Revelation 7:1-8 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3 saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads." 4 And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 5 12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed, 12,000 from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000 from the tribe of Gad, 6 12,000 from the tribe of Asher, 12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali, 12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh, 7 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon, 12,000 from the tribe of Levi, 12,000 from the tribe of Issachar, 8 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun, 12,000 from the tribe of Joseph, 12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.
The redeemed (Jew and Gentile) will be living through the Judgments upon earth in the last seven years before Jesus begins His one thousand years earthly reign. We have a picture of God’s people living through His judgments upon Egypt, yet protected from them in Exodus 7:14-12:32. The redeemed of the Lord will live through the final judgments upon mankind (until the 7th trumpet judgment), yet be protected from them. Notice that the Lord seals His servants, (that is provides His protection), so they will not be hurt by His judgments. The redeemed in our passage today are Jews who have repented of their sins and believed the gospel – the only way to be redeemed (see Revelation 14:1. Redeemed means to be bought, purchased). Jesus purchased all who believe in Him with His blood. The Apostle Paul instructs all believers to honor God with their bodies because they are bought with a price, the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:20). Peter teaches the same thing in 1 Peter 1:18-19.
The 144,000 represents the people of the nation of Israel. Jews have been redeemed from the first century until now, but the nation of Israel has rejected Jesus and will continue to reject Him until the very end. The Apostle Paul wrote the Roman local church concerning the nation of Israel. Romans 11:25-29 tells us that God sent a partial hardening upon the nation of Israel until the full number of Gentiles had been saved and then the whole nation of Israel will become a Christian nation. The plan of God was to save people of all nations. Jew and Gentile will enter eternity as one holy nation in Christ (see Ephesians 2:11-16).
Believers will go through God’s final judgments on the earth, but will be protected from them. Christians will not be protected from the wrath of men (Revelation 13:10). The Jewish nation has experienced a partial hardening until the full number of Gentiles are saved and then the whole nation will be saved. We need to stand with Israel and pray for many Jews to be saved – not all Israel is hardened. We need to be prepared to live in a world that hates all Christians. We who are alive in the few years before Christ comes will be persecuted by all nations (Matthew 24:9). Today Christians are persecuted in some areas of the world, but in the end there will be no safe havens. It is important for us to know Christ and His word so we can endure the hard times as lights for Christ in the darkness of sin. Are you prepared?