Who Told You that You Were Naked?

(I want to let everyone know I give permission for anyone to copy my blog posts and do whatever they want with them.)

The vast majority of people in the world do not want to walk around naked. For one thing, unless you are a movie star, your body isn’t flawless. How would we behave if someone came up to us and stripped off our clothes while we were at the mall or walking down the sidewalk? Embarrassed and ashamed are the first words that pop into my mind.

I was listening to Hunter Beless’s podcast, “Journeywoman,” last week. (My absolute favorite podcast.) She had Nancy Guthrie on as a guest. They were talking about Ms. Guthrie’s book, “Even Better than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything About Your Story.” During the conversation, they talked about Adam and Eve’s nakedness after they sinned. That got me thinking.

I have seen many paintings of Adam and Eve done by long gone famous artists. In every one, Adam and Eve are walking around the Garden of Eden stark naked. This has always felt weird to me, because Adam and Eve themselves thought they had clothes on!

Here is an excerpt from the Bible:

“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 

 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”  And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’ 

God said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’

(Now begins the blame game.) The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’  Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’”    Genesis 3:8-13

Apparently, Adam and Eve were covered with something. You can see from the story that they hid from God’s sight because they were ashamed of their nakedness. I would guess they had been clothed with garments like the angels wear: white, bright and beautiful.

Why did these garments disappear? Because they had chosen to betray God and listen to a snake rather than him. They had turned against him by desiring to also be gods. When they did this, the covering from God left them.

This event is actually an allegory of what happens to us when we spurn God and go our own way through life. We are like soldiers going out to battle naked and alone. We have no defense against our enemies, human or spiritual.

But God can be our defense. As he made clothing for Adam and Eve out of animal skins, so he will clothe us with the blood of Jesus. Those animals had to die so Adam and Eve could be covered. Jesus had to die so we could be covered with his sacrifice. The penalty for turning from God is eternal death, because if you choose to live without God, there is no life after death here. God is the creator of all life and without him we cannot live.

 But Jesus took that doom for us on the cross. He said to his father, “I will take their place and give them a way of escape. I will be nailed, naked on a cross, and anyone who comes to me for covering will one day come to heaven and live with us forever.” (My own words.)

Jesus did die naked on a cross. He was naked and bleeding, hung between heaven and earth, taking the fate of the human race upon himself.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:2-3

There is a scene of heaven with God on his throne that Zechariah, the prophet saw. This scene shows the transfer of death to life for Joshua, the high priest at that time.

Zechariah 3:1-5

Then the angel showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, with Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.

And the LORD said to Satan: “The LORD rebukes you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you! Is not this man a firebrand snatched from the fire?”

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy garments as he stood before the angel. So, the angel said to those standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes!”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have removed your iniquity, and I will clothe you with splendid robes.”

Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So, a clean turban was placed on his head, and they clothed him, as the angel of the LORD stood by.

I pray we will all accept this offer of forgiveness and acceptance from God. He is longing for you to accept him. Please give him a chance to show you what he is like.

Why Does God Judge the World?

What do you think of people who lie to send innocent people to jail? What do you think about people who kidnap children and sell them for sex? What do you think of someone who would steal medical masks from a clinic, which happened at my daughter’s work place? What do you think of a man who would cheat a widow out of her inheritance, which happened to my grandmother? What do you think of someone who sexually abuses his daughter, which happened to me? What do you think of the rich who steal from the poor? What do you think of people who murder for money or revenge?

Would you want one of these people to be your best friend? Would you want to live next door to them? Do you think any of them would be happy in heaven, where everyone is in agreement with God’s laws and content with a peaceful, happy life with those they love?

Some people say, “Everyone will be saved.” This does not agree with the Bible. We have one life here on earth. One life to decide if we will love the good and hate the evil. One life to turn towards the light and turn away from evil. As the apostle John writes about Jesus, “…in him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” God’s light shines into every person’s heart, no matter where they were born or what they believe, and their eternal life depends on what they do with that light.

The Bible is full of warnings about the Day of Judgement, when God will show humanity why they are not allowed in heaven. I do not believe God will torture bad people in a place called Hell. I’ve written about that before. It says in the Bible hell will be destroyed in a lake of fire. I believe the imagery of fire means total destruction. It is clear in the Scriptures the wicked will be ashes under the soles of our feet. They will simply be no more. (Malachi 4:3)

God wants everyone to come live with him in heaven, but he knows, and we should know, that everyone who is dangerous to peace and love have no place there. He doesn’t magically make all people good, since that would mean we would all be robots with no choice at all except to worship him. He doesn’t want wind-up dolls who say, “I love you.” He wants those who come to him to get to know who he is and what he stands for.

 Over 50 years, I have studied the Bible. I have come to see the reasons God condemns the guilty, those who have never been sorry for what they have done to people. The pain and sorrow wicked people have brought to the world is incalculable. I decided to write a list of some of the reasons God finds them guilty.

They sacrificed children and adults to their gods, usually in the most horrific ways. The Canaanites put living children and babies in the red-hot arms of Baal. And we know how the Aztecs sacrificed people.

Nations fought against other nations to take their land and to have their people as slaves.  When the Midianites put Israel in subjection, they would come and raid their fields so the people of Israel went hungry.

They took bribes and robbed widows and orphans of their land and money.

They murdered people for money and land.

They lied about the innocent so they were found guilty and put to death.

They lied about the guilty so they could go free.

They committed sexual sins along with their worship of other gods.

They changed God’s laws and made up their own.

They persecuted believers of different churches. They killed them and tortured them. They had no tolerance or love for those who believe differently.

All these sins happened in ancient days and they happen now. But if a person comes to feel sorry for what he has done, he can come running to God and he will run to him. He loves all people, no matter what they have done. He knows we live in a world where we naturally drift towards evil, but he can overcome that in us. He can change our minds and hearts so we love what is good and hate what is evil.

How do I know this? Because it has happened to me, my family members and friends. I have seen it with my own eyes. Also, the Bible says it is true. If you are a person who doesn’t understand God and his ways, then please give him a chance. When you begin to pray and read the Bible, he will show himself to you. This is a gradual thing. Jesus talked about a person’s growth in understanding God. He said it is like growth of wheat. First the blade, then the head and then the mature grain in the head. (Mark 4:28) This is why people say, “Come as you are.” God doesn’t expect us to be good to come to him, because only he can make us truly good, little by little, day by day.

Although God does this, it isn’t how we are saved. We are saved by Jesus’ death. He took our place since someone must die because evil came into the universe. God chose himself to die. He is ultimately responsible for this universe. He brought it into being, and if the only way the universe can be cleaned up is for him to die, then so be it. He did it so those who agree with his government can come and live in it. After Judgement Day, every living being will be in one accord, every heart beating the same song, “God is good.”

What’s in A Name?

Philippians Chapter 2: 5-11: In my own words.

“In your relationships with others, have the same mind that was in Jesus. Even though he was equal with the Father, he did not consider grabbing hold or keeping that equality. But he made himself into nothing by taking the form of a servant and becoming a human being. When he was born here, he humbled himself by being obedient to his Father, which included his death on a cross.

Because of this, God lifted him up to the highest place and gave him the name above all names. So that at the name of Jesus, everyone will eventually bow down, those in heaven, on earth and in the entire universe. Every mouth will say Jesus the Messiah is I Am, to the glory of the Father.”

I once read, I wish I remembered where, that when Lucifer and other angels rebelled against God, they at first only had God’s word that he was all wise and all good. They knew no other life than the one they were living in heaven. Isaiah chapter 14 explains to us what was in Lucifer’s heart. He wanted to have the power and authority of God. I am sure God warned him what would happen if he went off on his own, but God, believing in complete freedom, let him go.

Without God’s Spirit in his life, Lucifer became evil. His thoughts were bent on revenge towards God. If he couldn’t be master in heaven, he hoped to become master of this world. Adam and Eve also doubted God’s love, and when they sinned they handed their rulership of the world over to Lucifer. They wanted knowledge God had not given to them. They chose this new king who would give them the knowledge of evil.

But the plan of God was to send Jesus to save this world. He couldn’t save Lucifer, or he would have, but he could save some of humankind if they would change their allegiance from evil to good. And so, the plan of salvation was begun. When on the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished,” he meant the plan was concluded. He had done all he could to show man and the universe that God was a God of love, sacrifice and compassion.

Now all of us can look upon good and evil and make a clear choice. The Holy Spirit brings light to every man, the Bible says. Even if someone has never heard the gospel, if they follow the light within them, they can be saved from the power of evil in this world. The plan of salvation is for everyone in every corner of the earth. One day, those who follow the Spirit of God will be together in heaven praising the name of Jesus. The name above all names.

Why was Jesus’ Death Necessary?

lewis

I was reading, “A Year with C.S. Lewis,” this morning and he addressed the subject of Jesus taking our place and dying for us so we could be saved. I thought I would share it with you:

“If God was prepared to let us off, why on earth did He not do so? And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead? None at all that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment in the police-court sense. On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not. Or if you take ‘paying the penalty’, not in the sense of being punished, but in the more general sense of ‘standing the racket’ or ‘footing the bill’, then, of course, it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend. 

Now what was the sort of ‘hole’ man had got himself into? He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself. In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor—that is the only way out of our ‘hole’. This process of surrender—this movement full speed astern—is what Christians call repentance. 

Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person—and he would not need it.”

Start reading this book for free: http://a.co/3342Gbw

My 60’s With God. The Valley of Death.

1 (138)

1 (93)

Craig with his aunt Christine.

I was going to write about my 60’s in one post, but I can see that isn’t going to happen. I felt I left out a lot about my grandson and his relationship with God in my last post about him, so I’m going to write about that today. When I sit down to write, I’m never sure what will end up on the page. I hope Craig’s story will help someone.

When I was 61, my beloved grandson, Craig, died. When Craig was a teenager, he told me he was an atheist. His step-father was one and he thought that was right. We talked about that a bit and over the years he came to believe there was a God.

Craig was in mental pain most of the time. His biological father had died of a drug overdose. Craig had never gotten to really know him and his death was devastating for him. He had hoped one day to connect with him and have a relationship. He and his brother started doing drugs and getting into trouble with the police. It was a very sad time for all of us. He once got in trouble with a gang who threatened to kill him. One day, I had to wash his blood out of his new winter jacket because they had beaten him. He was in fights a lot. He had a lot of anger inside. He went to jail and had a trial in Vancouver when he hurt someone badly in a fight. He was found not guilty though, because he hadn’t started it.

When he moved to Kelowna, he used to come over and talk with me about his life. He said he had so many regrets. We talked about God. He thought God could not love someone like him, but I told him God loved him even more than I did. He gradually began praying. He went to visit his step-father, who had not been a good father to him. They had long talks and the rift was mended. He went to visit his real father’s ex-wife and his two half-siblings. They all loved Craig. Then he came home, and there was another trial because he was in a fight at a party in Kelowna. He knew we were praying for him. He was also praying. He wanted to be a better person and told us he would like to go to schools and warn teens about drugs. But he was still doing drugs himself.

At his trial, he was found innocent again because it was a free-for-all fight, but he was put on probation. If he did one wrong thing, he would go to jail for a year. When I heard that, I knew he would probably not be able to be good for a year and he would be going to a prison up north. After the trial, Craig was happy and the last thing he said to us was, “Thank you for praying for me.”

That night, he was at a party and drank too much. He passed out face down on a soft sofa and smothered. The coroner said he had seen many teen boys who died this way. Their bodies are too much asleep to turn over and breathe. 

Of course, the whole family was in terrible mourning. My daughters, his cousins – just everyone. But we did all believe he was saved because he had been praying and talking about God. I know I will see him again. That hope is what kept me going, plus the peace of God that came upon me. The Lord is a great comforter. I believe he took Craig, because life was just too hard for him. I said to someone, “I’ve been praying for that boy since the day he was born. I know the Lord has saved Craig from something worse that was going to happen.” I still believe that.

After the funeral, a friend of his wrote on his memorial page, “You taught us the meaning of unconditional love.” Many, many young people came to the funeral and we were comforted by their stories of how Craig had helped them. Even kids from his  elementary school came and told us of Craig’s kindness. We were actually stunned at how many people he had helped during his short life. He was 21 when he died.

Okay, this was going to be about my big mistakes when I was in my 60’s, but I think I will do that next time. I just want to praise and thank God for giving Craig to us for the years he was here. I want to thank Him for taking Craig to himself where he can finally be at peace.

1 (4)

Craig, with his father, Gerard.

Our Picture of God.

 

Parable_of_talents

I was reading the story of the 10 talents the other day. It was a story Jesus told. A master of 3 servants gave them each some talents. He told them to use them while he went away. When he came back, the first two servants had used their talents to make more. The master praised them. The third man, however, had buried his talent in the ground. He held it out to the master, but the called him lazy, took the one talent and gave it to the man with 10. The master said the third servant would be thrown out.

Whenever I read about this story in a book or commentary, the authors say the talents represent our abilities and well, talents. In the story the talent is a sum of money. Quite a large sum.

I was meditating on this story and I think the talents represent faith. The man who buried his talent is lost in the end. We are saved through faith and not works, lest any man should boast, the Bible says; any good we do cannot save us.

I think the story points this out in the excuse the man had for why he decided to dig a hole in the ground and throw the money in there. He said, “Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate.”

“I knew you were a harsh man.”  Is God harsh? Does he hover over us waiting for us to mess up so he can keep us out of heaven? No. He is not like that. He is hovering to see how many he can get into heaven. (Right here I could quote hundreds of Bible verses on God’s love, but I hope you will look them up yourself.)

The man said, “I know you reap where you did not sow.” What kind of farmer would expect his crop to grow if he sowed nothing in the field? Hmm, a crazy farmer, that’s for sure. This man seemed to be saying God asked the impossible from people. Is that true? No. God says we can do all things through Christ, who gives us strength. Jesus said, “Nothing will be impossible for you.” And, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

This man did not know who God was. And his basic problem is he didn’t try to find out. He put his head in a hole in the ground. He didn’t want to hear the gospel and he didn’t try to seek God. He didn’t ask for God’s strength or for Jesus’ righteousness to cover him.

The Bible says we will find God when we seek him with all our hearts. Jesus said eternal life means knowing him and his Father in heaven. Jesus also said he will say to many at the judgement, “I never knew you.”

There is a reason it is vital to know God; He is the way, the truth and the life. Our picture of God will determine how we act and how we treat others. If we see God as harsh, we may think it is fine for us to be harsh. But if we see God as someone who forgives us 70 x 7 times a day, then we will forgive also.

The best reason to know God is to understand the plan of salvation. We were lost, but through Jesus’ death, we are found. We can never be perfect and sinless; Jesus was perfect and sinless. As a man, he took our place; he stood in the breech between us and God. God’s law says the penalty for sin is death. He could not change his law, but he could die in our place and satisfy the justice his law demands. We are covered by Jesus’ life and death. He is called, “The Lord, our righteousness.”

Jesus Enveloped in Sin, Within and Without.

dscf7667

Although I had known Jesus became sin for us, that he took our sins upon his heart, I didn’t think about the depth of that until I read these two verses explained.

 “And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.”    Mark 14:33,34

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/mark/14.htm

“He began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled…” (e)kqambei = sqai kai\ a)dhmonei = n).  These two Greek verbs are as adequately expressed above as seems possible. The first implies “utter, extreme amazement;” if the second has for its root ἄδημος, “not at home,” it implies the anguish of the soul struggling to free itself from the body under the pressure of intense mental distress.” 

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 34. – “None but he who bore those sorrows can know what they were. It was not the apprehension of the bodily torments and the bitter death that awaited him, all foreknown by him. It was the inconceivable agony of the weight of the sins of men. The Lord was thus laying “upon him the iniquity of us all.” This, and this alone, can explain it. My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.’ Every word carries the emphasis of an overwhelming grief. It was then that “the deep waters came in,” even unto his soul. “What,” says Cornelius a Lapide, “must have been the voice, the countenance, the expression, as he uttered those awful words!”

Jesus sweat drops of blood that night. He said he was at the point of death. An angel came and strengthened him or he might have died there in Gethsemane.

This was the sin within him.

From the time of his arrest until he died on the cross, Jesus was surrounded by sin of every type.

Cruelty, cowardice, envy, betrayal, mocking, hatred, torture, slapping, beating, lies, indifference, pride, unbelief, anger, and injustice.

This was the sin without him.

For a pure and holy person, being surrounded by evil must have been horrible. Realize also, he loved all the people there who were causing him such pain. It would be like us having our parents or children abuse us. Some of us have lived through that, it’s true. Jesus did too on the night and day of his trial and death.

Someday, when we are in heaven, we will see what Jesus left to become one of us, to suffer untold agony and to die feeling all alone.

Here are some extra Bible verses: 

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:21

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’—“   Galatians 3:13

“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5

“Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”   Hebrews 9:28

Love Lifted Me.

The snowfall in the mountains near our city was heavier than usual. We also had more rain this spring than we normally do. This has caused some flooding around the creeks that run through town.

But the biggest worry is the lake. It is already overflowing docks and the engineers believe houses all around the lake will be flooded. They are doing all they can to protect the houses, but we don’t know what will happen.

18623181_1409620752433063_155916768_n

My oldest daughter lives near the lake. The water has reached the top of the cement wall and will be spilling over soon. She and her husband are moving everything out of the basement. The house is 40 years old and really shouldn’t have a basement there. The have a sump pump that keeps the basement dry under normal conditions. But conditions aren’t normal now.

18664369_1410624828984770_479642852294982536_n

18622379_1410624762318110_8322714156286922076_n

I thought about how Jesus said to build our lives on a rock – by which he meant himself.

Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

 “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”   Matthew 7:24-27

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 40:2, “He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

I think of my life before I knew Jesus to be a muddy pit that I was stuck in. I raised my arms to him and he lifted me out.

He lifted me out and set my feet on a huge rock. He set my feet on solid ground – himself. I can never thank him enough for what he has done for me.

Revelation: Faith and Works.

I am posting chapters from my sister’s book, “The End is near. End Time Bible Prophecy Anyone Can Understand.” E.A. James. Available at lulu.com

Continued from previous post..

bible3

          Satan, his angels, and those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will have their deeds judged by the saints in heaven.  Jesus has already judged who is and who is not to be saved, so why are we going to judge the works of those who are not saved?  We can speculate and come up with a twofold answer.  First, the punishment for their deeds must fit the crime.  Adolph Hitler was responsible for the murder of millions of people, but Joe Schmuckatelly down the street simply did not believe in God and he never killed one other human being.  Do they deserve the same judgment?  Of course not.  Judgment occurs…so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  (2 Cor. 5:10)

          The second speculative answer as to why the saints are allowed to judge the world is to satisfy questions we may have.  For instance:  Why isn’t that TV preacher here in heaven?  When we look at his deeds we see he was not a servant of God, but instead he was a greedy, power hungry megalomaniac.  He did not have a personal relationship with Jesus; he used Jesus’ name to advance his own agenda. 

9

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?”  And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matt. 7:21-23)  (Emphasis supplied)  

Salvation vs. Deeds

          The question now arises:  Why are salvation and deeds two separate things?  This is a topic that has been debated for thousands of years, and we will not settle the matter here in this book.  But we will try to put it as simply as possible so we have a basic understanding.  Salvation is a gift that we receive freely:  we can do NOTHING to earn it.  …the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Rom. 6:23)  So how do we receive this free gift?  It says in John 1:12, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.  Jesus said …This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.  (John 6:29) 

When Jesus was crucified, one of the criminals being crucified next to him asked Jesus to remember him when he came in his kingdom.  Jesus replied that the criminal would be with him in paradise.  (See Luke 23:42, 43)  This man was a criminal, and he was such a bad man that the death sentence had been passed against him.  So how could Jesus simply say yes, you will be in heaven with me?  Because this criminal believed that Jesus was the Son of God and said he wanted to be with him.

9a

That is all that is required to be saved:  believe that Jesus is sent of God to save you and ask him to be in your life.  Suddenly your name is written in the Book of Life and heaven is yours.  …he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life, and…has passed out of death into life.  (John 5:24)

Works will be discussed next time…

 

 

Revelation: The Seal of God.

This is a series of chapters from my sister’s book, “The End is Near. End Time Bible Prophecy Anyone Can Understand.” By E.A. James

Continued from previous post:

The Seal of God:

          “After this (the end of the Philadelphia Church era and the sixth seal) I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.  And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out 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 or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bondservants of our God on their foreheads.”  Rev. 7:1-3

          Before the seventh seal is opened, something happens to the servants of God; they are sealed on their foreheads with the seal of God.  Throughout history, an important document or letter was sealed shut with wax and the author or sender of the document would press a stamp or a signet ring into the wax to identify the origin and the authenticity of the document.

ring 

In Revelation 7 we see an angel has been sent to place God’s seal on his followers, in effect marking them as authentic and belonging to him.  This seal will not be visible to the human eye, it is a spiritual seal: a setting apart, or separating, of those who follow God from those who follow the beast.  But why does the Bible specifically say the seal will be placed on the forehead?  Because that is where the mind is.  With our minds we make the decision to follow God and his truth, no matter the consequences.  “He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.”  John 3:33

ring2 

          But why is this so important?  The mark shows which people are to be protected from the first five trumpets of God’s judgment.  We see an example of this in Ezekiel, Chapter 9.  God sent a messenger to Jerusalem to mark those loyal to him on the forehead, and then God sent five beings to kill everyone in the city who did not have the mark.  This story will repeat itself at the end of time.  We will be marked with the seal of God and the angels sent to execute the first five trumpets will pass us by.

          “And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel… After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…” Rev. 7:4, 9

Twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel are sealed and comprise the 144,000 mentioned here in Revelation 7.  Some people believe this is a literal number of people from the literal country of Israel who will be converted to Christianity and saved at the end of time.  Others believe this is simply a number signifying completeness and perfection of the saints at the end of time and is not to be taken literally.  Yet still others believe this number may or may not be literal, but it does signify those who go through the end of time and suffer greatly.  These saints all have different strengths and weaknesses correlating to the strengths and weakness of the twelve men and/or tribes mentioned.  No matter what this number represents, our concern is that we be counted among the great multitude that stands before the throne and the Lamb when all this is over.

A_vision_of_Paradise_(NYPL_Hades-1935897-1999316)