The Sealing of God's Servants, Revelation Chapter 7 Verses 1 - 8 (NASB)


    After this (the 6 seals opened) I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth,
What a contrast! The events of the 6th seal being broken are dynamic, and shake the earth, literally. Now we find a great calm upon the earth. It is not surprising to have the angels controlling the winds; apparently, God spoke His word on this, and the angels obeyed (Psalm 103:19-22 ).

However, while this is a physical event, this verse may also be symbolic of withholding judgment. In Isaiah 27:7-11 , we find that "the east wind" means exile for Israel. This is a softening process on the hearts of the people. In Matthew 7:24-27 , a wind blew (or trouble came) against the house. The scorching wind in Jeremiah 4:10-13 implies an invading army or marauding bands of thugs would torment Israel! Daniel in Daniel 7:1-8 uses the phrase of "the four winds of heaven" stirring up four world empires (beasts). This cannot be good.

Also consider that the sixth seal being broken symbolicly shows a time of GREAT persecution of believers during the tribulation. False doctrines can blow around men who are not grounded in the Word of God. Now a calm period permits the earth inhabitants to ground themselves deeper for what lies ahead.

    so that no wind should blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.
With the wind calm, this may mean that the 4 angels are again holding back the evil that is going on during the first 21 weeks of the tribulation until the 144,000 men from the tribes of Israel can be sealed (verse 4 ).

If this is literally true, a different mechanism to cause it to rain on the earth must be instituted. That is, as we know it, water evaporates from the sea, the wind moves it over land, and it rains. Since the wind is stopped, this cycle is stopped. To not harm the trees (verse 3 ), this period must be short. Otherwise the trees would die.

    And I saw another ANGEL ascending from the rising sun, having the seal of the living God;
This fifth angel (some commentaries indicate this may possibly even be Christ himself) ascends from the east (possibly Jerusalem) or may refer to Jesus description of His second coming (Matthew 24:23-27 ).

The SEAL of THE LIVING GOD is a special identifying mark given to BOND-SERVANTS (see next verse ).

    and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to HARM the earth and sea.
The voice was loud enough to reach around the earth. Note that the present church age "Sealer" is the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:20-22 , Ephesians 1:13-14 , Ephesians 4:30 ).
To 'not harm' a particular group took place before. The Egyptians were plagued (Exodus 9:1-7 , Exodus 9:22-26 , Exodus 10:21-23 , and Exodus 11:4-7 ) while the Israelites had a distinctive mark of protection.
    saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees,
It appears that there is an order or ranking of angels in heaven. The four worker angels in verses 1 and 2, are the ones who are granted to HARM the earth. Here the fifth angel, a superior angel, commands them to NOT do what they were granted. Some interpret the four angels as evil angels, but then it is unclear why the fifth would give this command. Others say that even the physical aspects of this earth are under angelic control, and this group of good angels are granted to carry out the WRATH of GOD.
    until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads."
During the quiet (Habakkuk 3:2) between seals 6 and 7 , the sealing of the bond-servants takes place. A bond-servant was one, who after "working off" a debt, requests to remain a servant. Then that person's ear was pierced to indicate this status, Deuteronomy 15:12-18.

Consider that if a servant commits themselves to be a bond-servant for an earthly debt, then how much more wonderful is the SEALING of a bond-servant (we believers) for the spiritual debt that has been paid!

The sealing mark, here, is on the forehead. A similar marking was done in Ezekiel's day. A divinely-inspired writer was given the task to mark those who deplored the idolatry being committed before the tabernacle, Ezekiel 9:3-11. God's patience ran out such that even the glory of the God of Israel was moved to leave the cherub where it had been. Here, the apathetic or passive person, not unlike the ones in Revelation 3:15, did not get the mark and died.

If you received this seal , you have divine protection.

    And I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000 sealed from every tribe of the SONS of ISRAEL:
There are three views of this verse:
  1. The number is the "new Israel" or completed church of Gentiles and Jews.
  2. The number is really 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.
    Ten of the tribes appear to be lost (dispersed). Yet God will raise up these men and women to be witnesses during the Tribulation. This comes after the church age as one reads Romans 11:25-29 . The fullness of the Gentile will have come in so now all Israel will be saved.
  3. This is just a large number (all Christians are sealed).
    This is symbolic and uses Revelation 7:9 , the 'after this sealing of the 144,000', to be the "great multitude". They are the same who are undefiled (Revelation 14:4 ) and blameless (Revelation 14:5 ).
It is most likely that the second view should be held. The Revelation of Jesus Christ is a very precise book as far as numbers are concerned. The seven churches, the seven seals, the seven spirits, and so on indicates that this exact sealing is precisely 144,000 from the SONS of ISRAEL. Likewise, the Revelation is not a Gentile verses Jews book but rather a Loyalty to God vs. Loyalty to the beast book.
    from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed,
    • Judah means "Praise of God"
    • Reuben was the oldest son of Israel, but the leadership was given to Judah because Reuben defiled his father's bed. 1 Chronicles 5:1-3 ; Hebrews 7:13-14 .
    • In Jacob's blessing, Genesis 49:1,8-12 , Judah is the leader (usually into battle).
    • In Moses' blessing, Deuteronomy 33:7 , he implored God to help Judah 'against his adversaries.'
    from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand,
    • Reuben means "Viewing the Son"
    • Jacob's blessing is remarkable, Genesis 49:3-4 , inasmuch as Reuben had gone 'up to my couch.'
    • Moses' blessing, Deuteronomy 33:6 , is short and not too sweet.
    from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,
    • Gad means "A Company"
    • Unclear why Gad is third in the list.
    • Jacob's prophesy (Genesis 49:19 ) is that he will raid at the heels of those raiding him.
    • Moses' blessing, Deuteronomy 33:20-21 , indicates that Gad is an executor of 'the justice of the Lord,'
    • Gad is the seventh son and the first of concubine Zilpah.
    from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand,
    • Asher means "Blessed"
    • His mother is Zilpah
    • He was the eighth son of Jacob.
    • In Jacob's blessing, Genesis 49:20 , Asher would have rich food to eat and make 'royal dainties.'
    • In Moses' blessing, Deuteronomy 33:24-25 , Asher was to 'dip his foot in oil'.
    from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand,
    • Naphtali means "striving with".
    • According to dad's (Jacob) blessing, Naphtali must have been a poet or very descriptive writer, Genesis 49:21 .
    • In Moses' blessing, Deuteronomy 33:23 , Naphtali already was 'full of the blessing of the Lord.'
    • His mother was Bilhah.
    • He was the sixth son of Jacob.
    from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,
    • Manasseh means "Forgetfulness".
    • His mother is not known but his grandmother was Rachel.
    • Grandpa (Jacob) didn't leave a specific blessing to Manasseh.
    • Moses indirectly passed on his blessing, Deuteronomy 33:13-17 , through Joseph to 'the thousands of Manasseh.'
There is no apparent reason for these tribes to be mentioned in this order. Perhaps, it is the order in which they will be sealed. What is important is that the number is specific to 'twelve thousand' because God told John to write it this way.
    from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand,
  • Simeon means "hearing and obeying".
  • Simeon is the second son of Jacob.
  • Simeon's mother was Leah.
  • Simeon along with Levi avenged for the rape of Dinah their sister. (Genesis 34:18-31)
  • Dad's "blessing" was rather negative because Simeon apparently was self-willed and hot tempered. (Genesis 49:5-7)
    from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand,
  • Levi means "cleaving to".
  • Levi was the third son of Jacob.
  • Levi's mother was Leah.
  • Levi is a non-landed tribe. They were the priests (Numbers 1:47-54), and had designated cities among the all the landed tribes.
  • Levi along with Simeon avenged for the rape of Dinah their sister. (Genesis 34:18-31)
  • Levi's blessing from dad was the same as Simeon's (Genesis 49:5-7)
  • Moses' blessing for Levi is found in Deuteronomy 33:8-11 .
    from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,
  • Issachar means "Reward".
  • Issachar was the fifth son of Jacob.
  • According to dad's blessing, Issachar had a strong character (Genesis 49:14-15).
  • There is no blessing for Issachar from Moses.
    from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand,
  • Zebulun mean "A Home".
  • From dad's blessing, it probably should be "a Beach Home" Genesis 49:13
  • From Moses' blessing, Zebulun would "draw out the abundance of the sea." Deuteronomy 33:18-19
    from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand,
  • Joseph means "an addition".
  • Joseph received the forfeited portion of Reuben's inheritance.
  • From dad's blessing, Joseph was "distinguished among his brothers." Genesis 49:22-26. In other words, dad's favorite son.
  • From the length of Moses' blessing, Deuteronomy 33:13-17 , Joseph still is the favored one.
    from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand
  • Benjamin means "son of the right hand" (the hand of authority).
  • Benjamin is the youngest son of Jacob.
  • Dad's blessing, Genesis 49:27 , is not very complimentary.
  • Moses blessing, Deuteronomy 33:12 , is much softer and indicates Benjamin has "a place between His (God's) shoulders".
    were sealed.
There are twelve tribes listed in verses 5 though 8. There is a problem, though, in that both Dan and Ephraim are not in this list. Perhaps, it is the idolatry Judges 18:14-20 or violation of the first commandment (Exodus 20:3), which prohibits Dan from being in this list. Other scholars feel these tribes are symbolic and describe various churches or denominations rather than ethnic Israel. See comments in verse 4 .
Likewise, Ephraim was "joined to idols", Hosea 4:15-19 . The city, Bethel, in Ephraim's territory, had altars, 1 Kings 12:25-33 . Idols cannot and will not stand the tests that God will put this earth through, and thus both Dan and Ephraim are not in this list. The question in verse 17 of the previous chapter, "WHO IS ABLE TO STAND?" actually then is answered by this list.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only.