THE SEAL PROTECTS AND SECURES THE 144,000
God’s seal protects His people. Just as documents were protected by the seals that were placed upon them, so God’s people will be protected by the seal of God. God’s people have always been sealed (Ephesians 1:13), but the urgency and danger of the time just before the coming of Christ requires a special sealing, described as being “sealed…in their forehead.” A special protective mark is not a new concept. As God was delivering the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt through a series of plagues, He instructed them to put a mark on their doorposts, the blood of a lamb that was slain. The special mark protected them from the final plague, the slaying of the first-born children.
During the final crisis, God’s people will again need protection. The locusts of the fifth trumpet “were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God in their foreheads” (Revelation 9:4). In chapters 8 and 9 we will see that this seal will protect them from Satan’s attempts to destroy them through chaos and warfare. They will also be protected from the destructive judgments of the seven last plagues, in contrast to those who receive the mark of the beast (Revelation 14:9-12).
The protective sealing is a perfect parallel of Ezekiel 9, where the destroyers are also restrained while God’s servants are being marked. The prophet Ezekiel heard the announcement, “Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand” (v.1). He saw six "men" (apparently angels) with battle axes in their hands, and among them was a "man" who was “clothed with linen and had a writers inkhorn at his side” (v.2). The man in linen was told, “Go through the midst of the city…and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it” (v.4). The angels with their deadly weapons were commanded, “Go after him through the city and kill, do not let your eye spare nor have any pity…but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark” (v. 5,6) Likewise the 144,000 will be protected by “the seal of the living God...in their foreheads”.
God’s seal secures His people’s place in His kingdom. The investigative judgment allows the unfallen inhabitants of the universe to join in the determination of who will finally be admitted into God’s eternal kingdom. For the believers of all ages who have died, this determination is made while they sleep in the grave during the investigative judgment when “the court is seated and the books are opened” (Daniel 7:10). They will rise in the resurrection to meet Jesus at His Second Coming. However, those who are still alive when Jesus comes will have already had their names considered in the investigative judgment. Jesus said “Behold I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12, see also Isaiah 40:10, 62:11). When Jesus comes the righteous “shall be caught up…to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), while the unrighteous “shall be punished with everlasting destruction…when He comes” (2 Thessalonians 1:9,10).
These verses show that the final determination will have already been made by the time Jesus comes. This means that those who are sealed will be guaranteed to be secure as citizens of the heavenly kingdom while they are still living on earth during the chaos of the time of trouble. Apparently, as a part of the great controversy Jesus will present the 144,000 to the universe and will seal them, guaranteeing that they will remain faithful until the end. In this respect they are like Job. Satan challenged that the earth was all his, but God pointed to Job as one who was and who would remain faithful, even when Satan demanded and received permission to try him to the uttermost (see Appendix 8).