John is given the first sequence of the prophetic vision in (4:1-7:8) with the events occurring in heaven and earth divided by a similar phrase which emphasizes a singular event ‘After this’ (7:1) which is used to divide the events in heaven (4:1-6:17) from the events occurring on earth (7:1-8) in the first section.
‘The things which shall be hereafter’(1:19c), indicates this prophetic section (4:1-22:21). It is divided into five major sections by this key phrase: ‘After these things’ developing the following outline:
The material in this first part of the prophetic section is viewed by John from the vantage point of heaven:
‘After these things I looked, and behold a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things. Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.’ (Revelation 4:1, 2 NASB).
John is then given the most descriptive panorama of heaven’s throne room and its inhabitants ever recorded in Scripture. John’s vision is similar to the vision of Ezekiel 1:4-28, but John provides much additional information as he sees not only the four beasts around God and His throne, but, he includes magnificent introduction and coronation of the Lord Jesus Christ as ‘The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David (5:5)…The Lamb as it had been slain’ (5:6) including the powerful, unparalleled worship scene that follows (5:7-14).
The title of ‘Lamb’ for the Lord Jesus Christ is found here first in the book of the Revelation, however it is the preferred name for the Lord throughout the Revelation as it is used a total of twenty-eight times emphasizing the Bible’s central theme of redemption from an Old Testament viewpoint (Exodus 12).
Moreover, John’s view of the throne room also introduces and describes: ‘The four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold’ (4: ), ‘Seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God (4:5), ‘And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal’ (4:6) giving heavenly details never before revealed in the Word of God.
Chapter six begins the 70th Week of Daniel ending this first section which contains the Lamb’s opening of the first six seals preparing the earth for the coming Day of the Lord judgment when God will pour out His wrath upon an unbelieving world in the process purifying a remnant of His earthly people the Jews.
‘After this...’(7:1) indicates an important time division setting off a major event occurring on earth just prior to the Rapture which is only eight verses long (7:1-8). This is one of the most significant events in the Revelation. Here, the Lord seals 144 Thousand of His servants taken from each of the twelve tribes of Israel thereby providing a continuing witness and mediating priesthood on earth during the catastrophic judgments of His coming Day of the Lord’s Wrath .
This group of faithful Jews is the first people group mentioned on earth and is distinguished from ‘The woman’ (12:1-17). She represents the faithful of Israel who will be protected in ‘The wilderness’ during the last 3-1/2 years of Daniel’s Seventieth Week (12:14) as the majority of Israel will experience the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).
Faithful Israel will not be present during the Day of the Lord’s wrath, but the 144 Thousand will be for they are seen a number of times after this time of unprecedented judgment begins: ‘And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His father’s name written in their foreheads.’ (Revelation 14:1)
‘These [The ten horns/kings] shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called and chosen and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)
The 144 Thousand are seen with the Lamb at the end of the 70th Week of Daniel (Revelation 14:1) and at the end of the Day of the Lord (Revelation 17:14) when the Lord comes on His white horse to end this time of judgment at the battle of Armageddon!
These 144 Thousand soldiers of Christ along with ‘the armies which were in heaven’ (Revelation 19:14) will go forth with the Lord to do battle against the ten horns/kings/nations who are part of ‘the kings of the earth and of the whole world’(Revelation 16:14).
The third group of Israelites are those who will be purified during the Day of the Lord eventually being redeemed (Isaiah 59:20; Zechariah 13:7-9; Romans 11:25-27) at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week when ‘The fullness of the Gentiles be come in.’ (Romans 11:26c) ‘And the Redeemer shall come to Zion’.
However, the earthly focus of this division of the Revelation is the 144 Thousand ‘Servants of our God’ (7:3) who are at this point in history are ‘Sealed...servants...sons of Israel’ (7:3, 4). Therefore, they have already been redeemed, for the Lord would never seal depraved men by writing His name upon their foreheads (14:1).
These men have already attained the stature of ‘servants’ placing them in an elite Biblical category along with men like Abraham, Moses and the prophets, David, John, Peter, Paul, James and Jude, willing to ‘Follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes’ (14:4). This same word is also used to describe the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:18; Philippians 2:7)
They are the first to be sealed for protection from the coming judgment (Revelation 9:4) thereby providing the Lord with a group of faithful servants who will be the continuation of the believer priests unto God during the time of the end. They will minister to those Jews and Gentiles who will be saved during the Day of the Lord including the Jews who will be redeemed at the end of the 70th Week. (Isaiah 59:20; Romans 11:25, 26)
Revelation 9:4 indicates the Lord’s method of keeping His own from the effects of His Day of the Lord wrath: ‘And it was commanded them [the locusts] that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.’
This clearly shows that those who receive the ‘Seal of God in their foreheads’ will not experience the wrath of God which is specifically designed to punish an unbelieving world and purify those Jews whom God will redeem at the end of the Seventieth Week of Daniel (Zechariah 13:8,9; Romans 11:26).
I Thessalonians 1:10 & 5:9 underscore this precious promise of God: ‘And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come....For God hath not appointed us to wrath; but to obtain salvation [deliverance] by our Lord Jesus Christ.’
Although the earth will experience the fiery judgments of the Lord, and chaotic conditions will ensue across the globe, God will continue to use prepared men as His servants to bring others to a saving knowledge of ‘The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).
This is one of the first purposes for those who receive the seal of God. The 144 Thousand will be directly involved in instructing those who will be saved during the end of the age (Daniel 11:32-34, 12:3) known as the 70th Week of Daniel with emphasis on the multitude of Israelites [1/3 of the nation] who will be redeemed in a day at the end of this seven year period.
These select servants of God will ‘Follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes’ thereby becoming His end of the age soul-winners: ‘Come ye after Me and I will make you to become fishers of men’ (Mark 1:17) during the Seventieth Week of Daniel and the Day of the Lord’s Wrath.
The 144 Thousand are also called ‘The firstfruits unto God and the Lamb’ (14:4) indicating that they are the first to be ‘Redeemed from among men’ during the Lord’s 70th Week harvest of souls from the twelve tribes of Israel, the first of the many who will be redeemed including those who will be called when He comes at the end of the Seventieth Week to save that great multitude of Jews mentioned above.
The physical sight of their loving Messianic Redeemer, the Lamb of God (Revelation 14:1) will be the final event that turns the hearts of this significant group of Jews [1/3 of the nation] (Zechariah 13:8, 9) to their Savior, Lord Jesus Christ Who will continue to be: ‘The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world…‘The Way, the Truth, and the Life’ (John1:29, 14:6)
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