I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so that they couldn’t blow upon the land or the sea, or even on any tree.
And I saw another angel coming up from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. And he called out to those four angels, who had been given power to harm the land and the sea, “Wait! Don’t damage the land or the sea or the trees until we’ve placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.”
Then I heard how many were marked with the seal of God—144,000 from the tribes of Israel, being: from Judah 12,000; from Reuben 12,000; from Gad 12,000; from Asher 12,000; from Naphtali 12,000; from Manasseh 12,000; from Simeon 12,000; from Levi
12,000; from Issachar 12,000; from Zebulun 12,000; from Joseph 12,000; and from Benjamin also 12,000.
After this, I saw a vast crowd which was far too many for anyone to count. It was made up of people from every nation, tribe and language, and they stood in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands, and they called out loudly, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
Then all the angels who were standing around the throne and the elders, and the four living beings, fell down before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Do you know who these people in white are? And do you know where they’ve come from?”
“No, sir,” I said. “Please tell me.”
“These are the people who have come out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. That’s why they’re before the throne of God serve day and night in his temple. And he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. Never again will they hunger, never again will they thirst. Never again will the sun beat down upon them or burn them, for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”