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A Study Of The Book Of Revelation
Lesson No. 10: Chapter 7

Date: September 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th, 2003, Wednesday Evening Adult Bible Class
Speaker: John Phillis
Note: Much of the information for this Study of Revelation was taken from the book “Revelation Through First Century Glasses” by W. B. West. Other sources: “The Living Word, Study of Revelation, Parts I & II” by Dr. Frank Pack; “Revelation” by Jim McGuiggan; “Commentary on Revelation” by Homer Hailey; “Commentary on Revelation” by Burton Coffman; “The Book of Revelation – Spiritual Sword Lectureship, October 18 – 22, 1998”; “Commentary on Revelation” by Howard Winters; “Revelation for Christians Today” by Lonnie Woodruff; “Unlocking Revelation” by J. Stafford North.

Objective in Studying this Chapter:

1) To identify the two groups in the two visions seen in this chapter

2) To note how these visions would comfort those who must pass through the great tribulation

A Brief Introduction

John’s view here is of something that does not have, really, anything to do with a seal. Actually, in this chapter, chapter 7 and the first part of chapter 8, there is something of an interlude. Six of the seven seals have been opened; the seventh yet remains. So, there are two visions that John is going to see here. These would not seem to be a part of the opening of the seals, but they certainly are a part of this great revelation and these things that God, through His Holy Spirit, is showing to the people of that day, and to us in our day. This is very important. There are important Messages, important lessons, for us to understand.

This chapter deals with the hope, with the comfort, with the assurance, that we have in Christ. But it comes at what we might consider to be a rather interesting time. In chapter 6, we saw the opening of six of the seven seals. There, we saw images of conflict on earth for believers. We saw scarcity on earth for believers. We saw wide-spread death on the earth for believers. We heard the cry of martyrs under the throne, crying out, “How long, O Lord, how long?” [Revelation 6:10: “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’”] Chapter 6 concludes with images of cosmic disturbances. We believe this indicates the fall, the collapse, of the Roman Empire, which we will get to over in chapter 13, as well as, perhaps, other empires, other kingdoms, other reigns, of those who oppose God and His people.

But then, we see in chapter 7 that there is one of the most glorious pictures of hope and assurance that we have in all the Scriptures. What a great contrast there is between these two chapters. One writer referred this contrast to “a divine flip-flop.” Well, not a “flip-flop” in the sense that God is changing His mind or doing something radically different from what He’s done before; but, in contrast we see that there is this difference. Overall, chapter 7 reminds its readers of the assurance, the hope, the comfort that we have in Christ Jesus. Indeed, that is an important Message. It was an important Message for those of that age; it’s an important Message for us today.

We noticed at the end of chapter 6, verse 17, that there was a question: “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand? Given just a cursory look at this, a cursory consideration, we would say, “NO ONE! NO ONE is able to stand!” But, that would not be exactly correct, because we see here in chapter 7, and verse 9, that there is a great multitude which no one could number. They are depicted here as “standing”“standing before the throne [of God] and before the Lamb.” These ones are not objects of God’s wrath, because they have been obedient, and they have overcome by the blood of the Lamb, chapter 7, verses 13 and 14.

There are two great words, two great thoughts, which connect chapter 6 and chapter 7. The first of these two words is “seal.” The seals of judgment come upon the earth in chapter 6. As those six seals were opened, God’s judgment was in view. As we know, six seals were opened in that chapter, and the seventh seal will not be opened until chapter 8, verses 1 through 5. And here is chapter 7, between the opening of the sixth and the seventh seal. It promises HOPE. Assurance is given to those who are down-trodden. Revelation 7, verses 3 and 4, the 144,000 are “sealed”—given God’s seal of ownership. We see, there in Revelation, chapter 6, a contrast between God’s seal of judgment in THAT place and God’s seal on the forehead of the 144,000 in Revelation, chapter 7.

So, in Chapter 7, we see another seal. But this is the “seal” of God’s Ownership, of His authentication, of His protection, upon the foreheads of certain ones. So, the first word that links these two chapters is “seal.”

The second word that links these two chapters is “stand.” Only those who stand for Christ faithfully now will be among those who stand at the throne and before the Lamb. In chapter 7, verse 9 and following, we see that, indeed, there are some who will “stand”—a great host, an innumerable multitude that no one can count who are standing in the presence of Almighty God, standing before the throne of God, and of the Lamb.

Once again, back to that question at the end of chapter 6, verse 17. The question is asked, “…who is able to stand against the wrath of God? “…who is able to stand” in the great day of God’s wrath? NO ONE is able to stand based on his or her own merits, but only, ONLY, on the basis of Jesus Christ and what He has done upon the cross AND the embracing of the Gospel that saves, Hebrews 5, verses 8 and 9 [“…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him….”]

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