Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
Click picture to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
2: And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3: Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
[7:3. Chapter 7 is a parenthesis in the chronology of Revelation, showing God's program of grace and salvation during the period of judgment. The parenthesis probably looks back to the same time period as that covered by the six seals, so the 144,000 must be "sealed" before the Tribulation judgments begin.]
4: And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
5: Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
6: Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
7: Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
8: Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
[7:4-8. The seal shows ownership and security, as a king's signet ring was used to authenticate and protect official documents. The 144,000 are all Israelites from the 12 tribes (12 times 12,000). This number may be taken literally, or figuratively of a national conversion. All 12 tribes returned from exile, and there was always a remnant from the entire nation in Israel (cf. 2 Chr.30:1-10, 25, 26; Matt. 10:5,6; Acts 26:7). The promise of future restoration is given to all twelve tribes (cf. Is. 11:11-13; Ezek. 37:15-28). There are no "lost tribes." In the list of tribes, Joseph stands for Ephraim, and Dan is missing, possibly because it was the first tribe to go into idolatry and apostasy (cf. Judges 18). The 144,000 will apparently be converted and commissioned to be a light to the Gentiles during the Tribulation.]