Dear Hope family,
Thought for the Week
Revelation – The Saints are Protected
Revelation 7v4 “Then I heard the number of all those who were sealed … .”
Last week, we saw imagery of a lot of suffering on the earth. This week, in Revelation 7, there is another side to what is going on as we switch scenes. We are still in the heavenly realms, but God is placing a seal on his people’s foreheads to protect them in the suffering. There are several points for us to take from this:
- God places a seal of protection on those who belong to him (v1-3). It does not mean we have no suffering, but it does mean we have hope. We may be reminded of the seal of the blood of the lambs on the doorposts of the Israelites in Exodus 12v13, or the mark of protection put on people’s heads in Ezekiel 9v4. The seal we receive is of course the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1v13). The seal demonstrates that we belong to God – and that remains the case even in suffering. Being assured of your identity in God is a huge protection against all that is thrown at you.
- Everyone who belongs to God is sealed (v4-8) The number “144000” is a number of completeness (12 x 12) and size ( times 1000). The tribes listed here with exactly 12000 from each makes clear that this is symbolic for completeness (note there were actually 13 tribes of Israel, but different lists have different ones to give 12).
- All nations in worship – The great multitude (v9-13) is the same crowd – with representation from every people group praising the Lamb for his salvation and God for his power and glory. It is an image of the universal church in praise.
- All will be well – These people have been through suffering, but they are now in a place of perfection and comfort with the Lamb as their shepherd! (v14-17)
As the anniversary of the lockdown comes next Tuesday 23rd March, and there is a “National Day of Reflection” with many grieving the loss of loved ones ( https://www.cte.org.uk/Articles/605509/Home/Coronavirus/_National_Day.aspx ) , let us remember God has placed his seal on us and we belong to him. May that cause your soul to cry out to him not only in lament, but also in praise.
With love and blessing,