Revelation 7:1-8 (NKJV)
The Sealed of Israel
1 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.
2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,
3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:
5 of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed;
6 of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed;
7 of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed;
8 of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.
Ill. The tribulation and the first 6 seals. The seventh is not opened until Rev ch.8:1. This is a parenthetical portion of scripture. A lull in the storm if you will. God stops the activity for a period of time to draw back the curtain and allow us a glimpse at His heart. Men have rejected the grace of the Lamb and now, they must experience the wrath of the Lamb.
However, before He pours out the final judgments upon the human race, God stops to answer a prayer prayed long ago by the prophet Habbakuk, in Hab. 3:2. God is going to extend His mercy to a group of individuals. This is encouraging to me!
Habbakuk 3:2 (NKJV)
O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid;
O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years!
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.
In the midst of so much hatred, pain and judgment; it is good to know that the Lord will still be in the business of saving souls during the tribulation!
Chapter 7 deals with two distinct groups of people. Verses 1-8 deal exclusively with the Jews; verses 9-17 with Gentiles. We want to answer three questions today related to this first group, the Jews.
1. Who are they?
2. What do they do?
3. Are they living today?
Let’s spend some time together looking at the 144,000.
I. V.1-2a HOW GOD PROTECTS THEM
A. BY EARTHLY RESTRAINTS – (4 is a prominent number, repeated three times: angels, corners, winds) (4 – Is the number of the world!)
1. Angels – Messenger – Heb. 1:14
2. Corners – Not flat – Isa. 40:22 4 Points of the compass.
3. Winds – Type of Judgment – Hos. 8:7 Holding = restrained; Ill. Restraining Horses.
B. BY HEAVENLY RESOURCES – A fifth angel – 5 number of grace – Rises like the sun, Mal. 4:2. Could it be? This angel comes to dispense grace to these men. They are to be sealed by God’s seal. (Ill. Seal = Protection – Noah, Ark; Israel, Blood; Cain, Mark)
II. V.2b-3 HOW GOD PRESERVES THEM
A. WHY THEY ARE SEALED – They are the servants of God! (Il. Nothing else can happen until they are sealed!)
1. A mark on the forehead.
A. Possession – Ill. Signet
B. Protection – Ill. Tomb
C. Preservation – (Ill – To preserve from slaughter, from Anti-Christ. Nothing can kill them! Ill. The government will try! But, will not succeed!)
B. WHERE THEY ARE SEALED – In the forehead, an outward, observable sign. (Ill. Passover – Blood on the doorposts!)
1. Believers are sealed with an inward seal – Eph. 1:3, Ill. The soul. (Ill. Eph. 4:30; Ill. Sin) By His seal, we are guaranteed delivery to the throne of God. Ill. An inward seal now, but an outward one then.
2. This seal will be a constant reminder to Satan that he is defeated. The church now, the 144,000 then.
3. Satan will be able to do nothing to these men, they are protected, kept and preserved by the mighty hand of God!
III. V.4-8 HOW GOD PRESENTS THEM (Ill. 3 Questions)
A. THEY ARE PRESENTED AS A FAMILY (Who they are? #1) (Ill. Cults who claim to be the 144,000: Worldwide Church Of God; Jehovah’s Witnesses; Seventh Day Adventists. None of these are right!) These men are not Gentiles, they are not Christians. They are not any group, they are members of a family.
They are Jews! What does this tell us?
1. God is not through with the Jew – Rom. 9-11
2. These are Jews who have received Christ – Ill. 2 Witnesses, chp. 11
3. 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. No living Jew, but Jesus, knows which tribe he is from. (Ill. All records were destroyed in 70 AD) But, God knows!
4. Notice that Dan is missing. Why? Probably Idolatry. They were spiritual weaklings and they are not needed here? (Gen. 49:17)
B. V.3 THEY ARE PRESENTED AS TO FUNCTION (What they do? #2)
1. Servants – They are evangelists – Matt. 24:14
2. Ill. The zeal (ZEAL) of a converted Jew!
C. ARE THEY ALIVE TODAY? #3 Probably! We are in the last days! Get ready for revelation of the last days.
The important matter is your personal salvation.
Do you know the Lord? I do not know how you feel about it, but I am encouraged that God is going to raise up an army of redeemed Jews who will preach the gospel of the Kingdom, and that a multitude will be saved from tribulation.
We serve a truly awesome God!