Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 7:1

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.
New American Standard Version
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  1. Adam Clarke Commentary
  2. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
  3. John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
  4. Geneva Study Bible
  5. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
  6. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
  7. Vincent's Word Studies
  8. Wesley's Explanatory Notes
  9. Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
  10. Scofield's Reference Notes
  11. John Trapp Complete Commentary
  12. Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
  13. Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
  14. Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
  15. Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
  16. Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible
  17. Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture
  18. Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament
  19. Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
  20. Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
  21. Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation
  22. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  23. Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament
  24. Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
  25. George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary
  26. Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books
  27. E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
  28. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
  29. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
  30. Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
  31. Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation
  32. E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament
  33. Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation
  34. Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms
  35. Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
  36. The Expositor's Greek Testament
  37. The Bible Study New Testament

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit);   Earth;   Israel;   Meteorology and Celestial Phenomena;   Vision;   The Topic Concordance - Seals;   Servants;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Day of the lord;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Number;   Revelation of John, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Archangel;   Asher;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Quotations;   Revelation, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Angels;   Elements ;   Enoch Book of;   Horn ;   Israel;   Numbers;   Sea ;   Tree ;   Tribes ;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Corner;   Four;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Angel;   Blow;   Corner;   Four;   Holding;   Revelation of John:;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Winds;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And after these things - Immediately after the preceding vision.

I saw four angels - Instruments which God employs in the dispensation of his providence; we know not what.

On the four corners of the earth - On the extreme parts of the land of Judea, called ἡ γη, the land, or earth, by way of eminence.

Holding the four winds - Preventing evil from every quarter. Earth - sea, nor on any tree; keeping the whole of the land free from evil, till the Church of Christ should wax strong, and each of his followers have time to prepare for his flight from Jerusalem, previously to its total destruction by the Romans.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-7.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And after these things - After the vision of the things referred to in the opening of the sixth seal. The natural interpretation would be, that what is here said of the angels and the winds occurred after those things which are described in the previous chapter. The exact chronology may not be always observed in these symbolical representations, but doubtless there is a general order which is observed.

I saw four angels - He does not describe their forms, but merely mentions their agency. This is, of course, a symbolical representation. We are not to suppose that it would be literally fulfilled, or that, at the time referred to by the vision, four celestial beings would be stationed in the four quarters of the world for the purpose of checking and restraining the winds that blow from the four points of the compass. The meaning is, that events would occur which would be properly represented by four angels standing in the four quarters of the world, and having power over the winds.

Standing on the four corners of the earth - This language is, of course, accommodated to the prevailing mode of speaking of the earth among the Hebrews. It was a common method among them to describe it as a vast plain, having four corners, those corners being the prominent points - north, south, east, and west. So we speak now of the four winds, the four quarters of the world, etc. The Hebrews spoke of the earth, as we do of the rising and setting of the sun and of the motions of the heavenly bodies, according to appearances, and without aiming at philosophical exactness. Compare the notes on Job 26:7. With this view they spoke of the earth as an extended plain, and as having boundaries or corners, as a plain or field naturally has. Perhaps, also, they used this language with some allusion to an edifice, as having four corners; for they speak also of the earth as having foundations. The language which the Hebrews used was in accordance with the prevailing ideas and language of the ancients on the subject.

Holding the four winds of the earth - The winds blow in fact from every quarter, but it is convenient to speak of them as coming from the four principal points of the compass, and this method is adopted probably in every language. So among the Greeks and Latins, the winds were arranged under four classes - Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus, and Eurus - considered as under the control of a king, Aeolus. See Eschenburg, Man. Class. Literally, section 78, compare section 108. The angels here are represented as “holding” the winds - κρατοῦντας kratountasThat is, they held them back when about to sweep over the earth, and to produce far-spread desolation. This is an allusion to a popular belief among the Hebrews, that the agency of the angels was employed everywhere. It is not suggested that the angels had raised the tempest here, but only that they now restrained and controlled it. The essential idea is, that they had plower over those winds, and that they were now exercising that power by keeping them back when they were about to spread desolation over the earth.

That the wind should not blow on the earth - That there should be a calm, as if the winds were held back.

Nor on the sea - Nowhere - neither on sea nor land. The sea and the land constitute the surface of the globe, and the language here, therefore, denotes that there would be a universal calm.

Nor on any tree - To injure it. The language used here is such as would denote a state of profound quiet; as when we say that it is so still that not a leaf of the trees moves.

In regard to the literal meaning of the symbol here employed there can be no great difficulty; as to its application there may be more. The winds are the proper symbols of wars and commotions. Compare Daniel 7:2. In Jeremiah 49:36-37 the symbol is both used and explained: “And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come. For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life.” So in Jeremiah 51:1-2, a destroying wind is an emblem of destructive war: “I will raise up against Babylon a destroying wind, and will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land.” Compare Horace, Odes, b. i. 14. The essential ideas, therefore, in this portion of the symbol, cannot be mistaken. They are two:

(1)that at the period of time here referred to - after the opening of the sixth seal and before the opening of the seventh - there would be a state of things which would be well represented by rising tempests and storms, which if unrestrained would spread desolation afar; and,

(2)that this impending ruin was held back as if by angels having control of those winds; that is, those tempests were not suffered to go forth to spread desolation over the world. A suspended tempest calamity held in check; armies hovering on the borders of a kingdom, but not allowed to proceed for a time; hordes of invaders detained, or stayed in their march, as if by some restraining power not their own, and from causes not within themselves - any of these things would be an obvious fulfilling of the meaning of the symbol.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-7.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And after these things,.... After the opening of six of the seals of the sealed book, and after the demolition of Heathen deities, and of Heathen worship, and of Heathen magistrates, in the Roman empire, and the representation of these to John, he had the following vision; and which therefore does not refer to the preservation of the Christians, before and at the destruction of Jerusalem, which was under the first seal; nor to the security of the saints from the wrath of the Lamb, when it fell upon the Pagan worshippers, of all ranks and degrees, which was under the sixth seal, and was now over; but rather it respects an intermediate space of time between the sixth and seventh seal, as reaching from Constantine to Theodosius; for upon Constantine's being sole emperor, the church enjoyed great peace and tranquillity after the blustering storms of Pagan persecution ceased; and great numbers of God's elect were converted and sealed, and the winds of Heathen persecution were held, and blew no more, unless for a short time under the Emperor Julian; though the church was not free from the wind of error and heresy; and the storms of contention which arose about them, nor from the tempest of Arian persecutions, which were very grievous; wherefore this refers to what should be between the sixth and seventh seal, which brings on the seven trumpets: and now, before John sees that seal opened, a pause is made, and this vision is shown him, to fortify his mind, and all other saints, that are observers of these things, who by the opening of the following seal would see what judgments and plagues would come upon the empire, now become Christian, and what changes and revolutions would be made in it, and might fear that the church of God would be wholly swallowed up and lost; wherefore this vision is exhibited to show, that notwithstanding the devastations by the Goths and Vandals, and the rise, progress, and power of Mahomet, and the dreadful apostasy of the church of Rome, and all the miseries of it, and the plagues that should come upon the church for it; yet God would have throughout all this, and in, every age of time, a sealed number, a true church, hidden and secured, even until the seventh angel has sounded his trumpet, and time shall be no more, and the mystery of God will be finished.

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 trees. Four angels are mentioned, in allusion to the four spirits of the heavens, in Zechariah 6:5; and though the earth is not a plain square with angles, but round and globular, yet it is said to have four corners, with respect to the four points of the heavens; and though there is but one wind, which blows sometimes one way, and sometimes another, yet four are named with regard to the above points, east, west, north, and south, from whence it blows. These are commonly called "the four winds of heaven", Daniel 8:8; but here, of the earth, as in the Targum on Isaiah 11:12, and he shall bring near the captivity of Judah, מארבע רוחי ארעא, "from the four winds of the earth". And such things as are chiefly affected with winds are particularly observed, as the earth, upon which buildings are thrown down by them; and the sea, in which ships are wrecked; and trees, which by the violence of them, are blown down, and torn up by the roots. Some by these angels understand evil angels, who are sometimes called angels, without any additional epithet to distinguish them, and that because a desire of hurting seems to have been in them, as well as a power, Revelation 7:2; and who are, in every part of the world, seeking to do all the mischief they can; and may be said to hold the winds, not in a literal sense, for God only gathers the wind in his fist, and holds it there, and lets it loose at his pleasure; but in a mystical sense, as these may refer to the word, and the ministers of the word, whose progress and success are often hindered by Satan and is emissaries; and some particularly understand by them the four monarchies of the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman; others the four emperors, after that Dioclesian and Maximianus had resigned, as Maximinus, Galerius, Maxentius, and Licinius; others Mahomet, or the Turk, in the east, who hindered the Gospel by his wars and devastations, as well as by false worship; the kings of France and Spain on the west, by fire, and faggot, and sword; and the pope in the south, by bulls and excommunications; and the empire and emperors of Germany on the north, by public edicts; or, in general, all the Popish tribe, popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, monks, and friars, by their decrees, anathemas, sermons, writings, and lying miracles, did all they could that the Gospel might not be preached neither in the earth, on the continent, nor in the sea, or in the islands of it; or that any of the saints, the trees of righteousness, who lived in woods and mountainous places, or were forced to fly into woods, might have any advantage by it. But, after all, rather this is to be understood of good angels, and either of their restraining evil angels from doing mischief, see Daniel 10:13; or keeping back the winds of false doctrines and heresies from the churches of Christ, in the several parts of the world; or rather, and which is the true sense, of their holding in the storms of calamities and war to the destruction of kingdoms, provinces, islands, and the several inhabitants of them, and intends a general peace throughout the world; see Jeremiah 49:36. This mystical way of speaking seems to agree with the notions of the Jews, who speak of angels standing at the gates of the four winds, ומפתחי רוח "and the keys of the wind in their hands", whose names they give usF24Raziel, fol. 36. 1. 2. ; and make mention of מלאכי רוחא, "the angels of the wind"F25Targum in 1 Reg. xix. 11. ; and the Magi among the Persians call the angel of the wind "Bad", or "Badran"F26Hyde, Hist. Relig. Pers. c. 12. .

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-7.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And 1 after these things I saw four angels standing on the a 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, 2 nor on any tree.

(1) The second part of this section is a preventing of danger, as we distinguished before in (Revelation 6:1) that is, of the caution of God ahead of time to provide for his, after the example of the Israelites; (Exodus 8:23) the faithful are exempted from the plagues of this wicked world. This section is a dialogue and bringing in for this whole chapter by occasion of the prediction and argument of the sixth seal. For first harm is withheld from the elect, (Revelation 7:1-9). Then thanks are given by the elect for that cause (Revelation 7:10-12). Lastly, the accomplishment of it is set forth to the end of the chapter. The first verse is a transition, speaking of the angels who keep the lesser parts from harm, until God commands. For, as in (Ezekiel 10:19), their faces and their wings reach up, continually waiting on and watching the countenance of God for their direction and every one of them goes into that part that is right before his face: wherever the Spirit goes, they go, they do not step out of the way, not so much as a foot breadth from the path commanded to them by God.

(a) On the four corners or coasts of the earth. {(2)} That is, neither into the air, into which the trees grow.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-7.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Revelation 7:1-17. Sealing of the elect of Israel. The countless multitude of the Gentile elect.

And — so B and Syriac. But A, C, Vulgate, and Coptic omit “and.”

after these things — A, B, C, and Coptic read, “after this.” The two visions in this chapter come in as an episode after the sixth seal, and before the seventh seal. It is clear that, though “Israel” may elsewhere designate the spiritual Israel, “the elect (Church) on earth” [Alford], here, where the names of the tribes one by one are specified, these names cannot have any but the literal meaning. The second advent will be the time of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, when the times of the Gentiles shall have been fulfilled, and the Jews shall at last say, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The period of the Lord‘s absence has been a blank in the history of the Jews as a nation. As then Revelation is the Book of the Second Advent [De Burgh], naturally mention of God‘s restored favor to Israel occurs among the events that usher in Christ‘s advent.

earth  …  sea  …  tree — The judgments to descend on these are in answer to the martyrs‘ prayer under the fifth seal. Compare the same judgments under the fifth trumpet, the sealed being exempt (Revelation 9:4).

on any treeGreek,against any tree” (Greek, “{epi ti dendron}”: but “on the earth,” Greek, “{epi tees gees}”).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-7.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

After this (μετα τουτοmeta touto). Instead of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1) being opened, two other episodes or preliminary visions occupy chapter 7 (the sealing of the servants of God Revelation 7:1-8 and the vision of the redeemed before the throne Revelation 7:9-17).

Standing (εστωταςhestōtas). Second perfect predicate participle of ιστημιhistēmi intransitive and followed by επιepi and the accusative case γωνιαςgōnias as already in Revelation 3:20 (επι τυριανepi thurian) and often again (Revelation 8:3 some MSS., others genitive; Revelation 11:11; Revelation 13:1; Revelation 14:1; Revelation 15:2), but note επιepi with genitive ταλασσηςthalassēs in the next clause, like επι κεπαληςepi kephalēs in Revelation 12:1; Revelation 7:3.

Corners (γωνιαςgōnias). Old word for angle (Matthew 6:5), also in Revelation 20:8.

Holding (κρατουνταςkratountas). Present active participle of κρατεωkrateō to hold fast (Mark 7:3; John 20:23). The four winds (cf. Matthew 24:31) are held prisoner by angels at each of the four corners. Some Jews held the winds from due north, south, east, west to be favourable, while those from the angles (see Acts 27:14) were unfavourable (Charles). There is an angel of the fire (Revelation 14:18) and an angel of the waters (Revelation 16:5).

That no wind should blow (ινα μη πνεηι ανεμοςhina mē pneēi anemos). Negative purpose clause with ινα μηhina mē and the present active subjunctive, “lest a wind keep on blowing.”

Upon any tree (επι παν δενδρονepi pan dendron). Accusative case here with επιepi rather than the preceding genitives (γησ ταλασσηςgēsthalassēs), “upon the land or upon the sea,” but “against any tree” (picture of attack on the tree like a tornado‘s path).

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-7.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

These things ( ταῦτα )

Read τοῦτο thisHolding ( κρατοῦντας )

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

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-7.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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 after these things — What follows is a preparation for the seventh seal, which is the weightiest of all. It is connected with the sixth by the particle and; whereas what is added, verse9, Revelation 6:9 stands free and unconnected.

I saw four angels — Probably evil ones. They have their employ with the four first trumpets, as have other evil angels with the three last; namely, the angel of the abyss, the four bound in the Euphrates, and Satan himself. These four angels would willingly have brought on all the calamities that follow without delay. But they were restrained till the servants of God were sealed, and till the seven angels were ready to sound: even as the angel of the abyss was not let loose, nor the angels in the Euphrates unbound, neither Satan cast to the earth, till the fifth, sixth, and seventh angels severally sounded.

Standing on the four corners of the earth — East, west, south, north. In this order proceed the four first trumpets.

Holding the four winds — Which else might have softened the fiery heat, under the first, second, and third trumpet.

That the wind should not blow upon the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree — It seems, that these expressions betoken the several quarters of the world; that the earth signifies that to the east of Patmos, Asia, which was nearest to St. John, and where the trumpet of the first angel had its accomplishment. Europe swims in the sea over against this; and is accordingly termed by the prophets, "the islands." The third part, Afric, seems to be meant, Revelation 8:7,8,10, by "the streams of water," or "the trees," which grow plentifully by them.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-7.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Holding the four winds; holding them back; restraining them, as the symbols of retribution, until the servants of God could be made safe, as is more distinctly expressed in Revelation 7:3.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-7.html. 1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

angels

(See Scofield "Hebrews 1:4").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 7:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-7.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 1. And after these things] This whole chapter is purposely interlaced between the opening of the sixth and seventh seal, for the support of the poor suffering saints, that they sink not under their many pressures.

Four angels] Ministers of indignation, whether good or evil angels the doctors are divided.

Holding the four winds] Those besoms of the air, as Rupertus calls them, and Scripture emblems of spiritual influence, John 3:8; Song of Solomon 4:16; Ezekiel 37:9. The holding of the winds may peradventure intimate here that peace and ease in which God suffereth worldly men to live, and be overtaken, even upon the point of his great judgments, 1 Thessalonians 5:3. He made fair weather before Pharaoh till he had him in the heart of the Red Sea.

Nor on any tree] The philosopher compares men (the Scripture good men often) to trees, which by benign winds are filled with fruits.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-7.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 7:1. And after these things The former chapter concluded the first grand period, and the sufferings of the church under the persecution of the Heathen Roman empire. The second grand period of prophesy begins, and is contained in the events which attend the sounding of thetrumpets; an account whereof is givenin the 8th and 9th chapters. In this chapter, it is conceived, that we have an account of a little pause or interval, to describe the state of things, for a short time, between the two periods. After these things, that is, after the prophetic vision which represented the first period, St. John saw, in other visions, what is related in this chapter. This seems a representation of a state of peace and tranquillity throughout the earth, especially in the Roman empire, and of the great number of persons, in every nation, who came in to the profession of Christianity; of the encouraging protection which was given to the Christian church; of thankful acknowledgments for the goodness and power of God, by the whole church, in such eminent instances of favour and protection; and, finally, of the happy state of all the faithful confessors and martyrs, who, after a short time of tribulation for the faith of Christ, andconstancy in his religion, have attained to a state of everlasting rest, in happiness and glory. Thus wisely does this part of prophesy promote the principal design of the whole, to encourage the faith and patience, the hope and constancy of the people of God, under all opposition and suffering. It seems designed to shew, with the certainty of prophetical revelation, that as God directs all things in the world by his providence, so he will direct them to serve the designs of his goodness to his faithful saints; and that the great revolutions of the world shall often be in favour of true religion, and for its protection, and to assure the faithful, that all they suffer for the sake of truth and righteousness, shall soon be rewarded with a state of peace; honour, and happiness. See on ch. Revelation 1:1 and the next note.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-7.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. That if a temporal judgment on the Jews be here intended, then this vision represented to St. John, God's decree and purpose for suspending the dreadful execution of the threatened and intended vengeance upon Judea for a time, namely, until God had sealed his number, that, marked them for preservation, Set a mark upon the forehead of the men, &c. Ezekiel 9:4, that is, preserve the penitent believers from the common destruction, as the Israelites were preserved in Egypt from the destroying angel. I beheld four angels, that had power to inflict judgments, famine, sword, and pestilence, (foretold chap. 6) upon Judea; I beheld these angels making a stay and stop, before they would suffer those mischiefs to break forth upon the earth.

Where note, That the office of the holy angels in heaven is at God's command, and by God's direction, to execute vengeance, and to inflict all temporal judgments upon obstinate sinners here on earth; yet glad they are when it pleases God to stay and stop them from a speedy execution of his wrath and vengeance; for as judgment is God's strange work, in which he does not delight, so neither is it pleasing to the angels as an act of punishmnent, but only in obedience to the command of God, and with an eye and respect to the glory of God.

Observe, 2. That if a spiritual judgment be here intended, as others apprehend, namely, the calamities befalling the church by reason of an apostasy under Antichrist, then by the winds they understand heresies and false doctrines of all sorts, which have an impetuous force and violence, like winds, to drive unstable souls from their steadfastness in the truths of God, into damnable errors.

Now God takes special care that these winds should not blow, these anti-Christian errors and false doctrines should not overflow the earth, until he had sealed his people, that is, secured them from that danger, preserving them from spiritual defilement, as the undoubted fruit of their sealing; where we see, that in all times of public calamity, be it temporal or spiritual, God has a special care of his own, and bears a special regard unto his own; here he commands the angels to hold the winds from smiting the earth until the number of his sealed ones was completed.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-7.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 7:1. τέσσαρας ἀγγέλους. We must here think neither of wicked angels,(2246) nor of angels of the wind, after the analogy of the angel of the water, Revelation 16:5,(2247) but of angels in general, to whom the office here described has been given, Revelation 7:2,(2248) just as angels afterwards appear with trumpets and vials. Without any foundation are the allegorical interpretations, as in Beda,(2249) and N. de Lyra, who proposes Maximian, Severus, Maxentius, and Licinius,(2250) while the other angel, Revelation 7:2, is regarded as Constantine.

ἑστῶτας

γῆς. The position of the angels corresponds with their occupation: κρατοῦντας

γῆς. The four corners of the earth ( τὰς τέσσ. γών, τοὺς τέσσ. ἀν.) are the points from which the four winds of the earth go forth.(2251) John beholds the four angels as they still hold the winds,(2252) to prevent them from blowing ( ἵνα ΄ὴ πνέῃ ἀν., κ. τ. λ.); but according to what immediately follows, the situation is such that the angels are ready to let loose the winds as soon as the purpose of the other angel, who is already rising up (Revelation 7:2 sqq.), is accomplished.

If also “the four winds of the earth” be interpreted allegorically, although the expression sounds as unallegorical as possible,—of which examples have just been given,—then also the earth, the sea, and the trees must be understood figuratively. For thus Grot, says on τ. γῆς: “viz., Judaea;” on ἀνέ΄ους: “The winds signify any sort of calamity.” The “sea” is “a great people, such as is that of Jerusalem especially;” the trees designate “what come from trees, as cities, but especially the temple:” in general, the times of peace under King Agrippa are meant. Böhmer regards the “earth” as Jews, the “sea” as heathen; therefore he says that the Christians still to be mentioned are designated by the “trees.” According to Beng., the earth is Asia, the sea Europe, the trees Africa. Hengstenb. also regards “the four winds of the earth” as symbols of the Divine judgments, viz., those described in ch. 6; the “sea” designates masses of people; the “trees” are magnates, Revelation 6:15.

But every kind of allegorizing is without the least foundation in the text. The winds which in their proper naturalness are, besides, expressly designated as “the four winds of the earth,” are not once personified here, as in Zechariah 6:1 sqq.,—where, however, what is said dare not be taken as an allegory in the strict sense,—but as in Revelation 6:4 an actual shedding of blood, and in Revelation 6:12 an actual earthquake, so here actual winds are meant, storms which are to have the mastery of the whole earth, as they are also ready to break loose from all four ends of the earth. But in the fact, that, after the dreadful signs of the sixth seal have led immediately to the day of the final judgment, now—as the description of this judgment is to be expected in the seventh, last seal—a visitation of like character, as in the sixth seal, is again set forth, and its infliction restrained until after the sealing of the servants of God from Israel, the intimation is already given that the actual occurrence of the final catastrophe will not be until after the course of a still further manifestation of preliminary afflictions, as they proceed from the seventh seal in long and connected sequence.(2253)

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-7.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 7:1. ἄνεμος, the wind) The winds in this passage denote the assuaging mitigations of threatening evils; for the holding of them back hurts, Revelation 7:2. A remarkable allegory.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-7.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

REVELATION CHAPTER 7

Revelation 7:1 John seeth four angels holding the four winds,

Revelation 7:2,3 and another angel coming to seal the servants of God

in their foreheads.

Revelation 7:4-8 The number of them that were sealed out of each of the

tribes of Israel.

Revelation 7:9,10 An innumerable multitude out of all other nations

stand before the throne in white robes, with palms in

their hands, praising God and the Lamb.

Revelation 7:11,12 The angels, elders, and beasts, worship and glorify God.

Revelation 7:13-17 One of the elders showeth John who they are that are clad

in white robes, and what is their blessedness for ever.

The first sufferings of the church under the Roman emperors that were pagans, was foretold under the first six seals, as hath been showed; but they had yet more, if not greater, things to suffer, which are discovered to John, as we shall see when we come to the opening of the seventh and last seal in the next chapter; only it pleaseth God by a vision, in this chapter, to comfort his church: so as though this vision relateth to the sixth seal, and was before the opening of the seventh, yet it hath a relation to that, to show the care that God would take of his church under those great evils that should happen upon the opening of the seventh seal, or when the things foretold upon the opening of it should come to be accomplished.

I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth; four good angels; God is called their God, Revelation 7:3.

Holding the four winds of the earth; that is, to whom God had given it in charge that they should inflict his judgments upon all the parts of the earth; for God often useth, by his prophets, the metaphor of winds, to express stormy, troublesome dispensations, as Jeremiah 18:17 49:36 51:1.

That the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree: this phrase is interpreted variously, God making use of the winds:

1. In a way of judgment, to throw down buildings and trees.

2. In a way of mercy, to purify the air, and by their gentle breathings to cherish things. Some interpret this command to the angels, into a command to these angels to forbear awhile those storms of judgment which were coming, till the servants of God should be sealed.

Others interpret them into a command to bring judgments, either corporal or spiritual, which they think is signified by the winds not blowing. The last seemeth to be favoured by the next verse, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea; which seemeth to me to interpret the blowing mentioned in this verse of a hurtful blowing.

The earth, the sea, and the trees, seem to signify all the sublunary world, especially the church.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-7.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

на четырех углах Это четыре квадранта компаса. Это означает, что ангелы займут ключевые позиции на земле.

четыре ветра Выражение, имеющее переносное значение, обозначающее все земные ветры – с юга, востока, севера и запада. Четыре ангела отключают действие основного механизма нашей земной атмосферы на непродолжительное время.

(7:1-17) Глава 7-я является связкой между шестой (6:12-17) и седьмой печатями (8:1) и отвечает на вопрос, стоящий в конце 6-й. От праведного Божьего гнева спасутся две различные группы: 1) 144 000 еврейских евангелистов на земле (ст. 1–8) и 2) их новообращенные на небесах (ст. 9–17).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-7.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

After these things; after the events of the sixth seal.

The four corners; east, west, north, and south.

Holding the four winds; restraining the fury of human passions, and producing a period of calmness and quiet.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-7.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

This Chapter opens with an Account of the Sealing of the Servants of God. The Number sealed! John hath shown Him an innumerable Multitude, gathered out of all Nations, standing before the Throne. They are described who they are, and how they came there. The Glories of the Lamb.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-7.html. 1828.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

THE THIRD VISION.

Chapter Revelation 7:1-8 An Interlude. The Sealing of God’s People.

‘After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, in order that no wind should blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree.’

‘After this’ signifies a new vision. The timing of this vision is before the seventh seal is opened. As the seventh seal runs parallel to the first six seals this means that its occurrence is seen as immediate. John is assuring God’s people in his day that God has sealed them prior to the events ahead.

‘The four winds of the earth’. In Jeremiah 49:36 ‘the four winds from the four quarters of heaven’ cause desolation to Elam and in Daniel 7:2 ‘the four winds of heaven broke forth on the great sea’ resulting in the emergence of the four beasts which represented world empires. In those cases they represented the activity of God. Those were from heaven. But these are the four winds ‘of earth’ which suggests that they are to be seen as representing the activities, not of God, but of the forces of earth ready to bring desolation to the earth. How satisfying that they are seen as controlled by God through His angels. Compare how in Revelation 20:8, the nations gathered to war come from the four corners of the earth. But here at this stage they are restrained by the four angels.

‘In order that no wind should blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree.’ What is also being restrained is what occurs on the sounding of the first four trumpets, for it is they which cause the attack on the earth, the trees and the sea. Thus they are restrained until God allows. The number four is the number of earth. The stillness on earth resulting from their restraint may parallel the silence in Heaven of Revelation 8:1. John saw them as ready to become active in his day.

(For ‘corners’ see Nehemiah 9:22; Jeremiah 9:26; Jeremiah 25:23 where it is quite clearly used for furthest sections with no suggestion of a ‘corner’. It is not intended to suggest that the world is square, but to mean all four sections to the furthest points (compare Jeremiah 49:36)).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-7.html. 2013.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

And I saw four angels--7:1.

The four angels were the imperial agents, not the heavenly messengers, as shown by the contrast with "another" angel of verse 2, which countermanded the orders of the four angels to hold back the winds. These four angels were the agents of Rome intercepting the word of God-- holding the winds--hindering the messengers of the gospel --that they should not blow--that is, preventing the spread of the gospel, or Christianity. The old word "hold" meant "hinder," as in Romans 1:18, "who hold (hinder) the truth."

The four corners of the earth is a common expression to denote the four points of the compass, meaning the whole earth. It signified the universal sway of the Roman government, hence, the significance of "the four angels," the Roman agents "standing on the four corners of the earth," exercising dominion over the whole world. The four winds were the messengers of Christ to execute his will, signified by the wind blowing, contrasting "blow" and "not blow," the affirmative and negative opposites. The phrase, on earth, sea nor tree, were the three things that sum up physical objects against which the wind blows, and signify that the acts of the four angels in holding back the wind proscribed the preaching of the word, and in so doing the result was universal, having effect on all peoples of the earth.

The designation on the earth referred particularly to Palestine where the Jews resided and where the gospel originated. The designation on the sea extends the restraining order to other parts of the world separated by the sea from the land of the Jews. The statement nor any tree emphasizes that the word of God was being restrained everywhere men were found.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-7.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The phrase "after this" (Gr. meta touto) indicates that what follows is a new vision (cf. Revelation 4:1). The general chronological progression of the visions suggests that the events John saw now will happen at the end of the first half of the Tribulation. What John saw in this vision supports that conclusion. [Note: Moffatt, 5:394.]

The angels described here were God"s agents (cf. Hebrews 1:14). They appear to be different from the four living creatures and the24elder-angels (if they are angels). Four of them received the task of keeping the wind from blowing. God stationed them at the four "corners" (i.e, compass points) of the earth for this purpose (cf. Revelation 20:8; Isaiah 11:12; Jeremiah 49:36; Matthew 24:31). The winds represent God"s judgments coming on the world ( Revelation 7:3; cf. Jeremiah 49:36-38; Daniel 7:2; Hosea 13:15), specifically those about to follow during the remainder of the Tribulation (cf. Ezekiel 9:4-8). The threefold repetition of "four" probably stresses the universal control of these angels. [Note: Scott, p163; Smith, A Revelation . . ., p128.] We should probably understand the "sea" and any "tree" literally in view of what follows (cf. Revelation 7:3).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-7.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 7:1. The words After this denote succession of visions rather than of time.

The Seer beholds four angels standing at the four corners of the earth. The number four is that of the world; and hence ‘the four corners,’—North, South, East, West,—as well as four angels (comp. chap. Revelation 20:8). By the winds which these angels hold fast we are no doubt in the first place to understand natural winds, although it is clear that storm-winds or tempests must be intended. Yet it is as impossible to think here of mere winds as it is to think of mere earthquakes or of mere changes in sun and moon in the preceding chapter. The idea of four storm-winds bursting forth, when they are let loose, from all the four quarters of the earth is too unnatural, almost too grotesque, to be entertained. The winds are those upon which the Almighty rides, and the symbols of His judgments (comp. 1 Kings 19:11; Jeremiah 22:22; Jeremiah 49:36; Ezekiel 1:4; Daniel 7:2; Zechariah 2:1; Revelation 6:13). But God stays them at His pleasure, and there is a calm. Thus Psalms 29 describes a storm coming up from the ‘great sea,’ shaking the land, dashing the cedar trees, and dividing the flames of fire. The storm, however, is in the hands of One who sitteth King for ever, who gives strength unto His people, who blesses His people with peace. It is to be noticed that the winds here are not only ready but eager to be let loose: hence the four angels do not only hold them, but hold them fast.—The object is that no wind should blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. The word ‘tree’ is used in its ordinary sense, not as meaning the great ones of the earth,—an interpretation that would necessarily lead us to think of the ‘sea’ as the mass of the heathen nations, and of the ‘land’ as the stubborn Jews. Such meanings may be possible. They are by no means out of keeping with the tone of the Apocalypse. But they are not natural at present. The word, therefore, ought to be taken literally—‘trees’ being probably selected from amongst other objects on the surface of the earth because they are the first to be prostrated before the storm-wind. The figure used in this verse is at once appropriate and natural. We may compare Hamlet’s account of his father’s care of his mother—

‘So loving to my mother.

That he might not let even the winds of heaven

Visit her too roughly.’

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-7.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 7:1. After these things — After the former discoveries made to me, which represented the providence of God toward his church and the world, till the downfall of the heathen Roman empire, the state of the church and the world immediately to succeed was also represented to me in the manner following: — I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth — That is, the north, the south, the east, and the west; holding the four cardinal winds of the earth — Keeping them in a state of restraint; that the wind might not blow upon the earth — That there might be the most entire and complete calm, to represent the peaceful state of things which should succeed the tumultuous and distressing revolutions which had been last discovered to me. Winds are emblems of commotions, and very properly, as they are the natural causes of storms. Thus this figurative expression is used and explained by Jeremiah 49:36-37; Upon Elam will I bring the four winds, from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds, &c., for I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, &c. To hold the winds, therefore, that they should not blow, is a very proper prophetic emblem of a state of peace and tranquillity. This chapter, it must be observed, is still a continuation of the sixth seal, for the seventh seal is not opened till the beginning of the next chapter. It is a description of the state of the church in Constantine’s time, of the peace and protection that it should enjoy under the civil powers, and of the great accession that should be made to it, both of Jews and Gentiles. Eusebius is very copious upon this subject in several parts of his writings, and hath applied that passage of the psalmist in the version of the Seventy, (Psalms 46:8-9,) Come hither, and behold the works of the Lord, what wonders he hath wrought in the earth; he maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear asunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire; which things, saith he, being manifestly fulfilled in our times, we rejoice over them. Lactantius also saith, in the same triumphant strain, “Tranquillity being restored throughout the world, the church which was lately ruined riseth again. Now, after the violent agitations of so great a tempest, a calm air and the desired light become resplendent. Now God hath relieved the afflicted. Now he hath wiped away the tears of the sorrowful.” These are testimonies of contemporary writers. Medals of Constantine are still preserved, with the head of this emperor on one side, and this inscription, CONSTANTINUS AUG., and on the reverse, BEATA TRANQUILLITAS, Blessed Tranquillity.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-7.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

I saw four Angels, &c. Though some understand here evil spirits, whom God may make use of as instruments to punish the wicked, yet we may rather, with other interpreters, understand good angels sent from God to guard and protect his faithful servants both from evil spirits and wicked men. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-7.html. 1859.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

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.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-7.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

And. Some texts omit.

after. App-104.

these things. The texts read "this".

saw. App-133.

on (first and fourth occurance) Greek. epi. App-104.

earth. App-129.

holding = holding fast. Greek. krateo. Compare App-172.

four winds. See Jeremiah 49:36. Daniel 7:2; Daniel 8:8; Daniel 11:4. Zechariah 2:6; Zechariah 6:5.

that = in order that. Greek. hina.

on (second and third occurance) Greek. epi. App-104.

nor, nor. Greek. mete. See App-105.

any. App-123. tree. Greek. dendron. Not as in Revelation 2:7.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-7.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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. So B, Syriac; but A C, Vulgate, Coptic, omit.

After these things. A B C 'Aleph ('), Coptic, read, 'after this.' The two visions come in as an episode after the sixth seal, before the seventh. Though "Israel" may elsewhere designate the spiritual Israel, "the elect (church)" here, where the several names of the tribes are specified, these can only have the literal meaning. The second advent will be the time of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6-7), when the times of the Gentiles shall have been fulfilled (Luke 21:24), and the Jews shall say, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matthew 23:39). During the Lord's absence, the Jews have had no existence as a nation. As Revelation is the Book of the Second Advent, God's favour restored to Israel naturally has place among the events that usher it in.

Earth ... sea ... tree. The judgments on these are in answer to the martyrs' prayer under the fifth seal (Revelation 5:10). Compare the same under the fifth trumpet, the sealed being exempt (Revelation 9:4).

On any tree - `against any tree' [ epi (Greek #1909) ti (Greek #5100) dendron (Greek #1186)], but 'on the earth' [ epi (Greek #1909) tees (Greek #3588) gees (Greek #1093)].

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-7.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

VII.

(1) And after these things . . Better, And after this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding fast the four winds of the earth, that there might not blow a wind upon the earth, nor upon the sea, nor upon any tree. In the sixth seal the winds had blown, and had shaken violently the fig-tree, causing its untimely figs to drop off: the untimely or winter figs represented those whose religious life was unequal to the strain of trial, and who failed in the crisis to which they were exposed. But is all the fruit shaken off? No; Christ had said that “if a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch;” but that those who abode in Him, purged by their trials, would bring forth more fruit, and the fruit which these bore was not a fruit easily shaken off, but fruit that should remain (John 15:6; John 15:5; John 15:16). They would not be as winter figs, easily torn from the boughs, for their strength was in God: before the stormy winds of manifold trials had blown they had been sealed with the seal of the living God. This is the scene which is brought before us in this chapter. In it the care of God, who restrains from violence the winds, that they should net shake too soon the immature fruit, the tokens by which the sealed are known and the meaning of their sealing are set forth. The chapter, in fact, answers the solemn question of the last chapter: “Who is able to stand?” The winds are clearly emblems of days of trouble or judgment; as the winds sweep away the chaff and clear the atmosphere, so do judgments try the ungodly, who are like the chaff which the wind driveth away: the storm of God’s judgments shakes the mountains and the wilderness, and strips the oaks of the forest. (Comp. Psalms 29) These winds of judgment are ready to blow from all quarters (four corners of the earth), but they are restrained till the servants of God are sealed. For passages where winds are used as emblems of judgment, see especially Jeremiah 49:36-37, “Upon Elam I will bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven. And I will bring evil upon them, even My fierce anger, saith the Lord.” Comp, also Daniel 7:2, “I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.” But those tempests would not arise or shake a single leaf till the securing of God’s servants was accomplished.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-7.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
after
4:1-6
four angels
4:6; 9:14; Ezekiel 7:2; 37:9; Zechariah 1:18-20; 6:1; Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27
holding
Isaiah 27:8; Jeremiah 49:36; Daniel 7:2; 8:8; Jonah 1:4; Matthew 8:26,27; 24:31
the wind
6:6; 9:4; Isaiah 27:3
Reciprocal: 1 Chronicles 21:12 - the angel;  Revelation 10:1 - another

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-7.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

JUDGMENT RESTRAINED.

Revelation 7:1. — "And after this I saw four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth, holding fast the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow upon the earth, nor upon any tree." The phrase after this, repeated in verse 9, marks a new commencement. It introduces the Israelitish section of our chapter, as also the vision of the Gentile palm-bearing multitude. The intentional employment of the phrase and its repetition should have preserved certain interpreters from confusing the two companies. They are separate and distinct both in nationality and in blessing. The one is from among Israel, the other from among the Gentiles. The millennial earth is the scene where both are displayed. But it is essential to the understanding of the chapter to bear in mind that the time of the vision and the time when the companies come into their appointed public blessing are very different.

1 — "Four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth, holding fast the four winds of the earth." The banished Seer here views the earth as a vast extended plain, bounded by the four main points of the compass, north, south, east, and west. At these respective corners an angel stands so as to have full control over the destructive forces of evil. The threefold repetition of the numeral "four" marks the completeness and the universality of the action. We see no reason for limiting the term "earth" here to the Roman world. The winds are not to blow till an ideal number of Israel is sealed (vv. 3, 4). Now the two houses of Israel, Ephraim and Judah, are embraced in this work. Jehovah "shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth" (Isaiah 11:11-12). Thus both the Prophet and the Seer refer to the full extent of the inhabited earth, and not to the territorial limits of the Roman world, whether past or future. Clearly, too, verse 9 refers to the result of a divine testimony amongst the Gentiles far exceeding the extent of the empire in any period of its history. The earth here must be understood in its largest sense.

The four restraining angels,{*Wordsworth, in his "Lectures on the Apocalypse," p. 120, attempts to show that the "four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth" are the same as those "bound at the great river Euphrates" (Revelation 9:14). But the world-wide position of the former compared with the circumscribed sphere of the latter would forbid such interpretation. Besides, the actions and time essentially differ. Wordsworth is one of the most fanciful and uncertain of interpreters.} the unseen, yet real, spiritual powers, are here seen controlling the forces and instruments of evil. "the four winds of the earth."{* Political and other troubles are expressed in the term "winds of the earth" (Daniel 7:2; Job 1:19; Jeremiah 49:36). "Winds of the Heaven" and "winds of the earth" are to be distinguished. The former expression points to the providential agencies employed by God to execute His purposes; whereas the latter denote attention to the guilty sphere of these judgments and calamities, i.e., the earth. We may also observe that the first mention of the "earth" in the text is unrestricted in its application. The second mention of the word limits it to the civilised portion of the globe in contrast to the "sea" the uncivilised part (see also Revelation 10:2).}

l. — "Holding fast" with a firm grip, implying that the winds were struggling to get loose. How irresistible the grasp of Omnipotence on the powers and forces of evil. They are effectually bridled till the plans of God are ripe and ready for action.

The situation is one of intense interest. We are about to enter into yet deeper sorrows. The climax of judgment so far was under the sixth Seal when all government, political, social, supreme, and subordinate, utterly collapsed, and a scene of universal terror ensued. But deeper woes are looming. All were not slain in the martyrdom under the fifth Seal (Revelation 6:9-11), nor will coming and severer judgments hinder a universal testimony for God, as the consolatory visions of this chapter conclusively prove. Hence the universal calamities and troubles, indicated by the expression "winds of the earth," are for a season held in check till God takes measures for the preservation of a complete number of His people Israel and of an innumerable company of Gentiles.

1. — "That no wind might blow upon the earth," the scene of settled government (Revelation 10:2; Psalms 46:2): "nor upon the sea," nations and peoples in anarchy and confusion (Daniel 7:2-3; Isaiah 57:20); "nor upon any tree," the might and pride of earth (Daniel 4:10; Daniel 4:22; Ezekiel 31:3-9; Ezekiel 31:14-18). The reason of the cessation of judgment is stated in precise terms: "until we shall have sealed the bondmen of our God upon their foreheads" (v. 3).

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-7.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

After the altar scene in Revelation 6:9-11, the vision opens the sixth seal to give a view of the consternation that came upon the men in high places, because of their mistreatment of Christians and because they were faced with the reverses that the emperor had forced upon them. The present chapter extends the consideration that God had for the "martyrs," at the same time He was bringing the siege of consternation upon the persecutors of His people. The four angels are so numbered because of the four corners or four points of the earth"s compass. Holding the four winds symbolizes the blowing of the wrath of God over the realm of the persecutors, and these angels were holding this wind ready to be released whenever they were so ordered.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-7.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

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.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-7.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ch. 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.

The winds in Scripture are the symbol of divine judgments, the storms of suffering and temptation which are appointed by God. In ch. Revelation 6:13, "as a fig-tree casts its unripe fruit, when shaken by a strong wind," the divine judgment was already compared to a strong wind. And from that there was but a step to the representation here, where it appears under the image of the wind. In Job 9:17, it is said, "he breaketh me in a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause." In 1 Kings 19:11, "the great and strong wind, rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord," denotes the storm of assaults and tribulations which befel the church and her representatives, the prophets. The powerful storm out of the north, in Ezekiel, Ezekiel 1:4, symbolises the judgment that was to break in upon Judea out of Babylon. In Jeremiah also, Jeremiah 22:22, the judgment of God is represented under the image of the wind. But there are three passages in particular of the Old Testament which serve as a foundation for the one before us. In Jeremiah 49:36, the divine judgments rushing in upon all sides appear as the four winds, "and I bring against Elam the four winds from the four ends of the heaven, and I scatter them toward all the four winds." The winds are introduced here, not as Zllig thinks, for the immediate purpose of scattering, but for that of destroying: the scattering to the four winds is only the consequence of the powerful activity of the winds, as appears plainly from Jeremiah 49:32, where the "I bring their calamity from all sides" corresponds as to the matter: and also because it is not said, "and the four winds scatter them," but, "I scatter them to all the four winds." So here also the circumstance of the four angels standing with the four winds on the four corners of the earth, indicates that the storms of the divine judgments were to break in from all sides, and so, in accordance with what was said in the sixth seal, brings out the multifarious nature of the divine judgments, presupposing the greatness of the guilt they were sent to chastise. The second passage is Daniel 7:2. There the four winds of heaven are let loose upon the great sea, as a description of the divine judgments which were to be executed by the conquerors of the world. The third and last passage is Zechariah 6:1, ss. The prophet sees four chariots. The interpreting angel instructs him regarding the meaning of these in Zechariah 6:5, "These are the four winds of heaven, which go forth, after they have appeared ministering before the Lord of the whole earth." The four winds of heaven are used to symbolize the divine judgments. It is on account of their personification that chariots are ascribed to them, and that the chariots in which we must suppose the winds to be carried are afterwards identified with the winds.

The four winds are called the four winds of the earth. The earth is wanting in some critical helps, and Bengel would omit it; but, improperly; for, in the fundamental passages, it is not simply the four winds, but the four winds of heaven, that are mentioned; and the omission of heaven here is to be accounted for from the earth preceding and following, the threefold mention of which is certainly not accidental, but emphatically points to the theatre of the divine judgments.

The four winds are held by four angels. Their chief mission is to let the winds go (comp. on Revelation 7:2), whence it is given to them to hurt the earth and the sea. But along with this they had the charge of restraining the winds for some time longer, till the saints were placed in security, as the angels in Sodom were at once commissioned to destroy the city and to deliver Lot. And this is the only point made prominent here, because it is the only thing of present importance. That the angels are not, as Züllig conceives, the angels of the four winds, but that they are here employed on a special business, is clear from this, that the discourse is not of the four angels, but quite indefinitely of four angels, while it is of the four winds. We are not to think, with Bengel, of bad angels. With such the mission would not suit, either to hold the winds for the preservation of the righteous, or to let them loose for the destruction of the wicked. Both belong, according to the doctrine of Scripture, to the good angels—see in regard to the latter my commentary on Psalms 78:49. According to Exodus 12:13, Exodus 12:23, the slaying of the first-born of Egypt was accomplished by the destroyer, the angel of the Lord with his attendants. According also to Revelation 7:3 of this chapter, the four angels take part in the sealing of the elect.[Note: Bengel remarks: "They are bad angels; for good angels, though they do harm, still do no injustice." But ἁ δικεῖ ν is used in the sense of doing harm, giving pain, often in the Apocalypse itself, ch. 6:6, 9:4. In that sense it must at any rate be taken here, since, even if the angels were bad, the work done by them has nothing in it of injustice; they were certainly instruments of deserved punishment.]In the angels who hold and let go the winds, the thought that the salvation of the chosen and the destruction of the wicked comes only from God, is clothed, as it were, with flesh and blood[Note: Vitringa: Qua dictionis formula innuitur, nullos in orbe terrarum motus cieri majores, qui non pudcant a dei consilio.]—comp. the similar symbolical representation in ch. Revelation 9:14-15.

The four angels with the four winds make up with the earth, the sea. and the trees, the number seven: in the first group the spoilers, in the second those that were to be spoiled, the agens and the patiens of the desolation.

The sea, according to Daniel 7:2, can only he the sea of the nations. Of the sea in the literal sense, besides, we cannot think, because that could not be hurt by the winds, as stated in Revelation 7:2. Finally, that the sea and the trees are used figuratively is clear from the position of the trees, which are separated from the earth, to which the natural trees belong, and are placed after the sea.

The trees here correspond to the kings, magnates, etc., in ch. Revelation 6:15. Trees and grass in ch. Revelation 8:7, Revelation 9:4, denote the high and the low, princes and subjects. In the Old Testament trees are the common symbol of the great. In Isaiah 10:18-19, the trees of Ashur, in contrast to his brushwood, are his great ones. But especially has this symbol a frequent place in those prophets, with whom St John most closely connected himself, Daniel and Ezekiel. In Daniel 4 Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon appears under the image of a lofty tree: "Thou, O king, art that tree," Daniel 4:19, In Ezekiel, Ezekiel 31:3, ss., Assyria is represented as a cedar on Lebanon, beautifully foliaged, its top reaching to the very clouds; in its branches nestled all the fowls of heaven, the beasts of the field bore under its boughs, and many tribes of the earth dwelt beneath its shade. In Ezekiel 17 also the house of David appears as a high cedar on Lebanon; the trees of the field (Michaelis: "all princes and potentates of this world") saw its wonderful growth, and perceived from it that it is the Lord who exalts or depresses all trees. The trees of the field, too, in Ezekiel 31:4-5, Ezekiel 31:15, are the princes of the earth. Comp. besides Jeremiah 21:14, Jeremiah 46:22-23.

The angels hold the winds that the wind might not blow upon any tree, literally, every tree. And as Zllig remarks, the word all or every is not used in vain in the Apocalypse For the present the winds must blow upon no tree; by and bye they must blow upon all trees. The hurting of the trees brings injury to those who dwell under their branches; Ezekiel 31:6, Ezekiel 31:17, Ezekiel 17:23; Matthew 13:31-32. If but a single tree had been hurt before the sealing, the promise which the Lord has given to his people would be broken. For without his protecting grace the fall of that tree would be hurtful to them. Precious privilege of Christians, that they are preserved from the destruction which the fall of the tree brings along with it!

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-7.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Counter picture of celestial reward of Saints, Revelation 7:1-17.

a. Winds are silenced, while OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS are sealed, 144,000, Revelation 7:1-8.

1.And—The six seals of chap. vi give the shady side of human history and destiny; this chapter gives the sunny side. During that darksome history there was a Church, sometimes struggling and sometimes triumphant, in the world. And now, to relieve the scene and to exhilarate the Christian heart, a picture of that Church is contrastively spread before us in its glory. It follows, that the complete history of the world is not profane and inglorious, nor a defeat of Christ’s atonement and headship of the race.

“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”

The angel of the seals bids the angels of the winds to hush every breeze while he stamps the servants of God, Revelation 7:1-3. One hundred and forty-four thousand are sealed from among the twelve tribes of Israel, Revelation 7:4-8. Then the great innumerable body redeemed from among all nations are seen standing before the theophanic throne, (amid a choir of angels circling around them,) and their paradisaic state is explained by one of the elders, Revelation 7:9-17.

It is a great question among commentators, who are the 144,000? and who the great multitude of Revelation 7:9? By our mode of interpretation, the reply seems clear and simple. They are, as may be fully shown in our notes, the Old Testament and the New Testament Church; and their redemption is here pictorially presented in contrast to the condemnation of the profane world, as presented in the six seals of the last chapter.

After these things—This contrasted half does not belong to the seal series, but is a contrastive counterpart.

Four angels—The creational number, indicating that they are a regular part of the system. In religious allegory they are nature-angels; in science they are the laws of nature; in truth they are the goings forth of the divine power in its established and regular methods.

Four corners—Phraseology based upon the four points of the compass.

Not blow—A divine quietude of the elements over earth, and sea, and tree, must await the sacred sealing process. All nature yields before the dispensations of heavenly grace.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-7.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 7:1. As on the synoptic scheme (Matthew 25:31), physical convulsions and human terrors are followed by a pause during which the saints are secured. It is impossible and irrelevant to determine whether the winds’ blast and the sealing were already conjoined in the fragment or oral traditions which lay before this editor, or whether their combination is due to himself. They reflect the tradition underlying the synoptic apocalypse (Mark 13:24-27, etc., cf.Revelation 6:12 to Revelation 7:3), but here the safeguarding of the elect comes before, instead of alter, the advent, and the four winds are agents of destruction instead of mere geographical points; besides, the role of messiah is omitted altogether. It is assumed not merely that these angels are the spirits of the four winds (Zechariah 6:5, and repeatedly in Enoch, e.g., lxix. 22, “the spirits of the waters and of the winds and of all zephyrs”), but that some onset of the winds is imminent (Revelation 7:2, cf. En. xviii. 22), as part of the horrors of the last catastrophe (for punitive winds, see Sirach 39:28). Stray hints proving the existence of such a tradition (cf.Daniel 7:2) have been collected (cf S. C. 323 f.; A.C. 246, 247) e.g., from Sibyll. viii. 203 f., etc., where a hurricane is to sweep the earth previous to the resurrection of the dead (trees being here singled out as most exposed to a storm’s ravages). If such allusions are not mere echoes of the present passage, they would appear to indicate a runlet of eschatological tradition flowing behind more important ideas. Or are the saints like trees of God (Ps. Sol. 14:2, 3) never to be uprooted by a wind or onset of foes (ibid. viii. 6)? It is no longer possible to be sure. In En. Revelation 18:1 f. by a semi-Babylonian touch, the four winds are identified with the four pillars of the heaven and the foundations of the earth; in Apoc. Bar. vi. 4, 5, four angels with lamps are restrained by another angel from lighting them (cf. also E. Bi. 5303). There seems to be no allusion to the notion of a blast (from the sea) as a form of mortal fate (e.g., Oed. Col. 1659, 1660; Iliad, vi. 345 f.); on the contrary, the idea goes back to Zechariah 6:8 (LXX), whence the prophet had already developed Revelation 6:1-8. As Revelation 14:1 f. roughly answers to Revelation 7:9 f., so the appearance of wild beasts out of the agitated sea of the nations (in Daniel 7:1-8) corresponds to the sequence of Revelation 7:1-4; Revelation 13:1 f.

The earth is a rectangular plane or disc on which John looks down from heaven’s dome resting on it, to observe (Revelation 7:2) a fifth angel “ascending” from the sun-rising (the east as the source of light, cf. on Revelation 16:20, the site of paradise, the sphere of divine activity?). , here (as in Revelation 15:7; cf.Hebrews 10:31) in O.T. sense (cfDeuteronomy 32:39 f.; Ezekiel 20:33; Jeremiah 10:10, etc.) of vitality to succour and to punish, God’s “life” being manifested in his effective preservation of the saints and chastisement of their enemies or of the world in general. He lives and keeps alive. Here, as in the parent passage, Ezekiel 9:4-6 (cf.Exodus 12:13 f. and the “Egyptian” character of the plagues in chap, 8.), the true of God are distinguished by a mark denoting God’s ownership. Before the crisis good and evil must be discriminated (Spitta, 80 f.). Cf. Ps. Sol. 15:6 f. on the immunity of the righteous, , : where as these plagues hunt down the wicked, . This royal, sacred sign, which in Ezekiel is the cross or Tau as the symbol of life and is here probably authenticates the bearers as God’s property (cf. Herod, ii. 113, vii. 233) and places them beyond risk of loss. It identifies them with his worship and also (cf. on Revelation 2:17) serves to protect them as an amulet against harm (see Deissm. 351, 352 on as protective marks and amulets). In Test. Sol. (tr. Conybeare, Jew. Quart. Rev. 1898, p. 34) an evil spirit declares he will be destroyed by the Saviour “whose number ( ), if anyone shall write it on his forehead, he will defeat me”. Mr. Doughty also describes (Ar. Des. i. 171) a false Christ in Syria who declared he had God’s name sculptured between his eyebrows; i.e. the wrinkles resembled the Arabic hieroglyph for Allah. For the religious significance of such tattooing as a mark of divine ownership see R. S. 316; and, for the connection of Revelation 6:12 f. and Revelation 7:1 f., the basal passage in Daniel 11:40; Daniel 11:44; Daniel 12:1. The parallel device of Antichrist later on (Revelation 13:16, etc.) shows that this sealing is something special, baptism or the possession of the Spirit (as in Paul) is the guarantee of destined bliss. A contemporary expression of the idea occurs in Clem. Rom. lix., lx.: “We will ask that the Creator of all things preserve intact to the end the appointed number of his elect throughout all the world, etc”. As Revelation 6:1-8; Revelation 6:12 f. are free reproductions, with a special application, of the ideas underlying Mark 13:7-8; Mark 13:24-25, so Revelation 7:1 f. is an imaginative sketch on the lines of Mark 13:27. The Apocalypse, however, has no room for the false messiahs of Mark 13:6; Mark 13:22, etc. (cf. on Revelation 13:11 f.) as a peril. See further 4 Ezra 6:5, “Ere they were sealed who laid up the treasure of faith,” and Melito (Otto ix. 432, 476) the apologist, who preserves a dual tradition of the end, including wind as well as fire = et selecti homines occisi sunt aquilone uehementi, et relicti sunt iusti ad demonstrationem ueritatis, (whilst at the deluge of fire) seruati sunt iusti in area lignea iussu dei. But the Apocalypse like Philo, stands severely apart from the current Stoic notion, adopted in Sib. iv. 172 f.; 2 Peter, etc., of a destruction of the world by means of a final conflagration.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-7.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

1. After this I saw four angels. Two events are presented in this chapter: the sealing of God’s people [symbolic of ownership; protection; genuineness]; and the gathering of God’s people in the Eternal World. Chapter six ends with Judgment ready to begin. As chapter seven opens, four angels (symbolic of the total agencies of destruction) are standing at the four corners of the earth (symbolic of the total Creation: North, South, East, West) holding back the four winds (symbolic of punishment, destruction, anguish), just about to release them to do their work of vengeance.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 7:1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-7.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.