Revelation 7:1-8: Sealed.

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: ‘Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.’ Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,from the tribe of Gad 12,000,from the tribe of Asher 12,000,from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,from the tribe of Levi 12,000,from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000. NIV


This is a helpful quote from ‘Search the Scriptures’:

‘Before the revelation of further judgments, two visions are interposed for the comfort of believers. In all that has been shown so far, nothing has been said of the church, except with regard to those who have been martyred. The passage shows the church first in this life, on earth, and so always limited in number (verses 1-8), and then, numberless, in heaven, having life for evermore.’

So it seems like we are looking at the church in both halves of this chapter. The sealing (2,3) it would seem, is with the Names of God and the Lamb (14:1). The seal is the mark of ownership. The church belongs to God, and will be protected from the power of Satan. Paul writes in a number of places about believers being sealed with the Holy Spirit. We have the seal of the whole Trinity upon us.

Tom Hale explains: ‘This sealing will not save them from suffering and death, but it will give them the right to enter heaven.’ ‘The Applied New Testament Commentary’, p.974.

It is not helpful to take the 144,000 literally. In the Bible this number speaks of completeness, as does the number 7. Here it stands for the whole church, the ‘’Israel of God’’ (see Matthew 19:28; Romans 2:28, 29; Galatians 3:29; 6:16; Philippians 3:3; 1 Peter 2:9).

Remember, God is in control of nature ( v.1; see 14:18; 16:5; Hebrews 1:7). No harm can come to God’s people unless (or until) He permits it. God knows His own and can protect them (Ezekiel 9:3-6; John 6:27; 10:27-29; Revelation 9:4).

‘God’s people are not always saved from trial, but they are kept safe in it.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.639.

Let this thought encourage you!