“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. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Revelation 7:1-3
With the recent turbulent events shaking the very fabric of our world, humanity is facing its greatest challenge in history. Permanent solutions are not an option for a world entrenched in the hopeless cycle of strife and immorality. With the threat of an impending war between east and west, the devastation caused by terrorist groups around the globe, and the mass exodus of refugees and the chaos it has created, it is enough to make me wonder if the four angels of Revelation 7 haven’t already begun the work of loosening the four winds. We cannot ignore the enormity of our problems. The increase of strife and bloodshed has had its devastating effect on our world. Natural disasters not only have increased in frequency, but they are also more devastating in their power. How can we be sure and check the progress of the four angels of Revelation 7? Is there a reference point in history we can safely turn to for answers? Indeed we can, and it is all about the turbulent year in 1848.
The events of 1848 that plunged Europe into a state of anarchy and an almost complete ruin, though mild in comparison to what is happening today, is exactly the point of reference in history where we must look for valuable insights. In 1848 several revolutions had simultaneously exploded throughout Europe. In Hungry, Germany, France, Austria, Spain and other countries in Europe, some sixteen different ethnic groups rebelled against monarchial and imperial governments. Blood stained the cobble streets of many major cities across Europe. The tumult was exceptional, and yet by 1849 most of the rebellions of 1848 had failed to produce the intended results hoped for by the people. Historian A.J.P. Taylor once called 1848 a moment when “history reached a turning point and failed to turn.” The turbulent events of 1848 had suddenly and mysteriously come to a screeching halt, and no one understood why.
Indeed 1848 was a turbulent year and to the serious Bible student at the time, the world appeared to be on the threshold of eternity. Never before in history had the world observed simultaneous uprisings in so many countries, by so many people groups. That which restrained human passion was for a time loosed. Not only were the events of 1848 unparalleled, but the way events came to a sudden and abrupt stop is also puzzling. A mysterious hand had intervened and no amount of human passion and fury could have resisted it. What was the cause of this sudden interruption 1848? To answer this question we must go to the inspired writings of Mrs. E G. White for an important clue.
About one year after the events which shook Europe, in January of 1849, Mrs. White in vision was shown an astonishing revelation which sheds light on what happened in 1848:
I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it. Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, ‘My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood!’ Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, “Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.”
I asked my accompanying angel the meaning of what I heard, and what the four angels were about to do. He said to me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that He gave His angels charge over things on the earth; that the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and that they were about to let them go; but while their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads. Early Writings 38
It appears that the events of 1848 were the effects of the four angels for a time loosening the four winds, and when Jesus sent another angel to stop them there is a sudden and complete interruption, the storm is abated, and once again there is calm. Just as the Sovereign of the universe had power to calm the sea of Galilee, He has power to calm the fury of the storm that rips through the passions of humanity.
Now for the parallels in our own time. In 2011 the world saw a series of uprisings and protests across the Arabian World, called the “Arab Spring.” The uprisings originated in Tunisia, after a man set himself on fire in protest at his treatment by police. The Arab Spring movement quickly spread into Egypt, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, and Bahrain. Although these movements were quickly crushed, it helped propel Syria into an all out civil war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and sent millions of refugees across into the western hemisphere. It is estimated that half of the population of Syria has left their homeland to find refuge in other countries.
The Syrian conflict has also resulted in the greater awakening of fundamentalist Islam, with the group ISIS committing atrocities unheard of in modern history, and terror attacks that are sweeping across the region and spilling into our own borders and that of Europe. The world is becoming a more dangerous place and, according to authors of the Tenth Annual Global Peace Index, there are now just ten countries which can be considered completely free from conflict and war. Wow! This truly is astonishing, if you do the math. That means only 5.3% of all the nations in the world are experiencing calm while the other 94.7% are engaged in some kind of conflict or war.
With the battle against terrorism and the Islamic State (ISIS) and country after country exploding into chaos, no wonder so many people are living in a constant state of fear. Yemen is caught in a horrific war with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations in the region. The Iraqis, Iranians, and other coalition factions are fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. For the last 37 years religious fundamentalism in Iran has thrown the region into a perpetual arms race that threatens the world with WWIII. The revival of war between the Turkish government and the Kurdish separatists in Turkey, and the most recent failed coup attempt in that country has further helped destabilize the region. The entire region is engulfed in an inferno of hate and religious bigotry that is quickly spreading into other parts of the world.
In the US the presidential race took an ugly ferocious turn and helped further polarize the nation, resulting in recent protests and riots across many cities in America. With so much devastation and senseless loss of innocent lives, we are on the verge of a total breaking point. Nations are angry, threat of war looms, and a seriously troubled world economy which will soon crumble will bring the current global economic system we all grew up with to its death and cause instant poverty and devastation for millions and millions of people around the globe. Natural disasters with unparalleled force and intensity are occurring with more frequency than ever before. Emerging diseases are spreading and bringing death and destruction in their path.
Clearly we can see a parallel occurrence of 1848 European mayhem, and yet what is happening now is overwhelmingly more intense and horrific in nature. If what is happening in our world today is the beginning of the four winds being let go then what will it be like when the angels will have fully released the four winds? I shudder to think. Friends, we are standing at the precipice of eternity and my question to you is: are you ready for it? Have you done all you can to receive the seal of God? While there is yet a little time afforded us and while Jesus is still in the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary let us plead for mercy, and let us do all we can to help spread the three angels messages to the inhabitants of our world.
In 1848 the angels were ordered to hold, hold, hold, hold the four winds until the servants of God are sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads. Will God once more hold back the winds of strife as He did in 1848? Friends, Jesus is all merciful, but how much longer will He wait? Can God be trifled with? Read the book Early Writings, pages 32 to 41, and see the urgency of that message and do all you can to receive the pure garment of Jesus’ character, and to help as many as you possibly can to receive the same. While there is yet a little time left, we should be found at work and not sleeping. Be warned the sand in the hourglass is almost gone! But there is more to this.
Just about now you may be asking yourself what is the relationship between Revelation 7 and Ezekiel 9? Allow me to answer that question for you. While Revelation 7 is a warning message to the whole world, Ezekiel 9 is a message of warning to the people of God in the last days. Remember the four angels were told not to release the four winds until the servants of God are sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads. In 1849 the world was spared a great and horrific trial. Not for the sake of the world was this done, but so God can finish the work of sealing His dear people. At the same time we find in Ezekiel 9 a most horrific description of judgment against God’s people who have been nominal and sin-loving. What makes this prophecy stand out even more is its sealing message, and that is precisely the glue that binds these two prophecies together.
“He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” Ezekiel 9:1-6
So Revelation 7 and Ezekiel 9 both have a sealing message in them. Obviously the sealing message in both prophecies binds these prophecies together; in some ways they are synonymous. The four angels in Revelation 7 were to hold the four winds until the angel places the seal of God upon the foreheads of His people. And in Ezekiel 9 the six angels with slaughtering weapons represented by six men can began their work of slaughter only after the angel with the writer’s inkhorn has finished his work of setting a mark (seal) upon the foreheads of God’s people. So In Revelation 7 we have four angels that have power to loose the winds of strife and cause havoc but cannot do so until God’s people are sealed upon their foreheads. In a parallel fashion in Ezekiel 9 we have six other angels mentioned who have power to destroy nominal sin-loving believers in the church but cannot do so until God’s true and faithful who sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done have received the mark or seal of God. If what is happening in the world today is the result of the four winds being slowly loosed, then can it be possible that the sealing process of God’s people is reaching its final stages? If this is so, than I am afraid that soon horrific scenes will pass before our eyes, and we have but a short time to prepare and make things right.
We are admonished by the pen of inspiration, Study the 9th chapter of Ezekiel. These words will be literally fulfilled. Letter 106, 1909. This prophecy will be literally fulfilled. A day is coming when God will have to stand and punish the nominal believers who would not repent and turn away form their cherished sins. May God help us not to be in that number. Amen. — by Shabhaz B