Revelation - Chapter 7
144000 Jews are preserved: 7:1-8.
Between the sixth and seventh seal there is an interlude. John saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds. In the scripture "Fours" represent the universality. Another angel comes from the east to instruct the four angels to delay the judgment until the two groups of people are saved and sealed during the tribulation period. This shows how gracious is our God. These passages also show that God not only saves Jews but also a multitude people from every nation and tribe. They are sealed to preserve them from coming wrath (9:4). The first group was chosen from the twelve tribes of Israel. These 144000 are clearly Jewish believers who are saved and sealed during the early part of tribulation (Rev 7:4-8). Seal speaks of ownership and security. This round number symbolizes innumerable multitude of God's people mentioned in verse 9. Two tribes Ephraim and Dan are missing from the list. It may be because they had fallen into idolatry (Judges 18; 1 King 11:26). The tribe of Joseph and Levi are included in the list. The seal preserves them from God's coming wrath. A vast number of people will be brought into the kingdom of God during this time. Satan will persecute those who are faithful to God but they will conquer him by the blood of the Lamb (12:11). Salvation is always by grace and through faith in Christ. It a gift from God. The Lord knows those who are his and they will depart from evil (2 Tim 2:19). God's grace will prevail at the end. God will save all those who are called to be his and nothing can prevent him.
A Great Multitude from the Great Tribulation: 7:9-17.
John saw a great multitude from every nation and tribe standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They are saved because of the witness of 144000 Jewish servants and the power of Christ. They are from every nations. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches. They are the redeemed people saved from the great tribulation. White robe is symbolic of the cleansing of their sin and their righteousness (Rev 19:8). They are saved by the blood of the Lamb. Palm branches speak of victory (John 12:12, 13). They praised God for their salvation saying “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb”. And all the angels, elders and four living creatures fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God saying that “you are worthy of blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might forever Amen” (7:11-12). One of the 24 elders asked John “Who are these clothed in white robes and where they come from? John said to him “Sir, you are the one who knows”. Then the angel told John “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” 7:14). They are countless in number and they praise God and the Lamb. They come out of the tribulation and serve God continuously. The Lamb shall feed them and shall lead them to living water. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. What a wonderful picture of God’s mercy. In the midst of judgment they found grace in the sight of God. Some scholars suggest that this is the picture of all believers who remained faithful unto death. This passage does not teach that there will be a second chance to get saved after rapture. Those who reject the gospel now will not have another opportunity (2 Thess 2:11, 12). Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2).