This next entry is a lesson based on Revelation chapters 7 and 8. I have gotten more hits on my blog entries concerning teaching Revelation to children than any other offerings I’ve composed! I hope these lessons have proved helpful and useful to these who have read them. Please leave comments to let me know where I can improve or make myself more useful to you; or conversely, to let me know where I have caused you to seethe and fume in wrath at my presumption in explaining the nearly inexplicable! I value all input greatly!
John is seeing a vision of things that will happen at the end of time. When Jesus opens the seals on the scroll, judgements will fall upon the earth. War, violence, hunger, disease, and death resulting from the stubbornness of men insisting on fighting each other are the first four judgements. The fifth seal is assurance to those who have been killed for their belief in Jesus that they will be avenged. The sixth seal causes the sun to turn black, the moon to turn blood-red, and earthquakes to occur.
But before the seventh seal can be opened, God says,“Wait!” Before anything else can happen, the angels are to put special marks on the foreheads of 144,000 people who are to do a special job for God. These special people will all be Jews, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. Can you name any of the 12 tribes of Israel? There’s Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. Joseph’s tribe is often divided into two tribes named for his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. These people are to be special witnesses to the rest of the world for God. God is giving the world one last chance to turn to Him, right at the very end of time. God always gives everyone every chance to come to Him. He loves everyone He created and does not want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to be saved and live with Him forever. If people refuse to come to Him, though, they must be judged. God cannot allow sin to enter His presence. He is completely holy and completely just, as well as completely loving.
After the 144,000 witnesses were sealed, John looked around the throne of God and was amazed to see a countless multitude of people from every nation of the world standing before God. People from all over the world, from every country, tribe, people-group, and language were represented, all dressed in white robes. The white robes stand for holiness. All of these people had accepted Jesus’ holiness in exchange for their sin. Jesus had taken their sins away and had given them His pure and spotless holiness instead. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. You’d think that would make their robes red, wouldn’t you? But Jesus’ blood has washed them a white and pure as snow. The people all held palm branches in their hands, as well. This is a symbol of joy and thankfulness. During the Feast of Tabernacles, in which Israel celebrates the end of time when believers all get to live with God forever, the palm branch is used to cover the tabernacles or booths that the people live in during that week.
John then heard these countless people cry out as in one loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, Who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Can you imagine millions and millions of people all saying the same thing at the same time? How loud that must have sounded!
When the people said this, all the angels and elders and the four living creatures that surrounded God’s throne fell down and worshiped God. Here is what they said:
“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
Do you know what the word “Amen” means? A lot of times people use it like it means “the end”: “I’m finished talking now God, good-bye!” But this little word has a really big meaning. It literally means “Truth”. When you say “Amen”, you are saying either “What has been said is true,” or, “Let what is said be true.” But there’s even more to this word than that. The word “Amen” comes from a Hebrew word for the “doorway”. When you say “Amen”, you are saying, “I will enter into this truth and walk in it.” Isn’t that cool? Think about that next time you say “Amen!”
One of the elders explains to John that the people in white with the palm branches had been martyred during the great tribulation. That means they were killed because they believed in Jesus. They are now allowed to be in God’ presence constantly. God has “spread His tent over them”. In other words, they are “covered” with God’s presence.
All who die believing in Jesus and in the power of His blood to save will be part of this crowd one day! John is told that the people in the white robes will never hunger again. They will never be thirsty. They will never be too hot or too cold. All their tears will be wiped away. They will never feel lost or alone again, because the Lamb will be their Shepherd! Isn’t that a strange picture? But what better Shepherd could there be than one Who really knows what it is like to be a lamb?
After describing these things, John again reminds us that God keeps the prayers of all of His people on an altar before His throne. Isn’t it wonderful to know that everything you say to God, He keeps? Every word you say to Him is precious to Him.
After this, the seventh seal is finally opened. Had you forgotten about the seals on the scroll? After the seventh seal is opened, there is silence in heaven as the awesomeness of God’s judgement is considered. Then John goes on to describe seven angels who blow seven trumpets. Each trumpet brings another judgement upon the earth. There’s hail and fire and earthquakes, and much of the earth is destroyed in disasters. Some of the things John describes are hard to understand. He was trying to describe things that cannot be described. For example, John says he saw something like locusts, only they had human faces and hair and stinging tails like scorpions. That’s kind of interesting to think about, isn’t it? Like cartoon characters. Just remember that prophecy is not for us to understand now, but only to understand when the prophecy is actually coming true. When these events actually take place, we’ll be able to read these scriptures and say, “Ah, now I see what John was trying to describe! No wonder we couldn’t understand it before. But now it’s perfectly clear.”
Also you must remember that these judgements are for the people who refuse to accept God as their savior. We who are believers don’t need to be afraid of anything! God is our salvation and He will take care of us! He is our Father, our Shepherd, our Covering. He knows what is best for us and we can trust Him. Amen!