by Mike Ratliff
15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17 ESV)
I posted The Lamb Opens the Scroll on May 2nd. In that post, we looked at each of the first six seals that The Lamb opened of the seven that seal up the scroll in Heaven. Only The Lamb was found worthy to open the scroll. Revelation 6 ends with the sixth seal that gives us a preview of The Day of the Lord or the Great Tribulation that will begin when the Lamb opens the Seventh Seal. However, there are two very interesting things that are revealed to us after the Sixth seal is opened. The first one is a question asked by those hiding from God’s wrath. We find that question in Revelation 6:17. Those pleading with the mountains and rocks to fall on them for protection from the wrath of the Lamb and the wrath of the one seated on the throne, ask, “for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” The second thing revealed to us is the answer to that question.
Revelation 7 forms a parenthetical statement between the Sixth and Seventh Seals. It is the answer to the question asked in 6:17. Before we go any further let’s try to understand that persecution and suffering is not God’s Wrath being poured out on believers. God’s wrath is not for His saints. However, that does not mean that God will keep Satan’s seed from filling up the cup of His wrath against them by their evil actions against Christians. In fact, in God’s economy, there is an “eternal blessedness” associated with this sort of suffering.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12 ESV)
With the opening of the Sixth seal, things are getting very serious. The dawn of the The Day of the Lord has come like a thief on the Earth. Those with no discernment were not aware that God’s Judgment was coming. Only those with discernment of the signs given to God’s people as warnings are prepared. The Great Apostasy has begun, but awaits the revealing of the Lawless One to trigger the falling away into the false worship within the Scarlet Woman. However, at this moment we are at the Dawn of the Day of the Lord and the Seventh Seal has not been opened. God has given us His answer to us of who will not fall into the Great Apostasy and worship of the Beast.
1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:1-3 ESV)
In v1 we are given a picture of four Angels stopping the moving of the wind on the Earth. Without the wind there would be no variableness in the weather. The essential engine of the wind would be stopped. This is not permanent, but during this brief interlude, there will be no wind on the Earth. I believe that is to show us God’s sovereignty and immutability in His protection of those on planet Earth who belong to Him. Those who can stand while God’s Wrath is poured out on the Earth are those who received God’s seal on their foreheads, which is His name (Revelation 14:1). Of course, this is not a seal men can see, but one God uses to mark those who are His so His servants can see. Who is sealed?
4 And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
5 12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
6 12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
7 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
8 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed. (Revelation 7:4-8 ESV)
These are 144,000 servants of God that are sealed and are representative of the twelve tribes of Israel. This number is not the only ones who are saved, but these Jews will be protected from the wrath of Satan and the Antichrist. We already know that God does not pour His wrath out on His saints, so the enemies of God are sealed off from harming these 144,000 because God’s name is on their foreheads. What is the purpose of this? The next part of Revelation 7 describes another group who can stand while God’s wrath is poured out. The fact that they are described immediately after the list of 12,000 from each tribe of Israel tells us that these are the fruit of the missionary work of the 144,000. The 144,000 are the redeemed Jews whom God uses in the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles during the tribulation. This is described in vv9-17. The 144,000 will be the first fruits of a new redeemed Israel. We find this described in Zechariah 12:10. Please notice that by His sovereign election, God seals 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes for His purpose to accomplish His will.
While God’s seal on their forehead will divinely protect the 144,000, those whom come to believe through their ministries do not have that level of protection.
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “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.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:9-17 ESV)
These are people in Heaven wearing white robes. In vv13-14 we see they are the believers coming out of the great tribulation. This is not a snap shot picture of a complete group. In v14 the Angel tells John that these are “coming out of” the Great Tribulation. We know that it has not begun at this point, but will begin shortly. Therefore, we are given a multi-dimensional view forward from the sealing of the 144,000 through the Great Tribulation until their number is complete. The Greek word that is translated “the ones coming” is actually a present participle. This means it indicates continuous or repeated action. This group grows. They “are coming out” of the Great Tribulation. Therefore, John’s view here is a group who has suffered much (v16). They are now free from persecution and suffering and are in the presence of the Lamb because they washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. God redeems them via the missionary work of the 144,000.
During my research, I came across a very disturbing passage.
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV)
Therefore, we know that the great multitude that John saw in Heaven does not contain any of those who received the strong delusion from God to believe what is false. Who is this group? Why are they different than those who wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb? These are the ones who are perishing because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. These are the ones who hear the gospel before the Tribulation and reject it. They will be doomed to spend eternity without Christ. Those who are saved during the Great Tribulation are those who have not rejected the gospel prior to it. This seems to me to be those who have never heard it because those who hear it must either believe or not. I firmly believe that God will save His elect, but He uses our faithfulness in sharing the complete gospel to work in their hearts so they can repent and believe thereby washing their robes white in the blood of The Lamb. Therefore, why are we not sharing our faith with the lost who are all around us?
Powered by Qumana