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Revelation
Chapter Seven

Commentary by Tom Brown

 

7 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.

four angels standing at the four corners of the earth. Just like the four horsemen go throughout the whole earth, these four angels will protect the 144,000.

2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea:

 

3 "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."

until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God. No harm (poverty, sickness and defeat) can come to the servants of God.

4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

heard the number. He did not count the number, but only heard it. But when he sees this group, they are innumerable and not just from the tribes of Israel (v 9).

144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. Numbers represent ideas; they are not literal. This number comes from 12 X 12 and 10 X 10 X 10= 144,000. This is showing that the 144,000 are the “complete” saints of God.

5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,

tribe of Judah. Judah is first on this list, though not first in the list of the sons of Israel. Judah is most important because Christ came from this tribe.

6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,

 

7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,

 

8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

Dan is missing because he is described as the serpent that bites the horse’s heel. (see Gen 49:17). Because of this, John leaves him out because his inclusion would ruin the picture that John is conveying, namely, the 144,000 are with the white horse.

9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

I looked. John finally sees the 144,000 but says that they cannot be counted, and more than that, they are from every nation, tribe and people. This proves that the 144,000 are not to be taken literally.

white robes and were holding palm branches. See 5:8.

10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

"Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb."

Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. This is the main message of the book. Here the gospel is summarized, and armed with the gospel we become the army to bring people out of darkness into the light.

11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,

 

12 saying:

"Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!"

 

13 Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes — who are they, and where did they come from?"

Then one of the elders. It is not an angel that asks this question, because even angels long to look into the gospel.

14 I answered, "Sir, you know."

And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

they who have come out of the great tribulation. Everyone in Christ will suffer tribulation. (see Jn 15:33; Acts 14:22; 2 Tim 3:12). They have “come out” of the tribulation, and are not “staying in” the tribulation. It is important to come out of your troubles through prayer and praise (v 9).

15 Therefore,

"they are before the throne of God

and serve him day and night in his temple;

and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.

they are before the throne of God. Whenever we face troubles it is good to come to the throne of grace to find help. (see Heb 4:12)

16 Never again will they hunger;

never again will they thirst.

The sun will not beat upon them,

nor any scorching heat.

 

17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;

he will lead them to springs of living water.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

 

Previous  Chapter Eight

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