The Seal of God in Their Foreheads
By Elder Ross Drysdale
Copyright 1994, Apostolic Truth Press
CONFUSION ON MT. ZION
No group mentioned in the Bible is as controversial as to identity as the 144,000 John envisioned on Mt. Zion in the 14th Chapter of Revelation. Everyone claims to be that mysterious host. Jehovah Witnesses say the 144,000 are “Christ’s Theocratic Co-Rulers” (who are currently operating out of the Watchtower factory in Brooklyn!) Seventh-day Adventists insist the 144,000 are the “spiritual remnant” of their own Judiazing sect, who abstain from eating swine’s flesh and mice! Herbert Armstrong was prepared to lead his 144,000 to the great Australian “outback!” On and on it goes ceaselessly. The common evangelical explanation is that the 144,000 will be a select group of Jewish “super-evangelists” who will lead revival meetings during the Great Tribulation.
Everyone of the above mentioned notions is false exegetical attempts at cramming a foot into a shoe it was never meant to wear. The Bible makes the real identity of the 144,000 abundantly clear.
IDENTIFYING THE 144,000
The very first thing one must do to discover the true identity of this fascinating group is to “distinguish things that differ.” It is clear from the text that the 144,000 mentioned in Chapter fourteen of Revelation are a completely different group from the 144,000 mentioned in Chapter seven. This is the key to unlocking the mystery. Once this is realized, all will fall in place. The 144,000 of Chapter seven are Jews, sealed “from all the tribes of the Children of Israel” (Rev. 7:4). In contrast, the 144,000 of Chapter fourteen are “redeemed from the earth” and are selected from “among men.” This is a clear reference to the church (Rev. 5:9-10) and not Israel! The church is always said to be redeemed from among men – every kindred, tongue and nation. Moreover, the 144,000 of Revelation seven are sealed at the beginning of the Tribulation (Rev. 7:3) in order to immunize them against the Tribulation plagues through which they must pass (Rev. 9:4). They are clearly on earth during the Tribulation. However, the 144,000 of Chapter fourteen are found in heaven, before the throne of God (Rev. 14:1, Heb. 12:22), while the Tribulation is raging on earth below and God’s wrath is being poured out (Rev. 14:6-10). They undoubtedly escaped the tribulation.
THE RAPTURED CHURCH
The 144,000 of Revelation 14 are without question the raptured Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are the Christian dead who were resurrected and the living who were translated (I Thess. 4:15-17). They are safe on Mt. Zion, the heavenly meeting place.
They are said to be “standing” before the Son of Man: “And I looked, and lo a Lamb stood on the Mt. Zion, and with him a 144,000…” (Rev. 14:1). This fulfills Christ’s promise to the church concerning the Rapture. “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). Christ said they would “escape” and “stand before the Son of man,” and that’s exactly what John saw them doing on Mt. Zion!
Again the 144,000 are said to have been “redeemed from the earth” and “redeemed from among men” (Rev. 14:3,4). This is another direct reference to the Rapture. Christ referred to the Rapture as our “redemption” and it was to occur at the beginning, not the end, of the Tribulation: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).
The 144,000 of Revelation 14 are called “Virgins” (Rev. 14:4). This means they are spiritually clean and undefiled from false doctrine and worldliness. The church is referred to in Scripture as a virgin (II Cor. 11:2); Israel is never so designated in the New Testament. This is also indicative of the rapture, for in the Parable of the Wedding Feast, when the Bridegroom comes at midnight, the five wise virgins are admitted to the Wedding Feast, and the door is then shut (Matt. 25:6-10). That this is a reference to the Rapture is made clear by Christ’s subsequent addendum: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh” (Matt. 25:13).
The 144,000 of Revelation 14 are said to “follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth” (Rev. 14:4). Jesus said of the Church: “My sheep hear my voice… and they follow me” (John 10:27). Christ was translated to heaven (Luke 24:51), and his sheep follow him there (I Cor. 15:51-52).
The final proof that we are looking at the Raptured Church in Revelation 14 is the fact they are called “The Firstfruits unto God and to The Lamb” (Rev. 14:4). The church, as the body of Christ, is part of the “Firstfruit” resurrection (I Cor. 15:20). This resurrection occurs “before” the tribulation and not “afterward” when he comes again at Armageddon (I Cor. 15:23; Heb. 9:28).
By now we can infer that the 144,000 of Revelation 7 are Jews who are sealed by God after the Rapture of the Church, which is depicted by the other group of 144,000 on Mt. Sion in Revelation 14. The Jews of Revelation 7 replace the raptured church as God’s living witness on the earth. God is never without a witness on the earth. It is also quite evident that the number 144,000 is a symbolic or spiritual number. It is not a literal tally. 12 raised to the second power (12 X 12) yields 144. This symbolizes perfection and completion. The Jews of Revelation 7 are the completion and perfection of Israel. Blindness was to come upon Israel in part, but only until the “Fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25-26). Revelation 7 represents the conversion of “all Israel” mentioned by Paul. Likewise the 144,000 of Revelation 14 speak to us of the completed and perfected church standing with Christ in heavenly glory. Even their future home, complete and perfect, is said to be “an hundred and forty-four cubits” (Rev. 21:17).
THE NAME OF THE FATHER IN THEIR FOREHEADS
The identity of the true church and its qualifying characteristic, necessary for Rapture participation, is revealed in Rev. 14:1: “And I looked and lo a Lamb stood on the Mt. Sion, and with him an hundred and forty four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.”
The true church scheduled for translation at the appearing of Christ, must have “his Father’s name in their foreheads.”
Before we learn how this name is affixed, let us determine what the name is. The Bible tells us the name of the Son of God is Jesus (Matt. 1:21). But the Bible also says that He inherited that name (Heb. 1:4). From whom did he inherit that name? Jesus does not leave us in the dark concerning the origin of his name. He tells us that it is his Father’s name… (John 5:43). So the name Jesus, which means Jehovah-Savior in Greek, is also the Father’s name; the name He gave to His Son. So to have the Father’s name in ones forehead is to have Jesus name there. Jesus is the Father’s name. This is abundantly proven by the fact that the Apostles were told to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son” (Matt. 28:19). They fulfilled this by baptizing exclusively in Jesus name (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 22:16). This proves that Jesus is the “name of the Father and of the Son!” That is why Rev. 22:3-4 plainly states that “God and the Lamb” have but one throne, one face, and one name! The name of Jesus is the one name of “God (Father) and the Lamb (Son)!” And this name must be fixed in the forehead of each and every person who desires to stand on Mr. Sion in raptured glory. The next thing to determine is how one receives “the name” in the forehead.
BAPTISM IN JESUS NAME–THE SEAL OF GOD
The only way the Bible reveals that the name of Jesus is applied to an individual is through water baptism in Jesus Name. This is brought out clearly in Acts 15. There we are told that God’s purpose is to actually “take out” from the Gentiles “a people for his name” (Acts 15:14). This “taking out” will occur at the Rapture when “one shall be taken, and the other shall be left” (Luke 17:34-36). After this mostly Gentile bride is taken in Rapture, then God will turn his attention to Israel and “build again the tabernacle of David” (Acts 15:16). The Apostle James unmistakably reveals to us has this name is affixed to the people that God is “taking out” from among the Gentiles: “That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord who doeth all these things” (Acts 15:17). This is accomplished every time the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is “called upon” someone in the baptismal ceremony. A person may call upon the name of the Lord anytime. But the only time the name of the Lord is called “upon them” is in the water baptism in Jesus name! When the administrant says: “I baptize you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” he has called the name of the Lord “upon” the immersed candidate. That person then and there has the “Father’s name” written in his forehead, is sealed by God for translation, and will be “taken out” from among the Gentiles as a people “for his name” at the time of the Rapture. There is no other act, ceremony, or spiritual exercise described anywhere in the New Testament in which the name of the Lord is so invoked upon a person. This, and this alone, constitutes the sealing of the Father’s true name in the forehead. Substituting the titles “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” will never qualify as the baptismal seal. Their usage in the baptismal ceremony represents a departure from apostolic interpretation and usage and renders the entire act utterly null and completely void. These titles are not the divine name and never will be. The titles were not used in Christian Baptism until the fourth century.
This startling quote from an officially approved Catholic work entitled Bible Catechism, abundantly proves the point: “There is no doubt that a signifying word belonged to the rite of Baptism (bath-immersion-infusion). There were so many baptisms: The baptism of the proselytes (no. 2), baptism as initiation to sects (no. 5), the baptism of John (no. 5). Somehow it should be expressed with whom one was united by Baptism.
Into Christ. The Bible tells us that Christians were baptized into Christ (no. 6). They belong to Christ. The Acts of the Apostles (2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5) tells us of baptizing “in the name (person) of Jesus.” — a better translation would be “into the name (person) of Jesus.” only in the 4th Century did the formula “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” become customary.
Although the Church of the Apostolic era did not know the trinitarian baptismal “word” (in the name of the Father…) but only the Christological one (into the name of Jesus Christ), this does not exclude the fact that every Christian Baptism is actually a Baptism into communion with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” ( Bible Catechism, Rev. John C. Kersten, S.V.D., Catholic Book Publishing Co., N.Y., N.Y.,1973, p. 164).
This book, written by a Catholic scholar and sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church, is yet another “confession” coming out of Rome that they changed the baptismal formula, eliminated the true name of God, and for Centuries brought to a halt the sealing work of God. Since 1914 however, the truth has been revealed and God is gathering a spiritual remnant who are standing for his name and have re-instituted the original apostolic practice of invoking the seal of God’s true name in the baptismal rite. Much opposition is heaped upon this great work, thus fulfilling the words of James, “Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by which ye are called” (James 2:7), and also the prophecy of Christ, “and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matt. 24:9). In spite of all opposition however, Oneness Pentecostal ministers the wide world over are daily pressing forward this great work of sealing a people “for his name” by baptizing countless thousands of obedient believers in the name of Jesus Christ.
EARLY CHURCH HISTORY AND THE SEAL OF GOD
The doctrine that water Baptism in Jesus name is the “seal of God” in the forehead is not the esoteric interpretation of some 20th Century sect. It was part and parcel of the early Christians’ understanding of the baptismal rite. Church history cleverly testifies to this.
“SHEPHERD OF HERMAS” AND THE SEAL
The early Christian writing entitled “Shepherd of Hernias” was written in Rome around 140 AD or probably earlier. It may be the most ancient writing we have from the sub-apostolic period. It was read in many churches of the time and considered as scripture. Paul may have referred to Hermas in Romans 16:14, thus placing him under apostolic approval. Here is what Hernias has to say: “Before a man has borne the name of the Son of God he is dead; but when he has received the seal he layeth aside his deadness and resumeth life. The seal then is the water; so they go down into the water dead and they come up alive. Thus, to them also this seal was preached, and they availed themselves of it that they might enter into the kingdom of God” (Similitude 9:16. Baptism in water in the name of Jesus, the Son of God, is the lifegiving seal that admits to the Kingdom of God according to Hermas.
SEAL OF BAPTISM IN JESUS NAME CHANGED
That the early church considered Baptism in Jesus name the true seal of God is also attested by many scholars. That this was changed by the apostosizing church is also freely admitted! J.E.L. Oulton writes: “I submit that the use of the term ‘seal’ as applied to Holy Baptism underwent a change towards the end of the second century and in the every year of the third, and that its application as in ‘Hippolytus’ and as a rule of Clement of Alexandria, to the laying on of hands or chrism or sign of the cross, as distinct from immersion in water, is not the earliest use, according to which it meant the baptism in water or the baptismal rite as a whole” (Second Century Teaching on Holy Baptism, Theology, 1947, p. 88).
THE SEAL OF JESUS NAME BAPTISM — THE BRAND OF CHRIST!
Dr. Beasley-Murray beautifully sums up the conclusion of scholarship on this subject of Jesus Name Baptism as the seal of God. Referring to the previously quoted citation from Shepherd of Hermas concerning Baptism in Jesus Name as the seal, he writes: “The impression gained from this statement is that the seal properly speaking, is the name stamped on the baptized in his baptism, and that the term has become extended to cover the baptismal act that bestows the seal. Heitmuller believed that this was part at least of the real significance of the uttering of the name of Jesus over the baptized and that it reveals the origin of the conception of baptism as a seal: by setting of the name of Jesus on the baptized it stamped him as his property – put his brand or trademark upon him! – and set him under his protection” (Beasley-Murray, p. 174).
Dr. Beasley-Murray also has sane very significant things to say concerning the “seal of the Spirit” mentioned by Paul in Eph. 1:13 and 4:30. He writes: “Thus the ‘seal of the Spirit’ is neither baptism in water, nor a baptism of the Spirit divorced from the rite of baptism; it is the ‘baptism of the Spirit’ in association with the laying of the Name of Jesus on a believer in the rite of baptism. This has some interesting consequences. The association of the ‘seal’ with the name in baptism, and the parallel teaching in I Cor. 6:11, 12:13, renders untenable the plea of Dix that the seal is given in confirmation. The seal is given when a man is washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and in the Spirit of our God, even as he is baptized to the one body in the one Spirit” (Beasley-Murray, 174).
THE JESUS NAME BAPTISIMAL SEAL IN THE FOREHEAD
The Baptism in Jesus Name is the seal of God in the forehead of true believers. A comparison with the “sealing work” of Ezekiel, chapter nine, will show many striking similarities. Ezekiel saw great destruction loaning over Jerusalem. But before any of it was unleashed, God “sealed” his righteous servants in the forehead for deliverance. We read: “And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of Jerusalem and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Ezk. 9:4). The purpose of the sealing was for divine escape from God’s wrath: “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon wham is the mark…” (Ezk. 9:6).
Dr. Beasley-Murray draws this comparison: “Having considered the probability that the ‘seal of the Spirit’ is a synonym for the possession of the Spirit secured in baptism, it may be of value to enquire what connotation this symbolism had for the early church. That it signified above all the idea of ownership by the one whose seal is stamped has already been noticed; to be sealed with the spirit is to be ‘branded as Christ’s! But the really characteristic application of the figure is eschatological, that of applying the brand mark of Christ in view of the tribulation and Kingdom of the End. The background of this concept is to be sought in the vision of Ezekiel, chapter nine. Six executioners advance on Jerusalem with weapons of slaughter and with them a man with a writing case at his side; the latter is bidden to set a mark on the foreheads of the men who sighed over the abominations committed in the city and the executioners are commanded to slay all in the city… ‘but touch no one upon whom is the mark”‘ (Beasley-Murray, p. 175-176).
Therefore, the conclusion that Baptism in Jesus Name was the seal or brand of Christ, necessary for deliverance from the Great Tribulation and into the Kingdom of God, was a carrion Christian understanding in the early years of Christianity. This is attested to by a host of Biblical scholars not any of whom are connected with the United Pentecostal Church International or the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. They are just unbiased and honest researchers who are not afraid to let the facts, both historical and biblical, speak for themselves.
Why, in all his convoluted discussion of what “in the name of Jesus” could mean, did Dr. Boyd decide to ignore this significant contribution by well respected scholars, especially Dr. Beasley-Murray? Dr. Boyd cannot claim “ignorance” here, for he cites Dr. Beasley-Murray’s book, Baptism in the New Testament, in his footnotes for chapter 6 (Boyd, p. 231). In fact, Dr. Boyd uses Beasley-Murray’s book to argue against the significance of the singular name in Matt. 28:19. But he completely fails to mention to his readers that Beasley-Murray did not believe that Matt. 28:19 originally contained the expression “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” and more astonishingly, he utterly neglects to inform his readers that Beasley-Murray was convinced that the original baptismal formula was in “Jesus Name,” and that much of Dr. Beasley-Murray’s book was devoted to establishing that very point! Perhaps like Paul, Dr. Boyd’s “revelation” also contains “unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter,” especially if they disprove the very premise he seeks to establish!
KEPT FROM THE HOUR–THROUGH JESUS NAME
Most evangelical Bible scholars are agreed that the seven churches referred to in Revelation two and three also represent seven historical periods in church history. It is likewise conceded that the Church of Philadelphia stands for the true body of believers in the last days just prior to the rapture. They are promised an escape from the Great Tribulation or “hour of temptation” with these words: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep them from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly…” (Rev. 3:10-11).
The church to which this promise is made is characterized by its particular and distinctive stand for the name of Jesus: “For thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my work, and hast not denied my name” (Rev. 3:8). While other Protestant (and Pentecostal) churches freely go along with Romish apostasy in baptizing in the titles, effectively denying the name of Jesus, The Oneness Pentecostal movements refuses to do this. Nothing will move them from this great work of sealing the Bride of Christ through water baptism in Jesus name, in preparation for that great day of translation from this dying world to the lofty heights of the heavenly Sion No wonder all her rewards are name related: “I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God… and I will write upon him my new name” (Rev. 3:12).
JESUS NAME BAPTISM AND THE BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE
Jesus Name oneness believers are accused of being “obsessed” with the name! “That’s all they ever talk about,” our enemies decry. How they mock us for our fascination with this theme. But this very characteristic, for which they deride us, will mark us as the Lord’s raptured jewels. Listen to Malachi: “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it…” (Malachi 3:16). What were they talking about when the Lord “eves dropped?” Malachi reveals it, “And a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name (Malachi 3:16). When you think long enough and hard enough upon the name of the Lord, you will reach the same conclusion that Peter reached: “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name, under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). When you realize that, you will also be baptized in Jesus Name for “sealing” and remission of sins! Then your name will be recorded in the book of Remembrance and the rest of Malachi’s prophecy will be fulfilled in you: “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Malachi 3:17). The same pattern, over and over again; sealed through baptism in Jesus Name, spared the wrath of God!
At that great day when Christ appears to the “sealed ones” who are “looking for him” (Heb. 9:28), will also be fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy: “Your brethern that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed” (Isa. 66:5).
From the hill country of Ethiopia, to the steppes of Russia; from the paradisic islands of the South Pacific, to the urban dynamos of New York, London, and Rio, thousands upon thousands are now once again hearing the true Gospel being preached, and the real Jesus being revealed. Not the milk sop platitudes of the “easy believers” and their “ABC” plans of salvation, nor the reduced Christ of the “persons” peddlers of Nicea! Rather these fearless preachers of oneness are offering to every nation, real Bible salvation. A salvation that includes the apostolic rite of water baptism in Jesus Name which affixes the Name of God in the forehead and effectively seals them “unto the day of redemption.” No wonder Paul said, “though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you … let him be accursed!” (Gal. 1:8).
1 R.E.O. White, “Sanctification,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology,
ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984), 971.
2 William L. Coleman, The Pharisee’s Guide to Total Holiness
(Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1977), 6-7.
3 C.T. Marshall, “Monasticism,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology,
ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984), 728.
4 M. A. Noll, Pietism,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed.
Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984), 855-856.
6 Harold L Bussell, Lord, I Can Resist Anything But Temptation (Grand
Rapids: Zandman, 1985), 167-170.
7 Klaus Bockmuehl, “Secularization and Secularism: Some Christians
Considerations.” Evangelical Review of Theology (January 1986), 54-55.
8 Ibid., 57.
9 Jacques Ellul, The Subversion of Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,
10 Theodore H. Epp, Living. Abundantly, Vol.1 (Lincoln: Back to the
Bible Broadcast, 1973), 19.
11 J. Herbert Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission
(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985), 7.
12 Ibid., 17.
14 Ibid., 18.
15 Ibid., 20.
16 Ibid., 21.
17 John Stott, Involvement: Being a Responsible Christian in a
Non-Christian Society (Old Tappan: Revell, 1985), 19.
18 Nathaniel Pugh, Living in the Tower (Hazelwood: Word Aflame, 1986), 34.
19 John Fischer, Real Christians Don’t Dance (Minneapolis: Bethany House
Publishers, 1988), 23.
28 Samuel H. Miller, Man the Believer (New York: Abingdon Press, 1968), 61.
21 John Stott, Involvement: Social and Sexual Relationships in the Modem
World, vol.2, (Old Tappan: Revell, 1985), 159.
22 R. C. Sproul, Ethics and the Christian (Wheaton: Tyndale, 1989), 11.
23 Lewis B. Smedes, Mere Morality (Grand Rapids: Eendrnans, 1989), 1.
24 Herbert Kane, Wanted: World Christians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), 17.
25 David J. Hesselgrave, Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally (Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 1978), 460.
26 Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship (Plainfield: Logos, 1975),
4-8, 26-28, 115-134.