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46. Revelation 7: “Great Horror, Greater Grace!”

Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 7/17/2014

(edited July 2020)

 

Well, my weekly Bible study passage this week is in the Book of Revelation. I’m not overly confident in teaching from this part of the Bible, and I’m not sure anyone should be. I’m not gonna pretend I understand it all tonight, just sort of plow ahead and hope the Lord will bless you as He blessed me this week in studying it and thinking about these things.

 

For starters, back in chapters 5-6, the Apostle John “reveals” that there is a book in Heaven that they were (or will be) trying to get opened, but no man or being is found who can loosen those seals and open the book. But then Christ, Our Savior, comes forth and begins opening each seal one by one.

 

This special book appears to be just bursting with important information and by the time we get to Revelation chapter 7, our target chapter for tonight’s study, six of those seals will have been opened. We will see that chapter 7 represents a pause in the action between the breaking of the sixth seal in chapter 6 and the seventh seal in chapter 8. But, be assured, there will still be much to witness and learn from chapter 7!

 

First, however, let’s review the consequences of the opening of each of the six seals in Revelation chapter 6. This book and these seals speak of a prelude to the judgment of God upon our current world:

Seal #

 Subject

Immediate Result of Opening the Seal

1

First Horseman of the Apocalypse comes to Earth on a white horse

This rider has come to Conquer and Subdue on the Earth at will!

2

Second Horseman of the Apocalypse comes to Earth on a red horse

This rider can absorb peace and brotherhood from men so that they turn on each other, probably as never before in history.

3

Third Horseman of the Apocalypse comes to Earth on a black horse

This rider carries a balance and appears to be ready to afflict trade and commerce in some drastic ways.

4

Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse comes to Earth on a pale horse

This rider is named death and has come to slay and lay waste to ¼ of the Earth by various means.

5

Souls of Martyrs cry out for justice in Heaven

Not sure exactly to whom these souls belong, but they are assured that justice will come soon for each of them as part of the final judgment of this world.

6

Earth, sun, moon, and stars all afflicted

Things are happening now which have never been witnessed before. This is an object lesson for everyone on the Earth, a great 3-dimensional sermon which will reach to the core of everyone who observes it. At the appearance of these signs people begin to scramble to hide not from “Jehovah” or “Almighty God,” but specifically from “the wrath of the Lamb.” (I used to think that maybe Jesus transforms Himself into some kind of frightful entity at this point. Then I heard one commentator say that perhaps Christ doesn’t change His personality at all, but rather that the men on earth at this time would be those who always feared and avoided Jesus Christ even in good times. This is all food for thought.)

 

And that brings us to Revelation chapter 7. The grand pause in the opening of the seven seals. Obvious to all who will be present, at this point, the world as we now know it is, finally and forever, doomed. But the Lord does not pause to gloat, taunt, or torment mankind. Look what He is doing:

 

Verses 1-4: 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.  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,  Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 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.”

 

God is now holding back the destruction of Earth for precious moments so that the Righteous can be marked BEFORE the annihilation comes. Let’s go on:

 

Verses 5-8: 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. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 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. 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.”

 

What is all this, I wonder? A throwback to the Old Testament? After all, true believers of that Covenant were promised eternal life just as are believers in Jesus today. And so it will be, somehow. Maybe this is that promise fulfilled, or a symbolic gesture, or something else altogether. I CAN tell you this, whatever it is, it won’t prevent you and me, as New Covenant believers, from being sealed right into eternal life!

 

Verses 9-14: 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; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 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, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 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.”

 

Whoa! Men and Angels celebrating together, not celebrating the demise of this world but the SAVING out of this mess of a place of all men, women and children of faith from the Old and New Covenant times. And all by the Grace of God! They will all now live together forever, with each other and with their Lord in heavenly harmony. I’ll say it first, if you don’t beat me to it: Hallelujah! 😊

 

Verse 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.”

 

The vicious Spiritual War fare which flares and, at times, rages in our day, will end in the times we are studying right here in the Book of Revelation. All the rebellion of devils and men of every age and time shall be forever extinguished. That Great and Terrible Day will suddenly come! But notice that right here, just before the Final Trumpets begin to toll (that’s in chapter 8, by the way), God’s People are given what I would call the most wonderful Word of Promise ever spoken:  

 

Verses 16-17: They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 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.”

 

Do I totally understand these things? Of course not. But that shouldn’t keep any believer from being comforted by them. So much has been revealed to us in the New Testament Era, so much about salvation, about Christ, and Israel and the Church. But not everything. Not yet.

 

King David lived in a darker Covenant then ours, centuries before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. But look at something he somehow “knew” to say in Psalm 37:11, “…the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Even when we aren’t given total understanding today, God is somehow able to get through to each of us EVERYTHING we need to know to face life as it is right now with assurance of our eternal destiny and faith in Him. Let’s pray.

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