How Jesus Shows His Love
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, emphasis added
We now meet the evangelists our loving God sends to rescue helpless sinners at earth's darkest hour. In the company of the Lamb are those who rest in the absolutely secure safety of the love of Jesus for His servants. Jesus shows His love as He stands with these slaves of the Lamb. How does He do that? Look at the elements of Christ's love in Revelation 7:1-3 Notice that Jesus calls for the angels to hold back the four winds lest the judgment should blow across the earth. Before the judgment sweeps down upon the earth, and these servants who are residing there, Jesus prepares them for bad times. Have you ever thought about that? Have you ever experienced some great and fruitful times of fellowship with the Lord just before bad times hit?
So many times my wife, Bonnie, and I have talked about the challenging and difficult periods we have gone through in our lives, ministry, and family. During such talks, we remembered with gratefulness how the Lord has often given special seasons when our fellowship with Him through the Word and prayer was elongated because He was lovingly preparing us for the hardships ahead.
These Jewish evangelists are also being lovingly prepared for what is ahead by being "sealed" with the mark on their foreheads of Christ's name and the name of His Father. But the term "sealed" is different from anything we know about. In the ancient world, a mark upon a person could stand for at least five different things. A mark could stand for:
1.Ownership: Often a slave was branded with his owner's mark, just as sheep and cattle are branded. In this instance, the 144,000 missionaries belong to the Lamb of God.
2. Loyalty: A soldier would sometimes brand his hand with the name of the general whom he loved, and would willingly follow him into any battle. In the presence of the Lamb stand the veterans who have proved their loyalty.
3. Security: Historically, a wax seal pressed with the imprint of an owner would secure that object as owned and belonging to another. Similarly, God's seal upon these witnesses, as well as upon us (2 Corinthians 1:21-22), shows God's ownership-and the great security that brings!
4. Dependence: The great Arab chieftains had some humble clients who were absolutely dependent on them. Often, to outwardly identify that dependence, a sheik would brand his clients with the same mark used to brand his camels. In the company of the Lamb are those who are utterly dependent on His love and the grace of God.
5. Safety: "It was common for those who were the devotees of a god to be stamped with his sign. Sometimes that worked very cruelly. Plutarch tells us that after the disastrous defeat of the Athenians under Nicias in Sicily, the Sicilians took the captives and branded them on the forehead with a galloping horse, the emblem of Sicily." So these marked ones in chapter 7 are owned, loyal, secure, dependent, and trusting. They are resting safely in the Lord because they have responded to the love of Jesus. Have you made time to experience Christ's love as you worship Him today?
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