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The Seal On Their Foreheads

Revelation 7:1-17

Key Verse 7:10
“And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

The history of mankind is a history of unwillingness to respond to God’s grace of deliverance from the grip of death and the oppression of sin. So the world continues in its course, unrepentant, unresponsive, indifferent and largely oblivious to what lies in store for it in terms of God’s judgment and final reckoning. Paul said in Romans 2:3-4 “… do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” But seemingly God’s kindness does not lead them to repentance. Rather it leads them to a more depraved state. As the Bible says, “The god of this age [Satan] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Neither can they see what lies ahead— and what lies ahead isn’t pretty at all. Revelation is the final panorama of prophesies or events yet to happen to a wicked world and to a humanity that has abandoned God for the love of this perishing world. And this world is perishing!

In Chapter 6, 6 seals are broken off a 7-seal scroll held by the Lord Himself and each of the seals spilling doom on the earth and its inhabitants. As the seals are opened, war and famine and disease come upon the earth. The second unleashing of judgment brings cataclysmic earthquakes and shakings even in the heavens. These events are so terrifying that even unbelievers are convinced of the hand of God at work through these events and  “They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” (6:16-17) At this point begins the events of chapter 7. Actually a central event takes shape here— before the breaking of the 7th and final seal in chapter 8 which releases the final judgment contained within the 7 seal Scroll. What happens is a show of immense grace and mercy from the Judge on his throne and the Lamb by his side. Let’s see what this amazing act of mercy is.

Read verse 1. “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.” This was a moment utter silence where the four angels in charge of the four winds are awaiting the command to unleash the great and terrible storms that were to ravage the earth; For they had been given the power to harm the land and the sea. But now they wait in silence for the Lord to command them. But instead of being given the command to unleash the wrath of God upon the earth and its inhabitants, suddenly a voice calls out breaking the utter silence of moment. Read verse 2. “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.” This angel having the seal of the living God had the authority from God to command the four angels who were holding the four winds back. What message did they deliver to the angels holding  back the four winds? Read verse 3. “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.” The four angels holding back the four winds were commanded to withhold their judgment from the earth until a seal a placed on the foreheads of all God’s servants. It was God’s amazing act of mercy. Even in the midst of God’s wrath upon the earth and its inhabitants, God was still eager to save people from his own wrath.

Who were these people whom the angel calls “the servants of our God”? No one knows for sure. Some believe these were servants of God left behind at the rapture to continue the preaching of the gospel to whomever might believe. But likely they were the ones who had witnessed the terrible judgments of God already unleashed on the earth, and had repented of their sins and called out for God’s mercy. No sooner did they cry out to God for his mercy in repentance and in faith, than their conversion was accomplished, and they were marked as the servants of God. We see a great contrast here between those who repented as a result of the cataclysms they witnessed, and those who went into hiding from God and his wrath in chapter 6:16-17.  When they were confronted with God’s wrath that was being poured out upon the earth, form the least of them to the greatest went into hiding in caves and under mountain rocks. Not only that, but when they realized that the wrath of God was nearly upon them, they rather die in their guilt rather than repent and turn their hearts to God in faith. The contrast is stark among these two groups of people, those who repented when they faced the wrath of God and those who hid and would rather die than to repent of their sins, turn to God in faith. Their pride was as high as the mountains they went hiding in from the wrath of God. And even when there seemed to be no hope of curbing the wrath of God, they wanted to die. They did not know that even in death they would not be able to avert the wrath of God, for after the first death, the natural death, there is a second death where the souls of humankind would have to be judged to eternal condemnation in the fiery lake of sulfur. That is why the living God calls out to men while the time is still opportune, not to wait but to surrender their lives to him who alone can save them from the coming wrath.

When God saw that there were those who had repented and turned their hearts to him in faith in the Lamb who was slain, what did God decide to do in the midst of his raging wrath upon the earth? God decided to halt his great wrath until every one of them was sealed on the forehead, so as to be sealed to God and though their bodies may still perish in the judgment to come upon the earth, their souls would be securely tucked into the loving hand of God their Father.

“Put a seal on the forehead of my servants” God seems to have commanded his angel who was also sealed with God’s seal. How important is this seal on the hearts of men. In biblical history there seems to be two kinds of seals that are prominent. There is God’s mark or seal and then there is the mark or seal of the beast which we will eventually see in Revelation chapter 13:16. Who has the seal of God, and who has the seal of the beast or that of the devil? Ever since Jesus came to this world, and gave his life on the cross for the sins of the world, there has been the seal of God available for those who repent and put their faith in Jesus their Savior. The seal of God is the blood that washes the sins away and that cleanses the heart from the ravages of sin and sets the newborn child of God on a course to eternal life and the kingdom. The seal of God is the Holy Spirit whom God sends to every repentant sinner who turns his or her life to God to live by the gospel and its teachings. The seal of God is the only thing worth living for in this world, since in the end, when the time comes for God to separate the people according to their respective judgments, those with the seal of Jesus on their hearts will be spared the wrath of God and be taken to heaven to live with God forever. On the other hand, the world which has rejected Jesus as Lord and Savior and spurned his blood shed for their sins, has the mark of Cain on their hearts. It is the mark of the beast who plagues them to live in sin and to enjoy the pleasures of sin without remorse until judgment overtakes them and the hell claims them as its own children.

Men can either be sealed by the seal of God or they can be sealed by the mark of the beast, and there is no middle ground where men may enjoy the convenience of both. Jesus said in Luke 11:23: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” All people, including nominal or cultural Christians ought to ask themselves the question, “Do I have God’s seal on my heart…. or not”? Have I been washed clean by the blood of the Lamb who died on the cross to redeem me from the work of sin in my heart? Is the blood of Jesus applied to my heart? Does the Holy Spirit who was promised to all who believe in Jesus live in my heart… have I asked the Holy Spirit to be the guide of my life?” These people ought to know that if they have no seal of God on their hearts, they have the other seal, a seal that will mark them as unfit for eternal life, nor of the kingdom. Therefore, men and women must make every effort to respond to the grace of God which is in abundance upon us in this generation. A free and precious grace that marks the heart that repents and trusts in the Lord as “sealed by God” and destined for heaven and for eternal life.

God’s seal not only marks the man or woman who have it as “servants of God” but the seal also works to empower that servant to do the work of God as “servant of God.” God’s seal gives you the authority to speak the words of God that lead people to repentance and to faith, and that changes their lives on the inside to become God’s children. The seal of God is the great authority that is given to those who belong to God to do the work of God in a world that is soon to perish. But not many Christians exercise that authority give by right to those who believe. Some do not exercise it for timidity and fear, others do not exercise it for indifference, some even do not exercise simply because they do not want to disrupt their natural lives. The authority to serve God and to rescue his lost children is given but only few know to use it for the good of the human race. The human race is perishing for lack of workers who are willing to serve the Lord’s good purpose by the authority they had been given to save lives. That the authority is given is clear. One of the last things the Lord left us with is that authority to bring life to the dead, to speak the words that can revive the heart of the dead and bring it to life. For he said: “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” The Lord meant that that same authority that he has has been passed on to us, and that we ought to use it to mark others with the seal of God. And they can only be marked by God’s seal if we repent of our laziness and our own comfortable lives and our own ideas of what we ought to do with our Christian faith, and then go out and bring the lost children of God in. I challenge myself this day that I would exercise the authority I have been given to teach the Bible to his children, to find then and to bring them to study until they know Jesus and God seals them with his own seal. Amen. Would you do the same today? If you do please stand up and we will all pray together and vow that we would use the seal on our own hearts to bring the Triton students to the Lord this semester. Amen.

Look at verses 4-8. the numbers who were to be sealed numbered 144000. But this is only a symbolic number of all God’s true followers. We cannot understand fully the significance of the numberings in the book of revelation, but God does. And what we understand is that God is willing to rescue a large number of his people who have been sealed by the seal of God on their forehead. Out of his mercy God then seals them. Then what happens? Look at the remarkable verses 9-10. Read. “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” What a glorious scene. We do not know if these multitudes from every nation and people included those who had just been marked and rescued from the tribulation to come or not, but the fact that an enormous heavenly host stood there before the throne of the Lord to praise and worship him and to make one single eternal confession that has remained from the beginning of time and will outlast time itself. What is that confession?

Read verse 10 again. “And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” This is the truth eternal from the beginning of time, that no human being no system no philosophy nothing in this world has ever been able to bring salvation to man’s soul. Men have tried religions, they have tried science and technology, they have tried even one another in an effort to find salvation for their souls, but all has failed. All has failed because as the people of all nations cry out here in the end of time that salvation belongs only to our God. Indeed salvation is God’s. Only God has been able to save us from our sins. Only God has been able to save us from our corruption. Only God has been able to bring us to the foot of the cross of Jesus so that we may shed tears of repentance and of love and of devotion to the only one who could save us from our wretched lives. Praise God that salvation is from God for it belongs to him. He is the initiator of our salvation and has carried it through now and will carried it through till the end of time. The nations standing before the great God of heaven singing glory to God for his salvation could not stop giving honor to him even on the even of his coming wrath for the Lord stopped his wrath for a moment to seal the foreheads of his servants and rescue them from his wrath. Praise him that salvation belongs to him, and whoever wants salvation, who has it not, should stand and ask the Living God who lives here in this church to mark him with the seal of his salvation. Amen.

John inquires further as to what is happening and the angel tells him in verse 14 that “these are they who have come out of the great tribulation, they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” What a beautiful scene it is, countless people rescued from the wrath of God, countless humble and submissive people rescued by the mercy of the wrathful God, and taken out so that they might suffer what is yet to be done to the earth when the judgments finally come upon it. And there is a promise for them. What was the promise? Read verses 16-17. “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” This is the promise of paradise for those who are marked by the seal of God. May God mark your heart today as you wash your hearts with his blood shed for you and lift your hearts to him in humble submission and obedience to go and to make disciples of all nations according to the authority you have been given to serve him and his cause. Amen

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