Title: SEALED UNTO REDEMPTION
Text: Revelation 7:1-17
We saw last week that when Jesus took the sealed scroll from the Father and began to open the seals, a storm of unequaled proportion poured out upon the earth to initiate the beginning of the end. As chapter 7 opens there is a lull in the storm. The four angels that bring the storm from each of the four compass quadrants are commanded to hold back the wind. What we shall see in this chapter is a measure of grace manifested to a select few of Israel. Though judgment has begun, God’s compassion still lingers. His grace has not entirely departed, and the merciful act of sealing the 144,000 must be completed before the rest of the judgment can be completed. Read Text.
1. What do you think holding back the wind is supposed to represent to us? (A pause in the storm – holding back God’s judgment.) Is the storm local or global? (Global – four corners of the earth.) Ps. 104:1-4
2. A special angel who comes from the rising sun has been given the seal of the living God. What do you think this seal is all about? (To seal the bondservants of God to indicate God’s ownership; the seal of the Spirit was to be applied before the rest of the seals of wrath were applied to the wicked, like a Pentecost before a Holocaust; they are marked so that none of the godly will perish.) Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30
Insight: As in the sealed scroll, so it is with the seal upon the bond-servants of God – the importance of the seal depends upon the stature of the one who puts it there. This seal comes from God, and the power of it protects those sealed from many of the disasters that follow when the lull of the storm passes. This is a moral seal, which distinguishes them from the rest of man on the earth.
3. Since numbers are highly symbolic in Revelation, what do you think the significance is of 144,000? (The remnant of Israel is definitely numbered. 12 = completeness, therefore ALL of God’s people from Israel will be accounted for. These are Jews, not Gentiles.) As you look over who is sealed, do you see anything unusual? (Dan is missing; Joseph is named along with Manasseh, but Ephraim is not; since Ephraim was Joseph’s principal heir, Joseph covers Ephraim, thus Manasseh is added.)
Insight: Perhaps the reason one is omitted is due to the prophecy given by his father, Jacob. Gen. 49:16-18 One of the early church fathers, Iranaeus, thought he was omitted because the antichrist was to come from his tribe because of the prophesy in Jer. 8:14-17.
4. If the 144,000 are Jews who become believers, will there be no Gentile converts during the tribulation? Rev. 7:9; 5:9 Where did this large group come from? 7:14 What does this tell you about how many are found unprepared if indeed the rapture takes place before the Tribulation? Is the standing of your soul right so that you won’t be left behind? Matt. 7:22-23
5. This numberless multitude is clothed in white robes and has palm branches in their hands. What do you think this represents? (Given the righteousness of God and are victorious.)
6. Is it relatively easy to confess Christ as Savior right now? Will it be as easy in the Great Tribulation? Rev. 20:4
7. Is the Great Tribulation confined to the borders of Israel? Jer. 25:15; Rev. 3:10
8. What does this numberless multitude of Gentile believers do in Heaven? 7:15; Ps. 134:1-2 What do all the angels, the four living creatures and the 24 elders do in this scene? (Worship God.)
Insight: There are some people who say that bodily position in worship is irrelevant so long as the heart is right. If worship as it happens in Heaven is an indication of what our posture should be, verse 11 gives us a peek in the door during a worship service…and they are all falling on their faces worshipping God! Scripture connects the attitude of the heart with the action of the body in worship. If they fall on their faces in Heaven, surely we can kneel and raise our hands on earth! Rev. 4:10; 11:16-17; Ps. 45:11
9. 7:14 How does washing a robe in blood make it white??!! Rev. 1:5; Isa. 1:18; Zech. 3:3-5; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 5:26-27; Heb. 9:13-14; 1 Jn. 1:6-7
10. As this multitude worships and serves Him who sits on the throne, what does God do in response? 7:15 (Spread His tabernacle over them.) What does this say to your heart? Rev. 21:3-4; Ps. 68:16-18; Isa. 4:5-6; Jn. 1:14
11. Do you recall what will happen in that day if you do not bear the mark of the beast? (Cannot buy, sell or trade the necessities of life.) So how does verse 7:16 reassure you?
John closes this chapter with a remarkable statement: “…the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes." The Lamb is one and the same with the One on the throne…the Lamb IS God! God became flesh and died as the sacrificial Lamb so He could draw you unto Himself!
For those who choose to ignore His Spirit’s pleading now, but find the grace of God during the tribulation – there is a price to pay for that delay. But should that be the case, God’s grace is sufficient to cover those who die for their faith: He will guide them to springs of water and the very hand of God will wipe every tear from your eyes. Since He is so tender and compassionate, why wait? Why put it off and face a martyr’s death?
Sad to say, there are people who prefer Satan’s deception and bondage over what Christ has to offer. The Bible is clear in the warning: there will be multitudes that will reject the Savior and trust the beast. Those who reject Christ now are just as condemned as those who will receive the mark of the beast then. When you compare the numbers, it’s staggering to the soul. Matt. 7:13-14