Bible Commentary on the
Book of Revelation
King James Version
1 And after these things I saw four
angels standing on the four corners of the earth,
holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind
should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east,
having the seal of the living God: and he cried with
a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was
given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor
the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our
God in their foreheads.
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed:
and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four
thousand of all the tribes of the children of
5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve
thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed
7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve
thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve
thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed
8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve
thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve
thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed
Multitude in White Robes
this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no
man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and
people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and
before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms
in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to
our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne,
and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell
before the throne on their faces, and worshipped
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom,
and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might,
be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me,
What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and
whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he
said to me, These are they which came out of great
tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made
them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and
serve him day and night in his temple: and he that
sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any
more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne
shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living
fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all
tears from their eyes.
THESE THINGS I SAW FOUR ANGELS STANDING ON THE FOUR CORNERS OF
THE EARTH, HOLDING THE FOUR WINDS OF THE EARTH, THAT THE WIND
SHOULD NOT BLOW ON THE EARTH, NOR ON THE SEA, NOR ON ANY TREE.
And after these things
What things? Why the events of the Seven Seals, especially
the last events. That is, the great events of the sixth seal
such as the Lisbon earthquake, the Dark Day, the Falling stars,
the Heavens departing as a scroll, the Powers of heaven shaken.
I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth
Why four angels? Did you notice that they are stationed at
the four corners of the earth? This is symbolic. Actually there
are many, many angels employed in the task of holding back the
forces of evil. The four corners mean the four points of the
compass or the whole earth.
Winds represent destructive forces as we notice in
49:36, "And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the
four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those
winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam
shall not come." So the four winds are the destructive
forces that are held in check by the heavenly agencies.
Testimonies to the Church by EG White Vol 7, p. 968 says,
"Everything in the world is in an unsettled state … But although
the nations are mustering their forces for war and bloodshed,
the command to the angels is still in force that they hold the
four winds until the servants of God are sealed in their
That the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea,
nor on any tree
These destructive forces represent the efforts of Satan to
spread ruin and destruction everywhere. God's loyal angels are
keeping the armies of Satan at bay until the sealing of God's
people has been completed.
SAW ANOTHER ANGEL ASCENDING FROM THE EAST, HAVING THE SEAL OF
THE LIVING GOD; AND HE CRIED WITH A LOUD VOICE TO THE FOUR
ANGELS, TO WHOM IT WAS GIVEN TO HURT THE EARTH AND THE SEA.
And I saw another angel ascending from the east
From the East represents a message from God. Testimonies to
Ministers by EG White p.444 says, "… The mighty angel is seen
ascending from the east (or sunrising). This mightiest of angels
has in his hand the seal of the living God, or of Him who alone
can give life, who can inscribe upon the foreheads the mark or
inscription, to whom shall be granted immortality, eternal
Having the seal of the Living God
What is this seal, which is of such grave importance that the
tides of evil are held in check while it is placed on the people
of God? The seal of the Living God has a definite relationship
with the searching question found in the seventeenth verse of
the previous chapter, "Who shall be able to stand?".
This seventh chapter answers the question by pointing to a
company of people who, in the very last moments of time, receive
God's protecting mark, the "Seal of the Living God". The apostle
Paul tells us something about this seal in
2 Timothy 2:19,
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this
seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his...". God knows His
people, for they have been sealed in their foreheads by the
angel with the Seal of the Living God.
We may well ask, is it possible to know exactly what the seal
might be? Yes, the answer is found in the Holy Scriptures.
Isaiah 8:16 says, "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among
My disciples." This law is the Ten Commandments known as the
Royal law, for they were written by God Himself. The original is
in heaven itself as we notice in Revelation 11:19 and
According to Scripture, the words 'sign' and 'seal' are
synonymous terms. Romans 4:11 says, "And he received the sign
of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith…"
In this law there must be both a sign and a seal.
To help us discover the seal in God's law it would be well to
examine the specifications of a seal. A seal must contain three
things, the Name, Office and Territory of the monarch. For
instance, the seal of Queen Elizabeth would be Elizabeth II,
Queen, Great Britain, etc. As we look in the law of God
for His seal we must find these three things. In the first
commandment we find only His name, the same in the second and
third commandment. However the fourth is different, notice what
it says in Exodus 20:10,11, "But the seventh day is the
sabbath of the LORD thy God (His Name): in it thou shalt not do
any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, ... for in six
days the LORD made (Creator) heaven and earth, the sea, and all
that in them is (Territory), wherefore the LORD blessed the
sabbath day, and hallowed it."
Of all the commandments, it is only the fourth one which has
the three characteristics of a seal. Only in this one do you
find the Name, Title and the Territory. It is the only one that
shows by whose authority the law is given.
"Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me
and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify
This seal is a sign of sanctification, and it is a sign
forever. The seal placed in the forehead by the angel, cannot be
read by man; only God and heavenly beings can read it. There are
those who would desire to enforce the keeping of one day in
seven, their preference would be for Sunday which they claim to
be the Lord's day. However no civil law can enforce the true
keeping of God's day or any other day, for only those who are
living very close to Christ can enter into the blessing and
sanctification which God has placed upon it.
God speaking through the prophet Ezekiel goes on to say
"And hallow my sabbaths; and shall be a sign between me and you,
that ye may know that I am the LORD your God" (Ezekiel 20:20). These two verses tell us that God's Sabbaths are to be a
SIGN or a SEAL, and that this SEAL is a SIGN of sanctification
and is a distinguishing mark which clearly identifies those who
A Methodist writer, Amos Binney says, "God's blessing and
sanctifying the day meant that He separated it from a common to
a religious use, to be a perpetual memorial or sign that all who
thus observe it would show themselves to be the worshippers of
that God who made the world in six days and rested on the
Satan had done his utmost to deceive people as regards this
seal; he has tried to keep the people from seeing the importance
of it. He puts it into the mouths of people to say, "Why give
such great importance to a mere day? Saturday is just a day;
Sunday is just a day." True enough, they are just days; but
it is what the day stands for that really counts and it is a day
which reveals the true God.
It has been well said, "If men had always kept the seventh
day there would never have been an idolater; for the Sabbath is
a memorial of the true God, the Creator of the heavens and the
earth. Nor an atheist: for the Sabbath, in memorialising
creation, gives us a personal God, our Maker and friend. There
would never have been an evolutionist; for the Sabbath presents
God as the Creator, not blind force or unaided natural law."
It would be true to say that Christ's atonement for mankind
would never have been denied, for not only does the Sabbath
preserve the truth of Christ as Creator, but also as the
Re-Creator. Just as clearly does the fourth commandment reveal
the true God, the Bible also makes it plain that a casual,
superficial observance of the Sabbath day does not constitute
the 'Seal of God.'
It is only as the Holy Spirit writing God's commandments on
the surrendered heart, can bring about a complete
sanctification. Satan has deceived the world. He has led
thousands to spurn and reject the Commandments of God, but
despite his efforts the SEAL is still there, for it is in the
very foundation of God's heavenly government.
2 Timothy 2:19
says, "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal,
the Lord knoweth them that are his..." God tells His true
followers that His SEAL still remains for it is in the very
foundation of God.
In Isaiah 8:16 we are told "Bind up the testimony, seal
the law among my disciples." The message tells us that God's
broken law must be mended or repaired and placed back in the
sacred position God intended it to have in the hearts of His
people. So just before the coming of Christ, the broken law will
be back in its rightful place. For the law of God is to be
sealed among the members of the true church of the last days.
Remember that searching question of verse 17 last chapter?
"Who shall be able to stand?" There is one thing that is
sure, it will be those who are positive, active, dedicated and
obedient Christians, who will be able to stand.
And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it
was given to hurt the earth and the sea
The angel ascending from the East gives a special command to
the four angels who are holding back the destructive forces. It
is great encouragement to know that the angels of God are still
in control and that God's work must be completed before the
angels let go. However there is a word of caution in the book
'Early Writings' by EG White page 58, "… The sealing time is
very short, and will soon be over. Now is the time, while the
four angels are holding the four winds, to make our calling and
HURT NOT THE EARTH, NEITHER THE SEA, NOR THE TREES, TILL WE HAVE
SEALED THE SERVANTS OF OUR GOD IN THEIR FOREHEADS.
Saying, hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees
The world is in an unsettled state for there seems to be
unrest, preparation for war itself, political upheaval, economic
difficulties, violence and an upsurge in criminal activity.
There is no question that the great day of God is coming closer
but the command to the angels is still in force, that they hold
the four winds until the servants of God are sealed in their
Till we have sealed the servants of our God in their
God knows the sincere seeker, He knows the honest hearted
follower for they are the ones who are sealed with the SEAL of
the LIVING GOD. It is the servants of God who are SEALED; to be
a servant means to be completely loyal, that is a true servant
in the full sense of the word.
The Holy Scriptures indicate that the character of those who
are SEALED must reflect the image of Jesus fully, stand before
God without spot or stain, reveal to others God's character of
AND I HEARD THE NUMBER OF THEM WHICH WERE SEALED: AND THERE WERE
SEALED AN HUNDRED AND FORTY AND FOUR THOUSAND OF ALL THE TRIBES
OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
And I heard the number of them which were sealed
The fact that this company known as the 144,000 is numbered,
suggests that this company is much smaller in size than the
Great Multitude mentioned later on in this chapter. The Great
Multitude was so large that it could not be numbered, at least
that is by man. The fact that there is a difference in sizes of
these two companies is important, as we will notice later on.
And there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand
There are those who take this number as a literal number and
there are those who believe it is symbolic. If it is a literal
number then it is a very small company indeed. There are very
good reasons why it could be a symbolic number and it is worth
taking notice of them. Firstly in the Book of Revelation,
numbers do have a symbolic meaning. For instance, the number 12
represents the Church, it is God's Kingdom number. Israel was
made up of Twelve Tribes and in the New Testament there are
Twelve Apostles. The Holy City, the New Jerusalem, also
represents the Church and there are twelve gates at the entrance
to the city with twelve angels standing at each gate. The city
has twelve foundations which bear the names of the twelve
Apostles. 144,000 is the square of 12 multiplied by 1,000.
Another thing that is rather strange is that each tribe is
exactly 12,000 in number. The twelve fold repetition of the
number 12,000 suggests that the purpose of this passage is to
show the distribution of the sealed people among the tribes of
spiritual Israel rather than to give the exact number.
Another point to consider is that the Loud Cry or Second
Pentecost climaxes at the time this number is made up, and
thousands will pour into God's Remnant Church from all over the
earth. In Revelation chapter 18 verse 4, we are told that there
are large numbers of God's people still in Babylon who must come
out. It will be these who will respond to the final call and
will swell the numbers of the saved. It does not pay to be
dogmatic in these things where there is insufficient information
but there is evidence that this number could be a symbolic one.
Of all the tribes of the children of Israel
Twelve thousand from all the tribes of Israel. There are
those who believe that the 144,000 is made up of Jews, that this
company is Jewish. It is very important that ISRAEL is a
character name, that it means Overcomer, and how often
overcoming is stressed in Revelation. To be an Israelite is to
be an overcomer.
The Three Angels messages of
Revelation 14, as it circles the
globe, have a special message to the inhabitants of the earth.
Verse 6 says, "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of
heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that
dwell on the earth, and to every nation and kindred and tongue
and people". As those who hear this message respond to it,
they become spiritual Israel, though they belong to every
The apostle Paul in
Romans 9:6 latter half says, "For they
are not all Israel which are of Israel". In verse 7 first
half, "Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are
they all children…" In verse 8, "That is, They which are
the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God:
but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."
It is all who are in Christ that make up God's Israel,
regardless of nationality.
The Apostle Paul explains how this comes about in
Romans 11:17-24. In this passage he uses the illustration of
grafting new stock into the old olive tree. He says that some of
the branches (that is the natural descendants of Abraham, the
Jews) were broken off because of unbelief in Christ. But through
faith in Christ, the wild olive (that is, the Gentiles) are
grafted into the old Olive tree. It is in this way that the
Twelve Tribes are perpetuated. Such statements of St Paul as
these make it very clear.
Romans 9:6 last half says, " For
they are not all Israel, which are of Israel."
says, "For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly". Verse
29 says, "But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly". Paul
amplifies this in
Galatians 3:26-29, "For ye are all the
children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as
have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is
neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is
neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And
if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs
according to the promise."
Regardless of nationality, when a person accepts Christ as
his or her personal Saviour, they become spiritual Israel. That
is why James, in his epistle to the Christian believers, writes
as he does in James 1:1,2. "James a servant of God and of the
Lord Jesus Christ to the twelve tribes which are scattered
abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall
into divers temptations." James is addressing Christians,
some are converts from Paganism, others are Jews, and yet they
are all included in the twelve tribes. Our Lord Jesus sums it up
nicely by saying in John 8:39 last half, "If ye were
Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham."
It is character that makes a person an Israelite, the same
kind of character as Abraham. Unfortunately a large number of
the literal descendants of Abraham failed to develop a character
which would have fitted them for a place in God's Kingdom. One
thing is very certain, that it is character and character alone
which will determine whether a person is sealed or not.
The 144,000 is divided up into twelve divisions bearing the
name of Jacob's twelve sons, and these names are character
names, and the father of these sons has described for us the
character of each one. As we examine each one, we will be able
to fit ourselves into the character described which is most like
our own, thus we will be able to determine under which gate we
will enter into the New Jerusalem.
TRIBE OF JUDA WERE SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND, OF THE TRIBE OF
REUBEN WERE SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND, OF THE TRIBE OF GAD WERE
SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND.
Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand
Juda is named first and there is a special reason for this.
In order to find out the reason why Juda is placed first we have
to turn to Genesis 49:8-10. "Judah, thou art he whom thy
brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine
enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah
is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he
stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who
shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor
a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto
him shall the gathering of the people be."
Judah is placed first on the list in honour of Christ who
came from this tribe, for Shiloh is none other than Christ
Himself who is the true LION of the tribe of Judah. The LION,
the King of the forest, is a very fitting symbol of this tribe,
for from this tribe there came Israel's greatest king, David and
the son of David, SHILOH. The name Judah means "the praised
one". The record says that Judah, the fourth son of Jacob,
"prevailed above his brethren," and thus he inherited the
spiritual birthright. Judah was a real overcomer, for in his
early life he was wild and reckless, but as he grew older he
acquired such personal strength of character that he is the
first of the tribes entering the Kingdom. The record states that
Judah "prevailed above his brethren..." How did he
prevail above his brethren and thus inherit the spiritual
birthright? There is no record that he did it by force of arms
and yet he stands out as the leader.
Judah won the respect of his brethren in the day by day
contact of home life. It was a confidence not born in a moment
but one which was established over a period of years. And so
there will be 12,000 of the 144,000 or one twelfth of that
number if taken symbolically, who will enter the New Jerusalem
under the name of JUDAH. Persons who have in times of perplexity
or of great difficulty, been recognised by their brethren as
trusted leaders. No other tribe has furnished the world with so
many mighty men of God.
At the head of the list, JESUS of Nazareth. Caleb, the man
who when others were only able to see unsurmountable
difficulties, was able to say "We are well able to overcome it."
David, honoured above all other earthly leaders, in being taken
as a type of Christ. Daniel, who was prepared to face hungry
lions, rather than compromise with principle.
Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand
Reuben should have been the first on the list for he was the
first born. Jacob speaking of Reuben, reveals the reason why he
lost his position as the first born.
Genesis 49:3,4 says,
"Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of
my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of
power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excell; because thou
wentest up to thy father's bed; then defilest thou it: he went
up to my couch."
It was because of weakness of character that he lost the
privilege of the first born. Like his uncle Esau, he lightly
esteemed the birthright. He committed a sin that caused him to
lose forever the spiritual and temporal rights of the first
born, he committed adultery with his father's wife. Reuben was
"as unstable as water," he was unreliable and even his father
had little confidence in his word. Rather unfortunately the
unstable nature of Reuben seems to have been transmitted to his
descendants. Right throughout the history of this tribe there is
a record of this very thing. But here is a very strange thing,
although Reuben and his descendants failed, strangely enough,
Reuben will be immortalised. For right throughout eternity, the
countless millions of the redeemed will read the name of Reuben
on one of the pearly gates of the New Jerusalem.
You might say, "How is it possible to honour one who
apparently made a failure of his life?" This is one of the great
mysteries of the Gospel. When the character of Christ is
manifested in the lives of those who accept the Gospel message,
there is such a pronounced change in their lives that they are
now fitted for a place in God's Kingdom. There are multitudes of
men and women in the world today with characters like Reuben.
They are "unstable as water", with no power in themselves to do
any good thing. But when they realise their weakness and turn to
God for help, He comes to their rescue and changes their lives
and characters so they are able to walk into the Holy City under
Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand
Gad moves from the 8th place in the original list that was
given by Jacob on his death bed to the 3rd tribe to enter the
Holy City. There is not much written about Gad.
says, "Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome
at the last." Gad can be taken as a type of the backslider
who is overcome by a flood of temptations but realising his
danger, prays for divine strength and overcomes in the end. The
secret of the Gadite's victories over their enemies is given in
1 Chronicles 5:20 "They cried to God in the battle, and He
was entreated of them; because they put their trust in Him."
It is very easy to see why this tribe were moved up the list to
a position near the top. We ought to ask ourselves the question,
are we like Gad putting our trust where it ought to be?
TRIBE OF ASER WERE SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND. OF THE TRIBE OF
NEPTHALIM WERE SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND. OF THE TRIBE OF MANASSES
WERE SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND.
Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand
Genesis 49:20 says, "Out of Asher his bread shall be fat,
and he shall yield royal dainties." Asher or Aser was to be
prosperous. No matter what hand to, he is bound to prosper. You
have met them for there are some Christians who as far as
prosperity goes just cannot go wrong. But their prosperity is
the hardest test of all. When Moses pronounced his parting
blessing upon the tribes of Israel he said, "Let Asher be
blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren,
and let him dip his foot in oil" (Deut 33:24). Some people
have the happy faculty of always getting out of difficulties as
if everything was oiled. Asher would yield royal dainties. God
knows that His people need plenty of encouragement so He gives
us the Ashers' who by speaking kind words warm the hearts of the
people. What a blessing to the Church is the Asers' or Ashers',
there should be more of them.
Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand
Now we come to Naphtali, this is the name given in the Old
Testament. The change of names comes about because the Old
Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament is in
Greek. Genesis 49:21 says, "Naphtali is a hind let loose: he
giveth goodly words." Naphtali sees a thousand places where
he can speak good words and is always ready to give a helping
hand. A hind, or female deer, is a timid animal, ready to flee
at the first approach of danger. No one would attempt to place a
burden on a deer, so Naphtali is not burdened down with heavy
responsibility and is able to give of his time helping others.
Naphtali has a precious gift that everyone may covet, "He
giveth goodly words." He encourages the downcast and the
discouraged, and by his kind words brings fresh hope and
courage. However because he speaks "goodly words" does not mean
that he does not have depth of character for we are told in
Judges 5:18 "Zebulin and Naphtali were a people that
jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the
field." They were determined to conquer or die, for the
cause of God was more precious to them than life itself. Thank
God for the Naphtalis', they can be found in every church. The
question we need to ask ourselves is, are we like this tribe? I
wish we were, but God has seen fit to have all types and
characters make up His church.
Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand
Manasses or Manasseh replaces the tribe of Dan. Manasseh was
not a son of Jacob but a son of Joseph and was Jacob's grandson.
Before we notice how Manasseh moves into the honoured list, we
will find out why Dan is excluded.
Genesis 49:16,17 says,
"Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan
shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth
the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward."
Putting this in simple and every day English, he was a cruel
critic, a backbiter and the gift that should have been a
blessing became a curse, causing others to stumble and to fall.
The cruel critic, the one who always detects the evil in others
first and is first to speak about it. The gift of judgment which
God intended should be a help to His people has been
misdirected. It is a solemn thing to consider that those who
continue in this sort of thing can never enter the Kingdom of
God. The accuser of our brethren was cast out of heaven and so
there is no place there for those who follow his example.
Now what about Manasseh, who takes his place? Like his great
uncle Esau, Manasseh, although he was the first born, received
the second place in the blessing. However unlike Esau who was
careless about the blessing and did not place much value on it,
Manasseh esteemed the blessing and was proud of it. The blessing
of the LORD was greatly prized by Manasseh and by his
descendants. They took a qreat interest in the reforms that were
instituted by the good kings of Judah. When King Asa broke down
the idols and renewed the worship of the LORD, we are told that
they came to him "in abundance" from Manasseh, "when
they saw that the LORD his God was with him" (2 Chronicles
15:9). Again when King Hezekiah held his great Passover feast,
representatives from Manasseh humbled their hearts and came and
partook of the Passover. Again they did the same in the days of
Josiah. I believe that because of Manasseh's ready response to
reform, the LORD has seen fit to immortalise Manasseh.
TRIBE OF SIMEON WERE SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND. OF THE TRIBE OF
LEVI WERE SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND. OF THE TRIBE OF ISSACHAR WERE
SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND.
Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand.
Simeon was a very cruel man and was the most guilty in the
selling of his brother Joseph. If you are cruel and revengeful
by nature then you can clearly place yourself in the tribe of
Simeon. He was a man of strong passions, and his life and that
of the tribe which bears his name, contain some of the darkest
stains in the history of ancient Israel.
The crowning sin in Simeon's life was the murder of the men
of Shechem. Levi, his brother, was connected with Simeon in this
wicked work but Simeon seems to have been the leading spirit for
his name is mentioned first. Jacob in his parting blessing said,
"l will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel."
Both tribes were divided and scattered, but how differently!
The Levites held positions of honour and were scattered over the
country as religious educators and priests. While Simeon through
corrupting elements in the tribe itself, was reduced in numbers
and finally lost their inheritance. In the twenty fifth chapter
of Numbers we find that the chief men of Simeon were the leaders
in the great apostasy and they became the prey to the harlots of
This certainly raises a question in our minds how it can be
that a man who was famous for murder and sin should have his
name inscribed on one of the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem.
And that one 12th of the 144,000 will enter the city of God
bearing the name of that man. The fact that one has committed
sin will never exclude him from the kingdom of God. It is
unconfessed sin which debars anyone from receiving eternal life.
Jesus is the only one born of woman who is sinless. He alone of
all the family of Adam will throughout eternity have an
uncovered life record. But our life record, marred by sin, will
be covered by Christ's righteousness. The blood of Christ can
cleanse from sin of the deepest dye and even murderers can enter
heaven, not as murderers, but as pardoned sinners.
So gathered out of the sin and wickedness of the last
generation, there will be twelve thousand redeemed ones, who
through the virtue of the blood of Christ, will be grafted into
the tribe of Simeon, and right throughout eternity will
represent that tribe in God's Kingdom.
Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand
Levi was a partner to Simeon in their cruelty to the
Shechemites. Genesis 49:5 says, "Simeon and Levi are
brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations."
They were brothers not only in flesh but in their thoughts and
actions. Jacob goes on to describe them in the next two verses.
Verse 6 says, "0 my soul, come not thou into their secret;
unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in
their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged
down a wall." Verse 7 says, "Cursed be their anger, for
it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide
them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel."
Levi received no inheritance of the land of Canaan, because
of Levi's participation in the massacre, but was scattered among
the other tribes. Later on we have a very good illustration of
how a curse can be fulfilled and yet result in a blessing to all
concerned, for this is what happened to Levi. Character is
formed by the way that individuals meet the common events of
every day life. But it is tested by the way they meet the crisis
At Mt Sinai the people of God passed through one of the
greatest crises in the history of the church, when the whole
multitude of Israel worshipped the golden calf. It was at this
time when even God Himself was ready to destroy Israel that the
tribe of Levi came forward and by their faithfulness helped to
save the cause of God.
Exodus 32:26 says, "Then Moses stood
in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side?
let him come unto me. And all of Levi gathered themselves
together unto him." Verse 27 says, "And he said unto
them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword
by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the
camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his
companion, and every man his neighbour." Verse 28 first half
says, "And the children of Levi did according to the word of
At the time of this crisis the honour of God was dearer to
the Levites than all worldly connections, neither brother,
companions or friends stood between them and their duty to God.
As a reward for their faithfulness, the priesthood, a portion of
the birthright, was given to the sans of Levi. What Reuben lost
by unfaithfulness in his father's house, Levi gained by being
true to God before all Israel.
Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand
There is something very interesting about Issachar.
49:14,15 says, "Issachar is a strong ass couchinq between two
burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was
pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant
Are we like that, ready to bear the burdens, even double
burdens? The cause of God would never advance if it were not for
these loyal burden bearers. They never let you dawn, but put
their shoulders to the task and carry the responsibility of
There are many who lose the blessing by murmuring and
complaining when they are required to carry double burdens, but
Issachar was sustained by the thought of the pleasant land in
store and that one day he would be able to lay down his heavy
burdens. There are Issachars in every church and what a blessing
they are for they are the salt of the earth. As the redeemed
read the name of Issachar on one of those twelve gates, it will
be a constant reminder of these faithful and loyal burden
bearers, the backbone of Gad's church.
TRIBE OF ZABULON WERE SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND. OF THE TRIBE OF
JOSEPH WERE SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND. OF THE TRIBE OF 8ENJAMIN
WERE SEALED TWELVE THOUSAND.
Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand
In Genesis 49:13 we read, "Zebulon shall dwell at the
haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his
border shall be unto Zidon." Zebulon is the counsellor, the
one who speaks wards of wisdom at the right time. He is likened
to a haven of ships, there is safety in his counsel. When the
church faces a crisis he is the one to steer it through the
turbulent waters. You can always depend on him for his nature
does not change. With all the buffeting that comes in the
Christian experience, Zebulon remains firm and unshaken.
Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand
We now have two remaining tribes. In the most expressive
words and figures the patriarch Jacob pronounces unlimited
blessings on Joseph.
Genesis 49:22-24 says, "Joseph is a
fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches
run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot
at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength and the
arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty
God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of
Joseph receives the greatest blessing of all. Jacob uses the
illustration of the archers, "The archers have sorely grieved
him, and shot at him, and hated him". This is a reference to
the persecution Joseph suffered as well as his years of slavery
and imprisonment. However in all his trials and persecution
Joseph stood firm, for his hands were strengthened by the One
who is the Shepherd and Stone of Israel.
The Josephs are rare, they are the jewels of the church, the
precious ones of God. During Joseph's long life of 110 years we
have no record of his ever proving untrue to God in any way. He
died with a firm faith in the promise made to Abraham, lsaac and
Jacob. The Josephs' are a sanctified people, they walk very
close to God.
Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand
And now we come to the final tribe.
Genesis 49:27 says,
"Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour
the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil." Benjamin
was aggressive, he is mentioned as the hunter. The warlike
character described by Jacob was seen in the tribe that carried
his name. The Benjaminites were distinguished archers and
slingers. It is interesting to notice that St Paul was of the
tribe of Benjamin.
Romans 11:1 says, "For I also am an
Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin."
The question we need to ask ourselves is, are we aggressive
for God? If so, then it is certain that we belong to the tribe
of Benjamin. However not only was Benjamin aggressive but he was
also unselfish, "he shall divide the spoil". The same
fearless character that Jacob compared to a wolf, destroying
everything before it, is changed by the converting power of the
Spirit of God, and the strength once used to destroy is now used
in building up the work.
God is going to work a miracle, for He is going to transform
all these characters in the refining process of trial and
persecution. Before any of the 144,000 can enter into those
pearly gates they must pass through the Time of Trouble spoken
of by the prophet Daniel. At this time they will be tried and
tested and their characters will be perfected, for it is said of
them in Revelation 14:5, last part, "...For they are without
fault before the throne of God." Not through their own
merits but through the sanctifying power of God.
Jude 24 says, "Now unto him that is able to keep you from
falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his
glory with exceeding joy." Christ will put the finishing
touches on their characters so they are able to stand before God
without stain or spot.
THIS I BEHELD, AND, LO, A GREAT MULTITUDE, WHICH NO MAN COULD
NUMBER, OF ALL NATIONS, AND KINDREDS, AND PEOPLE, AND TONGUES,
STOOD BEFORE THE THRONE, AND BEFORE THE LAMB, CLOTHED WITH WHITE
ROBES, AND PALMS IN THEIR HANDS;
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man
Firstly John directs our attention to the 144,000 who are
sealed by God in the closing hours of earth's history. They are
a very special company and are represented by a number, which
indicates that they are limited in size. Now John sees another
company much larger, for there are so many that man is not able
to number them.
Of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues
Like the 144,000, the Great Multitude are redeemed from this
earth and John sees them standing in the throne room of God. We
will notice later that the 144,000 are God's people who will be
living in the last hours of time and will not see death for they
will be translated. The Great Multitude are those who have
fallen asleep in Jesus from the time of Adam right down to the
last person to die before the LORD comes.
In the book 'Great Controversy' by EG White there is an
excellent statement found on page 644, "Amid the reeling of
the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the
voice of the Son of God calms forth the sleeping saints ...
Throughout the length and the breadth of the earth, the dead
shall hear that voice; and they that hear shall live. And the
whole earth shall ring with the tread of the exceeding great
army of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. From the
prison house of death they come, clothed with immortal glory,
crying, "0 death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy
victory?" And the living righteous and the risen saints unite
their voices in a long, glad shout of victory."
Stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with
white robes, and palms in their hands
Over and over again the emphasis is on white robes, it is
utterly imperative that those who are to attain the Kingdom must
be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Palms in their
hands is a symbol of victory because they have washed their
robes in the blood of the Lamb, thus they are able to stand
victorious before the throne.
CRIED WITH A LOUD VOICE, SAYING, SALVATION TO OUR GOD WHICH
SITTETH UPON THE THRONE, AND UNTO THE LAMB.
Salvation to our God
The R.S.V. renders it more accurately as "Salvation
belongs to our God." The great concourse of the Redeemed
burst forth in vocal acclamation of GOD and the LAMB. 'Ministry
of Healing' by EG White page 506 says, "The conflict is over,
all tribulation and strife are at an end. Songs of victory fill
all heaven, as the redeemed stand around the throne of God. All
take up the joyful strain, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain'
and hath redeemed us to God."
THE ANGELS STOOD AROUND ABOUT THE THRONE, AND ABOUT THE ELDERS
AND THE FOUR BEASTS, AND FELL BEFORE THE THRONE ON THEIR FACES,
AND WORSHIPPED GOD,
What a dramatic and awesome scene! Combining with the great
praise service of the Redeemed, the heavenly beings now unite
their voices in the great chorus. All heaven is touched as the
Redeemed testify of their experiences.
AMEN: BLESSING, AND GLORY, AND WISDOM, AND THANKSGIVING, AND
HONOUR, AND P0WER, AND MIGHT, BE UNTO OUR GOD FOR EVER AND EVER.
This is a sevenfold doxology. As the hosts of heaven listen
to the testimony of the Redeemed, they are reminded that God is
wise and righteous. Satan maligned God's character but now all
heaven can see that GOD is just and good and so all join in
OF THE ELDERS ANSWERED, SAYING UNTO ME, WHAT ARE THESE WHICH ARE
ARRAYED IN WHITE ROBES? AND WHENCE CAME THEY?
The elder puts into words the question that was doubtless in
John's mind. "Who are these?" Some are of the opinion that John
is referring to the 144,000, others believe the reference is to
the great multitude. It seems more likely that both the 144,000
and the Great Multitude are included for they represent all the
Redeemed of all ages.
SAID UNTO HIM, SIR, THOU KNOWEST. AND HE SAID TO ME, THESE ARE
THEY WHICH CAME OUT OF GREAT TRIBULATION, AND HAVE WASHED THEIR
ROBES, AND MADE THEM WHITE IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB.
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest
John did know who they were and where they came from, for he
has already told us. In verse 9 we are told that they are
people, redeemed out of all nations, kindreds, peoples and
tongues. John would not know all there was to know about either
company as later he gives us more information regarding the
144,000 and adds additional points about the Great Multitude.
Possibly this question was asked of John and answered by the
elder more for our benefit than for John.
And he said to me, these are they which came out of great
This applies to all the Redeemed, whether of all ages, or of
the final hours of earth's history. The 144,000 pass through the
great time of trouble such as has never been before (Daniel
12:1). They will experience the mental anguish of the time of
Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:4-7). They will have to stand
without a Mediator through the terrible scenes of the Seven Last
Plagues. They will pass through the most severe time of trouble
the world has ever known and will finally triumph and be
delivered. The Great Multitude also have gone through terrible
persecution, many have suffered torture and been subjected to
terrible indignities. They too will ultimately triumph and stand
victorious before the throne of God.
And have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood
of the Lamb
The elder tells us how their robes have been made pure. They
have successfully fought the battle against sin, for
righteousness is the victory. Christ was victorious on Calvary,
and by accepting Christ, God's people are assured of victory
also. Both righteousness and victory are symbolised by the white
THEREFORE ARE THEY BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD, AND SERVE HIM DAY
AND NIGHT IN HIS TEMPLE: AND HE THAT SITTETH ON THE THRONE SHALL
DWELL AMONG THEM.
Therefore are they before the throne of God
If their robes not white they would not be able to stand
before God. It is the righteous and victorious state of this
blessed company that them to stand continually in God's
And serve him day and night in His temple
Night usually brings an intermission to most human
activities. Men mostly work by day and rest by night, but the
Scripture tells us that "He that keepeth Israel shall neither
slumber nor sleep" (Psalms 121:4). There is continual activity
And He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them
The elder looks forward to the endless ages of eternity, when
God will dwell continually with His people. Before we leave this
scene it is worth noting that later on in
chapter 21, John gives
us more information regarding God dwelling with His people.
SHALL HUNGER NO MORE, NEITHER THIRST ANY MORE; NEITHER SHALL THE
SUN LIGHT ON THEM, NOR ANY HEAT.
They have known hunger and they have experienced thirst, even
though the promise has been given that God's people would have
bread and water during the plagues. They would have had
discomfort when the sun scorched men with fire even though that
plague was for the wicked. However the assurance is given that
never again will they know what it is to be hungry, never again
will they suffer discomfort from the heat of the sun.
LAMB WHICH IS IN THE MIDST OF THE THRONE SHALL FEED THEM, AND
SHALL LEAD THEM UNTO LIVING FOUNTAINS OF WATERS: AND GOD SHALL
WIPE AWAY ALL TEARS FROM THEIR EYES.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed
The Lamb shall feed them, in that case, they will have an
abundance of good things. There will never be a time when their
food will be in short supply.
Isaiah 40:10 says, "Behold, the
Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for
him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him."
Verse 11 first half says, "He shall feed his flock like a
And shall lead them unto living fountains of waters
Just as Jesus is the Living Bread which came down from
heaven, so He is the Living Water. The Redeemed are assured that
never again will they need be anxious regarding their personal
Before the rebellion in heaven, Lucifer was a covering
cherub, standing in the presence of God. In his fall he took
with him a multitude of angels. The place once occupied by Satan
and his angels, will be filled by the 144,000 when at last they
gather about the throne, where they serve Him day and night in
His temple. This is their reward for the hunger and thirst they
have endured while on earth. They are the close companions of
the Saviour and He leads them to the fountains of Living waters.
"Jesus is waiting with longing desire to open before his
people the glory that will attend his second advent, and to
carry them forward to a contemplation of the landscapes of
bliss. There are wonders to be revealed. A long lifetime of
prayer and research will leave much unexplored and unexplained.
The work of instruction begun here will be carried on to all
eternity. The Lamb, as he leads the hosts of the redeemed to the
fountain of living waters, will impart rich stores of knowledge;
he will unravel mysteries in the works and providences of God
that have never before been understood." 'Testimonies to the
Church' by EG White, page 301, Vol 5.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes
In that wonderful day the tears will be wiped away by the
joys of heaven and eternity. The King of glory has wiped the
tears from all faces and every cause of grief has been removed.
Christ Himself has shed many tears on behalf of humanity. The
angels have wept at the scenes they have beheld. But now all is
joy and peace. This chapter closes with the marvellous assurance
of eternal happiness. How we long for this day to dawn and all
the hopes and longings of God's people to be fulfilled.
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