Revelation 7:1-17 Part 3


1)    After this I saw four messengers having stood upon the four corners of the earth restraining the four winds of the earth in order that the wind might not blow upon the earth or upon the sea or upon any tree.

2)    And I saw another messenger going up from dayspring having the  Living God’s seal.  And he did cry out in a great voice to the four messengers to whom it was given to injure the earth and the sea, saying

3)    ‘you may not injure the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.

4)    And I did hear the number of the ones who have been sealed, one hundred and forty four thousand have been sealed from all the tribes of the sons of Israel:

5)    from the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,

6)    from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,

7)    from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,

8)    from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.

9)    After this I looked and, Lo!  a great crowd which no one was able to number out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, having stood before the throne and before the Lamb, having been arrayed in white garments and palms in their hands,

10) and crying out with a great voice, saying ‘The Salvation to our God, To Him Who sits on the throne and the Lamb!’

11) And all the messengers had remained steadfast round the throne, and the elders and four living creatures fell on their faces before the throne, and they did worship God,

12) saying ‘The praise and the glory and the wisdom and the thanksgiving and the honor and the power and the might to our God to the ages of ages.  Amen.’

13) And one of the elders uttered, saying to me ‘Who are these who have been arrayed in white garments?  And whence did they come?’

14) And I addressed him: ‘My lord, you have known!’  And he said to me, ‘These are the ones who are coming out of the great tribulation.  And they did wash their garments and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.’

15) Because of this are they before the throne of God.  And ‘they do service to Him day and night in His sanctuary’ And ‘the One Who sits on the throne shall tabernacle over them.’

16) ‘They shall no more hunger, nor shall they thirst any more, nor shall the sun fall down upon them, nor any burning heat.’

17) ‘For that Lamb in midst of the throne shall feed them, and He shall lead them upon springs of living water, and God shall wipe away every tear out of their eyes.’


As we begin this morning to look at the text, we are reminded once again that this is a continuation of our Lord’s response to the prayers and supplications of the martyrs of Christ (back in chapter six), whose blood was pooled at the base of the altar.  Their blood, their life, cried out for God to avenge their blood as Jesus Christ had promised.

And therefore they were shown the seven-fold (perfect) judgment to come quickly upon Israel.  Then John saw a greatly heightened praise and thanksgiving from all the creatures in the heaven.

Then, as John continues to look (and to write), there is a (heavenly) delay in the execution of that judgment due to the continuing expatriation of the elect of the house of Israel.  (And please note that there is also a delay between the sixth trumpet in chapter nine and the seventh trumpet in chapter eleven for the same reason.)

As there was concern from the blood of the martyrs in the heaven, there was also great concern in all the Churches upon receiving the Revelation about the persecution and suffering and death of the Lord’s people at the hands of judaists as they conspired with Roman officials.  And not only was there concern about the existence and continuation of Christ’s Church, but also, in the light of the fearsome de-creation of Israel here revealed, they were afraid and distressed as to the state of their family members and their neighbors and fellow believers remaining in Israel.  But they were strengthened by the Lord’s appearance as Micha-el, saving His people to the last one.

But the continuation of the answer to the martyrs’ prayers in chapter six are here made evident by John in chapter seven as he sees and records further answers and further comfort about our Lord’s deliverance of His people from the abomination to come, and His preservation of His Church through trouble that is too hard for us in our time even to imagine.

Needless to say, what John sees happening in the heaven, here in chapter seven, delights and invigorates everything in the heaven, as there is joyful and celebratory worship of the One Who sits in midst of the throne… for those for whom Jesus Christ died, and who have shed their blood in His Name, have been shown the very answer to their petitions.

And not only has He shown them the answer to their imprecatory prayers, but He has shown them the fullness of the promise made to Abraham… that he would be the father of many nations, tribes and tongues.

Now, I think I ought to spend a couple of minutes expanding on the value, evident right here in the text, (the value) which is placed on those for whom Christ died.  From our Lord’s perspective, not only have a specific number, which He called the lost sheep of the house of Israel, not only have they been rescued from the wrath of God to take place quickly, but there is also a specific number of those who have shed their blood because of their testimony.

And those of His lost sheep whose blood now cries out for God’s promised revenge are afforded a complete, seven-fold view of that revenge, wherein all of those who have shed that blood will be held to account for all the blood of the righteous in history!

What that means is that in the previous four or five thousand (or so) years of human history, going back to the creation itself, the blood of God’s people has been shed unjustly.  The life is in the blood.  And every drop of unjustly shed blood of those righteous before God cries out for the perfect justice of God.

And His perfect justice is about to be satisfied (as we read this text), in this generation of princes, priests and elders, as all Israel is held to account for all of that shed blood.  The great wrath of God toward all of their forefathers, in every generation, who shed righteous blood, will be poured out on those of this generation… and it is all laid to their account because they pursued and persecuted and shed the blood of those for whom Jesus Christ came to seek and to save… those lost sheep of the house of Israel!

The promise, from the beginning, was that God would save Israel – the beautiful “daughter of Zion”.  And that He would raise up a new mountain, and a new Jerusalem, and build a new temple in the new city!  And that new temple of God would be filled with white-robed priests made clean in the blood of the Lamb.

The remnant were rescued – that specific number; they were rescued before Israel was inundated in the wrath of Yahveh.  They were rescued before, because Jesus had already received the wrath of His Father for them.  They were not due to suffer the abomination of desolation – the fiery furnace, for God’s wrath against them had already been satisfied as the Christ suffered the entirety of the Divine stroke of justice.  He was with them (Immanuel), as He was with Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego.

His blood – His life – was poured out for them as the Father poured out His fiery wrath upon Him and cut Him off from all mercy and sustenance and succor.  And, again, as we read this text the “value” placed on those – rescued from the desolation to come – but persecuted and killed for their testimony and their steadfast faithfulness to Jesus Christ their Savior, is evident as the full, seven-fold revenge of Yahveh is shown to them here; for the time is near.  And the rejoicing and praise then fills the heaven in response to the revenge to come, and to His great mercy toward Israel.

So, you see, the value placed on each of these “little ones” is far beyond our comprehension.

“After this I saw….” verse one.  What is it that John has just seen?  What does “after this” mean?  He has just seen, in the heaven, the revealed, perfect, seven-fold judgment shortly to be poured out upon Israel.  Its sin is now filled up; it has pursued and persecuted and killed many for whom Christ died.  And having just seen the perfect justice of God to come quickly, he says “After this….”

And what does he see “after this”?

He sees the “reason” why that perfect justice has not yet been executed.  He sees the reason for the blood of the martyrs crying out “how long before You avenge our blood”?  He sees the grace and mercy of God toward His elect Israel – a “remnant” scattered into the sea of humanity, and some of which are still upon the Land.  And even though some would have to escape in the last days and hours, they were all afforded protection from the wrath of the Lamb.  They were not to receive that wrath, for He had already received it for them.   Some would be persecuted and killed for the Name of Jesus, but none would be the recipients of the wrath of Jesus.

And what did he see “after this”?  “After this I saw four messengers having stood upon the four corners of the earth restraining the four winds of the earth….”  And once again we encounter the “fours” – the language of God, from His perspective, regarding His creation – which is in the “likeness” of the heaven.

As seen previously, there are three kinds of creatures in the heaven.  The first that we discussed was the myriads upon myriads of angelic “messengers” (that’s what the word “angelos” means), messengers from the mouth of God, and which form the glory cloud, and a few of which are seen in Scripture “delivering” messages.  The starry sky in the creation itself is made “like” them. 

Then, the second kind (of creature) is the elders.  There are twenty-four of them; and the princes, priests and elders of Israel were created in their likeness.

That’s two kinds of creatures.  And there is a third.

Then we have four living creatures, at, in and around the throne of God (at the four corners of the throne), having immense power and authority in the cosmos, all at the direct Will and Word and command of God. 

And the created realm is perceived in “fours” after their likeness!  These four are directly responsible for effecting God’s sovereign Will with respect to the cosmos.  Not only is the creation “perceived” as being in their likeness, but the earth exists and operates, in many ways, in their “likeness”.  And since it is in their likeness, the four creatures are intimately involved in the existence and operation and “animation” of the entire cosmos.

As we’ve said several times, and we need to return to it often, that which is in the heaven is the Archetype for all that our God has brought into existence by the Word of His Power.  And since the heaven is the “pattern” for all else, then “all else” corresponds in some ways to the pattern!  The “type” comes from the Archetype! 

There is a “likeness” there.  And the entire creation was brought into existence, and it is sustained in its existence, in the “likeness” of what John sees and reports to the Church.  And what John saw is the same in substance as that which Moses saw, and that which Isaiah saw, and that which Daniel saw, and that which Ezekiel saw (among others).

And I don’t think there can be much doubt that the reason that the apostles Paul and Peter were so strong in their warnings to the Churches about the worship of angels, was because the Churches had some perception of that which was in the heaven!  The Churches were familiar with it from (not only) the creation itself, but also from Isaiah and from Daniel and from Ezekiel….  And the tendency among some was to venerate these majestic creatures.  And they are awesome; but they are not there to mediate for men!  There is only One Mediator, and that is, of course, our God and Savior Jesus Christ.  Any other is open idolatry.  So the apostles chastened the Churches for holding the creatures of God in such high esteem, for they are not “authorities” in and of themselves.  And they have no power whatsoever to “mediate” on behalf of men.

Now.  Having heard from pastor John Calvin in his commentary on the first ten chapters of the prophecy of Ezekiel; and having toured the Scripture concerning the connection between these four living beings and the earth and all of its creatures, we learned that, although our God is completely independent of His creation, the creation isn’t independent of Him!

Through these living beings in the heaven, the entire earth is activated and animated by the Will of our sovereign God.  There is nothing that isn’t under the control of His mighty Will.  And these four beings, the most mighty among the ranks of His creatures, act directly in concert with the Will of God in every single aspect of this creation.  Pastor Calvin, you remember, called it “a secret inspiration”.

It’s just as the apostle Paul said at the acropolis in Athens: “In Him we live and move and have our very being.”  Although completely independent of what He has made, our God is imminently involved in every detail of what He’s made.  It all exists, it lives, it moves, it has its being – in Him.  That’s what Scripture says.

And as we also saw, the prophet Daniel was made privy to the fact that these four creatures “broke upon the sea” of humanity, and up arose four mighty beasts of history… the four great civilization-changing, world-ruling, tyrant nations: Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.  The four living creatures, acting in concert with the immediate will of God, caused these four nations to rise up in history!  The very history of the world is NOT independent of the Will of Almighty God.  So, therefore we can be assured that the fifth, and last, great Kingdom of earth, the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, will reign until all His enemies are under His feet.  The whole creation is His “footstool”, the footstool of the throne of dominion; and there is no part of it, no detail of it, that He doesn’t rule.  So never again will one nation rule in God’s creation, for there is only One King over all.

And the mighty messengers of the glory cloud, and the elders, and the four living beings all worship Him and give Him obeisance and obey Him.  He is God and Savior of the world.  The cosmos is His inheritance.   And the creatures of the heaven do whatever His will is in all that belongs to Him.  Without Him nothing was made that was made; and without Him nothing lives and moves and has its being; and without Him nothing is redeemed that is redeemed! 

The rescue of all of creation from sin and its eternal, disastrous effects is His revealed purpose, and the existence and actions of all His creatures in the heaven reflect His absolute Will!  And there is no detail left to “chance”.  “I have been given all authority in the heaven and on the earth”, said Jesus.

Now, these are “throne-creatures”, inseparable from the throne of rule and dominion itself!  They are its “four corners”!  And by the very will of God, all the creation is sustained, all the creation operates, all the creation exists – nature if you will – by their direct involvement.  And that’s why the creation is perceived, and referred to in the speech of God, in fours!  From the four corners of the throne of God, creation does what it does!   And since these are the living beings that are most closely linked with the earth, we need to perceive these creatures from the perspective of God’s demand, in His written Word, that we know His power and divinity from what He has made (Romans one).  The throne is the throne of Dominion, you see.

Wind doesn’t blow; the sun doesn’t shine; darkness doesn’t exist; objects don’t fall to the earth when they’re dropped; there are no “seasons”; men and animals don’t see; men and animals don’t move; men and animals don’t live – all without the direct and immediate “Cause” … Father, Son and Spirit.  And these throne-creatures are His “ministers” or “agents” of His rule and dominion.

And the “four messengers”, and the “four corners” of the earth, and the “four winds”, and the four horsemen on four colored horses (Zechariah chapter one), and the four colored horses and their chariots (Zechariah chapter twelve) are all in the likeness of the four corners of the throne of dominion, where there are four living creatures, full of eyes, dealing with creation instantly and intimately, at the command of their Creator and Authority.

The four messengers (creatures) are standing at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds of the earth, having been sent, and having stood by the authority of the throne creatures.  And John sees their Arch-Commander arising from Dayspring having been given all authority in the heaven and over all the cosmos.  And with a voice filling the heaven, John hears Him issue directives regarding His elect – the lost sheep of the house of Israel - every last one who He came to seek and to save.  The four winds of the earth, once released, will bring desolation to the land, and scattering into all the nations.

Last Lord’s Day we read the prophecy regarding “Dayspring”.  By Holy Spirit, while John the baptizer was still in his mother’s womb his father prophesied that his son John would be the forerunner of God’s Messiah.  Here are his words, inspired by Holy Spirit, concerning John and our Lord Jesus Christ:


76) And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

77) to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,

78) because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the Dayspring shall visit us from on high

79) to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."


And now, here’s what John the apostle writes in his Gospel before he received the Revelation.  This is the same person, our Lord’s apostle, who sees and hears that which takes place in the heaven, and who writes it all for the Churches.  His Gospel is highly theological and, by Holy Spirit, highly insightful of that which he will soon see in the heaven.  Here it is:


1)    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2)    He was in the beginning with God.

3)    All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4)    In him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

5)    The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6)    There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7)    He came as a witness, to bear witness about the Light, that all might believe through him.

8)    He was not the Light, but came to bear witness about the Light.

9)    The true Light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10) He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

11) He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

12) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

13) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.


The apostle Paul would later write this to the Church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians chapter four.  In the letter he refers directly to the prophetic words of John the baptizer’s father, as well as the words of the apostle John in his Gospel:


3)    But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

4)    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

5)    For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

6)    For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.


And in that same letter, chapter six, Paul again contrasts darkness with the Light:


14) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?


Then the apostle continues that same line of thought as he writes to the Church at Ephesus, chapter five:


7)    Be not ye therefore partakers with them (those who work the works of darkness)

8)    For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

9)    (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

12) For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

13) But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.


Lastly, in 2 Peter chapter one, which would certainly be remembered by the Churches as they read the words of Revelation chapter seven, we read this:


19) And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star (dayspring) arises in your hearts,

20) knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

21) For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by Holy Spirit.


And our Lord Jesus Christ, in His appearance to John on the Island of Patmos, sends the message to the Church in Thyatira.  And He says:


26) The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,

27) and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.

28) And I will give him the morning star (dayspring, the light).

29) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'


And at the end of the Revelation, our Lord sends His message (His Word) to John regarding His coming quickly to bring His revenge.  Here it is:


14) 14Blessed are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.

15) Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16) "I, Jesus, have sent my messenger (My Word) to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." (the Light, the Dayspring)


So, you see that the prophetic Word through Isaiah concerning the Light arising upon those sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, is the One who the baptizer’s father prophesied (as recorded in Luke chapter one).  He is “dayspring”.

And it is the One – the Light – taught to the Churches by the apostle Paul.

And the apostle John, writing in highly theological language, quotes directly from the Isaiah passage when he said that the Light shines in the darkness.  And the Light is the Word of God made flesh.

Then the apostle Peter, also quoting from Isaiah, says that the Morning Star (“Dayspring”) arises upon those sitting in darkness.

And here in our text, John actually sees one coming forth from “Dayspring” to command the created beings with regard to the protection of His people who have been shown the Light of Life.  And He is Micha-el, the appearance of that Light as Archangel commander of all the creatures in the heaven.

And none of His people who He came to seek and to save are to suffer the wrath of the Lamb in the abomination of desolation.  The four winds of the earth are to be restrained until every last one of them is sealed.

The Dayspring – the Light – has come upon those who sit in the darkness and in the shadow of death in a completely apostate nation which will soon cease to exist.

A nation that sits in total darkness, and in the shadow of death (the soon to come desolation) has completely filled up its sin in the persecution and murder of some of Christ’s people upon whom the Light has shined.  The wrath of the Lamb is near; and the abomination is being restrained, for none of His people are to suffer His wrath.