Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000

CHAPTER SEVEN:
THE SURVIVORS OF THE GREAT OPPRESSION

[“The End-time Saints”]
Key Word: Salvation
Theme Verse: 14

Revelation 7:1-8 – The Number of the Sealed Heard

RV7:1 After this I saw360 4 angels361 standing ‘on the 4 corners of the earth’. [Ezekiel 7:2] They held fast ‘the 4 winds of the earth’362 [Ezekiel 37:9] so no wind may blow upon363 the earth or sea or any tree.
360 After this I saw: The contextual moment is following the celestial phenomenon of Matthew 24:29 and so associated with the prophetic period of the Great Oppression of three and a half years. It is before the Rapture as will be shown. Compare Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27; Isaiah 11:12. Note carefully John “sees” and then he “hears” something else before he again “sees” something.
361 4 angels: These angels are identified at Revelation 9:14, 15 as being bound in restraints at the Babylonian Euphrates river. They are highly associated with the judgment on Babylon the Great.
362 The 4 winds of the earth: Compare Zechariah 2:6; Jeremiah 25:31-33. A universal, global disaster with no hiding place whether in high mountains or isolated islands.
363 No wind may blow upon: There is a moment when events could move along to the finale in the Great Day of the Lamb’s Wrath in the blowing of these Winds, but they are restrained for an important angelic work. Those who live in areas of extreme wind, like Tornado Alley, know what wind can do.
RV7:2 And I saw another angel having a seal of the living God ascending from the sunrise.364 The angel cried out with a great voice to the 4 angels to whom its granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying:
364 Ascending from the sunrise: Note the angel is “ascending” from that same location mentioned later. (Revelation 16:12)
RV7:3 “Do not harm365 the earth or the sea or the trees366 until we have sealed367 the slaves of our God368 in their foreheads.”369 [Ezekiel 9:4]
365 Do not harm: Compare Revelation 2:11; 6:6; 9:4, 19; 11:5 on this Greek word, meaning to treat unrighteously.
366 Trees: Occurs 4 times: Revelation 7:1; 8:7; 9.4. The dry earth is represented by those things which grow there. (Genesis 1:10, 11)
367 Until we have sealed: This is an angelic work and not to be confused with spirit sealing. (Ephesians 1:13) It seems that of Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27. It may infer a final judgment in the flesh, as if between the sheep and goats. (Matthew 25:31-46) On the subject of “seal” compare 2 Timothy 2:19; Romans 15:28; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30.
368 The slaves of our God: On “slaves” see Revelation 1:1; 6:11; 10:7; 11:18; 19:2; 22:3, 6. Would these “slaves” not be those in immediate danger from the four winds? That is, not all Saints from the time of Jesus but the same as “we the living” of 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Therefore, it is the number of Saints on hand when the Lord Returns.
369 In their foreheads: On “foreheads” note Ezekiel 9:4; Revelation 14:1.
RV7:4 And I heard the number of those sealed:370 “144,000.”371 They were sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel:372
370 I heard the number of those sealed: Note John now “hears” what he is soon to “see.” This point is noted by New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Colin Brown editor), Vol 2, page 695: “… 12 x 12,000 = 144,000 who are sealed… from the tribes of Israel; cf. also Revelation 14:3. Thus the number 144,000 does not denote a numerical limitation of those who are sealed; it symbolizes the final perfection of the people of God (cf. also 7.9). In this respect when John sees them, as opposed to hearing the number of the sealed, they are ‘a great multitude which no man can number… (cf. Rev. 7:9 with 7.4).’”
371 144,000: If the prophetic context is sequential from the First Seal and the ride of the white horse and occurs after the Sixth Seal begins. This sealing occurs contemporary with the celestial darkness. The sealing of the 144,000 would take place at a moment when the Four Winds could occur but are restrained. The logical placement for this is exactly where the Apocalypse has it, at the end of the Sixth Seal. The 144,000 are strongly linked with the Large Crowd which is soon to be seen by John. In other words, John hears the number 144,000 and then he sees the same group who are to be rescued from the Great Oppression. In Revelation 9:4 there are only two groups during the Locust Plague: the unsealed harmed and the sealed unharmed. The 144,000 are on earth during this plague. The 144,000 are the same as the “we the living” of 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The number 144,000 occurs only 3 times. (Revelation 14:1, 3) 144 is a variant on the number 12. But, the number 144 can be mystically seen in the cherubs on the tabernacle tapestry. (Numbers 26:21) By comparing Revelation 14:5 with Zephaniah 3:13 it is seen the 144,000 are the “remnant of Israel” and not the full number of this New Israel of God. (Galatians 6:16)
372 Israel: On “Israel” compare Revelation 21:12 and the true Israel. (Romans 2:25-29; 9:6-8; Galatians 3:26-29) Compare also Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30; Acts 26:7; James 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:9, 10.
RV7:5 out of the tribe of Judah 12,000,373 those being sealed, out of the tribe of Reuben 12,000, out of the tribe of Gad 12,000,
373 12,000: If this is symbolic then would not the whole number 144,000 be symbolic? Hearing this tally must have aroused strong Jewish feelings in the Beloved John as he remembers God’s original promise to Abraham.
RV7:6 out of the tribe of Asher 12,000, out of the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, out of the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, RV7:7 out of the tribe of Simeon 12,000, out of the tribe of Levi 12,000, out of the tribe of Issachar 12,000, RV7:8 out of the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, out of the tribe of Joseph 12,000, out of the tribe of Benjamin 12,000, those being sealed.

Revelation 7:9-17 – The End-Time Saints Rescued

RV7:9 After these things374 I saw, and, look!375 a Large Crowd376 which no one could number.377 Out of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues.378 [Daniel 7:14] They stood379 in sight of the Throne380 and in sight of the Lamb [Isaiah 53:7] enwrapped with white robes.381 There were palm branches in their hands.382 [Leviticus 23:40, 43; John 12:13]
374 After these things: This does not necessarily argue for an entirely new vision. It may very well be a continuation of the tally of the 144,000.
375 I saw, and, look: What John only heard before he now sees. He heard the roll call of the 144,000 and now he sees the results. The number 144,000 is symbolic of an unknown number to endure or survive the Great Oppression – a Large Crowd. Remember where John is when he sees this – in heaven.
376 A Large Crowd: The Greek is OCHLOS POLYS and not MEGALEN. The same term is used in the Gospels for crowds of several thousands. (John 12:12, 13) Note the “great crowd” of Luke 19:37, 38 is one of “disciples.” The only other occurrence of the term is at Revelation 19:1, 6 where it is heavenly.
377 Which no one could number: Either the crowd is big enough so as to be difficult to count by a mere glance, such as 144,000 literally. Or, it is an unknown figure and not yet numbered as the events have not been completed. Note again Revelation 6:11.
378 All nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues: Note a similar phrase at Revelation 5:9 in relation to the Saints who will rule the earth. A similar phrase occurs in the LXX at Daniel 7:14. It may appear at first that this is a Gentile group as opposed to tribes of Israel. But one only needs to ask: “Where is Israel when it is scattered among all the nations?” (Isaiah 11:12; Matthew 24:31) Note in Revelation 9:4 that there are only two groups among humankind: the unsealed harmed and the unharmed sealed. If the 144,000 are Jews, then only Jews are unharmed in the locust attack.
379 They stood: Compare Revelation 4:11.
380 In sight of the Throne: This whole expression occurs 10 times (Revelation 1:4; 3:5; 4:5, 6; 5:8; 7:11, 15; 8:3; 9:3; 11:4, 16; 12:10; 14:3; 19:12; 20:12) and with the exception of Revelation 20:12 always means heaven. With regard to this latter occurrence, it is “a” throne, likely that of Messiah who is the judge. Since a throne has no sight, it must be the Large Crowd who can see the Throne as they are in heaven.
381 Enwrapped with white robes: The STOLE of kings and priests. See notes on Revelation 7:14.
382 There were palm branches in their hands: Since they are from “all the tribes of Israel” it does not surprise us that here appear as Jewish celebrants at the Feast of Booths. There is much of John 12:12, 13 here: a large crowd of disciples that go out to meet the Master when he comes for the time of Jerusalem’s judgment by Messiah. Compare this same festival at Zechariah 14:16 as the annual worship of those surviving nations.
RV7:10 They cried with a great voice,383 saying: “Salvation belongs to our God!384 [Psalm 3:8] To the One sitting upon the Throne [Isaiah 6:1] and to the Lamb.”385 [Isaiah 53:7]
383 They cried with a great voice: It is seen again at Revelation 19:1 by a Large Crowd.
384 Salvation belongs to our God: Possibly drawn from several sources such as Psalm 3:8. The word “salvation” in Hebrew is ha·YESHU-`AH’. [=Jesus] A similar hymn to that of Revelation 19:1. It sounds like the same group of Revelation 15:2. The word “salvation” occurs about 250 times in the Bible, first in Genesis 49:18 and most often in the Psalms [80]. The Nazarene only uses the word twice. [Luke 19:9; John 4:22] Paul uses it 26 times, Peter 5, and Jude once. The word will occur two more times in Revelation. [Revelation 12:10; 19:1]
385 The Lamb: Note the Holy Spirit is omitted here.
RV7:11 And all the angels stood to encircle the Throne.386 The Presbyters and the 4 Living Creatures fell upon their faces in sight of the Throne.387 They worshipped The God, saying:
386 All the angels stood to encircle the Throne: Compare Revelation 4:10; 5:11, 14.
387 In sight of the Throne: This is ENOPION again and surely here means heaven.
RV7:12 “Amen! The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanksgiving and the honor and the power and the strength [be] to our God throughout all future periods of time. Amen!” RV7:13 And one of the Presbyters answered me,388 saying: “These enwrapped with white robes,389 who are they, and where to they come from?”
388 One of the Presbyters answered me: No question was asked, so it may have the sense of “responded” either to the logical flow or a look on John’s face. Note the use of APOKRITHEIS at Matthew 11:25. Why does John not inquire about the 144,000? Unless he understands the Large Crowd and the 144,000 to be the same? Where is John when he sees the Large Crowd?
389 These enwrapped with white robes: The Greek is the STOLAS of kings and priests or very important persons. (Matthew 12:38; 16:5; Luke 20:46; Revelation 6:11) See Strong and Thayer. These are kings and priests like those at Revelation 5:9, 10.
RV7:14 I immediately said to him: “My lord,390 you must know.” The Presbyter said to me: “These are the ones391 who come out of the Great Oppression.392 [Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21] They washed and whitened their robes393 in the blood of the Lamb. [Genesis 49:11; Isaiah 53:7]
390 My lord: Note John addresses the celestial Presbyter as “Lord” something like the Spanish señor.
391 These are the ones: This represents the answer to the identity of the Large Crowd seen before God’s Throne. It is a clear allusion to Daniel 12:1 where these are Daniel’s “people who are written in the Book” (later called the Holy People at Daniel 12:7) who “escape” (or, are rescued) out of the Great Oppression and the Appearing of Michael. The Nazarene also quotes Daniel 12:1 at Matthew 24:21 (Mark 13:19) in which the Elect are “saved.” Is it fair to conclude that the Large Crowd is the same as “(Daniel’s) your people” (Jews) and the “chosen ones” of the Nazarene?
392 Out of the Great Oppression: The whole phrase is TES THLIPSEOS TES MEGALES and virtually identical to that of Daniel 12:1 LXX. The Greek THLIPSEOS is rooted in “pressure” and thus “oppression” is closer than tribulation. It is often used of persecution. (Matthew 24:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:6) Relief from oppression will come when the Master is revealed from heaven. (2 Thessalonians 1.7) The Great Oppression is three and a half years long and is a reign of persecution against the Saints alive at that moment. (Revelation 11:2; 12:17; 13:5, 7; Daniel 12:1, 7) So, it is variously rendered: TCNT: the Great Persecution; KNX: great affliction. Some incorrectly view the “great tribulation” as against the world, or Armageddon, when it is really an oppression against the Saints. (Daniel 7:21, 25)
393 They washed and whitened their robes: A conflate based on Genesis 49:11 and Isaiah 53:7. The same phrase occurs only one other time at Revelation 22:14 and are those who enter the Holy City New Jerusalem. No one else is ever identified as such.
RV7:15 Because of this blood they are in sight of the Throne of The God. In the Divine Habitat of [The God]394 they render sacred service to Him day and night.395 The One sitting on the Throne [Isaiah 6:1] will tent over them.396
394 In the Divine Habitat of [The God]: Or, Temple, Sanctuary, Holy Shrine. In Greek the whole phrase is EN TO NAO AUTOU and occurs exactly so at Revelation 11:19 where it is the “ark” seen “in heaven.” Compare the phrase in the LXX at 1 Samuel 3:3 and 2 Chronicles 4:7; also Luke 1:21. The word group NAOS (15x) is always heaven. (Revelation 3:12; 7:15; 11:1, 2, 19; 14:15, 17; 15:5, 6, 8; 16:1, 17; 21:22) Any argument to place the Large Crowd in the “courtyard” does not work. (Revelation 11:2)
395 Day and night: The around the clock worship of these priests. There is something not to be overlooked: it is often used of Jewish priests in worship. (Luke 1:74; 2:37; 1 Corinthians 9:17; Hebrews 8:5; 9:1, 6, 9, 14; 12.28; 13.10) It may be worship in general. (Acts 24:14; 26:7; 27:23; Romans 1:9; 12:1; Philippians 3:3; 2 John 3) It is the 144 cherubs who serve as silent sentinels within the tabernacle of Moses as they look from their positions on the tapestry.
396 The One sitting on the Throne will tent over them: SKENOSEI means “dwell” and may infer “protect” by dwelling with. There is a slight difference here, SKENOSEI EP and the SKENE… META at Revelation 21:3 though they may infer the same when finally analyzed. DNTT suggests: “Rev. 7:15 pictures one of the elders before God’s throne informing John that God would ‘encamp’ (SKENOSEI) over those who had come out of the great tribulation; he would ‘shelter them with his presence,’ (RSV) dwell with them continuously within his temple.” (Vol 3, page 813)
RV7:16 They will not hunger or thirst anymore.397 The sun’s heat will no longer burn them. [Isaiah 49:10]
397 They will not hunger or thirst anymore: Of course, it may be the same kind as Matthew 5:6, but why would this be mentioned if this is not the same group of Saints who endure the economic pressure of Revelation 13:9, 10, 16, 17? Compare this hunger and thirst with that in the parable of Matthew 25:31-46, in the context of Revelation 13:9, 10, 16, 17. Compare Daniel 7:21, 22, 25 with Revelation 11:2, 3; 12:14, 17; 13:5-7.
RV7:17 Because the Lamb [Isaiah 53:7] in the middle of the Throne will shepherd and guide them398 to fountains of waters of life. [Isaiah 49:10] The God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”399 [Isaiah 25:8]
398 The Lamb in the middle of the Throne will shepherd and guide them: The whole phrase in these two verses is a direct quote from LXX at Isaiah 49:10: “They shall not hunger, neither shall they thirst; neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them… and by fountains shall he lead them.” Paul quotes Isaiah 49:8 and applies it to the Gentile Saints in Corinth. (2 Corinthians 6:2) Paul quotes it before a synagogue in Acts 13:47 when he applies Isaiah 49:6 to Israel and the Gentiles. The context of Isaiah 49:8-12 includes an inference to sheep other than Israel and thus “other sheep” (John 10:16), or Gentile Saints. These applications by Paul of Isaiah 49 are proof enough that the Large Crowd is composed of Saints with a heavenly destiny.
399 The God will wipe out every tear from their eyes: The phrase is straight from Isaiah 25:8 LXX. The “tears” are those of the Saints. This verse is also quoted by Paul at 1 Corinthians 15:54 and applied to the attainment of immortality in the heavenly resurrection. The tears caused by the Great Oppression are wiped out instantly by the Rapture. (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9) The parallel at Revelation 21:3 also likely applies to covenant Israel, those Saints who enter the New Jerusalem. See the notes on Revelation 21:3.

THE SIXTH SEAL CONTINUED: The Victorious Saints!

#168. Beginning with this portion of the Sixth Seal and chapter 7, verse 1, the Apocalypse introduces one of the most important groups in the entire Book of REVELATION, the Saints. Precisely, these are the Nazarene Saints alive when Christ returns. This group is called the “saints” in several (16) different occurrences in the Apocalypse. These are the same “saints of the Most High” in Daniel 7:18-27. Paul had referred to a similar group of Christians in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 when he identifies them as, ‘we the living at the Arrival of the Lord.’ If one were to re-read those parables in Matthew chapters 24 and 25 then this same group can be identified with the faithful slave on hand when the Master returns; the five wise virgins prepared for the Appearing of the Bridegroom; the industrious slaves who have done business with the Master’s investments; and, those Sheep who have been doing good to their fellows. There is hardly a chapter of the Apocalypse which does not contain this group in one form or another. This we will see as we follow them through these dangerous times.

#169. Before the ferocious Four Winds can break forth with destructive force against the earth and its green vegetation, there is an angelic “sealing” work which must be accomplished. This is similar to what Matthew 24:31 calls a ‘gathering of the Chosen Ones from the four corners of the earth.’ This “sealing” is like a confirmation resulting from judgment on those end-time Saints who are approved for being “snatched quickly” out of harm’s way in the Rapture. In order to be raptured from earth to heaven in the Changing, those of “we the living” (1 Thessalonians 4:16), must be judged while in the flesh. According to John’s vision these are a symbolic 144,000 sealed out of Israel. Who are the 144,000? (REVELATION 7:4) This would be a good time to examine the 144,000, for this group will appear in chapters 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, and 20 of the Apocalypse.

Nazarene Commentary 2000©

Mark Heber Miller

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