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Revelation  ◦   Chapter 7

1After the events of the first six seals, I saw four angels standing at key positions around the earth, holding back the four winds of strife to prevent them from blowing on the land, or sea, or any tree.2Then I saw another one of God's messengers coming from the east, with the truth about God's character of love and the Remedy of the living God, to seal the characters of God's children. He called in a loud voice to the four angels who had the power to harm the land and sea by releasing the winds:3"Hold! And do not harm the land or sea until we seal the minds of God's helpers and spokespersons, settling them into the truth about God's character and methods of love, so that nothing can shake them from it."4Then I heard the symbolic representation of those who were sealed–144,000 from all peoples of the earth, symbolized by the tribes of Israel:

5From Judah 12,000 from Reuben 12,000 from Gad 12,000 6from Asher 12,000 from Naphtali 12,000 from Manasseh 12,000 7from Simeon 12,000 from Levi 12,000 from Issachar 12,000 8from Zebulun 12,000 from Joseph 12,000 from Benjamin 12,000.

9After the spokespersons for God were sealed, the four winds were loosed, and I saw before me a great multitude won to God from the witness of God's spokespersons: They were more than anyone could count–from every nation, tribe, people, and language–standing before the throne and in front of Jesus the Lamb. Their characters had been purified to be like Jesus'–symbolized by the wearing of white clothing–and they were holding palm branches in their hands, indicating their praise and acknowledgment of Jesus as King.10They cried out in a loud voice: "Healing and restoration come from our God who sits on the throne and from Jesus the Lamb!"

11And all the angels who were standing around the throne, and the elders, and the four living beings — they all fell down in love and awe and worshiped God,12singing, "Absolutely right! God is worthy of all praise, and glory, and honor, and thanks, and wisdom, and power, and strength — forever and ever without end! So let it always be!"

13Then one of the elders looked at me and asked, "These people in white clothes–who are they and how did they get here?"

14I answered, "Sir, surely you know." And he did know: he said, "These are they who — after the four winds are loosed — hear the testimony of God's spokespersons and during the great tribulation respond to the truth, accept the Remedy, and have their minds and hearts renewed to be like Jesus'–symbolized by their clothes being washed in the blood of the Lamb.15Therefore they are united to the throne of God, and–as living stones in his temple–reveal his character continually; and he who sits on the throne will cover them with his constant love and care.16They will never again hunger for truth or thirst for love. No sun or scorching heat will ever harm them–symbolizing that they will never again be burned by trial or tribulation.17For Jesus the Lamb, who stands at the command center of the universe, will be their protector; he will provide them with springs of living water. And God will comfort them and wipe away all their tears."