The seventh chapter of Revelation discusses the 144,000 saints who were sealed by God. Much has been said about them, including in Matthew Henry’s commentary. Many can see that he has something to say about those saints. The fourteenth verse defines these 144,000.
These are they which came out of great tribulation (Revelation 7:14).
This 144,000 is a representative number, not an absolute one-symbolic of those who come out of the tribulation.
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. 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. Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads (Revelation 7:1-3).
Sealing in the foreheads becomes a theme in the Book of Revelation.
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. Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand … (Revelation 7:4-5).
This is interesting among scholars because the tribe of Judah is not usually mentioned first. Scripture also talks about the tribes of Reuben, Gad, Aser, Nepthalim, Manasses, Simeon, and Levi (Revelation 7:5-7). Levi’s tribe (the Levites) is not typically mentioned, both because they were priests and they did not own land.
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; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders (those who were referenced earlier and are around the throne) and the four beasts (the angels), and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God (notice that in verse 12 a salutation also follows) Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 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 (Revelation 7:8-14).
For those who might be pre-Tribulation believers, the Bible confirms here that the rapture of the church has not yet transpired. Where did these people come from, if the rapture of the church already occurred? They would not exist, if the rapture was complete.
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. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 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 (Revelation 7:15-17).
While reading ahead, remember this is like a scroll with seals on it and, as he opens the scroll, different parts are revealed of what is occurring.
And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake (Revelation 8:1-5).
Today’s society is hearing voices, thunderings and other noises across the world which sound like trumpets. YouTube has videos in which people can hear some of those resonances. Actually these are pre-birth pains similar to a woman who begins having labor pains long before she gives birth. The voices, thunderings, and lightnings that take place in the Book of Revelation are the accumulation of the trumpet blasts and sounds, because the end is close.
And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up (Revelation 8:6-7).
Think about a planet that has absolutely no green grass. By the seventh verse, the human population has already decreased from 7,000,000,000 down to 2.5 billion residents, including because of destruction by nuclear war. Keep in mind there are 360,000,000 individuals in America.
And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed (Revelation 8:8-9). At that point, the populace is down to between 2.5 and 1.5 billion people planet wide.
And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp (perhaps an asteroid), and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: And the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter (Revelation 8:10-11). After Wormwood hits the Earth in the eleventh verse, out of 7,000,000,000 people, the earth is down to 1billion inhabitants.
What happens to communications? What happens to the RFID chips many people think they are going to have implanted into their bodies? What happens to these massive computers and overhead satellites that are supposed to track and keep up with everybody? Furthermore, what about their ability or inability to buy and sell without some kind of computer chip? Those just went down the drain.
Earth has diminished to 1 billion people, reverting to a time where things are very primitive. The world has been nuked, bombed, hit by fire and Wormwood. A large amount of individuals, totaling one-seventh of the populace, died.
And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound! (Revelation 8:12-13).
This event is believed to be literal. During that time mankind will actually see an angel flying in the air proclaiming woe upon the earth.
I might mention according to Islamic eschatology the Mahdi will abolish the tax upon the unbeliever and there will be no unbelievers. Another confirmation of the nature of the Anti-Christ, what few Christians are left in Muslim territories he kills.
Another interesting tale from Islamic eschatology is that Isa (Islamic Jesus) perhaps the other Beast of Revelation appears and works miracles on the Mahdi’s behalf.