Suggested articles:
R1279 Jan 1891 VIEW FROM THE TOWER
R4822 May 1911 LOOSING THE FOUR WINDS OF HEAVEN
R4880 Sep 1911 THE HOLDING OF THE FOUR WINDS
R5058 Jul 1912 A LEGION OF DEMONS
R5469 Jun 1914 LOOSING THE "FOUR WINDS"

Rev. 7:1-4 (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. [2] 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, [3] Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. [4] And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel."


1) 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.
What is meant by four angels? Forces under the Lord's direction. Quite possibly literal angels.
What is indicated by 'the four corners of the earth?' From every direction.
What is symbolized by the 'four winds' of the earth. Winds = powers of the air. This can indicate Spirit powers, or ecclestiacism. Strife, trouble. - R4822
What does the 'earth' symbolize? Organized society under religious restraint. R498
What is pictured by the "sea?" The irreligious, restless masses of mankind. R498
What is meant by blowing wind? War, trouble. R2334:7[R2334:7], R2160:11[R2160:11]
What do trees symbolize? Nations. Luke 21:29-32; Dan. 4.

Trees also represent the Lord's people. Psa. 1:1-3

Recap
4 Angels Forces at the Lord's disposal - coming from everywhere.
4 Corners of the Earth From every direction - Phrase still in common use today.
Winds Powers of the air - Spiritual Control (Satan described as the prince of the power of the air.) - Also strife, trouble, etc.
Earth Organized society under religious restraint.
Sea Irreligious restless masses of mankind.
Blowing Wind The letting loose of the above mentioned winds (forces).

Is there a difference between "the four winds of earth" and "the four winds of heaven?"

Matthew 24:31 (KJV)

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.


The Four Winds of Heaven

Dan 7:2; 8:8; 11:4; Zech 2:6
Matt 24:31; Mark 13:27

2) 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,
What angel ascends from the east? Our Lord. - Note that this angel is not the same as the four angels.
The greek words used here are
Strong's 393 - anatole an-at-ol-ay' From G393; a rising of light, that is, dawn (figuratively); by implication the east (also in plural): - dayspring, east, rising.
Also Strong's - Greek 2246, helios, hay'-lee-os; from hele (a ray; perhaps akin to the alternate of Greek 138 (haireomai)); the sun; by implication light :- + east, sun.
This information according to text of Wescott & Hort as well as KJV + Strong's.
It is from helios that we get our reference to heliocentric, - sun-centered.
What is the seal of the living God? The Truth. See 'Seal' below.
What is indicated by the fact that this angel 'cried with a loud voice?' 1 Thes. 4:16
What was given to the four angels? To hurt organized society under religious restraint (earth) and the irreligious masses of mankind (sea).

3) Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
What is meant by hurting the earth? Damage to organized society under religious restraint.
What is meant by hurting the sea? Damage to the irreligious masses of mankind.
What is meant by hurting the trees? The (Gentile) nations are hurt.
The Lord's people who failed to obey the command "Come out of her my people" are hurt.
For how long are the four angels to hold back the four winds? Until "the servants of God" are all sealed in their foreheads.
Who are 'the servants of God?' The Lord's people, the true church. - Rev. 1:1
What is done to these servants of God? They are all sealed in their foreheads.
Why is the angel of verse 2 singular while his message in verse 3 says 'till we have sealed'?' While it is the Lord who is the angel in verse 2, He is operating through His people - the saints, the church.
What is pictured by the forehead? The intellect.
Why does vs 3 say not to hurt the earth, sea, trees, while vs 2 says the 4 winds were given to hurt the earth and the sea, but no mention of trees? The trees, the household of faith, are under God's protection and as such there is no power that can hurt them. However, even the Lord's people must do their part. Here, they must obey the command to "come out of her my people" before the winds are loosed or else they will be hurt. They are hurt by being dropped from the Little Flock into the Great Company for their failure to obey that command.

Trees also represent nations. Here it specially refers to the nations of Christendom. These could not be seriously hurt until the Times of the Gentiles were expired.

4) And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
How many are sealed in the forehead? 144,000.
Who are 'the children of Israel' and why this expression? Because the promises of God are all Israelitish in nature. The Grace Covenant is represented by Sarah, Abraham's wife. The promises were re-iterated to Isaac and to Jacob (Israel).

Related Texts

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. [2] 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. [3] 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; [4] 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.

[5] 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: [6] 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. [7] And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.

[8] And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord God! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem? [9] Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not. [10] And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head. [11] And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. [2]Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. [3]And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.

[4]But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. [5]And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. [6]And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. [7]And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. [8]And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. '

Recap

We saw how Elijah (typical of the church in the flesh) at the end of the 31/2 years of drought had to flee again into the wilderness from Jezebel. This pictures the fact that at the end of the 1260 years (539 - 1799 A.D.) the true church once again had to flee into the wilderness condition (separateness from the world - out of the city, Christendom). It was during this time that Elijah was very discouraged (vs 4). Here is where we find a correspondance to the parable of "the Wise and Foolish Virgins" of Matt. 25:1-13. He was then miraculously fed (vss 5, 6). This feeding corresponds to the Miller movement from about 1829-1846. In 1844 they thought Christ would come and the 'rapture' would take place. This was the first stirring among the virgin class.

After this Elijah went back to sleep (the end of vs 6) - "And they all slumbered and slept.." Matt. 25:5. To them, the Bridegroom tarried.

Elijah is then woken up a second time and this time he is stirred to action. Again he is given food and water, but this time he is told that he must go on a specific journey. The account then says that he arose, ate and drank, "and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God."

This corresponds to the midnight cry "Behold the Bridegroom!" Matt. 25:6. In 1874 the cry went out and all who are the Lord's have been heeding that cry ever since. Elijah then travelled 40 days to "the mount of God." This is the 40 years from 1874 to 1914 to the time when Jesus took His power over the nations (the Gentile Times having now expired) and began to dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

[11]And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: [12]And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

Recap of vss 11-12
  1. Wind
  2. Earthquake
  3. Fire
  4. Still small voice
The first thing we noted was what these 4 manifestations of God's power had in common and what was different about them.
We noted that there is a very specific description of what the wind does. There is no description of what happens with the Earthquake, Fire, or Still Small Voice.

We also noted that "God was NOT in the" Wind, Earthquake, or the Fire. It does not say that about the "Still Small Voice."

From these we conclude that the Lord wanted us to be able to clearly see when the "wind" was let loose. According to Brother Russell this "wind" that Elijah saw corresponds exactly to the loosing of the four winds of Revelation 7. Remembering the symbology that mountains picture kingdoms (note: NOT nations but kingdoms), this vision shows us that the winds would break apart and destroy the kingdoms. This Pastor Russell identified with the outbreak of the great war which we today refer to as World War I.

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, [2] And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. [3] And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. [4] Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. [5] Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: [6] And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. [7] So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. [8] And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. [9] Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. [10] So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

[11] Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. [12] Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. [13] And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, [14] And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.

What Pastor Russell Taught


Seal = Present Truth, Forehead = Intellect
Ref.YearRef.Year
R683 1884 R1677 1894
B168 1889 R1912 1896
B235 1889 Z'96-38 1896
B264 1889 R2160 1897
C165 1890 R2334 1898
C211 1890 R3991 1907
C225 1890 R4822 1911
C303 1890 R4880 1911
R1279 Jan. 1891 R5496 July 1, 1914
R1348 1892  

Four Winds of Heaven = Nominal Church
Ref.Year
R711 1885
R1279 Jan. 1891
R1333 1892
R2160 1897 'gathered out of Babylon'
D600 1897

Angels (Messengers) who gather from 4 winds = Church in the flesh
Ref.Year
R711 1885
R885 1886
R1279 Jan. 1891

Winds = war, strife, the Great Time of Trouble
Ref.YearRef.Year
R1279 Jan. 1891 R5318 1913
R1619 1894 R5496 July 1, 1914
R1805 1895 ' Winds of war = the great time of trouble. R5601 January 1, 1915
R1912 1896 = time of trouble R5697 June 1, 1915
R1919 1896 = Winds of war = winds of strife R5715 July 1, 1915
R2160 1897 = Winds of the great tribulation R5753 August 15, 1915
R2334 1898 R5765 September 15, 1915
R3414 1904 R5825 January 1, 1916
R4212* 1908 R5864 March 1, 1916
R4822 1911 ' Winds = strife, anarchy, the great time of trouble. R5950 September 1, 1916
SER. 187 1911 Biv October 1, 1916
Q737 1911 R6014 December 1, 1916 (Pastor Russell's Last Sermon)
R5058 1912

Sealing in Forehead = Gathering = Harvest Work
Ref.YearRef.Year
R711 1885 R1634 1894
C211 1890 D600 - indirect confirmation 1897
C303 1890 R4822 1911
R1279 1891 Ser. 187 1911
R1333 1892

Winds being Held Back
Ref. Year Ref. Year Ref. Year
B169 1889 R1677 1894 Ser. 187 1911
B235 1889 R1805 1895 R4880 1911
C211 1890 R1912 1896 Q737 1911
C225 1890 R1919 1896 R5058 1912
R1279 1891 R1952 1896 R5318 1913 - 'will become loose'
R1377 1892 R2334 1898 R5470 June 1, 1914
R1447 1892 R3992 1907 R5496 July 1, 1914
R1619 1894 R4212* 1908

Winds now Let Loose
Ref.Year
R3414 1904 - 'quite probably are being let loose'
This is the only pre-1914 reference we could find like this.
Q529 1915
R5697 June 1, 1915
R5715 July 1, 1915
R5753 August 15, 1915
R5754 September 1, 1915
R5765 September 15, 1915
Harvest Glean. III p763 Nov. 5, 1915
R5825 January 1, 1916
R5863
R5864
March 1, 1916
R5950 September 1, 1916
Biv October 1, 1916
R6014 December 1, 1916 (Pastor Russell's Last Written Sermon)

Post July 31, 1914 references to the Winds being Held Back
Ref.Year
None