Revelation 7 - Outline of Revelation (MENU page)
7:1 And after these things...
Refers here, not to the sequence of events but to the order of vision.
Note that ch. 7 comes between seals #6 & 7 (cp. 6:12; 8:1). The narration of each of the three sevenfold judgments (seals, trumpets, bowls) is broken by an explanatory section (or, parenthetic episode), which falls between the sixth and seventh event of each series. [These parenthetic episodes are shown in parenthesis ( ) in the Book Outline.] These accounts may look back to events described previously, or forward to events yet to come. They provide supplemental information and often a different perspective on these events.
...four angels...four corners...four winds...of the earth
Four= the number of the earth- The threefold repetition of this number,
and of the phrase "of the earth" is emphatic concerning the theater of judgment.
Winds- in scripture, often speak of judgment. Gen 41:6; Psa 148:8
the four winds- may refer to the judgments of the first 4 seals and/or of the fourfold judgment of seal #4 (Rev 6:1-8).
This parenthetic episode (ch. 7) explains why these judgments had not fallen upon the earth previously.
...holding...that they should not blow
The judgments and the appearance of Antichrist (the last beast of Dan 7:2-3,7-8,17-22) are restrained until all is ready. eg.:
  • the fullness of gentiles (Rom 11:25)
  • the removal of the Restrainer at the Rapture of the Church (2The 2:6,7)
    (ie., the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit upon the world, through the presence of the true church, Eph 1:12-14; 5:9-11)
  • and the sealing of the 144,000 (v.3).
7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east,
from the east- lit., from the rising of the sun.
East wind is associated with severe judgment in OT. Isa 27:8; Eze 19:12; Hos 13:12-15
Yet, 'east' is often associated with blessing-
-- the wise men came from... Mat 2:1,
-- the glory of the Lord... Eze 43:2,4,
-- the sun of righteousness will arise with healing... Mal 4:2
These judgments though severe will bring blessing.
having the seal of the living God: {see v. 3}
and he cried with a loud voice...
loud- expresses urgency
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.
Who are these servants? -Not the church which is already in glory (ch. 4,5).
These are believing Jews, the remnant of Israel, who have come to faith after the church is removed. They are firstfruits before 'all Israel shall be saved.' Rev 14:4; Rom 11:25,26; Isa 43:1-11
When are they sealed? -Prior to the opening of seal 1 or 2.
What is the seal?
  • Probably a mark invisible to man which identifies these as set apart for the living God's possession, protection (9:4), and service. (cp. those marked for preservation at an earlier time of judgment upon Jerusalem, Eze 9:4).
  • Perhaps the Holy Spirit (who seals believers today, and who will be in the remnant at the time of Israel's restoration).
    See Eph 1:13; Eze 37:9-14, where "wind" and "breath" are both HB= ruach, spirit.
  • Contrast the mark of the beast (Satan's counterfeit to the seal of God). Rev 13:16
7:4 ...of the tribes of the children of Israel
The twelve tribes are listed by name.
This can include only those who are physically of Israel.
144,000 represents about 1% of the current world Jewish population. These are a remnant...of grace. Rom 11:4,5
7:5-8 ...Judah..Reuben..Gad...
There are as many as 29 lists of the tribes in Scripture. The order varies considerably between these lists, which suggests Israel's continual disorder before the Lord.
  • Note that here, Judah displaces Reuben (Jacob's firstborn) in firstplace.
    Reuben lost his birthright due to immorality. Judah was given preeminence and is the tribe from which Christ came (Gen 49:8-10).
  • Note that Dan & Ephraim are missing, being replaced by Joseph (Ephraim's father) and Manasseh (Joseph's other son).
    Possible reasons:
    1. Dan was first to turn to idolatry, and suffered the consequences: Judg 18:30; Deu 29:18-21
    2. Ephraim led the split of Israel into two kingdoms. Jeroboam (an Ephrathite), the first king of the northern tribes, set up golden calves at Dan and Bethel (the latter being in Ephraim's territory). 1Kin 11:26; Hos 4:17
    3. Some suggest that Antichrist will arise from Dan. Gen 49:16-18
Note: This list is not the final accounting, being at the start of the Tribulation.
Ezekiel lists the allotments of the tribes during the Millennial kingdom:
-- Ephraim's name is restored.
-- Dan is not only included, but heads the list- showing that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound! Eze 48:1,5; Hos 11:8
What is the role of the 144,000?
Apparently, to preach the 'Gospel of the Kingdom' prior to the end. Isa 43:1-11; Mat 24:14
Imagine 144,000 Jewish evangelists each with the apostle Paul's zeal!
The Gospel of the Kingdom is the Gospel of Grace but with time brackets:
-- Today, we preach 'now is the day of salvation' ... 'Jesus is coming soon.'
-- These will be able to say, 'Repent...the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord in 42 months!' From the mid-point of the Tribulation, the number of days, until the end, will be clearly understood (eg., Rev 11:3,15). There will be no lack of corroborating signs.
7:9 After this I beheld, ...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;
In seven years, the 144,000 will accomplish the job
at which the church has labored for 2000 years. The Great Tribulation will also be a period of God's Great Redemption.
A great multitude- the same words are translated 'much people' in 19:1 where
the same group is seen at the fulfillment of the justice for which they prayed in 6:10.
of all nations, kindreds {lit., tribes} -
This group apparently includes both Jews & Gentiles. However, the world's relatively small Jewish population would suggest that Gentiles make up the largest portion of this innumerable multitude.
stood- The question asked, in 6:17, is answered in ch. 7 where
two groups [(v.4 with 14:1) and (v.9)] of the redeemed stand before God as exhibits of His saving grace.
clothed with white robes- only here and 6:11, in all of scripture,
do we see white robes (elsewhere, white garments).
This is further evidence that these passages focus on the same group.
However, with either term, white clothing signifies the righteousness of those so clothed.
palms in their hands- The only other occurrence is at Christ's 'Triumphal Entry.'
In John 12:13, Christ goes out to defeat the enemy of our souls: "He is mighty in battle."
Here, in Rev., He returns with the redeemed hosts, for "He is the King of Glory."
These are waiting in anticipation for the King of Glory to come in. Psa 24:8,10
7:10 ...salvation to our God... and unto the Lamb.
They ascribe salvation to Him as an attribute. As God is holy & true and therefore the standard and source of holiness & truth, so He is the only source of salvation. Only through the salvation which He provides, can one stand before Him.
Psa 24:1-6; Joh 14:6
7:11 ...all the angels... stood... fell... worshipped...
The angels are sinless creatures who stand before God without need of redemption. It follows that their worship does not mention salvation.
7:12 ...Amen... Amen
But they endorse the worship of the saints, and their worship is complete with seven ascriptions of God's worth.
7:13 literal translation:
''These which are arrayed in white robes,
Who are they?
Whence came they?''
7:14 ...Sir, thou knowest.
In that John does not know the identity of this group,
they are not the church, which he described in heaven in ch. 4 & 5.
These are they who came out of great tribulation
lit., "the tribulation the great one" - The word 'tribulation,' when applied to God's people, implies martyrdom (see 2:10).
{who} have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
The blood of the Lamb is the only means of redemption.
It is not unique to the church, but applies to those in all ages who placed their trust in the One who would 'provide Himself a lamb' (eg. Adam, Abel, Abraham, Aaron, David, Paul, the 144,000...) Gen 22:8
To distinguish this group from the church & from the 144,000, compare:

The ChurchThis Group (v. 9-10,14-17)
- kept out of great tribulation (3:10) - came out of great tribulation
- white raiment (3:5,18) - white robes (also in 6:11)
- sit on thrones (4:4) - stand before the throne
- wear crowns - uncrowned
- have harps in their hands (5:8) - have palms in their hands
- sing a new song (5:9)- cry with a loud voice
- kings & priests before God, reign on earth (5:10)- serve day & night in His Temple
The 144,000This Group
- from ethnic Israel only - from all nations, kindreds, people and tongues
   (primarily gentile)
- a specific number - a multitude beyond counting
- seen on earth, not yet glorified - before the throne, in glory

Also note that-
  • This parenthetic 'episode', which views the sealing of the 144,000,
    precedes the unfolding of the seven seals (vs.3,4).
  • This parenthetic episode, of the great multitude,
    is retrospective and explanatory of the fifth seal (6:9), and also prophetic of their prayer answered (6:10) and of their witness completed (6:11).
7:15 His temple...
McGee says this further distinguishes this group from the church, since the church has never had a temple, and the New Jerusalem contains no temple. Apparently, they will serve in the Temple of Christ's Millennial Kingdom.
...He that sits on the throne shall dwell...
lit., 'shall tabernacle among', or 'spread His tent over' - This speaks of protection. cp. Psa 27:1-6
7:16 They shall {no more be oppressed by} hunger... thirst... sun... heat
{heat= painful, scorching wind}
The antidote for the sorrows borne & the price paid, by this multitude, to identify with the Lord Jesus (6:9-11), is the presence of their King. He will quench their hunger and thirst, both physical and spiritual (Mat 5:1-12).
7:17 For the Lamb... shall feed them,
feed= to tend as a shepherd. Their caring shepherd is the Lamb (Joh 10:11).
and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters:
Psa 23:1,2; Joh 4:14; Rev 21:3-6
and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
The exercise of God's justice is part of this process.
Rev 6:10; 14:7; 16:4-6
Thus, the seventh seal remains to be opened.

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