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The mystery of “the seal of God”
A powerful revelation

In the book of Revelation, a powerful verse speaks of God protecting His chosen ones during the last days:

And I heard the number of THE SEALED, a hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel. (Revelation 7:4 Dar)

There are many different types of seals used for a variety of purposes, like the wax seals poured into jars containing vegetables or fruits, or the rubber seals that safeguard different parts of an automobile engine. Usually, these seals serve a dual function, preventing the valuable contents on the inside—like food or lubricant—from leaking out, and preventing the dirt or contamination on the outside from getting in.

This could be compared to the seal of God in the lives of believers, for in a spiritual sense, the “seal” prevents the valuable contents on the inside from ‘leaking out’ (the presence and character of God within us), and it prevents the contaminating influence of the world from getting in (sin and demonic influence). This is a fitting and good analogy. However, the word “seal” in the Bible is describing something much different, and symbolically, much more profound.

Scripturally a “seal” is a device made of stone, precious stones, metal, or some other hard substance, that contains a raised or inset engraving. If pressed into some soft substance, like clay, wax or paper, it leaves an impression, something that carries just as much authority as a signature. In Bible days, for those engaged in business, or an occupation that required personal identification, a seal was more than an optional accessory; it was an absolute necessity. The use of such seals is still widespread today, like notary seals or corporate seals, to authenticate certain documents or authorize certain transactions.

Interestingly, the word “seal” is both a noun and a verb and is used to describe three related things: the actual device, the act of making the impression, and also, the resulting image, pressed into clay, wax, paper or foil. So, a person can use a “seal” to “seal” a document so that it will bear a “seal” of authenticity.

In ancient times, a seal was ordinarily worn on a necklace or mounted on a ring. The latter was called a “signet ring.” Notice the words “signet” and “signature” are very similar, because they fulfilled a similar function: the proof that a document or transaction is authentic and authorized.

Seals of this nature are mentioned over sixty times in Scripture.


One of the most powerful passages concerning “the seal of God” is found in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians:

     In Him you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Anyone who responds to the Word of truth in faith, repenting and receiving Jesus as Lord of their lives, simultaneously receives an amazing impartation from God. They are sealed. This is not administered by some human authority figure in the church, but by the greatest authority of all: God Himself—through the “Holy Spirit of promise.”

This is not a mere religious ritual, acted out in the natural realm. This is a sacred spiritual event, transpiring in the supernatural realm. It is not the exclusive inheritance of only a few elite persons in the body of Christ. It is common to all truly born-again sons and daughters of God. It is not earned by religious works or acts of righteousness. It is a manifestation of grace that comes in response to faith. It is not only for this brief journey through time. It will last for eternity.


To discover the figurative meaning of a seal, let’s visit some specific instances when seals were used literally in Scripture.

Daniel—The prophet Daniel defied the royal decree. It was an unreasonable demand that no person was to petition any deity or human being except the king of the Medes and Persians for thirty days. Disregarding such an unjust order, Daniel continued to seek the living God daily. Suffering the consequences, he was thrown into a den of lions for his ‘crime.’ Daniel’s enemies must have rejoiced when it seemed he was being “sealed” into an agonizing death:

     . . . a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. (Daniel 6:17)

By this action, King Darius and his lords were making a dual statement—first, that they sanctioned this horrid execution, and second, that if anyone tried to interfere, he or she would be resisting the highest authority in the land and would surely be recompensed. They wanted to make certain there would be no unauthorized entrance into the den to rescue Daniel, that no one would even dare try. So, a “seal” was placed on the prophet’s ‘torture chamber’ so that the “purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.”

If such an evil purpose could be irrevocably established by an earthly sovereign utilizing a natural seal, how much more are God’s righteous purposes irrevocably established when the heavenly Sovereign places on His chosen ones a supernatural seal! Daniel was sealed into death; but those who are born again are sealed into life—the very life of God. Surely, the Most High has done something similar for us on a much higher level—that His purposes in us and through us “might not be changed.”

Yes, we can rest in complete confidence—He who has begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. No weapon formed against us shall prosper. Nothing can separate us from the love. If God is for us, who and what can be against us! These are power-promises we can shout from the rooftops.

Jeremiah—In Jeremiah 32, the prophet’s cousin, Hanamel, requested that Jeremiah buy his field in the land of Benjamin, for he explained, “the right of inheritance is yours, and the redemption is yours” (which meant he was the nearest kinsman / Jer. 32:8). Such a transaction seemed ill-timed and completely illogical, for the Babylonians were soon to lay siege to the Southern Kingdom (which was comprised of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) and carry many of its inhabitants away captive. Jeremiah had even prophesied this would be their dreadful lot and that they would remain in Babylon seventy years. Nevertheless, the man of God bought the field for seventeen shekels of silver and “signed the deed and sealed it” (Jer. 32:10). Moreover, he charged Baruch, his assistant, saying:

    “Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may last many days. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.”  (Jeremiah 32:14-15)

Sealing the deed was a powerful, prophetic statement; it was Jeremiah’s inspired, symbolic way of foretelling that even though the Jewish people would be carried away to Babylon, they would return and ultimately redeem their God-given inheritance. So it is with us, in a similar, though spiritual sense. As Jeremiah put his seal on a purchase agreement, so our Kinsman-Redeemer has placed His seal on the sons and daughters of God. By doing so, He has made a powerful prophetic statement—that we are truly His “purchased possession” (Eph. 1:14). We are God’s “habitation” and the “lot of his inheritance” (Eph. 2:22, Dt. 32:9 KJV). He will return to this world one day and fully redeem us unto Himself. We will then take possession of this world in His name, as it is ushered into a paradise state once again.

Joseph, Esther, Mordecai, and the Prodigal Son—What do these four individuals have in common? They were all given seals (signet rings) by persons in authority: Pharaoh, King Ahasuerus, and a forgiving father (Gen. 41:42, Est. 8:7-8, Lk. 15:22). In each case, it was an act of trust and an impartation of authority. Pharaoh gave Joseph his own signet ring, and in so doing gave him dominion over all the land of Egypt to decree in Pharaoh’s name as Pharaoh’s senior representative. Ahasuerus gave Esther and Mordecai his own signet ring, granting them authority to send out a royal edict throughout the Media-Persian empire announcing deliverance for the Jews. Finally, in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Father commanded his servants to give a ring to his restored son, though he had previously squandered his father’s fortune. Most likely it was a seal, a signet ring, showing that he trusted him to do business transactions once again in the family name.

In all these instances, the signet ring bearing the seal was a token of shared authority and dominion. So it is for those who have been sealed by the Almighty. We have been given power to represent Him in this world and to speak in His name, as “the oracles of God”—as if God Himself is speaking out of us (1 Pt. 4:11).


Having laid the foundation, we are ready to raise up the high-spired revelation of this amazing God-given, spiritual identity that belongs to the people of God. To progress, we should reexamine the details of our primary beginning passage:

     In Him you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Notice the first two phrases in this passage—“in Him” and “in whom”—are accented in bold letters. This reveals that our inheritance is positional; it is assigned to us by the Father because of our position “in Christ.” When we surrender to Jesus’ Lordship and Headship, all that He is transfers to us. The reason we receive the seal of God is simply because Jesus, the firstborn Son, received the seal of God first. Then He transferred it to us. It is part of our inheritance if we are “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” because “as He is, so are we in this world” (Ro. 8:17, 1 Jn. 4:17).

Only one verse testifies of this “sealing” of the Lord Jesus Christ. A large group came to make Him King, primarily because He had just multiplied the loaves and fishes, and they had eaten their fill. He responded to the crowd of exuberant though misguided admirers with the following words:

Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (John 6:27)

One thing is apparent by this passage: the reason for the sealing of the Son of God was His great value and the utter importance of His purpose. He was the beloved of the Father, ordained to descend into this time-locked world to distribute to fallen human beings things of eternal value. He was the treasury of the Father, empowered to bless an impoverished human race with heavenly riches (for “in Him are stored all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”—Col. 2:3 ISV). So it is for every son and daughter of God, for the Son of God prophesied when walked on the earth, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (Jn. 20:21)


What was the exact nature of the seal placed on the Son of God? Remember a seal bears an image, a raised or inset engraving, that is uniquely identified with owner. The image is duplicated with exactness in the clay, the wax, or pressed into paper. Let me emphasize that point again: there is an exact reproduction of the image.

Could the seal, therefore, be the image of the Father transferred to the Son? The Scripture describes Jesus as “the image of the invisible God”—”the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Col. 1:15, Heb. 1:3).  In the latter of these two verses, the Greek word translated “image” is kharaktar, from which we get our English word character. So, Jesus was, and is, the “character” of the Father expressed, so much so that He made the bold claim:

     “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

If we want to see the love of the Father, we look at the Son.
If we want to see the peace of the Father, we look at the Son.
If we want to see the joy of the Father, we look at the Son.
If we want to see the righteousness of the Father, we look at the Son.

He was the personality of the Father in human form, the “fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). No wonder He could be tempted in all points “a we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). The character of God, penetrating to the deepest core of His being, kept Him from contamination. Apparently, that was “the seal” that was placed on Him. He was protected and preserved as well. No one could take His life until the appointed time.

So it is with all other sons and daughters of God. We survive spiritually, when the world woos us, when the flesh draws us, and when demons entice us, only because the presence of God’s character within us—the ‘impression’ of His holy traits—is stronger than any weapon formed against us.  Even if we falter and fail, the seal will prevail in our behalf, causing us to rebound. As long as we desire to be kept by God’s power, He will grip us tightly. Nothing will pluck us out of His hand. How privileged we are! No wonder the Scripture exhorts:

      And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

If we ever walk in fear, doubt, discouragement, depression, lust, rebellion, or vices of any kind, we are walking contrary to “the seal” of God’s nature, and it saddens the Spirit of God deeply.


     Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

The seal of the Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will do a complete work in us. Jesus is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. He who has begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. He will continue supplying more than enough grace until we are completely redeemed (spirit, soul, and body): resurrected fully in His likeness.

This guarantee is like a down payment or what we might call earnest money put down as part of a layaway plan. The patron of a store will select an item of merchandise, then put a down payment on it in the layaway department. Usually, the store clerk will place the customer’s name on the item and store it in a secure place until he or she returns to pay off the rest of the price. So has the Lord done for us. He has placed His name on believers, claimed us as His own, and put us in a safe place spiritually. He will return one day to finish this redemptive transaction and fully take us unto Himself.

Before Jesus returns, however, there will be a time of great tribulation on the earth, as the world has never seen. Several verses describe how God will protect His people:

     After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.(Revelation 7:1-3)

After these three verses, the chapter goes on to list 12,000 from every tribe of Israel who were sealed (144,000 total), then a great multitude of Gentiles who will come out of the great tribulation, washing their robes and making them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (See Rev. 7:14.) I tend to believe, from the flow of the biblical narrative, that the “great multitude” are also sealed. And here is the grand takeaway—If God can protect, preserve, and empower His chosen people victoriously during the final years of overwhelming catastrophe, He can certainly carry “the sealed” through anything they face in life. That should be our confidence, all the days of this earthly pilgrimage, but especially in these last days.

When fear comes against us, the “seal” will empower us with courage.
When doubt comes against us, the “seal” will energize us with faith.
When depression comes against us, the “seal” will enliven us with joy.
When confusion comes against us, the “seal” will inspire us with knowledge.
When lust comes against us, the “seal” will infuse us with holiness.

Whatever the world, evil spirits, or the lower nature throw at us, the seal of God will provide the opposite, delivering us, enabling us, and keeping us unto life forevermore. This is the inheritance of those who are washed in the blood of Jesus, filled with God’s Spirit, and born again!


One final thing to ponder. We just read in the book of Revelation, chapter seven, how God’s servants will be sealed “on their foreheads.” Yet it also foretold in the book Revelation that the mark of the beast will be placed on the foreheads of those who submit to his rule. So the inhabitants of this planet, as we near the end of this age, will either be sealed with the seal of the living God or sealed with the mark of the beast: in other words, consumed with loyal devotion to one or the other.

On the highest level, what is that “seal” for the righteous? Could it be the one we will bear for all eternity? Read this description of the holy city, New Jerusalem, the capital city of the New Creation:

There shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:3-5)

So is His name the seal, dominating our thoughts worshipfully? Is it lasting loyalty and deep devotion to the Messiah, the Redeemer, so in love with Him that all our thoughts are drawn to His beauty, His greatness, and His glory forever and ever!

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Written by Mike Shreve