Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And after these things I saw 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.CHAPTER 7
This is the first parenthesis. It must not be taken chronologically. The six seal judgments extend over the entire period of the ending age. The rider upon the white horse will be on the scene to the end, wars will continue to the end, and culminate in the battle of Armageddon, and so do the famines and pestilences. And the sixth seal brings the end in view. We shall see the correspondence with the seventh trumpet and seventh vial later. The trumpet and vial judgments are more intense and more terrible than the seal judgments. In a certain sense they are parallel; the effect of each is continuously felt. The parenthetical vision of the seventh chapter also covers the entire period of the last seven years and brings before us even the vision of what will be after the great tribulation.
How much confusion would have been avoided if expositors and Christians in searching for the meaning of this vision, had not lost sight of two great facts: 1. This chapter can have no application to the Church on earth, nor to the Church in glory, for the simple reason that the Church is already complete and translated to glory. 2. The vision states clearly that the sealed company is “of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”
The sealed company is of Israel. After the Church is removed to glory, when the fulness of the Gentiles is come in (Romans 11:26) the Lord will turn in mercy to Israel and call, before the judgments fall, a remnant which will also be sealed (See Ezekiel 9:1-11). This remnant is frequently seen on the pages of Old Testament prophecy. This sealed company also bears a great testimony. They are the preachers of the gospel of the kingdom, as a witness to all nations before the end comes (Matthew 24:14). Therefore, during the time when the judgments are executed from above there will be a world-wide preaching of the gospel of the kingdom, proclaiming the coming of the King, calling to repentance and faith in His Name, and offering mercy still.
The application of this passage of Scripture to the redeemed Church in glory is wrong. This Scripture does not apply to the Church in glory, but to saved Gentiles on earth. It is a company which comes “out of the great tribulation.” The Church enters the glory before that great tribulation begins. The great multitude represents those Gentiles who will hear the final testimony and believe. They will have turned in repentance to Him and will be washed in His precious blood. Our Lord speaks of them in the great judgment of the nations as sheep, who stand at His right hand and inherit the kingdom (Matthew 25:31, etc.). The brethren of our Lord mentioned in Matthew are the remnant of Israel. (For a complete exposition see The Gospel of Matthew, by the author of this volume.) This great company, therefore, does not stand before a heavenly throne, but before the millennial throne on earth. It is a millennial scene after the tribulation is passed.