Reflections on Revelation #131

Day 131

“And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, holding the seal of the living God; and he called out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, or the sea, or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” Revelation 7:2-3 NASB

The words for sealing in the NT are multiple in meaning. First of all, you can seal a document to protect it from tampering. You can do the same with a tomb or a prison cell. When you seal a document or a place, you are concealing something or someone: examples in the Bible include the tomb of Jesus (Matthew 27:66); the heavenly scroll (Rev5); and Satan’s confinement in the Abyss (Rev20:3).
Secondly, sealing can certify that something or someone is reliable: certified letters have a seal indicating that the information inside is reliable or has been delivered without tampering (cf. John 3:33; 6:27; Rom 15:28; 1 Cor 9:2).

Thirdly, sealing can be used to indicate that a person has been accepted by God. God knows who belongs to Him and He gives them the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 2:19; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30). Sealing, therefore, became associated with circumcision (Rom 4:11) and baptism. In these verses we are “sealed” by the Holy Spirit when we believe.

The sealing of Rev7 occurs just before the close of probation (the time when everyone’s fate is sealed.). From John’s point of view, sealing has to do with how people relate to God at the End. In the broader sense, sealing is the indication that people are acceptable to God. “The Lord knows those who are His” (2Tim 2:19). So the NT concept of sealing is not limited to the end-time. But in Revelation 7 sealing occurs in an end-time setting. The final proclamation of the gospel results in a great final sealing work. Those who are not sealed receive the mark of the beast.
This kind of study doesn’t make for light reading. Sometimes Christians need to do heavy, detailed investigations of Scripture in order to understand the ways of God. We live in an age where relevance is prized more than learning and many people have no patience with Bible study that doesn’t have an obvious and immediate pay-off. The long-term reward for detailed study is an understanding of the big picture that transforms everything you read in the Bible.

1 Comment
  • Henny Vanderpol
    Posted at 10:55h, 17 May Reply

    Thank you Ross. Yes I believe as well that we need to study the bible chapter by chapter and not only read the bible. When we study the Holy Spirit shows us what we need to know. So wonderful that we are able to dig deeper in God’s Word!

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