Before the revelation of further judgments, two visions are interposed for the comfort of believers. In all that has been shown so far, nothing has been said of the church, except with regard to those who have been martyred. This passage shows the church first in this life, on earth, and so always limited in number (verses 1-8), and then numberless, in heaven, having life for evermore.
- What assurance is given in verses 1-8 concerning God’s watchful care over his people? Cf. Ezek. 9:3-6; John 6:27; 10:27-29; Rev. 9:4.
- In verses 9-17, who make up the great multitude, and where are they standing? How did they come to be there, and what are they now doing? Make a list of the blessings that they enjoy, translating the symbols into the realities that they represent.
1. Verse 1. It is a task given to angels to control forces of nature. Cf. 14:18; 16:5; Heb. 1:7.
2. Verses 4-8. Some have thought that those who are ‘sealed’ represent believers from among the Jews, but in the light of 14:1-4 it is better to regard the visions as including the whole ‘Israel of God’ ( Gal. 6:16).
3. Verse 14. ‘The great tribulation’: cf. 3:10. Here both visions show that all who are the Lord’s will be brought safely through this earthly trial.