Seal Mark
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30. Seal Mark
Revelation 7.1-8

"After this, I saw four angels standing at the earth's four corners, holding back the earth's four winds to prevent any wind from blowing on the land, sea, or any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the living God's seal. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels given the power to harm the land and the sea, 'Do not harm them or the trees until we put a seal on our God's servants' foreheads.' Then I heard the number of those sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand, from all of Israel's tribes. Twelve thousand received a seal from Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin." (Revelation 7.1-8) ✞

Documents Seal

Signet Ring SealA seal mark or document seal mark identifies and protects its contents. A broken seal indicates an information leak. Document seals appear on wills, title deeds, or even on people. Some commentators suggest, "a seal on our God's servants' foreheads" could be invisible, but that is doubtful because a seal often reveals a person's identity. A signet ring's wax impression or stamp also indicates personal and confidential contents. Daniel 12.4 mentions scroll seals, "But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end."

Ownership Seal

SealAn owner's stamp sealed each ceramic amphora used to carry wine or oil in the Roman Empire. Archeologists have identified over two hundred different unique inscriptions on amphorae. The word "amphora" comes from a Greek compound word, "amphi" for "on both sides" and "pherein," meaning "to carry." An amphora is a ceramic container with double-sided handles used to carry a liquid. The stamped top of the amphora contains production, content, ownership (often by the Emperor,) and subsequent marketing information. Similarly, God places his seal mark on his faithful followers' foreheads, identifying them as his and guaranteeing his care over their souls.

Christian seal

Jesus' Baptism WatersAs circumcision is the loyal Jew's seal mark, and baptism is the Christian's seal mark, the seal mark in Revelation signifies and protects God's faithful followers. Our physical bodies may be beaten, maimed, or even destroyed, but nothing can remove our souls' seal by God. We are protected because we are supremely valuable to him.

Beast's Seal Mark

Alpha Tattoo MarkA parallel to the "Revelation seal mark" is the beast's mark in Revelation 13.16, which says, "The beast also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or foreheads." God's mark and that of the beast places people in two very distinct camps, those subject to love in Jesus Christ's service and those owned by Satan.

Israeli tribal seals

NumbersThere were twelve thousand sealed per tribe, totaling one hundred and forty-four thousand. Each of Israel's twelve tribes had its tribal seal. Probably the best known were Judah's tribe with the Lion. The House of Israel's 12 tribes were descendants of the Patriarch Jacob, his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and his two concubines, Zilpah and Bilhah. Leah had six sons, Reuben, Simon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. The other women had two sons each. Rachel's bore Joseph and Benjamin, Zilpah's bore Gad and Asher, and Bilhah bore Dan and Naphtali. The Israeli tribal seal's number was "one hundred and forty-four thousand," twelve by twelve by one thousand, which in itself is a symbolically complete number as the Kingdom of God.

To Go Or Not

God will bring all his followers with seals safely to himself, and no one will be overlooked or left behind. I am reminded of the crowds at Kabul airport in Afghanistan holding up their passports and papers and urging the soldiers to let them onto a plane. Some would have the necessary documents and would go, and others would not. Those with the correct seal will join Christ in glory, and the others will not. The list of the twelve sealed tribes does not correspond with any of the eighteen Old Testament lists. This list is followed by "there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb." God in Revelation 7.7b includes all of God's faithful followers, both Jew and Gentile, in this "great multitude." ✞

Levites Reward

Star of DavidJudah from the tribe of David is listed first. The Levites were God's priests in the Temple with no tribal allotment, but they receive a reward for their faithfulness by being included as a tribe. The list omits Dan's tribe no doubt because of its unfaithfulness, as affirmed by the curse of Genesis 49.17, "Dan will be a roadside snake, a pathway viper, that bites the horse's heels so that its rider tumbles backward." They may have omitted Dan whose most famous leader was Sampson because it adopted pagan practices. This new Israel embraces the faithful from every nation, race, people, and tongue - an army of true believers and Israeli tribes sealed for God's service.

"Seal Mark"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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