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 (Revelation 7: 2-4).
Reviewing Key Ideas
As mentioned in previous articles within this series, we are told throughout the scriptures that Jesus can not come at just any time as some supposed today. First, the “son of destruction” must be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Mark 13:15-19).
We also discussed that the coming of this son of destruction has a purpose—even a purpose that is ultimately for the good of God’s children. As with God’s people in the Old Testament, this affliction is brought on because of our disobedience. We either adhere to worldly and religious “kings” and “horsemen” or we become these ourselves.
We become blinded by pride, lack sound judgment, and communicate things or behave in ways that lead others towards spiritual destruction. As Jesus taught, “those who lead into captivity will go into captivity. Those who kill with the sword must be killed with the sword.” Consider this spiritually. Jesus is faithful to His word.
Christians who were supposed to be the light of this dark world have become bloody because the light we follow is not really Jesus, but darkness. “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” We have followed the things of Satan—all the while thinking we are doing the will of God. All of this is demonstrated by the opening of the first six seals.
The coming of the false christ is the final fulfillment of all prophecy concerning the enemies of God’s people. Therefore, we can learn a great deal from Old Testament prophets and the history of God’s people in general. We can also see how mainstream Christianity is following the patterns of old to a large degree. More on that, as promised, in upcoming articles.
When we review our history, we can see that God sends affliction and captivity when His people go astray. We also see that there are His remnant who remain faithful and there are those who return to the Lord during these times of trouble.
When the false christ comes, it will be the same. However, since this time of affliction is more severe than any affliction this world has ever seen, the people of God will need help. If it were not for the mercy of the Lord and His knowledge, all would be deceived by the son of destruction (Mark 13: 19-20).
The knowledge of Jesus in Spirit will keep us safe from deception. This knowledge is the seal of God.
What is the Seal of God?
In Part 2 we discussed that opening a seal represents the giving of knowledge that was previously out of reach. As a Christian, what might a seal on our forehead mean? We know that the son of destruction brings great deception that overtakes the entire world. Those who are sincere and faithful children of God will not be deceived. Why not?
We will have the knowledge of Jesus and the gospel firmly rooted in our being. God will seal that knowledge up within us and no matter how confused the world gets, we will see the way. We will be the wise virgins who had oil in their lamps. When the world goes dark, we will be prepared.
What is the knowledge of Jesus? To know Jesus—or to pursue knowing Him—is to revere what Jesus taught and stands for. It takes more than reciting a prayer once in church or going through the motions within Christian society. It takes dedication and desire to grow in the things of the Spirit as one who is pleasing to God and pursuing a life remade in the image of Jesus. The horsemen and kings mentioned in previous articles work against this knowledge to a large degree, so it is good for us to learn about these things.
Who are the Sealed Tribes in Revelation?
There is debate among Christians in regard to the 12 sealed tribes or 144,000 of Israel in Revelation 7. When dealing with this, these scriptures should be considered:
They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham (John 8:39).
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham (Matthew 3:9).
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
I think it’s reasonable to think that the people of Israel in the literal sense will have some part to play in the last days. I do believe that many more Jewish people will accept Jesus as the Messiah. However, speculation aside, there are ideas that are true. Those who do the will of God are Israel. As Christians who are sincerely following Jesus, are we not Israel?
We become so focused on Israel the nation that we forget Israel in the spiritual sense, and it is important that we understand the distinction. Israel the nation is most likely where antichrist will set up his domain. As Christians, we are spiritually Israel. In Christ, it is the heart of things that matter. In Satan, we look to the world and the outward of things. Does this make sense?
If we can consider Christians as Israel—or at the very least as those grafted into Israel as other scriptures indicate—then why the mentioning of specific tribes?
There can be more than one true way look at this, but here are my thoughts.
Although there are many denominations or tribes, the true body of Christ is not divided. There will be Christians of all kinds who receive the seal of God before the time of deception comes. When persecuted, it will not matter whether we are Baptist, Apostolic, Catholic, and so on. What was once scattered will be united under the seal of God—and again—this is a spiritual unity given by the Holy Spirit. This is NOT a structural unity that is forced by man: or Babylon. This is NOT literal or worldly Israel. This unity IS Spiritual Israel.
We can carry that thought through Revelation 7:9-14.
9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
How we interpret the tribes is not what’s most important. What’s most important is that we pursue the knowledge of Jesus that will keep us from deception. Although the world will be swept away, many will be sanctified during the great tribulation. Christians will suffer and many will be killed, but Jesus will return, wipe away all tears, and lead us to everlasting life (Revelation 7:15-16).
How Do We Receive the Seal of God?
The knowledge of Jesus in truth that keeps our minds and hearts safe can only be given by God. The Lord sends us teachers and prophets to instruct us, but only Jesus can open our hearts to Him. If we love Jesus, put Him first, and sincerely want to know what is true, then the Lord will guide us towards that knowledge. He will cause things to happen in our lives that bring us closer to Him. He will send people to help us grow. He will help us become free from the “kings” aka “horsemen” of this world and within Christianity.
If we love sin, if we love ourselves, if we are blinded by pride and loyalty to our “kings,” then there are things standing in our way. Jesus can remove these things, but we have to want it. We have to take His sacrifice on the cross seriously and begin to pursue sanctification of the Spirit as promised by His resurrection. We have to die to self and be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 2:12).
Closing Scripture for Thought
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work (2 Thessalonians 2 8:17).
There are more articles to come within this series, but I’m not sure what they will look like. I want to at least address the last, seventh seal. I also want to recap some main points and go further into ideas that might help us consider present-day “kings” and how we can grow in loyalty to Jesus as faithful and fruitful Christians.
If you have any questions about this series, now would be a helpful time to mention them. I’m not sure if I’m communicating things clearly enough. Feel free to comment or send an email.