End Times: Back to the Future
Lesson 10 w/AnswersRevelation Chapter 7
In this lesson, covering Chapter 7 of Revelation, we will encounter a pause in the judgments being unsealed, as God prepares to do something else before the breaking of the seventh seal and the releasing the final fourteen judgments. As with so much of the book of Revelation, this chapter contains many symbols that we will need to understand if we are to digest the full meaning of the chapter.
As a first step, we will want to read Chapter 7 through at least once. As you read through it, note the symbols used and make note of the things that are easily understood. Be careful that you do not overlook some of the symbolism reflected in the chapter. For example, the number "four" surfaces several times early in the chapter, as well as the terms "earth or land", "trees", "sea or seas", "wind or winds", and "seal or seals".
Read Revelation Chapter 7, and let’s consider the following questions to see what God through His Holy Spirit will reveal to us regarding the meaning of this great passage.
- Based on our learnings from prior lessons, there are two possible uses for the number four as a symbol for something. What are they?
- ANSWER 1: It represents "universality" e.g., looking at all of the world or earth; or when largeness or breadth of view are being emphasized.
- ANSWER 2: It is also the signature of man and earthly creation.
- What about the terms "sea" or "seas"? What can they symbolize? (see Isaiah 17:12-13 and Revelation 17:15).
- ANSWER: They symbolize "troubled" people, or people being stirred-up, or tossed to-and-fro.
- Wind is mentioned, and in particular, the "four winds of earth". What can this refer to? (see Isaiah 11:15, John 3:8, Acts 2:2, Matt 24:31, Zechariah 6:5, Jeremiah 49:36, and Daniel 7:2)
- ANSWER: Wind, and in this case, "four" winds, symbolize God’s mighty and invisible power going forth to cause something to happen on a global or worldwide basis.
- Trees are mentioned several times in Revelation. What could they symbolize? (see Isaiah 10:33)
- ANSWER: Trees represent people of authority, leaders and people of influence within a society, nation or the earth itself.
- Seals are mentioned several times in the book of Revelation. They symbolize ownership. What else do they symbolize? (see Ezekiel 9:4, 2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13, and 2 Timothy 2:19).
- ANSWER 1: As mentioned above, seals identify us with those who have authority over us; it is a sign of ownership.
- ANSWER 2: Seals also protect us, or set us apart from others.
- ANSWER 3: Finally, God’s seal is a seal of promise that we, as followers of Christ, have an eternal blessing and a home that awaits us.
- What do you suppose is meant in Revelation 7:3 by sealing "the servants of our God" on their foreheads? It could actually represent a literal mark, but it could also represent something else. Any thoughts on what it might be?
- ANSWER: Figuratively, it could also represent something different in their way of thinking. In other words, the Jews who are have been "sealed" have come to a change of heart, a change of mind, and a new way of seeing that has opened their eyes to the Gospel. It is revealed to them that Jesus actually is the Messiah, the Christ, and that his return is imminent. Once this has occurred with all of the 144,000, they go out to proclaim this message.
- Two groups of people who will be saved during the period called the "Great Tribulation" referenced in Revelation 7:14. They are described in this chapter, in verses 1-8 and 9-17. Who are they?
- ANSWER 1: The first group consists of the 144,000 Jews who convert to become followers of Christ and go forth with the Gospel message.
- ANSWER 2: The second group is comprised of the "great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language" [NIV]. They are those who are saved during this time. Most theologians believe that this period represents the second half of the Tribulation Period, following the Anti-Christ breaking his peace agreement with Israel.
- The chapter closes with a description of the blessings awaiting the martyred who are now in heaven praising God. What a fitting way to end a chapter: hope and promise — in the middle of so much death and destruction. Note again how numbers continue to surface; look at Revelation 7:11. How perfect is their praise. How many things do they say about God in that verse?
- ANSWER: They say seven things, the number of perfection. They give him Praise, Glory, Thanks, Wisdom, Honor, Power and Strength. How perfect is that?!
So, in spite of the judgments about to be poured out on mankind, God shows a picture of those whom he will save during this period, and it is a multitude so large that it cannot be counted. What a praise! In this chapter we see hope, even in times of extreme trouble and distress, as God saves those who do not follow the Anti-Christ, those who chose instead to follow Him, even though death was the likely outcome. What a scene in heaven, as all those martyred praise God for His faithfulness and for saving them.
In our next lesson, the four winds are released as the seventh seal is broken, and the trumpet judgments begin.