144,000 Sealed, Great Multitudes, 7 Trumpets

I. The information in the opening chapters is relatively easy to understand.

A. The letters to the seven churches are clear (Revelation 1-3).

1. They are overseen by the presence of the resurrected Christ.

2. They are indicative of all churches from the resurrection to the millennium.

3. They all have instructions and promises of rewards for “overcomers.”

B. The opening description of the Throne room is awesome (Revelation 4-5).

1. The Throne is surrounded by the Four Living Creatures.

2. The 24 Elders are on the dais.

3. The 7 great angelic powers do the bidding of the Throne.

4. The uncountable multitude of angelic beings is present.

5. The Lamb is recognized as the only One to open the 7-sealed book.

C. The first Four Seals are opened and reveal four powerful riders with authority (Revelation 6:1-8).

1. The First Rider goes out to conquer.

2. The Second Rider goes out to kill and instigate war.

3. The Third Rider goes out to bring scarcity and want.

4. The Fourth Rider goes out to bring famine and plague.

D. The remaining three Seals appear to picture an end to the 2nd Age.

1. The Fifth Seal reveals Martyrs under the Altar (6:9-11).

a. These have died a martyr’s death over the centuries.
b. There are parallel passages that tell of many martyrs (Hebrews 11).
c. There is no restriction to “the tribulation” period.
d. There is the instruction for them to wait for future martyrs.

2. The Sixth Seal brings destruction on earth (Revelation 6:12-17).

a. There was a great earthquake – every mountain and island moved.
1) This is NOT just “the big one” – but the last one.
2) Hebrews 12:26-27 – only one more “shaking” to shake everything
3) Haggai 2:6-7 – shake: heavens, earth, sea, land, nations
b. There will be a destruction of the heavenly bodies.
1) This is the same language of Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25-26; Isaiah 2:19; Hosea 10:8, etc.
2) This is the same language used by the Old Testament Prophets.  Joel 2:10-11; 3:15-16; Isaiah 13:9-13; Zephaniah 1:14-18.
3) This passage seems to apply to the end of time.
c. This is the “great day of his wrath” (Revelation 6:17).
1) The “great day of the LORD” (Zephaniah 1:14-18)
2) The “great and notable day of the Lord” (Acts 2:20)
3) The “judgment of the great day” (Jude 1:6)
4) The “great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14)

3. The Seventh Seal brings total silence in heaven (Revelation 8:1).

a. This is a marked break from all other judgments.
b. This reveals such a horrible aspect that heaven is stunned.
c. This seems to set the stage for the 7 trumpets.

II. The Revelation has been subject to theological interpretation.

A. Theology governs the way the language of the Book is understood.

1. The language contains both literal and figurative passages.

a. The figurative passages are often unique and not cited elsewhere in Scripture.
b. It is difficult to determine whether the Visions themselves are sequential, parenthetical, or parallel.

2. The difficulties may be resolved by comparing the Old Testament prophetic passages that are insights to the same events.

a. Daniel’s Visions are the main source – chapters 2, 7, 8, 11 & 12.
b. Ezekiel contains detail about Gog and Magog in chapters 38 and 39.
c. Zechariah contains several visions that relate to the end times.
d. There are others in the Psalms, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Zephaniah.

B. Interpretation of the visions lies primarily with the understanding of the relationship of the visions to each other.

1. The Premillennial system views the vision as sequential, one following the other, and revealing a sequence of events that proceed in order from the first Seal until the last bowl.

a. They are usually identified as taking place during the “7-year tribulation” as interpreted by the application of Daniel’s 70-week prophecy (Daniel 9).
b. The return of the Lord Jesus described in Revelation 19 is understood as taking place at the end of the 7-year tribulation and to usher in the 1000 year millennium.

2. The Postmillennial and Amillennial systems view the visions as parallel views of the same sequence and/or descriptions of world-wide events that take place as the “Last Days” come to a close, just prior to the destruction of all things by the Return of Jesus Christ.

a. Some Amillennial commentators place much of Revelation during the “church age” over the years prior to the return of Christ.
b. Some Postmillennial commentators attempt to describe an overall sequence of events, amplified and clarified by parallel views within some of the informational passages.

3. The language and visions of this Book do have a sequential relationship within and among them, but there is also a repeated series of “ends” that consummate each vision sequence. 

4. The resolution of the difficulties and differences must be possible, however, given that the purpose of the Book is to “disclose.”  Indeed, the Lord Himself promised blessings for those who would “read” and “hear” and “keep” the message of this most unique of Bible books.

III. The information in Revelation chapter 7 is difficult to sequence.

A. The 144,000 are sealed (Revelation 7:1-8).

1. There are 4 Angels told to withhold their “hurt” until the 144,000 are sealed.

2. They “stand” on the 4 “corners” of Earth with the 4 “winds.”

a. They may be the same angels of the 1st four seals.
b. They may be the angels in charge of 4 “quarters” of Earth.
1) They could be involved in the gathering of Israel (Isaiah 11:12).
2) They may have been “rebuked” by Jesus (Matthew 8:26-27).

3. They are not the same 4 angels bound in the Euphrates (Revelation 9:14-15).

B. The 144,000 are selected from among 12 Tribes of Israel.

1. The Tribe of Levi is now included.

2. The Tribe of Joseph is newly identified and constituted.

3. The Tribes of Ephraim and Dan are not mentioned.

C. The 144,000 are mentioned again in Revelation 14:1-5.

1. They stand with the Lamb as a special group from Israel (14:1-3).

2. They are “redeemed” and are “virgins” without “guile” (14:4-5).

3. They are the “firstfruits” to God and the Lamb (14:4).

4. They are recognized as “without fault” before the Throne (14:5).

D. The placement and sequence of these 144,000 is difficult.

1. They appear to be sealed during the “last days.”

2. They may be in the Millennium – but nothing is specific.

3. They may be part of the resurrected redeemed in the New Earth.

4. They may be part of the “first resurrection” (Revelation 20).

E. The “great multitude” is assembled before the Throne (Revelation 7:9-17).

1. They are from every nation and people group.

2. They participate with the heavenly court in praise.

3. They are specifically said to have come “out of the great tribulation” (7:14).

a. This is the only reference to “the” great tribulation.  There are many references to “tribulation” in this world – but only one “great tribulation.”
b. This does parallel Matthew 24:21 – “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
c. This does parallel Isaiah 13:9-13 describing the “day of the LORD.”
d. This does parallel Joel 2:10-11 describing the “day of the LORD.”

4. They will serve God throughout eternity (7:15-17; 22:3-4).

IV. The Seven Trumpets are now described and executed (Revelation 8-11).

A. The trumpets follow the 7th Seal and are sequential.

1. The 7 Angels are given 7 trumpets as they stand before God (8:1-2).

2. The sounding of the trumpets is preceded by ceremony at the Altar.

a. Incense with the prayers of the saints is offered (8:3-4).
b. Fire from the Altar is cast onto the Earth (8:5).
c. Earth is convulsed prior to the sounding of the trumpets (8:5).

3. The first 4 trumpets seem to be in quick succession – similar to the first 4 seals.

a. These 4 trumpets are focused on the damage to physical earth.
b. These judgments appear to focus on a specific territory on earth.
c. These may be specific descriptions of the Sixth Seal judgment.
d. These descriptions may be a combination of actual events as well as figurative language outlining the spiritual significance.

B. The First Trumpet is sounded (8:7).

1. Hail, fire, and blood are thrown on the earth.

2. 1/3 of all trees and grass are burnt up.

3. Location is not identified, but may be directed at the territory of the Antichrist.

C. The Second Trumpet is sounded (8:8-9).

1. A “great mountain” is thrown into the sea while burning with fire.

2. 1/3 of the sea life and 1/3 of all ships are destroyed.

D. The Third Trumpet is sounded (8:10-11).

1. A “great star” is thrown onto 1/3 part of the rivers and sources of waters.

2. The star is named “wormwood” and causes 1/3 of these inland waters to turn bitter, poisoning and killing many people.

E. The Fourth Trumpet is sounded (8:12-13).

1. 1/3 of the Sun, Moon and Stars are “smitten”.

2. The time of visible light is impacted for 1/3 of the day-night cycle.

V. The 3 “woes” proceed as the 5th, 6th, and 7th trumpets.

A. The Fifth Trumpet (1st Woe) opens the “Abyss” (9:1-12).

1. A “star” falls to earth (an angel) and is given the “key to the bottomless pit”.

a. Could be Lucifer (Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:9) when he is loosed.
b. Could be Michael (Daniel 12:1) when he executes the final judgments.
c. Jesus has the keys (Revelation 1:18).

2. The Pit emits demons like locusts released to torment men on earth.

a. They have power for 5 months to torment but not to kill.
b. They have a King that leads them – Apollyon of the Abyss.
c. They have the appearance of “horses” with wings and armor.
d. They have the faces of men, hair like women, and lion’s teeth.

B. The Sixth Trumpet (2nd Woe) releases 4 angels to kill men (9:13-21).

1. A voice from the Golden Altar commands the release of the angels.

a. They are bound in the River Euphrates and lead an army of 200,000,000.
b. They kill for 1 year, 1 month, and 1 day (~397 days).

2. They are similar to the “locust horses” of the Fifth Trumpet and kill 1/3 of all men.

C. The Seventh Trumpet (3rd Woe) signals the end.

1. A great angel announces the end of all things (10:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).

a. Seven Thunders rumble messages to be withheld from us.
b. “There will be no more delay” and “the mystery of God” will be finished.

2. John is required to eat “the little book” (10:8-11).

a. It tastes sweet but produces bitter results.
b. It requires prophesying to many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.

3. Great voices cry out the completion of the age-long battle (11:15-19).

a. The kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of the LORD.
b. The 24 Elders praise the finality of the transfer of power.
c. The temple is opened and the Ark is revealed.
d. The results (11:19) are similar to the 6th seal and first 4 trumpets.

VI. Subsequent chapters focus on events that are opposing forces during the Last Days.

Series: 
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Lesson: 
#5
Book: 
Revelation
Verses: 
ch. 7-11

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