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Who Then Can Stand? Rev 7:1-8:1


Who Then Can Stand?

Text: Revelation 7:1-8:1

Revelation 6 ends with this very important question, in V17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Revelation 7 is the answer to that very important question.

1. The Sealed are Secure.

Just as the earth is being destroyed, there is a huge development, four angels appear, and they are holding back the four winds. These are very graphic images. Another angel appears and he addresses these first angels, “V3 Here’s the answer to question, “Who is able to stand, – only those who are sealed by God! To be sealed is:-

  • To be PROTECTED. Especially to be protected from anything trying to tamper with what is behind the seal.   
  • To be OWNED.  Song of Solomon 8:6,  A seal is a sign of ownership.
  • To be REAL. A seal can be a sign of authenticity, such as when a certificate is issued, there would be a seal upon it, guaranteeing that it is real. There’s an example in Esther 3:12  

Now, the Christian is sealed in every one of these respects. We are protected by God, and we are owned by Christ, who has bought us by his precious blood, and we are authenticated, by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Let’s see some biblical proof of that… 1 Corinthians 6:20  Romans 8:15. There is one more thing about these people who are sealed. The mark of their sealing is on their forehead. There’s a parallel passage in Rev. 14:1. The seal is the name of the Father! And we are the opposite of those who are not Children of God, who also have a mark on their foreheads, – the mark of the beast, Revelation 20:4 

So, “Who can stand?” – Those who are God’s children, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is able to make me stand!

2. The Symbolism of the Numbers. 2 Timothy 2:19  

Now, we have already learned, I hope, that in Revelation, all the numbers and images are symbolic, not literal. Now John hears a number, and it is the number of those who are sealed.  So, let’s return to the text of Revelation 7, and there are two numbers mentioned:-

  • The 144,000. V4 This is the number of those who are sealed by God, the believers who are protected by the Father, and owned by the Son. The wording is significant.
    • John HEARS this number spoken. He doesn’t SEE them. In verse 9, he SEES another number, but the 144000 are not visible to man, only to God. Why is this?
    • This number is symbolic of completeness, – in this case the completeness of the church, the entire church from every age, and every nation, which only God sees. He knows every single saint, he chose everyone of them, Christ died for every one of them, and the Holy Spirit indwells every one of them, they are all sealed.  But isn’t this a reference to the Jews, the physical nation of Israel? No, because John would have known that ten of the tribes are gone, taken away into captivity in 722BC by Assyria, and never heard of again, and because the list of tribes excludes, Ephraim and Dan, and because Rueben should be the first tribe, but he has been replaced by Judah – the tribe from which Jesus came. It is symbolic, of the spiritual Israel, 12 X 12 X 1000. 12 Tribes representing the OT Saints, 12 Apostles representing the NT Saints, 1000, – the perfect cube, 10x10x10, – complete and entire, with not a single believer omitted. READ Revelation 21:14-21 But then there’s another number:- 
  • The Great Multitude. VNow John SEES. And when he looks he sees a vast crowd of people in heaven, so great that he cannot count them. Think of verse 9 as parallel with verse 4.  Only the Lord knows who are his. When he looks on his church only he can number them, and his count is perfect, for every single Christian believer is known to God, but we are not blessed with that information. When we see his church, we see only a vast multitude of people, far more than we could ever count. Look at these people, in this crowd:-
    • They are wearing the attire of the redeemed! V9 
    • They are yielding praise unto Jesus! 10  There is an interesting Greek construction here. The word ‘salvation’ in the RT is ‘η σωτηρία (sōtēria) – literally, THE salvation. The definite article, – not just any salvation, – but the ONLY way of salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb of God. 
    • They are joined by the heavenly host! V11  

So, John hears and sees the Lord’s Church, gathered unto Him. This would have been of great comfort to those little isolated groups of believers scattered across the Roman world of that day.  

3. The Saints from the Tribulation. V13-14 

John is asked a question. “Who are these people?” The answer is given, they are the people who have done with the trials of this present world, and have left it, clothed in Christ’s righteousness. That’s you and me. We don’t die with no hope, – we get away! We get away from the sin and the toil and the temptation and the persecution and the tribulations of this evil sin cursed world, and we get away to a place where these things are no more. We leave it all behind and we go to be with Christ which is far better. Don’t be attaching too great a mystique to this term “The Great Tribulation.” , personally believe that as time reaches its conclusion, there will be a time of apostasy and falling away and great persecution of the saints. But persecution and tribulation has been the portion of the church from earliest days – frequently the trials that come from my own inborn sinfulness and rebellion – and that is very great tribulation indeed. 

And so this scene of the book reaches its climax. God’s covenant people are forever in heaven with the Lord, and the eternal blessedness of the saints, reiterated in chapter 21 is given here, in Rev. 7:15-17 Of course the blessedness of the saints in heaven is not the end – there is more to come, there is to be a new heaven and a new earth, but there is nothing more to be said – YET, so this scene ends with Revelation 8:1. Silence.

© Bob McEvoy July 2022

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