After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth,
holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind would blow on the
earth, on the sea, or on any tree.
Then I saw another angel rise up from the
east, who had the seal of the living God. He shouted out to the four angels
who had been given permission to damage the earth and the sea,
damage the earth, the sea or the trees until we have put a seal on the
foreheads of the servants of our God.”
I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000, sealed from all the
tribes of the children of Israel:
from the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were
sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad
from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of
Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,
the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand,
from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,from the tribe of Zebulun twelve
thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of
Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.After that I looked, and there was a huge crowd which nobody could
count, people from every nation, tribe, people and language. They were
standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with
palm branches in their hands.
They cried out, “Salvation belongs to our
God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”All the angels stood in
a circle around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures,
and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God.
“Amen! Praise and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, and honor, power, and
strength be to our God to the ages of the ages. Amen!”One of the elders asked me, “Who are these people dressed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
I replied, “My lord, you know the
answer.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the
Great Tribulation.They have washed their robes and made them white in
the blood of the Lamb. 15 That is why they are before the throne of God, and
they worship Him day and night in His temple, and the One seated on the
throne will shelter them.
16 They will never be hungry or thirsty again; the sun will not beat down on them, or any scorching heat,
17 because the Lamb in the
middle of the throne area will shepherd them and guide them to springs of
life-giving water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
It is easiest to understand the group listed as from the tribes of Israel as a picture of Israel
coming to faith under the pressure of the Tribulation. The “great crowd” (v. 9) would then be Gentiles
from all the other nations.