We are still in the time period of the sixth seal. Keep in mind that none of the events of the entire “Revelation From Jesus Christ That God Gave Him” has had a start of fulfillment. Even at present – the year 2020 – with all of the trouble in the world, this is not a unique time that we are in.
In the past times, world troubles were worse than they are now. What we are experiencing now are just different types of problems. And too, depending on where you live in the world – in those impoverished and wartorn lands – you have always been in troubled times. Those who live in lands of relative luxury are usually the ones complaining about how bad things are because it upsets their way of life.
In this future time period of the sixth seal, we know that Satan will have set up a visible throne on earth that will actually supplant what Christ will have taken 1000-years to create. That throne is called The Beast. It will be an actual government that will encompass the entire earth. (More on this in Chapter 13).
We also know that during the time period of the sixth seal, Satan – through his Beast – will prepare all of earth’s citizens to resist what he knows will surely come down out of heaven and encompass the earth, God’s kingdom.
He will use his False Prophet to dispense propaganda that will mislead the people to believe that what approaches is an invasion that threatens his throne and their peaceful and secure existence in it.
His False Prophet will most likely blame the spreading of the Good News of the Kingdom message from God through His angel as the culprit for the chaotic and earthquake-type-conditions that will ensue within the global society. The majority of the inhabitants on the earth in those days will listen to the False Prophet. (More about this group of men in Chapter 13)
We also know during this time period of the sixth seal, Satan will test the loyalty of all his subjects upon which his beast sits atop. Those found to be non-supporters (non-worshipers) of his Beast and Image will have a very rough go at it. It will be very difficult to function and move about within Satan’s throne. They will be targeted as non-supporters and denied the benefits worshipers of the Beast have. The pressure to submit and support the Beast will be great upon them. I believe they will be set up and blamed for a great many things to make them look bad. They will be arrested, brought up before the Beast’s authorities, tried, and condemned to death. Many will even betray on another. It will be very difficult to know who to trust.
With that said, we know that the Great Tribulation (Great Test) occurs during the time period of the sixth seal. The Great Tribulation is not a test for those already aligned with the Beast! No! It is a test for those faithful to God and Christ in those days! The instrument to deliver their tribulation is Satan’s Beast and its worshipers! Former Brethren!
We know during the time period of the sixth seal, God sends out His angel to declare the Good News of the Kingdom upon Satan’s beastly throne and its worshipers. (Revelation 14:6)
That powerful message will agitate Satan’s established throne – as if by a powerful earthquake – that something approaches that will remove and destroy once and for all this Adversary. Satan knows that he is powerless to stop what approaches. He will not lead his worshipers to believe that, however. He will mislead them to fight against what approaches. A losing battle that will be. The inhabitants on the earth in those days will not know that Satan will have already lost the battle in heaven. It is doubtful that they will initially know that he has been ruling over the earth. I believe many will believe Satan was destroyed long ago in a time period thousands of years previous to the one they find themselves in.
If it is being taught today in recent times that the Beast, The Image of the Beast, The False Prophet, The 144,000, The War in Heaven, etc is now or has already occurred, then in the future time period when these things actually arrive and have fulfillment, Satan has an easy cover to operate over the earth in those future days as the inhabited earth will believe him destroyed and defeated.
Yet, Satan knows his eternal demise is short and if he cannot rule, he will ruin and take as many as he can into The Lake of Fire With him, which is the Second Death or nonexistence. (Revelation 12:12 and Revelation 20:14)
So, the stage is set. One kingdom from above – God’s kingdom – approaches. A kingdom below – Satan’s kingdom – will converge and prepare for a great spiritual battle in this time period of the sixth seal.
John now sees an awe-inspiring sight!
“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.” (Revelation 7:1)
Do any of you reading this see what this is? God has dispatched four angels and stationed them at the four corners of the earth – North, East, West, and South. The Most High God means business! The earth is His! He alone is the Creator of the heavens and the earth! No quarter of the earth will be spared what is to come! None of his angelic creations – especially the one who became Satan and Devil – can make claim to those things!
Note: While I am not thoroughly convinced the earth is a globe – primarily because most of the images of the earth in textbooks and on Google images, for example, are Computer Generated Images (CGI) and one has to beg why – it is interesting, however, that the Apostle John is told that the earth has corners.
These angels are holding back something! What? The four winds of the earth! The four angels are instructed, “to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.” What are these four winds? What to they symbolize? This …
The Good News of the Kingdom message! These four angels do not have that message to declare. Another angel – one angel – will be given that message to declare to all of “in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14 and Revelation 14:6)
What we see here are four angels holding back the effects of what the declaration of that message will have upon Satan’s visible throne on earth when it is declared.
The literal land, sea, and trees are things of the earth. While literal trees, seas, and land (to include mountains) are creations of God’s earth. The trees, seas, and land described here are used in a symbolic sense to refer to all of the elements making up Satan’s visible throne to include the Beast itself and its supporters and worshipers upon which the Beast sits on top and rules over.
“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:” (Revelation 7:2)
The above Scripture teaches us that the winds that are being held back have destructive power.
Notice a single angel who comes up from the east having the seal of the living God. This angel is special! He approaches from the direction in which the sun rises, east. He will be the one who will finish the seventh day and the one to usher in the dawn of a new everlasting day. This angel is the Lord of the Sabbath! That he commands in a loud voice the four angels that are holding back the four winds shows that he has authority over them! That he has the seal of the living God identifies him as the Chief Archangel, Michael – Christ’s heavenly name! (Matthew 12:8; Jude 9 and Revelation 12:7)
“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.”(Revelation 7:3)
This powerful commanding angel who approached from the east and who has the seal of the living God engages in a sealing upon the foreheads the servants of God on earth! What is this?
This is a sealing of those who have proven themselves faithful to God and Christ during the Great Tribulation which occurs – as I had previously stated – within the time period of the sixth seal.
This is no literal mark they will receive on their foreheads. Forehead here is to be understood as to what is housed inside the forehead, our minds. It is there that we think, reason, conclude, and choose. Those who pass the Great Test will have made the unshakeable choice to remain loyal to their God and to Christ no matter what! This commanding angel knows his sheep. He knows his loyal ones. He also recognizes those who make a pretense at being his followers. (Matthew 7:21-23)
“Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.” (Revelation 7:4)
Not All Who Are Called Israel Is Israel
It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. (Romans 9:6-8)
Many today think that the descendants of Israel (Jacob) are God’s chosen people. This is not true. Will there be some among Israel who will come to the side of God’s Son? Of course.
It is important to understand that in the time of the fulfillment of the “Revelation from Jesus Christ which God gave him,” that none of the nations of today will be in existence! They will have been long destroyed when Christ establishes his kingdom over the earth.
The Apostle Paul makes it clear who is really Israel.
Not all who are fleshly and natural Jacob’s (Israel) descendants.
Neither are they Abraham’s children (offspring).
But it is through the descendants of Isaac.
An Israel not by physical descent, but the children of the promise.
Through Isaac? What promise?
Isaac’s birth was miraculous. Both of his parents Abraham and Sarah were very old. In fact, Sarah had stopped menstruating. (Genesis 18:11)
God told Abraham that his wife Sarah would have a son. Abraham laughed at this. Sarah laughed, too. Someone else had a miraculous birth. Jesus.
Isaac, being the son of Abraham, was heir to the promise of heirship. That is, inheriting his father’s household.
When Isaac grew and became a young man (about 25 years old), God commanded Abraham to offer up his son as a sacrifice. Abraham was faithful as he reckoned God could raise his son from the dead since he made it possible for his wife to conceive a son. Nothing was impossible for God.
But God’s angel stayed Abraham’s hand. A sheep was sacrificed instead. Abraham was faithful! He passed the test! In a sense, Abraham received his son back as if raised from the dead.
This dramatic event not only proved the faith of Abraham, but also his son Isaac. Because of this display of faithfulness, God made a covenant (an agreement, promise) with Abraham that would be transferred to Isaac after his death. (Genesis 22:15-18 and Genesis 26:1-5)
Jesus Christ is the Greater Isaac who faithfully obeyed his Father in heaven and offered up his life as a sacrificial lamb. (John 1:29, 36; John 3:16)
So it is through Jesus – The Greater Isaac – that all persons regardless of their race, nationality, ethnicity, lineage are promised a return from the dead if they die, In other words, a resurrection. (John 5:28-29)
Please understand that the promise was not a promise of not dying, but of not perishing. There is a difference between dying and perishing. Death is a temporary condition and one can be resurrected from the death state as Jesus showed. However, if one is to perish, there is no hope for resurrection. To perish means no longer existing … not even as a dead person! The Revelation calls this The Second Death, which is The Lake of Fire. I will discuss this again when I get to Chapter 20. (Revelation 20:14)
Also, to be understood, is that since there is a Second Death, there must be a First Death. The First Death all of us born of flesh and blood are subject to and certain to experience. That is, we grow old and die. The Second Birth is the promise! It is the promised resurrection of all of mankind from the dead! (John 5:28-29)
This Second Birth is “being born-again.” From what? The dead! We must die before we can have a resurrection from the dead. Makes sense?
Thus, no one today or in past times is in a state of perishing. Jesus died so that would not happen. But we will die only to be brought back from the dead again as something much different than we are now!
When we are resurrected from the dead, we are resurrected into Christ’s 1000-year kingdom over the earth. The same kingdom Jesus promised a criminal who died next to him that he would be in. See how Jesus spoke of the promise! On that day long ago, that man died. He is in his grave to this day awaiting the promise of not remaining dead. Jesus will resurrect him as he promised. This is the promise we all have through the Greater Isaac, Jesus Christ, to be brought back to life again when we die. (John 5:28-29 and Acts 24:15)
When we are resurrected into Christ’s future 1000-year kingdom, it will run its course and end. Christ’s will have restored us to a perfect state and he is no longer needed. We will no longer need a Savior and an intermediary to God. We will be as Adam was, he was perfect and did not have a Christ.
We stand before God one to one. If we do something bad, it will not be because “we did not know.” We will know. Just as Adam knew it was forbidden to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Bad. Adam willingly disobeyed his Creator. That we will be perfect doesn’t mean we cannot do the same. Many will!
What then stands in front of us when we are resurrected and made perfect by Christ, is not a First Death – we will have already experienced that – but what is called The Second Death, The Lake of Fire, which is to perish! To no longer exist! Christ no longer a mediator so he cannot sacrifice or intercede for us when we knowingly disobey God. (Hebrews 10:26)
So, Israel is anyone who clings to Christ, proves his/her faithfulness even in the event of threat of death! The Great Tribulation will reveal who these persons are. Today, we do not know. This testing is yet future.
So, the 144,000 mentioned here are not literal Jews (Israel). The nation-state of Israel, as well as all of the nations we know today, will be long gone and forgotten.
But even with those two instances, Jesus knew that these were imperfect men and no match for Satan the Devil. Jesus knew Satan was the Great Orchestrator of it all.
They will eventually be brought back to life for a second time! This will no doubt scare the dickens out of their executioners! This will send a message loud and clear that they can be killed, but not die as they will be resurrected again. We will see this group later in this series as Two Witnesses!
These 144,000 will be chosen by Christ to be kings and priests with him in his 1000-year kingdom. They are The Kings of the Earth. (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10; and Revelation 20:6)
Christ chose these men as firstfruits from among mankind. The first among all of dead mankind to be resurrected. They were tested faithful. No falsehood was found in their mouths. They were without blemish.
“These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.” (Revelation 14:4-5)
From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
Revelation 7:5-8 gives us the number from each tribe sealed. Again, these are not literal Jews (no doubt there will be natural Jews in the group). This is a New Israel. First chosen, first taught directly by Christ and tested faithful. They are Elders in relation to the second group to be resurrected.
Next, John sees another group far more numerous than the previous one.
“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 before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9)
The group sealed at Revelation 7:4 has a set number. It is 144,000. They are hand-picked by Christ to be kings and priest with him during his 1000-year kingdom over the earth. They are the first-fruits from the earth. That is, the first to be resurrected from the dead. (Rev 14:4; Rev 20:4)
Now, we see a group – a great multitude – whose number no one can count! This is interesting. As of this article, we know the earth’s population is 7.8 billion people. The Population Reference Bureau estimates that about 107 billion people have ever lived, died. More people have died than those who are living! So, we have a countable number! But here at Revelation 7:9, The Apostle John sees another group that no one could count!
They are from the earth. How do we know this? Because we are told they come from every nation, tribe, people, and language.
Notice where John sees them standing: before the throne (God’s Throne) and before the Lamb. That they are standing mean that they are alive. They have been resurrected. But when were they resurrected in relation to the first sealed group of the 144,000?
They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands which mean that they were tested and passed the test. The first group – 144,000 – are given a seal of God on their foreheads, this great multitude are given White robes and palm branches as symbols of their faithfulness.
“And they cried out in a loud voice “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:10)
This group in unison and with a loud voice recognizes who they owe their salvation to eternal life to.
“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, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:11-12)
At hearing what the Great Multitude on earth says, the angels in heaven fall down on their faces before God’s throne and acknowledge in agreement with ‘Amen’ and say “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever.”
“Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from? 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. 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 shelter them with his presence. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. 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” (Revelation 7:13-17)
Now we learn the identity of this Great Multitude and how they came to be wearing white robes.
One of the Twenty-Four Elders asked John if he knew who they were. John does not know. The Elder knows and proceeds to tell John that they came out of the Great Tribulation.
Recall that I had discussed that the Great Tribulation occurs during the time period of the sixth seal. I also stated that the Great Tribulation will not come upon all on earth in those future days. The Great Tribulation (test) comes upon God’s people and those faithful to Christ. They must prove themselves faithful and worthy of eternal life. These persons will be under tremendous pressure by The Dragon and his Beast to worship the Beast and its image.
So, a great multitude of people will pass through a time of great trouble and tribulation faithful. This is what the white robes symbolize. The washing of their white robes in the blood of the lamb (Christ) means that they will have removed the stench and soil accumulated and heaped upon them by those trials. They will undergo no further testing. That they are in white robes grant them entry into God’s temple in His service. In front of them is everlasting life in God’s kingdom when it comes down to the earth.
This Great Multitude (as well as the 144,000 are on earth). Neither group will ever enter into heaven. (John 3:13) All are from the earth, not from heaven. That God’s kingdom comes down to the earth – that is, envelopes it – what need is there to go up into heaven. (Matthew 6:10; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:10)
The Lamb, Christ Jesus, is seen at the center of God’s throne. He is seen in his role as Leader and Shepherd to the Great Multitude. He will lead them to springs of “living water.” This is not literal water, but life sustaining teachings.
But, it will be God who will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
In the next article, I will explain the opening of the last seal, the seventh.
A lot of things occur within the time period of the opening of the seventh seal.
You are going to be in for an incredible eye-opening ride.