"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Seven OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To identify the two groups in the two visions seen in this chapter 2) To note how these visions would comfort those who must pass through the great tribulation SUMMARY Between the sixth and seventh seals, there is an interlude in which John sees two visions. They may be designed to answer the question raised at the end of the previous chapter: "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (6:17) Yes, who WILL be able to stand? In the first vision John sees four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the winds from blowing on the earth, sea, or on any tree. An angel arises from the east having the seal of the living God, who cries out to the other four angels not to harm the earth, etc., until the servants of God have been sealed on their foreheads. John then hears the number of those who are sealed. They are 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel, with 12,000 from each tribe. Of interest is the fact that Ephraim and Dan are not mentioned, while Levi and Joseph are counted as tribes. This suggests to many that the 144,000 of Israel is symbolic (1-8). The second vision reveals a large innumerable multitude of all nations standing before the throne and the Lamb. Clothed with white robes and palm branches in their hands, they cry out "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" They are joined in their praise by angels, the elders, and the four living creatures. John is then told by one of the elders that those arrayed in white robes have come out of the great tribulation, with their robes washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Before the throne of God, they serve Him day and night in His temple. Future blessings are then described: God will dwell among them, they shall be free from hunger, thirst, and the heat of the sun. The Lamb will shepherd them and lead them to fountains of living waters, and God will wipe all tears from their eyes (9-17). What do the two visions represent? I believe the 144,000 sealed on earth represents the church "militant," i.e., the redeemed on earth. While they may be on the earth when God's judgment and wrath is outpoured, they are sealed and thereby spared from God's wrath (cf. Ezek 9:1-11). This does not mean they will not suffer tribulation, for while they may escape God's wrath they may still face the efforts of Satan (12:17; 13:7ff). But the second vision provides hope for those who must pass through "the great tribulation." Provided they have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, they are assured that they will serve God in His temple in "the intermediate state" (between death and the resurrection). They are also promised future blessings in "the eternal state" (after the resurrection and judgment, cf. 7:16-17 with 21:1-4). Thus the great multitude in heaven represents the church "triumphant," i.e., the redeemed in heaven. It is the church militant and then triumphant that will be able to stand in the day of God's wrath! OUTLINE I. THE 144,000 SEALED ON EARTH (1-8) A. THE ANGELS RESTRAINED (1-3) 1. John saw four angels at the four corners of the earth a. Holding the four winds of the earth b. That the winds would not blow on the earth, sea, or any tree 2. John saw another angel ascending from the east a. Crying with a loud voice to the four angels granted to harm the earth and sea b. Instructing them not to harm the earth, sea, or trees until the servants of God were sealed on their foreheads B. THE 144,000 SEALED (4-8) 1. John "heard" the number of those sealed 2. Those sealed were 12,000 each of the tribes of Israel: a. Judah g. Simeon b. Reuben h. Levi c. Gad i. Issachar d. Asher j. Zebulun e. Naphtali k. Joseph f. Manasseh l. Benjamin II. THE GREAT MULTITUDE IN HEAVEN (9-17) A. JOHN SEES A GREAT MULTITUDE (9-12) 1. Which none could number, from all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues 2. Standing before the throne and before the Lamb a. Clothed with white robes b. With palm branches in their hands 3. Crying with loud voices: "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" 4. Angels, the elders, and the four living creatures also join in with praise a. Falling on their faces before the throne and worshipping God b. Ascribing blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might to God B. THE GREAT MULTITUDE IDENTIFIED (13-17) 1. Asked by one of the elders, John puts the question back to him 2. The elder identifies the great multitude: a. Those who come out of the great tribulation b. Who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb c. Who are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple 3. The elder describes their future blessedness: a. The One on the throne will dwell with them b. They shall not hunger nor thirst anymore; the sun nor any heat shall strike them c. The Lamb will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of water d. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) What does John see next? (1) 3) What did an angel ascending from the east cry out? (2-3) 4) Who and how many were sealed? (4) 5) In the list of those sealed, what two tribes of Israel are missing? (5-8) 6) What two names are used for tribes which were not normally listed among the twelve tribes of Israel? (5-8) 7) After the 144,000 are sealed, what does John see next? (9-10) 8) Who else joins in with praise to God? (11-12) 9) Who does the elder identify as the great multitude? (13-14) 10) What future blessings are they promised to receive? (15-17)