Updated: Dec 18, 2021
Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts, 2nd Corinthians 1:22.
I think that most people understand the biblical purpose of a seal. Men had signets which were usually worn as a ring. A signet was a raised and carefully shaped piece of brass or some similar material that when pressed into clay, hardened into the distinct signature or marking of the person to whom the seal applied. It stood for his signature, his credit and his good name.
When the king took his ring from his hand and gave it to Haman the enemy of the Jews, he gave him complete and utter authority to make edicts in the king's name. And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy, Esther 3:10. Haman was able to make wicked laws, press the king's ring with its distinctive signet into the clay whereupon that law was inscribed, and that law had the same impact as if the king had said it himself.
Imagine the state of mind that the patriarch Judah was in when he gave his signet into the hand of a woman that he thought to be a harlot. And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him, Genesis 38:18. You can be sure that Judah's passions were thoroughly aroused for him to pledge his good name and credit in the form of his signet, his bracelets that were in themselves of great value, and his staff upon which he leaned and was identifiable to anyone who knew him.
This was not some casual sighting of a woman with whom he thought to defile himself. This is a man who has been brought to such a state of arousal that he no longer cares for his good name, his credit or his wealth. Sadly, I have known men who allowed themselves to destroy those very things in their lives for the sake of unbridled lust. Nevertheless, when Judah gave over his signet, he gave a harlot the power to use his credit and good name.
God seals men. Jesus Christ spoke of himself being sealed; Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed, John 6:27. The Father took his signet and placed a spiritual seal upon the man Christ Jesus. Likewise, God seals his saints.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Ephesian 1:13. Our relationship with the Holy Ghost includes this miraculous seal upon us wherein God the Father seals us as his own. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption, Ephesians 4:30. We are told to live our lives as a person who knows that that seal is the Spirit of God which is holy.
But what does that seal actually say? Is it just a spiritual seal that angels, devils and God himself can see, or does it communicate something more? That seal does speak and it says far more. 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, 2nd Timothy 2:19. That seal is a two part seal. The first part, the Lord knoweth them that are his is understood. After all, it is his seal. He can look down and see it.
It is the second role of that seal which should arrest the attention of every bible believing student. The holy Spirit of God does not just identify us by sealing us, it lets us depart from iniquity. It did not say that it prevented us from iniquity, it lets us depart should we so choose. I remember those days in which I thought that I had bible salvation and did not. I strove so hard to be free from iniquity, but for every minor victory there was an equal and opposite reaction drawing me into more iniquity.
I was like Peter Rabbit fighting the tar baby. Every blow which was given to free my hand, only drove my other hand farther into the tar of sin. As I wrestled with my sin nature, my sins became more subtle and less obvious. For every fornication, blasphemy or drunken night that was avoided, a far more insidious false piety and pride crept into my life until I was more tangled in sin than ever before. I had not the power to depart from iniquity.
Upon salvation, I was sealed with that precious seal that not only identified me as belonging to God, it let me depart from iniquity. That letting was miraculous. It was a wonder to me. It did not force me to depart from iniquity, it let me depart from iniquity. It is to my everlasting shame that certain iniquities stayed with me for far too long. The strength and means to depart from iniquity was there if I had only utilized its letting power.
I have learned that upon salvation, no two people experience the same miraculous departure from the iniquity that has held them in bondage. One man ceases cigarettes immediately, the next man takes three years to escape the bondage. There are two older saints of God who are always welcome in the pulpit of the Black Creek Baptist Church. One of them speaks of an instantaneous deliverance from his foul mouth upon being saved. The other has testified that it took him a couple of years before he realized that he was free from that iniquity.
Our iniquities are like the Canaanites of old who Israel was commanded to destroy gradually; And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee, Deuteronomy 7:22. Should a man depart from all of his iniquity at once, he would fill with pride. It is far better that like Israel of old, he be strengthened by God to defeat his iniquities one by one. Also, like Israel of old, those iniquities he ignores and becomes comfortable to live with will become snares to him as the remnant of the Canaanites did in taking Israel captive betimes.
What it is important to see is that it is that sealing by the holy Spirit of God which lets us depart from iniquity. That grace from God is transitional. It will depart. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way, 2nd Thessalonians 2:7. Oh how men have tortured themselves with that verse, not allowing the scriptures to define themselves! That seal will not always dwell with men as it does now.
The Lord has made it so clear that just as he raptured Enoch, Elijah, the saints of Matthew 27:53, and Jesus Christ himself, there will be a day in which he calls up all of those sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. It is called the redemption of our body (Romans 8:23). Every man woman and child in whom the holy Spirit of God has sealed will be taken up when that holy Spirit of God who has let us depart from iniquity is taken out of the way.
Just as the ark of the covenant was never seen on this earth again, but instead is spotted in heaven (Revelation 11:9) after the glory of God which had resided in it was drawn up into heaven prior to the coming of Nebuchadnezzar, when the Lord calls up his glory and takes it out of the way, every vessel wherein it abides will go with it.
Ezekiel 10:18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.
Ezekiel 10:19 And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
Jeremiah prepared the people to have a temple without the ark. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more, Jeremiah 3:16. Likewise, after the rapture, the relationship with the Holy Ghost will revert to what it was when Jesus Christ breathed the Holy Ghost into his disciples on an individual basis in John 20 unlike the pouring out of the Holy Ghost as seen in Acts 2. Saints will have the Holy Ghost in the tribulation, but differently than what Paul describes in 1st Corinthians 12:13.
The other great change is that for those who have heard the gospel and have not been wooed to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, the holy Spirit of God will no longer be letting them depart from iniquity. They are damned.
2nd Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2nd Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2nd Thessalonians 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Whoever the saints of God are during the time of Jacob's trouble, they will not be drawn from those who have clearly been presented the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There have been many obstacles to understanding these times. Perhaps no obstacle has been greater than the wrestlings that have gone on over the term "day of Christ". We shall look at that soon. One thing is for sure, unless you teach that the resurrection is past already (2nd Timothy 2:18), I can and will fellowship freely with you.