As we come to chapter 7, we remind you that six awesome judgments have been poured upon the rebellious world. According to Matthew 24:8 these judgments are the beginning of sorrows. In verses 1-3 we see that the Lord has paused in pouring out His judgments, we have said that chapter 7 is a parenthesis, the mercy chapter of the book.
Last week we stated that the first reason for this pause is to give opportunity to men to repent. We know from the rest of the book that multitudes do repent and believe the gospel, we also know that a greater number do not repent.
REASON #2 - THE SUSPENSION OF JUDGMENT, TO SEAL GOD'S WITNESSES - Rev. 7:4-8
"Saying, hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads" Rev. 7:3
Sometime during the pouring out of the first six seal judgments a great multitude of gentiles are saved with most of them being martyred for their faith in Christ.(Though some will survive the trib. pd. to go into the Mill. kgdm., in their physical bodies to repopulate the earth) Among those who will be saved are 144,000 Jews, none of them are martyred. They are not martyred because the first half of the tribulation period is a time safety for Israel, during that time antichrist is the protector of Israel. But now as we approach the mid-trib point antichrist is about to turn on Israel in an attempt to utterly annihalate her. Those who say that God is finished with Israel are promoting the devil's agenda.
In this context read Rev. 12:7-9; 12:12-13,17. Satan knows that if he can utterly destroy Israel, Christ can never set up His earthly millenial kingdom as He promised to do. That is why satan is so determined to martyr God's witnesses.
The Lord again outdoes satan, as He does all throughout scripture, and at this point He seals 144,000 saved, male, virgin Jews in order that they might preach the gospel during the second half of the tribulation period, satan will not be able to touch these witnesses.
We know that during the tribulation period two-thirds of Israeli's will die at satans hand. We know that one-third will be saved and turn to the Lord.(Zech. 13"8-9) Undoubtedly the 144,000 will evangelize that one-third of the nation. Why does God allow some(the 144,000) to escape martyrdom and some(the multitude of saved gentile saints) to suffer martyrdom? The answer is God always has a grand and glorious purpose in everything He does, and it always works out to God's glory and for redeemed man's blessing. Wait until eternity to see the glory that will be the portion of the tribulation matyres for all of eternity.
REASON #3 - FOR THE SUSPENSION OF JUDGMENT, IS TO REESTABLISH THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL
Notice, "of all the tribes of Israel" vs. 4, Today there are not 12 tribes in Israel, at least they are not identified as such. Understand that at this point in the tribulation period God will reestablish the tribes of Israel. This is necessary for the setting up of the kingdom and in order that God may filfill His promises to the tribes. Whenever God makes a promise He always fulfills it. Never forget that!
REASON # 4 - FOR THE SUSPENSION OF JUDGMENT, IS TO SET THE STAGE FOR THE SALVATION OF A VAST HOST OF GENTILES WHO WILL BE MARTYRED AND SPEND ETERNITY IN GOD'S PRESENCE IN HEAVEN - Rev. 7: 9-17
"And after this I beheld and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number", who are these people? "Of all nations, and and kindereds, and peoples, and tongues," verse 9. Notice where they are. "stood before the throne, and before the Lamb,".They have been saved and martyred and we see them in heaven during the tribulation period.
These are not Jews and they are not church saints, they lived on earth during the trib. period, they were saved and martyred and they will have special place in God's presence for all of eternity.
REASON # 5 -FOR THE SUSPENSION OF JUDGMENT, IS TO SET THE STAGE FOR THE SALVATION OF A MULTITUDE OF GENTILES OF THE NATIONS WHO WILL POPULATE THE EARTH DURING THE MILL. KGDM. AND BEYOND Rev.20:7-8; 21: 24-26; 22:2
A vast host of gentiles, from every tribe and nation will be saved and survive to go into the Kingdom in their physical bodies to populate the nations which will be a part of the Kgdm.
God has a special plan for Israel, God has a special plan for the Church, God has a special plan for the Tribulation saints, and God has a special plan for the saved of the nations.
To fail to recognize this is to fail to rightly divide the Word of God and bring confusion upon our understanding of the Word.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,(confused about the Word) rightly dividing the word of truth."
We will look more closely at the 144,000 next week.