Restraining the Winds (Rev. 7:1–3)
One of the big questions we need to ask regarding Revelation 7 is, Why was it important to restrain the winds? Elsewhere, the Bible uses the word winds to denote a period of disaster that includes plague and famine (Ezek. 5:12). The use of wind in Revelation 7 implies a metaphor for God’s wrath that will come upon the world, just before Christ’s second coming. This wrath includes all sorts of tribulation: wars, incurable diseases, political disagreements, teenage pregnancies, drugs, and more.
Anyone who accepts Christ as a personal Savior has the chance to celebrate with Him in the end.
Before He pours His wrath upon the disobedient earth, He holds on a little longer to give each son and daughter a chance to be with Him at the final close of this world. In 2 Peter 3:9, we learn of God’s character that He is “longsuffering toward us” (NKJV). God wants us to come back to him in repentance. It is important to know that we are living in a time when God’s people are being sealed, and so, shall we choose to receive the seal?
The Sealed People of God (Rev. 7:4–8)
The Bible is clear about who will receive the seal: their number and their tribes. From the tribe of Judah to that of Benjamin, twelve thousand in each tribe are sealed. John uses this imagery to represent the entire generation of God’s people, those who will stick with Christ to the end. It is one thing to call yourself a Christian and another to uphold the tenets of true Christianity. The number 144,000 is a representation of those who will have persevered to the end. It is derived from the 12 tribes of Israel, which Christ the Savior originated.
The Great Multitude (Rev. 7:9–14)
In Revelation 7:9, John sees a great multitude that no one can count. He also sees people from all nations, tribes, and tongues gathered before the Lamb. The gospel of salvation is like the mustard seed, which upon being planted, grows into a mighty tree that provides shelter and shade to all types of animals, people, and birds. Anyone who accepts Christ as a personal Savior has the chance to celebrate with Him in the end. The sealed people of God are the products of the seed of the gospel of salvation. If we are to stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion when the world ends, we must accept the message of salvation brought to us by Christ and His representatives across the world.
Those Who Follow the Lamb (Rev. 14:1–5)
Earlier in the Bible, Christ is recognized as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, NKJV). In Revelation, John sees the Lamb and those who follow Him. So who are the followers of the Lamb? To begin with, the number 144,000 denotes the sealed people from all corners of the world.
In the vision, the revelator notices the characteristics of the sealed people—the followers of the Lamb. One quality that stands out is that they “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). Christ appears here as the true Lamb, covering His followers and His church with His blood, which He shed on the cross, to make them victorious even in the midst of tribulations.
Another characteristic of the followers of the Lamb is the distinguishing mark that each of them wears—the name of God on their foreheads. This confirms that they have made a bold and an open declaration of their faith in God and in Christ, which they have demonstrated in word and deed.
In addition, the chosen of the Lamb know only one duty—to offer congratulations and praises to God and Christ in a language that only the redeemed can understand. As Christians living in the days just before the end of time, we have a choice to make: either to join the camp of those who follow the Lamb or to remain in the world and face God’s wrath. Followers of the Lamb (Rev. 14:5)
In Revelation 14:4, 5, the revelator proceeds to highlight the character and description of those who follow the Lamb. First, they are chaste and pure—they are virgins. They are undefiled. The followers of the Lamb must not defile themselves with corporal or spiritual adultery. They must keep themselves from the sins of the antichrist generation. Second, the followers of the Lamb maintain loyalty and unwavering adherence to God. They keep the first commandment, which states, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exod. 20:3).
“Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent, uncreated One, Himself the source and sustainer of all, is alone entitled to supreme reverence and worship. Man is forbidden to give to any other object the first place in his affections or his service. Whatever we cherish that tends to lessen our love for God or to interfere with the service due Him, of that do we make a god.”1 Above all, the followers of the Lamb are a happy remnant that gives glory to Christ always. The seal of the living God is reserved for people with these qualities.
1. How long do you think God should restrain the winds?
2. What other qualification for receiving the seal of God can you add to the ones mentioned?