REVELATION CHAPTER 7
TWO KEY EVENTS BETWEEN THE 6TH & 7TH SEALS
Two key events occur between the opening of the sixth and seventh seal, which ends the Great Tribulation, and the opening of the seventh seal, which begins the Day of the Lord. These event are: (1) the sealing of the 144,000 of Israel and (2) the gathering of the Great Multitude in heaven, also known as the Rapture. The Rapture is the Second Coming of Jesus; He will appear in the sky and rapture His Church up to heaven. Both of these events prepare the way for the Day of the Lord by protecting His people (the nation of Israel and the Church) from God’s Wrath, which is about to flow forth.
The first event is the sealing of the 144,000. These protected Jews are the first of Israel who will reject Antichrist during Daniel's 70th Week. Specifically, God will provide supernatural protection for the 144,000 in order to allow them to survive the Day of the Lord, when God’s wrath will be poured out upon Antichrist and his kingdom. However,, the 144,000 do NOT become believers until after the Rapture of the Church. In fact, the Rapture will be the very event that turns their hearts to Jesus. What will occur is effectively the “passing of a baton” from the Church – who will be Raptured up to heaven – to the 144,000, who will remain protected here on Earth, and must carry on during the Day of the Lord.
The second event is the Rapture of the Church. The Bible describes this moment as a gathering of a Great Multitude of saints from all tribes, tongues, and nations that “come out of the Great Tribulation." This Great Multitude is comprised of all believers who will arrive in heaven as a group, marking the end of the Great Tribulation. With a great trumpet call, God will send His angels to gather His elect, whether they are living or dead.
THE 144,000 JEWS SEALED ON THE EARTH
1After this (After the breaking of the sixth seal, which will be a sign to all believers that the time of their salvation is near. Note the consecutive order of the Book of Revelation) I saw four angels (Angels are God’s servants. These four deal out God’s wrath. See 2 Thess. 1:6-8.) standing at the four corners of the earth, (indicating their control of the whole earth) holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. (A different and much more powerful wave of destruction is about to be unleashed upon the Earth - the Wrath of God. God's judgment has been, up until this point, held back by four mighty angels) 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east (A fifth angel comes from the East and speaks to the four angels holding back the wrath of God. It may be significant that this angel comes from the East, as the Bible reveals that the glory of God will return to His temple from the East. See Ez. 43:2. Additionally, in Jewish thought, the Messiah and Israel’s future blessings are to come from the East), having the seal of the living God (We will see that this seal is supernatural protection from God’s wrath. See Rev. 9:4). He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees (do not release God’s wrath) until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” (God is holding back His wrath in order to first protect the nation of Israel. The 144,000 will literally be marked with a seal on their foreheads, indicating God's ownership and protection over His chosen people. Note the contrast between this mark of protection with the mark of the beast - a mark of eternal damnation. This select group of 144,000 Jews will remain on the Earth after the Rapture through the Day of the Lord. Rev 14:1-5 indicates that it is God the Father’s name that is written on their foreheads and that they are chaste virgins who follow Jesus exclusively)
4Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. (144,000 Jews will be sealed from God's wrath; 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel).
During the End Times, many Jews will become willing followers of Antichrist at the inception of the seven-year agreement, which is ostensibly designed to protect Israel. They will view him as a defender of Israel, and perhaps even the Messiah prophesized in the Old Testament. However, there will be a remnant group of Jews from Israel - 144,000 to be exact - that will see through the deception of Antichrist. As Daniel’s 70th week progresses, these Jews will refuse to worship Antichrist or accept his mark. Remember that, although the 144,000 reject Antichrist, they will not become believers during this time period - otherwise, they would become a part of the Church and be raptured up to heaven prior to the Day of the Lord. Think of the many Jews who recognized and rejected the evil of Hitler, but did not necessarily believe in Jesus.
The group of 144,000 will realize that they are in imminent danger from Antichrist, and will begin to flee Jerusalem after the Abomination of Desolation occurs - when Antichrist proclaims himself God in the Jewish temple, ushering in the Great Tribulation. The 144,000 will flee into the wilderness, to an undisclosed location – some believe the rock city of Petra. See Rev 12:13,14 and Isa 16:1-4). They will be supernaturally sealed by God's angels prior to the Day of the Lord, protecting the 144,000 from God's Wrath and the seven trumpet judgments of the Day of the Lord.
5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,from the tribe of Gad 12,000, 6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, 7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000. (The 144,000 are physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They are 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. Note that the tribe of Dan is missing from this list - Joseph and one of his two sons, Manasseh, are listed. Some speculate that the tribe of Dan was the first tribe to enter into idolatry and therefore his descendants are excluded from supernatural protection in the Day of the Lord. However, the tribe is listed in the Millennium Kingdom. See Ez 48:2. The 144,000 are the first fruits of the nation Israel, the first of a host of Jewish people who will survive the Day of the Lord and come to Jesus at the end of Daniel’s 70th week. At that time, “All Israel shall be saved! See Rom 11:25)
THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD JESUS:
THE GREAT MULTITUDE IS RAPTURED INTO HEAVEN
9After this (After the sealing of the 144,000. Exactly how much time elapses between the two events is unknown because no man knows the hour of the Rapture. However, we do know that this will occur prior to the breaking of the 7th seal and the Day of the Lord.) I looked and there before me (in heaven) was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, (the Raptured Church is described as the "great multitude" in heaven. The Church has existed for over 2000 years throughout the world and it is vast! All tribes, peoples, nations, and languages are represented in the Church) standing before the throne (standing before God the Father) and in front of the Lamb (the Church has been Raptured up to Heaven, and John sees the Church - the Bride of Christ - as it is presented to Jesus). They were wearing white robes (depicting righteousness) and were holding palm branches (reminding us of the celebration of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday when He was declared King. See John 12:13.) in their hands. (All of the believers are able to hold palm branches in their hands as they all have been given newly resurrected bodies at the Rapture! See 1 Cor. 15:50-58. This is a special promise made to those who live to see the Rapture. Contrast this to those martyred during the breaking of the fifth seal, discussed in Revelation 6:9. These martyrs were still in spirit form when they reached heaven and had not yet received their resurrected bodies.) 10And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Filled with emotion, the Church is praising God that its salvation is at last complete)
11All the angels (at least 100 million – See Rev 5:11) were standing around the throne and around the elders (The 24 elders are grouped with all the other angels in distinction to the redeemed, supporting they are angels. This is the same group of angel-elders we saw in Rev 4 & 5.) and the four living creatures (The cherubim - another mighty class of angels prowling around God’s throne). They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
(Overwhelmed by the magnificence of this event, all the angels and the entire Church - together for the first time - worship God in heaven by singing a new song commemorating this very special occasion. Note the song incorporates seven unique attributes of God.)
13Then one of the elders (One of the 24 angelic elders, possibly Michael the Archangel - see Rev 5) asked me, “These in white robes (The Great Multitude) – who are they, and where did they come from?” (The angelic elder asks John two questions about (1) the identity, and (2) the origin of the Great Multitude. We will see that these are rhetorical questions - the angelic elder is explaining to John how these things came to be. Remember, the purpose of the Book of Revelation is for the Church to better understand and prepare itself for the End Times!) 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” (John recognizes that this is a rhetorical question, and in effect says, "I don't know the answer, please tell me") And he (the angelic elder) said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; (Question two is answered first. The angelic elder is explaining to John - so that we might know - that the Church will arrive as a group in Heaven during the Great Tribulation, but prior to the Day of the Lord) they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (The angelic Angel then answers question one; the group is comprised of believers who have been saved by the blood of Jesus. Why wouldn't John recognize immediately recognize this group as the Church of Christ? Remember, John lived in 95 A.D., when the Church was small and struggling. Now, at the Rapture, it is an innumerable group - the Great Multitude - representing the triumphant body of Christ!)
15Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. (Here, the angelic elder reveals some of God's promise of everlasting life to the Church. The elder is literally describing heaven. The Church will serve Him eternally, and live in His temple - the New Jerusalem. See Revelation 21, 22) 16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. (Heaven is without sin, without want) The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. (All physical pain will come to an end. The sins of Adam and Eve have been removed) 17For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd (Jesus has paid the price of our original sin, and he will forever watch over us); he will lead them to springs of living water (we will drink from the rivers of everlasting life). And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (The tears of suffering from sin and death will finally be at an end).
Several other Biblical passages give a description of the Second Coming of Jesus and the Rapture of the Church. Although no man can know precisely when the Rapture will take place, these passages reveal that the Rapture will occur after the 6th seal is opened, after the sealing of the 144,000, and before the 7th seal is broken.
Luke 21:25-28  There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.  Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. (Luke is describing the cosmic disturbances that will occur when the sixth seal is broken)  At that time (after the cosmic disturbances) they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory (the Second Coming of Christ).  When these things begin to take place, (the cosmic disturbances) stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Again, the breaking of the sixth seal is intended to give heart to believers that the Rapture is near.)
Matthew 24:29-31  Immediately after the distress of those days (following the Great Tribulation)'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' (the sixth seal cosmic disturbances)  At that time (immediately following the cosmic disturbances) the sign of the Son of Man (Jesus) will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn (unbelievers will tremble at the sight). They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory (Matthew is describing the Second Coming of Jesus).  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect (the Church) from the four winds (from the four corners of the globe. Note the parallels between gathering believers from the four winds and the four angels holding back the wrath of the four winds. See Revelation 7:1), from one end of the heavens to the other (this is the Rapture of the Church).