Revelation 7:1-17 – A Great Multitude and 144,000 Sealed

by | Updated July 11th, 2022

Often in scripture and particularly in Revelation you have a chapter or passage and immediately afterwards a parenthetical chapter or passage giving more detail or explaining something else entirely. In chapter six we had the seal judgments being unleashed on the earth and chapter seven is a parenthetical chapter describing a scene in heaven.

We have four angels holding back the four winds keeping them from blowing on the earth. There’s another angel who has the seal of the living God. This angel cries out with a loud voice to the other four not allow the wind to blow on the earth until the 144,000 servants of God are sealed. These are 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Immediately afterwards John sees a great multitude in heaven which no man could number. This group was from all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues or languages. They were clothed with white robes and had palms in their hands worshiping Him who sat on the throne and the Lamb. One of the elders asks John who they were and where they came from. He then tells him they had come up out of the great tribulation.

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Revelation 7:1-17

“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. And 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 given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 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. 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; 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; 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; 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. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

Revelation 7:1-3 – “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. And 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 given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”

Four Corners of the Earth

Many skeptics and critics of the Bible have taken this as a reason to accuse scripture of being false and inaccurate. They claim that the mention of the four corners of the earth means the Bible teaches the earth is flat or square. This is a total fallacy. The Word of God teaches just the opposite. God’s Word refers to the circle of the earth and the earth hanging in space on nothing. This simply depicts their universality. Fours winds is a reference to the north, south, east, and west.

Isaiah 40:22 – “It is He (God) that sitteth upon the circle of the earth.”

Job 26:7 – “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.”

The Four Winds of the Earth

  1. The destructiveness of wind. We have all seen the effects of fierce winds. Both tornadoes and hurricanes have, at times, brought destruction to entire towns, cites, and states. We have seen homes and businesses destroyed that were in its path. These winds will, no doubt, be some of the worse our world has ever seen.
  2. The powers of darkness. By way of application, Satan is “the prince and power of the air” (Ephesians 6:12). He, like the wind, is always destructive. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10a). It’s interesting that when insurance companies file claims resulting in the, destruction of strong winds they refer to it as an act of God. When, in fact, the devil is the destroyer. This time, however, it will be the act of God.

Four Angels Holding Back the Wind

  1. Holding back the powers of darkness. God is able to hold back the powers of darkness from the lives of His people. Often in my prayer time I will ask the Lord to hold back the powers of darkness from the lives of His people. He frequently will use angels to do this. They are there to minister for and on behalf of the heirs of salvation. We can actually dispatch angels to minister and do battle on our behalf.

    Hebrews 1:7 and 14 – “And of the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire. Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”

    Joel 2:11 – “The Lord shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth His Word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?”

    Psalm 103:20 – “Bless the Lord, ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His Word.”

    Psalm 34:7 – “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.”

  2. Holding back the four winds. These angels are holding back these winds from blowing their destructive forces on the earth. They were commanded to do so until the 144,000 were sealed. They were instructed thus because God purposed they would be protected from the destruction these four winds were going to bring upon the world.

The Servants of God Sealed

The servants of God sealed is a sign of ownership. Servant here is “doulos.” Doulos is the undisputed possession of a person or thing. They are His possession. They are sealed also for their protection. Whether this is a visible seal on their foreheads or an invisible one is unclear. Nonetheless, they are sealed signifying they are under God’s protection that the judgments will not affect them.

Ephesians 1:13-14 – “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, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”

God will protect those who are His. This is seen throughout scripture. God protects His own. In the Word of God there are various symbols of His protective hand. If we happen to find ourselves in the tribulation period, we can be assured of God’s care and protection for those who are His. Though we will undoubtedly see and be affected to some existent, we’ll be shielded from the judgment itself.

A few examples of this:

  • Noah and his family protected from the flood (Genesis 9-11). Because they, by faith, entered the ark the flood did not affect them. They saw the ramifications of the flood all around them yet because they were in the ark they were spared judgment. Christ is our ark of safety!
    1. Protection from the plagues in Egypt (Exodus 7-12). The children of Israel were protected from the plagues that came on the Egyptians and the land of Egypt. They lived in the land of Goshen and were completely shielded from the destruction that came on the Egyptians. The last and worse one was the death of the firstborn. Only those who applied the blood to their doorposts of the homes were spared. This was a type of and foreshadowed the blood of Jesus.

      Exodus 12:13 – “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
    2. Rahab protected from the judgment of Jericho (Joshua 2-6). Rahab and her entire family were spared, in that, she hid those who went in and spied out the land. However, the condition was that she hang a scarlet thread or rope outside her window. The scarlet tread was a type of the blood of Christ.

      Joshua 2:18 and 21 – “Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee. And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.”

    3. Even now we are protected by the power of God. Even now and then we are and will be protected by the power of God and the blood of Jesus. God has the power, will, and ability to shield His own. All who are covered and washed by the blood of Jesus have the protection of the seal of God, Christ’s blood, and the power of God.

      1 Peter 1:3-5 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept (protected) by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

    The 144,000 of the Tribes of Israel

    Revelation 7:4-8 – “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. 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; 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; 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; 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.”

    1. Jehovah Witnesses claim to the 144,000. The Jehovah Witnesses not only deny the divinity of Christ but claim they are the 144,000 witnesses mentioned here. Which tribe are they? Also their membership has surpassed that number. They attempt to explain this away by saying the rest have been placed on a waiting list. They are in doctrinal error on so many levels including here.
    2. Discrepancy in the listing of the tribes. In the listing of the tribes of Israel here there’s discrepancy in those that are normally included. Before Jacob’s death Joseph took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim to his father to bless them. Jacob made claim to them saying, these two “are mine” (Genesis 48:5). This is the reason Joseph is normally not listed.Levi is usually not mentioned but here Levi and Joseph are listed and the tribes of Ephraim and Dan are excluded. They were excluded because they had been caught up in idolatry. Therefore, Joseph is listed in place of Ephraim and Levi takes the place of Dan.

      When blessing them, “Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.”

      When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head. And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:13-14, 17-19). It’s the second born or those who have experienced the new birth of the Spirit that receives the blessing not the flesh.

    A Great Multitude Caught Up into Heaven

    Revelation 7:9, 13-15 – “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”

    Is it possible that elements of each theory of the rapture may be partially true? In chapter four “round about the throne were four and twenty seats (thrones) and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold” (Revelation 4:4). It’s interesting that they all sat on thrones, clothed in white raiment, which is always represents blood washed saints, and they all wore crowns. Then here in Revelation seven we see a group that’s caught up out the great tribulation who are wearing white robes and they have palm branches in their hand, which signifies worship and service. Both wore white robes signifying the righteousness of the saints. If at the end of chapter three and beginning of four is a rapture there appears to be more than one rapture that takes place. Is it possible that only those who are faithful enough to earn a crown will make the per-tribulation rapture and the rest will be raptured out of this world and the tribulation period in segments at His choosing.

    It was said of some of those in the church in Thyatira, “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds” (Revelation 2:22). It was said of the church in Philadelphia, that had no rebuke, “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10). It was said of the church of the Laodiceans, the last days, lukewarm church, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). These three instances and churches seem to give indication that though part of the church and the bride of Christ, some will be spared the tribulation and some will not. All, however, will be saved yet so as by fire (1 Corinthians 3:9-15).

    Both groups, regardless of their status or position in glory, all wore white robes. This is symbolic of the righteousness of the saints. Blood washed believer’s. Reward and position is determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:9-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10-11) but everyone who has placed their trust in Christ as their only hope of salvation are saved, declared righteous, and are made worthy because of what Jesus did for them on the cross.

    I’m speaking to some believers who have experienced failure and the devil has beaten up on you making you feel unworthy. I’m here to tell you we are all unworthy in and of ourselves. Any worthiness we have is found in Jesus and Him alone. No matter our position and reward in eternity, our worth is found only in Him. Stop beating up on yourself and letting the devil beat up on you. Boldly claim and stand on who you are in Him.

    Isaiah 53:6 – “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

    Isaiah 64:6 – “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

    Isaiah 61:10 – “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of His righteousness.”

    2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For He hath made him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

    Colossians 1:12-13 – “Giving thanks unto the Father, Who hath made us meet (qualified us, made us worthy) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”

    The Worship of God the Father and the Lamb

    Revelation 7:10-12 – “And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.”

    We see here the elders, four beasts, and an innumerable host worshiping. The fact the the lamb is worshiped along with God the Father declares the divinity of Christ. It shows equality. Both are worshiped equally. Praise, worship, and adoration is ascribed to both. If Jesus were not God there would be no worship of Him. The fact that He is worshiped is a cry to His divinity. He appears to be the focal point of their worship.

    It’s significant that their worship and praise was “with a loud voice.” It was not timid worship but radical. We see this type of radical worship throughout scripture. When Judah was encompassed about by the armies of the enemy “the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voice on high” (2 Chronicles 20:19). When Paul and Silas were in prison “At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Acts 16:25). In heaven the praises of God’s people will be even more intense. We see this displayed here and also in,

    Revelation 5:11-14 – “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped Him that liveth for ever and ever.”

    Revelation 19:1-7 – “I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshiped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him.”

    Let’s praise and worship Him with all that we have!

    Psalms 47:1 – “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.”

    Psalms 63:4 – “Thus will I bless Thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in Thy name.”

    Psalms 103:1 – ” Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”

    Psalms 150:1-6 – “Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary: praise Him in the firmament of His power. Praise Him for His mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet: praise Him with the psaltery and harp. Praise Him with the timbrel and dance: praise Him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise Him upon the loud cymbals: praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.”

    The Great Multitude in Heaven Comforted

    Revelation 7:16-17 – “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

    This group was taken up out of the great tribulation and had experienced some of the trouble and turmoil of the seal judgments. Now they’re in heaven comforted. They will no longer hunger or thirst as the result of famine, nor shall they ever experience the heat of the sun or the heat of tribulation and persecution again. The Lamb will now feed them and lead them to fountains of living water and God the Father will wipe away all tears from their eyes signifying there be no more sorrow. There will be comfort and satisfaction for all who trust in Christ.

    John 10:9 – “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

    John 4:14 – “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

    John 7:37-38 – ” In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive.”

    Isaiah 12:1-3 – “And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise Thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

    Isaiah 44:3 – “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring.”

    Isaiah 55:1 – “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

    Revelation 22:1 – “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

    Revelation 22:17 – “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

    Praise the Lord! Heaven is going to be glorious!


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