By Luke Johnson | October 13, 2015
Remember your church
Read your church’s letter together to remember what Jesus said to your church.
- Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7)
- Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11)
- Pergamum (Rev 2:12-17)
- Thyatira (Rev 2:18-29)
- Philadelphia (Rev 3:7-13)
- Sardis (Rev 2:1-6)
- Laodicea (Rev 3:14-21)
What is a challenge you’ve had to overcome? How did you get through it?
THINK BACK: Last youth night we looked at Revelation 6. Do you remember some of the crazy things that happened? (Four horsemen, martyrs crying for justice, the world falling apart…)
READ Revelation 6:12-17 to refresh your memory: What question ends the chapter?
(“Who can stand the wrath of the Lamb?”) Keep this question in your mind as we read chapter 7.
READ Revelation 7
Did you find anything interesting or weird in Revelation 7?
7:1-3 - Hold back the winds!
Is there anything you think we should notice in 7:1-3?
At the end of chapter 6, “the wrath of the Lamb” makes the world shake apart. Now in chapter 7 God’s angels are holding back the wind. What do you think John wants us to understand about God’s power over the world?
If your group is interested in the 4 angels and the 4 winds, compare this with Zechariah 6:1-5.
7:3-9 - The 144,000
Who do you think the 144,000 are supposed to be? What ‘clues’ does Revelation give us?
- “all the tribes of Israel” (7:4) (But the tribe of Dan is missing, replaced by Joseph.)
- round numbers: 12 x 12,000 - a thousand from each tribe
- they’re called “servants of our God” (7:3)
Right after John sees the 144,000, he sees “a great multitude that no one could count” (7:9).
Any idea how this ‘multitude’ might be connected to the 144,000?
It’s in the numbers! 12 is a ‘completeness’ number, since Israel is made up of 12 tribes.
- 12 x 12 (144) = super extreme completeness!
- 12 x 12 x 1000 (144,000) = MEGA CRAZY SUPER EXTREME COMPLETENESS!
The 144,000 and the multitude are the same group of people. They’re both pictures of the whole body of people who follow Jesus. (Notice the white robes? Where have we seen those before?)
All these people are ‘sealed’ before God unleashes his judgement on the world. Any idea what this seal is supposed to accomplish? What kind of ‘seals’ have you heard of? What does a ‘seal’ do?
- envelope seal -- keeps a letter private
- a royal seal
- sign of authority (universities use an ‘authority’ seal, too!)
Can you think of any other ‘seals’ in the Bible?
Look up a few of these: Eph 1:13; 4:30; 2 Cor 1:22; Rev 3:12; 22:4
What is God’s seal? How does he ‘seal’ people? Whom does he seal?
In Revelation 7, the great multitude is robed in white. Who gets white robes in Revelation?
Look at 6:9-11 -- white robes for those who died because of their testimony about Jesus.
Look at 7:14: According to ‘the elder’, who are these sealed, white-robed people?
(“they who have come out of the great tribulation”)
What do you think the “great tribulation” might refer to?
Back when Revelation was written, everyone was expected to worship the Roman Emperor as a god.
Anyone who refused was labeled as a ‘trouble-maker’ and was punished or killed. In 7:15, these ‘trouble-makers’ are rewarded for staying faithful to Jesus. They were killed for refusing to worship the Emperor on his throne, so they get to stand in front of God’s throne instead. They refused to worship in the Emperor’s temples, so they get to serve in God’s temple instead.
So, in Revelation 7, God puts his seal on people who remained faithful to Jesus in the face of extreme hostility. Following Jesus didn’t save them from suffering -- following Jesus led them right into it!
Have you ever had to stand your ground like that?
Our culture asks us to compromise on basically everything -- to take on its values as our own. Following Jesus can be really difficult in Canada. Have you ever been pressured to abandon or compromise some of the things Jesus teaches us?
If you choose to give your life over to Jesus, your life will be filled with difficult challenges as you follow Jesus in a world that hates him.
But remember: God has some huge things in store for the people who faithfully follow Jesus.
Look at 7:15-17: What sorts of things does God promise?
How can we help each other to keep focused even when we face really difficult stuff?