Bible: What Does Revelation 7 Teach Us About the 144,000 and the Great Tribulation?
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Revelation 7: The 144,000 Jews; Tribulation Martyrs
Before the Lamb resumes the seal judgments, John provides a glimpse into the existence of two special groups who will minister during the seventieth week of Daniel: the one hundred forty-four thousand (vv. 4-8) and the martyrs (vv. 9-17).
[This chapter functions as a parenthesis between the first six seals (chapter six) and the seventh seal.
This last seal leads to six of the seven trumpet judgments (chapters eight and nine).
John picks up with the seventh trumpet after the end of another parenthesis (10:1-11:14).]
The apostle observes four angels restraining the “four winds of the earth” (v. 1).
[What climatological changes might no wind produce worldwide?]
Another angel bearing “the seal of the living God” arises from the East, and commands these four not to hurt the Earth and the sea until “we” have “sealed” the one hundred forty-four thousand Israelites on their foreheads (vv. 2-4).
[By “we,” the angel must mean that “the four” would aid him in this task.]
Salvation After the Rapture?
Do you believe people can still be saved after the Rapture of the Church?
The Twenty-Four Elders
Apparently, the four angels had not previously been told to wait until this sealing took place.
[“Sealing” signifies ownership (cf. other sealing [or marking] operations [Gen. 4:15; Ezek. 9:4; Eph. 1:13; Rev. 13:16]).
Twelve thousand Jews from each of the twelve tribes—John places Judah first, excludes Dan, and includes Joseph instead of Ephraim—receive the seal of God to protect them (vv. 5-8).
[The text offers no reason to understand “the one hundred forty-four thousand” as anything other than a literal one hundred forty-four thousand Jews.]
The Tribulation Martyrs
The apostle also sees an innumerable, mixed multitude (“of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues”) clad in “white robes” (Christ’s righteousness, or their own righteous deeds?), holding palm branches as they stand before the throne and before the Lamb, praising the Father and the Lamb for their salvation (vv. 9-10).
While an angelic host attends God around the throne, the twenty-four elders and the four living ones, prostrate in worship before the throne, chant a seven-part refrain that expresses His worth (vv. 11-12).
In response to his own question to the mystified John regarding both the identity and previous station of the white-robed multitude, the apostle’s attending elder (cf. 5:5) replies that these righteous ones--they have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”-- have recently died in the “Great Tribulation” (v. 14).
Their continuous occupation now consists of temple service before the throne of God (v. 15a).
[Apparently, the Father and the Lamb take the place of this temple when the New Jerusalem appears (cf. 21:22).]
The Father (“He who sits on the throne”) will make His abode with them, they will no longer suffer from want, and the Lamb “who is in the midst of the throne” (underscoring mine) will protect, lead, and nourish them spiritually from the “living fountains of waters” (“springs of the water of life,”NASB). God will also comfort them emotionally (vv. 15b-17; cf. 21:4).
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