In the Old Testament, winds stand for destructive forces by which God executes judgments upon the wicked (Jer. 23:19-20; Dan. 7:2). “As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passions, all the elements of strife will be let loose”. – Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 614. These destructive forces are being restrained by divine intervention while the sealing of God’s people takes place.
In ancient times, the primary meaning of sealing was ownership. The meaning of the symbolic sealing in the New Testament is that “the Lord knows those who are His” (2 Tim. 2:19, NKJV). God recognizes His own people and seals them with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14; Eph. 4:30). At the end-time, the seal on the forehead is given to God’s faithful people, who keep His commandments (Rev. 14:1, Rev. 14:12). It is not a visible mark put on one’s forehead, but as Ellen G. White states, it means “settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they [God’s people] cannot be moved”. – Last Day Events, p. 220. In contrast, those who ultimately side with the beast receive the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:16-17).
The faithfulness of God’s sealed people has been tested in every generation. However, the test of faithfulness in the final crisis will be the keeping of God’s commandments (see Rev. 12:17, Rev. 14:12). In particular, the fourth commandment will become the test of obedience to God (Rev. 14:7). As the Sabbath has been the sign of God’s people in biblical times (Ezek. 20:12, Ezek. 12:20; Heb. 4:9-10), so it will be the sign of loyalty to God in the final crisis.
At the time of the end, the seal also functions as a sign of protection from the destructive forces of the seven last plagues (see Ezek. 9:1-11 for the backdrop imagery of Rev. 7:1-3). Thus, the question raised in Revelation 6:17 receives the ultimate answer: those who will be able to stand protected on the day of God’s wrath are the sealed people of God.
|Paul warns us not to grieve the Holy Spirit by whom we have been sealed (Eph. 4:30). What does that mean? How does one grieve the Holy Spirit? Once you have your answer, what choices can you make to help you not to grieve Him?|