Book of Revelation – a series presented by pastor Michael Walker
Lesson #6 – Revelation, chapter 7
Between the visions of the 6th and 7th Seals, there is a pause in the prophecy to answer the question in Revelation 6:17. The answer is a call aimed specifically at God’s professed people for special preparation before the return of Jesus. We are now living within the time gap between Revelation 6:13 and 14, under the 6th Seal. This time gap offers us opportunity to prepare for both the Time of Trouble and Christ’s Second Coming, which will follow that event.
“Four corners of the earth” – reference to the four points of the compass (Isaiah 11:12; Ezekiel 7:2) – meaning the whole earth will be involved. ‘Wind’ symbolizes ‘trouble’, ‘warfare’, ‘strife’ – c.f. Jeremiah 49:36; 51:1,2,11; Daniel 7:2,3. The ‘Time of Trouble’ is soon to come: Daniel 12:1.
“Angel ascending from the east” – it has a double-meaning: –
 Literally meaning: ‘from the rising of the sun’ – suggestive that the message about the Seal of God emerges just as the earth is made brighter by the rising sun. The world will be “lightened with His glory” by the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Revelation 18:1).
 When Jesus returns, He will come from the East: Matthew 24:27,30; c.f. Revelation 16:12.
“Soon there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man’s hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness. The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of Man. In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer to the earth, becoming lighter and more glorious, until it is a great white cloud, its base a glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the covenant. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror” – E. G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 640, 641.
It is clear therefore, that the angel coming from the east, brings a direct message from God to restrain the powers of evil until God’s servants are sealed. It is only after God’s work is finished on earth that the powers of darkness will be permitted to plunge this world into great trouble.
How are we Sealed?
We are sealed by the Holy Spirit: Ephesians 4:30; Ephesians 1:13.14; 2 Corinthians 1:21,22.
What is the Seal of God?
A seal stands for ownership and protection. Even though the world is turning away from God, there are those who remain loyal to Him and upon whom He will place His seal of ownership and protection: 2 Timothy 2:19.
“And even after the saints are sealed with the seal of the living God, His elect will have trials individually. Personal afflictions will come; but the furnace is closely watched by an eye that will not suffer the gold to be consumed. The indelible mark of God is upon them. God can plead that His own name is written there. The Lord has shut them in. Their destination is inscribed – ‘GOD, NEW JERUSALEM.’ They are God’s property, His possession” – E. G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 446.
“This action of sealing with the seal or signet of God, is equivalent to a declaration, that they, who are so sealed, appertain to God, and are distinguished as such from others who do not thus belong to Him, and are assured by Him of His protection against all evil” – Chr. Wordsworth, Lectures on the Apocalypse. Quoted by J.A. Seiss in The Apocalypse, vol. 1, pp. 423, 424.
The purpose of a seal validates and empowers laws that a ruler or government makes. Examples: 1 Kings 21:8,9; Esther 3:12; 8:8-10.
A typical seal has 3 elements:  Name of the ruler;  Title of the ruler;  Territory of the ruler.
A typical seal has 3 elements:
 Name of the ruler;
 Title of the ruler;
 Territory of the ruler.
 NAME: Elizabeth II;
 TITLE: Queen;
 TERRITORY: Great Britain and Dominions
God also has a Seal in His Law of 10 Commandments: Exodus 20:8-11:
 NAME: The LORD* thy God *LORD – i.e. YHWH, God’s personal name;
 TITLE: Maker (Creator);
 TERRITORY: Heaven and Earth
“Bind up the testimony, Seal the law among my disciples” – Isaiah 8:16.
God’s Law is sealed in the hearts and minds of His people: Psalms 40:8; 2 Corinthians 3:3; Hebrews 8:10. When God’s law is in our hearts, it is a safeguard against sin, because sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).
Sealed in the “forehead” – i.e. in the frontal lobe of the brain where our emotions are found and our decisions are made. That commitment has been aided and strengthened by the Holy Spirit. True allegiance to God will become evident, especially during the ‘Time of Trouble’, when the ‘Mark of the Beast’ is enforced upon pain of death (Revelation 13:13-17). That mark will be assigning allegiance to Satan by yielding to the mandate to observe the papal Sunday instead of God’s Holy Sabbath day.
While the observance of God’s Sabbath will identify those who are truly saved, faithful and belong to God: Ezekiel 20:12,20. Just as baptism by immersion is an outward sign of the inward experience of being born again, so the observance of God’s Sabbath is the outward sign that inwardly we are truly saved and belong to God (Exodus 31:12-18). The Seal of God not only guarantees ownership but also protection; so, His faithful servants will be protected through the Time of Trouble – it will prepare them to remain loyal throughout that time. Ezekiel’s vision of the mark being placed in the foreheads of those who bewailed the abominations done in the temple is a parallel to apostate Christianity today: Ezekiel 8:6-16; 9:2-6.
“This sealing of the servants of God is the same that was shown to Ezekiel in vision” – E. G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 445.
The 4th Commandment is the only one in the 10 Commandments that identifies the LORD God as Creator. Is it little wonder that Satan has launched such a massive onslaught against this truth, which bears the Seal of God’s authority, by seeking to turn men’s minds away from the Creator!
Throughout history, Satan has misled people into worshipping the creature instead of the Creator (Romans 1:25) and to replace the teaching of Creation with the theory of evolution. By not accepting God as Creator, is to reject Him as the Almighty Who has the power to save us (Psalms 51:10). Satan hates God’s Law because he himself wants to be god. For this reason, the Sabbath issue will become a main focal point in the final conflict.
God’s last-day warning message calls people to worship the Creator (Revelation 14:6,7). Those who respond positively to His call will place their faith in Jesus and keep all of His Commandments (Revelation 14:12; 12:17). When the Time of Trouble arrives, Satan will hurl his fury upon God’s faithful people. When he is no longer restrained, he will plunge this world into a Time of Trouble such as never was. It is for this reason that we are to be Sealed in our hearts and minds before the winds of strife are let loose. God will be our protection (c.f. Psalms 46 and 91).
God protected the Hebrews during the 7th plague when they came out of Egypt by the blood of the lamb on their door frames (Exodus 12:13); so shall those who are Sealed be sheltered in Christ and remain untouched by the 7 Last Plagues: Psalms 91:10; Psalms 27:5; 32:7; 37:39,40; Proverbs 18:10.
Who are the 144,000?
They are the ones who receive the Seal of God and pass through the Time of Trouble.
“Those who receive the seal of the living God, and are protected in the time of trouble, must reflect the image of Jesus fully” – E. G. White, Early Writings, p. 71.
There is a lot of speculation as to whether the 144,000 is literal or symbolic. The view taken in this study is the latter for the following reasons:
(1) The 12 tribes of Israel do not exist today because the majority were taken by the Assyrians and disappeared in the 8th century BC.
(2) This list in vs 4-8 does not mention the tribes of Ephraim or Dan
(3) The exact number of 12,000 from each tribe suggests God is arbitrary in fixing a deadline figure of who may be saved.
(4) Salvation is not limited to the tribes of Israel but is offered to everyone. This is why the gospel is to be taken to the entire world.
Before studying further, we would do well to note the following counsel:
“It is not His (God’s) will that they shall get into controversy over questions which will not help them spiritually, such as, Who is to compose the hundred and forty-four thousand? This those who are the elect of God will in a short time know without question” – E.G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 74.
In numerology, the number 12 is the Kingdom number. Ancient Israel had 12 tribes; 12 stones were taken from the River Jordan when they entered the promised land; 12 jewels were set in the High Priest’s breastplate. In the New Testament, Jesus appointed 12 disciples; there were 12 apostles; in the New Jerusalem, there are 12 foundations bearing the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb; it also has 12 gates with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel.
The measurements of the New Jerusalem produce a cube-shape so huge that it can only be symbolic of its completeness. Similarly, this Kingdom number is mentioned 7 times in the Book of Revelation (7 signifying ‘completeness’ or ‘perfection’). By multiplying the total figure of 12 tribes as 122 x 1,000 totalling 144,000 is surely a superlative representation of those who stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion as described in Revelation 14:1-5. It signifies the completeness of God’s people from all nations (Galatians 3:29; Matthew 28:19,20; 24:14).
The figure 1,000 (Greek: muriados) was the highest numerical value used in Bible times. It is possible therefore, that if the prophet was writing today, instead of 144,000, he may have said 144,000,000,000.
‘A great multitude’ – the ambiguity of the text needs careful inspection. Is this great multitude “which no man could number”, just the 144,000, or the redeemed from all previous ages, or does it also include the 144,000 as well? The question in v. 13 as to who they are is answered in v. 14 as those “which came out of great tribulation”. The original could be taken to read either way as to the 144,000 or the great multitude.
We know, however, from vs. 1-4 that the 144,000 came through the Time of Trouble. Referring to Revelation 14:3, we read:
“None but the hundred and forty-four thousand can learn that song; for it is the song of experience – an experience such as no other company have ever had. ‘These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.’ These, having been translated from the earth, from among the living, are counted as ‘the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.’ . . . ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation;’ they have passed through the time of trouble . . .” – E. G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 649.
Since the focal point of this chapter is on those who are being Sealed before the winds of strife are let loose, the “great tribulation” must have specific reference to the Time of Trouble. While it is also true that many have experienced a “great tribulation” in previous centuries, the Time of Trouble is the point in consideration. We would therefore take the view that the “great multitude” is composed of the redeemed from all ages, and includes the 144,000 (See also Revelation 19:1-7).
Therefore, the answer given in v. 14, would refer to those who have come through The Time of Trouble. They are, as it says, “before the throne of God” – c.f. Revelation 14:5.
Having passed through the Time of Trouble and the 7 Last Plagues, the faithful remnant endured the sufferings and hardships that prevailed during that season. Their sufferings are now over and with the rest of the redeemed they are now safely with Jesus and shall never more be in want or face hardship and suffering.
The full video presentation is available below: