Vincent's Word Studies
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.
These things (ταῦτα)
Read τοῦτο this.
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
East (ἀνατολῆς ἡλίου)
The four angels
Compare Matthew 24:31.
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
An hundred and forty and four thousand
Not literally, but the number symbolical of fixedness and full completion (12 x 12). The interpretations, as usual, vary greatly, dividing generally into two great classes: one holding that only Jews are meant, the other including the whole number of the elect both Jew and Gentile. Of the former class some regard the sealed as representing Jewish believers chosen out of the literal Israel. Others add to this the idea of these as forming the nucleus of glorified humanity to which the Gentiles are joined. Others again regard them as Jews reserved by God until Antichrist comes, to maintain in the bosom of their nation a true belief in Jehovah and His law, like the seven thousand in the days of Elijah.
The interpretation of the latter class seems entitled to the greater weight. According to the Apocalyptic usage, Jewish terms are "christianized and heightened in their meaning, and the word "Israel" is to be understood of all Christians, the blessed company of all faithful people, the true Israel of God." See Romans 2:28, Romans 2:29; Romans 9:6, Romans 9:7; Galatians 6:16; Philippians 3:3. The city of God, which includes all believers, is designated by the Jewish name, New Jerusalem. In Revelation 7:3, the sealed are designated generally as the servants of God. In chapter 14 the one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed are mentioned after the description of the enemies of Christ, who have reference to the whole Church of Christ; and the mention of the sealed is followed by the world-wide harvest and vintage of the earth. The one hundred and forty-four thousand in chapter 14, have the Father's name written in their foreheads; and in Revelation 22:4, all the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem are so marked. In Revelation 21:12, the twelve tribes include all believers. The mark of Satan which is in the forehead, is set upon all his servants without distinction of race. See Revelation 13:16, Revelation 13:17; Revelation 14:9; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:4. The plagues threaten both Jews and Gentiles, as the sealing protects all.
Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
This vision belongs to heaven, while the sealing took place on earth.
See on Revelation 3:5.
See on Revelation 6:11.
"The ancient scriptures and the new
The mark establish, and this shows it me,
Of all the souls whom God hath made His friends.
Isaiah saith that each one garmented
In His own land shall be with twofold garments,
And his own land is this delightful life.
Thy brother, too, far more explicitly,
There where he treateth of the robes of white,
This revelation manifests to us."
Dante, "Paradiso," xxv., 88-96.
Properly, palm-trees, but used here of palm-branches. Not a heathen but a Jewish image drawn probably from the Feast of Tabernacles. See on John 7:2.
And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
The correct reading is κράζουσιν they cry. So Rev.
The praise of salvation, ascribing salvation to God.
And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
Rev., more correctly, were standing. The tense is the pluperfect, used in this verb as an imperfect.
Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
On the doxologies, see on Revelation 1:6.
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
What are these, etc.
The Rev., properly, follows the Greek order, which places first "These which are arrayed in the white robes, who are they?" emphatic and indicating the natural order of the thought as it presents itself to the inquirer. For what, render who, as Rev.
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
I said (εἴρηκα)
Lit., I have said. Rev., renders by the present, I say. See on cried, John 1:15.
Add μου my, and render, as Rev., my Lord. An address of reverence as to a heavenly being. See on Matthew 21:3.
Which came (οἱ ἐρχόμενοι)
The present participle. Hence, as Rev., which come.
Out of great tribulation (ἐκ τῆς θλίψεως τῆς μεγάλης)
Lit., out of the tribulation, the great (tribulation). Rev., properly, gives the force of the article, "the great." See on Matthew 13:21.
Have washed (ἔπλυναν)
Made them white
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Because of this washing.
Before the throne
Compare Ephesians 5:27.
See on Luke 1:74. In scripture the verb never expresses any other service but that of the true God, or of the gods of heathenism.
Or sanctuary. See on Matthew 4:5.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
They shall hunger no more, etc.
Compare Isaiah 49:10.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
In the midst (ἀνά μεσον)
See on Revelation 5:6.
Shall feed (ποιμανεῖ)
Shall lead (ὁδηγήσει)
See on Luke 6:39.
Living fountains of waters (ζώσας πηγὰς ὑδάτων)
For the participle living, read ζωῆς of life, and render as Rev., fountains of waters of life. Compare Psalm 23:2. In the Greek order, of life stands first as emphatic.
All tears (πᾶν δάκρυον)
Rev., correctly, every tear. Compare Isaiah 25:8.