The assertion that no one will survive the crescendo of God’s wrath, as implied in the question of panic-stricken humanity (Rev 6:17), is corrected by two new visions injected after the conclusion of the sixth seal. The first pictures angelic actions of restraint and sealing (Rev 7: 1-8). The second picture injected as a contrast to the panic of earth’s inhabitants under the sixth seal (Rev 6:17) has its setting in heaven (Rev 7:9-17).
II. Scripture Text.
A. The 144,000 of Israel Sealed
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 could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having a seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the slaves of our God on their foreheads.”
4 And I heard the number of the ones who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
5 Out of the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand sealed, out of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, out of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6 out of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, out of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, out of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7 out of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, out of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, out of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8 out of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, out of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, out of the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.
B.The Multitude from Every Nation
9 After this I saw, and look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes and with palm branches in their hands. 10 and they cry with a great voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell facedown before the throne and worshipped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for the ages of the ages! Amen.”
13 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are dressed in the white robes, who are they and where did they come from? 14 And I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore they are they before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple: and the one seated on the throne will spread his tent over them. 16 They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down on them nor any scorching heat, 17 for the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them and will guide them to springs of the water of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”
III. Verse Examination. Rev 7:1-8.
A. Rev 7: 3. The judgments are delayed until these 144,000 Jewish people can be “sealed;” i.e., protected supernaturally.
B. Rev 7:4. “one hundred and forty-four thousand.” These are Jews from the 12 tribes (12,000 each) who are protected in order to perform some service for God during these days. Perhaps they are evangelists. The omission of the tribe of Dan may be because Dan was guilty of idolatry on many occasions (Lev 24:11; Judg 18; 1 Kings 12:28, 29).
IV. Verse Examination. Rev 7:9-17.
A. Rev 7:9. “a great multitude.” This multitude is composed of many racial and geographic groups who will be redeemed during the Tribulation (v 14). In these difficult days, many will find Christ as Savior.
B. Rev 7: 15-17. Having died, or been martyred, during the Tribulation, this great multitude are seen in heaven enjoying its blessings.
V. Revelation 7 Summary.
Chapter 7 of the book of Revelation serves as a review of the situation described in the previous chapters and emphasizes two important facts. First, God is going to judge Israel in the period of great trial, and 12,000 from each tribe, totaling 144,000, will be protected and sealed from the judgments which will fall upon the world in general. Second, a great multitude of Gentiles will also be saved, but many of these will be martyred, and a multitude of the martyred dead are found in heaven rejoicing in the presence of the Lamb and representing every tongue and nation. It is an indication that even in the tragic closing hours prior to the second coming of Christ to the earth, countless souls will find Christ as Savior and be saved by His grace.
A. Paragraph I. Comment comes from the Revelation Commentary of Robert L. Thomas, Th. M., Th. D.
B. Paragraph II. Verses come from the Updated American Standard Version of the Bible.
C. Paragraphs III, IV. Notes come from the Ryrie Study Bible, Charles C. Ryrie, Th. D., Ph., D.
D. Paragraph V. Note comes from the Revelation Commentary of John F. Walvoord, Th. D.