1After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.2Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea:3‘Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.’4Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.5From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000,6from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,7from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,8from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
The great multitude in white robes
9After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.10And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’11All the angels were standing round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshipped God,12saying: ‘Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honour and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!’13Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes – who are they, and where did they come from?’14I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.15Therefore, ‘they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.16“Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,” nor any scorching heat. (Isa 49:10)17For 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.” ’ (Isa 25:8; Isa 49:10)