Posted by: watchmancurtis | March 9, 2010

Revelation Study Week 13

Finally, I am back to blogging our study.  I’ve had to take a few weeks off, just because I haven’t had the time to blog.  Today, however, I am beginning the road to catching up.  Last week we examined Revelation chapter 7 as we rapidly approached the wrath of God being poured out on the earth.  Before God’s wrath is poured out, however, we see two important events transpire which not only give us an interesting break, but are one of the greatest hopes of our faith.

Chapter 7 verse 1: If you remember our look at the first six seals in our last study, you will remember that we were comparing Matthew 24 to the seals of Revelation 6.  As we start chapter 7 we see this continued as John mentions the angels at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds.  Matthew 24:31 says, “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”  Now the context is slightly different, but we will see in a minute that there is an explanation for this.  In Matthew 24 we see a picture of the rapture as Jesus sends out His angels to gather his people together.  In Revelation chapter 7, however, we see four angels holding back the four winds which are part of God’s wrath.

Verses 2-3: We see an angel carrying the seal of God telling the angels to hold off until the bond-servants of God have received  the seal on their foreheads. 

Verses 4-8: The number of those sealed is 144,000.  We are also told that the ones sealed are 12,000 from each tribe of Israel.  I have heard a lot of speculation regarding this verse.  I grew up being taught this number was purely symbolic…representing the complete church in heaven.  There are a couple of problems with this reasoning, though.  The first problem is that there is no indication that the number is symbolic.  Now I’m not saying that there is no meaning in this number, but there is nothing here to say that it should not also be taken literally.  The second problem is that the ones who are sealed in no way represent the church.  These are taken from the tribes of Israel.  Now if you hold to replacement theology (which teaches that the church has replaced Israel) then you would have no trouble making this leap.  In my opinion, however, that is a teaching that is impossible to reconcile with the Bible and a dangerous view as well.  These 144,000 are Jewish people who are sealed and will go through the wrath of God.  They will be protected, however during this tumultuous time.  We will see them again and find out a bit more in Revelation chapter 14.

Verses 9-14:  This is one of the most fascinating sections in the book of Revelation.  Here, between the 6th and 7th seals, we find a great multitude in heaven wearing white robes.  This group of people are praising God and giving thanks.  One of the elders approaches John and asks  him who these people are and where did they come from?  John, turns it back to the elder and seeks and explanation for him.  The elder obliges by saying, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  This, in my opinion, is a very clear picture of the rapture.  These people are not martyrs.  We see the martyrs in Chapter 6 under the altar.  This is a different group entirely.  We are also told specifically where they come from.  They come out of the great tribulation.  You have to be in something to be taken out of it.  We as Christians will experience a good part of the 70th Week of Daniel, including the great tribulation.  The great tribulation, according to Jesus in Matthew 24:15-21, begins after the Abomination of Desolation which does not happen until the mid-point of the 70th Week of Daniel.  In my opinion, this group in chapter 7 represents those who are raptured out of the great tribulation, but before the wrath of God is poured out.  Up until now, we have not experienced the wrath of God.  I know many teach that all 7 years is the wrath of God, but that is really not the case.  The first 3 years are the rise of the Antichrist’s power climaxed with the Abomination of Desolation and the declaration of the Antichrist that he is God.  That begins the  great tribulation and continues up until the rapture followed by the wrath of God in the trumpets and the bowl judgments.  We see this in the 6th seal in chapter 6 verses 15-17.   “Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hid us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the WRATH of the Lamb; for the great day of their Wrath has come, and who is able to stand.”

Verses 15-17:  This section of scripture is our hope.  This is what it means once we are finally in the presence of the Lord.  “They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”  Don’t lose sight of this.  When struggles come…remember these verses.  One day it will all be different.  One day those struggles will be gone.  One day we will be with Jesus.

We continue to enjoy our study as we delve into the mysteries of Revelation.  I am blessed to be surrounded by people who not only love the Lord, but love and seek truth.  That makes all the difference.  Be blessed and I will hopefully have this weeks study blogged in the next day or two.

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