When will the 144,000 be sealed and who are they?


Most denominations completely ignore the fact that God will someday seal his people – God’s people, [also called God’s faithful (small) remnant (people)] and call this a fairy tale that we, the Adventists, have invented to make us special, and in that way distinguish us from all other Christians. However, the Bible is clear about the sealing. The sealing is an event that the Bible spends a relatively large amount of space describing. We find it described in Revelation chapter 7 and chapter 9, and it is mentioned in many other verses as an event that will happen at one time or another in history. It is therefore beyond doubt that there will be a sealing of God’s faithful people. What the Bible does not tell us is the exact time when this sealing will take place.

For the record, the phrase to seal in some form is also used in the Old Testament. This can confuse us. In Nehemiah 9:38 we read: «In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it”, (New International Version). Here is a covenant that Nehemiah made with the people and that the leaders of the Jews «sealed«. In Daniel 9,24 we find this: «Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place, (English Standard Version)». Here is the prophecy that Daniel has received – and Daniel who will be sealed, that is to say that the prophecies will be fulfilled when the time is right and Daniel’s service as a prophet will be confirmed. It is therefore of crucial importance that we are able to have two thoughts in our heads at once.

There are many people and many things that have been sealed up throughout history, but this is not with the seal of the living God. These persons and objects have been sealed to confirm the validity of their duties. God’s seal in the end times is a special protection and we will return to this later.

Let’s look at some of the verses we will be focusing on.

In Revelation 7:2-4 it says: And 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 given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed a hundred [and] forty [and] four thousands of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

In Revelation 9:4 it says: And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

Neither Revelation 7 nor Revelation 9 tell us what God’s seal with which God’s faithful people are to be sealed is. What the seal is, and what the seal can also be called, is the first thing we have to find out.

As already mentioned, a seal in this sense can also be called a sign, mark, hallmark. A seal has been used by heads of state and dignitaries for as long as human history has been recorded. We find many examples of seals and seals in the Old Testament. In 1 Kings 21:8 we find this text: So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed [them] with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that [were] in his city, dwelling with Naboth. In the book of Esther 3:12 we find this: Then were the king’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that [were] over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and [to] every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written and sealed with the king’s ring.

It was common for the kings of that time to have a ring that was his seal. When a person had written a document, that person could seal, or set a seal for the document’s contents by melting wax and embossing this wax with their signet ring. When this signet ring was applied to a document and the like, it proved that the document was authentic and showed who «owned» the document because the signet ring contained the name, title, and domain of the owner of the signet ring.

Even in our time, seals are used by heads of state, political authorities, etc. The seals of heads of state contain the name of the person who owns the seal, their title and domain. For Norway’s king it becomes: Harald, which is his name, Rex (king) which is his title and Norway which is his domain. When this seal is embossed on a document, it means that the seal’s owner is also the «owner» of the document.

Can we find something similar in the Bible?

Based on this, we can claim with certainty that God’s seal also contains His name, title, and domain, but can we find a scripture in the Bible that contains God’s name, title, and domain? If we do that, we will be able to identify this as God’s seal. The Bible is a wonderful book, because it explains itself if we study the Bible in prayer, and with the help of the Holy Spirit. God does not leave His children to themselves, and God gives us all the help we need when we need it. So also in this question.

If we go to God’s ten commandments that we find in Exodus 20:3-17, we find this text in verses 8-11: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Here we find the same as a political seal contains. The name of the owner of the seal, which is the Lord thy God, the title of the owner of the seal, which is the creator (made) and the domain of the owner of the seal, which is heaven and earth. God’s fourth commandment – the Sabbath commandment – in other words contains God’s seal. Many will quite rightly point the finger and say that it is not good enough to advance this claim and then claim that it is, because such an argument is circular argumentation. We must therefore find at least one verse in the Bible that confirms this claim. Can we find one or more verses in the Bible that really confirm this claim? Such verses must give us information that tells us what it is that is a seal or a sign, and who owns or stands behind the seal / sign.

Shortly after God had given Israel the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets, while they were still at Sinai, God gives this command to His people: Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you, (Genesis 31:13).

More than 800 years later, God says the following through the prophet Ezekiel: Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the LORD that sanctify them, (Ezekiel 20:12) … // … And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I [am] the LORD your God, (Ezekiel 20:20).

Based on the aforementioned verses, we can conclude that God has a seal that contains His name, title and domain, and that God will seal His faithful people with this seal sometime in the future. But as mentioned at the beginning, there are many, both laypersons and scholars, who do not want to realize that a sealing will be carried out, despite the fact that the Bible is clear on this.

Now many will probably react and say that a sign is not the same as a seal. For that, it is enough to repeat what I have already said and say that sign, mark, and seal are synonymous words that can be used interchangeably and that describe the same thing.

On this matter, Ellen G. White says: Oh, let us live wholly for the Lord and show by a well-ordered life and godly conversation that we have been with Jesus and are His meek and lowly followers. We must work while the day lasts, for when the dark night of trouble and anguish comes, it will be too late to work for God. Jesus is in His holy temple and will now accept our sacrifices, our prayers, and our confessions of faults and sins and will pardon all the transgressions of Israel, that they may be blotted out before He leaves the sanctuary. When Jesus leaves the sanctuary, then they who are holy and righteous will be holy and righteous still; for all their sins will then be blotted out, and they will be sealed with the seal of the living God. But those that are unjust and filthy will be unjust and filthy still; for then there will be no Priest in the sanctuary to offer their sacrifices, their confessions, and their prayers before the Father’s throne. Therefore what is done to rescue souls from the coming storm of wrath must be done before Jesus leaves the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, (Early Writings 48.1).

All Bible texts are from the King James Version unless otherwise stated.

When will the sealing take place?

Different views on the sealing, Jesus, and God’s commandments.

Among Adventists, who are aware that the Bible speaks of a sealing, there are also many different opinions regarding the time when this will happen. Some believe that the sealing began shortly after the Adventists began to keep God’s Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, while others stretch this even further back in time, and claim that everyone who has kept the Sabbath in both New Testament and Old Testament times is sealed and says with that keeping the Sabbath means being sealed, because God’s Sabbath is God’s seal. An explanation like this is not tenable, it is not based on Biblical principles.

These often use certain quotes from Ellen G. White to substantiate their views on the sealing, and say, among other things, that what she says in Gospel Workers shows that the sealing has been going on for many, many years, even for thousands of years, and refers to this quote: “Both Paul and Barnabas had already received their commission from God Himself, and the ceremony of the laying on of hands added no new grace or virtual qualification. It was an acknowledged form of designation to an appointed office, and a recognition of one’s authority in that office. By it the seal of the church was set upon the work of God«, (Gospel Workers; 442.1).

There is only one problem with using this quote as evidence that God’s faithful people have been sealed for thousands of years. It is obvious that Ellen G. White is not talking about sealing individuals with the seal of the living God in this quote, but that some were sealed with the seal of the church, which in this connection is that those who were chosen for a certain office in the church were ordained by the laying on of hands, and in this way they received the seal of the congregation to confirm that they were chosen. This is a huge difference.

Another quote they love to use is the following: There is nothing in this that we do not still hold. Reference to our published works will show our belief that the living righteous will receive the seal of God prior to the close of probation; also that these will enjoy special honours in the kingdom of God. (Selected Messages 1, 66.2). This is also not used in the right way. The question is what it is that our pioneers have said and written down in the books that have been published.

In 1851, Ellen G. White said the following: Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God’s people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty, (Early Writings 43.2). This quote is also used to prove that the sealing is an ongoing action, but she is really talking about the time when the seven last plagues will fall upon the earth, and that will not happen until Jesus has finished his work in the heavenly temple.

In the same book she says: Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over God’s people, and they left without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues. God has begun to draw this covering over His people, and it will soon be drawn over all who are to have a shelter in the day of slaughter. God will work in power for His people; and Satan will be permitted to work also, (Early Writings 44.2).

Much of what is written here is admittedly written in a way that can be misunderstood when taken out of context. The first quotation reproduced above, (Gospel Workers; 442.1), refers to all other statements about the sealing of God’s faithful people, and as the quotation does not refer to any particular time it can be quite tempting to read something into the text that is not there.

Even outside the Seventh-day Adventists, there are many who keep God’s Sabbath, but who do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus himself says that I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me, (John 14:6). Is it then sufficient for the Jews to keep the Sabbath, as they do not believe Jesus is the Messiah and their saviour?

In addition to the groups we have mentioned, there are also those who keep God’s Sabbath and who believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but who believe that God’s law was nailed to the cross together with Jesus, and thereby claim that the law was abolished by Jesus, and that therefore we live in the age of grace. This group has never seen the connection between the law, the grace, and the salvation. The law tells us that we are sinners and shows us the way to Him who can help us. The one who can help us is Jesus, who welcomes us with open arms when we seek Him with all our hearts. Then we are saved by Him, undeservedly and only by grace. If we take away the law that shows us what sin is, there is no longer anything that is sin that we need to be saved from, and then we do not need God’s grace.

Ellen G. White has the following to say about who is sealed. In Testimony Treasures 2; 68.2, she says this: Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Master’s will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works. These who were so familiar with prophecy and the treasures of divine wisdom should have acted their faith. They should have commanded their households after them, that by a well-ordered family they might present to the world the influence of the truth upon the human heart.

The first question we should look at is why God’s people are to be sealed.

We have to find out what the purpose of the sealing is, and then the time for the sealing will be given by itself. If we can find that something similar has happened in history, we will understand better why a sealing is necessary, and then we will also know the time when the sealing will be carried out.

We know that God’s people will be sealed, but we do not know when. The only thing we have to hold on to is that it will happen at one time or another in history. But this is a fleeting term because history began at creation and will not be finished until Jesus returns to collect His faithful remnant.

Ellen G. White says: And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book. Daniel 12:1. When this time of trouble comes, every case is decided; there is no longer probation, no longer mercy for the impenitent. The seal of the living God is upon His people. This small remnant, unable to defend themselves in the deadly conflict with the powers of earth that are marshalled by the dragon host, make God their defence. The decree has been passed by the highest earthly authority that they shall worship the beast and receive his mark under pain of persecution and death. May God help His people now, for what can they then do in such a fearful conflict without His assistance! (Testimony Treasures  2; 67.3).

Here it appears from the text that the door of grace is closed; ‘there is no longer probation’ and this means that Jesus has finished his work in the heavenly temple, and ‘the seal of the living God is upon His people‘. What she does not say, however, is when this time of trouble will come. Since it is Michael who will stand up and protect God’s people, we have a clue. Michael is another name applied to Christ. Then this time of tribulation will be the tribulation that comes just before Christ returns and collects his faithful people. In other words, it is completely in the end times.

Another matter that problematizes an early sealing that lasts for years is the fact that in the end times the second beast, the one from the earth, (Revelation 13:11) will set up an image of the first beast, the one from the sea, (Revelation 13:1). This image the whole world must worship. Then the question follows. What is this image? Setting up this image is one of the last things that happens before Jesus returns.

An image is something that reflects what is depicted. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we see a reflection of ourselves. As for the religious, this has to do with worship, and therefore this image must be something that reflects the teachings of the first beast. One of the last things we know will happen is that the USA will introduce a worldwide Sunday law, and everyone will have to choose for or against this image. This choice must be made before the sealing, for when the sealing is done the sealed are marked for heaven, and those who have chosen to worship the image of the beast have consequently chosen the mark of the beast. Should the sealing take place before this time, those who choose the mark of the beast will still be saved.

Do we have any other evidence that says the same thing? If we go to Revelation chapter 6, John sees the entire history of the church from the cross to the return of Jesus. He sees the spread of the gospel under the first seal, the Christians’ trials in the form of persecution and death during the next three seals, the result of Satan’s ravages with God’s people and all the martyrs under the fifth seal, before we come to the transition between prophetic times and the end times during the sixth seal.

When John saw the seals on the scroll being opened, this must have been frightening for John, which is shown in the question that ends chapter 6. In verse 17 it says: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? He surely wonders if there is anyone at all who will endure until Jesus returns. It is then that Jesus shows him God’s servants, the 144,000 thousand who will be sealed with the seal of the living God in Revelation 7:1-4.

The great day of his wrath is the day Jesus returns, and these verses confirm in other words that the sealing will take place just before Jesus’ return, but they say nothing about why the sealing is necessary. To find the meaning of the sealing, we have to see if we can find a type of the sealing in the Bible. If we find this type, we will quickly see that the sealing will be the antitype. The sealing will have a great significance for God’s people. But to find this image in history, we need to know which event to look for.

It is said today that we are figuratively standing on the banks of the Jordan, and we are ready to go out of this world, which is spiritual Egypt, and into the promised land – the heavenly Canaan. This is the antitype. Then it shouldn’t be difficult to find the type. The type we are looking for must be Israel’s exodus from Egypt – on the way to the promised land – the earthly Canaan.

The Exodus from Egypt.

In connection with Israel’s exodus from Egypt, ten plagues fell upon the land of Egypt. The first three plagues fell on all who lived in Egypt, including God’s people. Now we must try to find an event that does something special for God’s people. In Exodus 8:20-32 we read about the fourth plague, and in this section it is verse 23 that is important for us in this context because it shows us something special. In this verse, God through Moses says the following to Pharaoh: And I will put a division between my people and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be.

As we see, God made a difference between Pharaoh’s people and His people. Can we find something similar in the prophecies given about the end times? In Revelation 9 we read about the fifth trumpet and the locusts from the bottomless pit. These locusts are not ordinary locusts, but Satan’s evil angels. These are given the power to torment people, but only those people who do not have God’s seal on their foreheads. Again we find a type and an antitype. Just as God made a difference between Pharaoh’s people and His people in Egypt, God will also make a difference between the people of the ‘end-time Pharaoh’ and His faithful remnant. It was therefore to protect His people so that they were not affected by the last seven plagues that God «sealed» them.

This is also the reason why God’s faithful remnant will be sealed in the end times. It is done to protect them from that storm of rage Satan will try and throw at God’s remnant to cause them to fall. But as in Egypt, the last seven plagues that fall in the end times will not affect God’s people. It is beyond doubt that God’s people will feel persecuted, for a decree of death will be issued to exterminate those whom the wicked believe to be responsible for the plagues that fall upon the earth. Those who will not submit to the laws that will come in the end times, and who will not submit to the ecumenical cooperation and thereby recognize the Pope’s rule and sovereignty will be subject to the greatest persecution and tribulation that has ever been on earth, but God has protected His people with His seal.

In the book Early Writings, in the chapter called «The Sealing«, (36.1 to 38.2), Ellen G. White tells that on the Sabbath of January 5, 1849, she had a vision concerning the sealing, which begins with Jesus will not go out of the most Holy until every matter is decided for salvation or perdition. All men on earth have now chosen sides in the great conflict, and the wicked have taken the mark of the beast, and God’s faithful remnant are sealed with the seal of the living God.

When Jesus goes out of the most Holy, the rest of God will be sealed because; a) God’s people will be without an intermediary between themselves and the Father when Jesus has left the most Holy, and b) then God the Father will unleash the last seven plagues which are God’s wrath against the wicked.

In the same book she says this: I could not bear the thought of coming back to this dark world again. Then the angel said, You must go back, and if you are faithful, you, with the 144,000, shall have the privilege of visiting all the worlds and viewing the handiwork of God, (39.3).

This cannot be understood in any other way than that Ellen G. White’s accompanying angel is quite clear that she is not counted among the 144,000. The angel actually says that if she is faithful, she, together with the 144,000, will have that privilege … It must have been obvious to Ellen G. White’s attendant angel that she would rest in the grave until the Day of the Lord, the return of Jesus, otherwise he would not have put his word in the way he did.

In her first vision, which is reproduced in the same book, she says this: And as we were about to enter the holy temple, Jesus raised His lovely voice and said, Only the 144,000 enter this place, and we shouted, Alleluia (18.2) … // … This temple was supported by seven pillars, all of transparent gold, set with pearls most glorious. The wonderful things I there saw I cannot describe (19.1) … // … I saw there tables of stone in which the names of the 144,000 were engraved in letters of gold, (19.1).

Who are they who are counted among the 144,000?

We have barely touched on this initially, but we need to look more closely at this, and whether this group has any special characteristics. In Revelation 14:1-5 we find the following text which deals with the 144,000 who are to be sealed. It reads like this: And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruit unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

What does the bold text mean?

They sung as it were a new song: This group has had a special experience on earth. As mentioned, they have gone through the greatest persecution ever, and this is their special experience. They came safely through this tribulation because they had surrendered themselves completely to Christ, and it is because of this they sing the new song. They sing the Lord’s praise because He has led them safely through all the dangers they faced in the last times. We find the type in the song Israel sang to the Lord when they had passed through the Red Sea and were miraculously saved from Pharaoh’s soldiers.

Redeemed from the earth: This means that Jesus has bought them free with his blood.

They which were not defiled with women: This group has no connections with the fallen denominations. They may have had it in the past, but they have rectified this by surrendering themselves completely to the Saviour, Jesus Christ. In this way they are not (anymore) unclean with women, participate in the activities of the fallen churches.

These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth: The experiences they have had with Jesus make them give up their own lives. They will follow the Lamb wherever he goes, whether it is to the fire or to the scaffold. They would rather lose their lives than lose Christ.

In their mouth was found no guile: in the church in the end times there will be many who would rather give up their faith than lose their lives. These would rather fail themselves, their family and their friends and fail God than lose recognition from the fallen world. But this small group of strange people who will not conform to the many false doctrines of the fallen church, God’s faithful remnant in the end times, they will not fail God in any way.

They are without fault before the throne of God: This means that they have prepared in the right way. They have cleaned up their mistakes, gotten rid of their sins and in that way reflect the character of Jesus and the life of Jesus in the way that God sees as acceptable.

In Revelation 12:17; 14:12 and 19:10 we find several characteristics of this group, and here are some words and expressions that we must look at more closely: And the dragon was wroth with the woman and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, (Revelation 12:17). The dragon is here as always another word to describe Satan. Ever since the church was established after the death of Jesus, Satan has hated this church, because it exposes Satan as the father of lies and the deceiver. It is in this way that the dragon is furious with the woman.

When it says that the dragon went to make war with the remnant of her seed, it is implicit in this that the church was at some point divided into two, the part that follows God and the part that has fallen. The fallen church poses no threat to Satan because everyone who belongs to the fallen church is in the palm of his hand. It is worse with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ  and who are faithful to God. It is against them that Satan goes to war. The commandments of God should be obvious, they are God’s ten commandments. That the term the commandments of God is used can be linked to the fact that the papacy has created its own version of the ten commandments, where God’s second commandment has been removed in its entirety and the third commandment has become the second. God’s fourth commandment has been defaced and placed as God’s third commandment, and God’s tenth commandment has been divided in two so that the pope’s commandment also has ten commandments. The testimony of Jesus Christ is explained in Revelation 19:10 as the testimony of Jesus: … I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus, (Revelation 14:12). Once again, the importance of keeping God’s commandments is emphasized, and now it is combined with showing the same faith that Jesus had when he was on earth.

Who the 144,000 are is now becoming clear. According to the Bible and Ellen G. White, it is those who live in the absolute end times just before Jesus returns to redeem them and take them to heaven.

Now, many will probably protest strongly, because in Revelation 7:4 it is said that the 144,000 are «of all the tribes of the children of Israel«. Then follow four verses (5 to 8) where 12 names are mentioned, and which are said to be the 12 tribes of Israel, that is, the 12 sons of Jacob. Using this as a counterargument is not tenable at all. If such an argument had any value, the 12 names would have to be Jacob’s 12 sons mentioned in the order of birth. Let’s take a closer look at this problem.

Below the 12 tribes of Israel are listed in four different books. As for the 12 tribes of Israel mentioned in Revelation 7, they are not listed in the order they were born, but in a seemingly arbitrary order. In Genesis 49 they are listed in order of birth, in Numbers how the scouts were chosen to scout out Canaan before they were to occupy it shortly after the exodus from Egypt. In Ezekiel 48 they are listed in the order in which they were to settle in Canaan and take possession of the land. In Revelation 7 they appear to be listed in a random manner, but there are no coincidences in the Bible because God is a God of order.

The 12 tribes of Israel listed:

Genesis 49Numbers 13Ezekiel 48Revelation 7
1 Reuben(1) Reuben(7) Dan(4) Judah
2 Simeon(2) Simeon(9) Asher(1) Reuben
3 Levi(4) Judah(10) Naphtali(8) Gad
4 Judah(6) Issachar(Ny – 14) Manasse(9) Asher
5 Zebulun(NY – 13) Efraim(13) Efraim(10) Naphtali
6 Issachar(12) Benjamin(1) Reuben(14) Manasse
7 Dan(5) Zebulun(4) Judah(2) Simeon
8 Gad(11) Joseph(12) Benjamin(3) Levi – reinstated
9 Asher(7) Dan(2) Simeon(6) Issachar
10 Naphtali(9) Asher(6) Issachar(5) Zebulun
11 Joseph(10) Naphtali(5) Zebulun(11) Joseph – reinstated
12 Benjamin(8) Gad(8) Gad(12) Benjamin
 Levi omittedLevi omittedDan omitted
  Joseph omittedEfraim omitted

As we know, all Hebrew names have a meaning, and then it starts to be exciting reading.
In Revelation 7, they are listed in this order:

JudahI will praise the Lord
ReubenHe has looked on me
GadGiven good fortune
AsherHappy am I
NaphtaliMy wrestling
ManassehMaking me to forget
SimeonGod hears me
LeviJoined to me
IssacharPurchased me
JosephWill add to me
BenjaminSon of his right hand

When we write the meaning of the words in the order the names appear in Rev 7, we get the following text: I will praise the Lord for He has looked on me and given good fortune. Happy am I because my wrestling making me to forget. God hears me and is joined to me. He has purchased me a dwelling and will add to me the Son of his right hand.

This is nothing but the plan of salvation expressed through 12 names.

There are many criteria that must be met to be sealed.

It is not enough just to be a member of a church community.

One cannot be a member of a fallen church, and in Revelation 18:4 God makes the following prayer and call to humanity: … Come out of her*, my people … This is not said because it is unimportant to be a church member, but God wants us to flee from the fallen churches to make ourselves His people and gather everyone in His end-time church.

* Her here is Babylon, and in the end times Babylon consists of all fallen denominations, both the Catholic Church and the plain Protestant / Lutheran churches.

It is not enough just to keep the Sabbath.

In Isaiah 58,13-14 God says this through the prophet: If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].

Implicit in this is that we should please God on the Lord’s holy day, which is the day God blessed and sanctified during creation, the seventh day of the week – our Saturday. Genesis 2,2-3 says it like this: 1 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

But what is pleasing God? We find the answer in Matthew 25,35-36: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. We must do this to our neighbours every day of the week, and perhaps especially on God’s Sabbath.

It is not enough just to keep the commandments.

In his first letter, John writes the following: If anyone says: If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and everyone that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous, (1 John 4:20-21; 5:1-3).

As we see, the apostle of love, John, equates loving God and one’s neighbour with keeping God’s commandments. Now I must hasten to tell you that we have, as I have already said, two sets of ten commandments, the papacy has changed the ten commandments. They removed God’s second commandment, which forbids the worship of images and relics, which we know all Catholic churches are full of. Furthermore, the remaining bids were moved up one place. Then they have disfigured the fourth commandment, which the Catholic Church calls the third commandment, and lay down guidelines that Sunday, the first day of the week, is the Sabbath. Finally, they split the tenth commandment in two so that the Pope’s commandments also consist of ten commandments. With this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that God through, among others John, says My commands! (See Revelation 12:17; 14:12.)

It is not enough to just believe in Jesus.

James, the brother of Jesus, says in his letter: What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works, (Jacob 2:14-18).

This is an excerpt from the letter of James that is very often misused. What Jacob is doing here is rhetorically asking whether faith can save. He then follows up the rhetorically question by saying that if someone lacks something and we do not give it to them, then it does not help us that we are saved, because if we do not help our neighbour, then our faith is dead.

Of course, it is enough to believe to be saved, anything else violates the teachings of the Bible. Still, Jacob does not break the Bible’s teaching with the rhetorical question ‘can faith save anyone?’ This is not an assertion, and it appears from the text that Jacob believes that after being saved we must live our new lives in such a way that it brings good fruits. These are not works of the law as many would like them to be but works done in love for God and our neighbour. This is also what Jacob concludes verse 17 with when he says: Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. This is completely in harmony with what Jesus says in Matthew 25:41-46. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Furthermore, it says in James 2:19: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. It sounds undeniably strange that the demons believe in God, but Satan, or Lucifer which is his real name, was with the Triune God in heaven until he sinned against God and was cast out of heaven. He knows well who God and Jesus are, and that is why he trembles.

In most of the latest translations of the Bible, they have changed a particular verse in Revelation 14:12. If we look at the conjugation form of the expression «the faith of Jesus» King James Version uses, it is the genitive form that is used. The best translations therefore use the genitive form. Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. In other translations the text is as follows: This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus, (New Living Translation). There is a huge difference between the genitive form in King James Version and the dative form in New Living translation.

One must have the faith that Jesus had when He was taken to the cross, and those who have this faith will all be willing to give their lives for Jesus, when required. Let it be beyond any doubt that we should believe in Jesus, but in this case above it is necessary to exhibit the faith that led Jesus to the cross. It says about the group that will be sealed that they follow the Lamb wherever he goes, (Revelation 14:4), and then these people show the same faith that Jesus had.

There must be no guile in their mouths.

King David writes in Psalm 32:2: Blessed [is] the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit [there is] no guile. That one cannot be deceitful was something King David had understood. It may sound a bit strange when we know that David betrayed his friend Uriah. Having first been unfaithful to Uriah, he ensures that Uriah is killed in battle, so that the adultery he had committed with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, would not be known.

The prophet Nathan confronted David about this incident (2 Samuel 12), and David can no longer try to hide his adultery. He turns to God in repentance and asks for forgiveness, which he received. Perhaps this is what prompted him to write this hymn.

David’s son Solomon writes this in Proverbs 8:7-8: For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness [is] an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth [are] in righteousness; [there is] nothing forward or perverse in them. We know from history that Solomon had both ups and downs. As his fame spread throughout the world, his great decline began. He built altars to the gods of his wives and concubines. But still, God looks with favour on both David’s and Solomon’s repentance, and about David God says that he is a man after His own heart.

The prophet Zephaniah says: In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid, (Zephaniah 3:11-13). The context in Zephaniah 3 shows that the expression in that day points to the end times. This Israel which shall do no wrong, and shall not speak lies, or proceed in a deceitful way, is therefore God’s faithful remnant in the end times.

They must have been cleansed in the blood of Jesus so that they can stand faultless before God.

In Isaiah 52,11 the prophet says: Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean [thing]; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. This is a prophecy that was spoken about the Jewish people who, about 100 years later, were to be taken captive to Babylon. But as always when it comes to God’s people in captivity, we can put it in a typological context. Israel was captive in Egypt and was brought out from there by the Lord’s strong hand. The Jews were prisoners in Babylon and were led out of there by the Lord’s strong hand. In the end times, God’s people are still in captivity, now in spiritual Babylon or spiritual Egypt, and the Lord will lead us out of there and into the promised land. But the demand from the Lord is that we cleanse ourselves of all the wrongs we have done, evil thoughts and evil deeds, and present ourselves clean before the Lord clothed in the righteousness of Jesus.

John tells us the reason why we must purify ourselves in his first letter: Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure, (1 John 3:1-3). Ezekiel says that if we do not turn back, eternal death awaits: Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11).

They must follow the Lamb wherever it goes without hesitation.

When Jesus began His work, He went around and selected people who He knew would be good servants in His kingdom. Follow Me, said Jesus, among others, to Simon Peter and Andrew (Matthew 4:19), Matthew (Matthew 9:9), and Philip (John 1:43). What these had in common was that they immediately dropped what they had in their hands and followed Jesus. This is also how we must answer if we want to have any hope of being sealed with the seal of the living God when the time is right. In Matthew 20:22-23 we find the following conversation between Jesus and the disciples: But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but [it shall be given to them] for whom it is prepared of my Father.

What does it mean that the disciples should drink the cup and be baptized with whatever baptism Jesus had to do? That means they had to go where Jesus went. Jesus died for you and me. All the disciples except John died for Jesus’ sake, John was reportedly tried to be boiled in oil before being sent to Patmos. So everyone was willing to follow Jesus where He went, we must also be willing to do that.

They must have gone through the worst tribulation that God’s people have ever experienced.

  1. Can anyone imagine how God’s people were persecuted and oppressed in Egypt just before Israel was led out of captivity?
  • Can we understand what it was like for the Jews in the years 66 to 70 when Roman soldiers besieged Jerusalem?
  • What was it like to be a Christian in the Roman Empire in the years 303 to 313? This was the first great persecution of Christians.
  • Does anyone know what it was like during the 1260 years when the papacy ruled with unlimited power?
  1. In Egypt once all male children were killed because Pharaoh was afraid that a deliverer would be born. They had to slave under undignified conditions and had no rights.
  • In Jerusalem during the siege, there was so little food that some went out at night to find herbs or other plants to satisfy their hunger, only to be killed as soon as they got inside the city walls. Mothers ate their own children, and young ones stole the food from their parents.
  • The persecution to which the Christians were exposed between 303 and 313 led to many being killed. Many were killed in the big theatres. In the Colosseum, the Christians were dressed in animal skins and thrown to hungry lions, and they were used as living torches to light up the arenas in the evening darkness.
  • In the Middle Ages, somewhere between 50 million and 100 million must have been killed by church power. In just a couple of three hours on a single night, the night of August 24, 1572, the night known as Bartholomew’s Night, the Huguenots, the French Calvinist Protestants, were slaughtered by the thousands, an estimated 60,000. What did the Pope do when the message came to Rome? I’ll let Wikipedia tell it: When the news of the massacre reached the Vatican, there was jubilation. The cannons fired a salute, the church bells rang, a special commemorative medal was minted, and the Pope commissioned a mural of the massacre to be found in the Vatican.

We probably cannot fully understand this, but we can make up our minds about what we think it was like. These were terrible times for God’s people. They were persecuted and killed, and none of God’s people were safe, and in Christian times they could not even trust their nearest and dearest.

In the end times, there will be a persecution that surpasses all persecutions that have been, as Daniel 12:1 tells us: And at that time (in the absolute end times) shall Michael (Jesus) stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

This must happen in order for God’s people to be completely cleansed, and for them to recognize that they can only get through this persecution if they completely surrender themselves into God’s hands. It is quite possible that the 144,000 do not know that they have been sealed when persecution really comes upon them like a storm. They will spend every single second praying to God for deliverance from the persecutors who want to kill them. But we know that God will seal his faithful people with his seal, and they are then beyond the reach of Satan and the wicked who want to kill them. They cannot be touched, but the knowledge that the enemy is lurking everywhere will be there. The only help they see is to pray to God the Father for deliverance. If God’s people will only remember Psalm 23 at this time, because this psalm is given to us for comfort and encouragement: A Psalm of David. The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD f