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.
2 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,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4 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.
5 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.
6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
7 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.
8 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.
9 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;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 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,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 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.
15 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.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 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.
The good news is that there is a divine work of redemption, when the wrath of God and the terrible day of the Lord dawns. The calm inducing, peaceful alternative program of the angels is to seal the servants who meditate on the word of God, so that they do not take damage. Matthew 24, 31 describes in a similar manner how the angels gather the elect from the four winds. In general, the minds of salvation preachers perceive only a loving Father, who sends out his good guardian angels on all cardinal points. But is this all what the Bible has to say about his spirit beings and ministers who are made to a flame of fire?
Herod Agrippa I was slain by an angel of the Lord, because he allowed to be idolised by his hostile neighbours in a hypocritical manner, and the self-imposed consequence of David’s census was that 70,000 children of Israel fell by the sword of the angel of the Lord.
An earlier judgment of the Lord, by killing the firstborn in Egypt, as the worst and final plague, could only be prevented for the believers on their exodus into the promised land in obedience: Listening to the warning words of the Lord, they brushed the blood of the Passover lamb on their doorposts.
The regulations of Moses are still in the mouths of the zealous Orthodox jews, who wear the tefillin on the hand and as a memorial sign on their forehead during daily prayer. The Mosaic Law of the only God was interpreted differently in the days of Ezekiel, because vile animals and idols were worshipped in the priest chambers, and even the sun and the Babylonian god Tammuz received in the house of the Lord worship. The great abomination in the temple spelled trouble for Jerusalem who was filled with corpses. The judgment of God always starts first at the house of God. An exception were the people who complained about the sins of the nation. They got in Ezekiel 9 a similar sign of the end like the twelve tribes of Israel.
The specific warning in the naming of the 144,000 descendants of Abraham is that the tribe of Dan is missing in the list. God does not tolerate idolatry that was practised in northern Israel at the foot of Mount Hermon particularly strong. This should provide ample food for thought for all worshippers of Christian statues and pictures and also for the love spreading teachers of Universal Reconciliation.
12 x 12 x 1000 is hard-to-understand Bible mathematics which is mainly misinterpreted by the Jehovah’s witnesses. But it is sad that also many other denominations preach a replacement theology after which Israel has been rejected for ever to get replaced in favour of the true believers of their own grouping.
A remarkable incident that reflects the spiritual condition of the church and of Israel – the people struggling with God – can be found in the Gospels: The 12-year-old daughter of Jairus is dying and Jesus is called in to help. On the way to the patient’s bedside, a suffering from blood flow, unremarkable woman from the crowd touches the hem of his garment to tap God’s power. Unusual 12 years endured the excretions of which no physician could cure her. Her suffering started simultaneously with the birth of a now seriously ill daughter of the ruler of the synagogue. For me, the woman with the blood issue is a reflection of the Jews, whose millennium long persecution found a high point in the Holocaust. But yet, God has given them through the establishment of the State of Israel renewed strength. The church has fallen asleep in the house, so the younger Christians are as dead and need a new revival of the Spirit of God (cf. Sardis and Laodicea). A great comfort is that Jesus is not too late and at the end looks after both (see Romans 11).
The perspective changes in the 7th chapter of Revelation from the elect of the people of Israel to a large crowd from all languages and nations who worship God and the Lamb forever and ever. A parallel foreshadowing of this can be found in the tent of David with the 2 times 144 prophetic singers who have worshipped the Lord 24 hours a day on Mount Zion. Resembling groups of 12, but in 24 lots, are listed in 1. Chronicles 25. A well-known interpretation for the nations sounds in Acts 15, 16 & 17:
After this I will return and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down. I will built again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up so that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
The hymns that are sung in heaven do not differ much from the worship of the previous chapters. Interesting is the question of one of the 24 elders: Who are the worshippers dressed in white? Where do they come from? The one who asks leads the conversation in the desired direction. Practically all readers who have an answer for themselves almost reached the end of Revelation, because the similarities with Chapter 21 are obvious. The main conclusion shows that God must be put in the centre, no matter how big the distress is, since the trials and tribulations are not getting smaller in our time, despite the progress of science and economy.