Theology and Politics from a Conservative, Biblical Perspective
Audio and PowerPoint PDF available here: SermonAudio.com/StudyGrowKnow
For an interesting perspective on the Russia v Ukraine war, readers may wish to check this out from the folks at Medical Kidnap: Has Russia Already Won? It’s a longish article but could well be worth the read. I’ll have more links in an upcoming article highlighting numerous things that are evolving throughout the world.
Just a reminder for readers. If you’d like a copy of the PowerPoint slides I used in the presentation of this, please find them and download them at the SermonAudio link above. The PowerPoint is in the form of PDF for easy downloading.
Revelation 7 presents an interesting view into what occurs just after the opening of the Sixth Seal of Revelation 6 and the Seventh Seal of Revelation 8. This particular lesson presented last night to a group of folks at our church, completes the tail end of Revelation 6, then moves into the contents of Revelation 7.
The last portion of Revelation 6 highlights a number of events that happen on the earth and in the sky around the earth.
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
An earthquake occurs after the Sixth Seal is opened up by the Lamb. This earthquake likely causes volcanoes and fires, with the smoke rising to the heavens making the sun dark and the moon appear to be the color of blood. Other things could be happening to create these effects as well. Beyond this, the sky itself moves away like a scroll and every mountain and island moved from its place.
We need to stop and consider the awesome power in this earthquake that causes so much to happen. Imagine for those living on the earth at this time. It will truly be terrifying. In fact, the next three verses highlight the reaction of the people of this world.
15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
So we are told that the people on the earth react to the actual knowledge that what is happening is due to God’s tremendous wrath. Yet, what do they do? Exactly what Adam and Eve did. They hide from God. They actually want death believing that death will hide them from God. The other possible point is that they simply want to be completely hidden from God by having the rocks fall in over them so that they at least cannot see God. The truth here is stranger than fiction, as if not being able to see God means He cannot see them. This is a child’s game when they cover their eyes and they cannot see you so they think you cannot see them. It’s cute when a child does it, but not when adults do it.
These folks know that what is happening on and around the earth is strictly due to God’s wrath but they aren’t even thinking of repenting and acknowledging Him as God and Creator. I wonder if the sky being rolled up allowed them a glimpse into the heavenly throne room where they clearly saw God in some form?
So this is how Revelation 6 ends and we move into Revelation 7. It is here, three main things occur.
- Angles stop the winds from the four corners of the earth
- God seals the 144,000 individuals for evangelism
- Multitudes of people from all walks and cultures of life appear before the throne in heaven
1 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. 2 Then 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 granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed…
John says “after these things,” which supports the notion that he is presenting events in chronological order. He sees four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the winds back. The angels, in essence, cover all four compass directions of the earth. The “four corners of the earth” is simply a metaphor for those compass points. The earth is not flat or square and this is not a proof-text of flat earth ideology.
What is interesting is that the angels are warned not to harm the earth, the sea or trees until after the 144,000 have been sealed. The winds here likely represent God’s judgment as they do often throughout Scripture (see transcript notes). By the way, this is a good time to point out that these 144,000 are actual Jews and not members of the Church. The reason for this is because John took the time to specifically list 12,000 came from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.
I realize there are those who believe that since the authentic information related to the 12 tribes of Israel has been lost long ago so how could it possibly be referring to actual Jewish individuals when neither we nor they would know which tribe they came from? This presupposes that God Himself would have no clue simply because that information is not available to us. How absurd. Does God need to have accurate human records of Jewish people and which tribe they hail from in order to be able to do what is described here? Not at all and let’s remember that this is an angel who is tasked with sealing these 144,000 Jewish people. Clearly, God knows the background of every person ever born or living throughout this earth. The idea that He also needs written human records is ridiculous and simply denigrates God. These are actual Jewish people being sealed in order to be evangelists for God.
In the next few verses, we learn the results of these evangelistic efforts by the 144,000. Multitudes are saved and die either naturally, from things that happen throughout the earth or through persecution. This number is so great, that unlike the 144,000, John was unable to number them and no one in heaven called out the exact number of people around the throne.
It is clear from the text that these people came out of the Great Tribulation (which is usually noted as the second half of the seven year period). The idea here is that believers were continually dying for their faith in Christ. They have gained the victory through their deaths. No one and nothing can touch them any more. Death itself has no more effect on them. Pain, thirst, hunger and other issues are no longer part of their lives as they stand before Jesus “night and day” (a metaphor signalling the totality of time, since there is no night in eternity). Their needs will henceforth always be met by Christ Himself. He will literally tabernacle or camp with them. He is their God and they are His people.
It is possible there are different responsibilities for different groups of believers in heaven. These who did not consider life itself worthy to hold onto and literally gave their all for Jesus in their own death, will enjoy the full benefits of full life and living before Him for all eternity. All believers share that to a degree, though the level of responsibility is greater for some and not others.
The fact that these particular believers will never hunger or thirst may also be a nod back to what they may have personally suffered during the Tribulation period with short supplies of food and water from possibly having to wander in deserts and other areas. God’s promise to them is that they will never experience anything like what they experienced during the Tribulation period because of their faith in Him.
Folks, this is a call to all Christians. We are living in very difficult times as you are aware. It would be easy to go along with the world to avoid the world’s “chastisement” and persecution. That’s the easy way out and there will likely be many believers (or those who think they are believers), who will give into that temptation to take the easy road to avoid persecution. We cannot go there. We must avoid that. If we want to avoid it, He will give us the grace, strength and discernment to do so. It is a fight worth fighting and this, I believe, is part of what Paul means when he says we must work out our salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). Living the Christian life is a daunting prospect but it is one we must take seriously. If not, why are we pretending?
Next time we will be going over the contents of Revelation 8 where the Seventh Seal is opened in preparation for the Seven Trumpet judgments. So the interlude of Revelation 7 allows God to get a few things done while He prepares to storm the world with more of His judgments. It is interesting to note how hard people’s hearts are in Revelation 7 and that does not change in spite of the number of new judgments God throws their way.
If you are not looking up, you should ask yourself why. I’m not saying that we should spend our time looking for the Rapture. I’m saying we should spend time focusing on God and what He is going to accomplish in this world. Obviously, there are folks who are in need of salvation and we’d best get to evangelizing, shouldn’t we?
Theology and Politics from a Conservative, Biblical Perspective
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