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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Revelation 7



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Verse 1

These things ( ταῦτα )

Read τοῦτο thisHolding ( κρατοῦντας )

Holding fast or firmly. See on Mark 7:3; see on Acts 3:11.

Verse 2

East ( ἀνατολῆς ἡλίου )

Rev., more literally, the sunrising. See on Matthew 2:2; see on Luke 1:78. Compare Ezekiel 43:2.

The four angels

Compare Matthew 24:31.

Verse 3

In their foreheads

Compare Exodus 28:36-38; Ezekiel 9:4.

Verse 4

An hundred and forty and four thousand

Not literally, but the number symbolical of fixedness and full completion (12 x 12). The interpretations, as usual, vary greatly, dividing generally into two great classes: one holding that only Jews are meant, the other including the whole number of the elect both Jew and Gentile. Of the former class some regard the sealed as representing Jewish believers chosen out of the literal Israel. Others add to this the idea of these as forming the nucleus of glorified humanity to which the Gentiles are joined. Others again regard them as Jews reserved by God until Antichrist comes, to maintain in the bosom of their nation a true belief in Jehovah and His law, like the seven thousand in the days of Elijah.

The interpretation of the latter class seems entitled to the greater weight. According to the Apocalyptic usage, Jewish terms are “christianized and heightened in their meaning, and the word “Israel” is to be understood of all Christians, the blessed company of all faithful people, the true Israel of God.” See Romans 2:28, Romans 2:29; Romans 9:6, Romans 9:7; Galatians 6:16; Philemon 3:3. The city of God, which includes all believers, is designated by the Jewish name, New Jerusalem. In Revelation 7:3, the sealed are designated generally as the servants of God. In chapter 14 the one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed are mentioned after the description of the enemies of Christ, who have reference to the whole Church of Christ; and the mention of the sealed is followed by the world-wide harvest and vintage of the earth. The one hundred and forty-four thousand in chapter 14, have the Father's name written in their foreheads; and in Revelation 22:4, all the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem are so marked. In Revelation 21:12, the twelve tribes include all believers. The mark of Satan which is in the forehead, is set upon all his servants without distinction of race. See Revelation 13:16, Revelation 13:17; Revelation 14:9; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:4. The plagues threaten both Jews and Gentiles, as the sealing protects all.

Verse 9

I saw

This vision belongs to heaven, while the sealing took place on earth.

Arrayed ( περιβεβλημένοι )

See on Revelation 3:5.


See on Revelation 6:11.

“The ancient scriptures and the new

The mark establish, and this shows it me,

Of all the souls whom God hath made His friends.

Isaiah saith that each one garmented

In His own land shall be with twofold garments,

And his own land is this delightful life.

Thy brother, too, far more explicitly,

There where he treateth of the robes of white,

This revelation manifests to us.”

Dante, “Paradiso,” xxv., 88-96.

Palms ( φοίνικες )

Properly, palm-trees, but used here of palm-branches. Not a heathen but a Jewish image drawn probably from the Feast of Tabernacles. See on John 7:2.

Verse 10


The correct reading is κράζουσιν theycry. So Rev.


The praise of salvation, ascribing salvation to God.

Verse 11

Stood ( ἑστήκεσαν )

Rev., more correctly, were standing. The tense is the pluperfect, used in this verb as an imperfect.

Verse 12

Blessing, etc.

On the doxologies, see on Revelation 1:6.

Verse 13


In the sense of taking up speech in connection with some given occasion, as Matthew 11:25. See also on John 2:18.

What are these, etc.

The Rev., properly, follows the Greek order, which places first “These which are arrayed in the white robes, who are they?” emphatic and indicating the natural order of the thought as it presents itself to the inquirer. For what, render who, as Rev.

Verse 14

I said ( εἴρηκα )

Lit., I have said. Rev., renders by the present, I say. See on cried, John 1:15.

Sir ( κύριε )

Add μου myand render, as Rev., my Lord. An address of reverence as to a heavenly being. See on Matthew 21:3.

Which came ( οἱ ἐρχόμενοι )

The present participle. Hence, as Rev., which come.

Out of great tribulation ( ἐκ τῆς θλίψεως τῆς μεγάλης )

Lit., out of the tribulation, the great (tribulation). Rev., properly, gives the force of the article, “the great.” See on Matthew 13:21.

Have washed ( ἔπλυναν )

The aorist tense. Rev., correctly, they washed. Only here and Luke 5:2, on which see note. For the New Testament words for washing, see on Acts 16:33.

Made them white

Compare Isaiah 1:18; Psalm 51:7; Mark 9:3. Milligan remarks that robes are the expression of character, and compares the word habit used of dress.

Verse 15


Because of this washing.

Before the throne

Compare Ephesians 5:27.

Serve ( λατρεύουσιν )

See on Luke 1:74. In scripture the verb never expresses any other service but that of the true God, or of the gods of heathenism.

Temple ( ναῷ )

Or sanctuary. See on Matthew 4:5.

Dwell ( σκηνώσει )

From σκηνή atent or tabernacle. Hence better, as Rev., shall spread His tabernacle. See on John 1:14, and compare Leviticus 26:11; Isaiah 4:5, Isaiah 4:6; Ezekiel 37:27.

Verse 16

They shall hunger no more, etc.

Compare Isaiah 49:10.

Heat ( καῦμα )

In Isaiah 49:10, the word καύσων thescorching wind or sirocco is used. See on Matthew 20:12; see on James 1:11.

Verse 17

In the midst ( ἀνά μεσον )

See on Revelation 5:6.

Shall feed ( ποιμανεῖ )

See on shall be shepherd of, Matthew 2:6; see on Acts 20:28; see on 1 Peter 5:2. Compare Psalm 23:1.

Shall lead ( ὁδηγήσει )

See on Luke 6:39.

Living fountains of waters ( ζώσας πηγὰς ὑδάτων )

For the participle living, read ζωῆς oflife, and render as Rev., fountains of waters of life. Compare Psalm 23:2. In the Greek order, of life stands first as emphatic.

All tears ( πᾶν δάκρυον )

Rev., correctly, every tear. Compare Isaiah 25:8.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 7:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 31st, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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