Notes: One should be aware that there is much debate as to the word "Earth", meaning the world and/or the land of Israel. The context often can be clear, but individual interpretation has to be tempered in light of the whole meaning of Revelation.
Throughout Revelation, the “Church” is never mentioned; the KJV of the Bible shows “Church”, which should be translated “Ecclesia”! This therefore means the Risen Christ is talking to the “Ecclesia” in Chapter One; which in the Greek means “separated or called out ones”. This has, and does lead to much confusion in peoples understanding of the meaning of Revelation; especially as many established Churches still teach error!
V.1 After this I saw (a)four angels standing on the four corners of the (b)Earth, holding fast the four (c)winds of the Earth, in order that the wind should not blow on the Earth, nor on the sea, nor on any (c)tree.
(a) "Four"; always denotes dealings of the Almighty with Earth.
(b) "Earth"; (Str. 1093) the whole of land masses and occupants.
(c) "Winds of the Earth"; (see Jer. 49:36) where in the "latter days", God will deal with "Elam" (Iran); which originated from Ancient Babylon (the gate of the god, Satan) and became Ancient Persia, now Iran! It is a major source of Ancient Paganism, and rebellion against God, which has spread worldwide, and many of its teachings are in the Roman Church; with its inclusion of Babylonian teachings; see: Why the Teaching of the Roman Catholic Church is not of God Almighty: !
Wind always damaging when it affects trees. The trees of the world are the replenishers of oxygen from Co2, and their damage has serious consequences for the world's eco-systems. The fact that this verse shows impending ravages on the Earth's land masses and its occupants is significant in the context of Chapter 6. However, the release of the ravages is delayed for a purpose.
V.2 And I saw another angel ascending from the (a)Sun rising, (East); having (a)a seal of the (b)living God: and (c)he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the Earth and the sea,
(a) “Sun rising"; this may be mentioned to show God's control of all elements, and His use of them at His WILL, i.e. the reversing of the Sun 10 degrees to confirm to Hezekiah that his life was extended 15 years, (2Kings 20 and Isa. 38), and also to refute the Ancient Egyptian and other’s worship of the Sun.
The Sun rise position in Ancient Sun worship, is an auspicious part and point of the day. The Egyptian Sphinx is pointed at the supposed start of the "precession of the Equinoxes", which is linked to the corrupted Zodiac (reputedly by Nimrod’s mother). The original Zodiac was God’s "map" of prophecy and possible timing of His events, for those Ancient peoples who would look!
The Authorised translates, "the seal", but the Interlinear states "a seal". The Str. number (4973) renders the meaning "of private marking", and "fencing in, or protection from misappropriation", or danger, see comments V.3(a) below.
(b) "Living God"; as clearly opposed to stone, wood idols etc., the word "living", also means life in all forms including resurrected life. Ancient Babylon initiated Pagan gods; which spread to Elam (Persia), and latterly worldwide. That corrupt worship will be dealt with in the “latter days”, (Jer. 49:34-39).
(c) "he", angels always referred to as male! This fact gives “Feminism” a headache in the world today; who have even called for the Bible to be re-written to change all reference of male to female!!
V.3 Saying, "Hurt not the Earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we have (a)sealed the (b)servants of our God, in their foreheads".
(a) This reference to "sealing" is to "servants" of special order. The reason for the sealing is to protect from harm during the Tribulation period, which has its precedent in Num. 31, where 12,000 (one thousand from each tribe) were called by Moses to war against the Midianites, and not one man was lost (Num. 31:49). Also particularly in Ezk. 9:4, where prior to the judgement and dispersion of Israel by Jehovah, and also His departure from the Temple, Jews who mourned and regretted the sin of Israel were marked for protection! This protection during the service they are to perform (evangelism of Jesus’ Kingdom Gospel), on the Earth. They will clearly have success, as is shown by the results, see (ref. Rev. 7:9-17). The fact that those sealed are a distinct group of Jews only.
As shown in V.9, peoples of many Nations are before the throne in this vision drawn out of the Tribulation. Some teachers are of the opinion that these people are drawn from the Jewish dispersion around the world. At this stage in time we contend that they are drawn from all the world's population; and they have washed their robes "in the blood of the Lamb", and many have died for Him!
This grouping is clearly defined as other than the Body of Christ (which is made up of all peoples, in the Age prior to the Revelation period), and is linked to the group in V.9.
This 'sealing', is for the forces of Jehovah Zebaoth on Earth, in anti-thesis to the forces of Satan (sealed) in Rev. 13:16!
(b) In Scripture, servants are always of Israel, Isa. 49:3 when they are Ammi, carrying the "Administration" (Stewardship) of Almighty God. In this present Age, since Acts 28:28 (The Age of Grace), all of Christ's Body carry the responsibility to witness to the Truth of Salvation in Christ; and have been "sealed" in Heaven (Eph. 1:13 & 2Cor. 1:22); awaiting the “completion” at the call of Christ Jesus; (see: Sealed in Heaven )!
"Sealing" by God is an interesting subject, and it is notable that it is done for purpose by God, always in cases of special battle conditions with the Enemy forces, both on Earth and elsewhere.
V.4 And I heard the number of the (a)sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the (b)children of Israel.
(a) See the principle in Ezek. 9:3-4, there also a devoted remnant!
(b) "Children"; the Greek word is "Huios", which is a son or male (Str. 5207 and Comp. Appendix 108:3). Therefore all the "sealed" are males and are sealed for a purpose. 12,000 from each Jewish tribe. As most Jews do not know their tribe of origin, this is a demonstration of God's knowledge of all detail pertaining to His Creation, as shown in Rev. 20:12-13, where His knowledge of all that a person (and all people) have done in their lives on Earth, is used for the Judgement process and decision by Him!
V.5 Of the tribe of Judah 12,000. Of the tribe of Reuben 12,000. Of the tribe of Gad 12,000.
V.6 Of the tribe of Aser 12,000. Of the tribe of Nepthalim 12,000. Of the tribe of Manasses 12,000.
V.7 Of the tribe of Simeon 12,000. Of the tribe of Levi 12,000. Of the tribe of Issachar 12,000.
V.8 Of the tribe of Zabulon 12,000. Of the tribe of Joseph 12,000. Of the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
V.9 After this I saw, and, behold, (a)a great multitude which no one could number, of all Nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, were standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, (b)clothed with white robes, and (c)palms in their hands;
(a) This multitude is clearly made up of all Nations of the world, which refutes the argument that Revelation applies to Israel only! This vision is a leap forward, showing John and by implication anyone who can "see", that not just Jews are to be in this group, and the events from which they derive, (Isa. 49:6-7); but also converts to God and Christ!
(b) "Clothed with white robes"; V.14 below clearly describes the reason for these "white robes". They are worn only by those people who are persecuted; many to death, for their testimony and faith in Christ Jesus, during the Great Tribulation period. This clearly shows that as the Church of Christ (the true Body) has by this time been taken from the Earth, (in the opinion of the writers); that many people are truly converted to Christ in the terrible time of Antichrist rule and Tribulation. It also shows that although the main object of persecution by Antichrist is the Jews, any showing sympathy or kindness to Jews (or their Messiah, Christ Jesus); will also be so persecuted. It is interesting to note that the only test for the sheep and goat judgment at the beginning of Millennial by Christ is: "In as much as ye have done it unto one of even the least of these My brethren (Jews), ye have done it unto Me", (Matt. 25:40). See: Sheep and Goat Judgement.
(c) "Palms"; the people of Jerusalem held and waved these, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, crying "Hosanna" meaning "save now" or "help now", (Aramaiac = Hoshian -An) (Matt. 21:9-16) & (Psm. 118:25-26). The fulfilling on Earth for Israel is yet to be, but the event shown to John in Heaven is the fulfilment in Heaven (preview) before the event. The reason for the holding and waving of palms etc., goes back to Lev. 23:34-43, which in summary is a celebration of HARVEST, and DELIVERANCE from evil. In the first event (Matt. 21:9-16); the Chief Priest and Scribes quickly vilified Jesus; and instructed the people against Him. In the Second Event Christ will enter Jerusalem as Messiah; in Glory, Majesty and Power!
V.10 And they cry with a great voice, saying, (a)"Salvation to our God Which sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb".
(a) "Salvation"; has multiple meaning, (Str. 4991 rescuer, deliver, saviour). (Str. 4990 A deliverer, saviour). (Str. 4982 to save, deliver, to protect, heal, preserve make whole). These many part meanings do not do justice to this event, as this great multitude of "white robed persons", together with angels, elders and Zoa, do heartfelt homage to God the Father. The reason for the homage and salutation, is the fact that God in Christ had/has taken the sin of man, instigated by Satan in Eden on Himself; in Christ Jesus!
V.11 And all the angels were standing round about the throne, and about the elders and the four Zoa, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God.
V.12 Saying (a)"Amen: (b)Blessing, and (b)glory, and (b)wisdom, and (b)thanksgiving, and (b)honour, and (b)power, and (b)might, be unto our God for ever and ever. (a)Amen".
(a) "Amen"; the meaning of this word in Chp. 3:14, is Christ Himself, speaking to the 7 Ecclesias. In 2Cor. 1:20, the original Hebrew word is translated "verily", or truly, or Truth. As He is the Truth (Jn. 14:6) & (Isa. 65:16) where "the God of Truth" is "the God of Amen", we can summarise by saying that it is one of the profound descriptions of the Godhead; and therefore eminently suitable for a beginning and ending of the sevenfold (spiritually perfect), ascription that the host worshipping God are proclaiming.
(b) Seven fold ascription. Seven being the "spiritually perfect number" (App. 10 Comp. Bible).
V.13 And one of the elders asked, saying unto me, (a)"Who are these that are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they"?
(a) See comment on V.9 above.
V.14 And I said unto him, "my Lord, thou knowest". And he said to me, (a)"These are they who came out of The Great Tribulation, (b)and washed their robes, and made them white by the blood of the Lamb".
(a) See comment on V.9 above. There are many teachers (if not most); that emphatically state that the ones referred to here are all Christians of all Ages (i.e. different Age times). One of the justifications for that view is the reference in Rev. 4:1; "After these things", i.e. taught as after the seven “Ecclesia” of Rev. 2 and 3, and implying or stating that at that juncture (i.e. between Chp. 3 and 4) the Translation (the taking to Christ) of the Church (the Body of Christ the true Church) shall have taken place. This seems to be a majority view. However, the writers at this stage in time (2019) do not hold to that view. To pivot so emphatically on Rev. 4:1 seems perverse, and stretches or ignores the meanings of Rev. 1:10 (see notes there), where "the Day of the Lord (i.e. Jehovah)", to the writers is the most profound pivot point in time, and is repeatedly referred to throughout the Old Testament, as one of the most profound changes on Earth brought about by the Almighty. Also the whole scene is set by Christ before He addresses the 7 Ecclesias, where, predominantly "Overcoming" is a repeated exhortation, and specific time is given to "endure" to Smyrna of 10 days! Whereas, specific times are carefully avoided in general in the New Testament, but time given in “days” generally in Scripture refer to troubled times in the context of Israel!
It is of course held by many not impossible that the Body of Christ is still on Earth at that time and that "Overcoming" is a later specific to be added to "faith". However, that would fly in the face of earlier teaching, especially by Paul, and would conflict with his writings, which were given veracity by our Lord’s comments "he is a chosen vessel"; and Paul’s words are therefore Christ’s! (See: Apostle Paul: & Apostle Paul's Accusers).
As mentioned above, the writers at this stage hold to the view that "the 7 Ecclesias", are specific to the 7 year period yet to be enacted of Daniel's vision, (see: Rev. 11:2), which is in a different Age (Administration) of Jehovah, hence Christ's new instruction and exhortation to them.
It is the failure of men and women to discern the changes in God’s Administrations (Ages), (see: Bible Dispensations) with their changes of emphasis and rules, that has led, and still leads to wrong understanding and teaching. This leads to good hearted people being locked into wrong understandings and conflicting harmful teaching, with many people despairing. Most teaching groups are now iron-clad, and will not allow anything but their own standard view, even though they do not understand their own teaching, and are themselves confused!
A possibility, in context, is that there is more than one "Rapture" / Translation; or taking away from the Earth. Revelation is clearly a continuation of the Old Testament, Gospels and Acts; with Acts 28:28 as the change point of "Administration", (i.e. Dispensation or Age). The clearest description of that period up to Acts 28:28, is “the time or Age of the Jews; Israel”. The time from Acts 28:28 to Revelation's start is clearly as Paul states, "the Mystery Church", (Body of Christ); (see: Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ: ).
It therefore follows that when the Gentiles time (Luke 21:24 & Rom. 11:25) is ended and its "number is made up"; it will be removed from the Earth in what is called the "Rapture", or Translation, (1Cor. 15:51-57)! The clearest description of this period is "the time or Age of the Gentiles", starting at Acts 28:28; prior to which it was the “time” or “Age” of the Jews! After the “Translation, Rapture” the Dispensation is again that of the Jew, but also the Nations (Gentiles)!
The fact that Paul described this event in detail in 1Thess. 4:13-17, and 1Cor. 15:20-23, and that these writings are prior to Acts 28:28 does not detract from the facts of both events; i.e. pre-Acts 28:28 Jews and Gentiles, and post Acts 28:28 Gentiles and Jews in the pre-Revelation event. The change over from Jewish priority to Gentile priority is clearly marked and stated by Paul in Acts 28:25-28! The main point to be applicable to these groups; is that their hearts were/are focused (“stayed” Isa. 26:3) on Christ/God! Therefore they are subject to God’s favour and Salvation, in the Age they live in!
The grouping described in verse 14; are clearly extracted from the ("Great Tribulation"), and are primarily Jews with Gentiles also, who have "washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb". Their kinship and experience is similar to the Acts period Jews and Gentile Christians, and the verses of Scripture pertaining to them are: Matt. 24:40-41 & Luke 17:34-36.
To Summarise; the writers take the view that there are at least 2, possibly 3 "Translations", (removals from Earth):
1) Post Acts 28:28 to approx. the beginning of Revelation (i.e. pre – the last 7 years of Dan. 9) the "Mystery Body of Christ".
2) Pre. Acts 28:28 "Body of Christ", which may or may not be simultaneous with 1), but may well be simultaneous with 3).
3) Overcomers described in Rev. 7, extracted from "the Great Tribulation", as described above; Scripture refs: Rev. 18:4.
Not to be forgotten is the remarkable and miraculous raising and ascending of the special witnesses of God/Christ; Rev. 11:12; (see; The two witnesses of Revelation Chapter 11:3-13).
(b) "Washed their robes"; this profound comment, defines the difference between these people, and the people of the Church (Body) of Christ. In the case of the latter, God sees the individual in Christ, through Christ, through faith alone. In the case of the former, "they wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb", so are accepted by the Father for their works and their faith in God and Christ in the Great Tribulation. Both groups have Christ as Saviour, in different Dispensations.
V.l5 Because of this they are before the throne of God, and (a)serve Him continually in (b)His Temple: and He That sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
(a) "Serve"; also means worship in this case.
(b) "His Temple"; not the Jews Temple, as Christ said on Earth, nor that of the Tribulation period, but possibly that of Ezekiel 40 to 43; or in the Heavenly Presence!
V.16 They shall (a)hunger no more, nor (a)thirst anymore; nor shall the (a)Sun light on them, nor any (a)heat.
(a) Clearly shows the horrors of the Great Tribulation, which corresponds with Matt. 24. etc.
V.17 (a)For the Lamb Which is in the midst of the throne will tend and shepherd them, and shall lead them unto fountains of waters of life: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
(a) See: Isa, 49:8-10, Jer. 31:9-25 & Ezk. 47:1-12.
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