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Two Different Seals

By: Scott Morton

When a person uses dispensational Bible study methods, there are many things that can be seen as differences, such as law and grace, or prophecy and mystery. This can also be used to look at some things that are called by the same word, but have different meanings in different dispensations. The idea of what the gospel is would be an example, as the message that has saved people changed with the changing of the dispensation.

There are two people that can be labeled as being sealed according to the passages that discuss them. There is one group that the Apostle Paul refers to as being sealed in Ephesians 1 and another group that the Apostle John refers to as being sealed in Revelation 7. We will see in this article that there are some distinct differences between the two groups and the seal does not function the same way for each group.

The Seal for the Body of Christ

Paul makes a reference to being sealed in Ephesians 1. This is the passage that applies directly to us. Let's take a look at this passage in some detail:

Ephesians 1:13-14

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

This is the clearest passage related to the seal that Paul says that we, as members of the Body of Christ, have as a present possession. This verse states that after we have heard the gospel (that Paul presents in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we have belief and a trust that has been placed in this gospel. Once that happens, we then receive the seal, which is that holy Spirit of promise. We are actually sealed with the Spirit, one part of the Godhead. This is truly a glorious thing to know that the Spirit is what seals us and is going to keep us, as we know that there is nothing that can get past God. If God plans on keeping something, He is going to do so, no matter what a person may try to do to break the seal.

It is important to note that the people that are sealed are those that are accept the gospel that is presented. This means that anyone that is alive currently, whether they are a Jew or a Gentile, can accept this gospel and be made members of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:16, Galatians 3:28). There are no distinctions that are currently being made and this is open to any that would accept what is being done There is no one that can be held out of the Body of Christ, as the opportunity is there for all to accept this gospel that has been presented.

There is a timeframe that has been placed on how long this seal is going to last. This is important for us to look at, as it will give us an idea of how long we are going to have this protection that is being provided for us at this time. We see this from the passage that we started with, but we also see this from the following verse:

Ephesians 4:30

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

We see that it is until the day of redemption that we have this seal. This seal is going to last until Christ comes back for his church, an event that theologically is referred to as the Rapture. This means that if we are sealed until then, there is no way that we can get out of this seal. There is nothing that a believer can do that would cause God to remove this seal and condemn a person to eternal separation from God. This is why this verse is so important to the life of a believer.

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

If this verse were not true, there would be many problems that we would have. There can be no condemnation to us, because we are in Christ Jesus. If there was condemnation, it would be possible to say that we could commit a sin that would remove us from the Body of Christ. Many people do not want to use this verse as a verse related to the eternal security of a believer, but it truly is, as it has been made impossible for us to walk in the flesh.

The Seal in Revelation

Just like Paul talks about the idea of a seal, there is a seal that is mentioned in the Book of Revelation. This seal is going to function differently than the one that Paul is making a reference to. The main passage that talks about the sealing of these people is found in Revelation 7:3-8

Revelation 7:3-8

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.

The first thing that we need to look is at is who are the people that are referred to as being sealed. The verses clearly state that it is 12,000 people from each of the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel, giving us the 144,000 people that are looked at. It is important to note this, as there are no other verses that state that there are others that have been sealed for this purpose. The number does not change, as there are none that are added to, or subtracted from, this number.

There is a clear timing that happens with this seal. This is not mentioned until after the sixth seal has transpired. This means that they are not protected until this time, even though they are referred to as being without fault (Revelation 14:5). They have been protected for the purpose of God re-establishing the kingdom of Israel on earth, with 12,000 men from each of the tribes of Israel to make sure that the nation would be intact when the kingdom is established on the earth.

The seal is also different than we have seen with what had been given to members of the Body of Christ. This is clear from Revelation 14:1

Revelation 14:1

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

The seal that these people receive is the name of the father written in their forehead. This is not the same thing as being sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, no matter how much a person would like to twist the words that are recorded here.

There is a clear reason this seal has to be put in place, as there are things going on during this period that could affect the members of the 144,000 that are sealed. This is clear from reading Revelation 9:1-4. As we see in this example, the instructions given to the locusts was that they were to hurt only those that did not have this seal. There is a supernatural protection that those sealed have from the things that are going on in the earth. This protection will only end when the kingdom is established on the earth (Revelation 20:4-6).

This seal does not have anything to do with the salvation of the individual members of the nation of Israel, as it is clear that they do have the opportunity to lose their salvation. An example of a passage dealing with this in Hebrews 6:4-6. It talks about the fact that there are those that have tasted of the heavenly gift that have fallen away from it. Once this has happened, it becomes impossible for them to have access to this. This is also why the individual members outside of the 144,000 would never be sealed, as there would be those that would be tempted by what was going on during the 70th week of Daniel and would give in, by taking the mark of the beast, in order to be able to support their family.

We have seen that there are some differences in the seals that are mentioned in these two passages. It is important for us to understand this if we are going to be noble Bereans and study the Scripture, using the principles that Paul lays out in 2 Timothy 2:15. In order for there to be no confusion on some of the points that were presented in this article, the following chart presents the summary of what was discussed.

 

BOC (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Israel (Revelation 7:3-8)

Who are sealed

Jew and Gentile forming the Body of Christ

Members of the 12 tribes of Israel that have remained pure

What seal is

Spirit, part of the Godhead

Name written in their foreheads

How receive seal

Believe the gospel that has been presented (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Those that had been protected and chosen of God

Purpose

Placement into the Body of Christ

Protection from the wrath of God being poured out in order to be part of earthly kingdom

End of the seal

The redemption of the purchased possession

The establishment of the kingdom upon the earth



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