After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel. Revelation 7:1-4
In walking through the book of Revelation, we encounter things like seals, trumpets, a group of people called “the 144,000,” two witnesses, and time periods of days that mean something. If you understand these basic events, time periods, and groups of people, it may help you to understand what we can from the book of Revelation. There is a certain mystery to prophecy that leaves the knowledge of what will really happen to the people that are alive at that time. Maybe it will be us, maybe not.
The 144,000 is an interesting group of people that will play a part in things just after the sixth seal. Who are they? Chapter 7 tells us that there are 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel (Jacob). Between Revelation 7:1-8 and 14:1-5 we find these details:
- They have Jesus and God’s name written on their foreheads as a seal
- They will be redeemed (or purchased) from the earth
- They are virgins and no lie was found in their mouth, they are blameless
- They will follow the Lamb wherever He goes
- The Day of the Lord doesn’t begin until they are sealed for protection
- They are redeemed as firstfruits for God and the Lamb
Again, I am using a non symbolic, face value interpretation of the Bible. To be redeemed or purchased from the earth indicates to me that they were dead and are brought back to life. The next deduction that can be made is that in order to get 12,000 pure Israelites from each tribe, they would have to be brought back to life from before the time that the northern kingdom fell to Assyria in 722 B.C. That was when the Israelites (northern kingdom) intermingled with the Assyrians and the tribal lines wouldn’t be pure after that.
Ezekiel 37 tells the account about Ezekiel seeing a vision with a valley of dry bones and God tells him to prophesy so that they would come to life. In verse 9-14 it says, Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.’
So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army…Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O My people. And I will put My Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.’
We have the same words used as Rev. 7 uses, with four angels holding back the four winds so that the 144,000 can be sealed for protection. Add to that Daniel 12:1-2, “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time…And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
My view is this: God is going to bring back to life the Jewish people who lived before Jesus. They never had a chance to accept or reject Him. He will protect them in the wilderness to deal with them. Isaiah 26:20 states, “Come, My people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.” Zechariah 12:10-14 describes how God is going to deal with them “when they look on Me, on Him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only child (vs. 10).” Rev. 12:6 adds, “And the woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1260 days.”
To summarize, the 6th seal will be opened some length of time after the event of the Abomination of Desolation. That will be a topic for another day. There will be a flurry of intense persecution by Satan where, according to Rev. 12:13-17, he will go after Israel and won’t be able to get to them because God is hiding them away. He will then go after Christians. We will get to Revelation 12 as well.
Before the 7th seal, I believe that the 144,000 will be brought to life. Also, an exceedingly great army of Jews will be brought back to life as well so God can deal with them and then bring a remnant of them into the restored land of Israel, as Zechariah 13 describes. The events that take place once the seventh seal is opened will be a series of events that pours out God’s wrath on those who rejected Him. It will culminate in a battle between Jesus and Satan, with Jesus winning.
That’s the good news for today! Jesus wins and He will reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:25-26