The first, those described in Revelation 7:1-8, are the Jewish evangelists who will be protected on earth. They will survive the holocaust of God’s wrath unleashed by the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments. God will also protect them from the Antichrist and his servants efforts to wipe out believers.
The second group to escape divine is described in Revelation 7:9-17 who will be martyred and brought into the “rest” of heaven.
Revelation 6 ends with the question who is able to stand?” Revelation 7 answers that question by showing that God will be with His servants in the midst of tribulation so that they can stand. Revelation 7 forms a parentheses between the sixth and eighth chapters. The first group are those described in verses Revelation 7:1-8 , the Jewish evangelists who will be preserved on earth. They will survive the holocaust of divine wrath unleashed by the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments.
God will protect them from the efforts of Antichrist to wipe out believers, many of them will enter the millennial kingdom alive. The second group to escape (Revelation 7:9-17) are those who will be martyred and enter the “rest” of heaven, where they will be preserved. After the horrific events of the sixth seal, and before the opening of the seventh seal in Revelation 8, this chapter is an interlude describing events that carry on into the future. It is also a reminder that in the midst of His wrath, God protects and seals His own.
In Revelation 7:1, the winds of judgment are in the hands of God and His angels, not in the hands of evil. Four angels stand at the four corners of the earth holding the four winds of judgment so that they cannot blow upon the earth.
In Revelation 7:2-3 God gives the command to delay the judgments of the great tribulation until all the servants of God can be sealed. The “seal” means the mark of possession, authority, power, protection, and preservation (Ephesians 1:13-14).
In the New Testament, the believer is sealed with the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit seals and guarantees that the believer belongs to God. The presence of the Holy Spirit living within the heart and life of the believer is his seal and his guarantee that he will escape the judgment of God and live eternally with God.
Revelation describes the counterfeit workings of Satan through a counterfeit Messiah and prophets, but here we see the real seal as opposed to the counterfeit seal of the mark of the beast on the hand or head. The demonic forces that are to be unleashed on earth will not touch God’s people (Revelation 9:4; 16:2). An example of this was seen in Moses and the plagues of Israel. The ten plagues, as terrible and devastating as they were, fell on all the Egyptians; but they did not afflict the believers among Israel. The true believers were “sealed” from the plagues.
However, it should be remembered that believers will be persecuted and slaughtered by the Antichrist during the last three and a half years of his reign during the great tribulation as we will see in Revelation 7:14). The believers of the end time will not suffer the judgments of God on the rebelling world, but they will suffer the persecution of the Antichrist.
The sealing of God will include 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes. This chapter tells us that both Jews and Gentiles will be saved, some 144,000 Jews and an innumerable number of Gentiles. The 144,000 are a special body of Jewish believers who are dedicated to serve the Lord Jesus totally during the tribulation of the last days.
Three things are said about them:
1) They are virgins, that is, they have never married. They apparently take a special vow to be the encouragers and ministers to the believers and to the others who will be so severely attacked and persecuted by the antichrist. The vow and commitment the 144,000 will take will be somewhat like the vow the Pharisees took when they first formed to stand against Antiochus Epiphanes this may be what Paul was thinking of when he spoke concerning marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:26-27.
2) They are called the servants of our God. They are a body of believers who give themselves to serve God while ungodliness and evil are raging in the end time. They will be ministering, witnessing, and encouraging the believers and the Jews who are having to flee into the wilderness and hiding places of the world to escape the holocaust. The 144,000 will have a great part to play in the turning of Israel and the Nations to Messiah, in the end time.
3) They are said to be redeemed from among men (Jewish men), the first fruits offered to God and Christ. This simply means that they will be the first Jews to be saved in the tribulation, this is the beginning of the restoration of Israel that Paul spoke of in the last days in Romans 11:25-26.