Rubel Shelly   -  

Lesson 6: The Book of Revelation
Revelation 7:1-17

1. The setting for Revelation 7 is the final line of Chapter 6: Who can withstand [the judgment of
God against Rome]? Chapter 7 is a parenthesis period between the opening of the sixth and
seventh seals. How is this chapter intended to function in the larger drama of Revelation?

2. What is symbolized by the “four winds of the earth”? Cf. Jer 23:19; 30:23. Why are these
devastating winds being restrained by angels?

3. The “seal” (i.e., mark, trademark, logo) of God was placed on the foreheads of the servants of
God. The background to this imagery is found in the Old Testament apocalyptic book of
Ezekiel. How does reading Ezekiel 9 help explain this scene to you? How does this scene
function as background to the events of Revelation 9:4; 14:1; and 22:4?

4. Who or what is represented by the number “144,000”? How does John explain the origin of
the number? How does the symbolism used throughout the book help us identify the
144,000 who are being “sealed” or “marked” for God? Cf. Matt 19:28; Luke 22:30; Gal 6:16.

5. The 144,000 are on Earth, but a great (unnumbered) multitude is seen in Heaven. Who or
what is represented by that multitude? How would knowing about that large group serve to
encourage John and his fellow-sufferers? Cf. Heb 12:1-3.

6. How does the number “7” figure into the praise of God at verse 12? What does this number
represent in apocalyptic literature?

7. For all of us who read the Bible, stories like those of Moses, Daniel, Esther, and Peter provide
encouragement. Their life stories are testimonies to the faithfulness of God to his people.
How does this theme fit Revelation 7? Even though the Apocalypse is telling the story of
human persecution and divine faithfulness in a specific period of history, how does the study
of the book provide encouragement to people of our time and place?

The point of the present passage, coming as it does in the pause between the opening of the sixth and
the seventh seals, is to affirm that even though evil must be allowed to come to its full height, in order
eventually to be fully and finally overthrown, God will not allow this process to put in jeopardy the
ultimate rescue of his true people. This true people, redefined as they are around the lion of Judah, are to
be marked out. The events around them will no doubt be terrifying, but they may rest assured that God
has them in his care. (N.T. Wright)