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Revelation 7:1-8

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. 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: “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.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

(verses 1-4)


There is a certain amount of mystery in this passage. Who are the 144,000? We’re told that they are “from all the tribes of Israel” – is this a literal or a spiritual designation? Are they the same as the “great multitude … from every nation, tribe, people and language” who are identified in verse 9? And is the number itself meant to be precise, or is it instead a symbolic way of communicating completion or “a full complement” of God’s people? Different interpreters have arrived at different conclusions. We’re going to leave those discussions with them.

Instead, we’ll focus on what stands out – the fact that this numbered throng receives the “seal of the living God.” In John’s vision, four angels are standing at the corners of the earth ready to unleash judgement upon the land and the sea and the trees. But another angel appears, “coming up from the east,” who seals all those who are “servants of our God.” Having been sealed, they are preserved amid the outpouring of God’s judgement.

This scene is like that reported by the prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament. In a vision of his own, he saw a man dressed in linen going through the streets of Jerusalem marking an X on the forehead of all those whose hearts were aligned with the heart of the living Lord. Subsequently, all other inhabitants of Jerusalem were slain, falling under God’s judgement – only those who had received the mark were left untouched.

Similarly, John’s vision has echoes of the first Passover. When the angel of death visited judgement on Egypt, he passed-over any house whose doorframes were marked with the blood of the sacrificial lamb. Such marking kept safe the people of God who sheltered within.

So now, John sees an angel sealing these “144,000,” marking them as God’s own, preserving them from the judgement to be poured out on land, sea, and trees. We know that preservation from judgement only comes through the blood of the Lamb shed for us – the sacrificial death of Jesus himself. So, we are not surprised when this “mark” is later made more clear, for we are told these “144,000” are found standing with the Lamb and “had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1).

Yes, there is mystery in this passage. Yet this much is clear: the Lord seals those who are his own, and this sealing brings preservation from judgement.

Applying this truth broadly, if we are in Christ, we are secure. Praise the Lord, we are his own. Praise the Lamb, he has redeemed us.


Thank you, Lord Jesus, your sacrifice has allowed me to be sealed as your own. By faith, like these 144,000, I am secure. You preserve me from the coming judgement. I am redeemed. Oh, how I praise your name.



If you are in Christ, you have the name of the Lamb and of the Father written on your forehead. You are the Lord’s own. Experience that reality afresh. Soak in it. Express your thanks. Choose to walk this day in that awareness.


Photo by Ahna Ziegler on Unsplash

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