And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth…
I. THE WORLD EXPOSED TO JUDGMENT. Winds are the symbols of judgment (Jeremiah 49:36, 37; Daniel 7:2). The four winds indicate the universality of the judgment. Conscience, Providence, and the Bible all point to this universal judgment.
II. THE JUDGMENT ENTRUSTED TO ANGELS. Angels are the ministers of God. He employs them to execute His judgments.
1. They appeared amidst the terrors of Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 33:2).
2. They appeared with our Saviour in the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:30, 31).
3. Angels have been frequently engaged in executing Divine judgment on this earth (Exodus 12:22; 2 Samuel 24:16, 17; 2 Kings 19:35).
4. Angels are represented as active in the final day of retribution (Matthew 13:39, 41; Matthew 25:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). The Eternal Judge then, as now, will work through others.
III. THE ANGELS RESTRAINED BY A MEDIATOR. Who is this angel? Who is represented in this particular case I know not. But I know that the Great Angel of the Covenant answers well this description. He came from the orient depths of glory with Divine credentials and with great earnestness, in order to stay the angels of retribution from executing their terrible commission. Our great Redeemer holds back the hand of the destroying angel, and the burden of His intercession is, "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea," etc. To Christ we owe the postponement of the judgment.
IV. THE MEDIATOR RESTRAINING BECAUSE HIS WORK IS UNFINISHED.
1. There are men who are yet to receive the seal of God.
2. That the judgment is delayed until the number of the sealed ones is completed.
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.