Saturday, September 9, 2023

The Tribulation Saints

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "The Tribulation Saints"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

John, as our narrator, is telling us about all he sees in heaven. Last week we read that 6 of the 7 seals have been opened. The judgments have begun. And in today’s passage in Chapter 7 of Revelation, we have an interlude before the 7th and final seal is opened.

In Romans 9, Paul tells us that not all Jews are Jews. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it is true. We are going to meet some true Jews today in the teaching. But as with today, so also was it true in Jesus’ day and before. The Jewish people can be defined three ways. 1) Those that can trace their blood lines back to Abraham. 2) Those that share the religious beliefs of Abraham, and 3) those can do both.

When Paul states in his Roman Epistle that there is a difference, this is what he is talking about: Some Jewish people can trace their bloodline back to Abraham, which is a fleshly connection. Other Jewish people can trace their religious faith back to Abraham’s. Others can do both; their earthly birthright and spiritual birthright are both founded in Abraham’s life, and his faith. This brings us the knowledge that God seeks a Spiritual seed, not a fleshly one.

This creates a problem: Much of Judaism, indeed much of Israel’s population today are referred to as Ashkenazi Jews. Genesis 10:1-3 states their blood line comes from Ashkenaz, great-grandson to Noah. Noah>Japeth>Gomer>Ashkenaz.

In contrast, Abraham came from another of Noah’s sons, Shem. Noah>Shem>Arphaxad>Shelah>Eber>Peleg>Reu>Serug>Nahor>Terah>
Abram, whose name God changed to Abraham. (Genesis chapters 10, 11 and 17:5).

So, the Ashkenazi Jews adopted God. And Abraham, being a Gentile of the Babylonian region, and also a descendant of Noah, put his faith in God, and obeyed His directive to leave the old idolatrous country, and in obedience, Abraham’s 12 sons became the first generation of the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Christians, like Abraham, heard God’s call and received the adoption He offers to everyone. The Ashkenzi’s adopted God, when in reality, God adopts those who put their trust in Him.

Romans 9:7, 8 - 

“Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. …They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” 

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 7:1-17 - "The Tribulation Saints"

Summary/Notes:  Coming Up!

As we begin in chapter 7, you will notice that there is somewhat of respite in between the opening of the sixth seal and before the seventh and final seal is broken. After all of the devastation, and furious judgment that we read about in the opening of the first six seals, this chapter is the calm before the storm. It’s a moment of promise and mercy. In the midst of wrath, God remembers mercy.” (Habbakuk 3:2).

Again, as a bit of a recap, we have been reading and studying about the future of the world. The apostle John recorded as the Lord instructed him to, the things which he had seen, the things which are, and the things which are to come. Future events recorded as the Lord Himself revealed it to him.

The opening of the first six seals described a period of wrath to come in six different phases:
  1. False peace
  2. War
  3. Famine
  4. Pestilence and Death
  5. Vengeance
  6. Fear as the final day of the Lord comes crashing down, literally!
The world up to this time is in full rebellion against God. We learned that there are people being converted during this time who are persecuted and killed for giving testimony to the Word of God. We know that vengeance belongs to the Lord, and in His timing, He will pour out His wrath upon His enemies.

The opening of the sixth seal we read that God’s fury comes. The people cry to the rocks to fall on them rather than have face the One who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. They cry out, “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand.” Revelation 6:17

As we begin chapter 7, it acts as a bit of a pause between the sixth and seventh seals, and it provides the answer to the question: "Who is able to stand?" 
(Revelation 6:17).

Here we will discover that God is going to save two groups of people during the Tribulation:
  1. A special group of young Jews, 144,000 of them, who are sealed by God, and will evangelize during this period.
  2. A vast multitude of people, which no one could number, from every nation, tribe, kindred, and language.
There will be, then, at the end of this time period, a protection of certain people from the nations and certain from Israel who have come to faith in Christ, and they will go into the kingdom. Many of these believers will be killed, but not all of them. 

This is the time of which Paul spoke when he said, “All Israel will be saved" 
Romans 11:26. God will purge out the rebellious unbelievers, and the rest see their Messiah, believe, and are redeemed. A great number will survive all of this and enter in to the God's kingdom.

John describes four angels who are standing on the four corners of the earth.  They are holding the four winds of the earth so that the wind should not blow on the earth, sea or on any tree.

Four Angels - are powerful creatures, holding back the storm that is about to unfold. They have been given the power to harm the earth and the sea, revealing God’s displeasure.

Four corners - The Greek word for “corners” is zonia, and is translated “quarters.” These are the four quadrants of the compass; that is the angels will take up key positions on earth.

Four Winds of the Earth - indicating all the earth’s winds (north, south, east and west). The four angels will literally turn off, for a brief interlude, the essential engine of our earth’s atmosphere.

John sees another angel ascending from the east and holding the seal of the living God.  The angel cries with a loud voice to the four angels who are holding back the wind, and tells them not to harm the earth, the sea or the trees UNTIL the 144,000 are sealed by God.

Seal of the Living God - A “seal” often refers to a signet ring used to press its image into wax melted on a document. The resulting imprint implied authenticity and ownership protecting the contents. The seal of the living God is the name of God (see Revelation 14:1).

144,000 - These are Jews, sealed and protected by God while they accomplish His mission. They represent the twelve tribes of Israel, 12,000 from each tribe (Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin). This refers to a missionary corps, or evangelists.  They are redeemed Jews who will be instrumental in the salvation of many Jews and Gentiles during the Tribulation period. They will be the firstfruits of a new redeemed Israel (Zechariah 12:10). Israel will finally be the witness nation she refused to be in the Old Testament (see Romans 11:25-27).

Which tribe is missing? Specifically, the tribes of the Northern Kingdom, through Ephraim, and also the tribe of Dan who has been omitted from this list, yet Joseph and Manasseh are included. We know that idolatry played a part, as did their dissatisfaction with the Lord’s provision. Rather than obey God, they built their own altar and temple to worship in. Pastor Bob will expound on this in today’s teaching.

There are distinctive groups of redeemed
  1. The church is already in heaven with the Lord having been raptured out of this world. 
  2.  The group of redeemed in chapter 6 is also in heaven. They are under the altar, slain because of the Word of God and the testimony which they had maintained. They cry out to God to avenge them, and God tells them they must wait because still, there are others who will come. 
  3. There is a great innumerable multitude. They come out of every nation, tribe, people groups and tongues. They appear to be standing on the earth. They are those who are redeemed and die during the tribulation in chapter 7.
A Great Multitude - While the tribulation period will be a time of judgment, it will also be a time of unprecedented redemption (See Revelation 6:9-11; 7:14; 20:4; Isaiah 11:10; Matthew 24:14).

This great multitude will stand before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes. They are holding palm branches. Salvation is the theme of their worship, and they recognize that it comes solely from Him. Their robes have been washed (Christ’s imputed righteousness, holiness).

One of the elders asks John who are these arrayed in white robes and where did they come from? John responds, you know who they are… These are the ones who come out of he the great tribulation, their robes have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb, referring to the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

His Temple - Refers to the heavenly throne of God (see 11:9). During the millennial kingdom, there will also be a temple on earth in a partially restored, but still fallen universe. In the final, eternal state with new heavens and earth, there is no temple; God Himself, who will fill all, will be its temple (21:22).

God’s presence will become their shelter and protection. The Lamb who has always been the Shepherd will lead them.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, Who died as Israel's Passover Lamb and gave His life as the ransom price for His little flock in the Church age - but Jesus also gave His life for these Tribulation sheep, just as He did for you and for me. He is the one Who offers the water of life, freely and without cost to ALL who are thirsty, and He is the one who will wipe away all tears from their eyes.

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV