Revelation of John 7

CHAPTER VII.

The four angels holding the four winds of heaven, 1.

The angel with the seal of the living God, and sealing the

servants of God out of the twelve tribes, whose number

amounted to one hundred and forty-four thousand, 2-8.

Besides these, there was an innumerable multitude from all

nations, who gave glory to God and the Lamb, 9-12.

One of the elders shows who these are, and describes their

most happy state, 13-17.

NOTES ON CHAP. VII.

Verse 1. And after these things] Immediately after the preceding

vision.

I saw four angels] Instruments which God employs in the

dispensation of his providence; we know not what.

On the four corners of the earth] On the extreme parts of the

land of Judea, called ηγη, the land, or earth, by way of

eminence.

Holding the four winds] Preventing evil from every quarter.

Earth-sea, nor on any tree; keeping the whole of the land free

from evil, till the Church of Christ should wax strong, and each

of his followers have time to prepare for his flight from

Jerusalem, previously to its total destruction by the Romans.

Verse 2. The seal of the living God] This angel is represented

as the chancellor of the supreme King, and as ascending from the

east, αποανατοληςηλιου, from the rising of the sun. Some

understand this of Christ, who is called ανατολη, the east,

Lu 1:78.

Four angels, to whom it was given to hurt] Particular agents

employed by Divine providence in the management of the affairs of

the earth; but whether spiritual or material we know not.

Verse 3. Till we have sealed the servants of our God] There is

manifestly an allusion to Eze 9:4 here. By

sealing we are to understand consecrating the persons in a more

especial manner to God, and showing, by this mark of God upon

them, that they were under his more immediate protection, and that

nothing should hurt them. It was a custom in the east, and indeed

in the west too, to stamp with a hot iron the name of the owner

upon the forehead or shoulder of his slave.

It is worthy of remark that not one Christian perished in the

siege of Jerusalem; all had left the city, and escaped to Pella.

This I have often had occasion to notice.

Verse 4. I heard the number of them which were sealed] In the

number of 144,000 are included all the Jews converted to

Christianity; 12,000 out of each of the twelve tribes: but this

must be only a certain for an uncertain number; for it is not to

be supposed that just 12,000 were converted out of each of the

twelve tribes.

Verse 5. - 8. Of the tribe of Juda, &c.] First, we are to

observe that the tribe of Levi is here mentioned, though that

tribe had no inheritance in Israel; but they now belonged to the

spiritual priesthood. Secondly, That the tribe of Dan, which had

an inheritance, is here omitted; as also the tribe of Ephraim.

Thirdly, That the tribe of Joseph is here added in the place of

Ephraim. Ephraim and Dan, being the principal promoters of

idolatry, are left out in this enumeration.

Verse 6. See Clarke on Re 7:5.

Verse 7. See Clarke on Re 7:5.

Verse 8. See Clarke on Re 7:5.

Verse 9. A great multitude] This appears to mean the Church of

Christ among the Gentiles, for it was different from that

collected from the twelve tribes; and it is here said to be of all

nations, kindreds, people, and tongues.

Clothed with white robes] As emblems of innocence and purity.

With palms in their hands, in token of victory gained over the

world, the devil, and the flesh.

Verse 10. Salvation to our God] That is, God alone is the author

of the salvation of man; and this salvation is procured for and

given to them through the Lamb, as their propitiatory sacrifice.

Verse 11. All the angels, &c.] As there is joy in the presence

of God among these holy spirits when one sinner repents, no wonder

that they take such an interest in the gathering together of such

innumerable multitudes who are fully saved from their sins.

Verse 12. Saying, Amen] Giving their most cordial and grateful

assent to the praises attributed to God and the Lamb.

Blessing, and glory, &c.] There are here seven different species

of praise attributed to God, as in Re 5:12, where see the note.

Verse 13. One of the elders answered] A Hebraism for spoke. The

question is here asked, that the proposer may have the opportunity

of answering it.

Verse 14. Sir, thou knowest] That is, I do not know, but thou

canst inform me.

Came out of great tribulation] Persecutions of every kind.

And have washed their robes] Have obtained their pardon and

purity, through the blood of the Lamb.

Their white robes cannot mean the righteousness of Christ, for

this cannot be washed and made white in his own blood. This white

linen is said to be the righteousness of the saints, Re 19:8,

and this is the righteousness in which they stand before the

throne; therefore it is not Christ's righteousness, but it is a

righteousness wrought in them by the merit of his blood, and the

power of his Spirit.

Verse 15. Therefore] Because they are washed in the blood of the

Lamb, are they before the throne-admitted to the immediate

presence, of God.

And serve him day and night] Without ceasing; being filled with

the spirit of prayer, faith, love, and obedience.

Shall dwell among them.] He lives in his own Church, and in the

heart of every true believer.

Verse 16. They shall hunger no more] They shall no longer be

deprived of their religious ordinances, and the blessings

attendant on them, as they were when in a state of persecution.

Neither shall the sun light on them] Their secular rulers, being

converted to God, became nursing fathers to the Church.

Nor any heat.] Neither persecution nor affliction of any kind.

These the Hebrews express by the term heat, scorching, &c.

Verse 17. The Lamb] The Lord Jesus, enthroned with his Father in

ineffable glory.

Shall feed them] Shall communicate to them every thing

calculated to secure, continue, and increase their happiness.

Living fountains of water] A spring in the Hebrew phraseology is

termed living water, because constantly boiling up and running on.

By these perpetual fountains we are to understand endless sources

of comfort and happiness, which Jesus Christ will open out of his

own infinite plenitude to all glorified souls. These eternal

living fountains will make an infinite variety in the enjoyments

of the blessed. There will be no sameness, and consequently no

cloying with the perpetual enjoyment of the same things; every

moment will open a new source of pleasure, instruction, and

improvement; they shall make an eternal progression into the

fulness of God. And as God is infinite, so his attributes are

infinite; and throughout infinity more and more of those

attributes will be discovered; and the discovery of each will be a

new fountain or source of pleasure and enjoyment. These sources

must be opening through all eternity, and yet, through all

eternity, there will still remain, in the absolute perfections of

the Godhead, an infinity of them to be opened! This is one of the

finest images in the Bible.

God shall wipe away] In the most affectionate and fatherly

manner, all tears from their eyes-all causes of distress and

grief. They shall have pure, unmixed happiness. Reader, this is

the happiness of those who are washed from their sins. Art thou

washed? O, rest not till thou art prepared to appear before God

and the Lamb.

IF these saints had not met with troubles and distresses, in all

likelihood they had not excelled so much in righteousness and true

holiness. When all avenues of worldly comfort are shut up, we are

obliged to seek our all in God; and there is nothing sought from

him that is not found in him.

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