Study Notes

Revelation 7:1-17


We have seen Jesus Christ take the seven-sealed scroll and begin to break the seals one by one. The first four released the four horsemen of the apocalypse - the antichrist, the bringer of war, the bringer of inflation, and death himself.

When the fifth seal was broken, we saw under the altar people who had been saved during the Tribulation that had been martyred. They were crying out "Lord, how long are you going to keep from judging those people on the earth that killed us?" But they were told that there were still more to be martyred for their faith - they would have to wait a little longer.

Then the sixth seal was broken, bringing massive destruction - an earthquake and several natural disasters simultaneously. But still, most people refused to repent, desiring rather to hide from the wrath and judgment of God.

Tough Chronology

Now, before we continue, I should point out a structural feature of the book of Revelation. Things happen in groups of seven. We're almost through the seven seals of the scroll. Next, there will be seven trumpet judgments. Then there are seven bowls of wrath.

Between the sixth and seventh of these is always a parentheses. Between the sixth and seventh seals, we are introduced to the 144,000. Between the sixth and seventh trumpets, we see John eat a book, measure the temple, and introduce us to the two witnesses. And between the sixth and seventh bowls of wrath, we see the unclean spirits that prompt Armageddon. This structural parenthesis make a chronological summary of Revelation next to impossible. That's why it is often so hard to follow - because we assume that it is written chronologically in order of events, and that makes it almost impossible to comprehend.

One clue that helps us determine time in Revelation is the Greek phrase, "met-AH TOW-tah," which is translated, "after these things." This tells us when something is definitely chronological. After the four horsemen of chapter 6, John tells us "met-AH TOW-tah" in chapter seven. Already the antichrist has come to power, the world is rocked by world war three, inflation, and death. Now the events of chapter seven are shown to us.

7:1 Holding Back The Four Winds

From the north, south, east, and west, four angels are holding back the winds. The word used for winds here means a violent, tempestuous, destructive wind. These winds will be released in chapter eight, when the a third of the earth, sea, and trees are destroyed. But chapter seven shows us the calm before the storm. What is the purpose of this calm?

7:2-3 The Bond-Servants

The reason for this calm was that first the bond-servants of God had to be sealed on their foreheads.

Now, a bond-servant is a servant of a special kind. The Old Testament Law said,

Exod. 21:2, 5-6 If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment... But if the slave plainly says, "I love my master...; I will not go out as a free man," then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

This is the process that made a servant into a bond-servant. He was a servant who chose to serve for his entire lifetime, knowing that the life he had as a servant was better than he would have as a free man.

The group about to be sealed is referred to as "bond-servants of our God." This means that they have committed to be servants of God for life. Why? Because they love their Master, and realize that their so-called 'freedom' in the world is nothing compared to their 'slavery' to God.

Is this your attitude as well? The true disciple knows that they have...

Rom. 6:22 ...been freed from sin and enslaved to God...

These are a faithful group of brand-new believers that live on the earth. They are about to be sealed.


Now, a similar event happened in the book of Ezekiel. The Lord appeared to Ezekiel and lifted him up to heaven, showing him all of these horrible abominations that were happening in the temple and being committed by the people of Israel.

Ezek. 8:18-9:6 "Therefore, I indeed shall deal in wrath. My eye will have no pity nor shall I spare; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, yet I shall not listen to them." Then He cried out in my hearing with a loud voice saying, "Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand." And behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gate which faces north, each with his shattering weapon in his hand; and among them was a certain man clothed in linen with a writing case at his loins. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case. And the LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, {even} through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst." But to the others He said in my hearing, "Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity, and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary."

Judgment was coming, but first a group was marked. What group? Those who sighed and groaned over all the abominations which were being committed.

The same will happen during the Great Tribulation. There is going to be a group of people who will be so grieved at rampant evil and blasphemy going on, that the Lord will mark them, He will seal them.

Are you set apart like this group? Are you grieved at the evil happening in our society? Do you sigh and groan and cry out to God when you see that teenagers are becoming increasingly fascinated with witchcraft? When you see that over 4,000 babies die from abortion every day? When you see that The Bible is outlawed while homosexuality is celebrated?

This group is sealed before more any harm comes to the earth.

The Seal Of God

But what are they sealed with? What will be the mark? We don't need to guess, for the Bible says,

2Cor. 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave {us} the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

Eph. 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of {God's own} possession, to the praise of His glory.

Eph. 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

They will be sealed as we in the church have been sealed - with the Holy Spirit. This group who is so grieved by the abominations being committed by the world will turn to Jesus Christ and become saved, Spirit-filled servants of Christ.

On Their Foreheads

The seal is the Holy Spirit, yet is upon their forehead. It sounds strange until we see that often the Lord uses the forehead to describe something internal, at the front of our minds. For example, when giving the ordinance of the feast of Unleavened Bread, he said that eating the unleavened bread and telling your children about the deliverance from Egypt

Exod. 13:9 "...shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth..."

That which is Biblically on your forehead is at the forefront of your thinking. This is their all-consuming passion - to be holy before the Lord, and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

7:4-8 The 144,000

These verses tell us exactly how many of these bond-servants there are, and exactly where they are from. 144,000 Israelites, descendants of Abraham - 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes.

They are not Jehovah's Witnesses, or any other cult that claims this group as themselves. They are what the Bible says they are: twelve thousand Jews from each tribe of Israel.

These 144,000 bond-servants will be witnesses of Jesus Christ, evangelizing the world. They will be successfully fulfill what Jesus said in Matthew 24,

Matt. 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come."

How successful with this witnessing be? Look at verses nine and ten.

7:9-14 A Great Multitude

Again, we see the phrase "met-AH TOW-tah." John is showing us something that happens after the the 144,000 are sealed. He sees a huge number of people in heaven before the throne. They were from every country, every ethnicity, every language.

The result of the preaching of the 144,000 is that a true revival will break out in the world, and so many people will be saved, no one can count them.

The Lord, speaking through the prophet Joel, tells of the army from the north will attempt to invade Israel, but will be driven into a desolate land.

Joel 2:28-31 "And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes."

God is going to be saving countless people during the Great Tribulation.

The Ones Who Come Out Of The Great Tribulation

Why are they in heaven? They have "come out of the Great Tribulation." They have been martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Palm Branches

The multitude is holding palm branches in their hands. Palm branches are also used to rejoice before the Lord during the feast of tabernacles (Lev 23:40). Also, remember that on "Palm Sunday" Jesus was hailed as Israel's conquering king by the waving of palm branches.

John 12:12-13 ...the great multitude who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and {began} to cry out, "Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel."

Then the great multitude in Jerusalem with palm branches cried out "Hosanna," meaning "save now!" Now the great multitude in heaven with palm branches cries out "Salvation!"

7:15-17 God Shall Wipe Every Tear

In the presence of God, there is no more hunger, no more thirst. No sunburns, no heat stroke, and no more tears.

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