11/03/18 Revelation 7:1-8 “Clearly Israel is number one on the end-times agenda”
Revelation 7:1 – And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
holding – krateo (to have power; be powerful; take hold of; hold fast; not let go; hold in check; restrain) It has the idea of holding by reason of power.
After the 6th seal (Revelation 6:12-17), there is apparently an order to put a hold on it all, not to go any further, until those who are to be God’s servants are sealed. These angels are powerful, not struggling at all to hold the winds back on the earth. This is for all the earth, all the winds from every direction; no wind may blow anywhere, whether on dry land, sea, or anywhere where vegetation grows. This is an all-encompassing authority to stop all wind. Wind represents movement on the earth; and here it also represents the judgment of God coming upon all people.
Jeremiah 49:36 – And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.
Thus this represents the holding back of God’s judgments until His servants are sealed in their foreheads. God may withhold, and God may then deliver judgments. This may happen possibly before, yet leading up to the more extreme part of the tribulation, the second half. It does appear to follow the first 6 seals of judgment; however, Revelation has a number of extra interludes such as this that do not necessarily occur in chronological order. The term “after these things” does tend to suggest that this could occur after the things of Ch.6; but it would make more sense to occur at the beginning of Israel’s last week of years (7-year period).
Ezekiel 37-39 talks about the rising of the house of Israel from the valley of dry bones, becoming God’s people again and being rescued from the enemy (notably from the north) that seeks to destroy them because they are an easy target at that time.
Ezekiel 37:27 – My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Ezekiel 39:7 – So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not [let them] pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I [am] the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.
So, does this happen at or near the start of their final 7 years, or is it in fact an overview of the whole 7 years? I believe that it is more likely to be at or near the start of the tribulation, as they will be burying their dead enemies for 7 months (Ezekiel 39:12), which doesn’t seem to equate with the setting up of the millennial reign. Therefore, it is likely that the sealing of the 144,000 would occur at or near the start of the 7-year tribulation.
John was told not to seal up the prophecy in Revelation …..
Revelation 22:10 – And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
Yet Daniel was told to seal it up until the end.
Daniel 12:8-9 – 8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what [shall be] the end of these [things]? 9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
So we will apply it to whatever we are able to understand for now.
Revelation 7:2-3 – 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east (or rising sun), having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
A seal was something that could not be legally opened or dealt with unless you had the authority to do so. Daniel was sealed by the king into the lions’ den.
Daniel 6:17 – And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
Likewise Esther and Mordecai had absolute power by authority of the king.
Esther 8:8 – Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal [it] with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.
And with that ring, Mordecai was given authority to act for the king, in place of Haman.
Esther 8:2 – And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
Pharaoh gave Joseph his ring of authority (Genesis 41:42).
If anyone else but the king broke that seal on the lions’ den, he probably would have joined Daniel with the lions! To break that seal was to overrule the king’s authority. Even the king couldn’t legally break that seal once it had been established by decree! And, in the case of Vs 2 above, only one with greater authority than the living God might break such a seal. These 144,000 are going to be protected according to God’s will, and His seal guarantees it. It is apparent that those thus sealed in the foreheads will not be hurt when God’s judgments come upon the earth, sea and trees. That is, the whole earth might be hurt, but these sealed of God will be protected by the authority of the seal of the living God.
The four angels are those who are holding back the winds of judgement from the earth in Vs 1 above. They have to hold judgment back until these people of God are protected.
Note Ezekiel 9:4-6 – 4 And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. 5 And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: 6 Slay utterly old [and] young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom [is] the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which [were] before the house.
Likewise, Christians are sealed by the Holy Spirit; no one may break that seal without the authority of God. However, if man has free will, then the only one who can break that seal, other than God, is the one upon whom the seal is placed.
Ephesians 1:13 – In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Ephesians 4:30 – And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Revelation 7:4 – And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Revelation 14:1 – And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
Is this a literal 144,000? Barnes says: The number is too exact and artificial to suppose that it is literal. It is inconceivable that exactly the same number - precisely twelve thousand - should be selected from each tribe of the children of Israel.
But why should the exactness be seen as artificial in any way? I have no problem at all with understanding this to be an exact number. If God wants to have exactly 144,000, then who’s going to prevent Him? Some say that a very large number or else a symbolic number is represented, yet the Greek words used are easily translated as 144,000, and not in any way similar to the 10,000 (myrias) times 10,000 (myrias) in Revelation 5:11 which really means literally myriads times myriads, that is, signifying an extremely large number. For example, if we said there were millions and millions of people, or hundreds and thousands of people, we mean a huge number, rather than an exact or literal number. This is similar to the way Revelation 5:11 puts it. But in the above verse (Vs 4) the wording does suggest that an exact number is being recorded.
And are these tribes of the literal Israel? Most commentaries seem to teach that this is a spiritual Israel, which is what calvinism would also teach. But if Israel is to physically have her last 7 years, and if Jesus taught that when they (the Jews) saw the abomination as spoken by Daniel sitting in the temple, they were to immediately run for safety, then how can this be interpreted as a spiritual 7 years, or a spiritual running for safety when they see a spiritual abomination as spoken of by Daniel. Where do you draw the “spiritual” line? The simplest and most logical answer is that this is a literal 144,000 comprised of the literal 12 literal tribes of Israel. That’s what the verse actually says, and that’s what it should be taken to mean!
Revelation 7:5-8 – 5 Of the tribe of Juda [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad [were] sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses [were] sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar [were] sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of Zabulon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin [were] sealed twelve thousand.
There are a few variations on the names in the lists of the tribes of Israel in the Bible. The original list, of course, has the names of the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel).
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin (Genesis 29 & 30).
In Numbers 2, 7, 10, 13, 26, and 34, Joseph has become both Ephraim and Manasseh (clearly the double blessing for this tribe), with Levi being left out of those numbered for war, but were instead chosen by God as representing His first-born of Israel (Numbers 3:12-13).
In Deuteronomy 27 the original 12 are again named (including Levi), while in Deuteronomy 34 the original 12 are named but missing Simeon and Issachar.
(Although Dan is listed as one of the original names in Ezekiel 48.) And so on!
However, two points can be made. Once Levi became the priestly tribe, it (the tribe of Levi) became God’s inheritance and no longer was listed as an independent tribe. But, in this list in Revelation 7:5-8, Levi is now back as an independent tribe, with Dan missing and Joseph listed as Manasseh and Ephraim.
The reason for Levi now being back in the list is clear: there is no more purpose for a separate priestly tribe at this stage because Jesus has become a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, thus replacing the old covenant priesthood with a new and better covenant priesthood.
That Dan is no longer in the list is a subject of some conjecture. Many believe that because of the idolatry of Dan (by setting up his own priesthood – see Judges 18) that it is an apostate tribe no longer eligible for acceptance by God. Some believe that the antichrist will come from Dan. Others believe that Dan settled in Scotland and that is why the serpent is one of Scotland’s symbols. (& Ireland) Or Denmark (= Dan’s mark? or Dan-emerke?). Others believe that Dan settled in Khazaria and initiated the apostasy that has today become the 13th tribe of Israel as noted by Arthur Koestler, that is, the Ashkenazi Jews. Yet others teach that the tribe of Dan fled south (with Gad, Asher and Naphtali) to Ethiopia when the first temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 587BC. Even USA has been named as Dan, 13th tribe of Israel.
Dan’s allocation of land in Canaan lay between Philistia and Ephraim, along the coast to the west of Jerusalem. Dan and Judah were the strongest of the 12 tribes, which may have been why these two bordered Philistia which was to trouble Israel for a long time. (And still does today under its Greek name Palestine.) But either the land was not large enough, or the Philistines held too much control over their land, such that the tribe of Dan decided to go to the far north of Israel and conquer some new territory to call their own as well.
Joshua 19:47 – And the coast of the children of Dan went out [too little] for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father.
Leshem is Laish, a city of the Sidonians (a Canaanite people), situated to the east of Mt Herman and near the borders of Lebanon and Syria, a much-disputed territory even today (noting the 1967 Six Day war). Laish is renamed Dan.
Judges 18:27-31 – 27 And they took [the things] which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people [that were] at quiet and secure: and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire. 28 And [there was] no deliverer, because it [was] far from Zidon, and they had no business with [any] man; and it was in the valley that [lieth] by Beth–rehob. And they built a city, and dwelt therein. 29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city [was] Laish at the first. 30 And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 And they set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.
From this time on it seems Dan had two portions of land, with the northern portion being set up with its own idolatrous worship system. It also appears that the southern portion may have not been fully available to them (probably because of the Philistines) and therefore they left their allocated portion to the warlike Philistines and sought a more peaceable land to conquer further north.
Judges 18:1 – In those days [there was] no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day [all their] inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.
Laish was a more peaceable people, whom the Danites slaughtered, burnt down their city, and rebuilt their own city. This land is said to be most fertile, fed by melting snow from Mt Herman. It was easier to take this people and their land than to face the Philistines. Thus it can be assumed that the tribe of Dan was not interested in conquest if it might mean some hardship as well, so they went for the softer target of Laish. They also didn’t wish to be involved much with the other tribes, especially in worship, so they set up their own independent god-worshipping belief system, complete with their own Levite (Jonathan) whom they set up as their priest.
Dan was also known as a sea-faring tribe, as noted in the song of Deborah in Judges 5:2-31: “why did Dan remain in ships?” (Judges 5:17) Some tradition has Dan associated with the Phoenicians, who were a sea-faring Canaanite people of Sidon and Tyre and even Carthage, and may have been the people who settled that great trading city of Venice, with the people being called the Venetians. However, others conjecture that the Venetians are descended from the Khazars (Cf Ashkenazi Jews), yet it is also possible that it was the tribe of Dan that provided the Jewish learning for the Khazars to take upon themselves in order to keep out the Moslems on the one side, and the Christians on the other.
These Venetians have in turn been associated with all the noble houses of Europe (Cf the Black Nobility houses of Venice and their connection to Merovingian bloodlines of the Franks) and also with all the great Ashkenazi trading names of the last few centuries.
So is Dan absent from this list of tribes through apostasy, or is there a more innocent reason behind all of this? It does look like Dan is involved somewhere, for there is much smoke that suggests at least some fire somewhere. Certainly the end times are going to be (already are) characterised by involvement by various groups such as the Illuminati, Ashkenazi, Black Nobility, Merovingian Bloodlines, etc, and the name of Dan seems to come up in the folklore of many of these. Add the catholic church to this mix plus groups such as freemasons, and you will see that the end times are all being orchestrated by people behind the scenes, people who wish to remain secret, but have their rule seen and acknowledged by all.
Another question that is raised by the sealing of the 144,000 is whether or not they had any choice in the matter. Of course, calvinists would say that, along with all the other unconditionally elect of God, these also were chosen from before the foundation of the world. However, there’s nothing in the passage that actually says anything on this, one way or the other. So, whether they were chosen, or instead chose by their free will, must be determined from the rest of scriptural consistency.
Joel says that in the end times those whom God will call will be those who have called on the name of the Lord. That is, God’s calling of His remnant will be a consequence of His people calling on His name.
Joel 2:31-32 – 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. 32 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
If the 144,000 are included in that group that God delivers (Joel 2:32), then it has to be assumed that they have called upon the name of the Lord, and that God has sealed them because they have already called upon His name. Therefore, the most likely conclusion is that these 144,000 have been sealed by their own free will decision to be available to serve God. Certainly the calvinists might be able to claim that the passage in Revelation 7 doesn’t actually say that, and that the passage in Joel may not refer to this event. However, they cannot in any way disprove the free will of those chosen, and therefore cannot prove that God has unconditionally chosen these people of God, independently of their free wills (which the calvinists say cannot exist!).
Often calvinist scriptural doctrines are pronounced with the assumption that possibly opposing interpretations cannot exist due to their preconceived doctrines or beliefs. For example, John 6:44 is claimed by the calvinists to be absolute proof of the doctrine of unconditional election. And yet, in order to do so, they are forced to assume as a doctrinal fact that man lacks any free will to resist such a drawing by God. But such a belief in man’s lack of free will here cannot be read into John 6:44 itself (though many calvinists in a rush of circular logic try to do so), and therefore lack of free will must be established elsewhere. However, not one of their claimed verses demonstrating lack of free will can be used to demonstrate beyond doubt that man does not have free will to choose salvation by calling upon the name of the Lord. And if there is any question over such a doctrine, then it cannot be established as a scriptural doctrine; it must remain as an opinion which cannot be enforced.
One of the strongest evidences of the free will of mankind is that the atonement was for the whole world. It’s why the calvinists desperately try to reword that verse to mean not the whole world! If Jesus died for all, then God must have offered that free gift of salvation to all, who then may choose to accept or to reject it. Also, Romans 3:23-24 demonstrates that all who have sinned also were justified by God.
Romans 3:23-24 – 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
This means that all who sin are justified freely. If all have sinned, then all have been justified freely. Let the calvinists try to explain that one! And no, it cannot mean universalism, because, while all have been justified freely, only those who appropriate that justification by faith by their free wills may benefit from it.
Therefore, it may be safely assumed that the 144,000 have been sealed conditional upon their desire to serve the living God during this time.