Sealing of the 144,000 on Earth: Part 4 of 4 (series: Lessons on Revelations)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

All of God’s followers will be brought safely to Him; not one will be overlooked or forgotten. God seals these believers either by withdrawing them from the earth (in the Rapture (see verses 2-3 above) or by giving them special strength and courage to make it through this time of great persecution. No matter what happens, they will be brought to their reward of eternal life. Their destiny is secure. These believers will not fall away from God, even though they may undergo intense persecution. This is not saying that 144,000 individuals must be sealed before the persecution comes, but that when persecution begins, the faithful will have already been sealed (marked by God), and they will remain true to Him until the end.

The number 144,000 is significant because it signifies perfection and completeness (144 = 12 x 12). Some see here the completeness of God’s people: the 12 tribes of Israel (Old Testament saints) and the 12 apostles (New Testament saints). This may be a good application of this passage, but it is not the basic interpretation; for we are told that these 144,000 are Jews, and even their tribes are named.

In the early church this picture of sealing was specially connected with two things. (a) It was connected with baptism which was regularly described as sealing. It is as if, when a person was baptized, a mark was put upon him to show that he had become the property and the possession of God. (b) Paul regularly talks about the Christian being sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The possession of the Holy Spirit is the sign that a man belongs to God. The real Christian is marked out by the seal of the Spirit which enables him to have the wisdom and the strength to cope with life in a way beyond the attainment of others.

But the mentioning of the sealing of the 144,000 in chapter seven does not mean that they “were sealed” between the sixth and seventh seals. There is no date or time mentioned. When they “were sealed,” we do not know. They were probably sealed immediately after the Rapture. The Scripture does not enlighten us here; therefore, it is not for us to know the date or the exact time. These sealed ones will no doubt preach throughout the years of Daniel’s 70th week of prophecy, the Tribulation period (Approximately seven years). Even in the midst of Satan’s kingdom, where all hell is loose on earth, the power of the Gospel will reach millions, or rather; “a great company that no man can number” (Revelation 7:9).

The same 144,000 are mentioned again in Revelation 14:1. There John says, “And I looked, and low, a lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” Not one of the number is missing. There were 144,000 before the tribulation began; all are safe now in heaven. Notice that the verse says that “His Father’s name written in their foreheads,” but as I said above, I don’t know what will be written there, because I don’t know what name God will use for this purpose.

{1] Phylactery, in Jewish religious practice, one of two small, black leather, cube-shaped cases containing Torah texts written on parchment, which, in accordance with Deuteronomy 6:8 (and similar statements in Deuteronomy 11:18 and Exodus 13:9, 16), are to be worn by male Jews of 13 years and older as reminders of God and of the obligation to keep the Law during daily life. According to rabbinic regulations, one of the phylacteries is worn on the left arm facing the heart and the other on the forehead at the morning service (except on the Sabbath and festivals) and at the afternoon service on the Ninth of Av.

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