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Remember chapter 6? Who can forget the scene: somewhere beyond the starry sky there stands a herald angel with a trumpet in his hand, and by the decree of the Lord God Almighty, there is a day, there is an hour, there is a moment, there is an elected time when the angel shall sound and the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ.” Thus opens the Tribulation, the first step in Christ’s taking back the earth, which is rightfully His. One by one Christ unrolls the seals. As each seal is broken, He takes further possession and control of His inheritance. Here are only a few of the dreadful disasters that take place during the Tribulation:
- One out of every four people will die (see Rev. 6:8), some through the ravages of war, others by starvation, and amazingly many others by the ‘beasts of the earth’. One third of all vegetation will be burned up. All grass, every tree, everything green will be destroyed. The sun and the moon will be darkened as nature goes into revolt. The gates of Hell will open and hordes of locusts, the size of horses, will come upon the earth. Those locusts will be allowed to sting men like scorpions and the pain will last for five months. The Bible says men will beg God to let them die but they will not die (see Rev. 9:3-6). There will be worldwide famine unlike anything the world has ever seen (see Rev. 18:8).
So what is Jesus doing during all this? His heart of love and compassion sends 144,000 missionaries (only 35,000 today). So chapter 7 opens with the LOVE
of Jesus. The Lamb standing in triumph on Mount Zion and with him the one hundred and forty-four thousand. They are marked with his name and with the name of his Father on their foreheads. We have already thought about the meaning of the marking but we must look at it again. In the ancient world a mark upon a person could stand for at least five different things.
ü It could stand for ownership
. Often the slave was branded with his owner’s mark, as sheep and cattle are branded. The company with the Lamb belongs to God.
ü It could stand for loyalty
. The soldier would sometimes brand his hand with the name of the general whom he loved and would follow into any battle. The company of the Lamb are the veterans who have proved their loyalty.
ü It could stand for security.
There is a curious third or fourth century papyrus letter from a son to his father Apollo. Times are dangerous, and the son and the father are separated. The son sends his greetings and good wishes, and then goes on: “I have indeed told you before of my grief at your absence from among us, and my fear that something dreadful might happen to you, and that we may not find your body. Indeed, I often wished to tell you that, having regard to the insecurity, I wanted to stamp a mark
upon you” (P. Oxy. 680)
. The son wished to put a mark upon his father’s body in order to keep it safe. The company of the Lamb are those marked for security in life and in death.
ü It could stand for dependence
. Robertson Smith quotes a curious example of this. The great Arab chieftains had some humble clients who were absolutely dependent on them. Often the sheik would brand them with the same mark as he used to brand his camels to show that they were dependent on him. The company of the Lamb are those who are utterly dependent on his love and grace.
ü It could stand for safety
. It was common for those who were the devotees of a god to be stamped with his sign. Sometimes that worked very cruelly. Plutarch tells us that after the disastrous defeat of the Athenians under Nicias in Sicily, the Sicilians took the captives and branded them on the forehead with a galloping horse, the emblem of Sicily (Plutarch: Nicias
29). 3 Maccabees
tells us that Ptolemy the Fourth of Egypt ordered that “all Jews should be degraded to the lowest rank and to the condition of slaves; and that those who spoke against it should be taken by force and put to death; and that these when they were registered should be marked with a brand on their bodies, with the ivy leaf, the emblem of Bacchus” (3 Maccabees
2: 28, 29).
The Company of the Lamb are those who rest in the absolutely secure safety of the Love of Jesus for His servants. Let’s discover the love of Jesus
as He sends His Witnesses to Rescue lost and helpless sinners (7) “it appears to be since there appears to be a very clear link, it is safe to assume that 144,000 are witnesses and the multitude are the result of their ministry on earth”
Seven ways Jesus shows his love
as he stands with the slaves of the lamb
Jesus shows His love as He prepares His servants for bad times v. 1-3
His servants are Protected – no harm His servants are Sealed – forehead sealed as the Holy Spirit fills their minds, hearts, body II Cor. 1; Eph. 1
- We are chosen
- We are sealed
- We are spiritually filled
- We are spiritually led
- We are protected
- We are rewarded
- We are servants
- We are owned – Rom. 8 – Spiritually bear witness
Our great Shepherd’s betrothal gift to His Bride is the Holy Spirit. He is called “the earnest of our inheritance”. (Ephesians 1: 14). The thought behind that word “earnest” is exactly the thought behind the idea of an engagement ring. We are to display the Holy Spirit before the world to signify that our affections have been engaged to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead” (Romans 7:4).
- § The Spirit Signs 2 Corinthians 1:21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God. The spirit signs Holy Spirit is poured out on us “Anointed” is our signature of God = security of authenticity, divine.
ü John 1:12 – His gift is gracious
ü John 3:34 – His supply is Inexhaustible
ü First John 2:20 – His Anointing is Personal
- The Spirit Seals 2 Corinthians 1:22a who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. The ancient world recognized the sealing of goods. This was the pressing of a signet into soft wax across the opening of a document, tomb, sealed box and so on. Holy Spirit “Seals” us = security of divine ownership. He is our precious possession. The seal assured three things:
the contents as authentic.
the presence of the owner.
the image of the signet was transferred.
- § The Spirit Secures 2 Corinthians 1:22b and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
ü The Holy Spirit is also given to us as a pledge. God delivered us our engagement ring = security of divine protection
Jesus shows His love as He knows where His servants are at all times v. 4-8
His servants are Directed – which tribe
Jesus shows His love as He wants His servants with Him v. 9-10
- Depict globality of Christ’s reign “every”. Do you have a global perspective?
ü Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
ü Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
ü 2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
- Defy totality Satan’s Secular dominion. Do you appear “not of the world”
ü Philippians 1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, – see the word “conversation” or ‘conduct” politeuomai.
What would this communicate to these saints? Citizens of Rome were little fragments of Roman society. They:
- spoke the language
- wore the dress
- observed the customs
- bore the titles
- kept the laws
ü Thus, a clear concept came to the mind. Now, they were to use that concept to know how to live in the World. “Romans were stubbornly and unalterably Roman – never dreaming of being assimilated into the people around them.” Acts 16:20-21 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
How are we to act as citizens of heaven?
Shared lives in the world as citizens
. What is it?
- Our language = word of God + prayer It’s different
- Our dress = His righteousness It’s different
- Our custom = to love others It’s different
- Our law = God’s word It’s different
Just as the citizens of Rome were never assimilated but remained fragments wherever they were – so we must be
! Let’s do it and find some action items from Phil 3:20:
- Citizenship — heaven = we’re foreign – Settle that in our minds we are only temporary squatters here.
- From where we look = we’re waiting – Apekderometha “from down and out” at Robertson Greek wars – all went, returned “on shield or carrying it”
- Who shall change = we’re hoping
ü Hebrews 11:13-16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
- Deny totally Satan’s Spiritual dominion
ü 1 John 3:8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
ü 1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Jesus shows His love as He seeks His servants worship
v. 11-12, 15
Jesus shows His love as He promises His servants fruitful ministry
- Predicted Matthew 10:22-23 “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.23 “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
- Rev. 20 Beheaded serve 1,000 years
- So, v. 15, throne on earth/temple – Jews in the millennium
Jesus shows His love as He comforts his servants from all their troubles
Jesus shows His love as He refreshes his servants by His presence
The comforting voice of Jesus
- Acts 18:9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent;
It is just like our Lord to speak to us when we need Him the most. His tender “Fear not!” can calm the storm in our hearts regardless of the circumstances around us. This is the way He assured
ü Abraham (Gen. 15:1) After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid
, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
ü Isaac (Gen. 26:24) 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.”
ü Jacob (Gen. 46:3) So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear
to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.
ü Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:15–17) And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid
nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.16 ‘Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel.17 ‘You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear
or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”
ü Daniel (Dan. 10:12, 19) Then he said to me, “Do not fear
, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 19 And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
ü Mary (Luke 1:30) Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid
, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
ü Peter (Luke 5:10) and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid
. From now on you will catch men.”
Experiencing the comfort of God’s son!
The next time you feel alone and defeated, meditate on
ü God holds our hand
: Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
ü God knows us by name
: Isaiah 43:1-7 But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; 7 Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”
ü Jesus stays with us
: Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”