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Revelation 7:1

    Revelation 7:1 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    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.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that no wind should blow on the earth, or on the sea, or upon any tree.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    After this I saw four angels in their places at the four points of the earth, keeping back the four winds in their hands, so that there might be no moving of the wind on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree.

    Webster's Revision

    After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that no wind should blow on the earth, or on the sea, or upon any tree.

    World English Bible

    After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that no wind should blow on the earth, or on the sea, or upon any tree.

    Definitions for Revelation 7:1

    Sea - Large basin.

    Clarke's Commentary on Revelation 7:1

    And after these things - Immediately after the preceding vision.

    I saw four angels - Instruments which God employs in the dispensation of his providence; we know not what.

    On the four corners of the earth - On the extreme parts of the land of Judea, called ἡ γη, the land, or earth, by way of eminence.

    Holding the four winds - Preventing evil from every quarter. Earth - sea, nor on any tree; keeping the whole of the land free from evil, till the Church of Christ should wax strong, and each of his followers have time to prepare for his flight from Jerusalem, previously to its total destruction by the Romans.

    Barnes' Notes on Revelation 7:1

    And after these things - After the vision of the things referred to in the opening of the sixth seal. The natural interpretation would be, that what is here said of the angels and the winds occurred after those things which are described in the previous chapter. The exact chronology may not be always observed in these symbolical representations, but doubtless there is a general order which is observed.

    I saw four angels - He does not describe their forms, but merely mentions their agency. This is, of course, a symbolical representation. We are not to suppose that it would be literally fulfilled, or that, at the time referred to by the vision, four celestial beings would be stationed in the four quarters of the world for the purpose of checking and restraining the winds that blow from the four points of the compass. The meaning is, that events would occur which would be properly represented by four angels standing in the four quarters of the world, and having power over the winds.

    Standing on the four corners of the earth - This language is, of course, accommodated to the prevailing mode of speaking of the earth among the Hebrews. It was a common method among them to describe it as a vast plain, having four corners, those corners being the prominent points - north, south, east, and west. So we speak now of the four winds, the four quarters of the world, etc. The Hebrews spoke of the earth, as we do of the rising and setting of the sun and of the motions of the heavenly bodies, according to appearances, and without aiming at philosophical exactness. Compare the notes on Job 26:7. With this view they spoke of the earth as an extended plain, and as having boundaries or corners, as a plain or field naturally has. Perhaps, also, they used this language with some allusion to an edifice, as having four corners; for they speak also of the earth as having foundations. The language which the Hebrews used was in accordance with the prevailing ideas and language of the ancients on the subject.

    Holding the four winds of the earth - The winds blow in fact from every quarter, but it is convenient to speak of them as coming from the four principal points of the compass, and this method is adopted probably in every language. So among the Greeks and Latins, the winds were arranged under four classes - Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus, and Eurus - considered as under the control of a king, Aeolus. See Eschenburg, Man. Class. Literally, section 78, compare section 108. The angels here are represented as "holding" the winds - κρατοῦντας kratountas. That is, they held them back when about to sweep over the earth, and to produce far-spread desolation. This is an allusion to a popular belief among the Hebrews, that the agency of the angels was employed everywhere. It is not suggested that the angels had raised the tempest here, but only that they now restrained and controlled it. The essential idea is, that they had plower over those winds, and that they were now exercising that power by keeping them back when they were about to spread desolation over the earth.

    That the wind should not blow on the earth - That there should be a calm, as if the winds were held back.

    Nor on the sea - Nowhere - neither on sea nor land. The sea and the land constitute the surface of the globe, and the language here, therefore, denotes that there would be a universal calm.

    Nor on any tree - To injure it. The language used here is such as would denote a state of profound quiet; as when we say that it is so still that not a leaf of the trees moves.

    In regard to the literal meaning of the symbol here employed there can be no great difficulty; as to its application there may be more. The winds are the proper symbols of wars and commotions. Compare Daniel 7:2. In Jeremiah 49:36-37 the symbol is both used and explained: "And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come. For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life." So in Jeremiah 51:1-2, a destroying wind is an emblem of destructive war: "I will raise up against Babylon a destroying wind, and will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land." Compare Horace, Odes, b. i. 14. The essential ideas, therefore, in this portion of the symbol, cannot be mistaken. They are two:

    (1) that at the period of time here referred to - after the opening of the sixth seal and before the opening of the seventh - there would be a state of things which would be well represented by rising tempests and storms, which if unrestrained would spread desolation afar; and,

    (2) that this impending ruin was held back as if by angels having control of those winds; that is, those tempests were not suffered to go forth to spread desolation over the world. A suspended tempest calamity held in check; armies hovering on the borders of a kingdom, but not allowed to proceed for a time; hordes of invaders detained, or stayed in their march, as if by some restraining power not their own, and from causes not within themselves - any of these things would be an obvious fulfilling of the meaning of the symbol.

    Wesley's Notes on Revelation 7:1

    7:1 And after these things - What follows is a preparation for the seventh seal, which is the weightiest of all. It is connected with the sixth by the particle and; whereas what is added, verse 9, Rev 6:9 stands free and unconnected. I saw four angels - Probably evil ones. They have their employ with the four first trumpets, as have other evil angels with the three last; namely, the angel of the abyss, the four bound in the Euphrates, and Satan himself. These four angels would willingly have brought on all the calamities that follow without delay. But they were restrained till the servants of God were sealed, and till the seven angels were ready to sound: even as the angel of the abyss was not let loose, nor the angels in the Euphrates unbound, neither Satan cast to the earth, till the fifth, sixth, and seventh angels severally sounded. Standing on the four corners of the earth - East, west, south, north. In this order proceed the four first trumpets. Holding the four winds - Which else might have softened the fiery heat, under the first, second, and third trumpet. That the wind should not blow upon the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree - It seems, that these expressions betoken the several quarters of the world; that the earth signifies that to the east of Patmos, Asia, which was nearest to St. John, and where the trumpet of the first angel had its accomplishment. Europe swims in the sea over against this; and is accordingly termed by the prophets, the islands. The third part, Afric, seems to be meant, Rev 8:7,8,10, by the streams of water, or the trees, which grow plentifully by them.