“Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
Revelation 7 begins with four angels holding the winds of judgment in their hands, waiting to be released upon a Christ-rejecting world. Fortunately, before they are allowed to begin, another angel is released from heaven to seal those who belong to God. We are not told exactly what this seal looks like, but we know that it is a mark that God places upon the forehead of these believers. It indicates that they belong to Him. There is a similar picture to this found in Ezekiel 9, where prior to judgment coming upon Israel, a messenger of God clothed in linen, marks all who belong to God rescuing them from divine judgment.
Ephesians 1:13 “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise . . .”
While it is clear, Revelation 7 is speaking of a particular group of people, sealed during the great tribulation, it is also true that all who trust in Christ receive a seal which marks them as God’s possession. That seal is the Holy Spirit, who indwells us at the moment we trust Christ for salvation. Paul tells us, upon receiving the indwelling of the Spirit, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.
Just yesterday, I was privileged to meet a woman and watch as she made a decision to trust Christ. She was beaming with joy so great, she could hardly contain it. All the pain and anguish of the difficulties of life, both past and present, seemed to be overshadowed by the intense joy that filled her upon receiving Christ. She was sealed with the spirit of promise.
Revelation 7:9-10 “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”
Those sealed by the Lord did not simply stand around and discuss how they had been sealed. Instead, they looked upon the world they lived in, and saw multitudes in need of Christ, and they declared the Gospel. What an amazing thing it will be, to stand in heaven and meet those who you helped lead to Christ.
Recently, I met a woman, who when she learned I was from America, began to thank me for those missionaries who came to the former Soviet Union in the early 90′s. She and her husband, along with many friends, had come to Christ through the ministry of one such missionary. What she did not know, the man standing with me, was one of those early missionaries. Fresh out of High School, he had given a year of his life to take the Gospel to Eastern Europe. What joy filled her eyes as she met, not the man who led her to Christ, but one who symbolized for her, all who loved her enough to risk it all for the Kingdom. What a joy! One day we will be in heaven with saints from every tribe and tongue, who have been washed in the Blood of the lamb and sealed with the Spirit.
Questions for Revelation 7
In the last chapter we saw the beginning of the Great Tribulation. As the first six seals are opened we see catastrophic events taking place upon the earth.
1. Read verses 1-3. After the great earthquake of chapter 6, there is now a meteorological catastrophe as the wind ceases to blow. According to verse 3 what will this have a harmful effect upon?
2. Before this can happen, God takes 144,000 Jews and places His protecting and preserving seal upon them. What are these people referred to as in verse 3?
3. In verse 9 we see a great multitude of the saved from all over the earth. We will learn more about them shortly. For now notice the Lamb. Where is the Lamb? Does the Lamb receive equal praise to God?
4. Verse 12 lists seven things that are to be ascribed to God. What are they? Do you give these things to God?
5. Verses 13-14 tell us the identity of the innumerable multitude mentioned earlier in the chapter. Who are they? Even though the wrath of God is being poured out and the world is experiencing tribulation like it never has before, the mercy of God is still evident. How has God’s mercy been evident in difficult times in your own life?
6. Look at verse 15. Where do these tribulation saints have the privilege of staying, and what do they have the privilege of doing?
7. Look at verses 15-17. List all the benefits that the tribulation saints enjoy in God’s presence.