Revelation 7:1-17 Part 10


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.’


Since we’ve now seen some “pictures of a Biblical exhibition” of life in Christ under the rule of satanic civil magistrates, we can now move to these last five verses of chapter seven.  It was an appropriate, and textually relevant, glimpse of paganism’s defense of its territory against the invasion of Christ’s Church.  And I use the word “invasion” because it’s particularly germane as a description of the role of the Church in pushing back the gates of hell.

In verse twelve we heard a marvelous benediction – a seven-fold benediction – by the creatures of God in the heaven, as they see the salvation that our God has wrought for Himself – for His Own glory.  For, in loosing the sixth seal, the Lamb has provided John a view of that which is shortly to come, i.e. the “marking out” and “sealing” of God’s elect from the twelve tribes of Israel in advance of the abomination of desolation; and the (yet) unnumbered elect of all the nations and peoples and tongues and tribes of the earth.

And then there is thunderous praise and honor and glory to God from the throne creatures and the elders and the host of angelic messengers of the glory cloud.

And I trust you can see and understand what faith and trust and anticipation and steadfastness this glorious sight must have engendered in all those little Churches out there when they received this letter from John.  For they were in the midst of persecution; riddled with false teachers and false prophets; pursued by judaists; falsely accused and tormented; tempted to the lifestyle of the Jezebels; and goaded and dissuaded of their hope of victory.

But our Lord is merciful to them in showing their beloved pastor, John, exactly what God’s perception is of all that is happening to them and what He has in store for them.

And now there is an elder-creature sent to speak to John (verse thirteen) in order to give John a verbal (narrative) exposition of that which he has been “shown”, and then also to “root” all of it in the prophetic Word!  In other words, John is shown; then he hears; and then he’s made aware that it is all the “fullness” of what has already been spoken through the prophets.

There are a couple of “technical” things here – not mechanical or scientific technicalities… but linguistic – that we have to be made aware of; but I don’t think they’ll be tedious.

The first one occurs in verse thirteen.   Now, I’ve got question marks behind the two phrases spoken by the elder who is sent to approach John.  And that’s proper, since both phrases are styled as questions.  But please note that the text doesn’t say that he “asked” John.

The word is in the passive voice, and it has to do with an utterance, as in “an utterance was made from one of the elders, saying…” (very difficult to put in English), but there’s no indication that the creature was asking John for information (for whatever reason).

Obviously this is Revelation for John to “hear”, having already seen.  So what we have to do is recognize that these are rhetorical questions strictly for the purpose of revealing the Word of God through the prophetic function of this elder-creature.  And, of course, John writes it all down for the Church.

And when John replies to the elder-creature, saying “my lord… ” he isn’t ascribing divinity to this creature in any way.  In fact, his whole answer is one of respect and honor for a dignity.  It’s much like instances in which we respond to a judge or another type of magistrate.  We say “your honor”, or “sir”.  And, after all, this creature is one that belongs to God, and it inhabits the environs under and around God’s judgment seat!  And, in addition, it is one of a group of creatures after which Gods creation is patterned!  So we call him a “dignity” for those reasons; and John addresses him accordingly.

Even the written introduction to what John says shows respect to a dignity.  It literally says, “and I referred the matter back to him”.  “My lord”… you are one who would know.  That’s the meaning of it.

Also in verse fourteen John hears the elder-creature say that all of these are the “coming-out-ones”.  I know that sounds very strange, but that’s a present participle in the middle voice, and it is substantivized.  In other words, the participle becomes the “subject”.

The fact that it is present tense means that it is ongoing, that they are still doing it – middle voice (and the fact that they’re still doing it is a reason for them being yet unnumbered), and since it is substantivized it is in the emphatic position in the sentence.  They are the “coming-out-ones”, and they are coming out “of”, or coming out “from”.  As John looks on, it is an ongoing process of “waves” of white-robed “coming-out-ones”… yet unnumbered because it’s ongoing!

The last technical issue has to do with that “from” which all of these arrayed in white garments are “coming-out-ones”.  And the literal Greek text that these “coming-out-ones” are coming out “of” – or “from” is “the tribulation the great”.

The article is there twice!  (the tribulation the great).  The tribulation is set apart emphatically.  And the only place at which point the Scripture calls tribulation “the great tribulation” is in reference to the Parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ as He asserts His Divine Rights as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Let me take you back, just for a minute, to Pentecost – fifty days after Passover 30AD.  You remember, of course, all the sights and sounds of Holy Spirit as He descends upon our Lord’s apostles in the upper room.

Those sights and sounds are described in very similar terms in the older Scripture as God filled the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle in the desert when it was complete.  And the same thing occurred upon the completion of Solomon’s temple on the Mount when it was complete.

So we can say without any hesitation that those same sights and sounds, seen and heard at Pentecost, was God the Spirit filling His new holy temple – the Body of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ.  The “pattern” for our God sitting above His Holy of Holies-Judgment Seat in the heaven is now the (already) Spirit-filled Church of Christ on earth.  The new tabernacle – the one made without hands – was “occupied” by God the Spirit at Pentecost!

 And what John is looking at in The Heaven, is that which is patterned in the world.  It is the Holy of Holies/Judgment Seat of God in the heaven, and it is the yet-continuing waves of “coming-out-ones” from “the great tribulation”!

And last Lord’s Day we saw and heard just a few “glimpses” of the Spirit-filled Body of Christ (the “new” holy temple of God), under horrific persecution, storming the gates of hell with the spoken Gospel!  These, too, are shown to John as arrayed in white garments.

You see, they also came out “from” the great tribulation.  It wasn’t just the one hundred and forty-four thousand of the lost sheep of the tribes of Jacob (Israel), but the Spirit filled Church of Jesus Christ – as a whole – came out from the great tribulation.

Those from the tribes of Israel were the “firstfruits”; then all of those from their word… into all the heathen nations.  We are the fruits of their word; we are among the “waves” of “coming-out-ones”, yet unnumbered by John.

What issues forth from the preaching and teaching of the Word of God is unending tides of God’s elect people streaming into the new temple – Christ’s Body – having been filled with Spirit at Pentecost.

We are all the “coming-out-ones”, for the “great tribulation” – the work of the risen and ascended Christ at His Parousia – was a mighty work like none seen before, and one never to be seen again.  In all of creation history there will never be another event to rival it.

The mighty roar of the wings of the cherubim, and the canopy of the glory cloud by day, and the fire of the glory cloud by night (as with the tabernacle in the desert), and twelve men speaking the Gospel in seventy different languages – all evidences of Holy Spirit filling His “new temple”.

Then our risen and ascended Christ coming with the glory cloud to destroy the old one – having first “saved” the twelve tribes of Jacob as He promised.

The “great tribulation”, the “abomination of desolation” is the centerpiece of human history, for “from” it comes the “waves” of pagan Gentiles from all nations and people and tongues and tribes (which includes us), all arrayed in white, having washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb.

John is looking at these things; and the elder-creature is speaking these things.  And the white-robed throng, ever increasing, is before the throne of God.  And all the creatures of the heaven are praising God and offering thanksgiving for SO GREAT salvation!

For God SO loved the world (His creation made in the image and pattern of His heaven) that He gave His only Son….  And that Son of God/Son of Man “saved” this world that was so loved.  And don’t ever let one doubt creep into your minds that He will complete His work, and that His victory will be total.  He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords; and every knee will bow and acknowledge Him.  And the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God as the water covers the sea.

Anticipate it; hope for it.  It will be done.

Once the elder-creature says these things, John then hears him begin to refer to the older Scripture; for all these things are the fullness of that which God has said through the prophets.  And take heed; for these things spoken by the elder-creature are with reference to the great tribulation – to the destruction of the temple; to the destruction of Jerusalem; to the destruction of all of Israel; to the complete inundation and termination of all that was – save the elect lost sheep of the house of Jacob (Israel).  For the wrath of the Lamb would make a “full end” of it all.  And the Church of Jesus Christ would need great comfort in the midst of that desolation.

The elder-creature begins to speak these comforting words at the second part of verse fifteen:


15) … 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.’


Yahveh prophesied exactly what He was going to do through the prophets.  And His “new” temple, filled with His Presence at Pentecost, would be after the pattern of the one in the Heaven!  The old one was filled with idols, and didn’t meet the pattern; but His “new” temple would! 

First, listen closely to the prophet Jeremiah at the tears and wailing for the sin of Israel and it’s final judgment and desolation:


1)    Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!

2)    Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging-place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they are all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.

3)    And they bend their tongue, as it were their bow, for falsehood; and they are grown strong in the land, but not for truth: for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith Yahveh.

4)    Take ye heed every one of his neighbor, and trust ye not in any brother; for every brother will utterly deceive, and every neighbor will go about with slanders.

5)    And they will deceive every one his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity.

6)    Thy habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith Yahveh.

7)    Therefore thus saith Yahveh of Hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how else should I do, because of the daughter of my people?

8)    Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceit: one speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in his heart he lays wait for him.

9)    Shall I not visit them for these things? saith Yahveh; shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

10) For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the pastures of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none passes through; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the birds of the heavens and the beasts are fled, they are gone.

11) And I will make Jerusalem heaps, a dwelling-place of jackals; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.

12) Who is the wise man, that may understand this? and who is he to whom the mouth of Yahveh hath spoken, that he may declare it? wherefore is the land perished and burned up like a wilderness, so that none passes through?

13) And Yahveh saith, ‘Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein,

14) but have walked after the stubbornness of their own heart, and after the Baalim, which their fathers taught them;

15) therefore thus saith Yahveh of Hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

16) I will scatter them also among the nations, who neither they nor their fathers have known; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them.’

17) Thus saith Yahveh of Hosts, ‘Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for the skilful women, that they may come:

18) and let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters.

19) For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we ruined! We are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken the land, because they have cast down our dwellings.

20) Yet hear the word of Yahveh, O ye women, and let your ear receive the word of His mouth; and teach your daughters wailing, and every one her neighbor lamentation.

21) For death is come up into our windows, it is entered into our palaces; to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets.’

22) ‘Speak’, Thus saith Yahveh, ‘The dead bodies of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman; and none shall gather them.’


You see, rather than shedding tears day and night for the sin of Israel and its destruction, the white-robed people of Christ now spend day and night – not weeping, but – serving God in His new sanctuary.  That’s what we do.  We serve God “day and night” in this new tabernacle which is filled with Holy Spirit, and which is His abode since Pentecost.

We don’t have to “ask” for Holy Spirit to be “poured out” upon us; we don’t need to “be filled again” with Holy Spirit; we already live in the new tabernacle which is His abode! … day and night we serve God in His new temple.  We don’t leave it, then have to be filled all over again… we live in it!

Then listen to God in the prophecy of Isaiah, chapter twenty-five:


6)    And in this mountain will Yahveh of hosts make unto all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of aged wines, of fat things full of marrow, of well-aged wine, well refined.

7)    And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering that covers all peoples, and the veil that is spread over all nations.

8)    He has swallowed up death for ever; and the Lord Yahveh will wipe away tears from off their faces; and the reproach of his people will he take away from off all the earth: for Yahveh has spoken it.

9)    And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is Yahveh; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.


Once again, at the point at which John sees the “coming-out-ones” gathering under and around the throne, the elder-creature quotes from this passage in Isaiah twenty-five, for the sin and desolation of Israel is the event of the lifting of the veil from the eyes of the nations; and the uncountable number is the salvation of the tribes and tongues of the world… for the “great tribulation” shortly to come will bring glory to God in His new sanctuary!  And there will be no more weeping and wailing and tears on their faces.

And now listen to God as recorded in the prophecy of Isaiah chapter forty-nine:


6)    It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel.  I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

7)    Thus saith Yahveh, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him who man despises, to him who is the abhorrent of the nation, to a servant of rulers: Kings shall see and arise; princes; and they shall worship; because of Yahveh Who is faithful, even the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.

8)    Thus saith Yahveh, In a time of My good pleasure have I answered you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you; and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate places:

9)    saying to them that are bound, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and on all bare heights shall be their pasture.

10) They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that has mercy on them will lead them, even by springs of water will he guide them.

11) And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.

12) Lo, these shall come from far; and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.

13) Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for Yahveh has comforted his people, and will have compassion upon his afflicted.


As the elder speaks, and as John looks and hears, the prophetic word continues to flow from this creature sent to speak to the apostle.  The horrific destruction of the covenantal nation is spoken by God in terms of the decreation and dissolution of the cosmos, in which the entire land of Israel was turned into a wilderness with no water and no food.  There was starvation and cannibalism; and the sun and moon and the stars fell from the sky; and plagues and disease, and wild animals eating rotting bodies.  And the wailing and the tears.  Yahveh had departed His temple.

But there was a new sanctuary, you see.  And it was inhabited by God the Spirit at Pentecost.  That’s what John sees and hears.  And when this elder-creature quotes directly from Isaiah forty-nine, John understands that the new temple (the one made without hands), a great mountain over all the mountains, would never be decreated.  And the waves of “coming-out-ones” would never have to worry again about the horrific desolation about to come shortly upon Israel… for the new covenant nation, with its new Holy of Holies, was created through the blood of the Lamb.  And there would be springs of living water running into every nation and people of the earth – even as far as Sinim.

And lastly, John hears this elder creature quote from Scripture concerning the One Who sits on the throne “tabernacleing” over His people.  And the passage is the one regarding the “Branch”.  And if you remember, Jesus the Christ is the One Who God called “the Root and Branch of David”.

The passage referred to by the elder is Isaiah chapter four.  Listen to it:


2)    On that day the Branch of Yahveh will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory for the escaped of Israel.

3)    Whoever remains in Zion and whoever is left in Jerusalem will be called holy —all in Jerusalem who are written for life —

4)    when the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodguilt from the heart of Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of burning.

5)    Then Yahveh will create a cloud of smoke by day and a glowing flame of fire by night over the entire site of Mount Zion and over its assemblies. For the Glory there will be a canopy over all,

6)    and there will be a tabernacle for shade from heat by day, and a refuge and shelter from storm and rain.


This passage, quoted by the elder-creature, is the perfect representation of that which John sees in the heaven, isn’t it?  All the sights and sounds of the glory cloud as Yahveh fills and abides in His tabernacle in the desert – shielding His people with the cloud in the day, and at night by fire.

And the same being true of the temple built by Solomon on the dome of the Rock.

Then the arrival of those same sights and sounds as the new temple was filled at Pentecost, and Holy Spirit abides in the new Holy of Holies – the Body of Christ – tabernacleing with them and shielding them by day and by night… just as He did in the desert of Sinai.

And as John looks on, he sees all of the ones around and beneath the glory of God’s throne, Israel’s elect and the “coming-out-ones” from all the nations and tribes and tongues.  All of them in the tabernacle of the heaven – which is the “pattern” for the earthly tabernacle and the temple.

And it was all forthtold and foretold in the prophetic Scripture, as John now hears.

And now lastly, before John’s Revelation, here is the letter to the Jewish Christians out in the nations in all the persecuted Churches… Hebrews eight:


1)    Now the point in what we are saying is this:  we have such a High Priest, One who is seated at the right of the Throne of the Majesty in the heaven,

2)    a Minister in the holy places, in the true tabernacle that the Lord set up, not man.

3)    For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this Priest also to have that which to offer.

4)    Now, … since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law,

5)    they serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.  For when Moses was about to erect the tabernacle, he was instructed by God saying, "See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain."

6)    But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is much more excellent than the old, as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.


So, even before the apostle John saw the tabernacle in the heaven, Moses saw it; Ezekiel saw it; Isaiah saw it.  And therefore the writer to the Hebrews knew about it.

And now we know all about it, for John has described it for us.  And for those of us belonging to the Christ, we are members of that new holy temple – filled by Holy Spirit at Pentecost; for He “tabernacles” with us – the Body of Christ our High Priest and Mediator.  And as we gather on the Lord’s Day, we do so for worship and thanksgiving as the white-robed host around and under the Seat of Majesty in the heaven.