This morning we enter a new chapter of the Book of Revelation. As you open with me to Revelation 7, let me explain what lies before us.
If we were doing a one-phrase-summary of each chapter of the Bible, we could summarize the main idea of Revelation 6 as: The Intense Wrath of God Against Sin.
If we did the same for Revelation 7 it would be: The Immense Love of God Towards Sinners. Back to back those seem to be polar opposites. What is amazing is that God designed this incredible contrast.
God Designed An Amazing Contrast
As we consider this new chapter, think for a moment about how this Bible we hold came to us. The doctrine of inspiration teaches us that each word of this Book was sent to us by God Himself.
Though we have packaged it over the years, translating His words, putting His words on paper, adding covers to His book, adding chapter markings and verse markings, the exact content of this Book came from God. That’s the doctrine of inspiration.
So, all of the horrors of Revelation 6 were placed in that exact place in this Book by God Himself. Each of the seals were deliberately opened by Christ, and led to the greatest mass destruction of human life ever to take place in human history. The death toll of Revelation 6 exceeds even the Flood of Genesis 6-8, which may have drowned a billion souls. The nearly two billion that would, at today’s population levels, horribly die (as Revelation 6:8 details that ¼ of earth’s people die), is the single largest loss of human life ever recorded.
God Designed the Book of Revelation
Now take that thought a step further. Even the order of the events written down in Revelation, were also exactly engineered by God. John wasn’t sent a box of stories to arrange as he pleased, like a cosmic scrapbook. Rather, this book comes as an eyewitness, guided-by-God, written-by-John, tour of the future.
In Revelation 4 onward, John was taken by God to Heaven (Rev. 4:1), and like a reporter sent to a news scene, John was guided around the scenes in Heaven and on Earth, and told by God what to write (Rev. 1:11,19) and also what not to write (Rev. 10:4).
What an Amazing Chapter
So as we arrive at chapter 7, first look at all the major doctrines we are confronted with:
- Doctrine-1 is God’s Complete Control of Timing (v. 1a). That’s the Doctrine of Omniscience. God knows exactly what will happen forever; past, present, and future.
- Doctrine-2 is God’s Awesome Power over Nature (v.1b). That’s the Doctrine of Omnipotence. God holds the absolute power as Creator over everything.
- Doctrine-3 is God’s Amazing Ownership of His Bond Slaves (v. 2-3). That’s the Doctrine of Salvation. God calls, chooses, seals, fills, and uses these 144,000, calling both them and us, His bond slaves.
- Doctrine-4 is God’s Specific Plans to Use His People (v. 4-8). That’s the Doctrine of Election. God created us for a purpose to serve and glorify Him, and has a specific plan for us to follow by choice.
- Doctrine-5 is God’s Great Love in Action for Lost Sinners (v. 9-10, 13-14). That’s the Doctrine of God as Savior. God loves, seeks, and saves lost sinners.
- Doctrine-6 is God’s Desire for the Worship of His People (v. 11-12). That’s the Doctrine of God’s Glory. God seeks our worship, inhabits our worship, and wants everything we do, think, and say to bring Him glory.
- Doctrine-7 is God’s Eternal Plans for His Bond Slaves (v.15-17). That’s the Doctrine of Rewards. Everything we do is either good for God’s glory or worthless forever.
Those seven doctrines are just a glimpse of the richness of this amazing final book of God's Word. Now, as we read these 17 verses, note the amazing truths of the Scriptures, sent by God Himself to bless us if we will Read, Hear, and Keep them.
Our Amazing God Displayed in Revelation 7
Please follow along in your Bibles as we see the seven doctrines, and the amazing truths about God that He chose as blessings for us that are contained in these seventeen verses.
First,note with me God’s Complete Control of Timing (v. 1a).
That’s the Doctrine of Omniscience. God knows exactly what will happen forever; past, present, and future.
Revelation 7:1a (NKJV) After these things I saw
Almighty God is narrating the future, allowing John to see it as it happens before Him; although from our perspective it hasn’t yet happened. But to God it is happening all at once.
Revelation is written from the same perspective as Isaiah 40 illustrates for us. God is seated as the One and only Absolute Sovereign & Almighty God. Knowing the end from the beginning. Omnisciently seated above, beyond, and over all of time and space.
Nothing shocks, surprises, or slips by the incomprehensibly powerful and all-knowing God. That is God’s Complete Control of Timing. As a tiny application, think of how that helps us. There is the blessing. When we pray, God already knows what is best, and wants us to trust Him, follow Him, and allow Him to have His way and be glorified as we do His will.
Second, note with me God’s Awesome Power over Nature (v.1b).
That’s the Doctrine of Omnipotence. God holds the absolute power as Creator over everything.
Revelation 7:1b (NKJV) 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.
Can you imagine that? Just like the disciples in the midst of the raging storm, and then Christ spoke and instantly, it was calm. Only our Almighty God can stop even the winds from blowing, and here we see the entire atmospheric machine is paused by Him. Nothing we know of is able to do that across the globe, only the Creator.
Jesus demonstrated that power over nature with calming the storms, walking on the water, and even darkness at the Cross. Nothing stands in His way. Nothing is greater than our God. That is God’s Awesome Power over Nature.
If He stills a storm in your life, praise Him. If He does not, trust Him. That is the blessing this truth gives us.
Third,note with me God’s Amazing Ownership of His Bond Slaves (v. 2-3).
That’s the Doctrine of Salvation. God calls, chooses, seals, fills, and uses these 144,000, calling both them and us His bond slaves.
Revelation 7:2-3 (NKJV) 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.”
God knows whom He has chosen. He knows their names, their genealogy, their location, and every detail right down to the genetic code He Himself designed as the author and creator of life.
God owns all humans first as their Creator, but here we see that salvation means that His ownership deepens. Here God marks out those He saves by sealing them as those He bought at a price. God purchased these 144,000 Jews, seals them, and they instantly become the bondservants of God.
This is the very same process each of us who have ever been saved have gone through. God seeks us, finds us, convicts us, we respond in faith and He saves us, seals us, and makes us His bondservants.
These were lost and unbelieving Jews, born as sinners, but drawn by the convicting Spirit of God to salvation. Just as God sealed the Jews who believed during the horrific days of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, and preserved them through safely while the rest perished, so these 144,000 are saved, sealed, and preserved by God through the horrors of the Tribulation.
No human or demon enemy can harm them, and they can do what God called and gifted them to do for His glory. That is God’s amazing ownership of His bond servants. The blessing for us is that the same is true for us today. God has saved us, He calls us and until His work for us is done, no human or demon can stop us.
Fourth,note with me God’s Specific Plans to Use His People (v. 4-8).
That’s the Doctrine of Election. God created us for a purpose to serve and glorify Him, and has a specific plan for us to follow by choice.
Revelation 7:4-8 (NKJV) 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.
God called Abraham to use to bless all people of the world. God raised up through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob His chosen people of promise Israel. But few Israelites fully obeyed and served God. The Temple was to touch the world with the truths of God, but the Jews kept everyone out of it.
The Jews were to live out the truths of the Word of God and shine God’s light as the people of God to the ends of the Earth. Sadly they did not, other than a few notable ones, like Joseph, Moses, Jonah, David, Nehemiah, and so on.
But God’s plans are never thwarted, His plan to use the Jews to reach the world are now fulfilled. They go out into all the world and preach the Good News of their Messiah. What an impact.
That is the blessing of God’s Specific Plans to Use His People, whether a Jew of the Tribulation or a part of Christ's Church today. God has a plan. He will accomplish it. We can either neglect, ignore, or waste His call, or like these 144,000, do what He called, gifted, designed, and empowered us to do.
Fifth,note with me God’s Great Love in Action for Lost Sinners (v. 9-10, 13-14).
That’s is the Doctrine of God as Savior. God loves, seeks, and saves lost sinners.
Revelation 7:9-10, 13-14 (NKJV) After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” 14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
God is a Savior. God so loves the world, even while we were sinners Christ died. And, while the world enters its final and greatest rebellion, God seeks out the lost.
What amazing love. What an amazing portrait of God’s Great Love in Action for Lost Sinners. At the worst time, as the world is disintegrating, as the moon casts it eerie blood red hue, and the Sun is veiled by the dark veil of the first six seals devastation. As countless graves are being dug, and rotting corpses are hastily being buried, God sends a river of life giving voices.
Streaming out across the globe, 144,000 radiant, bold, Spirit-filled bond servants of God begin the work of telling every creature. Jesus described this moment in Matthew 24:14 saying that every place inhabited on Earth and every ethnic group alive gets to hear the Gospel.
This will be the single greatest evangelistic event of all time. God sends out a missionary band that is unstoppable, and focused on one thing: speaking the Gospel of redemption through Christ's blood to every person still breathing.
The result is the single greatest ingathering of souls ever. They stand in Heaven innumerable from all nations, all tribes, all peoples, and all tongues. Saved, forgiven, washed, Spirit indwelt, sealed, and safely arriving home.
Most likely they are slain almost as fast as they are saved. The 144,000 are very visible, and are invulnerable, but their converts to Christ pay dearly with their own lives for the Cross of Christ they embraced.
Sixth, note with me God’s Desire for the Worship of His People (v. 11-12).
That’s is the Doctrine of God’s Glory. God seeks our worship, inhabits our worship, and wants everything we do, think, and say to bring Him glory.
Revelation 7:11-12 (NKJV) All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
This is the chief end of man, whether therefore we eat or drink, whether by life or by death we want His glory. Not unto us oh Lord, not unto us but unto Your Name be the glory.
We are liberated forever from sin’s curse, so we are forever grateful. All glory, laud, and honor is due our Great God. On their faces they humble themselves before the One who saved them from their sin, and their own way that always will lead to destruction.
At last, all that each of us as God’s creatures were designed to be radiates from our hearts and minds. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation. Oh my soul praise Him for He is my life and salvation!
Finally,note with me God’s Eternal Plans for His Bond Slaves (v.15-17).
That’s the Doctrine of Rewards. Everything we do is either good for God’s glory, or worthless forever.
Revelation 7:15-17 (NKJV) Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
A bondservant has one purpose in life: to hear, understand, and do the will of their master. These 144,000 are forever blessed because they respond to God’s call and spend their lives doing what God called them to do. They are given the eternal reward that comes when we turn many to righteousness (Daniel 12:3.
The converts to Christ that the 144,000 are used to win also receive the seven perfect, endless gifts as the reward for their sacrifices for Christ.
Think of the joys they will have.
Endless Worship. “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple”.
Endless Companionship. “And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them”.
Endless Satisfaction. “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore;”
Endless Protection. “the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat;”
Endless Guidance. “for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them”
Endless Life. “and lead them to living fountains of waters.”
Endless Comforts. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
What an amazing contrast: the Intense Hatred of God Against Sin & the Immense Love of God Towards Sinners.
What an amazing chapter: filled with seven perfections of our Great God, given for us to read, hear, and keep so that we live blessed.
What an amazing God!
Father we love you we worship & adore you: Glorify Thy Name in all the Earth.
Glorify Thy Name, Glorify Thy Name, Glorify Thy Name in all the Earth.