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Revelation 7:1-8 – God’s People Are Marked with a Seal

Summary

The book of Revelation describes the people of God as sealed by God. Therefore, this great multitude of people belongs to God.

Analysis

Revelation says that the redeemed bear a seal on their foreheads. The seal consists of the names of God and the Lamb and shows that the redeemed belong to God (Revelation 14:1). The seal is presumably not a visible one but a way of indicating that people find their identity in relationship to God and Christ. This seal or relationship does not mean that people are exempt from all earthly suffering, but it does show that God has claimed them and gives them the promise of life everlasting. John hears that those who are sealed number 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel (7:4), but when he turns to look at them he discovers that they are actually a countless multitude from every tribe and nation (7:9). The 144,000 are not a special ethnic group. The imagery describes the whole people of God. The seal that they bear is the opposite of the mark of the beast, which is introduced in Revelation 13:11-18.

Revelation 7:1-8

The 144,000 of Israel Sealed

7After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to damage earth and sea, 3saying, ‘Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have marked the servants* of our God with a seal on their foreheads.’

4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the people of Israel: 5From the tribe of Judah twelve thousand sealed,from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand,from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand,from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand,from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand,from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand,from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand,from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand,from the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand sealed.

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10 February 2011

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