Revelation Chapter 7:3
Revelation 7:3 – …saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
God had given the four angels the power to harm the “earth, the sea, or the trees” through the “four winds,” just as God gave angels the power to cause destruction in Egypt:
Psalms 78:43, 49 – When He worked His signs in Egypt, and His wonders in the field of Zoan… He cast on them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, indignation, and trouble, by sending angels of destruction among them.
The earth, the sea, and the trees will certainly be harmed in some of the Tribulation judgments (Revelation 8:7-9, Revelation 16:3). However, as shown in the last section the harm is coming from the “four winds,” which are the “four spirits,” or the four horses in Revelation 6. Therefore, since the four horses do not harm the earth, the sea, and the trees, we can see that they are metaphors for kingdoms, nations, and people, which are targeted in the first four Seal judgments (Revelation 6:1-8).
Scripture describes the following kingdoms and people as trees:
- Kingdom and king of Babylon – Ezekiel 17, Daniel 4
- Kingdom of Egypt – Ezekiel 31
- Kingdom of Judah – Jeremiah 11, Ezekiel 20, Matthew 21, Luke 13
- Kingdom of Israel – Hosea 14
- United Kingdom of Israel – Judges 9, Matthew 24, Matthew 13, Luke 21
- Jewish People – Matthew 3, 7, 12, Luke 3, 6
- Two witnesses – Zechariah 4, Revelation 11
- Those who mourn Jerusalem – Isaiah 61
- The righteous – Psalm 1, 52, 92, Jeremiah 17
- Body of Christ – Romans 11
The “sea” represents the Gentile nations:
Psalms 65:7 – You who still the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples.
Psalms 98:7 – Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell in it.
Isaiah 17:12 – Woe to the multitude of many people who make a noise like the roar of the seas, and to the rushing of nations that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
Isaiah 23:11 – He stretched out His hand over the sea, He shook the kingdoms; the LORD has given a commandment against Canaan to destroy its strongholds.
Isaiah 60:5 – Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.
Ezekiel 26:3-5 – “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,’ says the Lord GOD; ‘it shall become plunder for the nations.”
Ezekiel 32:2 – “Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him: ‘You are like a young lion among the nations, and you are like a monster in the seas, bursting forth in your rivers, troubling the waters with your feet, and fouling their rivers.'”
Daniel 7:2-3 – Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.”
Habakkuk 3:12, 15 – You marched through the land in indignation; You trampled the nations in anger…. You walked through the sea with Your horses, through the heap of great waters.
Revelation 13:1 – Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
The Greek word translated “earth” can also mean “land,” which is the opposite of “sea.” If the sea represents the Gentile people and nations, then the land represents the people and nation of Israel, which the following passage supports:
Isaiah 5:25-26 – Therefore the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people; He has stretched out His hand against them and stricken them, and the hills trembled. Their carcasses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still. He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, and will whistle to them from the end of the earth; surely they shall come with speed, swiftly. In that day they will roar against them like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks to the land, behold, darkness and sorrow; and the light is darkened by the clouds.
In an interesting observation, a picture of Israel as the “land” in the midst of the “sea” of Gentile nations is seen in the parting of the Red Sea during the Exodus:
Exodus 15:19 – For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea upon them. But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.
Nehemiah 9:11 – And You divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors You threw into the deep, as a stone into the mighty waters.
The judgments brought by the “four winds,” or the four horses in Revelation 6 will harm the metaphorical “earth,” “sea,” and “trees,” which represent Israel, Gentile nations, kingdoms, and people, as shown above:
Haggai 2:6-7, 22 – For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts…. I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms…..
The angel from the east tells the four restraining angels that him and other angels need to mark God’s servants before they allow the “four winds” to “harm the earth, the sea, or the trees.” If the angel from the east did not come with this protective seal (Revelation 7:2) and tell the angels restraining the “four winds” to wait until the servants are sealed, these servants and the great multitude of saints that get saved would potentially perish in the Tribulation judgments the angels are ready to unleash, without the opportunity to turn to God. The loud cry of the angel (Revelation 7:2) may suggest that the angels were just about ready to release the “four winds.” This shows God’s longsuffering, even in judgment, to give every opportunity for people to repent and get saved:
2 Peter 3:9, 15 – The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance… and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…
As mentioned in the last section, this seal is the name of the Father (Revelation 14:1), in a visible mark on the forehead. Before the judgment on Judah came at the hands of the Babylonians, God sent a man clothed in linen, possibly Jesus incarnate (Daniel 10:5, 12:6-7), to mark those who mourned over the idolatry and abominations done in Jerusalem:
Ezekiel 8:16-18 – So He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east. And He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence; then they have returned to provoke Me to anger. Indeed they put the branch to their nose. Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.”
Ezekiel 9:1-6 – Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, “Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.” And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer’s inkhorn at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; and the LORD said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.” To the others He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the temple.
The following excerpt from “Holman Bible Dictionary” shows the significance of placing the mark on the forehead:
The Emblem of Holiness was placed on Aaron’s forehead (Exodus 28:38). This symbolized acceptance before the Lord. A mark was put upon the foreheads of those in Jerusalem who mourned for the wickedness of Jerusalem. They were spared in a time of terrible judgment (Ezekiel 9:4).The Bible indicates that a person’s character can be determined by observing the forehead. A set forehead indicates opposition, defiance, and rebellion (Jeremiah 3:3). Hardness of the forehead indicates determination to persevere (Isaiah 48:4; Ezekiel 3:8-9).Source: StudyLight.org
The Hebrew for “mark” is the Hebrew letter “tav.” The only other use of the “tav” alone is found in Job, which shows a sign of exemption from judgment (source):
Job 31:35 – Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my mark. Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, that my Prosecutor had written a book!
The ancient “tav” was in the form of a cross (source). How fitting that the “seal of the living God” (Revelation 7:2) is a cross signifying exemption from judgment. Jesus’ death on the cross reconciled us to God through His blood, exempting us from “the handwriting of requirements” of the Law in forgiveness:
Ephesians 2:13-16 – But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
Colossians 2:13-14 – And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Similarly, the Hebrew people were exempt from the judgment on the firstborn of Egypt if they marked their doors with blood, tracing the sign of a cross as they first dipped the blood in the basin, striking the lintel, and then the two doorposts:
Exodus 12:22-23 – And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.
The Greek word for “servant” is “doulos,” and can also be translated “slave” or “bondservant,” which means they belong to someone else. In this case the 144,000 servants are slaves of God. The seal shows God’s ownership of those He marks, like the branding of a slave by their master:
John 6:27 – “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
2 Timothy 2:19 – Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
Scripture shows similar branding on the forehead of harlots, who are sex slaves, or spiritual slaves to idolatry, and those who follow after the beast in the Tribulation:
Jeremiah 3:3 – Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlot’s forehead; you refuse to be ashamed.
Revelation 17:5 – And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Revelation 13:16-17 – He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Whether or not the mark is visible to other humans, it is visible to the angelic and demonic realm, as they are commanded to specifically leave those with the seal of God alone in the fifth Trumpet judgment. In this case, the grass and trees are physical and not a metaphor for people and kingdoms because every person without the seal of God is subject to this judgment:
Revelation 9:1-4 – Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
The Lord is the “Alpha and Omega, the first and the last” (Revelation 1:11). In Hebrew He would be called the “aleph” and the “tav,” the first and last letters in Hebrew. The last letter “tav” denotes that the Lord is paramount of all that there is; without limit or end, able to save those who come through Christ’s finished work on the cross (John 19:30):
Hebrews 7:24-25 – But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
If the “First and the Last” is a title or name of the Son, it is also the name of the Father as they are “One” (John 10:30):
Isaiah 44:6-7 – Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do?
So we see that the “tav” is a cross, a mark of exemption or protection from judgment, ownership of God, and found in the name or title of the Father, and fits John’s description of the seal on the foreheads of the 144,000 Jewish servants. This is similar to the seal of the Holy Spirit given to believers in the Church Age, or “dispensation of grace”:
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Ephesians 1:13-14 – In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Revelation 3:12 – He who overcomes… I will write on him the name of My God…
In the “dispensation of grace,” the Church is given the Holy Spirit as a pledge from Christ for the promise of salvation; those under the Law had no such assurance. During the “dispensation of the Law,” the Holy Spirit did dwell in select people: the judges, the prophets, and others for His purpose (Judges 3:10, 1 Samuel 16:13, Nehemiah 9:30, Zechariah 7:12). However, these people were not sealed and they had no assurance that the Holy Spirit would stay with them (1 Samuel 16:14, Psalm 51:11-12, Isaiah 63:10). This did not mean that they could lose their salvation, as salvation has always been based on a covenant relationship; just that they had no assurance of their salvation, as we do under the “dispensation of grace.”(Click here for more on the covenant of salvation).
In the “dispensation of judgment,” or the Tribulation, the only ones sealed are the 144,000 servants of God (Revelation 7:4). While the context shows that these servants are supernaturally protected through their ministry, as just shown above, being “sealed” is also a guarantee of salvation from the Holy Spirit who dwells in those who are sealed. In other words, the mark shows protection, but the sealing shows indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This suggests that the Holy Spirit will work similar to the way He did during the “dispensation of the Law,” in that He will dwell in a select few for a specific purpose.
Unlike the Old Testament Saints, the 144,000 sealed servants will also have the assurance of their salvation like believers in the Church. In other words, the Holy Spirit is not there as a comforter to all believers during the “dispensation of judgment,” but only for the 144,000 servants, in addition to protection for the difficult task they are given to accomplish. Being a believer during the Tribulation will be exceptionally difficult, especially without the comfort and assurance of the Holy Spirit.
There is further evidence that the Holy Spirit does not dwell in all believers during the Tribulation like He does today. We see a transition at the end of the “dispensation of judgment,” where God will again pour out the Holy Spirit on Israel and all flesh, as He did at Pentecost at the birth of the Church (Acts 2):
Joel 2:28-29 – “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
Ezekiel 39:29 – “And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.”
Zechariah 12:10 – “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication…”
There wouldn’t be a second outpouring of the Holy Spirit if all believers were already in-dwelt by Him during the Tribulation. Those who receive the Holy Spirit in the second outpouring at the end of the Tribulation will enter the Kingdom:
John 3:5 – Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Recall from Revelation 3:12, overcomers, or believers are the spiritual temple of God. Since God put His name on the earthly temple (1 Kings 9:3), it makes sense that He will put His name on the spiritual temple, made of believers:
Revelation 3:12 – He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God…
Revelation 22:3-4 – And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
Being a servant of God involves sharing and keeping the Word of God. The patriarch, the prophets, Law abiding Jews, good kings, Jesus, and His disciples, are examples of God’s servants in Scripture, who kept and shared God’s Word:
Genesis 26:5, 24 – …Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws…. And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.”
Numbers 12:7-8 – “…My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?”
1 Kings 18:36 – And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word.”
2 Kings 17:13 – Yet the LORD testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.”
2 Chronicles 6:12, 14 – Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands… and he said: “LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or on earth like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts.”
Isaiah 49:6 – Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’
Ezekiel 37:24 – “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.”
John 12:25-26 – He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
Through the rest of the study, we will see the evidence that the 144,000 servants follow suit to other servants of God. In response to the 144,000 servant’s ministry, a multitude is saved throughout the Tribulation (Revelation 7:9). These servants will share the Word of God wherever they go, like the Apostle Paul, who shared the Gospel:
Acts 16:17 – This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”
“Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea … trees”: Let the winds be restrained until what is here designated shall be done. The “sea” here could be a literal sea or as in other places it means large groups of people.
These destroying angels were commanded to suspend the work of destruction until the servants of God could be rendered secure. The division here (as in Revelation 7:1), of the “earth, the sea, and the trees,” seems to include everything; water, land, and the productions of the earth. Nothing was to be injured until the angel should designate the true servants of God.
It was common in John’s day for masters to seal or brand their slaves on the forehead or the hand to declare ownership. This mark also granted them protection for those who would steal or misuse them. In future days, when the seal of the Antichrist signifies death or life, Satan will have marked his followers, but God’s witnesses will be sealed as well, with the name of the Father “in their foreheads”.
Verses 4-8: The seal shows ownership and security, as a king’s signet ring was used to authenticate and protect official documents. The 144,000 are all Israelites from the 12 tribes (12 times 12,000). This number may be taken literally, or figuratively of a national conversion. All 12 tribes returned from exile, and there was always a remnant from the entire nation in Israel (compare 2 Chron. 30:1-10, 25, 26; Matt. 10:5-6; Acts 26:7). The promise of future restoration is given to all 12 tribes (compare Isa. 11:11-13; Ezek. 3; Revelation 7:15-28). There are no lost tribes”. In the list of tribes, Joseph stands for Ephraim, and Dan is missing, possibly because it was the first tribe to go into idolatry and apostasy (compare Judges chapter 18). The 144,000 will apparently be converted and commissioned to be a light to the Gentiles during the Tribulation.
image courtesy: Revelation 7-3 – slideshare
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We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.