Bible Study

Bible Study Revelation 7

The Bible Study for Revelation 7 is available online.

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Bible Study Revelation 7

the sealed servants of God

After these things: see 6:17

Four angels: the four corners of the earth. Four winds: Four is number of the earth.

Earth, sea, tree: trees mentioned: usually most affected by storms.

Angel from the east: God’s glory from the east. Here: God’s seal!

Do not harm: God’s patience lasts even longer.

Living God: contrast with the dead gods: (Joshua 3:10, 2 Kings 16:4,16, Psalm 42:3, Daniel 4:34, 6:27)

Seal: see Ephesians 1:13: sealed with the Holy Spirit. New Life. See ch. 13:16. Contrast!

Those sealed: the servants of God. See 1:1 : the believers.

144,000: 12X12 : twelve tribes X 12 apostles.

1000: very large number. hard to count. Also: army unit

Numbers 1: Israel counted according to their tribes.

Who are they? Not only the Jews! From all over the earth!

Consider:

  • 12X12: twelve tribes, enlarged by the work of the twelve apostles.
  • Jews: only from the tribe of Judah and Levi. Where are the other 10 tribes?
  • Vs. 3: servants of God: they are the ones sealed. Not limited to certain groups in vs. 3.
  • See vs. 9: after this things I looked. John first hears the number, then sees them.
  • The tribes mentioned: not the same as in Genesis.
  • See also 14:4 : These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes…

List of tribes: different from Genesis. Dan not mentioned. Joseph and Manasseh.

See Psalm 87:5-6!



After these things I looked: John now sees what he heard about in previous verses.

A great multitude which no one could number: Gen., 15:5

Response to 6:17 : Who is able to stand? Those who are sealed, and they are many!

From all nations, tribes, peoples, tongues: see 5:9 : four words: from all over the earth.

All nations: Genesis 10:32; Genesis 12:3; Daniel 3 and 4: Nebuchadnezar ‘to all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth’.

Standing before the throne and before the Lamb: clothed with white robes. See 3:5,18, 7:14.

Palm branches: festive. Reminder of feast of booths.

Crying out with a loud voice: Languages no longer divides them. Genesis 11: tower of Babel

the Spirit (seal) unites

11-12
11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

Seven words: heavenly praise. Heaven and earth unite in the praise of God.

Forever and ever: without end, into all directions: infinity in length and width, height and depth.

13-17

Elders: those who have knowledge.

Out of the great tribulation: the great enmity of Gen. 3:15

Before the throne of God: God gathers for Himself a people to His praise: a kingdom of priests to praise Him! Temple, throne: See Exodus 19:6 : a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

Neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore, nor sun or heat: see time in the desert. Promised land.

Lamb as Shepherd!

Living fountains of waters: See also the palm branches in vs 9, reference to John 7:37-39: during feast of booths: the Lord Jesus spoke about the fountains of living water.

Wipe away every tear from their eyes: no suffering, no sorrow. No pain. Perfect blessedness.

Questions:

  1. What is God’s seal in our lives? What distinguishes us from those who belong to the beast?
  2. What can we expect in this life now that we have the seal of God?
  3. Vs. 14: The Great Tribulation, the great enmity (Gen. 3:15): do you experience this life as being part of the great tribulation? If so, how?
  4. Vs. 16-17 : hunger, thirst, heat of the sun: are we still in the desert? (See also Hebrews 4:9-10). If so, do we look forward to entering the promised land?

9 thoughts on “Bible Study Revelation 7

  1. Question through messenger:
    Are we allowed to pray that the entry to the promised land would come soon, but not too soon so that members of our family that are not walking towards the promised land still have time to repent?

    Response:
    Good question. This is a difficult one for many of us. We all should urgently pray for them to repent and convert to Jesus Christ, while at the same time still praying for Christ to come. Our aim must be the glory of God and of Christ, but part of that can also be that God brings to repentance those who do not follow Him now. However, we do not know. You can and must bring this all out in your prayer, both sides. And let God then do what is good.

  2. When it speaks about the 4 angels holding back the punishment (verse 1-3) ; when it is released, is this to punish the earth (creation) or mankind? OR both?
    If it is creation, then why does creation need to be punished ? Or does it need to? Or is it just purified? Why does God destroy the earth and not renew it? Because earth did not sin

    1. It is mankind that will be punished, and then the unbelievers from mankind. But this creation will also suffer under it, just like the believers will also suffer. But creation still brings glory to God. Creation knows that it has to go through suffering to glory, just like the believers know.
      Creation suffers under the results of sin, as Paul describes in Romans 8, even though creation did not sin. But mankind sinned and mankind was ordained as rulers over this creation. As rulers they took the whole creation with them in their fall.
      So we should realise that creation suffers because of our sins. But creation will also be redeemed. God will make all things new. But at the same time, we can say God is renewing this creation. God will not make a completely new creation, as if the old one was not good enough, but it will be purified by fire and made as new.

  3. Two questions:

    1. In the list of tribes, as you noted, Dan is not mentioned, whilst Joseph and Manasseh are. Ephraim is also not mentioned in the Revelation 7 list. Yet Joseph is Manasseh’s father… does this have any significance or symbolic meaning? Perhaps in light of what Jacob spoke to his sons in Genesis 49?

    2. What is the difference between power and might?

    1. 1. There are many different theories about the names of the tribes. One of the reasons for Dan not being mentioned is that Jacob calls him a serpent in Genesis 49:17. However, nowhere either in the Bible or in extra=biblical literature do we find any indication that this is how the prophecy of Jacob was interpreted. So it is all speculation. The list of names, the order of the names, is different from any other list we find in the Bible. It is hard to find any indication why it is this list and this order. I don’t know what to think about all the theories. For me, the only reasonable explanation I can give is that the names are not important, and it is about the number 12 as a number for the completeness of God’s people.
      2. Power and might are synonyms. The Bible does that more often. It is done here to come to seven words. Glory and honour are also more or less synonyms.

  4. When we consider that the elect will be gathered from all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, could we apply the terms the “catholic church” or “universal church” in this context (Belgic Confession Article 27)? Knowing that God will gather people from all over the world, how should this impact the way in which we speak with and treat other Christians from different denominations? Firstly on an individual level, and secondly as entire congregations/denominations? When we differ on doctrine and ecclesiastical matters, how ought we to deal with one another?

    1. There is a difference between ‘being saved by faith only’ and being a member of the true church. We believe that God is powerful and can save those also who are not part of the true church. But we believe that God can also save those who grievously sinned against Him in other ways. It is God’s command that we all make sure that we hear the pure preaching of the gospel every Sunday and use the sacraments as He instituted them, and exercise discipline. Christ gathers His believers together in His Church and if we stay away from the church, then we sin against God and Christ and we hurt the body of Christ if we say that we are not needed there (see 1 Cor. 12). The ‘catholic’ or ‘universal’ church is the church as Christ gathers it from all times and places and of which we are members by faith. This church is visible in time and place: Christ wants to have His church in every town or city: that is there where people live together and work together, there Christ’s church becomes visible in the local congregation. He sent out His apostles to make all nations to His disciples. Disciples follow their master, and show it in their deeds. Again: there the catholic church becomes visible in the local congregation of the members. Where people say they are Christians but act differently than Christ teaches us in His Word, that cannot be the ‘catholic church’.

      A church does not become a true church only when we as Free Reformed Churches determine that it is a true church. We are limited in our resources and are not able to travel all over the world to judge other churches. We are not called to do that. If we get into contact with other churches, then we can see whether they are faithful or not. If we believe that they are erring in certain areas, we can and must encourage them to become faithful. But we must also be humble and acknowledge that we can be erring as well and need the encouragement and admonition of others as well. There must be a willingness to listen to each other and take each other seriously.
      God is gracious and patient. For many years, centuries, He called both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah his people. He had a lot of patience with the church in Corinth, and if we read what Paul writes about the sins in that congregation, I think we would have hesitated to label that as a true church. We have to be very careful with our judgments and show a lot of grace as well. If we are quick to judge, others will be quick to judge us as well. When we differ on doctrine, then we have to discuss these matters in the light of God’s Word. If God’s Word is clear, then it is clear what we have to do. We shall not receive those who do not bring the gospel preached to us in the Bible. If we differ in ecclesiastical practices, then that can be differences which are possible in the light of God’s Word. There are many practices in our churches, many matters, which come from a (good) tradition, but are not necessarily the only way in which things can be done. We have to be open for that and other churches can show us that things can be done differently. Thorough study of the Word of God will make that clear. We should not be afraid of differences of opinions, as long as we are willing to discuss them and accept each other based on the Word of God. Humility is very important. There are divisions between churches which are the result of human pride and not of different doctrines.

  5. Through text message about ‘Jews only from Judah and Levi’. What about the faithful pre exile Jews ? Aren’t they part of the multitude ?

    Response:
    The Israelites from the ten tribes went into exile and those ten tribes don’t exist anymore. There may have been some faithful pre-exile Israelites, who became part of the southern kingdom but officially their tribe was in exile. That is what the Bible tells us, and the exceptions we don’t read much about. What my intention with the comment was: Rev. 7 shows that all those tribes that went into exile and were never heard from again, will come back, from all over the earth, as so many of the prophecies in Isaiah and others speak about this. This is being denied by those who see the 144 000 only as pertaning to the Jews. They see the Christians from the gentiles not as fulfillment of these prophecies, but as a different people for God, as the multitude in the second part of Rev. 7. However, I believe that the Bible clearly speaks about Christians from the gentiles coming to belong to Israel and that the two: from the gentiles as well as from the Jews have been made one (see Ephesians 2).

  6. Sealed with the Holy Spirit. Is that seal the same as baptism as a sign and seal of the covenant? Is a still born baby sealed with the Holy Spirit?

    Response:
    Sealed with the Holy Spirit is not the same as baptism. Baptism includes the promise of being sealed with the Holy Spirit, but is a sign of it. If baptism is received in faith, then indeed it means being sealed with the Holy Spirit as well.
    Children who die in infancy or even before birth are saved and thus also sealed with the Spirit. Sealed means that they are marked as belonging to God. God made His covenant with the believers and their children. As long as children do not break the covenant by unbelief, they belong to God. If they die in infancy, they are sealed because they belong to God.

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