Segment 17 - 07.01 - The four winds are held back
So these are the first six seals that are open. Then he goes on down to Chapter 7. And just before the seventh seal is open, we have sort of a shift in our thrust here, okay? And we see that there’s kind of an interlude, sort of a breather, comes into the picture here now in Chapter 7.
And what do we see in Chapter 7 before the 7th seal is open? He says in Chapter 7, “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth and that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree.” All right, for some reason the Jews thought that winds from the four corners were harmful, and that sort of thing. But the four winds are held back. And there’s kind of an interlude here now.
And then he paints a different picture. He sees something else here. What does he see? In Verse 4, okay? In Verse 3. Excuse me. He hears this voice saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees ‘til we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.” In other words, those who are going to be saved, those who are the faithful are gonna be marked in a certain way on the forehead. Okay? And this is sort of in contrast to the idea that those who perform emperor worship were then either marked on the head or on the hand. They carry a mark with them.
Ever gone to a dance, you know, somewhere, and if you wanna leave, go outside and take a break, they take one of those things and stamp it on your hand where you can’t see the ink? You know, you sort of have the stamp of approval so you can get back in, okay? Well the same idea here, when they were performing emperor worship and bringing their sacrifices and offerings, and that sort of thing, to the emperor, then they received a mark. He’s contrasting this mark by saying that those who are faithful to God are gonna have their foreheads sealed, but in a very special way. Okay?
Segment 18 - 07.04 - 144000 saved
Then look at verse four. He says, “And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000 sealed.” Some religious groups have picked up on this 144,000 and have attempted to say that this is the exact number that are going to be saved and going to be living in the kingdom of God and so forth, and folks, it just doesn’t make any sense. It isn’t logical. That’s what happens when you take things literally out of the scripture.
The 144,000 is simply symbolic. It means a wide number of people. It’s going to refer to both Jews and gentiles. Both Jewish Christians and gentile Christians. “A great multitude from every nation,” is what he says down here in verse nine. Go down to verse nine. “After this, I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands.”
Peoples from all tribes and peoples and tongues. This includes the 144,000 as a reference to all the faithful who are going to be saved. And the symbology has to do with 12 times 12. The 12 tribes and the 12 apostles. 12 carries with it the idea of spiritual completeness. Spiritual completeness. The number of seven sort of carries the same idea; spiritual fulfillment or completion. But the number 12 really means completion in a broader sense, I suppose. Spiritual completion. And it’s simply a symbolic number.
If you take it literally, then we’re all in a lot of trouble, because there are a lot of souls running around on this plain and on other plains. If we say only 144,000 are going to make it, then that’s not very encouraging, is it? When we say that, we miss the whole point. He’s dealing with symbology here. The elect; the 144,000, okay? We see here a form of divine recognition for both the Jews and the gentiles.