The Sealing of the Elect
Revelation 7:1-8
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth…

There is here revealed to us a Divine idea, and a Divine law of action, which is now advancing with perpetual energy, past, present, and to come.

I. GOD HAS A FOREKOWN NUMBER WHOM HE WILL GATHER OUT UNTO HIMSELF. The whole of the new creation sprung from, and surrounding, the second Adam in the kingdom of life eternal; the mystical Person of Christ, both the Head and the Body, all perfected by that which "every joint supplieth"; the true and eternal Vine, complete in all its symmetry from root to spray; the heavenly court, compassed about with ranks of angelic hosts; the order of patriarchs, and the multitude of saints, ascending to the Incarnate Son: all this Divine and glorious mystery of miraculous love and power stands in the foreknowledge of the Eternal, full, perfect, and accomplished.

II. THE COURSE OF THIS WORLD WILL RUN ON UNTIL THIS FOREKNOW NUMBER SHALL BE GATHERED IN. All things are for the elect's sake. What is the history of the world but a history of man's warfare against God? of our provocation, and of His patience?

III. EVEN NOW, WHILE JUDGMENT IS STAYED, THE CHURCH IN THE MIDST OF US IS SEALING GOD'S ELECT. The angel ascending from the east is a type of the ministry of angels and men knit together in one order of grace, to gather out the heirs of salvation. The visible polity of the Church, its stately ritual and public solemnities, its fasts and feasts, its chants and litanies, its missions and preachings, all the public order and movement which meets the eye and ear — all this is as the "net let down into the sea, which taketh of every kind, both good and bad." But this is not the sealing of the elect. It is an inner work of grace, a choosing from among the chosen, a preparation for that day, when, upon the eternal shore, the angels "shall gather the good into vessels, and cast the bad away."

1. The ultimate and true election of God is not collective but several, not of bodies but of persons. Born alone, alone we must live; alone repent, pray, fast, watch, persevere, and die; each one for himself "work out his own salvation," and make his "calling and election sure."

2. This mystery of election, as it is personal, so it is strictly consistent with our personal probation. God made man free, and elects him to and in the exercise of freedom, will, and power. And what is this seal of the living God, but the image of God renewed in the soul by the power of the Holy Ghost; the likeness and the mind of Christ stamped upon us by a perfect regeneration; the inward reality of a saintly spirit wrought in us, either by a life of steadfast obedience or by a true repentance, by a persevering grace or by a perfect conversion?


1. What is our character? By this we mean the clear, conscious, and definite shape and direction which has been given to our whole spiritual nature. Surely it is no hard thing to find out whether we are living in any known sin or not; whether we are striving against temptation or not; whether we have mastery over our faults or our faults over us; whether we desire the love of God or not; whether sin is to us a sorrow, and the very thought of holiness a delight; whether we are living for this world or for the next.

2. If we have not this higher character, what are our tendencies? Is sin losing hold, and the spirit of sanctity gaining power over us? Are our temptations weaker, and we stronger; our faults fewer, and our repentance deeper?

3. What is our habitual intention? The true self of sincere minds is that which speaks and aspires in their better moments. The lower level on which they move at other times is the way of their infirmity. As the resistance of the atmosphere stays the keenest arrow's flight, and bends it to earth again, so the purest and directest intention is slackened by the gross thick airs of our daily life. Not to sink into a slower, earthlier motion is the portion of those who are lifted into a higher and heavenlier sphere, where the actings of the soul have nothing to resist them. In heaven "they rest not day nor night"; hut on earth the most unresting intention is overcome by weakness and weariness at last. It cannot always be conscious and actual; but that does not take away from its true and habitual reality. Let this, then, be your continual endeavour, to uphold and to prolong these higher intentions. Quicken and strengthen them by a life of prayer, by meditation, by habitual communion, by self-examination, by confession; by exercises of the heart, and by acts of faith, hope, and love.

(Archdeacon Manning.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

WEB: After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree.

The Four Winds
Top of Page
Top of Page