Security and *salvation – Revelation 7:1-17
v1 After this, I saw four (4) *angels who stood at the four corners of the earth. They held back the four winds of the earth. The wind could not blow on the earth or the sea or against any tree. v2 Then I saw another *angel come up from the east. He had authority from the God who lives. He called out in a loud voice to the four *angels. These *angels had received the power to damage the earth and the sea. v3 The other *angel said to them, ‘Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees yet. First, we must put a mark on the servants of our God. We shall put the mark on the front of their heads.’ v4 And I heard how many people had this mark on their heads. There were 144 000 of them. They were from every *tribe of *Israel. v5-8 There were 12 000 from each of the 12 *tribes. The tribes are called: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.
v9 After this, I looked, and there was a large crowd. It was so large that nobody could count them. The people were from all nations. They were from all *tribes and nations and languages. They stood in front of the *throne and in front of the *Lamb. They wore white clothes, and they had *palm branches in their hands. v10 And they all cried out in a loud voice. They said, ‘*Salvation belongs to our God. He sits on the *throne. And *salvation belongs to the *Lamb.’
v11 All the *angels stood round the *throne with the *elders and the four *creatures. They all fell down in front of the *throne so that their faces touched the ground. And they *worshipped God. v12 They said, ‘*Amen! *Praise, *glory, wisdom, thanks, honour, power and strength belong to our God. These qualities are his now. And these qualities will be his without end. *Amen.’ v13 Then one of the *elders spoke to me. He said, ‘Who are these people in white clothes? Where have they come from?’
v14 I answered him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he told me. ‘These are the people who have come out of the great trouble. They have washed their clothes and made them white in the blood of the *Lamb. v15 Therefore, they are there at the *throne of God. And they serve God day and night in his *temple. And he who sits on the *throne will be with them. He will protect them. v16 They will never again be hungry nor will they need drink. They will not suffer from the sun or any terrible heat. v17 This is because the *Lamb at the centre of the *throne will be their *shepherd. He will lead them to the source of the water of life. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.’
Verse 1 Now there is an interval between the sixth (6th) and the seventh (7th) *seals.
John saw these four (4) *angels. They stopped the winds so that the winds could not blow on the earth. No wind could stir up the sea. No wind caused the trees to move. The whole world was still. The *angels controlled the winds until the servants of God had his mark on their heads.
These *angels stood at the four corners of the earth. John did not think that the earth was a square. He meant that the *angels stood over the whole earth. They had control of all wind.
Verses 2-3 The four *angels had power to damage the earth and sea. God had given them this power. But another *angel came from the east. He shouted to the four. He told them to do no damage until God’s servants received the mark of God.
This mark of God was the name of God and of the *Lamb. God’s servants must have this mark on the front of their heads. The mark was there to give protection to these people. The awful events that were coming would not hurt them.
Verses 4-8 John heard that 144 000 had this mark of God. This is not an actual number. There were 12 *tribes of the *Jews. There are 12 times 1000 from each *tribe. These numbers show that all in the groups were marked.
John records the 12 *tribes by name. This means that all these 144 000 were *Jews. They all believed in Jesus their *Messiah. They were from all the *tribes of the *Jews.
Verse 9 The 144 000 had received the mark of God. Then John looked and saw a vast crowd. This crowd stood in front of the *throne. The crowd was as far as the eye could see. There were so many people that nobody could count them.
These people were from all over the world. They came from every nation. They were God’s people. At that time, they were in heaven.
By *faith in Jesus Christ, these people had received new life. The *Lord had made them perfect with his own goodness. He gave them white clothes to wear. These white clothes meant that they were holy. And they were free from *sin.
They had *palm branches in their hands. The people used to wave *palm branches at their parties. They did this when they were happy. Here, they waved the *palms in order to praise the *Lamb.
Verse 10 The whole crowd cried out together to praise God and the *Lamb. They had all received *salvation from God. God had saved them. This *salvation was because of Jesus Christ. *Salvation belonged to God and to the *Lamb. So, the crowd shouted their praise to God and to the *Lamb.
Verse 11 There were millions of *angels with the crowd. There were the four *creatures and the 24 *elders. The crowd praised God. The four *creatures and the 24 *elders fell down and they too praised God.
Verse 12 They praised God. They cried out seven things about God. All of these belong to our God. The list started and finished with *amen. The *amens insist that these things are true.
God deserves all *praise. *Glory is his greatness, which shines like a bright light. He knows everything and he has all wisdom. We should thank God always for all that he has done for us. He is over all and he deserves honour from all. He is the God of all power. By his strength, he has made all things. He has overcome all that was against us.
Verses 13-14 An *elder spoke to John. He asked John two questions. ‘Who are these people in white clothes? Where did they come from?’ It seems that John did not know the answers. So John asked the *elder to explain.
These people have come out of the great trouble. The great trouble will be the period immediately before Jesus comes back to the earth. It will be an awful time. It will include the events of the seven *seals. During this time, God will take these people from the earth.
These people trusted in the *Lord Jesus Christ. They accepted all that Jesus had done for them. They knew that their *sins had gone. Jesus took their *sins from them when he died. The Bible often describes *sin as if it is something dirty. Only the blood of a perfect *sacrifice could make a person clean (holy). The death of Christ is the perfect *sacrifice for *sin. It was as if the blood of Christ had washed away the *sins of these people. They had white clothes. They had the goodness of Jesus instead of their *sin.
Jesus will take his *church from the world (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). But God has not told us when this will be. Some teachers say that it will happen after the events in chapter 3. John does not talk about the *church on earth from that time. This event must be after chapter 3. But this vast crowd is not the whole *church. The people in this crowd were alive at the time of the great trouble.
Verse 15 This vast crowd stood by the *throne of God. Each person wore white clothes. The white clothes meant that Jesus had made them perfect. They were free from their *sin.
They served God day and night. Day and night are not as we understand them. There is no night in heaven. John used these words to mean that they did not stop their service for God.
They were in God’s *temple in heaven. There, they served him and they praised him. God will always be with them. He will surround them with his *glory.
Verse 16 There will be no more hunger. Neither will they need drink. Jesus promised this to those who came to him (John 6:35). He was not talking about what the body needs. But in heaven, God’s people will have all that they require.
The sun and the heat can be a problem on earth. There is nothing like that in heaven. God’s people will be at home there. They will live in total comfort. There, nothing will disturb them.
Verse 17 The *Lamb changes his role. He is their *shepherd, the leader of the sheep. He is the good shepherd who saves his sheep (John 10:11). The sheep mean the people of God. A *shepherd leads his sheep to the water. Jesus gives the ‘water of life’ to his people. This means that he gives *eternal life to them.
God’s people will not still cry. God will remove all that would cause them to be sad. They will be very happy.
The seventh (7th) *seal – Revelation 8:1
v1 When the *Lamb opened the seventh (7th) *seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
Verse 1 The seventh (7th) *seal.
The *Lamb then opened the seventh (7th) *seal. All the many sounds in heaven stopped. There was a sudden pause. There was complete silence. It lasted for about half an hour.