The Servants Are Sealed

SERVANTS SEALEDThen 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.” (Revelation 7:2-3)

Angel from The East –This is another angel that appears to be distinct from the four already mentioned,(1) because he calls out to them. Some regard this other “angel” as the Holy Spirit, since apart from apocalyptic symbolism it is the Holy Spirit that seals the saints.(2) But sometimes an angel is just an angel, as this angel is said to have the seal rather than being the seal. “From the east” literally translates from the Greek as from the rising of the sun.(3) The east is also the direction from which God’s glory is most often manifested in Scripture.(4)

Seal of God – A seal typically refers to the impress made by a signet ring. An official who wished to delegate his authority to his representative would allow that subordinate to use his signet ring. Like documents or merchandise sealed and stamped to guarantee their contents and prevent tampering, God’s servants were to be marked off as His (Isaiah 44:5). The seal on their foreheads symbolizes protection and ownership. It evidences God’s intention to protect the twelve tribes that are mentioned, much as He protected Noah from the Flood, Israel from the plagues of Egypt, and Rahab and her household in Jericho.(5) The idea of a protecting sign is also an Old Testament image (Genesis 4:15; Isaiah 66:19). Here it is taken directly from Ezekiel 9:4–6, where judgment could not begin until the foreheads of the righteous (those who mourned over the sin of their land) were marked.(6) Today, the Christian is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13–14). This sealing occurs in the instant that the sinner puts their trust in Christ. It assures the believer of eternal life and an inheritance in heaven.(7)

These servants will receive the Father’s seal (Revelation 14:1), in contrast to the “mark of the beast” that ant-Christ will give those who follow him (Revelation 13:17; 14:11; 16:2; 19:20). The seal from God will protect His servants from the judgments that will “hurt the earth and the sea,” and occur when the first four angels blow their trumpets (Revelation 8). The judgments are intensified when the horrible locusts are released from the pit (Revelation 9:1–4). With protection from these awesome judgments, these servants will be able to do their work and glorify the Lord.(8)

Hold Back Judgment Until Sealed – God’s love is such, that He does not do anything in the way of judgment until His people are secured from hurt (Genesis 19:22).(9) Not that the saints are exempt from trial. Revelation 7:14 proves the contrary. But their trials are distinct from the destroying judgments that fall on the world. They are exempted from these, as Israel was from the plagues of Egypt (especially from the last plague – the blood sprinkled on the doorposts).(10)

Up Next – The Servants are identified.

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References

  1. Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Re 7:2). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  2. Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Revelation (p. 187). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  3. Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Re 7:2). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  4. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 569). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  5. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 949). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  6. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 7:2–3). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 815). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  8. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 590). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  9. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 569). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  10. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 569). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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