[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Revelation: Chapter 7)



7:1 {After this} (meta touto). Instead of the seventh seal (8:1) being opened, two other episodes or preliminary visions occupy chapter 7 (the sealing of the servants of God 7:1-8 and the vision of the redeemed before the throne 7:9-17). {Standing} (hest“tas). Second perfect predicate participle of histˆmi, intransitive and followed by epi and the accusative case g“nias as already in 3:20 (epi thurian) and often again (8:3 some MSS., others genitive; 11:11; 12:18; 14:1; 15:2), but note epi with genitive thalassˆs in the next clause, like epi kephalˆs in 12:1; 7:3.
{Corners} (g“nias). Old word for angle (Mt 6:5), also in 20:8.
{Holding} (kratountas). Present active participle of krate“, to hold fast (Mr 7:3; Joh 20:23). The four winds (cf. Mt 24:31) are held prisoner by angels at each of the four corners. Some Jews held the winds from due north, south, east, west to be favourable, while those from the angles (see Ac 27:14) were unfavourable (Charles). There is an angel of the fire (14:18) and an angel of the waters (16:5).
{That no wind should blow} (hina mˆ pneˆi anemos). Negative purpose clause with hina mˆ and the present active subjunctive, "lest a wind keep on blowing."
{Upon any tree} (epi pan dendron). Accusative case here with epi rather than the preceding genitives (gˆs, thalassˆs), "upon the land or upon the sea," but "against any tree" (picture of attack on the tree like a tornado's path).

7:2 {Ascend} (anabainonta). Present active participle of anabain“, "ascending," "going up," picturing the process.
{From the sun-rising} (apo anatolˆs hˆliou). Same phrase in 16:12. From the east, though why is not told. Swete suggests it is because Palestine is east of Patmos. The plural apo anatol“n occurs in Mt 2:1 without hˆliou (sun).
{The seal of the living God} (sphragida theou z“ntos). Here the signet ring, like that used by an Oriental monarch, to give validity to the official documents. The use of z“ntos with theou accents the eternal life of God (1:18; 10:6; 15:7) as opposed to the ephemeral pagan gods.
{To whom it was given} (hois edothˆ autois). For edothˆ see on 6:2,4, etc. The repetition of autois in addition to hois (both dative) is a redundant Hebraism (in vernacular "Koin‚" to some extent) often in the Apocalypse (3:8). The angels are here identified with the winds as the angels of the churches with the churches (1:20).
{To hurt} (adikˆsai). First aorist active infinitive of adike“, subject of edothˆ, common use of adike“ in this sense of to hurt in the Apocalypse (2:11; 6:6 already), in Lu 10:19 also. The injury is to come by letting loose the winds, not by withholding them.

7:3 {Hurt not} (mˆ adikˆsˆte). Prohibition with and the ingressive aorist active subjunctive of adike“, not to begin to hurt.
{Till we shall have sealed} (achri sphragis“men). Temporal clause of indefinite action for the future with achri (sometimes achris hou or achris hou an) and the aorist subjunctive as in 15:8; 20:3,5 or the future indicative (17:7), usually with the notion of ascent (up to) rather than extent like mechri.
{An} (modal) sometimes occurs, but it is not necessary. But there is no "futurum exactum" idea in the aorist subjunctive, simply "till we seal," not "till we shall have sealed."
{Upon their foreheads} (epi t“n met“p“n). From Eze 9:4. Old word (meta, “ps, after the eye, above the eye, the space above or between the eyes)
, in N.T. only in the Apocalypse (7:3; 9:4; 13:16; 14:1,9; 17:5; 20:4; 22:4). For "the servants of God" (tous doulous tou theou) who are to be thus marked linked with angels in the service of God see Re 1:1; 2:20; 19:2,5; 22:3,6.

7:4 {The number of the sealed} (ton arithmon t“n esphragismen“n). Accusative case object of ˆkousa and genitive of the perfect passive articular participle of sphragiz“. He did not see the sealing or count them himself, but only heard.
{A hundred and forty and four thousand} (hekaton tesserakonta tessares chiliades). Symbolical, of course, and not meant to be a complete number of the sealed (or saved) even in that generation, let alone for all time. The number connotes perfection (Alford), 12x12x1000 = a hundred and forty-four thousands (chiliades, 5:11). Nominative absolute, not agreeing in case either with arithmon (accusative) or esphragismen“n (genitive). So as to the case of esphragismenoi.
{Out of every tribe of the children of Israel} (ek pƒsˆs phulˆs hui“n Israˆl). There are two opposite views here, one taking the sealed as referring only to Jews (either actual Jews as a remnant or just Jewish Christians), the other including Gentiles as well as Jewish Christians, that is the true Israel as in 2:9; 3:9ff. and like Paul in Galatians and Romans. This is the more probable view and it takes the twelve tribes in a spiritual sense. But in either view there remains the difficulty about names of the tribes. The list is not geographical, since Levi is included, but Dan is omitted and Manasseh put in his place, though he as the son of Joseph is included in Joseph. Irenaeus suggested that Antichrist was expected to come from the tribe of Dan and hence the omission here. There are various lists of the tribes in the O.T. (Ge 35:22f.; 46:8ff.,49; Ex 1:1ff.; Nu 1:2; 13:4ff; 26:34; De 27:11f.; 33:6ff.; Jos 13-22; Jud 5; 1Ch 2-8; 12:24ff.; 27:16ff.; Eze 48) and given in various orders. In 1Ch 7:12 both Dan and Zebulon are omitted. Joseph is given here in place of Ephraim. The distribution is equal (12,000) to each tribe.

7:9 {Which no man could number} (hon arithmˆsai auton oudeis edunato). Redundant repetition of the pronoun auton after the relative hon as in 7:5; 3:8. Edunato imperfect indicative and arithmˆsai first aorist active infinitive of arithme“, old verb, in N.T. only here, Mt 10:30; Lu 12:7. See 5:9 (also 11:9; 13:7; 14:10; 17:15) for the list of words after ek (the spiritual Israel carried on all over the world), "a polyglott cosmopolitan crowd" (Swete).
{Standing} (hest“tes). Same form in 7:1, only nominative masculine plural referring to ochlos (masculine singular), construction according to sense like the plural legont“n with ochlou in 19:1.
{Arrayed} (peribeblˆmenous). Perfect passive participle of periball“, but in the accusative plural (not nominative like hest“tes), a common variation in this book when preceded by eidon and idou as in 4:4 (thronoi, presbuterous). Charles regards this as a mere slip which would have been changed to peribeblˆmenoi if John had read the MS. over.
{In white robes} (stolas leukas). Predicate accusative retained with this passive verb of clothing as in 7:13; 10:1; 11:3; 12:1; 17:4; 18:16; 19:13.
{Palms} (phoinikes). Nominative again, back to construction with idou, not eidon. Old word, in N.T. only here for palm branches and Joh 12:13 for palm trees. Both these and the white robes are signs of victory and joy.

7:10 {They cry} (krazousi). Vivid dramatic present.
{With a great voice} (ph“nˆi megalˆi). As in 6:10; 7:2. "The polyglott multitude shouts its praises as with one voice" (Swete).
{Salvation} (hˆ s“tˆria). As in 12:10; 19:1. Nominative absolute. Salvation here is regarded as an accomplished act on the part of those coming out of the great tribulation (verse 14) and the praise for it is given to God (t“i the“i, dative case) and to the Lamb (t“i arni“i, dative also). Both God and Christ are thus called s“tˆr as in the Pastoral Epistles, as to God (1Ti 1:1; 2:3; Tit 1:3; 3:4) and to Christ (Tit 1:4; 2:13; 3:6). For hˆ s“tˆria see Joh 4:22; Ac 4:12; Jude 1:3.

7:11 {Were standing} (histˆkeisan). Past perfect active of histˆmi intransitive and used like an imperfect as in Joh 19:25.
{Round about} (kukl“i). Preposition (in a circle) with genitive as in 4:6; 5:11. The angels here rejoice in the salvation of men (Lu 15:7,10; 1Pe 1:12).
{Upon their faces} (epi ta pros“pa aut“n). In reverential worship of God as in 11:16. For this worship (fell and worshipped) see also 4:10; 5:14; 11:16; 19:4,10; 22:8. The dative t“i the“i (God) with proskune“ (to worship) is the usual construction for that meaning. When it means merely to do homage the accusative case is usual in this book (Charles). But in the Fourth Gospel the reverse order is true as to the cases with proskune“ (Abbott, "Joh. Vocab". pp. 138-142).

7:12 Note amˆn at the beginning and the close of the doxology. Note also separate feminine article with each of the seven attributes given God, as in 4:11; 5:12,13.

7:13 {Answered} (apekrithˆ). First aorist passive (deponent) of apokrinomai with leg“n (saying), a common (only here in the Apocalypse) Hebrew redundancy in the Gospels (Mr 9:5). An elder intervenes, though no question has been asked to interpret the vision (Swete).
{These} (houtoi). Prophetic predicate nominative put before tines eisin (who are they). Note article repeated with stolas pointing to verse 9, and accusative also retained after peribeblˆmenoi as there. Both "who" and "whence" as in Jos 9:8.

7:14 {I say} (eirˆka). Perfect active indicative of eipon, "I have said." "To the Seer's mind the whole scene was still fresh and vivid" (Swete) like kekragen in Joh 1:15 and eilˆphen in Re 5:7, not the so-called "aoristic perfect" which even Moulton ("Prol". p. 145) is disposed to admit.
{My lord} (Kurie mou). "An address of reverence to a heavenly being" (Vincent), not an act of worship on John's part.
{Thou knowest} (su oidas). "At once a confession of ignorance, and an appeal for information" (Swete), not of full confidence like su oidas in Joh 21:15ff.
{They which come out of the great tribulation} (hoi erchomenoi ek tˆs thlipse“s tˆs megalˆs). Present middle participle with the idea of continued repetition. "The martyrs are still arriving from the scene of the great tribulation" (Charles). Apparently some great crisis is contemplated (Mt 13:19ff.; 24:21; Mr 13:10), though the whole series may be in mind and so may anticipate final judgment.
{And they washed} (kai eplunan). First aorist active indicative of plun“, old verb, to wash, in N.T. only Lu 5:2; Re 7:14; 22:14. This change of construction after hoi erchomenoi from hoi plunˆsantes to kai eplunan is common in the Apocalypse, one of Charles's Hebraisms, like kai epoiˆsen in 1:6 and kai planƒi in 2:20.
{Made them white} (eleukanan). First aorist active indicative of leukain“, to whiten, old verb from leukos (verse 13), in N.T. only here and Mr 9:3. "Milligan remarks that "robes" are the expression of character and compares the word "habit" used of dress" (Vincent). The language here comes partly from Ge 49:11 and partly from Ex 19:10,14. For the cleansing power of Christ's blood see also Ro 3:25; 5:9; Col 1:20: Eph 1:7; 1Pe 1:2; Heb 9:14; 1Jo 1:7; Re 1:5; 5:9; 22:14. "The aorists look back to the life on earth when the cleansing was effected" (Swete). See Php 2:12f. for both divine and human aspects of salvation.
{In the blood of the Lamb} (en t“i haimati tou arniou). There is power alone in the blood of Christ to cleanse from sin (1Jo 1:7), not in the blood of the martyrs themselves. The result is "white," not "red," as one might imagine.

7:15 {Therefore} (dia touto). Because of the washing described in verse 14.
{They serve him} (latreuousin aut“i). Dative case with latreu“ (present active indicative, old verb, originally to serve for hire latron, then service in general, then religious service to God, Mt 4:10, then in particular ritual worship of the priests, Heb 8:5). All the redeemed are priests (Re 16:5,10) in the heavenly temple (6:9) as here. But this service is that of spiritual worship, not of external rites (Ro 12:1; Php 3:3).
{Day and night} (hˆmeras kai nuktos). Genitive of time, "by day and night," as in 4:8 of the praise of the four living creatures.
{Shall spread his tabernacle over them} (skˆn“sei ep' autous). Future (change of tense from present in latreuousin) active of skˆno“, old verb from skˆnos (tent, tabernacle), used in Joh 1:14 of the earthly life of Christ, elsewhere in N.T. only in Rev. (7:14; 12:12; 13:6; 21:3). In 12:12; 13:6 of those who dwell in tents, here of God spreading his tent "over" (ep' autous) the redeemed in heaven, in 21:3 of God tabernacling "with" (met' aut“n) the redeemed, in both instances a picture of sacred fellowship, and "the further idea of God's Presence as a protection from all fear of evil" (Swete) like the overshadowing of Israel by the Shekinah and a possible allusion also to the tents (skˆnai) of the feast of tabernacles and to the tent of meeting where God met Moses (Ex 33:7-11).

7:16 {They shall hunger no more} (ou peinasousin eti). Future tense of peina“, old verb with late form instead of peinˆsousin like Lu 6:25. It is a free translation of Isa 49:10 (not quotation from the LXX).
{Neither thirst any more} (oude dipsˆsousin eti). Future tense of dipsa“, the two strong human appetites will be gone, a clear refutation of a gross materialistic or sensual conception of the future life. Cf. Joh 6:35.
{Neither shall strike} (oude mˆ pesˆi). Strong double negative oude mˆ with second aorist active subjunctive of pipt“, to fall. They will no longer be under the rays of the sun as upon earth.
{Nor any heat} (oude pƒn kauma). Old word from kai“, to burn, painful and burning heat, in N.T. only here and 16:9 (picture of the opposite condition). The use of the negative with pƒn (all) for "not any" is common in N.T. Cf. Ps 121:6.

7:17 {In the midst} (ana meson). In 5:6 we have en mes“i tou thronou as the position of the Lamb, and so that is apparently the sense of ana meson here as in Mt 13:25, though it can mean "between," as clearly so in 1Co 6:5.
{Shall be their shepherd} (paimanei autous). "Shall shepherd them," future active of poimain“ (from poimˆn, shepherd), in Joh 21:16; Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:2; Re 2:27; 7:17; 12:5; 19:15. Jesus is still the Good Shepherd of his sheep (Joh 10:11,14ff.). Cf. Ps 23:1. {Shall guide them} (hodˆ gˆsei autous). Future active of hodˆge“, old word (from hodˆgos, guide, Mt 15:14), used of God's guidance of Israel (Ex 15:13), of God's guidance of individual lives (Ps 5:9), of the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Joh 16:13), of Christ's own guidance here (cf. Joh 14:4; Re 14:4).
{Unto fountains of waters of life} (epi z“ˆs pˆgas hudat“n). The language is like that in Isa 49:10; Jer 2:13. Note the order, "to life's water springs" (Swete) like the Vulgate "ad vitae fontes aquarum", with emphasis on z“ˆs (life's). For this idea see also Joh 4:12,14; 7:38f.; Re 21:6; 22:1,17. No special emphasis on the plural here or in 8:10; 14:7; 16:4.
{And God shall wipe away} (kai exaleipsei ho theos). Repeated in 21:4 from Isa 25:8. Future active of exaleiph“, old compound, to wipe out (ex), off, away, already in 3:5 for erasing a name and in Ac 3:19 for removing the stain (guilt) of sin.
{Every tear} (pƒn dakruon). Old word, with other form, dakru, in Lu 7:38,44. Note repetition of ek with ophthalm“n (out of their eyes). "Words like these of vv. 15-17 must sound as a divine music in the ears of the persecuted. God will comfort as a mother comforts" (Baljon).


[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Revelation: Chapter 7)



Home
| About LW | Site Map | LW Publications | Search
Developed by © Levend Water All rights reserved