Filter By:
Showing items filed under “Jan Johnston”
in Hope

Sealed In Christ

Jan Johnston

Now He who established us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

You are sealed in Christ! This act performed by God upon our hearts claims and identifies us as children of God when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Throughout Scripture, we read about a seal being placed upon a testimony, or fixed upon a scroll, upon the forehead of a high priest, on vessels of worship, and upon us. So what does this mean to be sealed by God? What encouragement can that give us for today? What encouragement will that give us for the future?

Sealing with a clay impression is as old as language itself. A seal secures the contents of a scroll. It closes, hides, keeps, locks up, and conceals the contents. The same word for seal is used for the signet ring that is pressed on soft clay to create the seal. It is called so because it bears the image of the owner’s seal. In the case of the seal of a king, it is proof of the authenticity of a document, confirms the king’s authority, and is a testimony to the presence of the reign of a king.

During my last visit to Israel archeologists made a rare discovery near the southern steps of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem at the entrance to the Temple where Jesus taught. They discovered several seals. Two seals (called bulla) caused an extreme amount of excitement. One of the bulla is clearly identifiable as the seal of King Hezekiah and the other, though damaged, is believed to be of the Prophet Isaiah.1

Not only an exciting find, but proof of the kingdom of Hezekiah in Jerusalem some 700 years before Christ. To find the possible seal of the Prophet Isaiah, upon whom King Hezekiah relied at the same spot is incredible to say the least. Another confirmation of the Bible’s accuracy and credibility.

Turning our thoughts back to the original questions above. What does being sealed by God mean for us? Let’s go deeper by looking into the ancient Hebrew language to see if it will unearth more understanding than our 21st Century cultural context provides.

The ancient Hebrew word picture for “seal” or “sealed” reveals an interesting image. The root word of “seal” is three letters; Chet which means fence or wall that protects that which is inside, Tav which means sign, mark, seal, and covenant, and Mem which means water, massive, mighty and chaos as the stormy sea.

The pictograph reveals a beautiful message. When we are sealed by God we are protected with the sign of His covenant from chaos. It is God’s personal stamp that He applies to us. We bear His image and the content, the Holy Spirit, is secure. It is proof of His authority, the authenticity of His covenant promise, and is as sure as the eternal reign of our God and King.

Here is the touching part of the discovery of the possible Isaiah bulla. Archeologists have pointed out they can clearly see the impression of a fingerprint on the face of the Isaiah bulla. They marvel at the idea that it could be the fingerprint of Isaiah the Prophet. Consider for a moment the thought of God’s fingerprint on the seal of your heart. His personal fingerprint on YOU.

Is God’s fingerprint impressed on our hearts? I believe so. Is He going to protect us unto salvation? Absolutely! Is He going to destroy that which causes chaos? I know so!


Posted by Jan Johnston with
Tags: seal, sealed

Wandering in the Wilderness

Negev Desert in Israel

There have been many times in my life when I have felt far from God. I listen for His voice but I cannot hear it. It’s times like these that I feel I’m wandering in the wilderness.

I am sure that many of you feel that way in the isolation of your own homes during the Coronavirus pandemic. You may feel lonely, afraid, and far away from God. You seek to hear from Him. Yet it is quiet.

Recently in my studies, I have come across an encouraging message of existing in the wilderness. A beautiful picture opened up for me in the book of Numbers. Being a western, English speaking Christian, I’ve always thought that this book was about the census of the Israelites as they wandered in the desert for forty years.

But actually, in Hebrew, the title of this book is Bamidbar meaning “In The Wilderness”. When I read it, I found that the book of Bamidbar actually chronicled the 39 years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. Oh sure, there is a census included, but the bulk of the book is the wilderness wanderings. The Israelites spent only one year at Mount Sinai. During that time they were constructing the Tabernacle under the watchful eye of Moses and the master architect Yahweh. Once completed, the presence of God in the cloud moved, and they were to pick up all their belongings, along with the Tabernacle, and move with the cloud. While they wandered, the presence of God was with them. When they camped, the presence of God was with them in the Tabernacle in the middle of the camp. He never left them.

That is comforting in itself, but there is more. The word for wilderness is midbar. In Hebrew, all words come from three letter consonants called root words. These three letters form the core meaning of all associated words. The root word for midbar is dbr (pronounced dabar) meaning to speak.

We should now have a better understanding of the wilderness. It is where God brings His people to speak to them. It is the place of His voice. It is the place of His nurturing and provision. On the flip side, it is where we can hear Him.

Think about that considering our current circumstance. Before Coronavirus, could we have been too busy with distractions to hear God speaking? Yet in the wilderness, where God has us right now, the distractions are less. We are here so that we might hear His voice and rely on Him for His provision, nurturing, and love.

Do not fear the wilderness because God is there. Let go of distractions and run to it, embrace it, enjoy it, and learn from Him as you sit at His feet and hear the voice of God. It is holy ground.

~ Jan Johnston

Posted by Jan Johnston with