My Personal Thesis

Sunday, March 05, 2006

COMPARATIVE STUDY ON REVELATION 7:1-3

This study will affirm the veracity of Bro. Felix Y. Manalo's claim as the fulfillment of the prophesied "other angel from the East who has the seal of the living God". His doctrines shall be compared to various biblical scholars' interpretation of the subject matter.

REVELATION 7:1-3

New King James Version

“After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. “Then 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 granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’


Young's Literal Translation

“And after these things I saw four messengers, standing upon the four corners of the land, holding the four winds of the land, that the wind may not blow upon the land, nor upon the sea, nor upon any tree; and I saw another messenger going up from the rising of the sun, having a seal of the living God, and he did cry with a great voice to the four messengers, to whom it was given to injure the land and the sea, saying, `Do not injure the land, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we may seal the servants of our God upon their foreheads.'


Part I. THE MEANING OF THE WORD “ANGEL”:


Let us first clarify the meaning of the word "ange1." Angel means "messenger," one who is sent by God (Lk. 1:19). An angel could be either a spirit or a man in state of being. Scholars and religious writers agree that the term angel denotes the office and not the state of being of the one being sent. John the Baptist, although a man, is called an angel because he was sent to prepare the way of the Lord Jesus (cf. Jn. 1 :6; Mt. 11:7-10, Douay-Rheims Version). (God’s Message, Nov. 1997, pp.12-13)


BIBLE SCHOLARS AND OTHER AUTHORITIES AGREE TO THIS TERM:


"Angel. This word, both in the Greek and Hebrew languages, signifies a messenger. It denotes office, and not the nature of the agent." (The Emphatic Diaglott, Appendix p. 872)


"They are called 'Angels,' from a Greek word which means a messenger. The word 'Angel,' therefore, does not express the nature of these spirits, but rather the offices. . . " (Discourses on the Apostles' Creed, by Rev. Clement H. Crock, p. 72)


"Angel: the guardian angel of the church, or the church itself; or, (and this is the common view), the Bishop of the church." (Translated from "Ang Bagong Tipan ng Ating Mananakop at Panginoong Jesucristo," (or The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Rev. 2:1, Footnote, by Rev. P. Juan Trinidad, p. 753)


Angels
By the word "angels" (i.e. "messengers" of God) we ordinarily understand a race of spiritual beings of a nature exalted far above that of man, although infinitely removed from that of God--whose office is "to do him service in heaven, and by his appointment to succor and defend men on earth… we find the phrase used of any messengers of God, such as the prophets, (Isaiah 42:19; Haggai 1:13; Malachi 3:1) the priests, (Malachi 2:7) and the rulers of the Christian churches. (Revelation 1:20) (Smith's Bible Dictionary)


Angels
(Latin angelus; Greek aggelos; from the Hebrew for "one going" or "one sent"; messenger). The word is used in Hebrew to denote indifferently either a divine or human messenger. (Catholic Encyclopedia)


Angel, "messenger," is used of God, of men, and of an order of created spiritual beings whose chief attributes are strength and wisdom.( Scofield Reference Notes, 1917 Edition)


Angel: The original word, both in Hebrew and Greek, means MESSENGER, and is so translated, Matthew 11:10 Luke 7:24. It is often applied to an ordinary messenger, Job 1:14 1 Samuel 11:3 Luke 9:52; to prophets, Isaiah 42:19 Haggai 1:13; to priests, Ecclesiastes 5:6 Malachi 2:7; and even to inanimate objects, Psalms 78:49 104:4 2 Corinthians 12:7. Under the general sense of messenger, the term, angel is properly applied also to Christ, as the great Angel or Messenger of the covenant, Malachi 3:1, and to the ministers of his gospel, the overseers or angels of the churches, Revelation 2:1,8,12, etc. (ATS Bible Dictionary)


Angel: A word signifying, both in the Hebrew and Greek, a "messenger," and hence employed to denote any agent God sends forth to execute his purposes. It is used of an ordinary messenger (Job 1:14: 1 Samuel 11:3; Luke 7:24; 9:52), of prophets (Isaiah 42:19; Haggai 1:13), of priests (Malachi 2:7), and ministers of the New Testament (Revelation 1:20). (Easton's Bible Dictionary)


AN'GEL, n. Usually pronounced angel, but most anomalously. L. angelus; Gr. a messenger, to tell or announce.
1. Literally, a messenger; one employed to communicate news or information from one person to another at a distance. But appropriately,
2. A spirit, or a spiritual intelligent being employed by God to communicate his will to man. Hence angels are ministers of God, and ministring spirits. Heb. 1.
3. In a bad sense, an evil spirit; as, the angel of the bottomless pit. Math. 25. 1Cor 6. Rev. 9.
4. Christ, the mediator and head of the church. Rev. 10.
5. A minister of the gospel, who is an embassador of God. Rev. 2 and 3.
6. Any being whom God employs to execute his judgments. Rev. 16.
7. In the style of love, a very beautiful person. (King James Dictionary)


From the foregoing citations, it is clear that the word "angel" denotes the office and not the nature, that is, of a messenger of God.


Part II. STUDYING REVELATION 7:1-3: IN VIEW OF THE IGLESIA NI CRISTO'S(CHURCH OF CHRIST)STAND:


"After these things..."


[After the opening of the sixth seal] [The preceding verses (chapter 6, verses 14-17) speak of the departing of the heaven which caused all kinds of people – kings, great men, rich men, chief captains, mighty men, every bondman and every free man – to hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains because of that conflagration which historians dubbed the Great War or the First World War.]



"...I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth..."


[The "four angels" mentioned in the preceding verses do not refer to ministering spirits sent by God to deliver short messages to certain persons as the angel Gabriel did. Neither are they preachers of God's teachings as John the Baptist was. Instead, they were leaders of nations used by God to fulfill special functions.

Apostle Peter stated that even kings and governors or representatives of nations are sent by God (cf. I Pt. 2:13-14). They are also called angels in the category of messengers of nations according to Prophet Isaiah:

"What will one then answer the messengers of the nation?" (Is. 14:32, NKJV)

Heads of states are messengers and are, therefore, called angels. The "four angels" mentioned in Revelation 7: 1- 3 are heads of states, messengers of their respective countries, "holding the winds." This prophecy was fulfilled by the "Big Four" of the First World War, namely, Woodrow Wilson (US president), David Lloyd George (British prime minister), Georges Clemenceau (French premier), and Vittorio Orlando (Italian premier).

Critics of the Iglesia ni Cristo, however, believe otherwise, saying that Orlando of Italy was anticlerical, and, therefore,. could not have been sent by God.

The Bible, on the other hand, shows that the works of the messengers sent by God are not in all cases religious or spiritual in nature. For instance, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, was a pagan; yet he was sent by God (cf Jer. 43:10). The Persian king Cyrus, too, was sent although he did not worship God (ef. Is. 44:28; 45:1). Hence, belief in God among heads of states is not a necessary condition for them to be sent by God. A person is God's messenger so long as God had chosen him for a specific work. Unlike those sent by God to preach the gospel, representatives of nations need not be believers in God in order to be called angels or messengers.]



"...holding the four winds of the earth that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree..."


[(1) In the prophecy, the "four angels" were seen "holding the four winds." The term "winds" does not refer to a literal current of air. The winds, accompanied by chariots like whirlwind and horses swifter than eagles cf. Jer. 4:11-13), have caused much pain to people who heard "the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war" (cf. Jer. 4:19, NKJV). The "winds" mentioned in Revelation 7:1-3 signify war. But, what kind of war is it? A related prophecy in Isaiah says:

"Come near, you nations, to hear; And heed, you people! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, The world and all things that come forth from it. For the indignation of the Lord is against all nations, And His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter." (Is. 34:1-2, Ibid.)

This war was to be global in scope because it would involve the armies of all nations being delivered over to slaughter. Some weapons of this war were even compared to chariots like whirlwind" and to horses swifter than eagles.” History testifies to a world war wherein the weapons used were described as such. This was the case during World War I:

"The First World War was unlike any war in the past...This was the first war ‘in three dimensions,' the first war in which cities were bombed from the air and winged warriors fought among the clouds. Of course the airplanes of 1914 were not so fast, so formidable, nor so numerous as those of today. They were really more important as scouts (a kind of aerial 'cavalry') . . . the British had invented the tank, or land battleship-an armored automobile which could move on rough ground because it was built like a tractor." (World History, pp. 478-47)


(2) "Wind" as mentioned in the preceding verses came "not to fan or to cleanse" as the literal wind does, but it came up with "chariots like a whirlwind" and horses that are swifter than eagles." The use of these instruments or weapons of war, as described, is heralded by the sound of a trumpet that was prophesied to cause pain in people's hearts. "WIND" refers to war.(Jer. 4:11-13, 19

So, the wind mentioned in Rev. 7:1-3 refers to war. This wind or war is what the four angels, as mentioned in the prophecy, must stop or hold back. No man can stop the blowing of the natural wind. However, the war refers to by "wind" can be stopped and such is the work of the prophesied 4 angels.

History proves that it was during the First World War when "chariots like whirlwind" or war tanks, and "horses swifter than eagles" or airplanes were first used.

This world war was halted by the "four angels" who were heads of nations. In fulfillment, the First World War ceased through the efforts of the "Big Four" who met in Paris to confer concerning the treaty of Versailles:

"Orlando of Italy, Lloyd George of Great Britain, Clemenceau of France, and Wilson of America were called the Big Four when they met in Paris to confer concerning the Treaty of Versailles." (Ibid., caption, p. 494)

The prophecy, therefore, concerning the "four angels" holding the winds (or war) was fulfilled in the persons of Orlando of Italy, Lloyd George of Great Britain, Clemenceau of France, and Wilson of America popularly known as the "Big Four." These four leaders of nations were instrumental in putting an end to the war of 1914.

(3) What is meant by the term "wind"?

"At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan nor to cleanse, "Even a full wind from those places shall come unto me: now will I give sentence against them. "Beheld, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled. "My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me: I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war," (Jer. 4:11-13, 19, KJV.)

The wind mentioned in Revelation 7:1-2 is not a literal wind. The "wind," as clarified by prophet Jeremiah, is war! The wind, literally speaking, cannot be seen nor held. Hence, the "wind" here is symbolical. As clarified by Jeremiah, it does not fan, nor cleanse, it is distinct in the sense that it has chariots like whirlwind and horses swifter than eagles causing the people to say: "Woe unto us! for we are spoiled" or ruined. The wind, therefore, in Revelation 7:1 is war.

The intelligent reader ought to have noticed that the prophetic vision of Apostle John mentioned "four winds." Does it mean to say that the four angels were holding or trying to hinder four wars? Certainly not, because a careful scrutiny of the verse which says that "the wind should not blow on the earth," would tell us that the "wind" is singular.

(4) The expression "four winds" does not refer to the number of wars but to the magnitude of the war which, as prophesied, would involve all the directions-the four corners of the earth; the war, as fulfilled, involved the whole world. That war is a world war. The textual proof that the expression "four winds" does not refer to four wars is in the contents of the same verse-"...that the wind [not winds] should not blow..."


The war of 1914 involves the whole world. hence, it was called "the First World War". This was the first war wherein war tanks (chariots like whirlwind) and airplanes (horses swifter than eagles) were utilized. This is also the first war where air raid sirens (trumpets of war) were used causing pains in the hearts of people who hear them or, in other words, overwhelming the people with fear. The World War of 1914 was stopped through the efforts of the BIG 4 (four angels or heads of state) when they met in Paris to confer concerning the Treaty of Versailles.



"Then I saw another angel..."


[To say then that there was another angel means that there was another messenger. Thus, in the Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, the opening sentence of the verse reads: “And I saw another MESSENGER going up from the rising of the sun, having a seal of the living God…” (Rev. 7:2, emphasis mine)

What makes us so certain, though, that this messenger is not spirit in nature? As we can note, this angel or messenger bears the seal of the living God and would seal His servants. What does this mean in biblical terms? In the following verse, we can derive the answer:

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession— to the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14, NIV) The seal is the Holy Spirit. The sealing function is the preaching of the gospel. Those who are sealed are the ones who believe in the words of truth that were preached. Thus, the angel or messenger spoken of in Revelation 7:2-3 is not a being that is spirit in nature, but rather, a human being who is a preacher of the gospel. The term angel then denotes the office or duty of the one sent.]


"...ascending from the east..."


[ The "East" in this verse is rendered in other translations as the rising of the sun, the equivalent of which in the Hebrew New Testament is MIZRACH which is more accurately translated as the Far East (Hebrew New Testament, p. 465; Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 1, p. 637)


Apostle John wrote that the angel would ascend from the east or, in other translations of the Bible, from the rising of the sun (Revised Standard Version). This word may puzzle some people since the east is divided into three regions – near, middle and far east – not to mention the fact that there are many countries located there.


From the Smith’s Bible Dictionary, we can glean that the Greek word for east used in Revelation 7:2 was translated into Hebrew as “mizrach” (p. 637). The use of “mizrach” as opposed to “kedem” ( which also means east) is explained:


“East. The Hebrew term kedem properly means that which is before or in front of a person and was applied to the east… on the other hand mizrach is used of the far east.” (p.154)


The word east that is used in Revelation 7:2 refers to the Far East. One of the countries that lie in the Far East, almost at the geographical center to be exact, is the Philippines (Asia and the Philippines, p. 169). Thus, to say that the true messenger of God came from the Philippines would not go against any biblical doctrine. It is a statement that is, in fact, supported by both biblical and scholarly references.]

(5)From what direction was the angel or preacher of the Gospel of salvation seen ascending? From the East! In a related prophecy of the Bible, what country in the East was designated as the place of his preaching? "Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it." (Isaiah 46:11, K.J.V.) Mentioned here is a ravenous bird from the East. The prophecy made it clear that the ravenous bird from the East is a man from a far country, a man who will execute God's counsel. A country, therefore, in the Far East is the designated place where the angel or God's Messenger having the seal of the living God, will do the task of preaching the Gospel of salvation or the sealing of the servants of God. Before we determine which country in the Far East is the appointed place of evangelization by this Messenger, let us first know the time element involved. When is the appointed time of sealing the servants of the living God by the angel or preacher as mentioned in the prophecy? "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-. ..." (Rev. 7:1-2, K.J.V.) According to the prophetic vision of Apostle John, the angel from the East was seen at the time that four angels were seen standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth.


"...having the seal of the living God..."



[(1)The seal is the Holy Spirit and the sealing is the preaching of the gospel; The seal, which is the Holy Spirit, is stamped upon those who listen to and accept with faith the gospel preached by a duly appointed messenger (Eph. 1:13-14). Hence, sealing refers to the preaching of the gospel and is accompanied with the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who are sealed become God's chosen people. hence, the sealing of God's servants in Rev. 7:1-3 is the same process of sealing mentioned in Eph. 1:13-14.


(2)Rev. 7:2 says that the "other angel" has the seal of the living God or, in other words, he was entrusted or given the right to know, to understand the gospel (Mk. 4:11-12) which is a mystery kept in secret (Rom 16:25). Our critics argue that the "other angel" does his sealing in the forehead, whereas the Holy Spirit is sealed in the heart as mentioned in Eph. 1:13 and II Cor. 1:21-22. We don't deny that the Holy Spirit is sealed in man's heart and it is really God who does the sealing. But the gospel must first be preached to man and, upon believing, he receives the seal of the Holy Spirit. How is the gospel sealed or impressed before God seals the believer with the Holy Spirit in his heart? "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws in their mind and write them in their hearts.” (Heb. 8:10 NKJV)

God will put or seal His law, the gospel, in the minds (forehead) of his people through the preaching function of His messenger, and consequently, they will receive the seal of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. This is further supported by Acts 10:44< which says that while Peter was preaching, the Holy Spirit fell on those who heard the words of God.

(3) What is meant by "seal" and how are the servants of God to be sealed? The Holy Scriptures explain, thus:

"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." (Eph. 1:13-14, Ibid.)

The Holy Spirit is the "seal" and that seal is given to those who will hear the preaching of the gospel of salvation and who will believe. This function is done only by God's messengers (cf. Rom. 10:14-15).

(4)What is the importance of receiving the seal of the Holy Spirit? Let us read the letter of Apostle Paul: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: "And if children, then heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:16-17) All those who were sealed with the Holy Spirit are now children of God. As children of God we are heirs of God's promises and joint heirs with Christ. ]

(5) We don't deny that the Holy Spirit is sealed in man's heart and it is really God who does the sealing. But the gospel must first be preached to man and, upon believing, he receives the seal of the Holy Spirit. How is the gospel sealed or impressed before God seals the believer with the Holy Spirit in his heart?

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws in their mind and write them in their hearts. " (Heb. 8:10 NKJV)

God will put or seal His law, the gospel, in the minds (forehead) of his people through the preaching function of His messenger, and consequently, they will receive the seal of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. This is further supported by Acts 10:44< which says that while Peter was preaching, the Holy Spirit fell on those who heard the words of God.


"And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying,..."


[{1) The prophecy says: "...he cried with a loud voice to the four angels... Do not harm the earth... until we have sealed the servants of our God." The "cry" with a loud voice to the four angels" should not be taken literally. It simply means that the work of the 4 angels which is related to destruction-war-is contrary to the work of the other angel which is related to salvation-the sealing of God's servants. It simply shows the contrasting characteristics of their work. Whether or not the war continued, the work of the other angel in sealing God's servants would still be carried out.


{2) The prophecy in revelation 7:2-3 states that the “other angel” cried to the four angels when he was already ascending and not during the inception of his work. The four angels who symbolized the Big Four in the Peace Conference in Versailles (Wilson, Lloyd George, Clemenceau, and Orlando) met in 1919 and the peace treaty they signed ended the First World War.

At that time, the evangelical work of Brother Felix Manalo who was referred to in the prophecy as the other angel was well on its way. By then, he was already recognized by preachers of other religions. Local congregations of the Iglesia ni Cristo were already established.

In 1919, when the four angels were fulfilling their designated tasks, the work of the other angel which started in 1914 was already manifested – was seen "ascending from the east.”

Was Bro. Felix Manalo finally recognized by leaders of other religions during these times?

“In the first place, Bro. Felix Manalo did not invite his friends who were Protestant pastors to award him the recognition of a “Profound Preacher of the Bible.” The invitation was from them. They initiated it, not him. Is it wrong to be recognized by others as a profound preacher of the Bible? Is it Bro. Felix Manalo’s fault if that is how his friends would treat him? Before that occasion in Cine Gloria, Pritil, Tundo, Manila, Bro. Felix Manalo had been preaching for five (5) years."…

(3)The statement, "And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels" (the pronoun "he" refers to the angel ascending from the east) must not be understood in the literal sense. The crying out with the loud voice of the angel from the east to the four angels symbolizes the contrast between the work entrusted to the angel from the east and that entrusted to the four angels. The work of the former is to seal the servants of God on their foreheads, which is done through the preaching of the gospel (Eph. 1:13-14)— hence, a work of salvation. On the other hand, according to the prophecy, "to harm the earth," a work of destruction, is a power the four angels or the "Big Four" were capable of exercising.]

(4) The Cry of the other Angel: To understand this, let us refer to the preaching of John the Baptist. The preaching of John the Baptist was depicted in the prophecy of Isaiah as a cy in the wilderness. He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’’” (cf. Jn. 1:23, NKJV). Why is John’s preaching depicted as a cry in the wilderness? Below is the account of the evangelist Luke:

“And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. (Lk. 3:3-4, 8, NKJV)


John’s preaching was contrary to what the people believed during his time. Hence, his preaching was likened to a “cry in the wilderness”—a lone and righteous voice among the multitudes of his time.

In like manner, the function of the angel ascending from the east having the seal of the living God was to seal the servants of God in their foreheads for their salvation, whereas the work of the four angels had something to do with the destruction. Hence, a “cry.”


"Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads."


[(1) The angel mentioned in Revelation 7:2-3 is said to seal on the foreheads because it is a person's mind that understands God's word. After receiving the seal by believing in the gospel preached by the true messenger (Eph. 1 :13; Rom. 10:15), the believers' hearts are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Apostle Paul revealed that it is God who seals the believers' hearts with the Holy Spirit:


"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to corne." (II Cor. 1 :21-22, NIV)


The gospel or the words of God preached by the true messengers are placed by God on the forehead or in the mind and are written by Him in the hearts of His people:


"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people." (Heb. 8:10, Ibid.)


(2) Those who are sealed are the ones who believe in the words of truth that were preached. The seal is the promised Holy Spirit, the guarantee of our inheritance. The sealing of the Holy Spirit is done through the preaching of the gospel.


(3) The angel from the east would have the seal of the living God and would not be alone in his sealing function just as the verse states, “till WE have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”

The seal is the Holy Spirit and sealing occurs after those who hear the preaching from the messenger believe and accept the truth. (Eph. 1:13-14) Sealing, therefore, refers to the preaching accompanied with the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what the messenger of God in these last days, Brother Felix Y. Manalo, and his co-workers were duly commissioned to do. But since God’s last messenger passed away, the stewards of God’s mysteries has been the present administration of the Church of Christ under the leadership of the Executive Minister, Bro. Eranio G. Manalo. This includes the ministers and evangelical workers sent by God to continue His last work of salvation.

They are the stewards of God’s mysteries in these last days. They have been given the right to preach the gospel and seal God’s chosen people until the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notes:

(1) The function of the other angel is quite different from that of the 4 angels. the work of the other angel having the seal of the living God" is to seal the servants of God. It concerns salvation. On the other hand, the function of the four angels is directly related to the world war in 1914-to hold back the wind or to stop the war.

(2)The state of being, therefore, of the angel mentioned above is that of a human and his task is to preach- the Gospel of salvation. Angels in the nature of spirits do not perform the work of preaching, but rather, they are sent to specific persons to convey a short message. (Luke 1:19) The angel in Rev. 7:2-3 is a preacher sent by God.

(3) It is a historical fact that the Big 4 held back the war, hence, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour as prophesied (Rev 8:1). To make certain the equivalent of "this silence in heaven for about half an hour" in number of years, months, and days, we must remember that "with the Lord one day is a thousand years" (II Pt. 3:8). With man, a day is 24 hrs. Thus One hour with the Lord is the equivalent of 21 years and 10 months (the quotient of 1000 years divided by 24). But the prophecy says the silence in heaven is about half an hour. the 2nd world war started on Sept. 1, 1939 while the first world war ended on Nov. 11, 1918. Let us compute the number of years, months and days between the 2 world wars:

Start of WWII: Sept. 1, 1939 or 1939-9-1
End of WWI: Nov. 11, 1918 or 1918-11-11
-----------
20-9-20


The silence in heaven for about half an hour is equivalent to 20 years, 9 months, and 20 days, short of 10 days to be exactly half an hour. This is precisely the fulfillment of the prophecy regarding the "silence in heaven for about half an hour."



References

God’s Message Magazine, issues May 2000, pp.11, 28; Nov. 1997, pp.12-13; May 1999, pp. 6-8; April 1997; Oct. 2000; Nov. 2001, p.5


LET US NOW STUDY THE FOLLOWING INTERPRETATIONS BY BIBLE SCHOLARS:


1) PEOPLE’S NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY


The symbolism which represents the opening events of the sixth seal has been given in chapter 6, verses 12-17. These, however, only show forth the great revolution in the world's history with which the seal opened in chapter 8, verse 1. Hence, all the symbolism of chapter 7 represents events which belong to the sixth seal, or at least are not completed before it closes.

1-3. After this. After the opening of the sixth seal. I saw four angels. The vision that appears before his eyes is that of four angels at the four points of the compass, holding four winds to prevent them from rushing in destruction upon the earth. These certainly represent four destructive powers which are held back for a time from the land, the sea, and the vegetation of the earth. 2. I saw another angel. The picture is that of an angel having the seal of the living God. The object of this seal is indicated in verse 3. The seal was a mark of ownership. The seal of God on the forehead would mark those sealed at God's. The seal mark on the forehead would be visible to everyone; hence the seal in the forehead has been understood to be the public confession and profession of Christ. This angel would thus symbolize a great and successful movement to evangelize the race. 3. Hurt not, etc. The four winds are forbidden to do their work of destruction until the sealing has been accomplished; or in other words, until the preaching of the gospel has wrought a certain result.
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/PeoplesNewTestament/pnt.cgi?book=re&chapter=007



2) PEOPLE’S COMMENTARY (NT)

Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees. The four winds are forbidden to do their work of destruction till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. Until the sealing has been accomplished; or in other words, until the preaching of the gospel has wrought a certain result.



3) MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE

In the figurative language of Scripture, the blowing of the four winds together, means a dreadful and general destruction. But the destruction is delayed. Seals were used to mark for each person his own possessions. This mark is the witness of the Holy Ghost, printed in the hearts of believers. And the Lord would not suffer his people to be afflicted before they were marked, that they might be prepared against all conflicts. And, observe, of those who are thus sealed by the Spirit, the seal must be on the forehead, plainly to be seen alike by friends and foes, but not by the believer himself, except as he looks stedfastly in the glass of God's word. The number of those who were sealed, may be understood to stand for the remnant of people which God reserved. Though the church of God is but a little flock, in comparison with the wicked world, yet it is a society really large, and to be still more enlarged. Here the universal church is figured under the type of Israel.

http://www.studylight.org/com/mhc-con/view.cgi?book=re&chapter=7&verse=2#Re7_2


4) DAVID GUZIK’S COMMENTARIES ON THE BIBLE

1. (1-3) Holding back judgment until the servants of God are sealed.
After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then 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 granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, "Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads."

a. Four angels standing at the four corners of the earth: The phrase four corners of the earth is an ancient (and sometimes modern) equivalent to the idea of "the four points of the compass." The idea is that these angels effect the entire earth.

b. Holding the four winds of the earth: These winds are a destructive force of God's judgment, as they often are in the Old Testament.
i. Hosea 13:15 gives an example: Though he is fruitful among his brethren, and east wind shall come; the wind of the Lord shall come from the wilderness. Then his spring will become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up.
ii. The four winds of the earth may refer back to the four horsemen of Revelation 6:1-8, after the pattern of Zechariah 6:1-8. In that passage, four chariots with horses of the same colors of Revelation 6:1-8 go out to all the earth, and are called the four spirits of heaven. Spirits in that passage translates the Hebrew word ruach, which can also be translated winds.

c. Another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: Another angel has a seal, and he seals the people of God. In the ancient world, such seals were familiar. A king or a property owner could use a seal to show ownership or authenticity.

d. Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads: These servants of God will receive a protective seal on their forehead, containing God's name in some manner (Revelation 14:1).

i. In Ezekiel 9, a similar protective seal is given to the righteous before Jerusalem is judged. The seal is the Hebrew letter tau ("t," as in the shape of a small cross).

e. The servants of our God: We are not told what exactly their service is, but the 144,000 are sealed for a specific and unique purpose. However, the general idea of being sealed is not limited to them.

i. Jesus was sealed. He said God the Father has set His seal on Him. (John 6:27)

ii. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a down payment of our eventual total redemption. Paul wrote: God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

iii. This sealing of the Holy Spirit belongs to every believer when they are saved: having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. (Ephesians 1:13)
iv. The sealing of the Holy Spirit is meant to be both a comfort and a challenge to us. We are comforted in that it assures us that we belong to Him. We are challenged by it to depart from all evil and identify ourselves with the One we belong to: Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (2 Timothy 2:19) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

(http://www.studylight.org/com/guz/view.cgi?book=re&chapter=7&verse=2#Re7_2}



5) 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.

Four corners means from four directions, North, South, East, West.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. Isa. 11:10-12

He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters (Corners KJV) of the earth. ISA 11:12
It is evident that when the Bible uses the words "four corners" that it means four directions. When the exile ended God brought his remnant back from Pathros (a portion of Egypt), Cush (Africa), Elam-East of Tigris river (now Iran), Shinar-Babylonia (now Iraq), and Hamath (a Cannanite city). Holding the four winds. Winds as used as a sign of strife, confusion, commotions, destruction, turmoil, war.
I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of the heavens; I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam's exiles do not go. JER 49:36

I will shatter Elam before their foes, before those who seek their lives; I will bring disaster upon them, even my fierce anger," declares the Lord. "I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them. JER 49:37


When God said that he would bring the four winds against Elam (now Iran) he meant war would come from four quarters. The Lord sent three invasions by Assurbanipal and one by the Babylonians. In the passage here in the Revelation we are told that the four winds were to be held so that they would not blow. We understand this to mean that the "Winds of War" would be restrained–that war would be prevented from every quarter. We must therefore look for a period in history when there was a restraining of strife thus preventing war. We assign this period in history to A.D. 340-395 as the fulfillment of this prophecy. Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire has a heading for chapter 15 Vol. 1 p. 430 as follows: "The Progress of the Christian Religion." In his enquiry into the progress and growth of Christianity he lists five causes for its growth during this period: 1) the conduct of the government toward Christians, 2) the attitude of it Emperors, 3) the martyrdom of Cyprian, 4) Varying policies of persecution, 5) Galerius's edict of toleration. As I researched the writings of Gibbon I was faced with the fact that 20% of the Roman Empire was given over to the following of Jesus Christ by the conversion of Constantine. Nor could I fail to see that swarms of Christians were in Egypt, Syria, Jerusalem, Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Etc. Gibbon says, "As soon, as Christianity ascended the throne, the zeal of those barbarians obeyed the prevailing impulsion, the cities of Egypt were filled with bishops, and the desert of Thebais swarmed with hermits." Gibbon’s p. 490. On page 491 Gibbon writes about a peace that lasts for 38 years. Gibbon estimates the Christian population in Rome at this time to be 50,000. We can say that from Gaul to Africa Gods people were being sealed in the forehead.


2-3 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."
The sealing of the servants in the forehead must mean an open and real acknowledgment of Christ. A public testimony of his grace, a life devoted to his service, a warfare that keeps continually unfurled the banner of the cross.
The man who has accepted it has certified (set to his seal KJV) that God is truthful. JOH 3:33
Set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 CO 1:22
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. EPH 1:13

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. EPH 4:30
Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." 2 TI 2:19
http://www.4thewordofgod.com/chapter07.htm


6) REVELATIONCOMMENTARY.ORG


Revelation 7:1
(1) After this I saw (2) four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back (3) the four winds of the earth, (4) so that no wind should blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.

1. After this I saw = a popular formula used by John to introduce a new unit of material. It indicates a new sequence, but not necessarily a new time factor. In sequence, the fact that the sixth seal renders the earth absent of all light demands a temporary darkness.

There is no justification on the part of those who attempt to assign a permanent end to sun, moon, and stars at the sixth seal. Only by ignoring textual details and/or maximizing textual similarities with regards to seal six, trumpet four and bowl four can one make a case against a limited cessation of light during the sixth seal. The use of the sun to scorch men on the earth at the fourth bowl judgment demands that whatever happens at the sixth seals, it is limited in duration.

2. Four angels = we are not told who these angles are. We are told that they are positioned at the four corners of the earth. The significance of their position is seen in the fact that they control the whole earth.

3. The four winds of the earth = refers to the directions North, South, East and West (Eze 37:9; Jer 49:36 and Dan 7:2; 8:8 and 11:4).

4. So that = indicates the purpose of the restraining angels. They are holding back the wind. We are not told why the wind needs to be restrained, but the implication is danger. That is, these winds will cause great destruction on the earth once let lose. By implication, only those divinely protected will be safe from the blowing wind.

Revelation 7:2-3

And I saw another angel ascending (1) from the rising of the sun, having (2) the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted (3) to harm the earth and the sea, saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until (4) we have sealed (5) the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads."

1. From the rising of the sun = is a figure of speech that means the East.

2. The seal of the living God = is not explicitly defined at this point. Neither are we told what the sealing is for. Later in the book, we will see that God divinely protects Israel by giving her seclusion in a special place from the wrath of Satan/Antichrist. However, those sealed by the angelic beings will not be secluded. This marks a distinction between the wrath of God and the wrath of man. Seclusion will not be a defense against the wrath of God.

3. To harm = this Greek verb means "to hurt or harm, with the implication of doing something which is wrong or undeserved (Louw & Nida, § 20:25). This is an appropriate verb to use at this point. The earth, sea and trees will very much receive undeserved wrath. Nature, locked in a perpetual fallen state since Adam’s sin (Rom 8:18-22), finally begins her journey to rebirth. Like Christ, she must suffer before ultimate freedom comes.

4. We have sealed = "we" implies multiple angles are involved in the sealing process. Given the number to be sealed, this is understandable. The context clearly indicates what will be done. Each person will receive a special mark on his or her forehead, which will clearly identify said person as God’s property. The context also demonstrates what the purpose of the mark or brand is. Some argue that the seal is salvation, but there is no evidence of this claim. Those who take this position are reading into this passage ideas taken from the writings of the apostle Paul (Eph 1:13). In context, the sealing is to prevent harm. It is a sealing of protection. Revelation 9:4 explicitly declares that those who have the seal of God are protected from the fallout of the fifth trumpet.

http://www.revelationcommentary.org/07_chapter.html


7) BARNE’S NOTES ON THE NEW TESTAMENT

I saw four angels. He does not describe their forms, but merely mentions their agency. This is, of course, a symbolical representation. We are not to suppose that it would be literally fulfilled, or that, at the time referred to by the vision, four celestial beings would be stationed in the four quarters of the world, for the purpose of checking and restraining the winds that blow from the four points of the compass. The meaning is, that events would occur which would be properly represented by four angels standing in the four quarters of the world, and having power over the winds.


Standing on the four corners of the earth. This language is, of course, accommodated to the prevailing mode of speaking of the earth among the Hebrews. It was a common method among them to describe it as a vast plain, having four corners, those corners being the prominent points--north, south, east, and west. So we speak now of the four winds, the four quarters of the world, etc. The Hebrews spoke of the earth, as we do of the rising and setting of the sun, and of the motions of the heavenly bodies, according to appearances, and without aiming at philosophical exactness. Compare \\Barnes on "Job 26:7"\\. With this view they spoke of the earth as an extended plain, and as having boundaries or corners, as a plain or field naturally has. Perhaps also they used this language with some allusion to an edifice, as having four corners; for they speak also of the earth as having foundations. The language which the Hebrews used was in accordance with the prevailing ideas and language of the ancients on the subject.


Holding the four winds of the earth. The winds blow in fact from every quarter, but it is convenient to speak of them as coming from the four principal points of the compass, and this method is adopted, probably, in every language. So among the Greeks and Latins, the winds were arranged under four classes--Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus, and Eurus--considered as under the control of a king, AEolus. See Esehenburg, Man. Class. Lit. % 78, comp. % 108. The angels here are represented as "holding" the winds--\~kratountav\~. That is, they held them back when about to sweep over the earth, and to produce far- spread desolation. This is an allusion to a popular belief among the Hebrews, that the agency of the angels was employed everywhere. It is not suggested that the angels had raised the tempest here, but only that they now restrained and controlled it. The essential idea is, that they had power over those winds, and that they were now exercising that power by keeping them back when they were about to spread desolation over the earth.

That the wind should not blow on the earth. That there should be a calm, as if the winds were held back.

Nor on the sea. Nowhere--neither on sea nor land. The sea and the land constitute the surface of the globe, and the language here, therefore, denotes that there would be a universal calm. Nor on any tree. To injure it. The language here used is such as would denote a state of profound quiet; as when we say that it is so still that not a leaf of the trees moves.


In regard to the literal meaning of the symbol here employed there can be no great difficulty; as to its application there may be more. The winds are the proper symbols of wars and commotions. Compare Daniel 8:2. In Jeremiah 49:36-37, the symbol is both used and explained: "And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come. For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life." So in Jeremiah 51:1-2, a destroying wind is an emblem of destructive war: "I will raise up against Babylon a destroying wind, and will send unto Babylon farmers, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land." Compare Horace, Odes, b, i. 14. The essential ideas, therefore, in this portion of the symbol, cannot be mistaken. They are two:

(1) that at the period of time here referred to--after the opening of the sixth seal and before the opening of the seventh--there would be a state of things which would be well represented by rising tempests and storms, which if unrestrained would spread desolation afar; and

(2) that this impending ruin was held back as if by angels having control of those winds; that is, those tempests were not suffered to go forth to spread desolation over the world. A suspended tempest; calamity held in check; armies hovering on the borders of a kingdom, but not allowed to proceed for a time; hordes of invaders detained, or stayed in their march, as if by some restraining power not their own, and from causes not within themselves--any of these things would be an obvious fulfilling of the meaning of the symbol.

{a} "four winds" Daniel 7:2

Verse 2. And I saw another angel. Evidently having no connexion with the four, and employed for another purpose. This angel, also, must have been symbolic; and all that is implied is, that something would be done as if an angel had done it.

Ascending from the east. He appeared in the east, and seemed to rise like the sun. It is not easy to determine what is the special significancy, if any, of the east here, or why this quarter of the heavens is designated rather than the north, the south, or the west. It may be that as light begins in the east, this would be properly symbolic of something that could be compared with the light of the morning; or that some influence in "sealing" the servants of God would in fact go out from the east; or perhaps no special significance is to be attached to the quarter from which the angel is seen to come. It is not necessary to suppose that every minute thing in a symbol is to receive a complete fulfilment, or that there will be some particular thing to correspond with it. Perhaps all that is meant here is, that as the sun comes forth with splendour from the east, so the angel came with magnificence to perform a task--that of sealing the servants of God --cheerful and joyous like that which the sun performs. It is certain that from no other quarter of the heavens would it be so appropriate to represent an angel as coming forth to perform a purpose of light and mercy and salvation. It does not seem to me, therefore, that we are to look, in the fulfilment of this, for any special influence setting in from the east as that which is symbolized here.

Having the seal of the living God. Bearing it in his hands. In regard to this seal the following remarks may be made:

(a) The phrase "seal of the living God" doubtless means that which God had appointed, or which he would use; that is, if God himself came forth in this manner, he would use this seal for these purposes. Men often have a seal of their own, with some name, symbol, or device, which designates it as theirs, and which no other one has a right to use. A seal is sometimes used by the person himself; sometimes entrusted to a high officer of state; sometimes to the secretary of a corporation; and sometimes, as a mark of special favour, to a friend. In this case it was entrusted to an angel who was authorized to use it, and whose use of it would be sanctioned, of course, wherever he applied it, by the living God, as if he had employed it himself.


(b) As to the form of the seal, we have no information. It would be most natural to suppose that the name "of the living God" would be engraven on it, so that that name would appear on any one to whom it might be affixed. Compare \\Barnes on "2Ti 2:19"\\. It was customary in the East to brand the name of the master on the forehead of a slave, (Grotius, in loc.;) and such an idea would meet all that is implied in the language here, though there is no certain evidence that there is an allusion to that custom. In subsequent times, in the church, it was common for Christians to impress the sign of the cross on their foreheads. --Tertullian de Corona; Cyrill. lib. vi. See Grotius. As nothing is said here, however, about any mark or device on the seal, conjecture is useless as to what it was.


(c) As to what was to be designated by the seal, the main idea is clear, that it was to place some such mark upon his friends that they would be known to be his, and that they would be safe in the impending calamities. There is perhaps allusion here to Ezekiel 9:4-6, where the following direction to the prophet occurs: "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and that cry, for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark." The essential ideas in the sealing, in the passage before us, would therefore seem to be,


(1.) that there would be some mark, sign, or token, by which they who were the people of God would be known; that is, there would be something which would answer, in this respect, the same purpose as if a seal had been impressed upon their foreheads. Whether this was an outward badge, or a religious rite, or the doctrines which they would hold and by which they would be known, or something in their spirit and manner which would characterize his true disciples, may be a fair subject of inquiry. It is not specifically designated by the use of the word.


(2.) It would be something that would be conspicuous or prominent, as if it were impressed on the forehead. It would not be merely some internal sealing, or some designation by which they would be known to themselves and to God, but it would be something apparent, as if engraved on the forehead. What this would be, whether a profession, or a form of religion, or the holding of some doctrine, or the manifestation of a particular spirit, is not here designated.
(3.) This would be something appointed by God himself. It would not be of human origin, but would be as if an angel sent from heaven should impress it on the forehead. If it refers to the doctrines which they would hold, they could not be doctrines of human origin; if to the spirit which they would manifest, it would be a spirit of heavenly origin; if to some outward protection, it would be manifest that it was from God.

(4.) This would be a pledge of safety. The design of sealing the persons referred to seems to have been to secure their safety in the impending calamities. Thus the winds were held back until those who were to be sealed could be designated, and then they were to be allowed to sweep over the earth. These things, therefore, we are to look for in the fulfilment of the symbol.

And he cried with a loud voice. As if he had authority to command, and as if the four winds were about to be let forth upon the world.

To whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea. Who had power committed to them to do this by means of the four winds.

{a} "seal" 2 Timothy 2:19
Verse 3. Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, etc. Let the winds be restrained until what is here designated shall be done. These destroying angels were commanded to suspend the work of destruction Until the servants of God could be rendered secure. The division here, as in Revelation 7:1, of the "earth, the sea, and the trees," seems to include everything--water, land, and the productions of the earth. Nothing was to be injured until the angel should designate the true servants of God.

Till we have sealed the servants of our God. The use of the plural "we" seems to denote that he did not expect to do it alone. Who were to be associated With him, whether angels or men, he does not intimate; but the work was evidently such that it demanded the agency of more than one.

In their foreheads. See Barnes "Revelation 7:2"; compare Ezekiel 9:4-5. A mark thus placed on the forehead would be conspicuous, and would be something which could at once be recognised if destruction should spread over the world. The fulfilment of this is to be found in two things:

(a) in something which would be conspicuous or prominent--so that it could be seen; and

(b) in the mark being of such a nature or character that it would be a proper designation of the fact that they were the true servants of God.
{a} "Hurt not" Revelation 6:6
{b} "sealed" Ezekiel 9:4
{c} "foreheads" Revelation 22:4
http://www.studylight.org/com/bnn/view.cgi?book=re&chapter=7&verse=2#Re7_2

1 Comments:

  • At 1:14 PM, Blogger answer-man said…

    Just dropped in to read your blog. We are reading what others have to say and are introducing ourselves as well. We are intoducing The new Holy Bibles King James Versions and New Living Translations and especially The New Children's Bibles on DVD and invite you to stop by and visit us at: **BibleMediaDvd.Com**

    We hope you don't mind our comment on your site and do so repectfully.
    Thank you and God Bless.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home