of persecution or affliction. Song of Solomon 1:6-7; Isaiah 4:4-6

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes

And there shall be no more death, neither mourning, nor crying nor any pain, { Revelation 21:1-5} but joy and pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11

 


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Bibliography Information
Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 7:4". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-7.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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