April 13 2022
Today, Wednesday April 13
The Angel with the Seal Revelation 7:1-4
“After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then 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 granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, "Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads." And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:”
We are now in a section that the Lord Jesus labeled the Great Tribulation. This period takes place after the church leaves the earth, after the church concludes its mission and is taken to be with the Lord. I think that this is not only a reasonable conclusion, but I personally feel it is very clear, not only here, but elsewhere in Scripture.
Peter said that "...no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (2Pet. 1:20). In other words, you cannot lift out just one verse here or there or even consider only the Book of Revelation and expect to interpret accurately the whole of prophecy. It is essential to recognize that the Book of Revelation happens to be the last book of the Bible. When you are studying arithmetic in school, you begin with "two plus two equals four." You do not start the little ones in first grade with atomic physics or with higher mathematics. Since this book is the last book of the Bible, the only requirement is to have a working knowledge of the sixty-five books which go before. Then you will find that this book makes a great deal of sense and is quite logical.
John is now about to go into detail concerning the Great Tribulation period, a period that has not been elaborated upon in any other place in Scripture except in the Olivet Discourse which the Lord Jesus gave (see Matt. 24-25). We talked about that yesterday as we explained the parallels between Matthew 24 and Revelation 6. John is merely widening that out and giving us additional information. What he says is based on what the Lord Jesus had to say.
In chapter 6 we saw the opening of the first six of the seven seals by the Lamb. The first four revealed the four horsemen that are coming upon the earth, and the sequence of the beginning of the judgments. The fifth seal let us look at a martyred company of people, a great throng. In the sixth seal we were introduced to some of the signs of the doom that is to come upon a godless world in the Great Tribulation period.
In Revelation 7 we continue to see the overview of the Tribulation that was being described in chapter 6. “After these things”, refers to the six seals being opened in chapter 6. Now we are introduced to five angels. The first four angels are standing on the four corners of the earth and holding the back the four winds of the earth. Some people have tried to use this verse to declare the Bible to be “unscientific”. The earth is not flat like a piece of paper with four corners they would say. But here the four corners are speaking of the four directions that the winds come from, the north, the south, the east and the west.
Angels are associated with the forces of nature: the wind (Rev. 7:1), fire (Rev. 14:18), and water (Rev. 16:5). Stopping the winds implies a "lull before the storm." God controls all of nature. During the day of His wrath, He will use the forces of nature to judge mankind. The four angels are told by the fifth angel to hold back the winds of God’s judgments that are about to release until the 144,000 Jews are sealed.
To break down this chapter, we see two groups of people described in this chapter. In verses 1-8, we have the 144,000 Jews being sealed on the earth. In verses 9-17, we see the Gentiles from all the nations which can’t be numbered standing before the throne in heaven.
We will begin to look at this in more detail tomorrow! Have a wonderful, wonderful day!