Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Revelation
Book: Revelation
Chapter: 7

A pause between two great periods. (1-3) The peace, happiness,
and safety of the saints, as signified By an Angel's sealing
144,000. (4-8) A song of praise. (9-12) The blessedness and
Glory of those that suffered martyrdom for Christ. (13-17)

1-8 In the figurative language of Scripture, the blowing of the
four Winds together, means a dreadful and general Destruction.
But the Destruction is delayed. Seals were used to Mark for each
person his own possessions. This Mark is the Witness of the Holy
Ghost, printed in the hearts of believers. And the Lord would
not suffer his people to be afflicted before they were marked,
that they might be prepared against all conflicts. And, observe,
of those who are thus sealed By the Spirit, the Seal must be On
the Forehead, plainly to be seen alike By friends and foes, but
not By the believer himself, except as he looks stedfastly in
the Glass of God's Word. The number of those who were sealed,
may be understood to stand for the remnant of people which God
reserved. Though the Church of God is but a little flock, in
comparison with the wicked world, yet it is a society really
large, and to be still more enlarged. Here the universal Church
is figured under the Type of Israel.

9-12 The first fruits of Christ having led the way, the
Gentiles converted later follow, and ascribe their Salvation to
God and the Redeemer, with triumph. In Acts of religious Worship
we come nigh to God, and must come By Christ; the Throne of God
could not be approached By sinners, were it not for a Mediator.
They were clothed with the robes of Justification, Holiness, and
victory; and they had palms in their hands, as conquerors used
to appear in their triumphs. Such a glorious appearance will the
Faithful servants of God make at last, when they have fought the
good fight of Faith, and finished their course. With a loud
voice they gave to God and the Lamb the praise of the great
Salvation. Those who enjoy eternal happiness must and will Bless
both the Father and the Son; they will do it publicly, and with
fervour. We see what is the work of Heaven, and we ought to
begin it now, to have our hearts much in it, and to long for
that world where our praises, as Well as our happiness, will be
made perfect.

13-17 Faithful Christians deserve our notice and respect; we
should Mark the upright. Those who would gain knowledge, must
not be ashamed to seek instruction from any who can give it. The
way to Heaven is through many tribulations; but Tribulation, how
great soever, shall not separate us from the Love of God.
Tribulation makes Heaven more welcome and more glorious. It is
not the Blood of the martyrs, but the Blood of the Lamb, that
can wash away Sin, and make the soul pure and Clean in the sight
of God; other Blood stains, this is the only Blood that makes
the robes of the saints White and Clean. They are happy in their
employment; Heaven is a state of service, though not of
suffering; it is a state of Rest, but not of sloth; it is a
praising, delightful Rest. They have had sorrows, and shed many
tears On account of Sin and affliction; but God himself, with
his own gracious Hand, will wipe those tears away. He deals with
them as a tender Father. This should support the Christian under
all his troubles. As all the redeemed owe their happiness wholly
to sovereign Mercy; So the work and Worship of God their Saviour
is their element; his presence and favour complete their
happiness, nor can they conceive of any other joy. To Him may
all his people come; from him they receive every needed Grace;
and to him let them offer all praise and Glory.