Join us as we study through Revelation verse by verse. Our Bible study guides contain discussion questions, verse by verse commentary, and applications which can help you or your small group get the most out of this book as you grow in understanding and obedience.
Revelation 7 Bible Study With Questions – 144,000 Sealed By God
I. Sealing of the 144,00 (1-8)
II. The Great Multitude Before the Throne (9-17)
I. Sealing of the 144,00 (1-8)
What are the “four winds” that the angels are holding back?
What does it mean that “no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree?”
How does verse 2 shed more light on this situation?
Why are the angels doing this?
What is the reference to harming earth and sea? Is there anything in the context (before or after) this which can explain this?
Who will be sealed?
What is the significance of the sealing? Why is it on the forehead? Do you think it will be visible?
How will this comfort believers during this time?
What does this passage show us about the nation of Israel during this time?
Which tribe is not mentioned? Why?
Ephesians 1:13 – In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 1:22 – And who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
John 6:27 – Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1. Overview – Chapters 6 and 8 describe the judgments that God is going to send against the world. Sandwiched in-between is this chapter, which highlights God’s mercy toward those who belong to Him. We are reminded again and again that God’s justice is not without mercy.
2. Holding back the four winds – The Bible often uses the term “four winds” to describe something global, coming the “four corners” of the earth, North, South, East, and West. In this passage the winds seem to refer to God’s judgment on the world. In verse 1 the winds (judgment) are being held back from harming the earth. And in verse 3 the angels are commanded to wait to release judgment upon the earth until God seals His followers.
If you move forward to Revelation 8:6 the trumpet judgments are initiated. The first four of these target the earth’s ecosystem, including the seas, trees, and grass. Each one of these begins when an angel blows the trumpet.
So we can conclude that the chapter 7 portrays an interval. The judgments are put on hold for a period of time while God’s people are sealed and protected.
Even in the midst of judgment, God is showing mercy. His judgment is not wild, chaotic, or random. It is released precisely according to the time and amount of God’s choosing. Unlike a parent who loses his temper and abuses a child, God is in complete control. His judgments are firm. But at the same time, He shows grace and mercy, allowing for repentance.
If God did not hold back His wrath, then the earth would have been destroyed long ago!
Application: Firstly, we should be thankful to Him for His mercy. We should make sure that we receive His offer while there is time. Secondly, we should learn from Him by maintaining control of your emotions. Parents should not unleash upon their children. If for example, you are angry and have lost control, then go to a quiet place first for a period of time to calm down. Only after you gain control of your emotions and can discipline your child in a measured way according to Biblical principles, should you proceed.
3. Sealing of the 144,000 – Throughout the New Testament, we see that God seals believers (Ephesians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 1:22, John 6:27). This is an invisible mark signifying the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It shows that we belong to God and that we are under His protection.
Later in Revelation we will see that the Antichrist will also require his followers to take a mark of loyalty, called the mark of the beast. This will prove that they belong to him. It will be a visible symbol of their allegiance.
The seal for the 144,000 is also likely a visible mark. Revelation 7:3 says that they will be sealed “on their foreheads.” This is different terminology from the more generic sealing seen elsewhere in the New Testament. Specifically mentioning the forehead would be odd if it just means that the Holy Spirit indwells them or that they are under God’s protection. Another reason to suspect that it is visible is that the mark of the beast will be visible. The ranks will be clearly defined. Satan will have his army of followers loyal to him and all can see and know who they are. And God will have a group of followers who are loyal to Him.
The forehead is the most visible place on the body. It is easily seen by other people. In Deuteronomy 6 believers are commanded to write God’s Words on their foreheads and on their hands. Words written on their hands could be checked easily by the wearer like a watch. But words written on the forehead were designed to quickly identify the person as a follower of God to others he encountered.
Therefore it seems that these 144,000 are sealed in a visible way to quickly identify them as followers of God. As the sealed, they will likely have a special protection both from God’s judgments (like the Israelites in Egypt). That is reinforced by the context, which shows us that the angels wait to bring judgment until after these believers are sealed. In addition, they would likely have a special protection from the Antichrist’s wrath. This is an educated guess considering that if they did not have special protection their visible mark would mean quick executions.
4. Their mission – We see that “after this” in verse 9 there is a great multitude of believers before the throne from all tribes and nations. That multitude does not specifically represent people from all time. Verse 14 tells us that these came out of the great tribulation. They lived during the seven year period of the tribulation.
The great multitude of believers appears to be the effect of the ministry of the 144,000. These 144,000 likely have the mission to evangelize the world. And this public witnessing is why they need a mark of protection from God.
From the second half of the chapter it is clear that their mission is extremely fruitful. Huge numbers will come to faith in Christ.
5. First fruits of the turning of the nation of Israel – Throughout Scripture it is prophesied that the Jews will finally accept Jesus as the Messiah as a nation and come back to Him.
Romans 11:25-27 – Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
“and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”
Luke 13:34-35 – O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Behold, your house is forsaken. A