BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 13, Day 5: Revelation 7:9-17

Summary of passage:  John saw an infinite number of people in white robes from every nation standing before the throne in front of the Lamb with palm branches in their hands.  Angels all around fell down and worshiped God.  One of the elders revealed the people in white robes to be those who have come out of the Great Tribulation.  They will serve God day and night, never again be hungry or thirsty or cry, and Jesus will be their shepherd and lead them to springs of living water.

Questions:

10a)  “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”  They were acknowledging that they were saved by God and the Lamb.

b)  They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne in front of the Lamb wearing white robes and holding palm branches.  Very similar.  Believers are from every nation on earth and they stand before the Lamb clothed in Jesus’s righteousness as the Savior.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am unsure about some family members’ faith.  Invite them to church and BSF to learn more about God.

11)  They are justified, made righteous, cleaned of all sin, so they can stand before God.  Isaiah calls them “garments of salvation” and “a robe of righteousness.”  Also, the white robes signify how we are made into priests, ready for holy service to the Lord.

Specifically here, these Christians have died for Jesus as he died for them, hence being washed in the blood of the Lamb.

12a)  Lamb:  Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Shepherd:  Jesus is the shepherd for his people (lambs).  Whoever comes to him will be saved and have life to the full (eternal).  We will see this again in Revelation 21.

Living Water:  Jesus gives living water (eternal life) to those whom ask (have faith in him and believe in him).  John 7:39 says the living water is the Holy Spirit.  Both are correct for if you have the Holy Spirit, you are a believer and thus will have eternal life.  We will see this again in Revelation 22.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are to serve the Lord day and night.  Overall, more reverence for what Jesus has done for me.

Conclusions:  Good questions.  Brings out highlights of passage.  10c is very similar to question 5 in Lesson 7 Day 2  Good thing to keep in mind as we head up to the holiday season where we will mix with many family and friends who don’t know the saving grace of Jesus.

End Notes:  John is speaking of two different groups of believers here.  The first are sealed prior to the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:1-8).  The second is this multitude who have come out of the Great Tribulation and made righteous (Revelation 7:9-17).

In the Greek, “the” is emphatic in verse 14, definitely referring to “the Great Tribulation” before the End Times.  This multitude were those who were rescued during that time, leading many scholars to speculate they are all martyrs.  Coming right after the 144,000, some scholars speculate this means the 144,000 were evangelists who saved the multitude.  Cool!

The phrase “great tribulation” is used only once outside of Revelation in the New Testament.  It’s in Matthew 24:21 and Jesus speaks of it.  He speaks of it in the same way Daniel does in Daniel 12:1, leading scholars to speculate that the scrolls Daniel speaks of in Daniel 5 are the same Jesus holds here in Revelation.

As a reminder, the Great Tribulation is a time of intense persecution for Christians.  Scholars debate when this will occur.  Some say its in the future right before Jesus’s Second Coming.  Others say it occurred during John’s time under the Romans.  Regardless, John’s point is the tribulation will not last forever.

The multitude is God’s promise to Abraham fulfilled (Genesis 15:5), which Jacob repeats (Genesis 32:12).

We will all be different in heaven just like on earth.

White robes appear again (Revelation 6:2, 11).

The palm branches harken back to Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem (John 12:12-16), where Jesus was also praised as Savior and King.  They also signified victory after a war.  The Romans would wave palm branches during a triumphal procession after a great Roman war victory.  They would also wave it for emperors.

The victory here is God’s.  Our salvation is from Him.

All created beings will worship God on His throne as we saw in Revelation 4 with the living creatures and elders.

There are no barriers to God in heaven; all can come before His throne and dwell with Him. The Greek word for “temple” here is the temple proper where God dwells not the larger precincts.  Thus, no longer are the Levites the only ones allowed to approach God and be in His presence, but all believers will serve God and have been made priests in God’s service (Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 10:6).

“Shelter them with his presence” harkens us to the tabernacle in the wilderness.

In heaven, the Savior protects and nurtures and provides.  Jesus does that here, but in heaven it’s so much more.  No sorrow or pain will exist in heaven as God wipes away the tears which are caused by our past sufferings.  On earth there is pain and He consoles us, but does not take it away.  God’s tend is spread over them–nothing more will ever happen to them.  There is nothing to worry about or fear.

But won’t we cry for loved ones in hell?  Spurgeon answered this by saying we won’t because we will so understand divine will and our compassion for those suffering will be balanced out by our detestation of sin.

Living water also appears in Isaiah 49:9-10.  He says they will neither hunger nor thirst nor be scorched by desert heat.

Conclusions to Lesson 13:  In Revelation 7, we see the first half (verses 1-8) of God’s promise to seal believers.  The second half (verses 9-17) is the result of the sealing, God’s promise being kept.  No more suffering.  No more pain.  No more tears.  Great images and hope to believers as the End Times ever creep closer to consummation.  Great summary of Bible’s message as a whole:  God chooses us, seals us, and dwells with us.  Who else can’t wait to serve God forever night and day?  What a glimpse God has given us into heaven via John.  Amazing!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 13, Day 4: Revelation 7:1-8

Summary of passage: John saw 4 angels holding back the 4 winds of the earth from the 4 corners of the earth. Another angel with the seal of the living God told the 4 angels to not harm the land until a seal is placed on the foreheads of God’s servants, a total of 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel (12,000 each).

Questions:

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  We see in Genesis 6 God sparing Noah who is a man of righteousness while punishing the rest of the world.  Moses asked God to spare His people repeatedly or God would have started over with Moses (Exodus 32:10; Numbers 14).  God is just.  He is holy and as holy He must punish sin.

Awesome passage in 2 Peter 2:4-10 where Peter points out God spares no one judgment.  He judges angels, Noah, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah but saves Lot.  God knows how to rescue the godly and condemn the ungodly.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It has deepened my gratitude for being among the chosen.  My understanding of why judgment occurs and suffering occurs in the world has deepened.  God’s mercy and grace are infinite; only man puts a limit on it.

Conclusions:  Thematic questions to the passage.  Helps us to understand why God does not save everyone.  Because everyone doesn’t want to be saved.

End Notes:  See Previous Lesson HERE

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 13, Day 3: Revelation 7:1-8

Summary of passage: John saw 4 angels holding back the 4 winds of the earth from the 4 corners of the earth. Another angel with the seal of the living God told the 4 angels to not harm the land until a seal is placed on the foreheads of God’s servants, a total of 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel (12,000 each).

Questions:

5)  The seal of the living God and it signifies the Holy Spirit of God.  Hence, the angel is marking people with a seal which is the Holy Spirit which is the mark that will save them from God’s wrath and judgment like in Ezekiel 9.

6)  Judah.  Jesus (Hebrews 7:14).  He is the first and the last.

7a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My assurance is several fold:  1) I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior.  2)  I have the Holy Spirit with marks me as His.  3)  God’s word assures me I am His.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I think I interact and relate with unbelievers the same I do with believers.  I try to walk in Jesus’s ways always no matter who is watching and give Him all the credit in my life.

Conclusions:  Why no questions on the identity of the 144,000?  This is crucial for Gentiles (which is most of us).  Once again disappointed that BSF does not ask the hard questions.

End Notes:  The tribe of Dan is left out.  Some scholars believe this is because Dan is most probably the tribe of the Antichrist (Daniel 11:37; Jeremiah 8:16).  We do know they were the ones who introduced idolatry to Israel (Genesis 49:17; Judges 18:30).  However, Dan will be in the millennial kingdom (Ezekiel 48).  Further, some say this proves birth does not matter in the end; it’s faith in Christ that does.

The tribe of Joseph is the tribe of Ephraim.  They also were strongly associated with idolatry (Hosea 4:17).

Who are the 144,000?  Literally:  Messianic Jews specifically chosen to seal protectively for the Tribulation, first fruits to God (Rev 14:4), as a beginning of the salvation of Israel (Romans 11:1, Romans 11:26, Matthew 23:37-39).

Symbolically:  12,000 is the number of completeness is Revelation 21:16 so the complete number of believers from each tribe are being sealed.  This includes both Jewish and Gentile Christians.  Because the tribe of Dan is missing and the tribe of Joseph never existed, this would support the theory as the church here.  Also, when Assyria conquered Israel in 722 BC, the tribes were scattered and again in 70 AD when the temple was destroyed.  The Jews had no idea which tribe they came from.

Hence, 144,000 pictures the remnant (Romans 9:27-28;11:5), the fullness of the church of both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians, leaving none out, the new Israel.  The believer in Christ is the true Jew (Romans 2:29).

Revelation is a book of symbols and all numbers have meaning.  Hence, most scholars believe 144,000 is not to be taken literally and Israel means the church as a whole.  144,000 (12 x 12 x 10x 10 x10) shows the 12 tribes of Israel in the Old Testament multiplied by the 12 apostles in the New Testament multiplied by 10’s which suggests an indefinite and infinite figure.  The two 12’s is the church, God’s redeemed people from both covenants, for all of history–what we call the church today.

Revelation 14 goes into more detail on their identity.  Israel in the Old Testament always refers to the Jewish nation, not to the church.  However, when John is writing, which is after Pentecost where the Holy Spirit was gifted to all, the church included Israel and Gentiles.  No where in the book of Revelation is a distinction made between Jewish and Gentile Christians.  God makes no distinction so why would He here?

You can be part of the remnant (the 144,000) through grace (Romans 11:5) by choosing Jesus.  It’s that simple.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 13, Day 2: Revelation 7:1-3

Summary of passage:  John saw 4 angels holding back the 4 winds of the earth from the 4 corners of the earth.  Another angel with the seal of the living God told the 4 angels to not harm the land until a seal is placed on the foreheads of God’s servants.

Questions:

3)  Holding back the 4 winds of the earth to prevent disasters

4a)  The destructive force of God’s judgment (Hosea 13:15 is another example).

b)  He is marking all His people before judgment descends.  He is protecting them, saving them from destruction.  A secondary meaning may be God is giving His people more time to come to Him and repent and be saved, “not wanting anyone to perish” (2 Peter 3:9).  He is full of grace, mercy, compassion, patience, and love.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By allowing me to live both earthly and eternally.  By choosing me in the first place to belong to Him.  God’s mercy is hard to describe.

Conclusions:  4c is weak in asking “how”.  Makes it broad.  “Why” would have been more fitting for this passage and the book of Revelation as a whole.  Rest of the questions dissects passage well.

End Notes:  In chapter 6, Jesus is revealing impending judgments upon the world with the breaking of the seals.  Here, in chapter 7, God sends an angel to first seal His people, a pause if you will, before judgments begin (Rev 9:4).

The 4 corners of the earth correspond to the 4 points on a compass, meaning being the entire earth, all of creation.  The 4 living creatures represent all of creation.

Some scholars say the 4 winds refers directly back to the 4 horsemen in Revelation 6 since “spirits” is the same Hebrew word as “winds” in Zechariah 6:1-8.

Another angel sealed the people of God.  Seals were common in the ancient world.  They were used by emperors and other people’s of import to seal communications by placing a special mark in the damp clay which authenticated and protected its contents.  They were also used by property owners to show ownership and seals on packages to show possession.  The best analogy is like branding cattle–a mark placed on something to show ownership.

The seal will be God’s name (Rev 14:1).  We see this in Ezekiel 9:4 given to the righteous before judgment of Jerusalem (it was the Hebrew letter Taw, made like an X or +.

Jesus was sealed (John 6:27).  Believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).

The sealing is for protection from the coming judgments (Rev 7:9-17; 9:4) and to mark His people.  Unbelievers will be marked with the sign of the beast (Rev 13:16-17).

It’s a comfort and a challenge to believers.  He is with us and we are called to turn from Satan.