The following discussion is about the verses that precede the account of the sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7.
1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
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.
The four winds are thought to be angels, or spirits, who are subject to the angels responsible for sealing God's elect.
James Burton Coffman's Commentary says:
Plummer understood this whole chapter as the logical answer to the closing words of Rev. 6, "Who shall be able to stand?" thus connecting Rev. 7 with the final judgment scene there related. This is correct and has the effect of applying Rev. 7, not to some specific event of history, but to the whole earthly probation of the saints. "The sealing extends throughout the whole New Testament era." Here is the prophetic equivalent of Jesus' promise to be with his church "even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20), and of Paul's, "all things work together for good to them that are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:25). The immense comfort of persecuted saints in such glorious promises is exactly the comfort graphically pictured in these two magnificent visions of Rev. 7.
and the sea
are probably symbolic of those who are not among the servants of God who are sealed. This is seen in the following scriptures.
But the wicked are like the troubled sea
, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth
by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth
and of the sea!
for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Those who dwell in heaven, are the saints who are sealed; the woman in heaven, clothed with the sun, in Rev. 12:1 represents the church. The sun with which she is clothed represents the gospel, the "great light" that was preached by Jesus, Matthew 4:13-17.
In Revelation 7:2, the sealing angel comes from the east, or the sunrising
, as the sun represents the gospel, and is what clothes the woman in Revelation 12:1.
On the day of Pentecost when the disciples received the holy Spirit, Peter referred to a prophecy of Joel, that said "The sun
shall be turned into darkness
, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Acts 2:20-21)
The sun would be turned to darkness, the prophet Joel said, and this was fulfilled in the early centuries of the Christian era by the introduction into the church of pagan philosophy, including Plato's doctrine of an immortal soul, and the pagan superstition of the unending infernal torment of unbelievers. Theologians merged those false teachings with the teachings of the apostles in the New Testament. These beliefs obscured the light of the gospel, turning the "sun
" to darkness, and fulfilling the prophcey of Joel, but the truth has begun to dawn in the minds of some, as Peter said, when he exhorted us to give heed to prophecy:
2 Peter 1:19
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star
arise in your hearts:
This "day star" Peter refers to is the gospel, the truth of which is like the sun rising in our hearts, like the day dawning, after a long, and very dark night.