Hot on the heels of the catastrophic events of the opening of the first 6 seals of Revelation chapter 6 comes the introduction to the opening of the 7th seal, here in Revelation chapter 7. By all accounts the introduction to this series of events seems pretty benign, even innocuous. What is the problem with with holding the winds that blow upon the earth (Revelation 7:1)? Is this not a good thing? This would have been welcome relief to the disciples in the storm tossed boat of John chapter 6. This could have provided reprieve for Jonah on the ship heading to Tarsus. The restraining of the winds could have averted the terrifying disaster of Paul's ship wreck at Malta! So what if God holds back the winds!
On many occasions God's winds have blown through the scripture. Often times those winds have blown with blessing and grace!
In Genesis chapter 1, it is the Spirit of God; the same Hebrew word for wind, who moves on the face of the waters with:
- Creatorial Power
After the flood waters covered the earth, it is the wind that blows, pushing back those waters of judgment and permitting the release of Noah and the occupants of the ark. God's wind blows in:
- Salvation Power
By Passover lamb and by the power of shed blood, God purchases and releases His people from bondage in Egypt. The final hurdle is that of the Red Sea. The waters will be blown back by the wind. God blows in:
- Redemptive Power
To meet the needs of His people and sustain them in the wilderness, it is the wind of God that will carry the quail into the camp of the wilderness people. God blows in:
- Sustaining Power
The needs of Israel and Elijah will be met in draught conditions by the rains carried by the wind. God blows in:
- Refreshing and living Power
It may appear a trivial judgment for God to hold back the winds (Revelation 7:1) but such a with holding of Divine Grace belies catastrophe; a catastrophe which can be anticipated in the physical realm as well as the spiritual. This world will feel the effects of the absence of the winds upon the earth. Temperatures will rise at the equator. Temperatures will fall at the poles. This earth will become a place of polar extremes. The earth will dessicate. Precipitation will stagnate. Bareness and dryness will dominate a world turned to desert. Spiritual conditions of course will likewise be reflected in a world which has rejected the Lamb of redemption. This world will become a place of spiritual extremes, bareness and dryness. It is perhaps worth pausing and contemplating the condition of our own life and heart. Would we notice in the microcosm of our own personal existence if God's gracious winds ceased to blow? Are we spiritual enough to detect the dryness, the bareness, the extremeness of our souls, in the presence of no open vision?
There is in Revelation chapter 7 an infinitely more glorious purpose behind this action of God to hold back the winds. It was the winds of God who scattered the tribes of Israel in Zechariah 7:14. This wind will cease and the people of God will be regathered, sealed and set apart as witnesses for Christ. We see today the scene being set for this very event.
A message from our systematic Bible study series in the book of Revelation
Yours by God's Grace in Christ
Dr J Stewart Gillespie
GraceinChrist.org where bible teaching never sleeps.