If, as Shakespeare said, brevity is the soul of wit, then this has by far been the most witless book review in history. As such, I'm going to step it up by dealing more broadly with Koester's interpretation of the more difficult symbolism and less on substantiating his claims.
Revelation 7: The 144,000 of Israel Sealed
Some observations about the 'seals' which are placed on God's people:
- The seal suggests that "the people belong to God."
- The seal "also suggests protection."
- God's sealed people are not immune to suffering.
- However, the seal "does shield people from the wrath of God and the Lamb (6:16-17)."
So who are the 144,000?
- Just as the new Jerusalem is not literally a 12,000 Stadia (1500 mile) cube (Rev. 21:16), so we understand that 12,000 from each tribe of Judah is not literal, but symbolic of completeness.
- The 144,000 referred to in 7:4-8 are the same group as the multitude in 7:9-17. This happens by first hearing and then seeing. First he hears about the 144,000 and then he sees the great multitude.
- Just as Jesus is the Lion and the Lamb, whereby we learn about Jesus' multifaceted character, so we learn about the church from this discussion that the church is identified with Israel, and that the church is an ingrafted mass of Gentile humanity. We see from the 144,000 that God has not abandoned his promises to preserve Israel.
Anticlimactically, the seventh scroll is opened, and the heavens are silent for a half an hour. As we prepare for the next cycle of seven, the heavens are silent, that we might "be still and know that" he is God.