At the three-and-a-half year mark in the tribulation, God’s wrath is fully poured out. It isn’t antichrist or one of the horseman, this is God directly interfering in the affairs of man, pouring out His wrath and anger. Yet in the midst of divine judgment, the Bible shows us a period of grace and mercy.
In his vision, John sees four angels covering the entire circumference of the world. These are entire worldwide judgments that affect everyone. We are told that the angels are holding the four winds back. The earth falls still and quiet. It is the calm before the storm because the worst storm is about to strike when the 7th seal is opened. The 7th seal opens up 7 cataclysmic judgments at once.
In verse 2, the angel ascending from the east bears the seal of the living God.
We are told that the servants of God are sealed by marks on their foreheads.
There will be 144,000 Jewish evangelists saved and sealed, 12,000 from each tribe, who will go out and preach Christ. They will usher in millions of people who are saved even during this time of tribulation. You see, the church will not exist at this time. It will have been taken up at the rapture. So there has to be some means for preaching Christ to the unsaved. That’s the job of the 144,000.
The greatest miracle in the Bible is that the Jewish people are still around. Every nation that has turned against Israel is an enemy of God and has been and will be cast aside. This is why it behooves Christians to be a friend to Israel.
Dan is the one tribe not mentioned in this part of Revelation — it is replaced by Joseph — because Dan was the first tribe to turn to idolatry and is therefore under God’s judgment.
There will always be preaching because God has always elevated preaching as the favored means for spreading the gospel. There will always be preachers, hence the raising up of the 144,000. Preaching the word of God changes lives. This is how much God loves preaching. There’s nothing preaching can’t fix. There’s not a problem in the world we can’t preach our way out of.
The Bible disqualifies a lot of people who call themselves preachers. But God uses His preachers to change us.
Even in the midst of judgment, many are saved by the grace of God. John says he saw so many people in heaven he couldn’t count them all. (Any church who is selective about who she preaches to is missing its mission. We are to preach to ALL the world and not just certain people.) Those John saw in heaven were celebrating their salvation.
We are told that they fell on their faces in Christ’s presence. That would be our reaction today if He walked through the doors of our church. We’d fall on our faces.
We often ask blessings for ourselves, but it is also possible for us to bless God, hence the Psalm that reads “Bless the Lord.” Revelation 7:12 describes how we ought to be heaping our praises on God.
So at the three-and-a-half year mark the great tribulation arises out of tribulation. This will be such a terrible time that God has to cut it off or nobody would survive it. At this time, people who have just been saved are dying for their faith. Indeed, brand new believers are nonetheless willing to give their lives for Christ.
(You will send an entire congregation to Hell if you tell them there’s another way to salvation than by the blood of Jesus Christ.)
In verse 17, we are told that the Lamb is in the midst of the throne. Indeed, Jesus is literally in the middle of everything. He shall lead us to living fountains of water. All of us one day will have the tears wiped from our eyes, for no one escapes this world without pain.
When the 7th seal is opened there is silence in heaven. Before this, all seals had been accompanied by great noise. There is not a word to describe the 7th seal. For half-an-hour, heaven goes silent.