And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth…
Although the vision of judgment has been granted to the seer, an arrest is put upon its execution, and an entirely new series of representations is given. It is illustrative of the entire character of the book. It is one long illustration of the going forth conquering and to conquer by him that sitteth on the white horse. But there is no chronology. The truth here illustrated is ever repeated. Not only in the final acts of judgment will the faithful people be secure, but when God sends his judgments upon the ungodly the Church has always his comforting assurance of protection. By this vision the heart of the Church is comforted. "Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked." Whatever judgments befall the earth, the righteous people are secure in the guardian love of their Lord. This is declared to the tried ones by the vision of the sealing. A vision which is -
I. A TOKEN OF THE DIVINE RECOGNITION OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER. Each is sealed on his forehead. "The Lord knoweth them that are his."
II. IT IS A PLEDGE OF PERSONAL SECURITY. In the general judgments many even of the faithful suffer. This is inevitable. But the anomalous words of our Lord shall be fulfilled, "Ye shall be delivered up by parents... put to death, hated of all men; and not a hair of your head shall perish." In all judgments the lowly believer may rest in the assurance of personal safety. All shall be well in the end if the Lord's seal is upon the forehead.
III. THE VISION IS A GRACIOUS REVELATION OF GOD. It is of his goodness that he has thus shown beforehand his careful defence of his own in times of judgment and fear. "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not."
IV. THE VISION AFFORDS GROUND FOR THE UTMOST ENCOURAGEMENT TO FAITH AND HOPE. It is a spring of pure consolation. The Divine warrant of safety each believer may ever carry with him. The cruelties of men may bring him suffering, but not the judgments of God. Ever may the disciples know that when the Lord proceeds to judgment he will first seal his own. - R.G.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.