Hollingworth lake, True worshippers

The Four Angels

The Apocalypse – Chapter 7 – Part 1

Yesterday we finished Chapter 6 of the book of Revelation (or Apocalyse), today we continue with the first part of Chapter 7 – The Four Angels.

Let us always give worship
first place
 
They bowed down and worshiped
Such was their delight
And thereby at the outset
Established what was His right.
 
For worship is everything and the
  more we do
The more reason God will give us
  to do so
Before we pray then let us worship
  lifting everything to Him
He cannot receive worship any
  other way.
 
Let us always give worship first
  place.
Everything we have let us bring.
The wise men opened to Him their
  treasures.
How can we hold back anything?
 
By the late Andrew Feakin
[passed away 16th March 2019]
 

Keys – The Four Angels

  • God gives the security of the graces and comforts for His people in times of common calamity.
  • The spirit of error cannot go forth till God permits it.
  • Angels minister to the good of the church by restraining its enemies.
  • God has a particular care and concern for His own servants in times of temptation and corruption.
  • He first establishes them, and then He tries them. He has the timing of their trials in his own hand.
  • Those who belong to Him are set apart for mercy and safety in the worst of times.
  • The Lord knows who are His, and He will keep them safe in times of dangerous temptation.
  • In acts of worship, we come close to God by Christ and are to conceive ourselves as in His special presence.
  • One day we will be invested with the robes of justification, holiness, and victory, and have palms in our hands.
  • There should be both a reverential frame of spirit and a humble behaviour in all our addresses to God.
  • For God’s divine perfections He ought to be blessed, and praised, and glorified, to all eternity.
  • We ought to get our hearts tuned for it, and to long for that world where our praises, as well as happiness, will be perfected.

A great multitude that no man could number

‘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. 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.

A great multitude that no man could number

I heard the number of them which were sealed. There were sealed one hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. The tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. The tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. The tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. The tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 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.

Salvation to our God

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues. They 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 and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.’

Henry says – The contents of this chapter came in after the opening of the six seals, which foretold great calamities in the world. It comes before the sound of the seven trumpets, which gives notice of great corruptions arising in the church. Now comes the security of the graces and comforts of the people of God in times of common calamity. Within it we have an account of the restraint laid upon the winds, Rev. 7:1-3. The sealing of the servants of God, Rev. 7:4-8. The songs of angels and saints, Rev. 7:9-12. Finally a description of the honour and happiness of those who had faithfully served Christ, and suffered for Him, Rev. 7:13-17

The unstable are shaken

The restraint we suppose means those errors and corruptions in the church which would bring a great deal of trouble. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is compared to the wind. Here the spirits of error are compared to the four winds, contrary to one another, but doing much hurt to the church. It breaks branches and blasts the fruits.

The devil is called the prince of the power of the air. By a great wind he overthrew the house of Job’s eldest son. Errors are as wind, by which those who are unstable are shaken, and carried to and froEph. 4:14. These are called the winds of the earth, because they blow only in these lower regions near the earth; heaven is always clear and free from them.

He has the timing of the trial in His hands

They are restrained by the ministry of angels, standing on the four corners of the earth. It intimates that the spirit of error cannot go forth till God permits it. With the angels minister to the good of the church by restraining its enemies. Their restraint was only for a season, and that was till the servants of God were sealed in their foreheads. God has a particular care and concern for His own servants in times of temptation and corruption. He first establishes them, and then He tries them. He has the timing of their trials in His own hand.

An angel was asigned to the sealing of the servants of God. While some of the angels were employed to restrain Satan and his agents, another angel was employed to mark out and distinguish the faithful servants of God. The seal of God was set upon their foreheads, a seal known to Him. By this mark they were set apart for mercy and safety in the worst of times.

The Lord knows those who are His

There is a particular account given of those that were sealed of the twelve tribes of Israel—twelve thousand out of every tribe, the whole sum amounting to a hundred and forty-four thousand. In this list the tribe of Dan is omitted, perhaps because they were greatly addicted to idolatry. The order of the tribes is altered, perhaps according as they had been more or less faithful to God. Some take these to be a select number of the Jews who were reserved for mercy at the destruction of Jerusalem. Others think it is to be more generally applied to God’s chosen remnant in the world.

A general account of those who were saved out of other nations (Rev. 7:9): A great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues. Though these are not said to be sealed, yet they were selected by God out of all nations, and brought into His church, and there stood before the throne. God will have a greater harvest of souls among the Gentiles than He had among the Jews. More are the children of the desolate than of the married woman. The Lord knows who are His, and He will keep them safe in times of dangerous temptation.

Clothed in white robes

The songs of the saints and angels are offered up for the care of God in reserving so large a remnant of the Jews. Thus saving them from infidelity and destruction. The Jewish church prayed for the Gentiles before their conversion, and the Gentile churches have reason to bless God for His mercy to so many of the Jews now. The saints stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, before the Creator and the Mediator.

In acts of worship we come close to God by Christ, and are to conceive ourselves as in His special presence. The throne of God would be inaccessible to sinners were it not for a Mediator. They were clothed with white robes, and had palms in their hands. They were invested with the robes of justification, holiness, and victory, and had palms in their hands. Such as conquerors used to appear in their triumphs. A glorious appearance will the faithful servants be when they have fought the good fight of faith and finished their course. They cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb. The Father contrived this salvation, the Son purchased it, and those who enjoy it will bless the Lord and the Lamb, and they will do it with fervour.

They fell on their faces

Here is the song of the angels (Rev. 7:11, 12), before the throne of God, attending on Him, and ready to serve them. Their posture is very humble, and expressive of the greatest reverence: They fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God. Behold the most excellent of all the creatures, who never sinned, who are before Him continually, not only covering their faces, but falling down on their faces before the Lord!

What profound reverence becomes us vile, frail creatures that we should fall down before Him. There should be both a reverential frame of spirit and a humble behaviour in all our addresses to God. There is in heaven a perfect harmony between the angels and saints. Yet the angels added more of their own, saying, Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

For His Divine perfections

They acknowledge the glorious attributes of God—His wisdom, His power, and His might. For His divine perfections, He ought to be blessed, and praised, and glorified, to all eternity. They confirm it by their Amen. Here we see what our work in heaven will be. We ought to get our hearts tuned for it, and to long for that world where our praises, as well as happiness, will be perfected.

Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary

Prayer for the Day

Prayer: Father, I come to You. Thank you that Your Word assures us that we have the security of Your graces and comforts in times of calamity. You have a particular care and concern for Your servants in times of temptation and corruption. Your Word says to rejoice in our trials for in them You establish us and try us that we be perfected. You hold the timing of our trials in Your own hand.

Thank You that those who belong to You are set apart for mercy and safety in the worst of times. You know those who belong to You and You will keep us safe in times of dangerous temptation. Help me to behold Your precious presence when I come before You in worship. May my frame of spirit be reverential and behaviour be humble in all my addresses to You. May I always bless You for Your divine perfections. Be blessed, and praised, and glorified, to all eternity. Teach me how to get my heart tuned for eternal worship. May I always long for that world where our praises, as well as happiness, will be perfected. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

The Four Angels

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