A Devotion for 21 August 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
(2 Timothy 2:19; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:9-11)
The mysterious references to ‘Marks’ and ‘Seals’ of the book of Revelations become more clearly discerned in light of the two text at the top of this devotion. These are not physically imposed marks, seals, or computer chips, but define a state of judgment and acceptance in the mind. It is the frontal lobe of the brain in which judgments of right or wrong are comprehended. When the brain – the seat of the mind – is imbued with the Mind of Christ, that will constitute a seal of our faith in Christ and serve as the seal that identifies us as belonging to Him alone. Let me give you only two examples from Revelations –
THE MARK: “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16-17) This mark identifies those who accept in their judgments the authority of the beast over them (IN their foreheads) and whose works reflect that acceptance (IN their right hand).
THE SEAL: “ 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, 3Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” (Revelations 7:2-3) Those saints belonging to the Lord have His SEAL IN their foreheads. They have taken upon themselves that Mind which was in our Lord Jesus Christ – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5) and “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)
Both the Mark and the Seal represent WHO we are and to whom we belong! If we belong to Christ, we have that Seal of Love for Him in our hearts and minds to determine our walk and path. If we belong to the other, we have a mark of unrighteous distinction in our hearts and minds to dictate our ways and to describe our rejection of righteousness in Christ.
I have nothing more to say of the reprobate mark of the beast, but let us examine a bit more the nature of the SEAL more fully described in Keach’s “Preaching from the Types and Metaphors of the Bible:”
1) In olden days, the seal of the king was highly valued and recognized as representing his full authority. It was carefully maintained and closely guarded. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is the King’s Seal, the King of Kings of Heaven and earth. It is highly valued by the Christian so sealed by the Holy Spirit of God.
2) A manmade seal makes an impression in wax and leaves a resemblance there of itself. Likewise, the Holy Spirit Seal leaves an impression in the heart and soul that produces a resemblance to the One who placed it there and is represented by that Seal – our Lord Jesus Christ.
3) A Seal, in producing an impression on wax, requires the wax to be made soft and pliable. The same is true of the Holy Spirit Seal – the heart must be made soft, broken, and made pliable by the efficacious working of the Spirit and the Word of God. The benefits of mercy and grace must fit the heart to receive that Seal. This is none of our own labors, but all of the Holy Ghost.
4) Before the seal is applied to wax, it has an undefined form and is without a discernible image; but once the seal has made its impression, the wax takes on a clearly defined image. So is the human soul changed from a formless mass to that of the image of God when the Seal of God has impressed its image there. It becomes recognizable as belonging to our Lord and bears His image.
5) The seal in business confirms a contract, covenant, or binding agreement between men. The Seal of the Holy Spirit certifies an acceptance of a covenant with God to obey and follow His direction and leading. The wax of God’s covenanting grace is comprised of the Wax of Love to which the Seal is applied and made manifest. “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 21Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Corinthians 1:19-22)
6) A seal distinguishes between one and another in business. My seal, or signature, represents only my own interest and authority, while another represents his own. The Seal of the Holy Spirit distinguishes between those who are the Lord’s and those who remain outside the Gates of Mercy and Grace. The seal of man is uncertain. Even the seal of the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, proved useless before the Tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ. But God’s Seal is certain: “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19)
7) No law has any obligation of obedience and is not authentic until it bears the seal of the sovereign authority. Our Lord Jesus Christ sealed our redemption at Calvary. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Hebrews2:3-4)
8) A seal is used to secure and keep safe many possessions of mankind. Jars of home-canned fruit must be sealed to preserve them edible. Utilities using water must be sealed to prevent leaks. Marriages are most often concluded and sealed with a kiss. The Seal of the Holy Spirit secures the elect and protects and preserves them to serve their fore-ordained purpose of God. “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” (Revelations 7:3)
9) The human seal is sometimes counterfeited by unsavory men in order to deceive and ruin their victims. Satan, too, will often counterfeit the Holy Spirit to deceive many into believing a lie and causing them to act in the exact opposite way of God’s Holy will. Satan is able to transform himself into an “angel of light” and marks his false ministers with that same counterfeit of the spirit – yes, the devil is spiritual and acts through the spirit, but not that Spirit called Holy. But the very lives and actions of the Elect give evidence of the Seal in the hearts.
I will conclude with an example of a true seal of God. The following is an account of the great minister of Scotland, Andrew Bonar:
“Well, my dear, and what is your name?” he asked. The question was addressed to a returning medical missionary who was friends with Bonar’s sister. “Christine,” was her answer. “What a lovely name!” said the aged Bonar. “You see, my dear, you have Christ in your name, but have you Christ in your heart?” She was silent to that important personal question, but could not forget it. That night after a long talk with her brother, she flung wide open the door of her heart to the Savior, Christian living and faithful service and has shown by years of consistent living among the Edinburgh students, the reality of her decision.
Well, if you are a believer, you, too, have Christ in your name – you are called a Christ-ian. That means your master is Christ, and you bear His seal and name by your faith, your holiness, your compassion, and your love for others. When others see you, do they recognize that Seal as the likeness of Christ?