Revelation 7:1-17 Part 4


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 John looks on, he sees the four created messengers from the glory-cloud throne-room standing ready at the four corners of the earth, restraining the four winds from bringing the final desolation and shattering of Israel.  The day of the Lord is near.  What John sees is the last days of Israel’s existence.

The Son of God, the Prince of His elect people Israel, appearing as Archangel Micha-el (as prophesied in Daniel chapter twelve), issues commands to His creature/messengers.

The “four winds” of the “four corners of the earth”, as prophesied in Holy Scripture, are the winds of God’s history as they move along the course of His history… destroying, scattering, shattering, raising up tyrants, bringing judgment and justice to tyrants – sweeping across the created cosmos by the “breath” of Holy Spirit to order all things and to accomplish God’s covenantal decree.

And John sees and hears the Commander of the created angel-messengers, appearing out of “Dayspring” (the Light) as He issues precise orders, in covenantal language, for the protection of those who He came to seek and to save.

The “four winds” of the “four corners of the earth” are harnessed and circumscribed with regard to history’s incomparable and preeminent transformation; and the deconstruction of, and cessation of, Israel and Jerusalem and the temple are “on hold” at the command of Archangel Micha-el (Michael) until all of His elect are “sealed”.

Of course all of these things are “decreed”, you understand… all the numbers and dates and times having been directed from the throne of God, and all having been revealed to Daniel, and others, in some specifics.

But John sees and hears the actual “work” of God the Son as He carries out the decree; and John writes it all for the comfort of the Churches and for the comfort and satisfaction of the blood of the martyrs at the base of the altar as they cry out for God’s revenge.  God’s “Heaven and Earth” – Israel - will cease to exist, according to the apostle Peter, in the “flood” of that revenge.

And there came a shout heard to the extent of the heaven, as Archangel Micha-el tells the messenger/executors of God’s decree that the “day of the Lord” is not to arrive until every one of His bond-servants is sealed.  And He uses three all-inclusive terms: the earth (land), the sea and the trees.

In a few minutes we will need to be brought up to date once again on the ongoing efforts of the Church in Israel at the time that John receives the Revelation.

But first let’s remember once more that we’re reading and hearing the language of God in this letter.  And it’s all from His perspective on what He has made and what He has decreed regarding what He has made.  And our Lord, all through the Gospel of Matthew that we heard for seven years, continually quoted His Own Word.  And that certainly doesn’t change here in the Revelation for, as we’ve noticed, there are almost countless quotes and references to the prophetic Word as our Lord reveals Himself and the covenantal relationship that He has entered into with all that He has made.

And it is for us to hear Him as HE speaks, rather than reinterpreting it in our language as we observe.  Man has this tendency to think that his own existence and happiness is the central purpose of God’s existence; and that God’s thought has to conform to man’s.  But our forefathers in the Reformation knew different… “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”.  That’s the statement of our forefathers at Westminster, which is so antithetical to what man arrogantly requires of God.  But we glorify God when we receive and understand what He has said.

And our Lord Jesus, appearing as Archangel Michael, speaks the language of God the Word, as He always does, directly from His Own prophetic Word, using three terms: earth, sea and trees.  And we have to read His words the way He conceives them, and from how He describes His Own creation.

Anyway, we know that God called His covenant nation “Eden” and “heaven and earth”.  It was a covenantal “cosmos” within itself that was to bring glory to God amongst all the nations.  She was to obey; and she was to faithfully anticipate her coming Messiah.

However she became worse than all the surrounding, idolatrous nations, to the point of the filling up of her sin.  And the prophetic Scripture, by the Word of three witnesses, announced her execution for adultery.

At the same time it was announced that God would create a new heavens and a new earth in which His people would faithfully worship Him.  Listen to it in Isaiah chapter sixty-six:


22) For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

23) And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.


Both Jewish and Gentile flesh will worship God in His new heaven and earth; and He would tabernacle with them in His new temple, in His new Jerusalem, in His new Israel.  And that would be the case upon God’s execution of the adulterous edenic paradise which He called “heaven and earth”.  And that’s the sense in which Micha-el issues commands regarding “the earth”.

Now.  As our Lord’s perception of His creation includes this use of the term “earth”, so is His Own definition and interpretation of the word “sea”.  So… it is for us, His people, to read, and to understand, His perception of that which He has made.  Remember… this is His creation; and He defines it.  And He perceives it as He will.  And if we are to fear Him, and if we are to glorify Him, and if we are to obey Him, then we must see these things as He has revealed them.

And the way that He views His created “sea” is so different from any human understanding of it.  So please listen carefully as we look at just a very few of those passages having to do with how God views His Own creation. 

First, from the prophecy of Isaiah, here are the first few verses of chapter twenty-seven:


1)    In that day the LORD will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent with His fierce and great and mighty Sword, even Leviathan the twisted serpent; and He will kill that dragon who lives in the sea.


Now, there are stories and paintings and epic mythological tales of great sea monsters and serpents roaming the oceans and inland seas due to the gross misinterpretation of passages such as this one.  But that’s not what Isaiah says.  He’s not prophesying sea monsters that Yahveh pursues with His mighty Sword!  What he is receiving is inspired Revelation from God about how God views that which is occurring in His creation!  The “serpent” is the devil, which has been cast out of the heaven into the “sea” of pagan humanity.


And here is Isaiah chapter sixty having to do with the new heavens and the new earth:


1)    Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.

2)    For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you.

3)    Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

4)    Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms.

5)    Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you.


At the rising of the Light, the Dayspring, the Morning Star, the abundance of the “sea” will be turned unto Him.  Isaiah receives the inspired Word concerning the rising of the Light – the Dayspring - upon the nations and peoples of the world.  They are seen by God as the great sea of humanity, and many will be “converted” – “turned” – unto Him.

Then Daniel receives this prophecy:


1)    In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it.

2)    Daniel said, "I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four  winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.

3)    And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.”


As we’ve witnessed previously, the four great beasts of Daniel’s vision were the mighty tyrant nations of history: Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.  And the four winds from the four cherubim at the four corners of the throne of God raised them up out of the “sea” of humanity.  It is the very “breath” of God as He rules the course and events of all of history.  And it is how God perceives, and reveals, His creation and its history.  It is all ruled by that “secret inspiration” (as John Calvin put it) from the will and command of God; and it is all in the “likeness” of the throne in the heaven.

The last example that I would like for you to hear is that exalted event, in Matthew chapter eight, in which our Lord Jesus turns His back on the covenant nation and proceeds to rid a Gentile, pagan city of the ravages of satanic infestation.  That city, of course, was Gadara, across the sea of Galilee from Israel.

Here it is from the text of Matthew eight:


23) Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him.

24) And suddenly a great shaking arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered over with the waves. But He was asleep.

25) Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us!  We are perishing!”

26) But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

27) So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”


Now, please appreciate the fact that these are terms – the wind, and the sea – that God defines and fully comprehends.  But when we read them and define them for ourselves as just “incidents of nature” that Jesus can control, then we forfeit God’s perspective and we don’t get the fullness of the Revelation!

Messiah the Prince of Daniel’s people has arrived!  It’s the last days. The fourth “beast” (Rome) has been called forth from the sea of humanity by the four winds from the four corners of the throne.  And soon that frothing sea of pagan humanity will be crashing in at the instigation of the four winds at the four corners of the earth, and inundating God’s covenant nation in a flood of wrath.  But it is the Son of God/Son of Man Who rebukes them and quiets them until it’s time.  And that’s exactly what we see in our text this morning!  Until all of His sheep are found and sealed, it’s not yet time.

  Then He proceeds to exorcise a pagan city from its demons.  And He excoriates His disciples for not “faithing” in what God has revealed, in His Own language, in the Older prophetic Scriptures!  This is what the prophets foretold!  The Son of God/Son of Man is risen, ascended and enthroned; and He has been given all authority in the heavens and on the earth; and He controls the four winds and the sea of humanity.

Okay.  We’ve seen now why Archangel Michael commands His created angel/messengers regarding “earth” and “sea”.  And there is a third there in verse three.  He commands that there be no injury to the “trees”.

And, of course, once again we face the theological impotence that gushes forth from commentaries and sermons and articles that aren’t rooted in the prophetic Word.

In God’s Revelation, from the opening verse of Genesis to the last verse in John’s final letter here to the Churches, we are presented with what has been called “cosmic personalism” (Gary North).  There are no “laws of nature”; and God didn’t create a cosmos which runs autonomously by such “laws”.  And this (so-called) “universe” isn’t a “blast-from-the-past” that exists by chance.  And God didn’t “wind up” a creation like a clock, and let it run on its own until it runs down.

And our cosmos isn’t a “biological entity” that has a genetic code which just “appeared” from a primordial mass.  The creation – the cosmos – is inescapably personal.  And it is inescapably Theocentric.  And there is no “phenomenon”, there is no “event”, there is no “item” or “object” in this creation that can be said to exist independently, or apart from its intimate relationship with its Creator.  “In Him it lives and moves and has its being!”

Nothing is autonomous; nothing generates its own existence (or its own conditions of existence).  This cosmos came into being, and continues to be, and is exhaustively known and interpreted by its personal Creator; and He is intimately involved with every aspect of it.  And the cosmos will exist, for it is forever attached to the Rock!  And it is deeply loved by its Creator, for it is all in the “likeness” of that which is in “the heaven”.

And since God called it into being by the Word of His Power, He knows it and interprets it and calls it what He wishes to call it; and man has no right to call it something else!  Nor has he the right to interpret it another way.

From the “seat of judgment” in the heaven, the four cherubim and the “host of heaven” delight in the works of Yahveh Sabbaoth – Lord of Hosts – as He commands the “animation” of all that He has made.

And should one believe that all the “trees” are going to be burned up one day in some cosmic “fireball” in which the creation disappears, then he has no right to refer to himself as a believer in this world’s REDEEMER!  (How’s that for a seg-way to the word “trees” – verse three?)

Our Lord Jesus Christ, appearing as Micha-el – Archangel Michael, commands His creature/messengers not to injure the earth, the sea, or the trees until all of His elect sheep from the house of Israel are sealed.

From God’s perspective, what – or who – are the trees?  Well, what does God reveal in His Own prophetic Word?

John calls special attention to the trees since, in the text of verse three, the earth and the sea are both in the genitive case; but “the trees” is in the accusative case.  And the reason for it is that trees are “personalized” in the prophetic Revelation.  Men are “as planted” in God’s creation!

Listen to the Scripture.  First in Exodus chapter fifteen where Moses writes God’s Word regarding the Exodus of His people:


13) "You have led in your steadfast love the people who you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.”


17) You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O LORD, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.

18) The LORD will reign forever and ever.”



Then listen to Psalm one:


1)    Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

2)    but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3)    He is as a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.

4)     4The wicked are not so, but are as chaff that the wind drives away.


And from Psalm 93:


12) The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

13) They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.

14) They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,

15) to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.


And from Isaiah 61:


1)    The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2)    to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

3)    to grant to those who mourn in Zion – to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified


And here is another… at Jeremiah 17:


7)    "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.

8)    He is as a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and it is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."


And next to last (among many, many others), here is the Revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ in Ezekiel 17, and the prophecy regarding His Own sheep, for whom He is “holding back” the abomination to come – here in our text.


22) Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent:

23) In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.

24) And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.


And lastly, here is the apostle Jude as he uses much the same language of God in the older prophetic Scripture, writing to the Churches in the nations about false prophets and teachers sent to deceive the Churches and undermine the work of Christ.  Listen:


10) But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

11) Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

12) These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withers, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

13) Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.


So, Archangel Michael’s command to His created angel/messengers forbids them to injure, or hurt, neither the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees…….all the language of God in the prophetic Word; for this IS God the Word, and this is His work of the covenant as He executes the decree.

Now, a quick review of all that was going on is really important to us right now, because we have to have Archangel Michael’s prophetic language in context.

And you remember that our Lord had instructed His disciples to go from door to door, in every city – every town – every village, all through Israel in order to find every last one of His “sheep” – all of whom had been left in darkness and the shadow of death by Israel’s princes, priests, elders and lawyers.  These are they who God had kept for Himself, for He had promised that He would “save” Israel.

Jesus had commanded His disciples to continue to seek them out after He left them to ascend into the heaven.  And they did.  And then, fifty days after His crucifixion, five thousand of them from everywhere in the world were “added” to the Church at Pentecost; and they went back home into the nations – the “sea” of pagan humanity – and they began the work of establishing the Church in every island and nation and people then in existence.  And these were the Churches that received all of those sent out from Israel and settled them into their new locations.

In the meantime, the apostles and elders and deacons were feeding and housing and expatriating those of Israel who were found, using the funds from the sale of properties and other valued items.  Those properties would soon be of no use to anyone after the desolation to come.  So the money from those sales, along with contributions from the Churches, was used solely for the purpose of getting the Lord’s lost sheep out of Israel before the Lord’s wrath was poured out at His Parousia.

Israel was in a state of total isolation from the grace and mercy of God due to its idolatry and its hypocrisy; and it had killed God’s Messiah.  And now it was pursuing, persecuting and killing the apostles, elders and deacons of the Church and the lost sheep of the house of Israel for whom Christ had given His life.  And Jesus had warned Israel’s leaders to their faces that, for that, they would suffer the incomparable vengeance of God, Who would make them accountable for all of the blood of the righteous in history.

And that’s exactly what John is seeing and hearing here in Revelation seven.  Many of Christ’s people were already in the Churches in the nations – the “sea” of humanity.  Some had not yet been found and emigrated out of Israel.  The princes and priests of Israel were in hot pursuit of them; and they had sent false prophets and teachers into the Churches to degrade them morally and to falsely accuse them to Roman authorities.  Numbers of Christ’s people were persecuted and killed for the Name of Jesus, but they did not suffer the wrath of the Lamb at His Parousia.  For all of them were found; and all of them were sealed; and all of them were preserved from history’s incomparable and preeminent and transformational event – never to be repeated this side of judgment day.

Next time we’ll hear the language of God concerning the “sealing” of every last one of His people.