Graceful Perseverance: The Bible, New Testament; Part 2 – 7/28
Welcome to this week’s blog. For the next several weeks, I will continue to focus on my favorite book, the Bible.
This week I will continue with part two of the Bible, the New Testament (the Bible, Part 2). I will identify the purpose of each book, the author of each book, the date written, key verses and key people involved to help give you a better understanding of the Bible before you dive into it on your own.
When you open your Bible, you will find the New Testament has 27 books, starting with Matthew (28 chapters) and ending with Revelation (22 chapters). To date, I’ve completed the overview of the Old Testament, 39 books, Genesis (50 chapters) and ending with Malachi (4 chapters). In regards to the New Testament, I’ve completed the overview of 26 books, starting with the book of Matthew through the book of Jude.
If you wish to revisit any of the Old Testament or New Testament blogs, you can find them on my website: https://www.thewitnesstoday.com/blog-archives.
The author and compiler of the final book of the New Testament is John, from the Island of Patmos. For hundreds of centuries there have been many approaches to interpreting the book of Revelation. Many of these approaches have supporters, but none of which have proved to be the only way to interpret or read this last book of the Bible.
The book of Revelation is written in “apocalyptic” form – a type of Jewish literature that uses symbolic imagery to communicate hope (in the ultimate triumph of God) for all of us who will be in the midst of persecution. The events in Revelation are ordered according to literary, rather than a traditional, chronological timeline. Revelation provides a powerful message of warning and instruction for end times or otherwise known as judgment day.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. – Revelation 1:3 (NIV).
The purpose of the book of Revelation is to reveal the full identity of Christ, and to give warning and hope to believers. The author, Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation approximately 95 A.D. (From the Latin word annō Dominī – stands for “In the year of the Lord”), from the Island of Patmos.
Below is the chapter I have covered in this week’s blog. This format will help readers move through the book of Revelation at their own pace. I encourage you to study and jot down your questions as you go through each chapter and the supporting scripture.
Revelation - Chapter 7: 144,000 Sealed
What is the symbolic meaning of the 144,000 sealed (all tribes of Israel)? In the time of the 7-Year Tribulation, the “Day of the Lord,” God will place His seal on His followers. He will identify us as His own, and sanctify His promise of protection over our souls. The flesh of our bodies may be beaten, damaged or even destroyed, but nothing, not Satan, nor his army, can harm our souls when we have been sealed by God.
In Revelation, Chapter 7, the 144,000 are God’s saints, and will be sealed before all the winds of the earth are permitted to occur. The 144,000 must be fully sealed so that they are completely protected. The 144,000 sealed will not die, but are redeemed from the earth. The 144,000 sealed will be the great multitude in white robes.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: Amen!
Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!
Then one of the elders asked me, These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from? I answered, Sir, you know. And he said, These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. – Revelation 7:9-17 (NIV).
The 144,000 saints are sealed following the sixth seal, and before the seventh seal is opened. Hope is not lost for believers, for the four angels will hold back the four winds of judgment until God’s people are sealed as His own. Only then in the great Tribulation will God open the seventh seal.
All of mankind will be frightened at the site of God sitting on His throne. We will call for the mountains to fall on us, so that we will not have to face the judgment of the Lamb. But there will be no escape from God’s judgment. Believers will fall to their knees, and cry out to the Lord in worship. The unbelievers will attempt to run and hide, eager to escape what they don’t understand right before their eyes.
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. – Revelation 7:1 (NIV).
As we saw in the previous chapter, the first six seals will bring misery and destruction to the earth, and to all people. The four horses representing false prophets, war, famine and pestilence (plagues) will be followed by a religious examination, and the persecution and torment of faithful Christians.
Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: ‘Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.’ Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
From the tribe of Judah, 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000, from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000. – Revelation 7:1-8 (NIV).
This vision is the force, and destruction that God revealed to John, but was not intended to frighten believers. For He knows that for believers, the Lamb is a loving, and gentle Savior. But the leaders, and authorities or kings of the earth, in their lifetime, have showed no fear of God. They have been haughty, and displayed their atheism. They will find that they were severely wrong. And in the “Day of the Lord,” they will suffer God’s wrath.
Anyone who has rejected Christ during their lifetime, will not survive the day of God’s wrath. But those who belong to Christ will obtain a reward, and not His wrath or consequence. Jesus said, Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. – Revelation 22:12-14 (NIV).
If you believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, and you have abided in His commandments, you need not dread these final days. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. – Ephesians 1:13 (NIV).
At this point, the four horses will be given power over one-fourth of the earth, indicating that God is still limiting his judgment – His judgment is not quite complete.
God is showing us that with these judgments, there is still time for unbelievers to turn to Christ, and turn away from their sin, and worshiping of false doctrines and idolatry. In the case of sinners repenting, we will witness limited punishment.
This not only demonstrates God’s power over the heavens and the earth, but also His wrath about sin. He is a merciful God, giving people yet another opportunity to turn to Him before He brings final judgment upon them.
We should never assume God is patient; therefore, we have plenty of time to repent, and turn from our sinful ways. We have not been told the day or the hour, so we must not presume we have plenty of time to come to repentance. God knows, and controls everything in heaven and on earth. He knows our hearts. On the day of judgment, He will know if our actions, and our repentance is authentic or not.
God promises there will be complete peace for believers when He returns. Once the breaking of the seventh seal begins, we will know the great day of our wrath has come upon us, and we will be judged at that hour of time.
Who can withstand the coming persecutions, and natural disasters? It will be melancholy, but ultimately will come joy for believers. When we start to see these events unfold, we will know that our Messiah is coming soon. The time is near. We must look forward to His reign of justice, and peace upon the earth. Believers need not be terrified by what is unfolding around us. This will be a world event, where no nation, tribe or language can escape. We must remain faithful and confident in the 2nd Coming of Christ. We ought to be anxious for His return, because He’s the only one who can bring justice, and restoration to the world.
Let’s recap. This week we covered the chapter seven of Revelation in the New Testament. Next week I will continue with chapter eight (The 7 Trumpets).
I am hopeful that you are finding this format an easy, quick overview of the New Testament.
Blessings until next week,
Debra Pauli Unstoppable Believer
Scripture Quoted From: New International Version Bible (NIV)
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