Revelation 7:1-17 Mercy In Judgment

by | May 10, 2023 | New Testament, Revelation

John found himself caught up into heaven where he found himself before the throne of God. He saw Jesus take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals. As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little further, events begin to take place on the earth and the time that we call the Tribulation begins to unfold. The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong. We have seen Jesus break six of the seven seals, and now a few things will happen before the seventh seal is opened.

I. 144,000 Sealed Servants Of God Vs. 1-8

A. Delay In God’s Judgment Vs. 1-3

1. V.1- Four corners- An ancient and sometimes modern way of saying the four compass points. God gives these angels the ability to delay judgment upon the entire Earth.

2. Vs.1, 2-Four winds- Describes the destructive force of God. (Isaiah 11:15; 17:13; Jer. 4:12)

a. Hosea 13:15 Though he is fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come; The wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness. Then his spring shall become dry, & his fountain shall be dried up.

b. Revelation 8 chronicles the next act of judgment, which is destruction against nature.

3. V. 3- The angels are restrained from bringing judgment until a certain group is sealed.

a. Sealed- ancient way of identifying one’s personal possession. They belonged to God.

b. God’s judgment was not to begin until His possession was identified and protected. (Compare with Ezekiel 9:1-9)

c. Revelation 9:4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

d. Note- Christians are also “sealed”. (See 2 Cor. 1:21, 22; Eph. 1:13, 4:30)

B. The 144,000 Vs. 4-8

1. It seems plain that these sealed servants of God are of Jewish ethnicity.

2. Until 1935, Jehovah’s Witnesses claimed this pointed to their denomination, when they exceeded that. Current doctrine says 144k JW’s will go to heaven; the rest will dwell upon a restored Earth.

3. What is plain about this group?

a. 7:4 Called children of Israel

b. 7:4-8 Specific tribal affiliation

c. 9:4 They are protected from God’s coming judgment.

d. 14:1 Protected and victorious with Jesus

e. 14:4 Celibate; virgins

f. 14:4 They are part of a great end times revival/harvest; Jews who become Christians

g. 14:5 Known as faithful and having integrity

4. They don’t seem to symbolize the church, or Jehovah’s Witnesses.

5. 144k protected Jewish people who become Christians during this time of Judgment. God’s work with and through them bring others to Christ, both Jew & Gentile

6. The New Testament speaks of a future gathering of the nation of Israel to Jesus. (Zechariah 12:10-13; Romans 11-13; Matthew 23:37-39)

7. Seiss- “They (the 144k) are not a part of the Church proper; for their repentance comes too late for that. They are a super-addition to the Church – a supplementary body – near and precious to Christ but made up after the proper Church has finished its course.”

8. Rev. 14:4, 5 seem to point to these Jews being the first among a revival in Israel, perhaps used by God as evangelists.

9.  Romans 11:26-27 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.

II. A Great Multitude (Of Martyrs) Vs. 9-17

A. A Multi-Ethnic Group V. 9

1. V.9- An innumerable group from every ethnicity, perhaps converts from the 144k

a. These are likely the group found in Rev. 6:9-11. Saved during the GT but martyred.

2. Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

3. V.9- How did John know they were from every nation? He looked at them.

a. They had unique features differentiating themselves.

b. In Heaven, we won’t all look the same, but we will retain individuality.

B. What They Were Doing Vs. 9, 10

1. V.9- standing before the throne and before the Lamb…

a. The Church in Heaven gives its attention to the Father and The Son.

b. In Heaven, the activity of the Church is intelligent and thankful worship.

2. V.9- White robes- speaks of purity, forgiveness, redemption thru faith in Jesus.

3. V.9- palm branches-emblems of victory. This congregation celebrated the Lamb’s victory and their corporate victory. They fought the good fight and finished their collective race.

4. V.10- Salvation belongs- Salvation is a gift from God. Not earned but given.

a. These Believers recognize that God is the source of eternal salvation.

b. Guzik- Sometimes Believers on earth take their salvation almost for granted. This isn’t true of this great multitude in heaven.

C. A More Clear Identification Of Them Vs. 13-17

1. V. 13- An elder (One of The Church) initiated a conversation with John

a. It was important for John (and for us) to know where these people came from

2. V.14- They came out of The Great Tribulation, perhaps the martyrs of Revelation 6:11

a. Literally-The Tribulation, the great one. (Compare with Matthew 24:21, 22)

3. V. 14- White robes through faith in the shed blood of Jesus.

4. These were people who missed the Rapture but were saved just as the Great Tribulation began; it is likely that they were martyred.

a. These are the ones who come- Literally-who come and are coming out of.

b. Their salvation was not because they were martyrs, but because of their faith in Jesus.

5. V. 15- Walvoord- “Heaven is not only a place of rest from earthly toil but also a place of privileged service.”

6. V. 15- In Heaven, God dwells with His people. King David had this same sentiment.Psalm 27:4: One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.

7. V. 16- Damien Kyle- In Heaven, all that could produce sorrow for us will be banished.

a. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

8. V. 17- Spurgeon-Jesus does shepherd us now, and He is close to us and cares for us now. Yes, but in heaven it will be so much more. “The true Christian life, when we live near to God, is the rough draft of the life of full communion above. We have seen the artist make with his pencil, or with his charcoal, a bare outline of his picture. It is nothing more, but still one could guess what the finished picture will be from the sketch before you.”

III. The Natural Response Is Worship Vs. 11, 12