The People's New Testament, B.W. Johnson, , at sacred-texts.com
rev 7:0SUMMARY.--The Four Winds Held. The Sealing of the One Hundred and Forty Four Thousand. The Great Multitude with the Palms of Victory. They with White Robes About the Throne.
After this. After the opening of the sixth seal.
I saw four angels. The vision that appears before his eyes is that of four angels at the four points of the compass, holding four winds to prevent them from rushing in destruction upon the earth. These certainly represent four destructive powers which are held back for a time from the land, the sea, and the vegetation of the earth.
I saw another angel. The picture is that of an angel having the seal of the living God. The object of this seal is indicated in Rev 7:3. The seal was a mark of ownership. The seal of God on the forehead would mark those sealed at God's. The seal mark on the forehead would be visible to everyone; hence the seal in the forehead has been understood to be the public confession and profession of Christ. This angel would thus symbolize a great and successful movement to evangelize the race.
Hurt not, etc. The four winds are forbidden to do their work of destruction until the sealing has been accomplished; or in other words, until the preaching of the gospel has wrought a certain result.
And I heard the number of them which were sealed. The number first named is one hundred and forty-four thousand, twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. These numbers are not to be taken literally, but only signify that a great number, not a countless number, but a part of each tribe of Israel, accepted the gospel. Of the tribes Ephraim appears under the name of Joseph, and Dan is entirely omitted, a fact possibly due to the early falling away of Dan into idolatry The number twelve is preserved by counting Levi. For another appearance of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, see Rev 14:1.
After this I beheld. First he saw the vast company of those of the blood of Abraham who had been saved, and then he sees another company, not numbered, because they were so great that no man could number them.
Of all nations and kindreds. The first multitude represented the Jews saved through Christ; the second, the countless multitude, represented the saved of all nations, the Gentile saints.
Before the throne. In the vision they seem to stand before the throne and before the Lamb, to whom they ascribe the praises of their salvation.
White robes. Victorious, triumphant.
Palms in their hands. The symbol of joy. The palm branch was used at the feast of Tabernacles, the feast of thanksgiving.
Salvation to our God. The praise of our salvation be given to God and to the Lamb.
All the angels. In chapter 5 the elders, four living creatures, the angels about the throne, and every creature join in the praises. Here again all are named, and the angels worship and join in praising God for the blessed scene they have just beheld.
What are these? The questions are asked by the elder that he may teach. "These" refer to the vast multitude described in Rev 7:9.
Thou knowest. "I do not know but thou dost."
These are they which came out of the great tribulation. See Revision. Some great period of trial of the church is meant. They have stood the trial, and been true.
Washed their robes. Have made themselves spotless by trust in the blood of Christ.
Therefore are they before the throne of God. They are exalted to heaven.
They shall hunger no more. Their sorrows are over forever.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them. God and the Lamb shall bestow upon them every blessing and remove every sorrow.