Then I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds from blowing upon the earth. Not a leaf rustled in the trees, and the sea became as smooth as glass.
And I saw another angel coming from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. And he shouted out to those four angels who had been given power to injure land and sea,
"Wait! Don't hurt the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants."
And I heard how many were marked with the seal of God. There were 144,000 who were sealed from all the tribes of Israel:
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 from Benjamin - 12,000
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white and held palm branches in their hands.
And they were shouting with a mighty shout, "Salvation comes from our God on the throne and from the Lamb!"
And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell face down before the throne and worshiped God.
They said, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and forever. Amen!"
Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, "Who are these who are clothed in white? Where do they come from?"
And I said to him, "Sir, you are the one who knows." Then he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.
That is why they are standing in front of the throne of God, serving him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will live among them and shelter them.
They will never again be hungry or thirsty, and they will be fully protected from the scorching noontime heat.
For the Lamb who stands in front of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe away all their tears."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)