A seal may have been an ancient way of showing

1. truth (cf. John 3:33)

2. ownership (cf. John 6:27; 2 Tim. 2:19; Rev. 7:2-3; 9:4)

3. security or protection (cf. Gen. 4:15; Matt. 27:66; Rom. 4:11; 15:28; 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; Rev. 20:3)

4. it may also be a sign of the reality of God's promise of a gift (cf. Rom. 4:11 and 1 Cor. 9:2)

The purpose of this seal in Revelation 7:2-4; 9:4 is to identify God's people so that the wrath of God will not affect them.  Satan's seal identifies his people, who are the object of God's wrath. In Revelation "tribulation" (i.e., thlipsis) always refers to unbelievers persecuting believers, while wrath/anger (i.e., orgē or thumos) is always God's judgment on unbelievers so that they might repent and turn to faith in Christ.  This positive purpose of judgment can be seen in the covenant curses/blessings of Leviticus 26;  Deuteronomy 27-28;30; Psalm 1.


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