Revelation 7: The 144,000 and the Great Multitude

Posted on March 1, 2021


By David Ettinger

What This Is
Back in the mid-to-late 1990s, I taught a Sunday school class verse by verse on the Book of Revelation. This series represents my notes for each class. (I have done some updating as some of my understandings have changed over the years.) I came across them recently and decided to post them. If you wish to use these notes as a study guide, the way to do it is as follows: Read the verse first in your Bible, then look at the corresponding notes here for commentary.

For some reason, I don’t have notes for Chapters 1-3, therefore this series begins with Chapters 4-5. Following the Chapter 4-5 study notes, each chapter will be presented individually.

Read Chapter 4-5 notes here.
Read Chapter 6 notes here.

* God’s wrath will begin with the opening of the seventh seal, but it hasn’t happened yet.

*The sixth seal was cosmic disturbances BEFORE the great and terrible Day of the Lord.

* Cosmic disturbance is one of the signs that the Day of the Lord is about to begin (Joel 2:30-31; Matthew 4:29).

*  This chapter is chronological, but is also parenthetical in that it covers some very important “business” before God’s wrath is to be poured out.

Verse 1
* The 4 angels are to hold back any more catastrophes from occurring on Earth until God can accomplish the sealing of the 144,000.

* The “four corners” represent God’s total authority over the entire world.

* The “wind” or “winds” refer to judgment.

Verse 2
* As opposed to the riders of Chapter 6, the angel who will deliver God’s wrath IS empowered by God.

* Harming the land and the sea will take place in Chapters 8 & 9, but before that, the order is given to hold off on it.

Verse 3
* The order is given to hold off on bringing about instruction for now.

* The servants of God must first be sealed.

* The seal symbolizes God’s protection, authenticity, and ownership upon the ones being sealed.

* In other words, those being sealed cannot be harmed or tampered with.

Verse 4
* The 144,000 come from the tribes of Israel. Though it is impossible today for Jews to identify what tribe they come from, God knows.

* The 144,000 who are sealed are Jewish.

* This is NOT the Church, but Jewish believers in Christ.

Verses 5-8
* The tribe of Dan is omitted.

* Dan was a very wicked, idolatrous tribe. Its inheritance was originally down by Jerusalem, but they relocated to the very north of the land, AWAY from God’s chosen city (Judges 18:27-31).

* The Great Tribulation is a time when God will deal with Israel. The sealing of the 144,000 will be a part of that.

* Zechariah 13:8-9 deals with this. Two-thirds of Jewish people worldwide (though some believe just in Israel) will perish, but God will purify the remaining third.

* We’re not exactly sure what the function of the 144,000 will be – possibly evangelists – but they are clearly referred to as “servants of our God.”

* As opposed to the next group we are introduced to, the 144,000 remain on Earth throughout the Great Tribulation.

Verse 9
* This next scene occurs in Heaven.

* We are told that this next group of people is a great multitude that cannot be numbered.

* This vast multitude is praising, or thanking, God for His salvation, or redemption.


* To those who believe the Rapture occurs BEFORE Chapter 4, the question must be asked: Why didn’t God put this scene there in the first place?

* The wrath God will begin in 8:1. The Church is not destined for God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9), but WILL endure humanity’s evil as demonstrated in the seals.

Verse 10
* “Cried out” – great emotion being displayed.

* “A loud voice” – this is a proclamation.

* God is being praised for redeeming the multitude.

* “… and to the Lamb” – Jesus also being praised as the One who brings salvation.

Verse 11
* This is a great scene of joy and jubilation.

* Angels have the privilege of worshiping God in His presence.

* This is ultimate worship.

Verse 12
* “Amen” means “So be it!” It’s an expression of agreement.

* God’s great promise of taking us home to Him – collectively – has been fulfilled.

Verse 13
* This elder knows John won’t be able to answer, but he asks the question anyway.

* He does this to draw attention back to the multitude in order to identify them.

Verse 14
* Why doesn’t John know the answer?

* Because John was living in A.D. 95 and worldwide there was a handful of scattered believers. Now he sees a great multitude and can’t even imagine that these could ALL be believers in Christ.

* “Tribulation” means “pressure.”

* “Tribulation” comes from the Greek word thlipsis, which is used in the sense of torturing someone to death. A heavy boulder was placed on the victim and kept there until the pressure slowly suffocated him or her to death.

* Jesus uses this term when He says: “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).

* In Matthew 24:21, Jesus says there will be great tribulation against believers such as the world has never known.

* The multitudes are the ones who have come out of the Great Tribulation.

* Interesting imagery: Their robes washed in blood, yet they come out white (Isaiah 1:18).

Verse 15
* The occupation of the saints in Heaven will be to serve God always.

* “Spread out His tent” – a Middle Eastern concept of protection and security. This is an image of God spreading His love over us (reminiscent of the Book of Ruth).

Verse 16
* Hunger and thirst will be two of the many ailments suffered by believers during the Great Tribulation.

* This could be an indication that perhaps believers will be without homes and shelter and subject to the elements. In Israel, the sun can be intense in the desert.

* Hence: God spreading His tent over those who will suffer in the Great Tribulation is of great security, protection, and comfort.

* The horrible days for the raptured saints will be over!

 Verse 17
* We see the image of Jesus as the Great Shepherd (John 10:11-14).

* A shepherd must water and care for his flock or else they will perish.

* There will be no more sorrow for the Church and every tear will be wiped away (Isaiah 65:17).