Pause 1: Protection and Salvation for God’s people and a Glimpse of Heaven
Revelation 6 seems to begin that period Jesus referred to as “Great Tribulation”. Revelation 7 begins to unpack this time period and the righteous wrath of God and the unrepentant nature of fallen man.
There are three pauses in the action in which John explains the place of saints in the vision of what is to come.
Just like when the Lord brought plagues on Egypt and only the Egyptians were harmed again the seals, trumpets and bowls relate only to the unrepentant.
Protection and salvation for God’s people and a glimpse of heaven
Protection and suffering of the faithful church
Let me be clear, the church’s protection is not a buffer from suffering but a Gospel rescue from condemnation and wrath.
Let me be clear, suffering awaits the church. Jesus said so.
The church engaged in Jesus’ work will suffer at the hands of evil men, but it will never be condemned by the righteous judgments of God.
So, what about this great time of tribulation that Jesus describes and is depicted here?
A. Jesus makes clear a time of tribulation that is distinct from the earlier difficulties of the church v. 21
B. The church is present during this time of great tribulation v. 22 (cut short for the sake of the elect)
C. Jesus describes the period of great tribulation before his describes rapture and second coming v. 29-31
D. Jesus describes the catching up of believers with along with his very visible coming “immediately following the tribulation of those days” v. 29-31
So, what does this have to do with Revelation 7?
Well, the sixth seal signals the end of history and the coming of the Lamb (see 6:16-17).
Revelation 7 is one of those pauses in the storyline that shows the church’s location and status during this painful ending of history.
So, what is God up to?
1. A great salvation in Israel 7:1-8
The sixth seal heralded the end of history in the coming of God and the Lamb. One expects the seventh seal to be opened now and the kingdom of glory to be revealed. Instead John recounts two visions of God’s people in the last days. The first relates to the period prior to the judgments described in ch. 6; the second reveals the redeemed in the glory that follows them.
John’s purpose is to assure his Christian readers (and hearers!; 1:3) that they have no need to dread the judgments of the last times since God will protect them.
The tribe of Dan is missing from this list, and the tribe of Manasseh takes its place. The reasons seem to be: (1) Dan led Israel into idolatry, Jud. 18:30; 1 Kings 12:28–30; (2) therefore God promised to blot out the name of the idolater, Deut. 29:18–21.
Also, Joseph is listed instead of Ephraim.
Also, Judah, the Messianic tribe, is listed first rather than the firstborn Reuben.
Also, the tribes from the concubines are promoted to the top of the list over the sons of Rachel and Leah.
John Hagee – His view of Israel is so pro-Israel that he becomes anit-Gospel
Romans 11:11-29 – All Israel will be saved
A. The church is included in Israel but still distinct from Israel
B. God will save Israel because of his elective purposes not because of their faithfulness
C. God will finish saving Israel when he is finished saving the full number of Gentiles
1. If you love Jewish people groups, go.
2. A great salvation in all nations 7:9-12
A. The Gospel will complete
B. There seems to be a great global persecution of the church and perhaps it is this
persecution that pushes the edges of the final frontier.
1. Difficulty seems to have its place in the Father’s tools for nudging the church
on to the mission (Stephen, Rome, Barbarians, Vikings….)
2. We have to be engaged in the reaching of the nations
a. Take Perspectives
b. Look at www.joshuaproject.net and begin praying for a upg
c. Pray for our upg
3. A great protection from judgment with Jesus 7:13-17
A. Those who have died are shielded from judgment (indeed all in Christ are shielded
B. The intermediate state is a glorious precursor to the inheriting of the Kingdom of
1. They are before the throne of God
2. They are serving Father constantly
3. They are sheltered by his very presence
4. They are never hungry again and never thirsty
5. They are never scorched by the sun and heat
6. Jesus will shepherd them to drink living water (full on Holy Spirit uninhibited)
7. No more tears (presumably in sadness)