“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth” (Rev. 7:1).
The four “corners” of the earth signify the four “quarters” of the earth, meaning the four parts, regions, or directions. Although some have tried to prove that the earth actually has “corners,” that is beside the point. The word is translated from the Greek word gonia which means both “corner” and “quarter.” The same word is translated quarter in Revelation 20:8. “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth.”
There are four corners or quarters. The number four takes whatever God is saying or doing and expands it in every direction — north, south, east, and west. If you’re traveling north, south, east, and west you’re going in every direction! The number four denotes the creative work of God and expands it into all creation. Four is seen in the work of creation. There were four steps in the creative processes of God — emanation, creation, formation, and manifestation. When God moves within your inner world, in the power of four, He sends forth the reality of Himself into all the parts of your earth or state of being. Four is not the number that tells us merely that God is the Creator, but that He is filling the creation everywhere with Himself! Four reveals the omnipresence of God in creation. Centuries ago the inspired David lifted up his voice in awesome contemplation of the majesty of God and declared, “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee” (Ps. 139:7-12). Ah, truly four is a blessed comfort and inspiration, for it speaks to me that if I make my bed in hell, even there HE is with me! Aren’t you glad!
In the opening chapters of Genesis we find four rivers flowing out of Eden into all the known earth of that day. “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium (pearl) and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates” (Gen. 2:10-14).
In connection with the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, we are told of a remarkable river that had its source in Eden, but on flowing out of the garden divided itself into four branches. The picture is that of man placed in the garden before a tree called the tree of life.. By the side of the tree of life there was a river, and by the flowing of this river there were some precious materials: gold, pearl, and onyx stone. Remember, this scene is in the opening chapters of the Bible! At the end of the revelations of the scriptures, we find the same thing again in the very last two chapters. There we see a city built of gold, pearls, and precious stones, the same kinds of materials listed in chapter two of Genesis. There we also see a river flowing, and on either side of it grows the tree of life. Here you have the river and the tree of life once more. How remarkable that man’s history began and ends at the same river and tree of life! The tree of life in Genesis and the tree of life in the Revelation are not two different trees, but the one and selfsame tree. The river flowing out of the garden and the river flowing out of the city are not two separate rivers, they are the same wonderful river!
In order for the river to flow out of Eden it was necessary for Eden to be located in a high, elevated place. This high altitude or “higher realm” of the garden of Eden typifies the kingdom of heaven on earth! The kingdom of heaven on earth is also the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God is within you, Jesus has taught us. The kingdom of God is in our spirit, which is the offspring of God! God placed Adam, or the first humanity, in the garden of Eden, or the kingdom of heaven, a place or state of being of light and beauty, from whence flowed the springs of the fountain of the river of life, the source of living water. Without the garden lies the “lower realm” of earth, bespeaking the human condition as man walks in a sense of separation from God, walking not after the spirit, but in his own soulical consciousness, according to the imaginations of the carnal mind, and the defilement of the flesh. The lower realms of earth represent the whole dreadful realm of darkness and death in which is contained every sin, sorrow, tragedy, pain, trouble, sickness, heartache, fear, and torment known to man. The higher realm of Eden extends upward into infinitude, glory ascending above and beyond glory, for Eden, or the realm of the spirit, is the gate to the unbounded and inexhaustible heavens!
The lower realm includes this world and everything that is beneath it, all that pertains to soul and body. It descends into the lowest realms of the bottomless and embraces the outer realms of darkness. And flowing from the higher realm of the kingdom of heaven to the lower realm of the kingdom of darkness is the blessed river of life! Its incorruptible waters of spirit and truth are more real and sparkling and alive than any river on earth! It pulsates with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit and vibrates with the sheer exquisite beauty of the divine nature of our great and glorious God and His Christ that is impossible for my poor pen to describe. Its glory surpasses the shining of a million diamonds in the sun, for it is the glory of the Lord God Almighty! And this glorious river of life is not a historical river from an ancient time, nor is it a future river of a coming age, nor yet is it a crystal river in some far-off heaven somewhere. Ah, my beloved, the wellspring of this river is right there within the Eden of your spirit! “Whosoever takes a drink of the water that I shall give him shall never, no never, be thirsty anymore. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring (artesian or a literal Niagara) of water welling up and flowing continually within him into eternal life” (Jn. 4:14, Amplified). “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his innermost being shall flow RIVERS OF LIVING WATER” (Jn. 7:38).
It is of special interest to us at this point to prayerfully examine the wonderful significance of the divine fact that this one river, upon flowing out of the garden, divides and goes in four directions. Man in ancient times, in his fallen state, had no conception of the modern world as we know it. No Copernicus had ever opened his eyes to the vast significance of the universe. To him the world was a great flat wilderness with four boundaries: north, south, east, and west. There were four winds from the four sides of the earth. Thus, when he thought of the world he thought in terms of four. Four became the cosmic number. The world in which men lived and worked and died, was conveniently symbolized by four.
As the river of God flowed out of the Paradise of God, it divided and went in four directions. This is a type or symbol of the life of God, flowing out of the kingdom of God to the whole earth! Individually, it means the life of God within our spirit flowing out into soul and body. Our soul and body can never live in incorruption apart from the life-giving spirit! The nature of God’s wonderful river of life is that it flows outward. “OUT FROM your innermost being will flow rivers of living water” is the great truth of it! Ezekiel once had a vision of a river that flowed out of the temple and got deeper and deeper as it flowed out to the sea (body realm, raging, surging masses of humanity), and it healed the sea, or gave life to all who dwell in the lowest realm of existence. The minute the river starts flowing inward, there is death. The life always flows out from the source of life, from the higher dimension to the lower. And in its outward, universal application, God Himself is the source, the wellspring; Jesus Christ our Lord is the fountain, the reservoir of this wonderful life; and the sons of God are the channel or river by which God’s life shall be communicated to the arid barrenness of the earth realm. Thank God that this river now flows! The life of Jesus Christ is flowing as a mighty river out from the throne of God! First it is flowing out of our own spirit into the soul and onward into the body of each member of God’s elect, bringing redemption, life, transformation, and immortality to our whole man! Then it flows out from us unto creation to revive, awaken, energize, revitalize, quicken, and restore all things and all men everywhere! Aren’t you glad!
In the tabernacle of Moses four horns on the brazen altar pointed north, south, east, and west, revealing the great truth that the merits of the sacrifice, the power of the atonement, the life of the slain lamb, was efficacious for the whole man and unto all the ends of the earth! The reality of what Jesus did on Calvary is to be realized in the totality of the experience of every man!
The golden altar of incense likewise had four horns on its four corners, showing that the power of our praise and our prayers is effectual on behalf of all creation. What we offer up to God is a sweet smelling fragrance which He is able to send forth into all the earth! The few laws that scripture contains are rays of light revealing only small portions of God’s will, much as the words I now write are parts of the thought I wish to express. He who would know the complete will of God must look for the larger concept, discover the real objective. God’s real and most inclusive objective is beautifully revealed in the words of the apostle Paul wherein he wrote, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for ALL MEN…for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who WILL HAVE A-L-L M-E-N TO BE SAVED, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a RANSOM FOR ALL, to be testified in due time” (I Tim. 2:1-6). The will of God is so far beyond our usual thoughts that we simply cannot understand it unless the Spirit enlightens us. The eternal God WILL have all men to be saved! We need to ask God to fill our minds with this great truth, by the Holy Spirit!
In December, 1981, I sent out an article in which I set forth the wonderful truth of the ultimate salvation of all men. Soon thereafter I received a letter from some precious folk who were deeply distressed by this teaching. They raised several objections, the first of which was stated thus: “If we believe the way you are teaching, it will mean we no longer need to pray for the salvation of our loved ones as they will be saved in the end regardless of their standing. On top of that, all our past prayers have been in vain as the Lord will save them in the end anyhow.” On the surface that may seem to be a plausible argument; but what makes such faulty reasoning so pathetic and tragic is that it openly contradicts the word of God! Let me quote again what the Lord says about this: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, SUPPLICATIONS, PRAYERS, INTERCESSIONS, AND GIVING OF THANKS be made for A-L-L M-E-N…for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who W-I-L-L HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a RANSOM FOR A-L-L, to be testified (proven, demonstrated, fulfilled) IN DUE TIME.”
You will note that the command to pray for all men is rooted in the revelation of God’s will — God WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED. We must clearly distinguish between the fact of the ultimate salvation of all and the manner in which God brings it to pass. He condescends to work through human instrumentality. We are laborers together with God! Since God purposes to save all men, He has a precise PLAN, a PROCESS, a METHOD, an INSTRUMENTALITY by which to accomplish this! Part of the process is the intercessory prayers of the saints! Nothing can be plainer than this in Paul’s exhortation. The men who are to be saved are held under the power of darkness. The saints are called as God’s instrument of salvation, and their very first action in this great work on behalf of lost men is to engage in spiritual warfare, claiming these men for God, binding the enemy who enslaves them, speaking the word of their release in the power of the Holy Spirit, thereby initiating the process by which deliverance is brought to the captives. That is the very first step. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” First of all! Prayer!
That all men be saved is God’s purpose. Intercessory prayer is the first step in the process. And though God has saved millions, perhaps billions, of men throughout this age of grace, the manifest sons of God are His ultimate instrument for the restoration of all things. To say that since God will save all men we need not pray for them, is to say that God has a purpose to save them, but NO MEANS BY WHICH TO ACCOMPLISH IT! It would be like saying that a contractor is going to build a skyscraper and, since he is going to build it, there is no need for engineers, carpenters, welders, electricians, plumbers, heavy equipment, nails, hammers, saws, etc. How absurd! All those things are necessary instruments and means of accomplishing his will and plans!
Through many years the spirit of intercessory prayer has stirred within my spirit and I have been compelled to pray for some of the most wicked, unbelieving, and treacherous men and women upon the face of God’s earth. I speak not of an occasional weak, insipid little table-prayer, but of deep travail and intense spiritual warfare on behalf of the souls of these individuals. Among those for whom I have been moved to intercede have been world leaders such as Golda Meir, Nikita Krushechev, Leonid Brezhnev, and Fidel Castro. Must I now believe that my prayers shall never be answered, and that the omniscient and omnipotent Holy Spirit who wrought so mightily in these supplications, failed? Ah — in chapters five and eight of the Revelation we find that ALL THE PRAYERS OF ALL THE SAINTS ARE BOTTLED UP BEFORE THE GOLDEN ALTAR OF INCENSE IN THE HEAVENS OF THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD! (Rev. 5:8; 8:2-5). Oh, yes! God has not forgotten any prayer or any man — He has appointed a day for every prayer to be answered even as He has ordained a time for every man to be awakened unto God! Never give up, my beloved, in your intercessions and thanksgiving for God’s deliverance to come to those He has appointed you to pray for. You and I, my beloved, are God’s new creation in the universe! My heart leaps with joy within me as I contemplate the great and eternal truth of God’s wonderful purpose in His new creation people — to REVEAL GOD’S GLORY EVERYWHERE! The golden altar has four horns — they point and reach to the utmost extremity of all of man’s need from the highest heaven to the lowest hell. That is the power of four!
Four points not only to everything everywhere, but also to everything within us. All the four’s of scripture reveal how the Spirit of God takes the life and power of the seed of God in our spirit and sends it out to permeate, quicken, change, and transform every aspect of our being. Now remember — we are in a spiritual book, a book that speaks about the earth that you are. If you look at a globe, where would you find four corners? But if you look at psuche, the soul, the earthiness of your life, you will find four corners! You will find the intellect, the will, the emotions, and the desires. There are four aspects, sides, corners, or quarters of the soul life. Here are specific areas of our lives that God is dealing with in order to bring us into a “foursquare” relationship with Him. This “four corners” or “foursquare” principle is also seen in the Holy City, the New Jerusalem.
The four winds are the winds which blow upon the earth, or upon the soulical realm of our life. No man can be delivered, changed, and transformed apart from the work of God’s winds! Many and varied are the ways and paths by which the Lord in faithfulness processes and develops the people He has chosen. A most important aspect of this work of God’s winds in the experience of God’s elect is found tucked away among the priceless gems in the treasure house of truth of the Song of Solomon. “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; and blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out” (S. of S. 4:16). A number of the thoughts I will share concerning the north wind and the south wind have been inspired by, or gleaned from, the writings of C. H. MacIlravy (out of print).
The word, wind, as I have pointed out earlier, in both the Hebrew and the Greek, is the same word that is translated “spirit” in other places. Wind often serves in type of the moving of God’s Spirit! As the apostles waited upon the Lord in the upper room, suddenly “there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:2,4). Let it be clear — though the time has often seemed long in God’s dealings within us, and while the vision tarries, we have to hold steady and just wait for it — things which the Spirit has spoken in our hearts that He will do in and through a people — yet He knows the hour when the SPIRIT OF GOD SHALL BLOW ACROSS OUR LAND, bringing the creative power of God in victory and fulfillment in Christ.
When the clouds of trouble, darkness, death, or unbelief have hidden the heavens, “The wind (or spirit) passeth, and cleareth them. Out of the north cometh golden splendor; God hath upon Him terrible majesty” (Job 37:21-22). Thus it is with that working of the Holy Spirit, which is called the “North Wind.” He comes, blowing upon our garden, convicting, judging, shaking, stirring, blasting, reproving, and dealing. It is He who convicts us when we are not walking in the Spirit; it is He who teaches and stirs us up to press on when the battle is hot; He shows us where we are slack and where we must put off our carnal thinking and our trust in the flesh, that we may put on the mind of Christ and the power of God. He moves upon the dark clouds of the carnal mind and natural, human reasoning, He moves upon the fog of man’s traditions, theories, and self-righteousness. Out of the north, He moves upon all that hides the truth from our vision; and as He clears the atmosphere about us, the golden splendor of the light of God shines into our lives, with the revelation of His terrible majesty, His awesome greatness!
“Awake, O north wind…blow upon my garden.” Who would ever pray for a North Wind? But, whether or not you ever pray for it, it is apt to come anyway! Hardly a day goes by in the life of any son of God that he is not visited by some contrary or stormy wind. They come unexpectedly, often leaving us upset, confused, and worse. “O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yea, I would wander afar, I would lodge in the wilderness. I would haste to find me a shelter from the raging wind and tempest” (Ps. 55:6-8). We, too, would many times like to escape from these harrowing winds, but cannot. God is in the wind and His word is faithfully and powerfully wrought in us by the wind! The prophet Nahum writes, “His way is in the whirlwind and storm” (Nahum 1:3).
We are the garden of God, and He sends the cold winds of persecution, adversity, and trials, to blow upon us to help perfect the fruit in us and to disperse the fragrance of Christ. The north wind will certainly strip us — leaving a veritable picture of frustration and devastation in its wake. But God does not send the chilly blasts against us because He is angry with us, or because He delights in punishing us. As Bill Britton has written, “These things are necessary in order to bring us to His glory. He put the gates on the north side of the city of God for a purpose. In our reluctance to suffer, we would rather He had just built a strong wall on the north side and put no gates in it. But His wisdom is greater than ours! Thank God, He also put gates on the south side. That lets in the blessings, prosperity, the warmth of His presence, and His peace. These and many more of the good things of God are necessary also to our growth. It would be a cold hard journey if it was all trials and no blessings! Open the south gates, friends, and enjoy the goodness of God! But do not run and hide when the northern gale blows fierce through your land” — end quote. And so it is that even though you do not pray for the north wind to blow upon your garden, if our Father, in His infinite wisdom, sees that that is what is needed so that “the spices thereof may flow out,” you can put it down for certain that the north wind is going to blow!
There are some folk who adopt a sort of philosophical attitude when the north wind blows and their little world closes in around them. In the midst of all the turmoil and upheaval they say, “Well, I suppose God is working out something in me, doing for me something that He sees needs to be done.” “For me!” Why can we never get beyond “me”? Me, me, me. Always thinking of “me.” Did it ever occur to you that God has others in mind besides you? True, He allows certain episodes to take place in your particular sphere — and there is, certainly, much to be accomplished in your life, a great deal of advancement and perfection — but, after all, there are others, too, a whole creation groaning and travailing for the manifestation, for the out-flowing of God from the garden of His sons! That is what both the fruit and the spices are for. The perfume is to flow out! Just as the river of Eden is to flow out! So when He desires to awaken a person to the power of His life within, He can send the north wind upon your garden and let that other soul watch you and your reaction. He puts you, or your garden, on display, and says, “Look over there if you want to see what the grace of God can do in a life that is processed by me.” Look at the wind blow! Look at those flowers! Do you smell the perfume? It is divine! It is out of this world! And the fruit — it is the fruit of a divine life. Eat of it — and you, too, will live!
It is not the severe episodes through which we sometimes go, that are an end in themselves, but rather the means to an end. Do not magnify the means, or the wind, but meditate deeply upon the eventualities. Think of the objectives, the ultimate outworking of God. By faith look down through the vista of all God’s dealings and see what a glorious accomplishment will have taken place. “Stormy wind fulfilling His word” (Ps. 148:8). Instead of becoming too preoccupied with the individual notes played on one instrument, anticipate rather the grand finale of God’s majestic symphony when all of His instruments combine to produce heaven’s harmony in one last melodious chord of glorious triumph! Then you will be glad that the winds blew.
It has been said that variety is the spice of life. The wind does not always blow with the same velocity, nor from the same direction. After so long a time there is a change. Our loving heavenly Father who holds all the winds in His hand is omniscient. He knows just when to cause one wind to cease blowing and when to turn another loose.
Blessed be God! The Holy Spirit comes to God’s elect, not only as the north wind, but also as the south wind. It is after the work of conviction, stripping, and purging, that the Holy Spirit comes as the Comforter. It is after man’s carnality and flesh are uncovered, that the Spirit comes as the balmy south wind. With warm rain and gentle breezes, He brings encouraging movings within us as we listen to His voice and yield unto Him. As the south wind, the Holy Spirit woos us on and reveals our true identity and destiny in Christ, bringing to us a deeper apprehension of the magnitude of the grace of God, the magnificence of our high and holy calling in sonship, and the gracious purpose of God for His entire creation.
There are also the east wind and the west wind. The east wind is God’s wind of change and renewal! The great things of God are considered to come out of the east. The coming of the sun of man is from the east even unto the west, out of the dawning of a new day. A strong east wind divided the Red Sea and made the way for the children of Israel to escape Egypt, but also piled up the waters to drown and destroy the armies of the Egyptians! The east wind is also stormy; it wrecks ships; it withers growing things. It is a wind of both blessing and cursing. The truth of Christ is as a storm unto all other powers and authority. That truth will make or break us. It just depends upon where we are when the east wind blows! The west wind is the wind in Palestine that brings the rain (Lk. 12:54), both naturally and spiritually. The west wind can bring the outpouring of the Spirit that refreshes and leads to maturity, or it can bring the fierce storm with devastating floods that sweep away all the works of man! Just like the east wind, it depends upon where you are when the west wind blows!
It is after He has come with convicting and purifying power, revealing to us the error of the carnal mind, and the vanity of our confidence in ourselves and all our efforts and abilities, that He comes with encouragement, enlightenment, and quickening and points to the sufficiency and power of the Christ life within. I mentioned earlier that one of the functions of the winds is to blow the smog and pollution out of the valleys. The Lord uses the winds of His spirit-dealings to clean out all the mixture and pollution of our double-mindedness where we see ourselves as men of flesh, weak, helpless, worthless, struggling, our old man asserting himself to keep us in captivity to sin and failure. In this hour God is forming a people who have allowed Him to blow out all our erroneous concepts and ideas of our false identity in Adam, and to blow out all the pollution that came from the systems of this world, and religion. When all the smog and pollution of our own thinking and carnal understanding has been blown away we are then able to see WHO WE TRULY ARE! We are the new creation, we have the mind of Christ, our old man is crucified, and Christ is our life and our only identity and reality. It is when, as the north wind, He has blasted all our self-activities and confidence in the Adamic man, and through that revelation of ourselves He has brought us low in the dust of humiliation, then He comes as the gentle spirit of consolation and faith and reveals CHRIST WITHIN, OUR TRUE IDENTITY, who will now do all and must be our all in all. As we begin to grow and bear fruit out of the new creation man, the Christ within, the spices begin to send out their fragrance! “And…the south wind blew softly” (Acts 27:13).
In commenting on the north wind Ray Prinzing expressed the same truth in these words: “Two words to note: blow, and flow. You will never truly FLOW until you have experienced the BLOW. When the north wind comes roaring down and meets the south wind, when the cold front clashes with the warm air, there is a very turbulent condition — and THE BLOW is on! Yet here is one who so longed to dispense the sweet aroma of the spices of the garden, that they actually asked for the BLOW! In all the upheaval and tempestuous condition that would take place, the debris of self would be removed, the chaff would be winnowed out, and the sweet savor of HIS LIFE would FLOW out to bless. Not only to bless others — but the real desire was that as the spicy aroma was wafted out, it would allure her Beloved into the garden, and then she would be fully satisfied. IN THE THIRD DAY WE SHALL LIVE IN HIS SIGHT. Are there some rare spices within us that the trials release, which cause Him to desire us? There is a sweet savor, a spirit worship unto Him, that will be known as we submit to the BLOW upon BLOW, however stormy the trials and happenings are, and however heart-wrenching the smitings of our brethren might be. God has ordained that we be TORN and SMITTEN, but also HEALED, binding us up, and through all these processings prepare us to be RAISED UP to experientially live in His sight, seated with Him in the heavenlies” — end quote.
THE ANGEL ASCENDING FROM THE EAST
“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, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (Rev. 7:2-3).
John is still wondering what the four angels holding the four winds can mean when he sees the four mighty sentinels all at once turn their eyes to the east. And behold, another angel comes ascending out of the east as the morning sun comes, announcing God’s new day. He comes clothed with light as with a garment; the widespread earth shines bright under his glory; and his voice is as the sound of many waters. The ascending angel holds in his hand the seal of the living God! And, addressing himself to the four mighty sentinels, he speaks to them with a voice that they hear above all the commotions that arise from the earth, and the tempests that rage in the sea, saying to them that they are commanded not to hurt the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, until “we” have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
There can be no doubt that the seal in the forehead of God’s bondslaves is the mind of Christ. And I have already pointed out that no man is qualified to judge the world until he has been sealed in his forehead with the mind of Christ. Only the glorious mind of Christ brings the balance between mercy and judgment! It was, then, of this Christ-mind that David prophesied when he said, “Surely His salvation is nigh…mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Ps. 85:9-10). Mercy and truth are met together — praise God, what a summit meeting! These words are pregnant with meaning. When one contemplates the impossibility of such a union, it is an overwhelming thought that mercy and truth are met together. Truth is harsh and demanding; mercy is lenient and lax. Truth condemns and devours; mercy covers and exonerates. Only when one has intermingled the ministries of priest, king, and judge are these incompatible forces MET TOGETHER!
Partakers with Christ in this heavenly calling, when one actually becomes an ANOINTED JUDGE, he shares in that omniscient mind that discerns the true nature of all things, and therefore judges righteously. Partakers with Christ in this heavenly calling, when one actually becomes an ANOINTED KING, he shares in that dominion, that power that is in the Spirit and by the Spirit. Partakers with Christ in this heavenly calling, when one actually becomes an ANOINTED PRIEST, he shares that unlimited outflow of mercy, compassion, and unconditional love that is derived from the heart of our great High Priest. Only one possessed of this three-fold mind of Christ is qualified to control the four winds of judgment that blow upon the earth, the sea, and the trees! Only the sons of God sealed in their foreheads with the mind of Christ will be able to judge the world in righteousness, rule the world with a rod of iron, and at the same time reconcile all things to God! All others would, if given a chance, pour out unbridled vengeance, wrath, and damnation upon the rebellious!
Now, of this angel it does not say, “…descending from the east,” but it says, “…ascending from the east.” In the natural, it is the sun, the source of light and day, which ascends out of the east. Some translations say, “ascending from the sun rising.” This is a true translation. Ezekiel beheld the glory of God coming from the east. “Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: and, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and His voice was like the voice of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory” (Eze. 43:1-2). Can you not see the mystery? Is this not a similar description to the angel ascending from the east in the Revelation? This is the Lord Himself arising in His elect! The star which heralded His nativity when the firstborn Son of God came into the earth came from the east! He Himself is called, “the bright and morning star.” His glorious appearing is referred to as the “bright shining which shines from the east even unto the west.” This “angel” ascends from the sun-rising, the quarter from whence proceeds the light of day which gilds the loftiest mountain-tops and penetrates into the darkest recesses of the valleys.
We see then that the sons of God, as the overcoming body of Christ, are arising in splendor and glory over the earth. They speak with the voice as the sound of many waters! God wants His sons to rise, and we are beginning to rise as in and by the Spirit we ascend from one glory to another in Him in this great day! Yet we also know by the Spirit that our ministry to the earth realm cannot break forth until we have been perfectly and completely sealed in our foreheads with the mind of Christ! THIS IS TODAY A PROPHETIC WORD IN THE MOUTHS OF GOD’S SONS! THIS IS THE WORD I PROCLAIM UNTO YOU! You will notice that John sees one angel ascending, but he then reveals to us the great truth that this angel represents a corporate ministry, for he records the angel as saying, “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till ‘WE’ have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” The angel is more than one — he is “we.”
It is my conviction that it is not speaking of just one literal angel, but of a messenger company, and the message they bear, a spiritually empowered ministry proclaiming the revelation of sonship and the word of the kingdom. It is God Himself who has raised up this ministry in the earth! In our generation this ministry has appeared, rising higher and higher upon the horizon! The purpose of this ministry is to bring illumination and quickening to God’s called and chosen elect! The word going forth in the power of the Holy Spirit is bringing the dawning of a new day within us! There is a ministry ascending out of the dawn of this new kingdom day and my ransomed soul rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory to have a small share in it. It’s sent from above! It has come by revelation of the Spirit! It’s sent to awaken the Father’s apprehended ones, to alert, to instruct, to cleanse, to purify, to encourage, to strengthen, to mature, to prepare and quicken the called-out ones so that the servants of God may be sealed in their foreheads. This is the ministry of the hour that God has sovereignly raised up throughout the whole earth, in practically every nation under heaven, to renew our mind to see what we couldn’t see, hear what we had never heard, and experience that which we are destined to experience as sons of God! Oh, yes! This is God’s new day!
I can hear someone asking, “How can the angel be the sons of God, and the 144,000 who are sealed be also the same company of sons?” But I ask, Is that not like asking how Jesus can be both the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb in the midst of the throne? Is He a lion or is He a lamb? The answer, of course, is that He is both! The imagery presents two aspects of the same thing — the nature of Christ. All of this is taking place within us, beloved. The angel ascending from the east is indeed a ministry and a word flowing in and through those who have been apprehended to be sons. We are not the sealed sons — yet! The sons are rising up to come to a certain level of growth and development in Christ. The prophetic word speaks out of our midst declaring that though we would like to enter right on in to the fullness of God and the manifest sonship ministry, we cannot until we are fully sealed with the mind, nature, and spirit of the Christ! But still, it is the same angel, the one that rises and ascends, the one that cries with a loud voice (the prophetic word), that also seals the servants of God in their foreheads! Now you ask, “How then are we being sealed in our foreheads — how are we doing the sealing?” Ah, it is by the word and the spirit of the Lord that is rising within us and trumpeting through us! This very word, and the dealings of God which accompany it, brings the seal of the living God! As we speak to one another, and minister to one another, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the word and the spirit work mightily within our minds and hearts, we are enlightened and strengthened to submit to every dealing of our Father as He perfects and transforms us into the image of His Son. Oh, the mystery of it!
We are being sealed in such a way that we cannot be unsealed; the world, the flesh, and the devil can never come in to deceive us, trip us, thwart us, or take anything from us. God is doing a thorough work! It is by the Spirit of God that we are sealed, and it is by the living word of God raised up within us that the Holy Spirit seals us. In other words, the life of God is the power and force that seals us, the operating officer is the Holy Spirit, and the messengers of God who speak the message and minister the Spirit are the ministry God has ordained to be the instruments of the sealing. It is all the activity of God within us and through us! But John sees it in its different aspects as an angel ascending out of the east, crying with a loud voice, and then sealing the servants of God in their foreheads. It is indeed wonderful!
SEALING THE 144,000
144,000 is not a head-count, but a number representing who they are. God has many more overcomers that 144,000! Can you imagine an age governed by a people filled with the mind of Christ, conformed to His image, led by His Spirit, endued with the fullness of His authority and power? Can you even comprehend what it would be like for 144,000 manifest sons of God (if it were a literal number), 144,000 reproductions of Jesus Christ in all the glory, wisdom, authority, and power of His resurrection, turned loose on this world to speak the words of God and do the works of God with no limitations at all? That would be almost a thousand manifest sons of God for each nation on the earth!
The opening work of this new day of the kingdom is the sealing of the servant-sons of God! When it is fully demonstrated that the fullness of Christ can be raised up, formed, and manifested through a people, then those who have overcome as Christ overcame, and have put on His mind, nature, wisdom, and power, will inherit the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world. The one hundred and forty-four thousand will stand upon the pinnacle of the heavenly mount Zion to rule and reign with the Lamb in the throne! The sixth seal closes when the sons of God have received the seal of God, and are waiting for the greater appearance and revelation of Christ in His body of sons.
A seal is used to render valid or authentic any enactments or laws that a person or power may promulgate. Frequent instances of its use occur in the scriptures. We read that Jezebel “wrote letters in (king) Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal” (I Kings 21:8). These letters then had all the authority of king Ahab! Again, “In the name of King Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king’s ring” (Esther 8:8). Throughout the centuries a seal on a signet ring was pressed into sealing wax to give authenticity to a document. The seal represented the owner and his authority. When a king sent a message to another king, he set his seal on it. When the messenger delivered it to the king for whom it was intended and put it before him and the king saw the seal, it was as though the sender was standing right there before him speaking the words! The seal of the living God, then, means that God is sending forth His word through His sons in all the authority of His name and presence! This “sealing angel,” furthermore, represents “the living God” in contradistinction to the impotent God of man-made religion, tradition, ritual, and ceremony! The living God is coming in the power of His kingdom, and this seal upon the sons represents His kingdom authority! This is the authority that is coming to the sons of God and by this authority they shall reign and make all things new! Just as when I write my name in a book, that book is mine, so here those sealed with God’s seal are marked as His own. They themselves are His document, His message, His word, His will, His commandment, His manifestation, His authority in the earth!
In consideration of these facts which I have briefly stated, it should be easy to understand the distinct difference between the “mark” of the beast and the “seal” of the living God. Although many people refer to the “mark” of God on the sons of God, the words “mark” and “seal” are not the same word in the Greek, nor do they signify the same thing. The word mark is from the Greek charagma meaning “a scratch, etching, or sculptured figure.” It is used in the book of Revelation eight times, always in reference to the mark of the beast. Seal is from the Greek sphragis meaning “a signet or a stamp impressed as a sign of privacy, genuineness, or authority.” “Marks” or brands were often put upon slaves to indicate their serfdom. It was not different from the brands put upon cattle today. Temple slaves were frequently branded with the insignia of the temple where they served. One of the Roman emperors branded Roman citizens in the face with a hot branding iron to show they were the property of the empire. You will search the whole book of Revelation in vain for one saint with a “mark” upon his forehead or in his hand! The “mark” was the property sign. And while we do indeed belong to the Lord, that is not the message the spirit of revelation is conveying to John the apostle, and to us, God’s elect! The “seal” was the sign of authenticity and authority! Let the servants of the beast wear their property “brand” as the steer in the pasture or the donkey at the cart! Not so the sons of God! They bear no “marks” but are “sealed” with the seal — the nature, the mind, the message, the word, the representation, and the authority — of the living God! The seal is the solemn token that we are God’s special treasure and representatives sent to speak His words, do His works, and manifest His glory! Aren’t you glad!
Many believe that the purpose of the sealing of the 144,000 is for their protection and preservation during the “great tribulation.” While the idea of protection is inferred in the Greek word for “seal,” it is my conviction that the sons are sealed, not primarily to protect them from harm, but to qualify them to bring the righteous judgments of God into the earth! In my view, that is the clear indication of the context.
The great work of the seal of God in the forehead is the change of our mind, or more accurately the taking of another mind. For the taking of a new mind brings about the existence of a new being, and new beings bring about the existence of a new order! The present mind of man is polluted and there is no denying the fact. All the appropriations of all the governments, all the laws and ordinances, all the wars and change of governmental systems, all the charity, relief, and social organizations and programs, all the rituals and promotions of religion, will do little good whatever in correcting the problems of moral pollution or any other kind of pollution, until the mind of man is cleansed and renewed. The sons of God, having the seal of the living God upon their foreheads, and the Father’s name inscribed in their foreheads, are the FIRSTFRUITS OF AN ENTIRELY NEW ORDER OF MEN TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF THEIR MINDS! What glorious hope and expectation this inspires in our hearts!
The nature of God is written in the forehead or the mind of every son of God! When the nature of God is written in one’s forehead, how will that one act and react in relation to the sea, the earth, and the things growing out of the earth realm? They will act like God! That is why God has no problem in turning His kingdom over to His sons to judge and rule over all things. They possess His mind and heart! The sons will not, and cannot, act any differently than the will and purpose of the Father! All the sons want is what the Father wants! That doesn’t mean, as some suppose, that a son must run to his Father every hour or every day or every week inquiring, “Father, what do you want me to do? How should I handle this situation?” and then wait there for an answer. Oh, no! The sons have the mind of the Father, they inherently possess the knowledge of His will, ways, and purpose. Sons instinctively, spontaneously understand the plans of the Father! This sacred knowledge is inborn and inbred in the very constitution of the new creation man! We used to think that in order to get a “word” from God we had to hide out in a room and pray for an hour. Now don’t misunderstand what I say — I do believe in prayer and the power of prayer. It is part of the cosmic order of God. No man on earth has walked out this life of sonship more perfectly than our elder brother, the Lord Jesus, and He prayed often, sometimes all night. But He wasn’t praying to “get” something from the Father; He prayed because He was a Son and shared that intimacy of fellowship with the Father. It was the Father in Him that showed Him the works! He knew the Father’s voice at all times, and the Father’s voice spoke within Him for the Father was in Him as His very life and reality. Oh, the wonder of it! When God dwells in His temple He speaks out of His temple at all times. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another…” (Col. 3:16). That’s not talking about memorizing scripture verses! It’s talking about the true experience of every son — the voice of the Son of God speaking out of His habitation in our spirit by the mind of the Father within.
Be not misled nor deceived, my beloved brethren. The sealing of God’s people does not come by the hand of man! It is not accomplished by any man or woman, or group of men and women, coming to perform an outward ritual, ceremony, or pronouncement upon the individual. It comes not by anointing with oil, water baptism, issuing a decree, laying on of hands with prophecy, or any other outward administration by man. Various ones through past decades have declared that they have been given a revelation and a commission to perform some kind of ministry of “sealing” to guarantee one a position in God’s elect. Some have thus been “sealed” against the death angel, or into immortality, or as a manifest son of God. Some years back, one man held large meetings where he issued “identification cards” to those who accepted his teaching. The cards were numbered from 1 to 144,000! They supposedly secured a place in that company who would stand with the Lamb upon mount Zion! It would be wonderful if the sealing of our mind could happen in one climatic moment, that someone by praying or laying hands on us, or something, could accomplish the process, but that is not the case.
Numerous have been the men who have presumed that they personally were Elijah the prophet, the seventh angel, the two witnesses, or the angel out of the east having the seal of the living God, or some other special messenger of God to prepare God’s elect for the coming glory; but all have miserably failed. Oh, yes! God does have His messengers proclaiming by the Spirit His purposes in this significant hour, but it is a corporate ministry of the many-membered body, and even then I do not hesitate to tell you that the sealing of God’s elect with the glorious mind that is in Christ Jesus is the sovereign work of God by His Spirit! No “man” can impart it to you! “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Cor. 3:18).
Ray Prinzing shared these meaningful words of admonition: “Beloved, we cannot seal our own minds into the things of the Spirit, it takes the sovereign illumination of the truth of God to rid us of the carnal mind. No man can seal anybody else’s mind from the system of the world, but it will require that “line upon line, precept upon precept” as the Spirit brings truth to you, to dissolve the shadows and bring forth the light of His mind, until we are cut off from the minding of the flesh, and sealed into the mind of Christ.”