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Sealing God’s People

After this I saw four angels, standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to stop any wind from blowing on earth, or on the sea, or on any tree. And I saw another angel coming up from the east, holding the seal of the living God. He shouted out in a loud voice to the four angels who had responsibility for harming the earth and the sea. ‘Don’t harm the earth just yet,’ he shouted, ‘or the sea, or the trees. Don’t do it until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’

I heard the number of the people who were sealed: it was a hundred and forty-four thousand who were sealed from all the tribes of the children of Israel. Twelve thousand were sealed from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand from the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand from the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand from the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand from the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand from the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand from the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand from the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand from the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand from the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand from the tribe of Joseph and twelve thousand from the tribe of Benjamin. That is the number that were sealed.

The Great Rescue

After this I looked, and lo and behold a huge gathering which nobody could possibly count, from every nation and tribe and people and language. They were standing in front of the throne, and in front of the lamb. They were dressed in white robes, holding palm branches in their hands. 10 They were shouting out at the tops of their voices, ‘Salvation belongs to our God, to the one who sits on the throne, and to the lamb!’ 11 All the angels who were standing around the throne and the elders and the four creatures fell down on their faces before the throne and worshipped God. 12 ‘Yes, Amen!’ they were saying. ‘Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanks and honour and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever! Amen!’

13 One of the elders spoke to me. ‘Who are these people dressed all in white?’ he asked. ‘Where have they come from?’

14 ‘Sir,’ I replied, ‘you know!’

‘These are the ones’, he said, ‘who have come out of the great suffering. They have washed their clothes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. 15 That is why they are there in front of God’s throne, serving him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 They will never be hungry again, or thirsty again. The sun will not scorch them, nor will any fierce heat. 17 The lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of running water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’

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