Category Archives: REVELATION 7

Those who are preserved so as to preach the gospel of the kingdom, and those who are converted through their preaching.

REVELATION CHAPTER 7

INTRODUCTION

The Book of Revelation has as its main subject the coming again of the Lord Jesus to the earth to set up His kingdom.  After centuries of being hidden from human sight, He will be revealed, or unveiled, which is the root meaning of the word “revelation”.  John is permitted to see a preview of future events.  What he sees can be reduced to two themes: the worship of heaven and the reasons for it, and the woes on earth and the reasons for them.  In chapters 4 and 5 he sees what happens in heaven, when the question is raised as to who is competent to break the seals on a book containing the judgement of God upon those who dwell on the earth.  Only the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Christ Himself, is found worthy to open the book and to loose the seals.  Subsequent chapters detail what happens when those seals are broken and the contents of the scroll are revealed.

It should be borne in mind that chapters 6-19 of the book of the Revelation have to do with what is known as “Daniel’s Seventieth Week”.  Because the children of Israel failed to obey God by worshipping Him alone, and descended into idolatry, and because for 490 years they had not allowed the land to rest once every seven years, the kingly tribe of Judah were taken into captivity for 70 years, 2 Chronicles 36:21.  At this point the Times of the Gentiles began, and the earth was ruled, not by the promised Messiah of Judah’s tribe, but by successive heathen kings.  As the 70-year period of captivity neared its end, Daniel was informed by God that a further period of 70 weeks, not of days but of years, that is, 490 years, must elapse before Messiah would come to reign, Daniel 9:24-27.  This period was divided into three very unequal parts.  The first part, consisting of 7 weeks, or 49 years, began with the command to allow the temple and the city to be built, and finished at the time of Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament.  The second part, consisting of 63 weeks, or 434 years, finished with the cutting off of the Messiah at Calvary.  That left 1 week of 7 years yet to run its course. 

What Daniel did not know, however, was that God had purposed to introduce a further age into His programme.  He kept this secret during Old Testament times, and only revealed it after Pentecost through the apostle Paul.  This is set forth in detail in Ephesians 3, and notes on those verses can be found on another post.   The present age, therefore, is not part of the 490 years that Daniel knew about, and it must be finished before the last 7-year period Daniel was told about begins to run its course. 

In chapter 6 the first six seals are broken, with the result that the contents of the first six sections of the scroll are brought to view.  The breaking of the sixth seal enables John to see the state of things immediately prior to the return of Christ, when men shall be terrified at the prospect of Christ returning to bring them to account.  Chapter 7, however, shows that in the midst of wrath, God remembers mercy, Habakkuk 3:2.  Christ is coming in flaming fire upon His enemies, as the Kinsman Avenger, but He redeems, too, for He is the Kinsman Redeemer.  See Leviticus 25:47-55 and Numbers 35:9-29 for these two functions of a redeemer.

Because God is not willing that any should perish, 144,000 men are sealed to preserve them from the dangers of the tribulation period, and they are those who are sent forth by God to preach the gospel of the kingdom, announcing the fact that the Kingdom of Christ is about to begin, and men should prepare for His coming.  That many do so is shown by the second half of the chapter, where a great multitude is seen who have come out of that time of tribulation, and praise God for the salvation He has granted them.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION CHAPTER 7

7:1  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.
7:2  And 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 given to hurt the earth and the sea,
7:3  Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
7:4  And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
7:5  Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
7:6  Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
7:7  Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
7:8  Of 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.
7:9  After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
7:10  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
7:11  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,
7:12  Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
7:13  And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
7:14  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
7:15  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
7:16  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
7:17  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. 

STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTER

Verses 1-3 THE PREPARATION FOR THE SEALING
Verses 4-8  THE PERSONS WHO ARE SEALED
Verses 9-10 THE PRAISES OF THE SAVED ONES
Verses 11,12 THE PRAISES OF THE ANGELS
Verses 13-14 THE PURITY OF THE SAVED ONES
Verses 15-17 THE PROMISES TO THE SAVED ONES

Verses 1-3  THE PREPARATION FOR THE SEALING

7:1  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.

When He gave His discourse on the Mount of Olives, as recorded in Matthew 24, the Lord Jesus summarised what is found in Revelation 6.  He said that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, and then shall the end come”, Matthew 24:4.  We have the preparation for, and the results of, that preaching in this chapter.  A godly remnant will have to flee at the mid-point of that tribulation period, and the Lord commands them to pray that their flight will not be in the winter, or on the Sabbath day, lest their escape should be hindered.  Those sealed in this chapter do not need to pray for favourable conditions, however, for they are provided for by angelic ministry. 

Four angels are allotted the task of restraining the wind from blowing until the sealing has been done.  These sealed evangelists will need to travel to the four quarters of the earth rapidly.  The four angels ensure that there is no wind to prevent them jetting far and wide; no tempests at sea if they need to sail to their destination; no fallen trees obstructing their passage if they need to cross overland.  All is still; not a breeze blows, not a breaker roars, not a leaf moves, for God is speeding His servants on their way.  God makes His angels spirits, or winds, Psalm 104:4, so they are able to work out His purpose through the wind, (“stormy tempest fulfilling His word”, Psalm 148:8).  But here they have the ability to do the reverse, and control what to man is uncontrollable.  Now it is the lack of wind that fulfils His word.

7:2,  And 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 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.

Remember that John is viewing things from the perspective of heaven, for he has heard the voice which calls him up to heaven in 4:1.  Why does he see the angel ascending from the east?  One day, John had stood with his fellow apostles and seen Christ ascend from the Mount of Olives, on the east side of Jerusalem, the same mount He had sat upon to teach of future events in Matthew 24, 25, and the only one of the mountains in Matthew’s gospel that is named.  The same mountain, too, that He will descend to when He returns to earth, Zechariah 14:4. Perhaps this angel is reminding him of this, and reminding him also that before He ascended, Christ assured His own that He had all power in heaven and in earth, Matthew 28:18.  Certainly these evangelists will need this assurance as they go forth on their difficult task.  Perhaps they see the angel too, and are thus encouraged.

In verse 1 the angels held the winds so they do no harm, here they also hold the winds so that at the appropriate moment, they may do harm, at God’s good pleasure.  Note that the angel is given an interest in the servants of God who are men.  Angels are servants too, but they are sent forth to minister for those who shall inherit salvation, Hebrews 1:14.  They do not so much minister to believers, as for them, indirectly acting for their benefit, no doubt mostly saving them from physical harm.  In context the words quoted from Hebrews 1 relate to those who are about to enter into the kingdom on earth, and the company in view in this chapter are certainly like that.

The servants of God, as they are described, are sealed, and the seal is on their foreheads.  Sealing in the scripture is a sign of ownership and security.  Believers of this age are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13, thus ensuring their preservation until glory is reached, and also their comfort that they belong to God.  These men will be preserved through great trials, and all the while will know that God claims ownership of them, and has done so in a visible way.

During the great tribulation, all who worship the beast will have his mark upon them, either on their foreheads, or on their right hands, Revelation 13:16.  Those who refuse this mark will be conspicuous, and many will be overcome, in the sense that they will be put to death, Revelation 13:7.  This does not mean the beast has triumphed, however, for they will be before God as those who have gained the victory over the mark of the beast, Revelation 15:2, showing that they had been faithful unto death.

These who are sealed by God in this chapter are sealed on their foreheads, for their minds will be active as they preach the gospel, and reserved for God’s use amidst all the propaganda of the beast’s reign.  See Daniel 7:8; 20.  We might ask ourselves whether our minds are preserved and dedicated to God’s interests?  Or has the world laid claim to them, and we have given in to its claim?

Verses 4-8  THE PERSONS WHO ARE SEALED

7:4  And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

John needs to be clear as to how many are sealed, for he is going to return to this company in chapter 14, hence he assures us he heard the number.  How gratified he must have been to note that every one of the 144,000 were in heaven at last.  The sealing had done its work, and they had all been preserved for God despite all the trials they had passed through.  Daniel’s friends found that even though they had been thrown into the fiery furnace, not a hair of their head was singed, Daniel 3:27.

The number of those sealed is 144,000.  12 x 12 x 1000 would present to us 12 the number of Divine government multiplied and intensified by that same number, and then further intensified to the highest degree by the number 1000.  After all, the government of Christ for a 1000 years is in view, and there must be adequate provision for that reign.

7:5-8  Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.  Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.  Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.  Of 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.

We first of all notice that it is known to which tribe these Israelites belong.  Despite most of them being supposedly “lost tribes”, yet God knows who they are; He has not lost them.  Paul could speak of “our twelve tribes, instantly serving God”, Acts 26:7.  One day the divided nation shall be reunited, as Ezekiel 37:19 and Hosea 1:11 explain.  The division came because of the defection of ten tribes from the authority of the line of David.  David’s line is about to be re-established, and this is part of the preparation for it.  Perhaps this is suggested by the fact that Judah and Benjamin, the two tribes remaining faithful to David’s house, are the first and the last listed.  As if they include the other tribes in their embrace.
Whilst this is so, and we are definitely told that those sealed are of all the tribes of the children of Israel, nevertheless Dan and Ephraim are not mentioned.  This is especially striking because these two were both standard-bearers for other tribes as they encamped around the tabernacle, as Numbers 2:18,25 records.

It is true, however, that Dan was the first tribe to go into idolatry, and Judges 18:30 specifically links that idolatry with the going into captivity seven centuries later.  Significantly, their priest officiated in the hill country of Ephraim, as if those of that district were sympathetic.  By Amos’ time it had become a proverbial saying,  “Thy god, O Dan, liveth”, Amos 8:14.  The tribulation period will be marked by idolatry of the worst sort, the worship of a man energised by Satan.  It is too much of a risk to commission 12,000 of this tribe to carry forth the message of God in such an atmosphere.  The danger of apostasy is too great. 

If it seems unfair to be excluded for what their forbears did several millennia before, we should remember that tribal instincts are very strong in Israel.  We see an example of this when the apostle Paul states that one of the things he counted a gain was being of the tribe of Benjamin, Philippians 3:5.  We see the principle at work in Noah’s curse upon Canaan, Genesis 9:22,25.  Even though it was Ham who had sinned in the immediate context, the tendency was inbred, and would come out in the Canaanites’ behaviour centuries later.

Ephraim also is associated with idolatry.  We remember the exclamation of Hosea, “Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone”, Hosea 4:17.  There is another factor, however, in that Ephraim was the name given to the 10-tribed kingdom that revolted against David and his line, Isaiah 7:17.  The great test in the last days for Israel will be whether they will swear allegiance to the King of kings, Christ their Messiah, or whether they will ally themselves with Antichrist.  Ephraim’s history of treachery and disloyalty to the true king will mean they will forfeit their right to preach the gospel of the King before He comes.

It is encouraging to notice, however, that despite being passed over for the privilege of preaching in the tribulation period, they shall have an allotted place in the kingdom, Ezekiel 48:1,5.  The grace of God will deal with them, and the work of their Messiah at Calvary will cleanse them.  This is what we learn from Genesis 49:16,17, for Jacob looked on to the last days, and saw Dan as one of the judges of Israel, despite the fact that he would also be a serpent in the way.  The grace of God would overcome what he was by nature, and he would rule in the kingdom, as his name implies, for Dan means “judge”.  Ephraim also shall be reinstated, and Moses said that the ten thousands of Ephraim would push the people together to the ends of the earth, Deuteronomy 33:17.

Verses 9-10  THE PRAISES OF THE SAVED ONES

7:9,10  After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, 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.

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number- we are now shown the fruits of the labours of the sealed servants of God.  Despite the pressures of the time, a great multitude of people turn to God, and wait for His Son to reign.  So great was this multitude that no man could accurately tell how many they were; they seemed to stretch into the distance, a vast company testifying to the superior power of God, even when the power of Satan was great.  John had heard the precise number of those sealed, because he will record later that the same number was found before God after their ministry is fulfilled.  This company is beyond computation by men, but we are sure God knows each one.
Of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues- whereas the 144,000 were exclusively from Israel, this multitude is from every division of humanity. There are some from every nation, a political division; some from every kindred, a tribal division; some from every people, an ethnical division; and some from every tongue, a linguistical division.  No matter how small the grouping, the evangelists have found them out, achieving in a small space of time more than evangelists of this present age have done in 2000 years.  Freed from the divisions of humanity, they are united now, as with one voice they praise the God who has delivered them.
Stood before the throne- they stand before the throne, for they had refused to stand before the image of the beast and worship.  Like Elijah, who stormed into Ahab’s palace to declare judgement upon him for going into idolatry, and said, “As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand”, 1 Kings 17:1.  They declared by their faith that they had set the Lord always before them, and therefore they had not been moved, Psalm 16:8
And before the Lamb- they stand before the Lamb, too, for they have learnt the redeeming power of His blood.  The company at the end of chapter 6 were terrified at the prospect of the sight of the Lamb and His wrath as the Kinsman Avenger, 6:16,17, but these calmly stand before the Lamb, and express their deep gratitude to Him as their Kinsman Redeemer.
Clothed with white robes- this would denote their righteous character.  They have expressed their faith in works of practical righteousness, thus demonstrating the genuineness of their belief in the gospel, for “faith without works is dead”, James 2:20.  The turmoil of the times has not prevented them from expressing their allegiance to God.  In fact, this company will surely be amongst those present when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory and judges the living nations, Matthew 25:31-46.  They will be those who have helped Christ’s brethren in practical ways, as detailed there.  Christ’s brethren being the 144,000 evangelists who will need to be speeded on their way, and given hospitality on their journey.  If these found time to do such things amidst the uproar of the great tribulation, should not we make the most of our opportunities in these calmer times? The apostle John commended Gaius for bringing forward on their journey those who went forth for Christ’s sake, 3 John 5-7.
And palms in their hands- the palm tree is a symbol of victory.  The multitudes waved branches of palm trees when Christ rode into Jerusalem, and said, “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord”, John 12:13.  This company welcomes His coming, too.  The palm tree rises high above the arid desert, triumphing over the harsh conditions because its roots are deep down below the surface; fit symbol of those who rise high above the adversity of the tribulation period, because their springs are in God, Psalm 87:7.
And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb- they cry with loud voice, for welling up from their hearts is deep thankfulness for His mercy towards them.  The depth of their gratitude is expressed by the strength of their singing.  Is there not a lesson here for us?  They heartily ascribe salvation to God and the Lamb, for it is only by Divine intervention that they are where they are.  Just as Jonah had been in the midst of the fury of the storm, but was delivered by God, and exclaimed, “Salvation is of the Lord”, Jonah 2:9, so these express a like thought.  They knew that whatever the power of the one who sat upon the throne of the world, the Throne-Sitter in heaven was in complete control.

Verses 11,12 THE PRAISES OF THE ANGELS

7:11,12  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.

And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts- we have already noted that the ministry of angels is to further the interests of those who shall enter into the kingdom, Hebrews 1:14.  But here their immediate task is done, for this company, and the 144,000 also, have arrived safely before the throne of God.  They are free, then, to all gather together and join with them to praise God.  Hebrews 12:22,23 looks on to a kingdom day when there can be a full gathering of angels, (“the general assembly” means a full, festive gathering of angels), and here is one example.
Note that the elders and four beasts, or living creatures, (who have no connection with the beasts of chapter 13), are silent at this point.  That the elders are aware of who this company is becomes evident in verses 14-17, for those verses consist of the words of explanation the elder speaks to John.  In the Book of the Revelation, it is the apostle John that represents the church.  It is John who is taken into heaven at the sound of a trumpet in 4:1, just as the church shall be summoned to heaven by the same sound, 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16.  And we find him voicing the aspiration of the church in 22:17,20 when he says “Even so come, Lord Jesus”, for he knows that the Spirit and the bride say “Come”.

The present writer believes that the four living creatures represent the material creation before God, safeguarding His interests in the world He has made, (four being the number connected with the earth, and the living creatures each representing one of the four groups of God’s creatures), whereas the elders represent His spiritual interests in the world, just as the temple arrangements by David were governed by the number 24.  If this is true, the question immediately arises, why do the elders not join in the praise?  The answer is perhaps that the praise of the angels here is of God in a general way, ascribing various things to Him.  The angels are not specific in their praise in relation to the salvation of these converts, (although they do say amen to that praise), which is why they do not praise the Lamb as they begin their own praise to God, verse 12.
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- note the wholeheartedness of their prostration before God, (for they are on their faces), and the fulness of their ascription of praise, for it is seven-fold: They bless God, for they have reason to speak well of God because of His ways with His creation.  They ascribe glory to Him, magnifying His name for the way in which He has revealed Himself in light and love.  They celebrate His wisdom, as they review His actions through the centuries, and this causes them deep thanksgiving, for they have a special interest in the furthering of His cause.  All this means honour is due to Him, and this they give Him.  They recognise that He has inherent power, and also strength, which is linked with the word prevail, and so tells of God’s ability to overcome His foes and work out His purpose.  They are convinced that the achievements of God have enduring qualities, and are confident nothing shall disturb the eternal praise that is due to God from His creatures, for it is for ever and for ever.  They are not content to simply saying “for ever”, but repeat the phrase to show it is certain- “for ever and ever”.

Verses 13-14 THE PURITY OF THE SAVED ONES

7:13  And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

We now have an intervention by one of the elders.  That one can be singled out to talk with John surely shows that the elders are not a multitude, nor a metaphor, but 24 individual angelic beings.  Now that it is a question of the spiritual qualities of the converts, it is appropriate for a representative of God’s spiritual interests to be introduced.  He uses the technique common with the rabbis of Israel, namely asking a question in order to introduce an answer.  The question is a double one- who are they, and where have they come from?

7:14  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest- John either admits that he does not know when he says “Sir, thou knowest”, or he does know but defers to the superior wisdom of the elder.
And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation- the expression “great tribulation” is a very emphatic one, and could be translated as “the tribulation, the great one”.  This is because the time in question is the same as that Christ spoke of when He used the phrase, “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be”, Matthew 24:21.  Similar words are used in Daniel 12:1, “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time”.  Joel also spoke of this period, “a day…there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it”, Joel 2:2.  The time in question is the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week, a time of unparalleled suffering and wrath.  We should not confuse this tribulation with that which all believers should expect as they live in a hostile world.  Acts 14:22 assures us that through much tribulation we shall enter the kingdom, and Romans 5:3 indicates that we are able to glory in those tribulations, because they are part of the outworking of God’s purpose in us.

Those in view in this chapter are not necessarily saved only in the second half of the final seven-year period.  “He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved”, is the Lord’s comment before He spoke of the setting up of the image of the beast in the temple, which marks the mid-point of the seven-year period of judgement.  The faith of this multitude had endured to the end of their earthly experience, whether that end came by martyrdom or not.  It was not that they had merited salvation by enduring to the end, (as if salvation is of works, and as if someone who is not saved can endure), but rather, that their salvation enabled them to endure to the end.

And have washed their robes- they had lived through defiling times, when the profane actions of the antichrist were pervasive, yet these had kept their garments white.  The word used for robe means a stately robe, such as the priests of Israel wore, or the young man at Christ’s sepulchre.  Such as, also, the best robe that was given to the prodigal son.  He was not required to wash his rags to make himself presentable.  He was given the best robe, the mark of sonship.  So these have been robed by God as a result of their turning to Him.
And made them white in the blood of the Lamb- they kept that robe white despite the defilement all around them.  They did this because of the effect of the blood of the Lamb, which not only redeems the soul, but sanctifies the character, for clothing in scripture speaks of character.  When defilement threatened, or when defilement had occurred, these believers had availed themselves of the power of the blood of Christ to cleanse from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:7,9, and thus their character was purified. 

Verses 15-17  THE PROMISES TO THE SAVED ONES

7:15  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 

Therefore are they before the throne of God- a special place is reserved for these before the throne of God.  Whereas Daniel, for instance, shall stand in his lot at the end of days, or, in other words, will be installed in the portion allotted to his tribe of Judah, these have a heavenly destiny.  They refused allegiance to the one sitting on the throne of earth, and are recompensed by standing before the throne of God in heaven.
And serve Him day and night in His temple- they refused to serve antichrist, so they forever serve God.  Such is the glory of their position, that God will be at home in their midst, for He shall dwell among them, communing with them as their God, and they His people.  They serve day and night in heaven, even though there is no night in heaven.  The night is on earth, which perhaps contrasts their ministry with that of the earthly priesthood serving in the millennial temple.
And He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them- they refused to keep company with those who worshipped the beast, and did so at great cost to themselves, perhaps in isolation.  They are recompensed fully by the presence of their God in their midst.

7:16,17  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. 

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more- several promises are made to them.  First, they shall hunger and thirst no more.  No man shall be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast, Revelation 13:17.  They will have cried from the heart the words Christ taught His disciples, “Give us this day our daily bread”, Matthew 6:11.  And no doubt, just as God provided ravens to feed Elijah with bread and flesh, 1 Kings 17:6, so He will do a similar thing again.  It is evident however, that they will have known hunger and thirst despite these provisions, and they will be full recompensed.
Neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat- forced to flee their homes, perhaps, they had sought refuge in the desert with its scorching heat.  Now they know the pleasant atmosphere of heaven.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters- fierce beasts have persecuted them, as antichrist and his false prophet terrified the earth, but now they are in the green pastures and beside the living waters of Paradise, and instead of being hunted, they are shepherded.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes- every tear they had shed, as sorrows overwhelmed them upon earth, shall be wiped away by the God of all consolation and comfort.

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