Hello! It is time for us to begin studying the 7th chapter of the book of The Revelation. That also means it is time for me to offer you the FREE printable download of Lisa’s drawing of this chapter. I hope these drawings are a blessing to you! I know they really help me visualize what takes place in each chapter. Here is the link to the drawing. In case you have not downloaded one of the drawings previously, you might receive an error message saying you have to enable a payment method. Just ignore that and continue with the download. Okay, here it is:
As we dive into the seventh chapter of The Revelation, we find our focus being placed on five angels. There is no doubt that people have been fascinated by angels for millennia, and many people have an inaccurate and unbiblical view of them. Angels in the Bible are not cute little cherubs with rosy cheeks, fluffy wings, and a little bow and arrow. Angels in Scripture are powerful, majestic beings that usually elicited fear in the hearts of those who were privileged enough to experience the presence of one. In our study today we will see the power of angels and the trust that God places in them to do His work.
Let’s begin by reading Revelation 7:1-3 (ESV).
1 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.
2 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,
3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
Anytime Scripture uses the phrase ‘after this’, we are wise to stop and figure out what the ‘this’ could be. In the case of Revelation 7:1, the ‘after this’ points back to what we have just studied, namely the opening of Seals 1 through 6 by Jesus, and the resulting consequences. Knowing this helps us keep the events of chapter 7 in context. Jesus is offering a lovely interlude, reminding us that even in the middle of the coming destruction, there is mercy, grace, and protection for His beloved.
Some commentators believe that chapter 7 is a ‘flashback’ of sorts, taking one back to the time before the seals began to be opened in order to show the selection of these Jewish servants of God who will evangelize the world. While it makes for great drama, I have not been able to make the sealing of God’s Jewish servants fit onto a timeline in any place other than between the opening of the sixth and seventh seals.
In verse one we are introduced to four angels who are standing at the four corners, or the four compass points, of the earth. Their assignment is to hold back the winds of the earth, preventing the winds from causing further destruction. This holding back of the winds would effect many things in nature. No waves would break on the seashore, no clouds would move, no air would stir….the atmosphere would be completely still. Very often in Scripture angels are involved in the execution of God’s judgment on humanity, and so it is here. Surely the opening of the first six seals brought judgment, but these angels are holding back, at least for a time, a far worse judgment caused by winds.
A fifth angel who is holding a seal comes on the scene in verse 2, rising out of the east. This angel seems to be of a higher rank than the first four angels, for he orders them to stay their judgment until he has sealed the servants of God.
You will recall from our earlier post that a seal conveys two things: ownership and authority. The seal this fifth angel holds is the seal of God that will be used to place a seal or mark on God’s servants. The mark will tell the world that they belong to the Living God, and that they are under His authority. This is why the Greek word used for seal is doulos, or bond-servant. We will study more about these servants next week.
It is not known exactly what sort of protection the seal affords the servants. Is it protection from physical harm or death, from spiritual attack, or from the coming judgments of God? The most likely answer seems to be the last one, similar to the ways the ancient Israelites were protected from the plagues in Egypt.
We will take a break for now, but be back in chapter 7 next week when we will find out who these servants of God might be. Thank you for taking this journey with me.