Revelation 7 takes place after the rapture, but I will explain how we know this is true. We are currently living in the Church Age, when God is saving precious souls from eternal judgment. Believers are placed into one body, of which Christ is the Head, and which is also called the Church. We read in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” We read in Ephesians 1:22-23, “And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”

At the end of the Church Age, Christ will return for all believers at an event known as the Rapture. This may happen at any moment! The Lord Jesus said in John 14:1-3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” The Apostle John was inspired to write the book of Revelation. John said in Revelation 4:1, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” The Rapture is symbolized by the words “Come up hither” and then we see believers in heaven in Revelation 4 and 5.

Revelation 6 begins the Tribulation, which is seven years of terrible trouble on the earth. Revelation 6 describes the first six seal judgments. Revelation 7 is a parenthesis before we read about the seventh seal in Revelation 8:1. Revelation 7 describes groups of people who will be saved during the Tribulation. Verses 4-8 tell us that there will be 12,000 saved from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph is mentioned instead of his son Ephraim and Levi is mentioned instead of Dan. It is possible that the tribe of Dan was omitted since Dan was the first tribe to go into idolatry (Judges 18:30-31).

There will also be a large group of Gentiles (non-Jews) who will be saved during the Tribulation, which is described in Revelation 7:9-17. These Gentiles appear to be the same people who were martyred in Revelation 6:9-11. These Gentiles appear to be the same as the sheep (believers) in Matthew 25:31-40 when the Lord Jesus comes to reign on the earth and separates believers (sheep) from unbelievers (goats). These Gentile believers are also spoken of in Revelation 20:4. This verse says, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”

The setting of Revelation 7 appears to be on earth, not heaven. Verses 1-3 describe four angels who are instructed by another angel not to bring judgment on the earth until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. There would be no need for this sealing (supernatural protection) if these believers were already in heaven. The temple of God in verse 15 is the millennial temple in Jerusalem. These believers will serve God “day and night in His temple” (verse 15). We know that there is “no night” (Revelation 22:5) in heaven, so Revelation 7 must be talking about the millennial temple.

To answer your second question, the 144,000 Jewish believers and an innumerable company of Gentile believers will remain on earth to reign with Christ for 1,000 years, as we read in Revelation 20:4. Therefore, they will not go to be with the raptured in heaven. My prayer is that you, dear reader, have trusted in the Lord Jesus as your Savior so that you will be in heaven someday. Judgment is coming. Trust Christ today!  (DJ)  (534.5)