Just as the audience at a Shakespearian tragedy would welcome a lighter scene to counter heavy drama, so does John after the sixth judgment. An interlude, devoid of judgment, occurs before the seventh seal judgment.
“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. 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, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.'”Revelation 7:1-3 NKJV
Interestingly, this interlude occurs between the sixth and seventh seal judgments where John witnesses two important events. The first vision takes place on earth and the second in heaven.
The First Vision: Interlude On the Earth
The first vision focuses on four angels stationed at the earth’s four corners who stop the winds from blowing. However, before these angels have permission to harm the earth, the seas, or the trees, a special angel with the seal of God ascends from the east to interrupt their mission. The 144,000 have to first be sealed.
Who are the 144,000?
These are Jews who will enter into the New Covenant with their eyes and hearts open to accept Jesus as Messiah, which is the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:31-34 (read HERE). God has chosen 12,000 from each tribe to be saved and sealed before more judgments are allowed to continue. Here are the names of the sealed tribes:
From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.Revelation 7:5-8 NIV
A few discrepancies exist in this list where the exact names of Israel’s sons don’t fall in birth order. When Israel was lying on his deathbed, he called his twelve sons to him and prophesied over each one. Here is what he said over Judah, the tribe from which Jesus comes:
‘Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise;Genesis 49:8-10 NKJV
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s children shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.‘
Levi is included in the 144,000, which is also unusual. This tribe of priests led praise and worship. They had their own inheritance from God and were exempt from the duties of the other eleven tribes.
Most interesting is that the tribe of Dan is missing. Why? Let’s read Jacob’s prophecy over this son:
‘Dan shall judge his peopleGenesis 49:16-18 NKJV
As one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan shall be a serpent by the way,
A viper by the path,
That bites the horse’s heels
So that its rider shall fall backward.
I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!‘
Several theories exist about who the Anti-Christ will be. Some believe that he will come from the tribe of Dan since he is called a biting viper and is not included in the list of the sealed Jews during the Tribulation. (For the complete list of prophesies over the twelve sons of Jacob, click HERE.) Could the Anti-Christ be a Jew from this tribe?
One thing is certain: God’s promise to save the Jews is fulfilled at this time (Read all of Jeremiah 31 HERE). The Church will never replace Israel, as some teach. These Messianic Jews will function as end-time evangelists on earth who will be protected by God through the coming judgments of the Great Tribulation.
The Second Vision: Interlude In Heaven
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,Revelation 7:9-12 NKJV
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Next, John enters heaven’s throne room where he witnesses a glorious service of praise and worship to God and Christ. Let’s take the time to fully imagine what this scene will be like. Picture people from every nation and ethnicity from around the world, too numerous to count, standing before God’s throne and waving palm branches of victory. Added to this huge multitude is ALL the angels plus the elders and four living creatures who will fall on their faces in deep and reverent worship to God. It’s almost impossible to imagine millions upon millions around the throne!
Who is this multitude?
Could this multitude be the ones who were given white robes and told to wait patiently until the rest of the martyred ones joined them? (see Revelation 6:9-11 HERE.) John asks one of the elders speaking to him to explain who they are.
So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.‘Revelation 7:14-17 NKJV
So, these may be the rest of the martyred ones who accept Christ as Savior during the Great Tribulation. Their punishment for rejecting the Anti-Christ and not taking his mark will be facing the guillotine. They will suffer from hunger, thirst, intense heat from the sun, and will shed many tears. But, their reward for refusing to deny Jesus will be wonderful. The temple of God will be their new home where they will serve God day and night, and He will dwell among them. As mentioned in Revelation 20, they are part of the first resurrection and will reign with Christ for 1,000 years (read HERE).
The Seventh Seal
After witnessing this glorious vision, John comes back to earth where the seventh seal awaits. However, this last seal is different from the other six. How so? Join me in the next post where we’ll find out.
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for Your promise to save all of Israel during the tribulation. You rejected them for a time because of their disobedience, but You are gathering them again to Yourself. We praise You for gloriously saving and comforting those who will be martyred during the reign of the Anti-Christ. May those who don’t know You as Savior be drawn to the cross of Christ today before those days of judgment come upon the earth. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
An Interlude Before the Seventh Seal Judgment by Karen Jurgens Copyright © 2023 All rights reserved.