After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.
 And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,
 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”
 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
 the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,
 the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,
 the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,
 the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.
 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
In tonight’s scripture, the verse 1 reads, “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.”
The phrase, ‘after this’ refers to the situation after all things take place as explained in Chapter 6.
It says ‘four angels holding back the four winds,’ but it doesn’t mean that the angels are actually holding the winds by the hand.
It means that the angels are given the authority to control the winds, and that they are preventing the winds from blowing.
Not only the winds, but also the climate of the earth and the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky are operated by angels according to the will of God.
‘Angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth’ means that the angels prevent the winds from blowing from any direction, and in every corner of the earth.
Can you really imagine a situation that you cannot feel even a breeze of wind wherever you are?
How impure and stuffy it would be?
However, people may not be able to understand whether it’s possible to stop the wind in the whole world when they use their knowledge and thoughts.
But the fact is that stopping the winds from blowing is possible when God opens the space of spirit and operates them.
Since all the members of Manmin have witnessed countless times the works of God that are manifested through the space of spirit, you can have a better understanding of it.
For example, even if thick and dark clouds are covering the whole sky, when God opens a gate which connects to the space of spirit and draws in the clouds, the clear blue sky suddenly appears.
On the other hand, if clouds or rain are needed, God just opens the space of spirit, and moves clouds in one area to the other area where they are needed.
It not only applies to clouds.
No matter how huge a typhoon is, When God works, the space of spirit will be opened and the typhoon will be drawn in.
Then, the typhoon can be either destroyed in the space of spirit, or decreased in its power and sent back to the world again.
Of course, in each moment, the proper method will be decided according to the most suitable laws of the justice.
In other words, the typhoon can be destroyed or decreased in its power, or it can be held back for a while and then put back in a different direction from its original course.
Likewise, God can stop winds anytime as He pleases.
But God doesn’t govern all these things and accomplish them by Himself.
As written in tonight’s scripture, angels operate them with the orders given by God.
Now, when the winds completely stop blowing like this, what will happen in this earth?
When there is a strong wind such as a typhoon, it causes great trouble. In the same measure, when there is no wind, very serious problems will occur throughout the whole earth.
First of all, air circulation and ocean currents will not take place on the whole earth.
The temperatures on the entire earth are adjusted and maintained by the movement of warm tropical and colder polar air over the earth.
The movement of cold ocean currents and warm ocean currents also plays the role of adjusting the global temperature.
But if there is no wind, the air and the ocean will not move but stay still.
As its result, the hot places will be getting hotter and hotter, and the cold place, colder and colder.
Gradually, the area of deserts would be expanded, and glaciers of the Polar regions would extend their territory so that the residential areas for mankind would become smaller and smaller.
In addition, if there is no wind, the clouds formed in the ocean cannot move to the land area. It will result in nearly no rain in the interiors and frequent rain along the coastal areas.
In a city where the atmosphere is severely polluted by smoke from factories and automobiles, fresh air would not be supplied, and thus the atmosphere would become more and more polluted. In the end, even breathing itself won’t be easy.
If you can think about a few situations that may occur when there is no wind like this, you can understand how serious it will be without wind.
As we have examined in the Chapter 6, the environment of the whole world is seriously polluted due to wars and natural disasters.
To make the matters worse, the winds stop blowing. The pollution of the environment is going from bad to worse so that it is hard for mankind to maintain their lives.
By the way, when ‘the angels hold back the winds,’ the winds don’t simply refer to the winds of the world.
“The winds” in tonight’s scripture has another meaning; it has a spiritual meaning that is “adversities and wars.”
Therefore, “holding back the winds” means that many wars and adversities which took place from the beginning of the 7 Year Great Tribulation in many places of the earth appear to abate for a very short period of time.
As written in the verse 2 and onward, for a shot period of time when the bond-servants of God are sealed, the calamities that hurry up the end of the world will abate and decrease temporarily.
The verse 2 & 3 say, “And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.””
When a contract is made, people will ‘seal’ it as a way of confirmation.
Therefore, a ‘seal’ has a meaning of ‘promise.’
Now, when the scripture is talking about ‘the seal of God,’ Apostle John puts the word, ‘living’ in front of ‘God.’
Apostle John emphasizes that what God promises and seals will definitely be fulfilled since God is surely alive.
And then, it says ‘another angel, having the seal of the living God’ is ‘ascending from the rising of the sun.’
When some people interpret ‘the rising of the sun,’ they say that it refers to a specific country or a region in the east, but spiritually it does not.
‘The rising of the sun’ doesn’t refer to a certain place in the earth, but it spiritually refers to a place where the throne of God is.
In order for an angel to receive the seal of God, the angel has to receive it from the place where God is, that is the throne of God.
But then, why does the scripture says that the angel ascends from the rising of the sun, instead of the throne of God?
This verse contains many compound meanings that cannot be explained with just a few words.
First of all, spiritually, ‘the sun’ means ‘day’ and ‘brightness,’ and it becomes a cardinal or reference point.
In other words, with the sun being the reference point, 24 hours, the four seasons, and years are decided.
Just as the sun becomes a reference point for the operation of the world, so God is the fiducial point, (the reference standard and foundation) of everything in the universe, and He governs life and death, fortune and misfortune of mankind.
In order to explain that God becomes a fiducial point of everything, the scripture expresses the place where the throne of God is as the rising of the sun.
The second reason to use the expression ‘the rising of the sun’ is to explain God’s omnipresence.
It means that God is in the spiritual realm, He can also be in any place of the world and govern the universe and everything in it.
Dear brothers and sisters.
No matter where you are, you can find the place where the sun rises.
In Korea, China, the United States, or any place in the world, if you look to the east, the sun rises in the east.
Even in a back region of Africa or a jungle in Latin America, you can find the place where the sun rises.
Likewise, God is everywhere in the world, and He governs the whole universe and everything in it as well as mankind.
As you may see, just in one phrase, “the rising of the sun” there are many spiritual meanings contained.
Now, ‘another angel ascends from the rising of the sun.’ This angel appears here to proclaim God’s providence of salvation.
In other words, even when all of mankind is going out of existence during the 7 Year Great Tribulation, there is still left a providence of God who wants to give one last chance of salvation.
The fact that this angel ‘cried out with a loud voice to the four angels’ who are holding back the winds indicates that this angel has such a great authority.
There is a strict order among the countless angels, and the dignity and authority are different from each other depending on their duties.
Since this angel has the seal of God, he is like a messenger who delivers a personally handwritten letter of a king on the earth. This angel has authority to that extent.
Now, the verse 3-5 say, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand.” There are God’s 144,000 bond-servants who are sealed from the 12 tribes of Israel.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
These 144,000 bond-servants of God is one of the most difficult parts to interpret in the Book of Revelation.
Those who have faith good enough to be caught up in the air are already in the 7 Year Wedding Banquet at the moment. But the bond-servants of God are appearing here again.
And it’s not a small number. 12,000 each from the 12 tribes of Israel; there are total of 144,000 bond-servants of God. It’s not something that people can understand in their common sense and knowledge.
That’s why there are many conjectures and wrong explanations about it.
Some say 144,000 is the number of Israelis who are saved during the 7 Year Great Tribulation. Some others say that it is the number of those saved through martyrdom during the 7 Year Great Tribulation.
But with human knowledge, it can never be understood or interpreted.
You can understand it only when God interprets it, He who allowed the bible to be written in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Then, who are these 144,000 people?
To make a long story short, they are bond-servants who are assigned a special duty to accomplish God’s providence of salvation during the 7 Year Great Tribulation.
To proclaim one more chance of salvation, and to accomplish the providence of Gleaning Salvation, these are the duties of the bond-servant in the days of despair when there seem to be no more hope for salvation.
Even among the souls who fall to the 7 Year Great Tribulation, there are people who haven’t accepted the Lord, not because their hearts are hardened, but because they’ve never heard of the Lord, or nobody has told them who the Lord is.
For instance, there might be some people who were born in an environment where they have no way to hear about Jesus Christ.
If they live in a completely isolated place in an Islamic country where it’s impossible to contact outside people, chances are that they’ve never heard of the gospel.
Among them are some people who have good hearts; they may accept the Lord as soon as they hear the gospel.
Or, some other people don’t accept the Lord because, even though they heard about the Lord, no one explained why Jesus Christ is the only Savior.
Even though the period of human cultivation that God has set is over, since God is full of mercy and He wants to give one more chance of salvation to such people, He sets up 144,000 of evangelizers.
Just as a farmer values even an ear on the ground and gleans it, God wants to save just one more soul, and searches the earth again and again.
The bible writes that these evangelizers are from the tribes of Israel, but it doesn’t physically refer only to Israelis.
About the spiritual meaning of the 12 tribes of Israel and the number 12, I will explain in the next lecture.
The 12 tribes of Israel in tonight’s scripture have a spiritual meaning of ‘the chosen people of God.’
They are those who didn’t know God before. They are from various races in the world, and of course some of them are Israelis.
They didn’t know about Jesus Christ before, and didn’t have chance to have faith. Then, they fall down to the 7 Year Great Tribulation.
Some of them had a chance to hear about Jesus Christ, and they vaguely believed the Lord from their good hearts. But their hearts were weak, and didn’t make a decision to accept the Lord.
But after they see the Rapture right before their eyes, and when they face the situations of the 7 Year Great Tribulation, they come to realize in their good conscience that the word of God is true.
Even though it was a mere knowledge, they knew about Christianity. When the word of God exactly corresponds with the things that take place in front of their eyes, they come to believe in God and accept the Lord.
Once these 144,000 sealed people realize and understand the Lord and the gospel, they risk their lives to proclaim and spread the gospel.
They aren’t satisfied with their own salvation. In order to save just one more soul, they proclaim the word of God and the gospel that they have realized, and the death they see in the end.
However, even though there are people who die as martyrs at the hands of those who hate the Gospel, there are more people who die in the midst of extreme natural disasters and wars.
And this is also the grace of God.
Since the situation of the 7 Year Great Tribulation is so wretchedly inferior, it can be rather a blessing to take off their fleshly body quickly as long as they can receive salvation.
In addition, the scripture says ‘we have sealed the bond-servants.’ It also contains the meaning that God gives them special grace and strength.
Today, in the era of the Holy Spirit, God seals His children on their hearts with the Holy Spirit as a mark of saved children.
But the Holy Spirit already has disappeared in the 7 Year Great Tribulation. Therefore, God doesn’t seal on the heart.
There is no more helping works of the Holy Spirit; they have to die in martyrdom only by their own will.
But these 144,000 in tonight’s scripture are set up in the providence of God. Therefore God gives them special help even though the Holy Spirit is already taken away.
In the extreme calamity of the 7 Year Great Tribulation, until they fulfill the will of God, God seals them as a token of guarantee so that they can win victory in any circumstances and condition.
When these sealed people of God go to many places and spread the gospel, there are many people who listen to them and accept the Lord.
The verse 9 says, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands.”
Just as it says, “a great multitude which no one could count,” countless people listen to the gospel that the 144,000 evangelizers proclaim, and they enter the way of salvation.
There are still people in the earth who can listen to the gospel and accept the Lord since they have a little bit of conscience.
After they listen to the gospel and accept it this late, some have to go through the process of martyrdom, but many of them will die from natural disasters and wars.
And it is rather a blessing for them to die like this in the situation of the 7 Year Great Tribulation.
Even though they are late to accept and believe the gospel, they don’t pass through the process of martyrdom that they have to overcome the pain and achieve victory. By dying in the calamity, they rather receive the grace of salvation relatively easy.
But you should never have an easygoing way of thinking, saying “Even though I fall to the 7 Year Great Tribulation, there is another way to receive salvation other than to die a martyr.
These people who believe in the Lord during the 7 Year Great Tribulation, die from natural disasters or wars, and reach salvation; they are different from those who lived like chaff and fell to the ground, even though they said they believed in the Lord.
Most of them didn’t hear about Jesus Christ and didn’t know about the gospel. Or they didn’t believe it in their hearts because there was no evidence to make them believe.
On the other hand, those who said they said they believed in the Lord, who lived like chaff even though they saw the solid evidence, and who fell to the ground, they cannot reach salvation that easy.
Only when they pay off their wage of sin through the process of martyrdom, can most of them reach salvation.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Where will these saved people during the 7 Year Great Tribulation dwell in heaven?
The first fact you should remember is that the dwelling place of the 144,000 evangelizers is different from that of those who listened to the gospel from the evangelizers.
When these 144,000 die a martyr or when they die from various disasters while spreading the gospel, God consider their death as martyrdom.
God considers it as the 4th level of faith, where you love God to the point of sacrificing your life.
That’s why they will dwell in the 3rd kingdom of heaven when they go to heaven.
On the contrary, those countless people who accept the Lord after listening to the word of 144,000 evangelizers receive just mere salvation.
Therefore they go to paradise which is for the people who are in the 1st level of faith.
While listening to this message, some of you might be confused.
You may think, “You previously explained that those who fall to the 7 Year Great Tribulation will receive shameful salvation even though they die a martyr, and that they will live even in the outskirt of paradise. But how can those 144,000 people can go to the 3rd kingdom of heaven only because they die a martyr?”
Or, you may think, “You said before that the torment during the 7 Year Great Tribulation is so painful that the number of people who reach salvation through martyrdom is just a few. But why do you say today that the number is so big?”
But there is nothing that can confuse you.
As I explained earlier, those who can receive salvation and go to paradise after the miserable martyrdom in the 7 Year Great Tribulation, they are chaff.
Before the Tribulation, they already heard the gospel, and they said they believed and they went to church. But they didn’t have true faith, but compromised with the world and then fall to the ground.
But the hearts of those 144,000 who are sealed, and their situation is totally different.
Even though they didn’t know God before, they lived in goodness. They have the heart of sacrificing their lives once they come to know God is the true god.
The Omniscient God has prepared these messengers of God in order to use them along with the 2 witnesses in the end time of the world.
Therefore, when they finish their duty of proclaiming the gospel to the point of sacrificing their lives, just like those who died a martyr in the days of the Holy Spirit, they are qualified to enter the 3rd kingdom of heaven.
Another evidence that they can enter the 3rd kingdom is found in the 14th Chapter of the Book of Revelation, but I will explain it to you in the next lecture.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
I explained the 144,000 bond-servants of God tonight.
And I explained the providence of the utmost love of Father God who wants to save just one more soul even in the 7 Year Great Tribulation.
How many more chances of salvation will God who has such overflowing love try to give before the 7 Year Great Tribulation begins?
He will always lead souls in the truth so that they can take a better heaven by force.
Therefore, you should remember 2 Corinthians 6:2, which reads, “. . .for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation””
And I hope that you will always remember the great love and mercy of God, and that you will love God and be loved by God all the more.
May you diligently adorn yourself as a bride and welcome to the Lord, our bridegroom in joy when He comes to take us back, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ I pray!