Revelation Chapter Seven
First, the perfect number of the remnant of Israel is sealed, before the providential instruments of God's judgments are allowed to act; 144,000=12 x 12 x 1000. They are secured for blessing according to God's purposes and set apart by Him; not yet seen in their blessings, but secured for them. Afterwards the vast multitude from among the gentiles is seen. We must remark here, there is no previous prophetic announcement of the blessing of the spared ones in the great tribulation (not the three years and-a-half of Matthew 24-this refers to Jews-but that mentioned in the epistle to the church at Philadelphia). Hence this is fully given to us here, and we are distinctly told who they are. A multitude of Gentiles is seen standing not as around the throne, but before it and before the Lamb, their righteousness owned and themselves victorious. They ascribe salvation to God thus revealed, that is, to God on the throne, and to the Lamb. They belong to these earthly scenes, not to the assembly. This is answered by the angels who are around the throne, the elders, and the living creatures -all together composing the heavenly part of the scene already connected with the throne; the angels surrounding the others, which form the centre and immediate circle of the throne, the white-robed multitude before it. The angels give their Amen, and pronounce the praise of their God too.
All this belonged to the white-robed multitude and the angels; only the former speak of the Lamb, who was also their salvation. The angels add their Amen to this; but praise their God. They had ascribed glory and blessing to the Lamb before; but, naturally, salvation to the Lamb was not their own part of the song. But the four living creatures and the elders do not worship here, because their own relationships were different, and these are not what are spoken of here. They are found, as far as the book goes, in chapters 4 and 5, where they are on thrones around, and cast their crowns before the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever. They give the motives of worship according to the relationships they are in: that of the angels is with their God; of the white robed multitude, with the God of the throne and the Lamb as having the title to the government and deliverance of the earth as a present thing. That the Lamb was the Son, yea, the God who created the angels, is not the question here, but of each speaking in his own relationship, so as to bring these relationships out.
We have thus the heavenly hosts, the glorified saints, and the white-robed multitude, each in a different relationship, but the first and the last thrown in the main together-the glorified saints forming a class apart. They do not worship here. But one of the elders, who have always the intelligence of God explains to the prophet who the white-robed multitude are. It formed no part of the prophetic revelation as yet, and it was not the assembly's own place. "Sir, thou knowest," says the prophet. They had come out of the great tribulation, faithful in it, their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. They were not millennial saints, that is, born in that time, and subject by birth to the responsibility of that condition (which grace had to meet). They were cleansed and owned to be so, having the consciousness of it and victory when the others began; so that they, as already cleansed and owned, are always before the throne a special class, and serve Him day and night in His temple.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Revelation》
A pause between two great periods. (1-3) The peace, happiness, and safety of the saints, as signified by an angel's sealing 144,000. (4-8) A song of praise. (9-12) The blessedness and glory of those that suffered martyrdom for Christ. (13-17)
Commentary on Revelation 7:1-8
(Read Revelation 7:1-8)
In the figurative language of Scripture, the blowing of the four winds together, means a dreadful and general destruction. But the destruction is delayed. Seals were used to mark for each person his own possessions. This mark is the witness of the Holy Ghost, printed in the hearts of believers. And the Lord would not suffer his people to be afflicted before they were marked, that they might be prepared against all conflicts. And, observe, of those who are thus sealed by the Spirit, the seal must be on the forehead, plainly to be seen alike by friends and foes, but not by the believer himself, except as he looks stedfastly in the glass of God's word. The number of those who were sealed, may be understood to stand for the remnant of people which God reserved. Though the church of God is but a little flock, in comparison with the wicked world, yet it is a society really large, and to be still more enlarged. Here the universal church is figured under the type of Israel.
Commentary on Revelation 7:9-12
(Read Revelation 7:9-12)
The first fruits of Christ having led the way, the Gentiles converted later follow, and ascribe their salvation to God and the Redeemer, with triumph. In acts of religious worship we come nigh to God, and must come by Christ; the throne of God could not be approached by sinners, were it not for a Mediator. They were clothed with the robes of justification, holiness, and victory; and they had palms in their hands, as conquerors used to appear in their triumphs. Such a glorious appearance will the faithful servants of God make at last, when they have fought the good fight of faith, and finished their course. With a loud voice they gave to God and the Lamb the praise of the great salvation. Those who enjoy eternal happiness must and will bless both the Father and the Son; they will do it publicly, and with fervour. We see what is the work of heaven, and we ought to begin it now, to have our hearts much in it, and to long for that world where our praises, as well as our happiness, will be made perfect.
Commentary on Revelation 7:13-17
(Read Revelation 7:13-17)
Faithful Christians deserve our notice and respect; we should mark the upright. Those who would gain knowledge, must not be ashamed to seek instruction from any who can give it. The way to heaven is through many tribulations; but tribulation, how great soever, shall not separate us from the love of God. Tribulation makes heaven more welcome and more glorious. It is not the blood of the martyrs, but the blood of the Lamb, that can wash away sin, and make the soul pure and clean in the sight of God; other blood stains, this is the only blood that makes the robes of the saints white and clean. They are happy in their employment; heaven is a state of service, though not of suffering; it is a state of rest, but not of sloth; it isa praising, delightful rest. They have had sorrows, and shed many tears on account of sin and affliction; but God himself, with his own gracious hand, will wipe those tears away. He deals with them as a tender father. This should support the Christian under all his troubles. As all the redeemed owe their happiness wholly to sovereign mercy; so the work and worship of God their Saviour is their element; his presence and favour complete their happiness, nor can they conceive of any other joy. To Him may all his people come; from him they receive every needed grace; and to him let them offer all praise and glory.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Revelation》
 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
And after these things — What follows is a preparation for the seventh seal, which is the weightiest of all. It is connected with the sixth by the particle and; whereas what is added, verse 9, Revelation 6:9 stands free and unconnected.
I saw four angels — Probably evil ones. They have their employ with the four first trumpets, as have other evil angels with the three last; namely, the angel of the abyss, the four bound in the Euphrates, and Satan himself. These four angels would willingly have brought on all the calamities that follow without delay. But they were restrained till the servants of God were sealed, and till the seven angels were ready to sound: even as the angel of the abyss was not let loose, nor the angels in the Euphrates unbound, neither Satan cast to the earth, till the fifth, sixth, and seventh angels severally sounded.
Standing on the four corners of the earth — East, west, south, north. In this order proceed the four first trumpets.
Holding the four winds — Which else might have softened the fiery heat, under the first, second, and third trumpet.
That the wind should not blow upon the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree — It seems, that these expressions betoken the several quarters of the world; that the earth signifies that to the east of Patmos, Asia, which was nearest to St. John, and where the trumpet of the first angel had its accomplishment. Europe swims in the sea over against this; and is accordingly termed by the prophets, "the islands." The third part, Afric, seems to be meant, Revelation 8:7,8,10, by "the streams of water," or "the trees," which grow plentifully by them.
 And 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 given to hurt the earth and the sea,
And I saw another (a good) angel ascending from the east - The plagues begin in the east; so does the sealing. Having the seal of the only living and true God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels - Who were hasting to execute their charge.
To whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea — First, and afterwards "the trees."
 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
Hurt not the earth, till we — Other angels were joined in commission with him.
Have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads — Secured the servants of God of the twelve tribes from the impending calamities; whereby they shall be as clearly distinguished from the rest, as if they were visibly marked on their foreheads.
 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Of the children of Israel — To these will afterwards be joined a multitude out of all nations. But it may be observed, this is not the number of all the Israelites who are saved from Abraham or Moses to the end of all things; but only of those who were secured from the plagues which were then ready to fall on the earth. It seems as if this book had, in many places, a special view to the people of Israel.
 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
Judah is mentioned first, in respect of the kingdom, and of the Messiah sprung therefrom.
 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
After the Levitical ceremonies were abolished, Levi was again on a level with his brethren.
 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Joseph — Or Ephraim; perhaps not mentioned by name, as having been, with Dan, the most idolatrous of all the tribes. It is farther observable of Dan, that it was very early reduced to a single family; which family itself seems to have been cut off in war, before the time of Ezra; for in the Chronicles, where the posterity of the patriarchs is recited, Dan is wholly omitted.
 After this I beheld, and, lo, 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;
A great multitude — Of those who had happily finished their course. Such multitudes are afterwards described, and still higher degrees of glory which they attain after a sharp fight and magnificent victory, Revelation 14:1; 15:2; 19:1; 20:4. There is an inconceivable variety in the degrees of reward in the other world. Let not any slothful one say, "If I get to heaven at all, I will be content:" such an one may let heaven go altogether. In worldly things, men are ambitious to get as high as they can. Christians have a far more noble ambition. The difference between the very highest and the lowest state in the world is nothing to the smallest difference between the degrees of glory. But who has time to think of this? Who is at all concerned about it? Standing before the throne - In the full vision of God.
And palms in their hands — Tokens of joy and victory.
 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
Salvation to our God — Who hath saved us from all evil into all the happiness of heaven. The salvation for which they praise God is described, verse 15; Revelation 7:15 that for which they praise the Lamb, verse 14; Revelation 7:14 and both, in the sixteenth and seventeenth verses. Revelation 7:16,17
 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
And all the angels stood — In waiting.
Round about the throne, and the elders and the four living creatures — That is, the living creatures, next the throne; the elders, round these; and the angels, round them both.
And they fell on their faces — So do the elders, once only, Revelation 11:16. The heavenly ceremonial has its fixed order and measure.
 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
Amen — With this word all the angels confirm the words of the "great multitude;" but they likewise carry the praise much higher.
The blessing, and the glory, and the wisdom, and the thanksgiving, and the honour, and the power, and the strength, be unto our God for ever and ever — Before the Lamb began to open the seven seals, a sevenfold hymn of praise was brought him by many angels, Revelation 5:12. Now he is upon opening the last seal, and the seven angels are going to receive seven trumpets, in order to make the kingdoms of the world subject to God. All the angels give sevenfold praise to God.
 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
And one of the elders — What stands, verses 13-17, Revelation 7:13-17 might have immediately followed the tenth verse; but that the praise of the angels, which was at the same time with that of the "great multitude," came in between.
Answered — He answered St. John's desire to know, not any words that he spoke.
 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Thou knowest — That is, I know not; but thou dost.
These are they — Not martyrs; for these are not such a multitude as no man can number. But as all the angels appear here, so do all the souls of the righteous who had lived from the beginning of the world.
Who come — He does not say, who did come; but, who come now also: to whom, likewise, pertain all who will come hereafter.
Out of great affliction — Of various kinds, wisely and graciously allotted by God to all his children.
And have washed their robes — From all guilt.
And made them white — In all holiness.
By the blood of the Lamb — Which not only cleanses, but adorns us also.
 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Therefore — Because they came out of great affliction, and have washed their robes in his blood.
Are they before the throne — It seems, even nearer than the angels.
And serve him day and night — Speaking after the manner of men; that is, continually.
In his temple — Which is in heaven.
And he shall have his tent over them — Shall spread his glory over them as a covering.
 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
Neither shall the sun light on them — For God is there their sun. Nor any painful heat, or inclemency of seasons.
 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
For the Lamb will feed them — With eternal peace and joy; so that they shall hunger no more.
And will lead them to living fountains of water — The comforts of the Holy Ghost; so that they shall thirst no more. Neither shall they suffer or grieve any more; for God "will wipe away all tears from their eyes."
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Revelation》
Chapter 7. Two Chosen People
Serve Day and Night
II. The Gentile Multitude Turning to God
III. God Will Wipe away Every Tear
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Seven General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To identify the two groups in the two visions seen in this chapter
2) To note how these visions would comfort those who must pass through
the great tribulation
Between the sixth and seventh seals, there is an interlude in which
John sees two visions. They may be designed to answer the question
raised at the end of the previous chapter: "For the great day of His
wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (6:17) Yes, who WILL be
able to stand?
In the first vision John sees four angels standing at the four corners
of the earth, holding back the winds from blowing on the earth, sea, or
on any tree. An angel arises from the east having the seal of the
living God, who cries out to the other four angels not to harm the
earth, etc., until the servants of God have been sealed on their
foreheads. John then hears the number of those who are sealed. They
are 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of
, with 12,000 Israel
from each tribe. Of interest is the fact that Ephraim and Dan are not
mentioned, while Levi and Joseph are counted as tribes. This suggests
to many that the 144,000 of
is symbolic (1-8). Israel
The second vision reveals a large innumerable multitude of all nations
standing before the throne and the Lamb. Clothed with white robes and
palm branches in their hands, they cry out "Salvation belongs to our
God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" They are joined in their
praise by angels, the elders, and four living creatures. John is then
told by one of the elders that those arrayed in white robes have come
out of the great tribulation, with their robes washed and made white in
the blood of the Lamb. Before the throne of God, they serve Him day
and night in His temple. Future blessings are then described: God
will dwell among them, they shall be free from hunger, thirst, and the
heat of the sun. The Lamb will shepherd them and lead them to
fountains of living waters, and God will wipe all tears from their eyes
What do the two visions represent? I believe the 144,000 sealed on
earth represents the church "militant", i.e., the redeemed on earth.
While they may be on the earth when God's judgment and wrath is
outpoured, they are sealed and thereby spared from God's wrath (cf.
Ezek 9:1-11). This does not mean they will not suffer tribulation, for
while they may escape God's wrath they may still face the efforts of
Satan (12:17; 13:7ff). But the second vision provides hope for those
who must pass through "the great tribulation". Provided they have
washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, they are assured that they
will serve God in His temple in "the intermediate state" (between death
and the resurrection). They are also promised future blessings in "the
eternal state" (after the resurrection and judgment, cf. 7:16-17 with
21:1-4). Thus the great multitude in heaven represents the church
"triumphant", i.e., the redeemed in heaven. It is the church militant
and then triumphant that will be able to stand in the day of God's
I. THE 144,000 SEALED ON EARTH (1-8)
A. THE ANGELS RESTRAINED (1-3)
1. John saw four angels at the four corners of the earth
a. Holding the four winds of the earth
b. That the winds would not blow on the earth, sea, or any
2. John saw another angel ascending from the east
a. Crying with a loud voice to the four angels granted to harm
the earth and sea
b. Instructing them not to harm the earth, sea, or trees until
the servants of God were sealed on their foreheads
B. THE 144,000 SEALED (4-8)
1. John "heard" the number of those sealed
2. Those sealed were 12,000 each of the tribes of
g. Simeon Judah
b. Reuben h. Levi
c. Gad i. Issachar
d. Asher j. Zebulun
e. Naphtali k. Joseph
f. Manasseh l. Benjamin
II. THE GREAT MULTITUDE IN HEAVEN (9-17)
A. JOHN SEES A GREAT MULTITUDE (9-12)
1. Which none could number, from all nations, tribes, peoples and
2. Standing before the throne and before the Lamb
a. Clothed with white robes
b. With palm branches in their hands
3. Crying with loud voices: "Salvation belongs to our God who
sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
4. Angels, the elders, and the four living creatures also join in
a. Falling on their faces before the throne and worshipping
b. Ascribing blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor,
power, and might to God
B. THE GREAT MULTITUDE IDENTIFIED (13-17)
1. Asked by one of the elders, John puts the question back to him
2. The elder identifies the great multitude:
a. Those who come out of the great tribulation
b. Who have washed their robes and made them white in the
blood of the Lamb
c. Who are before the throne of God and serve Him day and
night in His temple
3. The elder describes their future blessedness:
a. The One on the throne will dwell with them
b. They shall not hunger nor thirst anymore; the sun nor any
heat shall strike them
c. The Lamb will shepherd them and lead them to living
fountains of water
d. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- The 144,000 sealed on earth (1-8)
- The great multitude in heaven (9-17)
2) What does John see next? (1)
- Four angels at the four corners of the earth, holding back the
four winds from harming the earth, sea and any tree
3) What did an angel ascending from the east cry out? (2-3)
- "Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed
the servants of our God on their foreheads."
4) Who and how many were sealed? (4)
- 144,000 of the tribes of
5) In the list of those sealed, what two tribes of
are missing? Israel
- Ephraim and Dan
6) What two names are used for tribes which were not normally listed
among the twelve tribes of
? (5-8) Israel
- Levi (the priestly tribe which did not receive a land inheritance)
- Joseph (the father of Manasseh and Ephraim, whose two sons made up
7) After the 144,000 are sealed, what does John see next? (9-10)
- A great multitude of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues
- Standing before the throne and the Lamb
- Clothed with white robes and palm branches in their hands
- Ascribing salvation to God on the throne and to the Lamb
8) Who else joins in with praise to God? (11-12)
- Angels, the elders, the four living creatures
9) Who does the elder identify as the great multitude? (13-14)
- Those who come out of the great tribulation, who have washed the
robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb
- Who are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in
10) What future blessings are they promised to receive? (15-17)
- The One on the throne will dwell with them
- They shall not hunger nor thirst anymore; neither the sun nor any
heat shall strike them
- The Lamb will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of
- God will wipe away every tear from their eyes
Two chosen people
Before the throne
Serve day and night
1. Four angels
2. The Israelites
3. Protection of the seals on the foreheads
II.The Gentile multitude turning to God
1. Come out of the great tribulation
2. Stand before the Lord
3. Cleansed in the blood
III. God will wipe away every tear
1. Shelter of the tent
2. Shepherded by the Lamb
3. No more pains
── Chih-Hsin Chang《an Outline of The New Testament》