Many questions may arise in our minds when we read Revelation 4–11. Who are the four horsemen in 6:1-8? Who are the 144,000 sealed with the seal of the living God in 7:1-8? What about the disasters unleashed by the opening of the seven seals (6:1-17) and the blowing of the seven trumpets (8:6-9:19)? Have these already occurred or are we to expect them at the end of the age?
Many interpretations have been given to these texts. Take, for example, this statement from the Wake Up America Seminars website on the identity of the 144,000: “Before the Great Tribulation begins, God will select, empower, and seal 144,000 servants who will serve Him as prophets during the Great Tribulation. These people will speak for God.”
Or take the statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs website concerning the teachings of Lee Man-Hee, the founder of Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony: “Based on testimonies of former members, Lee has claimed to be the second coming of Christ, who would bring 144,000 people to Heaven with him on the Day of Judgement. He has also claimed to be the only person who can interpret the Bible.”
We do not agree with these interpretations, and in our Overview of Revelation 4–11, we will consider how John’s readers would have understood these texts, and what they mean for us today.
View the talk by Dr Eileen Poh held via Zoom on the 2 of January 2021.