The Sealing Of The One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand - Rev. Herman Hoeksema
1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
A New Vision Introduced
At this stage of our discussion of the Book of Revelation it seems necessary to remind you of the plan of the second part of this book, beginning with Chapter 4, verse 1.
That plan is, as you will remember, dominated entirely by the number seven, the number of the completion of the kingdom of God. There are seven seals to be opened; and these seven seals cover the whole of the Book of Revelation. When the last part of the seventh seal shall have been realized, the kingdom shall have come, and the works of the devil and of the Antichrist shall have been completely destroyed. The seventh seal, however, when it is opened, reveals itself as seven trumpets. And the seventh trumpet is presented as seven vials of the wrath of God. Undoubtedly this implies that as time goes on the judgments of the Lord upon the wicked world will increase; His activity to bring the kingdom of God will become more pronounced and emphatic Of course, it also implies that the seventh seal is revealed to the church in greater detail than any of the preceding six seals.
Six of these seven seals we have thus far discussed. These, as we have noticed, formed two main groups, the first four belonging together and the last two also being closely allied..
In the first four seals we noticed the powers that were let loose upon the world of men in general in this dispensation. There is, first of all, the power of the spiritual kingdom, symbolized in the white horse. Secondly, there is the power of war, symbolized in the red horse. Thirdly, there is the power of social strife, in the black horse. And, finally, there is the power of death, in the pale horse.
As to the second group, seals five and six, we found that the first of these concerned the saints and pictured to us the people of God that have been slain for the Word of God and the testimony which they had. And we found that the blood of these saints becomes one awful testimony against the world that hates and rejects the Christ, the world which rises in rebellion against His holiness and truth. This means also that the fifth seal furnishes the spiritual, ethical basis for the destruction of the world in the day of judgment. And thus, finally, the sixth seal affects the physical world. All creation belongs to the kingdom of Christ. And therefore as the Messiah begins to establish His world-kingdom and reconquers it from the usurpation of the devil and his host, it is no wonder at all that also the physical world shows the signs of the kingdom of our Lord. This shake-up of the physical world, however, has the effect upon the world of evil that they begin to realize the coming of the great Judge, begin to realize that their imitation kingdom is after all vanity. However, they do not come to repentance. On the other hand, we also remarked that according to the words of Jesus our Savior, it is exactly these signs which may cause the people of God to lift up their heads in hopeful expectation that their suffering and tribulation will soon have an end, and that the Lord will come to redeem them completely.
We might expect, perhaps, that now the Book of Revelation would continue to reveal to us the contents of the seventh seal. Evidently, however, this is not the case. The opening of the seventh seal is not recorded before we come to the eighth chapter of this book. On the other hand, however, it is also evident that this seventh chapter does no more belong to the sixth seal. For, in the first place, that sixth seal is very plainly completely revealed in Chapter 6, verses 12 to 17. That portion is complete by itself, as is plain from the entire form of the section. And, in the second place, the manner in which this seventh chapter is introduced also shows plainly that here we have something new. For John tells us clearly, "After this I saw..." This seventh chapter, therefore, is neither the opening of the seventh seal nor the continuation of the sixth. It is something between the two. It forms an interlude.
Before the opening of the seventh seal is revealed, the Lord deems it necessary to come to His people with a message of a different nature. Terrible things have already been revealed in connection with the six seals Which have thus far been opened. And the question which is asked by the world of unbelief when the sixth seal is opened has undoubtedly by this time also arisen in the midst of the people of God, namely: "Who shall be able to stand?" Still more awful occurrences will be revealed when the opening of the seventh seal is realized. The Lord, therefore, before He proceeds to reveal the opening of this seal, answers the question which might so easily escape from the worried souls of the faithful, "Who shall stand?" It is the answer to this question which we find in this chapter.
This answer contains two parts: the first consists of verses 1 to 8, and the second of verses 9 to 17. And the passage we are now discussing speaks of the scaling of the one hundred forty-four thousand.
The One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand
The first question which naturally arises in our minds when we read these words is: who are these one hundred forty-four thousand of whom the text informs us that they are sealed?
Judging by the numerous interpretations which have been offered, it would seem as if it were indeed an impossibility to come to a satisfactory conclusion.
The explanations which have been given may, in the main, be divided into two classes. In the first place, there are those authors who take it that Israel means the people of the Jews in the literal sense of the word, and that the names of the twelve tribes actually point to the people who used to be the people of God as a nation in the days of the old dispensation. These, therefore, take this indication of the sealed ones in the literal sense of the word. They inform us that here we have the record of the sealing of the people of Israel. But among them there are different shades of interpretation. First of all, there are those who believe that the nation as such, the nation of Jews, shall be saved and shall occupy a special place in the economy of redemption in the future. Israel as a nation shall in the future accept their Redeemer, Whom they have first rejected; and in our text we have the indication of the fact that the greatest destruction of the world may not be initiated before this has been realized. Secondly, there are also those who believe that in the future a time will come in which every individual Israelite will believe in Christ. Not only the nation as a whole, but every individual Jew who exists at that period will call upon the name of the Lord. And the sealing of the one hundred forty-four thousand foreshadows this glorious event. In the third place, there are those who do not believe in the restoration of the nation of Israel in any manner, but who see in these sealed ones the salvation of the remnant of the elect of the Jews, who will be and must be graffed in into their own olive tree, from which they are cut out. Thus, the one hundred forty-four thousand indicate the elect from among the Jews of all ages and countries into which they have been scattered. Finally, there are also those who take it that these one hundred forty-four thousand must be referred to the elect Jews, not of all ages, but only of the period of the great tribulation. That, in general, is the interpretation of the first class which we mentioned.
The second class consists of those who explain these one hundred forty-four thousand sealed ones as referring to true, spiritual Israel of the new dispensation. Israel, even in this portion of the book, must not be taken in the literal sense, but in the symbolic, or typical, sense of the word. And therefore, these sealed ones simply refer to God's own people of all ages. But then there is a difference of opinion even among these. There are, in the first place, those who think that we have here a reference to a special class of people of God who have either escaped from or experienced the great tribulation; and, in the second place, there are those who simply take it that these one hundred forty-four thousand refer to all the people of God at any time.
I must confess that for some time I was rather inclined to cast my lot with the first class of interpreters and to explain that these one hundred forty-four thousand sealed ones had reference to Israel in the literal sense of the word. I did not believe that we have any reference here to the Jewish nation as such, so that the text would mean that there would be a restoration of the Israelitish nation. Nor did Iever think that there would be a special kind of salvation for the Jews. Nevertheless, I thought that these one hundred forty-four thousand symbolized the remnant according to the election of grace, all the elect of Israel, who are to be saved in Christ Jesus. If ever, therefore, I was inclined to find a reference in Revelation literally to Israel as such, it was in this passage.
However, reflection and further study of this particular portion changed my mind. I am now firmly convinced not only that this section does not speak of Israel as a nation, nor of the Jews only, but that Scripture in general absolutely teaches that there is no more a national Israel with special spiritual privileges and with a special way of salvation. And since the subject of Israel as a nation is very frequently discussed, especially in our day, and since the error is often made of maintaining that the Jews as a nation still have special privileges, and still will have a great future as such, I must dwell for just a moment on the teaching of Scripture in this respect.
The portion of Scripture to which I naturally must call your attention for light on this subject is that which we find in the Epistle to the Romans, Chapters 9 to 11. There Paul begins in Chapter 9 by expressing his heartfelt grief over his brethren according to the flesh because of the pitiful condition in which they are found at this time, after they have rejected their own Messiah. But he continues to argue that if anyone would think that the promises of God had failed, and that He had rejected His people, and that the promises of a great seed, as the sand on the seashore and as the stars of heaven, would not now be realized, since Israel as a nation was evidently rejected, he would be sorely mistaken. On the contrary, that promise never was fulfilled as it now is, in the days of the New Testament, if only we make the true distinction between Israel and Israel. "They are not all Israel that are of Israel," says the apostle. Not the fact that they are children of Abraham made them true Israelites. For Ishmael and the children of Keturah also were children of Abraham in that same sense. Yet Isaac was the only child of the covenant. The same was true of Esau. If Israel according to the flesh had been the true Israel, then surely Esau was a child of Abraharn as well a Jacob. Yet Esau was rejected according to the election Of grace. But what made anyone a true Israelite was the fact of election. Spiritual Israel, and ( not Israel as a nation, must be considered the true Israel, Romans 9:6-12 And therefore, we must distinguish also in the days of the Old Testament between Israel as a nation and the true, spiritual Israel. Not all the national Jews were true Israelites. But all true Israelites in the Old Testament were also Jews, belonging to the nation. True Israel, that is, the true, spiritual people of God, were enclosed in Israel as a nation. Now, however, this has been changed. The nation as such has been rejected in the days of the new dispensation; and spiritual Israel, the elect of God, are now gathered from Jew and Gentile alike, as also Moses had already prophesied, Romans 9:24-29. The result is this, that the Gentiles, who did not seek after the righteousness of the law, have obtained the righteousness which is by faith, while Israel, who was seeking in its national blindness after the righteousness of the law and of works, failed to obtain the righteousness in Christ Jesus by faith, Romans 9:30-33.
This righteousness, which is by faith in Christ Jesus,-so Paul continues in Chapter 1 0, -is the main and the only true blessing and characteristic of the people of God in the old as well as in the new dispensation. There is, therefore, in the days of the New Testament no difference between Jew and Gentile: "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him," (Romans 10: 12). It was in that righteousness of faith that the true Israelites of the Old Testament were saved. But the nation as such sought after the righteousness of the law, the righteousness of works. They did not subject themselves to this righteousness which is by faith in Christ Jesus, and therefore as a nation they were rejected from that time forth. And this rejection of Israel as a nation simply meant that salvation from now on was no more confined within the limits of Israel as a nation, but that it became the common property of Jew and Gentile both. If the true people of God in the days of the Old Testament were found only among the Jews, the rejection of the Jews as a nation became the occasion of a universality of salvation.
Finally, the apostle in Chapter 11 approaches the question whether Israel is then rejected of God in such a way that there is no salvation for them, either for them as a nation or for any individual among them. This idea the apostle refutes very strongly. No, Israel is not rejected in that absolute sense, that no Jew can be saved. On the contrary, the apostle argues that he too is a real Jew, and yet he is saved. And he quotes from the time of Elijah to prove that even then there was a remnant according to the election of grace, the seven thousand who did not bow before Baal. And thus it is also now. Even in the days of the New Testament there is undoubtedly a remnant also among the Jews which certainly will be saved. But they will be saved in no other way than the Gentiles are saved, that is, by the righteousness which is by faith in Christ Jesus. And therefore, though Israel as a nation failed, that remnant according to the election of grace will certainly be saved in Christ.
Hence, in the New Testament day this is the relation. If Israel is likened unto an olive tree, then many branches have been cut out of the olive tree. For a hardening in part has come over Israel. But instead of those branches which have been cut out of the olive tree, other branches are graffed in, and that from Jew and Gentile both. And thus, the apostle concludes, all Israel, namely, the true, spiritual Israel, shall be saved. When the fulness of the Gentiles has been ingrafted upon the olive tree of Israel in the spiritual sense, and the fulness of Israel also have been ingrafted upon that same olive tree, then all Israel shall have been saved. Thus is the reasoning of the apostle. In brief, therefore, we may conclude these principles:
1) In the first place, that true Israel, in the old as well as in the new dispensation, is spiritual, not carnal, Israel.
2) In the second place, that the nation as such has served its purpose, and that true, spiritual Israel in the present dispensation is gathered from Jew and Gentile both.
3) In the third place, that there is no difference between the two in the present dispensation. They can be saved only in the same Christ and by the sarne righteousness which is by faith. In Christ there is no Jew or Greek.
If, therefore, you would be Scriptural, then the only conclusion is that there is no such thing in the new dispensation as a special nation with special privileges over and above the Gentiles, and perhaps with a special future. This certainly is not the case.
Let us now return to the Book of Revelation and to the words of our text.
If, in the light of Scripture, as was indicated above, we study this wonderful book, we soon find that it never speaks of Israel in the literal and carnal sense of the word. Thus, when it speaks of Jerusalem, it either refers to apostate Christendom, which crucifies the Christ, or it refers to Jerusalem which is above, the bride of Christ in glory. Jerusalem, Israel, the names of Israel, Zion,-all these are not used in the literal sense of the word, but always in the symbolical sense. And the book goes even so far that it speaks of those who claim that they are Jews merely because of their physical relation to Abraham as a synagogue of Satan, 2:9 And if you say that in this portion we have nevertheless a reference to the Jews as a nation, then let me call your attention to the following clear facts:
1) In Chapter 9, verse 4, we meet these sealed ones again. The locusts out of the abyss have been let loose, and they are about to begin their destructive work. And what is the commission which they receive? Whom may they hurt? Only such men as have not the seal of God on their foreheads. Now if these sealed ones in this chapter are only Jews, then the portion in Chapter 9 would mean that the locusts might indeed hurt the Christians from the Gentiles, but that only the saved ones from the Jews are immune. The absurdity of such a position is very plain. No, only on the basis that with Israel in this chapter both Jews and Gentiles are meant, the spiritual Israel of the New Testament, can that portion be explained. As such, therefore, we accept it.
2) Let us look at the portion itself. First of all, let me call your attention to the fact that in verse 3 these sealed ones are called the servants of God. The servants of God must receive the seal. Are then the Jews only the servants of God, or also the Christians from the Gentiles. The answer is, of course: also the latter. Further, notice the haphazard way in which the twelve tribes are mentioned. Ephraim is not mentioned here, nor is Dan. Have they then forfeited all right to salvation? Must we then assume that there will be no saved ones at all from these tribes? Secondly, Joseph is mentioned, who as such never formed a tribe among Israel. And if you would argue that this name takes the place of his two sons, then you are again mistaken: for Manasseh, one of the sons of Joseph, is mentioned indeed by name. In the third place, they are mentioned without any arrangement as to order. Judah is first, and then Reuben, while also Levi has a portion here as one of the tribes of Israel, though in actual fact he never did have a heritage among them. Now whatever else this may be found to indicate, it certainly tells us that we may not think here of the literal tribes of the nation of Israel, but of the spiritual Israel here upon earth, or rather, of the church of the new dispensation gathered from Jew and Gentile both.
3) Finally, I also insist that if one part of this portion is taken literally, consistent interpretation of the Word of God demands that we take the whole in the same sense. Then we must dare to assume that this text literally
tells us that there will be exactly one hundred forty-four thousand Jews in the future, or in this entire dispensation, that will be saved. No one will accept such an interpretation.
Hence, we maintain that also this portion of the Book of Revelation must be understood in the symbolical sense of the word. Israel is the church of the new dispensation. And the only question that is still to be answered is this: how must we conceive of this church according to the passage?
It is evident that the number must give us the answer to this question. One hundred forty-four thousand is the number John heard, twelve thousand out of every tribe. It needs no argument that, in the first place, we have here the symbol of completion. Dominant in the number is the number ten. Moreover, it is the number of completion also because of the fact that one hundred forty-four contains the number twelve multiplied by itself. It makes us think of a square, even as the perfected Jerusalem is also represented as a perfect square, just as long as it is wide, and just as the holy of holies was ten times ten. It is therefore the number of completion and the number of perfection. But the second question arises: complete in what sense? If one hundred forty-four thousand indicates a complete number of the people of God, does it indicate the number of God's people of all ages, or does it rather indicate those that exist during a definite period? In order to answer this question we must look at the number a little more closely. The basic numbers of one hundred forty-four thousand are evidently ten and twelve. Now twelve is the number of God's people on earth from the point of view of their free salvation. It is like the number seven in that it contains both three and four, but with an important difference. As we know, the number seven is also employed in Scripture as a symbol of the church and of the completed kingdom of' Christ. And so also is the number twelve. But Scripture does not simply employ these different numbers for the sake of variety, but to express a different thought. The difference between the number seven and the number twelve is evidently this, that seven is the mere union of three and four, while twelve is obtained by the process of multiplication of four by three, thus representing the influence of three upon four. If you bear this in mind, the thought is clear. Seven is employed with a view to the church where the union of the church and their head, the union of four and three, and given the earnest Of the Spirit in our hearts." Again, in Ephesians 1: 13 the apostle writes: "In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."And once more, in 4:30 of the same epistle, we read. "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." In all these portions of Scripture we read that the saints are sealed, and that they are sealed by the Holy Spirit. It is, therefore, a mark which is placed upon them which safe-guards them against attack, which makes them invulnerable. It is a seal which will remain upon them till the day of redemption, a seal which makes them immune from a certain point of view.
We cannot go into detail with this idea at this point, but certain it seems that the Holy Spirit is represented as placing a mark upon them which immediately characterizes them as belonging to the Lord, as being sheep of His flock, as being subjects of His kingdom, members of His church. And it is undoubtedly safest that in our interpretation of this part of Scripture we closely adhere to the Word of God in general. The Holy Spirit changes the subjects of Satan into subjects of Christ. He it is Who brings them to regeneration, to faith, to justification, and to sanctification. He it is Who works within them, so that they also confess the truth. They bear the stamp, the mark, of the Holy Spirit. When the Word of God calls this change of the people of God, this impress made upon them by the Holy Spirit, a sealing of the saints, the idea simply is that their ownership can never be changed again. This mark placed upon them by the Holy Spirit is not to be obliterated. These people who are thus sealed by the Holy Spirit can never be changed again into subjects of Satan. In short, the idea of this scaling is the same as that of perseverance of the saints.
Thus it is also in the words of our text. When we read that these people of God, these one hundred forty-four thousand of God's elect, are sealed, all that is indicated is that they belong to God, that they are the possession of Jesus Christ, bought by His precious blood; that this same Jesus Christ also in this present dispensation places His own seal upon them, makes His impress upon them through His Holy Spirit, and that by all the work through which they are changed from subjects of Satan into subjects of Christ; and, finally, that this work cannot be changed again, but that these saints will remain His, that they are as subjects of His kingdom immune from any attack from without. There is no power on earth or in heaven or in hell, there is no tribulation or affliction, which can possibly erase this seal, which can make the work of the Holy Spirit undone. Once is to be indicated, as, for instance, in the first chapter of Revelation. But twelve is the number of God's people from the point of view that they are the ones who are saved by grace, by the free grace of God. It points to the influence of God upon the world, three being the number of the Trinity, four being the number of the world. Hence, we have in this number twelve an indication of the people of God from the point of view of their reconciliation to God through the influence of divine grace. In the second place, twelve is also the number of the people of God from the viewpoint of their earthly existence in any period of time. In the Old Testament there were twelve patriarchs and twelve tribes of Israel; and in the New Testament there are twelve apostles and twelve elders. In the state of perfection they are combined, and you obtain the number twenty-four. But here upon earth the church, both in the Old and in the New Testament, appears under the symbol of the number twelve. And thus we come to this conclusion, that this number, twelve times twelve, is the symbol of the church of God from the viewpoint of their reconciliation to God through His free grace, and that too, during any period of their existence. And since, as we found, ten is the number of God's decree, and this number is contained in the one hundred forty-four thousand three times, we evidently have here the complete number of God's elect people, reconciled by grace, as they are upon earth in any period of this present dispensation.
This rather intricate interpretation was necessary, first of all, in order to understand correctly the portion which we are now discussing. For now we can ask the second question: what is implied in the scaling of these one hundred forty-four thousand?
The symbol of the seal is very often used in Scripture, both in the Old and in the New Testament. Its general significance is clear to us all. It is a mark impressed upon something. And its most general idea seems to have been that of security and safe-guarding. A proprietor would seal a certain part of his property, for instance, to mark his ownership and safe-guard it against robbery. A book was sealed when its contents had to be kept secret, to safe-guard it against being opened by improper parties. And so we read also in the New Testament more than once of the sealing of the saints. In II Corinthians 1:21, 22 we read: "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and bath anointed us, is God; Who bath also sealed us,
regenerated is always regenerated. Once having come to the faith, one remains a believer. Once being justified is always to stand in the conviction that God forgives us our sins and calls us perfectly righteous. Once having surrendered ourselves to the Savior implies that we shall always belong to Him. He is ours, and we are His, not because we are so faithful and because we are so strong in ourselves, but because the work He has begun for us and within us, in our hearts, partakes of the nature of a seal which can never be erased.
The Significance Of This Sealing
If we understand this clearly, then we will also understand the significance of this portion. For this seal of the living God which is placed upon the foreheads of the people of God is impressed under peculiar conditions. It is a time of tribulation in which these people must bear that seal. The representation of our text is that it is on the eve of tribulation and great affliction that this seal is impressed upon their foreheads. Four angels stand on the four corners of the earth, and they hold the four winds of the earth. And another angel ascends from the cast and warns these four angels not to let the winds go until the servants of God shall have received the seal of the living God on their foreheads.
The meaning of all this is plain. The angels are here the servants of God who must execute the judgment of Christ. And the winds which they hold are the evil powers which will presently be let loose upon all the earth. That they are four, standing on the four corners of the earth and holding the four winds of heaven, shows plainly that these evil forces will affect all the universe ultimately. It is on the eve of tribulation and affliction. The earth and the sea, that is, all that is level upon earth, but also the trees, that is, all that stands upright, will be hurt by these evil winds. And now the angel ascending from the sun-rising comes,-perhaps the Angel of the Lord, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the Sun of righteousness; at any rate, another angel comes,-and warns them that they may not let those winds go till the one hundred forty-four thousand shall have been sealed, that is, till they have been made immune against the evils which shall come upon the earth. Hence, the general idea of this portion of the Book of Revelation is that the people of God in the midst of tribulation and affliction are safe, and that the upheavals of the world shall not touch them, because the Lord their God has sealed them as His own possession.
One more question must be answered: how must we understand this being safe, this security of the people of God on earth, in the midst of trouble and affliction, in the midst of persecution and plagues? Must we take it in the sense that these plagues shall not touch them in the natural sense of the word? Must we understand this scaling in the sense that the people of God shall be exempted when the storms of trouble lower over the world, even as the people of Israel in the midst of Egypt were exempt from plagues which struck that country?
Evidently this cannot, be the meaning. Also the people of God are subject to these plagues which shall come upon the whole earth. With a view to the six seals which we have thus far discussed this has become perfectly plain. Surely, the people of God are touched when the ravages of war devastate the whole world. Surely, the people of God partake of the suffering from a natural point of view which follows from the social contrast. Also the people of God fight the awful battle against death. They also partake of the evil forces which shall be on the earth when the seventh seal is opened. They. shall be on earth when the plagues connected with that seal shall be inflicted upon the world. Still more, they shall be subjected to a suffering which the world shall not know, the suffering for Christ's sake. They shall be persecuted. The world shall more and more oppose them, shall kill them, because of the Word of God and the testimony which they hold. And therefore it may be said indeed that the people of God shall suffer more than the children of the world before the time of the end shall come. In this sense they are not immune; and the sealing of the one hundred forty-four thousand does not at all mean that the people of God shall not suffer.
No, but they are immune as children of the kingdom. From a spiritual point of view they are immune indeed. Spiritually they are sealed. Spiritually they are the subjects of Christ Jesus. And spiritually they shall not be touched or hurt by the plagues and persecutions which shall come upon the earth.
This, then, is the meaning and also the comfort of this particular portion of Revelation.
Six seals have already been opened. Those six seals implied the suffering of the people of God in the world. The seventh seal, which is still to be opened, will reveal still greater suffering and more terrible times. Hence, the question may arise: shall we be able to stand? The answer is in this part of the Book of Revelation in the sealing of the one hundred forty-four thousand by the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. It means that you are sealed in the book of God's decree, that you are elect. It means that you are marked as one of the flock of our Lord, that you are His possession, His peculiar people. It means that you are sealed unto the day of redemption, and that you shall never fall away.
Be not afraid of all that is still to come!
The Lord is our possessor, and He has sealed us also against the evil day!