Church of the Good Shepherd

Revelation 7 Who Can Stand

Question from chapter 6:

.. calling to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"  (Revelation 6:16-17)

The question is asked by:

  • kings of the earth
  • great ones generals
  • rich and the powerful

Who can stand?

Chapter 7 = the Answer ... the sealed ones.

"In a world in which the last despairing word is ‘Who can stand?' St. John sees and hears another reality, less visible but more solid, that is already in existence and into which no evil can penetrate.  It is the Christian reality, the life of faith." - Eugene Peterson

1.  Two Images, One Reality

Two images:

v.4-8 =144,000 from Twelve Tribes of Israel

v.9-12 = Multitude dressed in white

Same picture ... different ways of saying it.

-          Rhymed repetition is used by poets

I would not, could not, in a box.

I could not, would not, with a fox.

I will not eat them with a mouse.

I will not eat them in a house.

I will not eat them here or there.

I will not eat them anywhere.

I do not eat green eggs and ham.

I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

Hebrew poets rhyme ideas, not words

Psalm 34:3 - Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

Magnify // Exalt

Lord // His Name


John is rhyming two images: 144,000 // the Multitude

144,000 is a symbolic Number

  • 12 x 12,000 = symbol for perfection
  • Same measurement as the New Jerusalem
  • The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. - Revelation 21:16

Some go to far with number stuff

  • 3 is God's Number
  • 4 is the number of Creation or the World
  • 3x4=12, the number of the church (God at work in the World)
  • 122=144, The Whole Church
  • 10 is the number of completeness
  • 103=1000, three-dimensional completeness
  • 122 x 103=144,000, the whole church in all its completeness

John HEARS about the 144,000, and SEES the Multitude

Revelation 7:4 - And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel

Revelation 7:9 - After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands

2.  Scattered & Diverse People

Even though they will end up together, there is a stress on the diversity

- 12 tribes of Israel

- Multitude is made up of people from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages

A.  Tribes of Israel

  • Some Left Out (Dan & Ephriam)
    • Joseph & Manaseh
  • Order Changed
    • Judah wasn't oldest
  • Not all of these men were heroes of the faith
  • Israel / Judah split just after Solomon's reign
    • Idolatry
    • Samaritans

B.  Tribes in the Church

  • Silo Mentality
  • Complex Church
    • Great People
    • Great Programs
    • Each Program is disjointed from the others
    • People pulled in different directions

C.  Tribes in America

  • Gay
  • Addicted
  • Moral

ILL - CNN "God and the White House"

-          Why is it important to find out if a president goes to church?

-          It's a way of asking "is he a moral person?"

-          It's a look at their tribe.

2.  Washed with the Blood

..."These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. - Revelation 7:14

  • How Does Blood Cleanse?
    • For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. - Leviticus 17:11
  • Life is required to pay a life debt
    • We do this today
    • Example: Circuit City merchandise replacement
  • Our debt is a Life-Debt
    • We were given life freely
    • Only one restraint
    • And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." - Genesis 2:16-17
      • In sin, we forfeit life
  • How Do we Repay a Life-Debt?
    • If God just ignored it, he wouldn't be just / holy
      • We wouldn't want to live in a world like that
      • Holocaust
      • Civil Rights
      • Abortion
      • We want rights for the poor, for different races, for the oppressed
    • We Don't have the Ability to Repay
    • Jesus Lived the life we should have lived
      • And he paid our debt by dying the death we should have died.
      • That's how his blood cleanses
      • It is a sign that our debt has been paid in full

... the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. -Romans 3:22-26


Only the Lamb could open the Seals

Only the Lamb can Seal

William Hendrickson - A Seal does Three Things:

1.  Prevents Tampering

2.  Ensures Ownership

3.  Certifies Genuineness

Ezekiel 9:1-5 - Then he cried in my ears with a loud voice, saying, "Bring near the executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand." And behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his weapon for slaughter in his hand, and with them was a man clothed in linen, with a writing case at his waist. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing case at his waist. And the Lord said to him, "Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it." And to the others he said in my hearing, "Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity.

Ephesians 1:13-14 - In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Sealing those coming out of the great tribulation.

? is that future or today?

- Short answer = today

Message = God's people are safe in the pain of the world today!

c.f. Psalm 91

3.  Result = Unified Multitude

- Worshipping

Giving Glory to God

Revelation 7:12 - saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."

Revelation 7:15-17 - "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. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

A.  This is Eternity

B.  This is Now

- Doctrine of the Invisible Church

4.  Seeing Ourselves as a Part of this Scene

#1 Admit That Your Tribe Needs the Lamb

Groups tend to Self-Justify

-          We're okay, it's the others that need help

Keller in The Prodigal God

-        the Elder Brother is equally distant from the Father

-        The best way to communicate grace to the younger brother is to show how the elder brother needs grace also

#2 Reach Your Tribe

IN Networks = Indigenous

-          Story from Thomas Lumba

We are all indigenous to a tribe that needs the Lamb

-          I say "go to Starbucks" - that's my tribe

-          ? What's yours??

? Who is CGS Indigenous to???

Tough One

  • Who do we have here today?
    • Mix of people
    • Religious backgrounds
    • Irreligious
    • Clothes, music, families are all different
  • Who are we trying to reach??
    • Spiritual wanderers
    • All tribes
    • All sins
    • All mistakes
    • All backgrounds
  • Elder at the Retreat
    • If 2 people have 10 minutes to live
    • One knows Jesus and One Doesn't
    • Where will you spend your time???

§         False dichotomy, but a great point

"We don't get any credit for who we keep; it's who we reach." - Andy Stanley

Keller stuff on Evangelistic Worship

#3 Bring Tribes Together

- Funeral with open casket

  • Fights
  • Family Tension
  • Grudges that have lasted since 1968
  • Its not about you ... not today

The Lamb is living and Active

-          Its not about you

-          Not today, not any day

-          Its about Him

Practical HOW TO - Mentoring

  • Cross Tribal Lines
  • Older/Younger
  • Blue Collar / White Collar

#4 Worship!


God has ONE INTENTION for all of history.

This is the Result

Today do you:

-          Need to be Washed?

-          Need to be Assured?

-          Need to join the mission of the Lamb to reach your tribe?

Songs, response & prayer


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