A seal was a simple device used to make an impression upon a soft material, such as wax or clay. When the substance hardened, a durable imprint remained. Seals have been used for thousands of years throughout the ancient world. They were made of metal or stone, including various precious gems. There are many fine examples to be found in private collections and museums all around the world. Seals were originally in the form of a cylinder that was rolled upon the surface (example in photo), but they later took the form of a ring worn on a finger, or a stamp that was carried in a necklace or cord around the waist.
Seals In History and Prophecy
Seals were used extensively during The Bible, for two primary purposes during the Old Testament Time Period:
In a royal or official command:
- "These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own signet ring." (Esther 3:12)
- "she [Jezebel] wrote letters in Ahab's name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles" (1 Kings 21:8)
Note: As this case shows, seals were sometimes used fraudulently.
To ratify or authenticate an agreement:
- "I took the deed of purchase - the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions" (Jeremiah 32:11)
- "In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it." (Nehemiah 9:38)
The use of seals is found in the New Testament in connection with the burial of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:66). The Tomb was sealed by the Pharisees and chief priests to prevent anyone from stealing the body (Matthew 27:63-64). This was most likely done by extending a rope across the stone and attaching it at both ends with sealing-clay.
Sealing was also used in a figurative sense:
- "On Him, God The Father has placed His seal of approval." (John 6:27)
- "And you also were included in Christ when you heard The Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14).
- "For you are the seal of my [Paul] apostleship in The Lord." (1 Corinthians 9:2)
- "Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel." (Revelation 7:4)
Some of the most spectacular events of Bible Prophecy involve The Seven Seals of the Book Of Revelation.
Fact Finder: Was the understanding of the prophecy in the Book of Daniel sealed until the time of the end?