Jesuit Origins of Futurism PROVEN


EDITED BY Rand Winburn

Revelation 7: The seal on the foreheads of the 144,000
The Controversy: Is the seal literal and visible – e.g., the sign of the cross - or is it invisible and allegorical, symbolizing sovereign election by God?

Jesuit/ Futurist Interpretation

1582 Jesuit Rheims Bible Annotations:

          …..hurt not the earth and the sea, nor the trees, til we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads. It is an allusion to the sign of the Cross which the faithful bear in their foreheads, to show that they be not ashamed of Christ.” [Editor’s note: The sign of the cross is seen given both by the priest and bishop upon the foreheads of the laity, as well as the laity themselves making the sign. Normally, this sign is invisible once it is made, though during Lent the laity use a literal, visible sign of the cross made of ash which remains throughout Lent.]

1590 Jesuit Ribera Revelation Commentary:

          [Pareus on Ribera, re: the seal]: “Ribera will have [the seal] to be meant of the sign of the cross. Now we know that many who are signed with the popish cross are the bondslaves of Satan: but none of these sealed shall perish, having been marked so that no man could hurt them.” [Editor’s note: Here again, the sign of the cross is the official Roman Catholic view of the seal upon the foreheads of the 144,000.]

1867 J. N. Darby Synopsis of the New Testament - Revelation:

            [Editor’s note: Darby is silent regarding the seal placed on the 144,000.]

1909 Scofield Reference Bible Annotations:

          [Editor’s note: Scofield is silent regarding the seal placed on the 144,000.]

1973 Hal Lindsey Revelation Commentary:

          “The verb ‘to seal’ means to make an imprint in wax with a signet ring. This was done in ancient business transactions of all kinds, and signified that whatever was thus sealed belonged to the one whose mark was on it. The idea of a visible mark of ownership and guarantee of protection is inherent in the word. In the New Testament, the seal of God is the Holy Spirit Himself…….The seal of God – the Spirit – gives a special empowering to these servants to perform their awesome mission. Revelation 7:3 also speaks of a visible mark on the forehead of the servants. You can be sure this mark will be in vivid contrast to the mark which the followers of Antichrist will receive when they swear allegiance to him. A person might be a ‘secret service’ believer today, but in those days God’s men will really be ‘marked men.’ No one will be able to mistake them!” [Editor’s note: Lindsey views the seal as literal and visible, yet does not identify it.]

1982 Jack Van Impe Revelation Commentary:

          “The wicked get their seal – 666 – under the super-deceiver, the great imitator, the Antichrist (chapter 13, verses 17 and 18). The genuine believers receive their seal from the angel of God at this point in time……the 144,000 Jewish evangelists are sealed by the Spirit of God.” [Editor’s note: Van Impe does not openly argue for a literal, visible seal on the 144,000, though he contrasts it with the mark of the Beast, which he views as literal and visible.]

1999 Tim LaHaye Revelation Commentary:

          “In some manner, these servants will have the seal of God on their foreheads (Rev.7:3). We do not know of what this seal will consist, but the text suggests it will be visible. It is interesting to note that during this same period of time, people will be forced to receive the ‘mark of the beast’ on their foreheads (Rev. 13:14-18). It may be that believers will have the mark of God on their foreheads, whereas unbelievers will feature the mark of the Antichrist. I am inclined to believe that both marks are final. Once a person receives the Antichrist as his or her master, he or she will have made a decision for eternity. The same will be true when one believes on the Lord Jesus Christ.” [Editor’s note: LaHaye understands it as a visible seal, not given sovereignly according to the will of God, but rather given as a reward to those who make the right decision for Christ.]

Protestant Reformed Historicist Interpretation

1618 Thomas Cartwright, A Confutation of the Rhemists….:

          “This phrase of signing the servants of God in their foreheads is taken from the Prophet, and alludeth to the  deliverance of the people of God in Egypt, when the Angel of vengeance executing the judgment house by house passed by the Israelites houses which were sprinkled with blood (Exod. 12:15; Ezek. 9:4); and only signifies here that the Lord in His judgments wherewith He will avenge Himself upon His enemies, will likewise deliver His faithful ones, that although ten thousand fall on their right and as many on their left, yet the plague shall not come nigh unto them to hurt them. And it is more than a sign of intolerable boldness that when the Scripture alludeth only to a general sign that, without all restraint, one draw it to so particular sign, such as that of the cross……”   [Editor’s note: Cartwright does not view the seal as literal or visible. Rather he views it as God’s seal of protection on His people, whom Antichrist and Satan cannot destroy.]

 1573 William Fulke Revelation Commentary:

          “He commandeth them that they hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, before He sets His distinguishing seal on the servants of God, severing them from the wicked and hypocritical. Here the punishments of the ungodly are deferred, while there is provision made for the elect. The flood came not before Noah had entered into the ark with his family. And the Angels witnessed they can do nothing  to the city of the Sodomites unless Lot was brought forth into safety. The Angel spared the firstborn of the Egyptians only so long, until the posts of the Israelites were sprinkled with the blood of the paschal lamb, a little before nightfall. And there is a similar example in the 9th chapter of Ezekiel whereas the six armed men were sent forth to destroy the city of Jerusalem, they are commanded to follow the man clothed with the linen garment, having the inkhorn of a scribe at his girdle, whom God sent beforehand to set a mark in the foreheads of those who mourned for all the abominations committed in the city. Those not so marked were committed to the six to be slain. But [the 144,000] are signed in Rev. 7 not so they are to be kept from pestilence and being murdered, but that being delivered from eternal death, they might be knit and joined to God and Christ, their deliverer. None others are signed, but only the servants of God. It is to be noted they receive the print of the seal in their foreheads for this reason: since they are the servants of God they may be known to all men as such; neither will they be ashamed to confess the doctrine and religion of Christ as their own, whenever their profession may be required. And though they are signed [invisibly] in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, yet the print and figure of the same seal appears [visibly] in their foreheads when with the heart we believe unto righteousness, and with the mouth we confess unto salvation.” [Editor’s note: Fulke views the sealing as allegorical of God’s protection of His Elect, as proved by the Old Testament examples. He also views it symbolic of the profession of Christians, which reveals to the world their union with Christ.]

1644 David Pareus Revelation Commentary:

          “Now touching this sealing we are briefly to consider: who were sealed, when, and with what sign, wherefore, and how many. Who they are is answered by John, until we have sealed the servants of our God. These are the elect in Christ who do not worship idols, or Antichrist, but only God, and that in faith and true obedience. This sealing is partly eternal and partly accomplished in time. From eternity God has sealed all of those that shall be saved according to the counsel of predestination, which is made and founded on Christ, Eph. 1:3. In time He sealed His, when for a thousand years, He stirred up many witnesses of His truth and faith, being endued with true knowledge, excellent gifts and heroic boldness, who stoutly opposed the impostures of Antichrist, by their preaching and writing, and preserved many faithful ones from his idol worship. But chiefly He has and does continue to seal in these last times, by the restoring, in almost all the provinces of the Christian world, the lost truth of the heavenly doctrine by means of His servants and excellent divines, who have dissipated the mist of Popery by the light of the Gospel, purging many Churches in Germany, France, England, Denmark, Poland, Bohemia, Moravia and Hungary from Antichristian pollutions, plucking them as prey out of the jaws of the devil.

          “I confess, indeed, that all members of these Churches are not elected. Nevertheless, they are all separated from Antichrist, so that he cannot hurt them. Yea, we doubt not but that a great number of them pertain unto the election of grace. In Ezek. 9:4, we read that all who were to be preserved from the common destruction were marked with the sign Tau, but here no certain mark is expressed…..Let us, therefore, understand it of the seal spoken of in 2 Timothy 2:9, The foundation of God standeth sure having this seal, the Lord knoweth who are his. And let everyone that calleth upon the name of God depart from iniquity. This seal in Rev. 14:1 is said to be the Father’s name written in the foreheads of the saints.

          “First, therefore, this seal imprinted in the elect is God’s eternal purpose to save them. This seal is not seen by the eyes of man, yet the elect both discern and feel it in their hearts. Secondly, it is a saving vocation unto faith, wrought externally by the Word and sacraments and internally by the earnest of the Spirit. Thirdly, it is a true invocation on the name of God, that is, a sincere profession of the truth, by forsaking and detesting all the known ways of Antichrist. Briefly, it is a true conversion unto the Lord, as well as constancy and perseverance in the faith of Christ. By these notes the sealed ones separate themselves from the dregs of Antichrist, and are easily known from all other men. Therefore, they are said to be marked in their foreheads because they are not at all ashamed of their holy profession.

          “But why is this mark put upon them? I answer: to the end that they may not be hurt by the evil Angels, nor seduced by Antichrist, and led into error, and so made partakers of his plagues. That Antichrist, I say, may have no interest in them: for being sealed, they are secure and certain of their salvation in the midst of all confusions and ruins. This is of singular comfort to the elect, that their salvation is certain and that the Lord careth for them. Agreeable hereunto is that in Ezek. 9, where the marked ones are preserved while in the city is destroyed. And Rehab escapes, having her house marked according to the covenant with the spies. Also, the Israelites, sprinkling their posts with the blood of the Paschal Lamb, were delivered, while the firstborn of Egypt perished, therefore it is said, Rev. 9:4, that the locusts only hurt them which had not the seal of God in their forehead. For Antichrist also marks his servants with his character, as we see in Rev. 13, but not to the end that they should be preserved, but to have power to buy his holy wares, make merchandise of men’s souls, and trade in his kingdom. Now this character shall not secure them that are marked therewith from destruction, but rather draw down God’s judgment upon them: for the Beast and the false prophet and all that have received his mark shall be cast into the Lake of fire and brimstone, Rev. 19-20.” [Editor’s note: In Pareus’ view, the seal is invisible, denoting predestination of the elect and their preservation from destruction by Antichrist.]

1847 E. B. Elliott Revelation Commentary:

          “As to the sealing vision, the figuration of an Angel (a divine Angel, even Jesus Jehovah) that had the seal of the life-giving God, descending with His accompaniment of light on the Apocalyptic scene, choosing out of professing Christendom a certain fixed, but small number, as the objects of the blessings of His mission, i.e., of spiritual light and life in the first instance, and then of the imprint of God’s own seal on their foreheads – the last in token of his appropriation of them as His servants, and for an amulet to preserve them both in the aggregate as a living succession in this world, and individually unto eternal salvation in the next world – a figuration depicting all this could surely signify no other doctrinal truth but that of the Lord’s own sovereign grace, Himself choosing, enlightening, and quickening his true servants, (contrary to any mere outward Christianization by baptism or profession), and protecting and preserving them, even to the end.” [Editor’s note: Elliott views the seal as indicative of the invisible, sovereign election of God apart from any foreseen good in the 144,000 elect Church. Baptism and profession does not prove one to be a true Christian. By ‘living succession,’ Elliott refers to the true Church never perishing off the face of the earth, despite the efforts of Satan and his Antichrist. The 144,000 seen in Rev. 14 confirm this. The Church survives the onslaught of Antichrist, intact, all faithful to Christ, though persecuted and killed.]