Question: The “seal” put on foreheads in Revelation 7:3: What is it, who puts it on, who gets it, and when does it happen?
Revelation 7:3 (NIV) reads: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
The one giving this instruction is an angel who has with him “the seal of the living God” (Rev. 7:2). He addresses a group of four other angels who have been given control over earth’s winds. God's command to these 5 angels is clear and specific: They are not to begin pouring out His Wrath (i.e., the Trumpets and Bowls [cf. Rev. 8:7-11; 15:7-17:24]) until they put a seal on the forehead of God's servants.
What is the seal? It is the name of the Lamb of God, and of God the Father, written upon the forehead. It signifies that those who are sealed are protected from the wrath of God that is about to be poured out upon the Antichrist and upon the whole earth (Rev. 9:4; 14:1; 16:2). To describe it as being upon their foreheads may be symbolic. However, it may also mean that those who stand for Jesus and against the Antichrist in that day intentionally write the name of Jesus upon their foreheads in direct opposition to those who wear the mark of the Beast (Rev. 13:16). Either way, they are eternally identified as belonging to Jesus, the Lamb of God (Rev. 20:4; 22:4).
So who are these who are given this seal in the End Times? They are Jews, the 12 tribes of Israel represented by the 144,000 (Rev. 7:4-8), who are also followers of Jesus, the Lamb of God:
Rev. 14:1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
They are Redeemed Jews:
Rev. 14:3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
These Jews are sexually pure followers of Jesus. The reign of the Antichrist is identified with an XXX rated culture (Rev. 17:1-2, 5), a culture in which maintaining sexual purity will be extremely difficult.
Rev. 14:4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.
These Jewish believers are the “firstfruits” of the Lamb (14:4), the advance wave of a vast number of other Jews who will become believers in Jesus when the Messiah is revealed from heaven at His coming in glory (Rev. 1:7). They are “sealed” after the sixth seal of the scroll is opened (i.e., after the Great Tribulation) and just before the Day of the Lord, the outpouring of God’s Wrath (Rev. 8:5-18:24) and the appearing of Jesus Christ in the sky (Rev. 19:12-21).
Even so, come Lord Jesus!