I love seeing the allusions to the Song of Songs in Revelation. This has always been one of my favorite verses from the Song:
We’ll compare this, in our study, to the promise we now find in Revelation 7.
This is the same promise Jesus gave us in John 10.
The same John who wrote the above, has a vision that repeats this promise. True believers are sealed spiritually, no matter what may come. We will suffer, but we are spiritually sealed! So though I used to fear that if I was tortured, I might cave and deny Christ, now I know I won’t. I am sealed, protected spiritually, if not physically.
And just as Job discovered, as long ago as Genesis, a day is coming when we in our new resurrection bodies will see our Redeemer on the earth. There will be a new heaven and a new earth.
Our Good Shepherd will lead us to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. (Rev. 7:17)
I know we can have doubts that we are eternally secure. As a young Christian, I used to ask my pastor (who was Sharon’s future father-in-law), “How can I be sure I haven’t or won’t commit the unforgivable sin?” He would smile and tell me: “Dee, because you are worried about it, you don’t need to be worried about it.”
Another reason we may have doubts is that, as Calvin said, “the default mode of the human heart is works righteousness.” We tend to think that we earned our way in and must continue to earn our permanent place. But we did nothing to get in and we can do nothing to lose our place. It is all of grace.
We also wonder about those who seemed to be true Christians and then reject the faith. My own daughter Sally had a long dating relationship with Josh Harris before he wrote: “I Kissed Dating Good-bye.” I was convinced he was a strong Christian, yet at least as of now, he has rejected Christ. There are others who have shocked us, like Rob Bell and Audrey Assad — people who looked like genuine believers, but at least for now, have rejected historical Christianity. This is why God tells us to leave it up to Him to separate the wheat from the tares, for we will make mistakes.
I have found John’s 1st letter to be reassuring, for he lists the things that will be characteristic of true believers. We will fail at all of them at times, but the characteristic incline of our lives is to walk in the light, to cling to the truth, and to walk in love. That is because, as John also writes in John 15, Christianity is organic. As we abide in Christ, that fruit will be seen in us. Though I fail every day, I see that fruit in myself — and I see it in you.
I also find great comfort in The Song of Songs. There are so many verses in which He reassures her that she is His and He is hers. He wooed us, He won us, and He is coming back to wed us. There is a ring on our finger, and an invisible seal on our forehead. We are His, and He is a Bridegroom who will never break His covenant to His bride.
On a side note, in case you missed it, yesterday our own Susan asked a good question concerning Dr. Campbell’s statement that the horses and riders are demonic in nature, bringing plagues, etc — but God is not the originator. She said, “But didn’t God originate the plagues in Egypt?” So I asked Dr. Campbell and he wrote back with a wonderful and lengthy explanation. He is truly giving us time and we are so blessed to have him in the background. You can see it on the end of last week’s comments. Thank you Dr. Campbell!
Here’s a virtual choir of persons from many tribes and nations singing “In Christ Alone.” The lyrics repeat the promise we are studying. See if you can hear it.
On Friday, here is a short optional video link:
Sunday: The Promise
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- Do you have doubts about the permanency of your salvation? If so, how could you replace the lies that bubble up with the truth of Scripture?
- (Optional challenge question) Read Song of Songs 8:5-7
A. The wilderness theme permeates Scripture. In the Song, the Bridegroom took his bride through the wilderness. How has it impacted her according to verse 5a, and how is this similar to what we are learning about true believers in Revelation?
B. It is not we who chose Him, but He who chose us. How do you see this in verse 5b?
C. Her Bridegroom is going away, and so she makes a request of Him in verse 6 a. What is it?
D. I may be seeing too much, but I think I see a hint of the resurrection and the promise of eternal security in verses 6-7. Do you?
Monday: Protection for Believers!
4. Read Revelation 7:1-3 aloud
5. Any initial comments or impressions?
6. With whom does Zechariah 6:1-6 identify the four winds?
7. For what purpose are the angels, or agents of God, holding back these agents of Satan (the winds or the horses?)
8. Read Dr. Campbell’s opening two paragraphs under The Sealing of Believers ending with “The Number of Sealed…”
9. Campbell compares the mark we receive to the mark the Israelites put over their doors at Passover or to the mark God put on Cain so he would not be harmed. What do you learn from these comparisons?
10. What else stands out to you from these two paragraphs?
11. Does it help you to know you are “sealed” in the midst of great trial? What thoughts do you have concerning this?
I thought about the historical account of Polycarp who was the elder martyred from the church of Smyrna. He told them not to tie him to the stake for he would stay for His Lord. Recently a woman in our in person study read accounts that indicated God protected martyrs from suffering as they died. I hope that is true! But in any case, we will be kept safe spiritually.
Tuesday: 144,000 Marked by God
12. Read Revelation 7:4-8 aloud.
13. What stands out to you from the first reading and why?
14. With what does 2 Tim. 2:19 identify the seal?
15. Read the third paragraph from Campbell beginning with “The Number…” and share what you learn about the sealing. (Are you glad like I am that it isn’t a literal number on our foreheads? : ) )
16. Read the final three paragraphs before THE GREAT MULTITUDE and explain what the 144,000 represent. Give Scriptural back-up for your case.
Wednesday: The Great Multitude
17. Read Revelation 7:9-14 aloud
18. What stands out to you from the above on first reading and why?
19. How does the great multitude that “no one could number” echo the promise to Abraham?
20. Read the opening two paragraphs from Campbell under “The Great Multitude” ending with “The Praise Ascends”
21. What significance does he see in the palm branches?
22. What parallel does he see with the Exodus?
23. What else stands out to you?
24. Read on in this section from the paragraph that begins “the praise ascends” up to the paragraph the begins with “the explanation of the heavenly elder.”
25. What stands out to you from this section?
26. Do you feel that the praise part of your prayer life is increasing with this study?
27. When does Campbell believe the time of the great tribulation is and what scriptural support does he give?
Thursday: The Now and The Not Yet
28. Read Revelation 7:15-17 aloud.
29. What stands out to you from the above and why?
30. Many of these promises seem to be for the new Kingdom and the new Earth – what do you find that sounds like that?
31. Yet Campbell says we have a taste of this now – how can you see that?
32. Finish Campbell’s section that begins with the paragraph “the explanation of the heavenly elder” to the end of the section. Share whatever stands out to you and why.
Friday: Sam Storms – Kept Safe (optional)
33. I recommend this 15 minute video! If you watch, share your comments.
34. What’s your take-a-way this week?