What does it mean to be sealed in the time of the end?
by Steve Sterling 11/30/2011 / Prophecy
The promise to the Philadelphian church in Revelation 3 is a promise to enter into the experience of the 144000. Just as it was said of the 144000 in Revelation 14, it was promised to Philadelphia that they will have the Father's name in their foreheads; it will be given to them as a reward for overcoming. This overcoming is in reference to the conflict with the powers of evil in the great controversy between Christ and Satan.
There are three reasons why the people of God must be sealed before the Second Coming:
1. They are sealed for protection
2. They are sealed for identification
3. They are sealed for empowerment
The sealing of the people of God as a means of protection is reminiscent of the experience of Israel during the outpouring of the ten plagues on the land of Egypt. You will recall the arrangement that Moses was commanded to put in place in anticipation of the tenth plague. This particular plague was to be in the form of the death of the first born of every household. It was commanded that the blood of a lamb was to be placed upon the door post of every house as a means of protecting them from the destroying angel. So will it be in the time of the end with spiritual Israel.
In anticipation of disastrous events that is to affect the earth, it was commanded that the four angels hold back the winds of strife a little longer so as to facilitate the sealing process. The fact that the saints must be sealed before these events seems to suggest they will be given special protection. The magnitude of the adversities to come will make it necessary for God to adjust His security arrangements for His people on earth; the level of protection must be in proportion to the enormity of the security threat.
What we need to understand is that after the sealing work is finished, the work of salvation will shortly come to an end, then Satan will have entire control over the hearts and minds of sinful men and over the natural elements. Just imagine the confusion and the chaos that will ensue when the enemy is allowed to have such a control. This is the kind of calamity that the angels of God are holding back. Therefore, the level of enmity that the people of God will have to face will be of a completely different dimension from what now obtains. Hence the need for extra protection that is far more than we are now given.
The seal of God is also a sign that identifies the people of God as belonging to Him. Since the completion of the sealing work signifies the beginning of catastrophic events, it would be important that a special ID sign be placed on the people of God that will distinguish them from the sinful inhabitants of the world. In order for the angels to know who they are to protect they must have some kind of token by which they determined this.
On the other hand, there will be a time when everybody will eventually have a seal. While there will be the seal of God, Satan will invent his counterfeit- the mark of the beast. Therefore, it will be important for the protecting angels to differentiate between the saints of God from those who are not.
The ultimate effect of the sealing work is the level of empowerment it will give to the people of God. This power will be given in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days. It was said that Christ was sealed by the Father (Jn 6:27). This particular sealing is in reference to the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon Jesus at His baptism when His Father confirmed Him as His beloved Son and Messiah. It was through this power that the Son of God was able to minister to the multitudes by signs and miracles.
It was also said that the early disciples were sealed in a similar manner. This is how the Bible describes their sealing experience:
"Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" 2Cor. 1:21, 22
"That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom also 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." Eph. 1:12, 13
The sealing of the apostles and the other disciples took place after the Lord poured out His Spirit at Pentecost. You will notice that the same kind of work that Jesus did were performed by His disciples after the endowment of the gift of the Spirit. Just as it was on the day of Pentecost, so will it be in the time of the end.
Based on the ancient harvest analogy, there will be a former and a latter rain. The purpose of the former rain is to bring the fruit to maturity, while the latter rain ripens it and brings it to perfection. What took place at Pentecost is the former rain, but in the time of the end when the 144000 are sealed, the latter rain will be poured out. It is for this reason that they are said to be without fault before the throne of God (Rev. 14:5). When the people of God are sealed in their foreheads, they will see the fulfillment of the promise of the gift of the Spirit through the prophet Joel (Joel 2).
While the prophecy of Joel applies in a secondary sense to Pentecost, it will have a primary fulfillment in the outpouring of the latter rain showers of the last days. Thus, all the miracles and all the signs that marked the early church after Pentecost will be repeated in greater measure when the end-time church is sealed unto the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). It is at that time that the people of God will be settled into the truth both intellectually and spiritually so that they cannot be moved.