We come now to the seventh chapter of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. This is the first chapter that is a parenthetical chapter as it gives no new information in the progressing timeline, but takes us back just a little to see what has been happening during the period between the first seal and the sixth seal.
This chapter is similar to a parenthesis in a sentence that explains some small detail that was not obvious in the sentence. This is not unlike a FYI (for your information). It would be like relating that a certain automobile was experiencing brake problems and attempting to explain the problem. In the parentheses it would state that the car company had indeed recalled all of the affected vehicles. This is what we see here in Revelation chapter seven.
In chapter six we saw that one fourth of the world’s population had been killed, and if we relate this to chapter seven, we see that sometime after the first seal and before the seventh seal is broken one hundred and forty four thousand people are sealed.
In this chapter we will learn about people who will become believers in the tribulation period. Some will be protected through the seven years of the tribulation, and others will be killed for their faith in Christ. Even in the midst of the Great Tribulation we will see grace and mercy poured out by our merciful Lord and Savior.
Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
I take this verse to mean that these four angels are in fact the cherubim, living ones or beasts that we saw in the previous chapters. What are they doing? Does this mean that the earth is flat? No, this is representative of the four compass directions of the globe.
The scripture tells us they are holding back the wind that it should not blow on anything, meaning they are holding back destruction. God the Father will always protect those that belong to Him. My friend whether you realize this or not, everything and I mean everything, passes through the hands of God before it can come to us. God either allows things to happen or He ordains them to occur and we can take heart that God is in absolute control of everything.
God has directed the four angels to hold back the destruction that is to follow. The restraint is just for a short time and then the seventh seal will be opened and the tribulation will continue.
Revelation 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Revelation 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
Now we see the reason that the angels have been told not to hurt the earth. Another angel that ascends from the east brings this message. And that angel has with it the great seal of the living God. He is given instructions that he is to seal the servants of our God in their foreheads. What is the seal? We are not told what the seal is, we are left to speculate. Anyone that says that they know what the seal is, is mistaken.
If we “speculate”, the seal could be the name of Jehovah stamped on their foreheads, it could be the number 777 imprinted on them, or it could be that each person is given special protection, sort of like a force field that they cannot be hurt. There is also the thought that this mark could be the Hebrew “Taw” ? that we find in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 9:4 And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
It was thought to be in the form of a cross. It is fun to speculate but it is just that, “speculation”. All that we know is that they are sealed in their foreheads.
Who are the ones that are to be sealed?
Is this the 144,000 witnesses that the “Watchtower Bible and Tract Society” speaks of?
Is this the 144,000 that the Seventh Day Adventist talk about being in church on Saturday when the Lord returns?
Or, are these the Jews that the Bible clearly informs us about, even to spelling out which tribes they are from and the quantity from each tribe?
I believe the latter is the case. These are Jews, 12,000 from each of 12 tribes. Now you will notice that the order is slightly different. It is not the same order as the tribes that crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land and received their land inheritance in the book of Joshua. There are several oddities here in the list’s of the tribes so if you follow along we will sort this out together.
Revelation 7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Revelation 7:5 Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
Revelation 7:6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
Revelation 7:7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
Revelation 7:8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
Now for the explanation!
1. Reuben is not listed first although he was the first born. Why not? If we look in the book of Genesis, I believe that we will see the answer to this first problem.
Genesis 49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
Genesis 49:4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
Reuben forfeited his preeminent place as the first borne because of his fornication with Bilhah as can be seen in Genesis 35:22. Bilhah was a concubine of Israel (Jacob) and Israel never forgot the offense.
The twelve tribes (sons) are listed In Deuteronomy chapter 33 as 1. Reuben, 2. Simeon, 3. Levi, 4. Judah, 5. Issachar, 6. Zebulun, 7. Joseph, 8. Benjamin, 9. Dan, 10. Naphtali, 11. Gad, and 12. Asher.
2. Now if you look at this list in Revelation 7 you will see something else that is a little strange. Do you see the tribe of Dan listed?
No you do not! Why not? Why is the tribe of Dan omitted?
To see the answer to this question we must traverse back in time to the Old Testament and look for the reason that Dan would not be included in this list of the 144,000 sealed of Israel.
The following verses relate how the Lord felt about His people rejecting Him and worshipping false gods and idols.
Deuteronomy 28:59 Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
Deuteronomy 28:60 Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
Deuteronomy 28:61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
Deuteronomy 28:62 And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.
Deuteronomy 29:18 Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;
Deuteronomy 29:19 And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:
Deuteronomy 29:20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.
Deuteronomy 29:21 And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law:
We see from the preceding verses that The Lord would not tolerate any of His children worshipping false gods or graven images.
Now for Dan. We will see in the following verses that Dan committed the sin of following after false gods and worshipping idols in direct disobedience to the Lord’s command.
Judges 18:28 And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Bethrehob. And they built a city, and dwelt therein.
Judges 18:29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first.
Judges 18:30 And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.
Judges 18:31 And they set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.
This was the sin of Dan. They were commanded not to do this, but they defied the commands of God to go their own way. Also, we see that Dan was not satisfied with some small idols, they actually worshipped at the foot of the golden calf as did the Israelites at Mt. Sinai.
1Kings 12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
1Kings 12:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.
1Kings 12:30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
My comment on this! “You don’t want to travel that far to the temple, just worship here and here is the god that you can worship. This was a lie straight from the pit of Hell and it surely does smell like smoke and Hell fire.”
3. You can also see the sin of Ephraim by looking at the Old Testament book of Hosea.
Hosea 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.
Hosea 4:18 Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye.
Hosea 4:19 The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
Now why is this scripture important?
Did you notice in the listing of the tribes that were sealed that Ephraim was not listed, but his brother Manasseh was listed in his place?
Manasseh was the oldest son of Jacob, but Ephraim actually received the blessing from Jacob. Therefore, Ephraim should have been listed as one of the twelve tribes along with his brother Manasseh. The reason is this, Ephraim sinned against God because they werejoined to idols as stated in Hosea 4:17. So, although the blessing of the first born was transferred to Ephraim, this sin removed them from being listed among the 144,000.
Here is the blessing that Israel (Jacob) gave to Manasseh and Ephraim even though Joseph did not approve.
Genesis 48:13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him.
Genesis 48:14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.
Genesis 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,
Genesis 48:16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
Genesis 48:17 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.
Genesis 48:18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.
Genesis 48:19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
Genesis 48:20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
So we see that because of Ephraim’s sin the tribe is removed and Ephraim’s father Joseph was inserted. Since Dan had to be removed for the same sin as Ephraim we see Levi inserted. The tribe of Levi was never promised a portion of land. They were to be the priests for every tribe and given space among the inheritance of the other tribes.
Additional information about the twelve tribes of Israel can be found at the end of this chapter study. There are approximately 29 lists of the twelve tribes in the Bible.
Back to Revelation chapter 7.
Do you see that God does not kid around with sin, it is very important to see that God does not want His people to worship anyone or anything but Him. Here we have two of the twelve tribes of Israel kept from being included as servants and witnesses of Almighty God during the most important period of Israel’s history. These servants are used as witnesses by God to bring about a multitude of redeemed souls, Jews and Gentiles, to the praise of the glory of God’s grace.
In our world we sometimes get caught up in the rat race of materialism. We want just a little more than we have, just a little nicer car, a slightly bigger home. The more things that we accumulate the less time we have for the Lord God Almighty who provided them for us in the first place. Have you ever noticed that no matter what we want we can justify it before the Lord?
Lord, if you will give me that new van then I can use it to pick up the children for Sunday morning Bible Training. Lord, if I can get that new house then I can hold Bible Studies there. Lord, if I can get that big raise in salary then I can give more to the Church. I have done this myself and have had to repent of it! We need to look at our situation as the Apostle Paul did.
1Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
The following verses should be taken together as they teach that there will be a great multitude saved during the tribulation. And, upon their death they will be instantly translated to be with God the Father and Jesus Christ in Heaven. This multitude will be dressed in white robes.
Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
Revelation 7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb
Who are these people called a great multitude? The passage gives us the answer. They are Gentiles and Jews from all nations, and kindreds, and people and tongues, (or languages).
What do the white robes and the palms represent? They represent the righteousness of Jesus Christ. These are the martyrs that die for their faith during the tribulation period and they are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Are you clothed in the robes and righteousness of Jesus Christ? It would be far better to receive Him now than to go into the tribulation period clothed in your own righteousness. You can know for sure that you are wearing the robes of the righteousness of Christ. If you are a believer, a child of the King then pray for your neighbors and your friends, because this is not the time on this earth you want them to see or experience.
How do I know that this multitude has been redeemed and comes out of the tribulation?
Revelation 7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
Revelation 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
The people pictured here are Jews and Gentiles. They come to faith during the tribulation. The meaning of having washed their robes and whitened them in the blood of the Lamb is that they have put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ. These people have asked Jesus Christ to be their Savior, because that is the only way that Christ will give us His robe of righteousness.
We must come to faith in Him and believe that He is able to redeem us, and that He has the purchase price of redemption. A redeemer must be willing to redeem and Jesus Christ is willing to redeem us and He has the authority to redeem whom He chooses.
Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin and mine when He alone took our sin to the Cross of Calvary. He shed His Blood so that we could live. Now if that was the end of the account and we never heard from Him again we would all be lost. But, He rose again just like He said and salvation is guaranteed because we see that all of His words were true and each event came to pass. The sin debt was paid on the cross but the confirmation was His resurrection. By His resurrection we have a King and High Priest throughout eternity!
Here is the blessing of the believers. The following passage should help you to shout for joy because of the blessings that wait for every believer.
Revelation 7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Revelation 7:16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Some have said that that they thought Heaven would be sitting on a cloud and playing a harp, not necessarily so. These saints are pictured serving the Lord day and night in His presence. There is no longer any hunger, there is no thirst, no more sun burn or sweating. The climate will be “perfect”, because we look at the One taking care of the saints, and it is The Lamb of God. Jesus Christ is controlling the weather, the sun, the stars, and the wind. Jesus is in charge of everything and we are now free from sin because of Jesus Christ. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin has left a crimson stain, (but) He washed it white as snow.
May God richly bless you my beloved, Amen.
Now we have a little further study for the twelve tribes of Israel.
Genesis 35:22b Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:
Genesis 35:23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:
Genesis 35:24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin:
Genesis 35:25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali:
Genesis 35:26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.
- Joseph (two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim were blessed by Jacob)
When the Israelites entered the land of Canaan the land was divided by lot between the twelve tribes. As you can see Joseph, was removed and his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim each received a portion. The tribe of Levi did not own land. They had a dwelling place or portion within each of the twelve tribe’s allotment. God in the book of Deuteronomy stated that He the Lord God was Levi’s inheritance.
Deuteronomy 10:8 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.
Deuteronomy 10:9 Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, according as the LORD thy God promised him.
In the book of Joshua we see the dividing of the land.
Joshua 13:15 And Moses gave unto the tribe of the children of Reuben inheritance according to their families
Joshua 13:24 And Moses gave inheritance unto the tribe of Gad, even unto the children of Gad according to their families.
Joshua 13:29 And Moses gave inheritance unto the half tribe of Manasseh: and this was the possession of the half tribe of the children of Manasseh by their families.
Joshua 15:1 This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.
Joshua 16:1 And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout mount Bethel,
Joshua 16:5 And the border of the children of Ephraim according to their families was thus: even the border of their inheritance on the east side was Atarothaddar, unto Bethhoron the upper;
Joshua 17:1 There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.
Joshua 18:11 And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up according to their families: and the coast of their lot came forth between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph.
Joshua 19:1 And the second lot came forth to Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah
Joshua 19:10 And the third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their families: and the border of their inheritance was unto Sarid:
Joshua 19:17 And the fourth lot came out to Issachar, for the children of Issachar according to their families
Joshua 19:24 And the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families.
Joshua 19:32 The sixth lot came out to the children of Naphtali, even for the children of Naphtali according to their families
Joshua 19:40 And the seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families.
The tribes of Dan and Ephraim were not included in the sealing of the 144,000 during the tribulation. God said the 144,000 were to be sealed, protected and act as God’s servants during the tribulation. They were to witness to the second coming and glorious return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to set up the Millennial Kingdom so longed for by the Israelites on earth.
Dan and Ephraim had joined themselves to idols, and if you will, disqualified the two tribes from being servants, or witnesses for God. We also might ask why God would want these 144,000 Jews witnessing during the tribulation. Let’s look at the following verses.
2Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
2Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
2Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
2Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
2Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
2Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
From this passage it would appear that many of those that dwell on the earth will be denying God and ignoring the soon return of Jesus Christ to set up His kingdom on earth.
The next question might be has God completely cast aside the tribes of Dan and Ephraim. Are they included in the glorious Millennial Kingdom that will be instituted at the second advent of Jesus Christ? To answer this we need to look at the Old Testament book ofEzekiel, chapters 47 and 48. In these chapters Ezekiel is given a vision of the Holy Land and the allotment of land that will be given to the tribes of Israel when the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ begins on this earth.
Ezekiel 48:1 Now these are the names of the tribes. From the north end to the coast of the way of Hethlon, as one goeth to Hamath, Hazarenan, the border of Damascus northward, to the coast of Hamath; for these are his sides east and west; a portion for Dan.
Ezekiel 48:2 And by the border of Dan, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Asher.
Ezekiel 48:3 And by the border of Asher, from the east side even unto the west side, a portion for Naphtali.
Ezekiel 48:4 And by the border of Naphtali, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Manasseh.
Ezekiel 48:5 And by the border of Manasseh, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Ephraim.
Ezekiel 48:6 And by the border of Ephraim, from the east side even unto the west side, a portion for Reuben.
Ezekiel 48:7 And by the border of Reuben, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Judah.
Ezekiel 48:23 As for the rest of the tribes, from the east side unto the west side, Benjamin shall have a portion.
Ezekiel 48:24 And by the border of Benjamin, from the east side unto the west side, Simeon shall have a portion.
Ezekiel 48:25 And by the border of Simeon, from the east side unto the west side, Issachar a portion.
Ezekiel 48:26 And by the border of Issachar, from the east side unto the west side, Zebulun a portion.
Ezekiel 48:27 And by the border of Zebulun, from the east side unto the west side, Gad a portion.
Remember that God said that He is Levi’s inheritance.
So we can see that God has not utterly cast off His people, His peculiar treasure Israel. God is not slack concerning His promises to Israel. God will bring His people to the land He promised them, and this is Ephesian 1:6b to the praise of the glory of His grace!