Morning Bible Study
Christmas Service schedule.
John found himself caught up into heaven where he found himself before the
throne of God.
He saw Jesus
take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals. As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little
further, events begin to take place on the earth and the time that we call the
Tribulation begins to unfold.
The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving
world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.
We have seen Jesus break six of the seven seals, and now a few things will
happen before the seventh seal is opened.
7:1-8 The 144,000
:1 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the
earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on
the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.
:1 four angels
Who are these four angels?
had a vision that had four angels in chariots going throughout the earth and
reporting back to God (Zech.
with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth
chariot dappled horses—strong steeds. Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me,
“What are these, my lord?” And He called to me, and spoke to me, saying, “See, those
who go toward the north country have given rest to My Spirit in the north
The angels here
have power over the wind and will be allowed to hurt the earth, sea, and trees.
that these angels might also be connected to the first four angels that will
blow trumpets (wind – blow) starting in Rev.
8. Note the parallels:
Trumpet: Trees and grass burnt
Trumpet: Sea becomes blood
Trumpet: Earth, rivers, springs
Trumpet: Sun, moon, stars
– anemos – wind, a violent agitation
and stream of air; a very strong tempestuous wind
Perhaps this is talking symbolically, the idea that no trouble is going to
happen for a period of time.
It might be literal. Wind can cause
a lot of damage.
clips. From ducks to stage collapse , our
(comment on “Ducks” – the mom is saying, “OMG, is everyone okay?” The ducklings are saying, “Barrel roll! Do
again, do again!!!”)
:2 Then I saw
another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And
he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm
the earth and the sea,
:2 another angel
Another angel appears. He will have
the job of putting a “seal” on the servants of God. He must be of a higher rank
than the four previous angels because he gives them orders and they obey.
– sphragis – a seal
This is the same word used to describe the seven “seals” on the scroll that
Jesus is in the process of opening.
will be a “seal” or “mark” put on the foreheads of God’s servants.
There will also
be another kind of “mark” or “seal” in the time of the Tribulation.
It will be found on those who choose to “worship” the antichrist:
13:16–18 NKJV) —16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave,
to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no
one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or
the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has
understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man:
His number is 666.
There will be two “marks” or “seals” found in those days.
:3 saying, “Do
not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of
our God on their foreheads.”
The angel with the seal tells the four other angels to hold on to the winds
until his job of “sealing” the servants of God has been completed.
:3 till we have
We Are His
One of the things that a “seal” signifies is ownership and protection.
In the days of Paul, the city of Ephesus was one
of the major seaports of Asia. Most of
the goods coming from the east to be sold in the west came through the port of
Ephesus. It was the merchandising center
of the world. Great caravans would come from the east
bringing their wares. Merchants from
Rome would gather in Ephesus to purchase these articles and pack them for
shipping to Puteoli, the great port city of Rome. From there they would be distributed
throughout the empire. The goods would be
stamped with a wax seal and then imprinted with a signet ring bearing a unique
mark of ownership. Then the cargo would
be loaded on the
ships and sent to Rome.
When the merchandise arrived at
Puteoli, servants of the merchantmen used the seals to identify their master's
goods as they were unloaded. The seal
was the mark of ownership.
- From "Living Water" (Chuck Smith, pg.72)
Paul wrote that
we too have a “seal” from God.
1:13–14 NKJV) —13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy
Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance
until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
When you first put your trust in Jesus Christ to be your Savior, God put
the Holy Spirit into your life.
He’s like the “seal”
that’s going to be stamped on the foreheads of a special group of people we are
about to meet.
Just like the merchants used to do, putting their seal on the goods in
Ephesus, God has put His seal on you.
But you aren’t arriving at the port of Puteoli, you are going to arrive one day at the port
of heaven – and there you will be identified as having been bought by God.
In the same sense, these 144,000 will have a “seal” on their forehead that
will give them a measure of protection during the time of the Tribulation, at
least until their time is up.
Perhaps what we’re seeing here are these special people coming to trust in
Christ, and so they are being “sealed”.
Seeing the Seal
What will the “seal” look like? (Sea lion picture?? Navy seal?)
Actually, we don’t know what this particular seal will look like. We don’t know if it’s even visible with human
Ezekiel had a
vision that reminds us of what is happening in Revelation.
Ezekiel lived in Babylon during the time when the Babylonians would finally
wipe out the southern kingdom of Israel and destroy the Temple in Jerusalem.
Ezekiel had a vision of angelic beings about to destroy the city, but
before they did, there was another angel who first had to mark people:
(Eze 9:4 NKJV) and the Lord said to
him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put
a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are
done within it.”
This angelic being would put some sort of a mark on those
who were just as grieved as God was over the wickedness in Jerusalem. And the destroying angels came through to
wipe out the city, they would not harm those who had this “mark” on their
What do you “sigh and cry” over?
you grieved by the things that are going on in this world?
Sometimes we get angry at the things that are going on in
this world, but do we stop to think about what’s happening?
Do we stop to think about the people that are being
Do we stop and think about the people who are going to
Maybe we ought to be a little less angry, and a lot more
another way of identifying the “seal” in our lives.
(Mt 7:20 NKJV) Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Can people see the “seal” on your life?
If the “seal” is the Holy Spirit, how can people tell if the Holy Spirit
is at work in your life?
(Ga 5:22–23 NKJV) —22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.
:3 the servants of
We will see them again in Revelation
14, but by then they are in heaven with Jesus. The implication is that they have finished
their ministry and are in heaven because they have been killed by the
We have a little more insight into these servants:
14:4–5 NKJV) —4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are
virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were
redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the
Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before
the throne of God.
For those who are so anxious to be part of the 144,000, here’s a little
clue – you not only have to be Jewish, but you cannot be married, you have to be a virgin, and you have to have the highest moral character.
Oh, and you will die a martyr’s
death one day.
:4 And I heard
the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand
of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:
:4 One hundred and
Some people think this is purely a symbolical number. They say it is symbolic of perfection, 12 x 12,000.
I’m not really convinced that it isn’t a literal number.
If it wasn’t meant to be literal, why is it be so specific, broken down
to 12,000 from 12 specific tribes?
:4 of all the
tribes of the children of Israel
Some folks like to look at this in such a symbolic way that they see this
as the picture of all those who will be saved in the end.
And so they want to make sure that they are in that number.
The Jehovah Witnesses used to use this as being a reference to them, until
they passed 144,000 in number.
These are not the only people in history to have been “saved” or “sealed”.
This is a specific group that will be used by God during a specific time in
history – the time of the Tribulation.
Part of the problem that older commentators had was their thought that God
was finished with the nation of Israel.
After all, there was no nation of Israel.
Yet God is NOT finished
with Israel. Paul wrote,
(Ro 11:1 NKJV) I say
then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite,
of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Do we know what
tribe Jewish people are from today?
Some with the last name of “Cohen” are probably from the tribe of Levi since this is the
Hebrew word for “priest”, and the priests were from the tribe of Levi, the
family of Aaron.
Most Jewish people do not know what tribe they are from.
But some of this is beginning to change.
There is work going on in Israel to trace Israelite roots around the world.
people in Ethiopia that have been linked to the tribe of Dan.
A group in
Nigeria claims ties to Ephraim, Naphtali, Manasseh, Levi, Zebulun, and Gad.
Persian Jews in
Iran claim to be from the tribe of Ephraim.
in central Asia have been linked to Issachar.
Groups in India
lay claim to Ephraim and Manasseh
:5 of the tribe
of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve
thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were
:6 of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe
of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasseh twelve
thousand were sealed;
:7 of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe
of Levi twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Issachar twelve
thousand were sealed;
:8 of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe
of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin twelve
thousand were sealed.
:4 all the tribes
It is an interesting study to trace the names of the twelve tribes of
says the Bible has 29 lists of the tribes of Israel, and in each and every case
there are twelve names listed for the tribes.
always TWELVE tribes of Israel.
It’s just that the lists don’t always include the same twelve names. Why?
Israel) had twelve sons.
One of his
sons, Joseph, received a “double blessing” as the favored son, and his two sons
Ephraim became promoted to the same status as their uncles. That kind of makes “13” tribes.
When the nation
conquered the land of Canaan, the land was divided into twelve plots, and
Ephraim and Manasseh each got a plot of land in the place of Joseph.
It was the
tribe of Levi that didn’t receive a plot, but as the priestly tribe they were
scattered to live among each of the other tribes. Count. There’s Twelve.
Usually when a tribe is omitted in a list, it’s the tribe
If you look carefully at our
list, you’ll see that Levi
is included, and so is Joseph,
and so is Manasseh.
listed, but it is part of Joseph, so it’s still there.
that’s missing is the tribe of Dan.
Why is Dan missing? I have some
On Thursday night we looked at a story in the book of
Judges that involved the tribe of Dan.
was the first tribe to walk away from God’s standards about worship and to set
up their own idolatrous temple in the north.
It’s found in Judges
Dan is sort of the “standard” of the person who does
things their own way instead of paying attention to God’s ways.
My point on Thursday night was, “Don’t Be A Dan Fool”.
early church father Irenaeus suggested that the Antichrist was expected
to come from the tribe of Dan. Some have
pointed to a prophecy in Genesis as a support for this (Gen. 49:16-18)
“Dan shall judge his people As one of the tribes of Israel.
Though Dan is missing from this list, it is not totally lost.
Ezekiel describes the kingdom that is set up after Jesus
comes back. He describes how the land of
Israel is once again divided up among the twelve tribes – and Dan is one of
those tribes mentioned (Eze.
by the border of Dan, from the east side to the west, one section
The city of Jerusalem will have twelve gates, and one of
the gates is set aside for Dan. (Eze.
We think the 144,000 will be evangelists.
Here’s why …
Some folks see a parallel between what we’ve seen of the first six seals
and Jesus’ description of the end times in Matthew 24.
You can make a
pretty clear connection of the events of Matthew 24:4-13 with the seals we’ve seen: The antichrist, war, famine, death, martyrs, and cosmic troubles.
The next verse reads:
(Mt 24:14 NKJV) And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as
a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
It’s possible this is what the 144,000 is all about.
Another clue is
found in the next passage in Revelation
7, when a great
multitude of Gentile believers show up in heaven, people who have come to
Christ, and then have been martyred during the Tribulation (Rev. 7:9).
Where did this great multitude of Gentile believers come from? It’s possible that they are the fruit of the 144,000 Jewish
servants who are sealed in our current passage.
God wants us to be a part of evangelism as well. It’s not just Greg Laurie’s job. Jesus said,
28:19–20 NKJV) —19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to
observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even
to the end of the age.” Amen.
But sometimes we have the wrong idea of what evangelism is all about.
A better place
to start is to pray for the people you care about. Pray for God to give you opportunities to
share with them. Watch God open the