When you purchase something at the store and it has a premium price you want to know if it is the genuine item. There are watermarks or engravings or other telling signs that you are looking at the genuine item. For example, collegiate sports have a shiny reflective logo “officially licensed”. Sometimes expensive things have a letter of authenticity. Trading memorabilia can be graded and confirmed as genuine. Knock off designer items are common place so it is always best to educate yourself on what is real and what is fake.
Now take that same idea and move it into the spiritual realm. How does God know who his people are? How do we know who is of God and who is not? There is an interesting Biblical narrative that speaks to this throughout the history and future of creation.
Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: Revelation 7:2-4 ESV
The end time vision recorded by the Disciple John, tells us that there will be 144,000 Jewish men who are sealed on their foreheads to go and proclaim the good news of salvation during the tribulation years. They are marked by God so that Satan and the end of world destruction will not be able to kill them. God does not want them harmed because their sole purpose is to tell the lost and dying people that they can be saved if they trust God. Now we can contrast this seal with the mark that the envoy of Satan will hand out. Satan will be given power on earth to command nations that require a physical mark in order to participate in the public square.
16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. Revelation 13:16-17 ESV
Both God and Satan are “sealing” people. They are marking as genuine people that they claim. God is a creator and Satan is a counterfeiting liar. This means that God’s mark of genuine goes beyond a simple copy of some certification. God’s mark is intrinsic. Stated another way, God’s seal gives the person marked value as belonging to God the creator of the universe. The seal of God is so powerful that Angels give way. Satan’s mark is a cheap copy that carries no value. Satan is always looking to “mark” or scar people forcibly. Satan wants to destroy and his mark carries a heavy toll. Drugs abuse, physical mutilation, self-destructive actions are the easy public results for many… But other marks like at the end will seem the wise thing to do. Satan corners and isolates people to force them to do harmful things. God’s seal brings life, redemption, and relationship.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 ESV
Since we are not currently in the end times where things are as obviously for or against God who has a seal of the God most high? And how does one come by this seal?
Anyone that accepts Jesus as savior will be “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit who is the guarantee” of our future hope. Hear this dear reader… Through Jesus we average, ordinary, unloved, passed over, abused, poor, and even evil people can be claimed by God and given intrinsic worth as his child. God has proven over and over again that he loves his creation and that through Jesus we can be reconciled.
You dear reader can be a genuine article that is given unmistakable provenance into the kingdom of God. The next step is yours.
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14