WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday May 15, 2011
(Perfect worship exalts the REDEEMER)
The events of Revelations chapter 7 tell of the Apostle John’s vision of a period that we now know as the “Great Tribulation” period. Here, John is looking at a preview of the last terrible days here on earth that, inevitably, must come to pass, before CHRIST, can usher in HIS much anticipated, “Millennial Kingdom”.
The various chapters in the book of Revelations are not all in chronological order, or sequence of their occurrence. Here in this chapter, John is describing a scene in Heaven that actually precedes the “Second Coming” of Christ JESUS to earth. In verses 9-17, the people seen by John in his vision are said to be those who have “come out of”, or “survived” the “Great Tribulation Period” that will follow the “Rapture” of the Christian Church. This passage clearly indicates how these people will be marvelously blessed in Heaven after their trials and tribulations are over, here on earth.
This vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language are seen standing before the Throne of GOD, dressed in white robes and holding palm branches. This is the same group of people that is mentioned by John in Revelation 6:9, whom he saw under the altar, and who had been martyred defending the Word of GOD during that Great Tribulation. The fact that they are now wearing white robes and holding palm branches signifies that they have been victorious, and are now, celebrating their righteous triumph, by giving thankful worship to GOD in Heaven.
As this victorious multitude boldly ascribes their salvation to GOD, and to CHRIST JESUS, the LAMB, all the angels, the 24 elders, and the 4 living creatures mentioned earlier, all join together in worship to GOD, with them. This passage answers the age old question that is raised in Revelation 6:17, as to whether, or not anyone who suffered through the Great Tribulation would be saved. John’s vision tells us that two specific groups will be saved. One group would be those who are saved in Israel, which are the 144,000, or, the members of the 12 tribes mentioned here in Revelations 7, verses 4-8. And the other group, those of the countless multitude who hail from every nation, people, and tongue, who, although they are spiritually saved, will remain during the Tribulation Period, and suffer persecutions in the name of JESUS, before being martyred into Heaven later on. They will be responsible for spreading the Gospel to the small remnant of people left in the world, who have not yet heard the gospel, so that they might make their choice of who they will serve.
In Revelations 7:1, the Apostle John writes of seeing “four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree”. In verse 2 he says that he saw a fifth angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the LIVING GOD. The fifth angel cried with a loud voice to the four angels who were given power by GOD to harm the earth and the sea. The angel goes on to say, in verse 3, “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our GOD in their foreheads”. Here the four angels who have been given power by GOD to wreck punishing judgment on earth, now being told to withhold judgment until all of GOD’s servants have been identified and marked with GOD’s seal of approval. We can garner from this passage that, in the end, those who are not included in the “Rapture”, or, “First Harvest” of GOD’s people, will be protected during the Great Tribulation period, because, they too, have remained faithful to GOD.
It is in victory that the faithful stand before GOD in the end. And just like the faithful multitude mentioned in this passage, they won’t be weary from the rigors of the Great Tribulation. Instead, they will appear fresh as a daisy, dressed in white robes, looking like the victors that they truly are.
It is GOD, WHO will bring us through the trials and tribulations of this world, and, it is the true Christian who faithfully ascribes salvation to GOD. The salvation GOD gives us is not a deliverance of escape, but rather, it is a deliverance of conquest. When one escapes, he has to constantly look over his shoulder to see if what he escaped from is gaining on him. But when one is able to conquer that which bothers, threatens, or controls him, he becomes free from all such frets and worries. He can then have a measure of peace and protection that we all seek, really. And it is that kind of protection, a person can only receive through faith in, and obedience to, the Almighty GOD, our SAVIOR, through JESUS CHRIST.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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