THE SIXTH SEAL Continued
Reiterating what was last stated in our previous post, viz.
“The chapter division obscures the connection of Chapter 7 to what has come just before at the end of Chapter 6. It is VERY IMPORTANT to our understanding to see this connection. Rev 6:12-17 has just shown the terrible troubles of the French Revolution period. These troubles could have spread. But it was not yet time for the general Time of Trouble. Only 1/10th of the city was to fall during the sixth period of the church (Rev 11:13). 9/10ths must remain for the trouble of the Laodicean period. Therefore, Chapter 7 begins by saying: ENOUGH! STOP THE SPREAD! IT IS NOT TIME FOR THE WHIRLWIND. THE CHURCH MUST BE FINISHED FIRST. THEN THE WINDS CAN BE SET FREE.
This, in essence, is the entire message of Chapter 7. But the statement about finishing the church before the final trouble allows the sender of Revelation to tell how many will ultimately be sealed as part of the body of Christ and what will happen to those (the Great Multitude) who did not prove worthy of their calling. Obviously, the church is not completed during the sixth stage of the church — That’s the message of Verse 3 But, as is so often the case in the sixth church narrative, the Revelator Looks forward to events in the seventh stage of the church. He here looks forward to the completion of the church and the Great Multitude.”
“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.” Rev 7:1
Four angels: These angels are said to be holding back the winds. The implication is that the winds (strife) cannot occur until certain information is available to cause the strife. It was truths about liberty, etc., which stimulated the Revolution in France. It will apparently also be truths which cause the final cataclysm. Thus four angels may symbolize all available messages–the accumulated truths which culminate in the final period of the church. It is very much possible that these four angels are the same as those mentioned in Rev 9:14, 15. Until the advent of Protestantism, truths were restrained (bound) at the Euphrates — i.e., they were bound by the faithfulness of the people to the support of Babylon (The “waters” of the Euphrates represent peoples, nations, specifically those who support Babylon, See Rev 17:15).
The message of the sixth trumpet released the search for truth as nothing had since Jesus’ first advent. Chapter 9 continues to show the powerful effects of these doctrines (horses). Chapter 7, however, shows that even though the angels of Rev 9:14, 15 are released, THEY ARE ALLOWED TO GO ONLY SO FAR. Verses 2 and 3 show that Jesus Himself FORBIDS the truths to go beyond what would hinder His work of completing the church. Here is a specific fulfillment of Psa 76:10.
Four corners of earth: The angels stand at the four corners of earth — in all segments of society where all the social, financial, political, and religious messages which will ultimately conflict are located. These elements of society actively fought the influence of the French Revolution in order to keep a semblance of peace and order throughout Europe. Once truths are released they have dual effects. The post-revolutionary Europe attempted, and succeeded, in putting reigns on the horses. Thus the four angels (which in a sense caused the trouble) ALSO served to hold back its spread.
Four winds of earth: It is important to distinguish between the winds of earth and the winds of heaven (as in Dan 7:2). The various wars and strife’s (conflicts) symbolized by winds have various causes. Some are based on ecclesiastical questions (arguments), some on social. Some are caused by the interactions of men, some by the interference of fallen spirits. Thus some are characterized by winds of heaven (ecclesiastical or demonical), and some by winds of earth (social or political.)
In Rev 7:1, the strife is social- political (earth). It is, however, important to note that what occurs in society frequently has the planning or backing of the spirit powers behind it. Thus, in Dan 7, the winds of heaven (the fallen spirits) strive on the sea (restless humanity) to form the four empires which will dominate Daniel’s people until the 20th Century. As each of those four apparently had a fallen angel as its head (see Dan 10:20), it is also likely that the final cataclysm also will have demons behind its features. Thus we have texts like 2 Thess. 2:9, 10, Matt. 24:24, and Rev. 16:14. Then, as Rev 16:17 shows, the LAST plague will be poured out on these powers of the air which should bring the release of the four winds of our Rev 7 prophecy. Hosea 8:7 shows that while a wind might blow, it is the WHIRLWIND that brings new destruction: (Compare Dan 2:35). Thus the winds blowing, but not the four winds — the final blast with ALL of the directions and forces of accumulated truths coming together causes the anarchy with which this age will end. GOD FINALLY SPEAKS out of the WHIRLWIND — Job 38:1.
On earth, sea, & tree: The winds are held back so that the earth (society), the sea (the masses of humanity), and the trees (significant leadership) will not experience the kind of total disruption that would make the completion of the church impossible — hence Verses 2 and 3.
“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.” Rev 7:2-3
The angel here is almost certainly Jesus (Compare Matt 4:2). He has the seal — the tool needed to complete the work of sealing. No doubt this seal is the working of the Holy Spirit. He cries to the four angels a message guaranteeing what they were already doing. They were, in Verse 1, holding back the forces of anarchy. But Jesus adds the LOUD VOICE of His authority to control history saying Go this far and no further. Let NOTHING stop the primary work of this age — the completion of My Bride. Until the church is sealed in its forehead (the character-likeness of Jesus and the Father — see Rev 14:1) — not necessarily beyond the veil –nothing else takes priority. 1/10th of the city has fallen, but the other 9/10ths is not permitted to do so until the final members of the Bride are sealed.”
Verses 4-17 covers the elect number of individuals tried, proven and found faithful who will constitute the Church, the Bride of Christ as well as the Great Company or multitude (an innumerable class) who failed to make their calling and election sure. As this segment does not specifically pertain to our subject we will not delve into these verses here, but rather will proceed onward to our next subject, the Sixth Trumpet in our next post.
Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation