Many commentators view Revelation 7 as the most comforting and encouraging vision of the entire book. That is the section we’ll be reading this Sunday as we continue our series through these famous last words.
The vision starts rather oddly, with four angels holding back what appear to be destructive winds from scorching the earth. The reason they are held back is because God’s people are to be sealed, or marked first. Read Ezekiel 9:1-4 and Ephesians 1:13-14. How would you interpret the “seal”?
The 144,000 and the innumerable multitude are images we’ll talk about more on Sunday. The main thing to notice in the section though is God marking those who are His own. How would his persecuted first readers have found hope in that, and how can we find hope from that image today?
The rest of the chapter has some of the most tender imagery we’ll find anywhere in the Bible. In V 15-17, read over what it is the One on the throne and the Lamb will do for the people who belong to God. Use your imagination to envision the scene, then transliterate it to experiences you’ve had in this life that are similar. For instance, the One who sits on the throne will give His people shelter. Literally, provide a tent for them. In Near Eastern thinking, this is saying “bring them as family”. What does it mean to you to belong to a family – to experience the provision and protection that extends well beyond what you can achieve alone?
What do these images convey about the heart of God towards us?
I love this section – I hope you will too!