Revelation 6:12-7:17 It is not whether you know Jesus, but whether Jesus knows you
Revelation 6:12-7:17 It is not whether you know Jesus, but whether Jesus knows you
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed, 12,000 from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000 from the tribe of Gad, 12,000 from the tribe of Asher, 12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali, 12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh, 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon, 12,000 from the tribe of Levi, 12,000 from the tribe of Issachar, 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun, 12,000 from the tribe of Joseph, 12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
“These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
The fifth seal is an important prelude to the sixth seal for many will be tested of their allegiance to God. At the breaking of the sixth seal, amid the cosmic disasters, those whose lives demonstrate righteousness and compassion will be raptured. However, some will be given a seal of protection to preach the gospel until Jesus comes to establish His kingdom on earth. This prophecy reminds us not to depend on religion or the church to save us. For God will judge the secrets of every person according to the values and principles taught by Jesus Christ. Today’s devotion teaches us: It is not whether you know Jesus, but whether Jesus knows you.
- Revelation 6:12-17
The opening of the 6th seal portents a series of cosmic events. First, there is a shaking of the earth, then the shaking of the heavens. John recorded a great earthquake followed by a solar eclipse, the moon turning blood red, and innumerable stars seen falling from the sky. Stars are used to describe angels (see Rev 1:20) and falling stars describes angelic activities (see Rev 9:1). The sky vanishes with every mountain and island moved from their places. The catastrophes are so terrible that it drives everyone, including the rich and powerful into mountains and caves to hide from the judgment of God. For they say, “Who can stand before the day of God’s wrath?”. This question is answered in Revelation 7.
- Revelation 7:1-8
The four angels are tasked to restrain the four winds that can harm the earth, sea and everything on it. Another angel bearing the seal of protection calls the four angels to withhold judgment on the earth until the servants of God are sealed. The seal protects them from the calamities and in particular the locusts from the bottomless pit (see Rev 9:4). With the seal of protection, the 144,000 will remain on the earth to preach the gospel to the world until the coming of Christ (see Rev 19:11). They will preach a three-point gospel as aided by the angels (see Rev 14:1-12). Who are these servants of God? They comprise valiant believers that are organised into 12 divisions named after the 12 tribes of Israel. Each division comprises 12 camps of 1000 each; 12 x 12 x 1000 = 144,000. It is important to note that the figure 1000 symbolises many people. Hence, 144,000 is not an absolute number. That said, the 144,000 does not comprise Jews alone; it comprises all who are chosen to establish God’s kingdom on the earth. In fact, Caleb was not a Jew but a Kenizite when God chose him to lead Israel into the promised land (see Joshua 14:14).
- Revelation 7:9-17
“A great multitude that no one could number…” are believers who abide with God throughout human history to do His will. Where do they come from? These come from every nation, tribes, peoples and languages. Even though they have their own ethnic culture and religion, they are shown to be followers of Jesus by fearing God and practising the very things He taught.
At the 6th seal, amid the cosmic disasters, Jesus comes to save and vindicate those who are faithful to the truth. First, the dead will be caught up into heaven, followed by those who are alive to serve God forever. But those who do not seek the heavenly things, who did not detach themselves from the earthly way of life will remain to face the events of the 7th seal.
It is not whether you know Jesus, but whether Jesus knows you
The time of the rapture will be decided by Jesus Christ. On that day, some will be chosen to be part of the 144,000 and some will be raptured. Who are these? They are those who lived according to the values and principles taught by Jesus. Many supposed by knowing Jesus by name and having studied the scriptures will earn them a place in the kingdom. But their hearts are selfish; their motives and agenda are always to benefit themselves. Jesus said,
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ – Matthew 7:21-23
In Matthew 25, Jesus sits on His throne, and all nations gather before Him. There, He judges the nations by separating the sheep from the goats. His judgment is based on how they lived, not what they know or profess to believe. Jesus commends the sheep as righteous not because they know Him by name, but because their lives demonstrate sacrifice and compassion. The sheep answered Jesus,
‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ – Matthew 25:37-38
Apparently, the majority of the sheep did not know Jesus by name. But Jesus knew them as heirs of the kingdom because their lives demonstrate the values and principles as taught by Him.
However, many ask how these can be saved when they have never known Jesus…
For a start, Abraham never knew Jesus by name. But because his life demonstrated faith, he was considered by God a believer. Paul said,
Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. – Galatians 3:6-9
Abraham is called “the believer” way before Jesus was born; he lived a life of faith without having known Jesus, the Saviour. Therefore, a believer is not one who knows Jesus by name, but one who practices the values of Jesus is known by Him. Therefore, like Abraham, many did not know Jesus by name, but they feared God and did what is right. Such are considered by God as righteous. And these will be invited to wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb just as Abraham did.
What shall we say to our Christian friends?
- On the day of judgment, only your heart and your works will testify for you. Your religious practices and knowledge have no bearing before God. Therefore, be filled with the Holy Spirit. Detach yourself from all things earthly and devote your life to live out the values and teachings of Jesus.
What shall we say to our non-Christian friends?
- Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.
Dear Lord, I desire to be raptured and enter the kingdom of God. Help me to deny myself, to detach from all things earthly, to be concerned with nothing other than to devote myself fully to you and your works. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.