Revelation 7:3, 14:1


What is John referencing to, when he mentions the seal on their foreheads?

Revelation 7:3 " saying, ‘Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have marked the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads.’ "

Revelation 14:1 “Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion! And with him were one hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”

I think I had read somewhere that in Biblical times it was customary of Christians to cross themselves on the forehead. This took the same meaning as “the sign of the cross”, that we Catholics still use to express our faith today. It is basically the Christian faith summarized in a single gesture. Seems like this could be an explanation of what John was referencing?


Now that I read more of chapter 7 I find it impossible to know until it actually happens what seal of God the angel will bring down for those He wishes to save in the destruction of the world. Also don’t forget 13:16 which mentions the ‘stamp of the beast.’ 14:1 must be speaking of people with this seal from the angel and without the stamp of the beast. What came to mind before reading more was baptism and our renewal of our baptism every time we make the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water.


I have heard that, in the Bible, a mark or an anointment on the forehead is the sign of someone’s ownership. This mark of the Father’s name on the foreheads of the 144,000 probably signifies that they are adopted children of God, members of the Body of Christ.


James is correct.

A slave would receive the mark of his owner on his right hand or on his forehead. Romans branded runaway slaves with the FUG which meant fugitivus. Many pagan religions marked their followers by branding.

It is a sign of ownership. You were purchased with Christ’s blood.





D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Rvelation 7:3

Ver. 3. Hurt not the earth, &c. Some understand Christ himself, who gives his commands in this manner to the Angels; others, an Angel of a higher rank or order. — Till we seal the servants of our God in their foreheads, which may be expounded, let not persecutions and trials come upon them till they are strengthened by the spirit and grace of God, with which St. Paul sometimes says the servants of God are signed and sealed. See 2 Corinthians i. 22.; Ephesians i. 13. He alludes to the passages of Ezechiel, (Ezechiel ix. 4.) where God bids an Angel mark with the letter Tau the foreheads of those who should not be hurt by the judgments that were to fall upon Jerusalem; so God would protect the faithful Christians, who believed and put their trust in Christ crucified, and who from the first ages[centuries], in testimony of this faith, used to sign themselves by making the sign of the cross on their foreheads, of which the letter Tau was a figure or resemblance. See Tertullian, lib. de Corona militis. I beg the reader’s patience, if I here set down what I find in the great Synopsis Papismi, in folio, put out by Mr. Andrew Willet, and dedicated first to queen Elizabeth, and afterwards to king James the first. Among his demonstrations, as he calls them, that the pope is the antichrist, (Controv. iv. q. 10. p. 232 and 233) he tells us in plain terms, “that the sign of the cross is one of the visible signs of antichrist. And who,” saith he, “hath taught the papists that the sign of the cross is to be borne or made on men’s foreheads? And that with crossing the forehead we are preserved from dangers? The superstitious marks of the cross had their beginning from the beast’s name, since the number of the beast’s name in the Revelation of St. John is by these Greek letters, chxs. The first letter, ch, is a cross; the middle letter, x, (in Latin, X) is also a side long cross; and the last letter, s, contains both s and t of which the latter is called a headless cross;” and then Mr. Willet concludes in these words, “And thus it plainly appears, that the marks whereby the papists say they honour Christ, are rather a dishonour to him, and are in very deed the cognizance of antichrist.” Such an ingenious, and at the same time learned fancy, may perhaps outvie even those we have cited out of Mr. Brightman [in the annotations on Chap. iii. 14-22.], and may be equally serviceable to any country parson on the fifth of November, or on any day when he shall think fit to hold forth against the pope or popery. I suppose that Mr. Willet did not know that the Christians in the first ages[centuries] (as all Catholics to this day) made so frequent use of the sign of the cross, as it is witnessed by Tertullian above two hundred years before even any Protestant pretended that the popes began to be antichrists, or the great antichrist. And this, says he, they do by a tradition from father to son. At every setting forward or going about any thing, at coming home or going out, at putting on our clothes, at going to bathe, to table, to light a candle, to bed, to sit down, to any thing, we make the sign of the cross on our foreheads. And this is a tradition. The like is witnessed by St. Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and many of the Fathers. At the same time that with our hand we make the sign of the cross, we say these words, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;” the words used when any one is made a Christian [at his baptism], according to the command of Christ. [Matthew xxviii. 19.] So that the action itself puts us in mind that Jesus Christ died for us on the cross; and by the words, we make a profession of our Christian faith, that we believe in one God and three Persons. Can we do this too often? Dare we be ashamed of doing it? Was ever any thing more ridiculous than to call this in very deed the cognizance of antichrist? What must Mr. Willet have thought of the Protestants, or what can they think of him, and such like folio scribblers, to prove the popes the beast of St. John’s Revelation? What must, I say, Mr. Willet think of the public liturgy, or the book of common prayer, approved and used by the Church of England in his time, and which ordains that the sign of the cross shall be made by the priest on the forehead of every one that is baptized? This, according to Mr. Willet, is (when any one is made a Christian) to give him the badge, and visible sign of antichrist, to the dishonour of Christ, and what in very deed is the cognizance of antichrist. (Witham)


We cannot for sure know the sayings of the Book of revelations as it is apoclyptic in genre. However St. Paul did write about God putting his ‘stamp of ownerhip’ be giving his Holy Spirit for those who believe and accept Christ. He said that the Spirit is God’s ‘mark of ownership’ on us. ref. Eph 1, 4.

Those mentioned in Rev 7 & 14 are likely the aboved-mentioned, those saints who believes.


So, where does the number 144,000 come from? If this is the amount of people standing with God on the mount, is this the actual number of people that will be in heaven at that time? If accurate, That is scary to think about the amount of people that are in a place besides heaven…geez, going back all thru history, (if only 144,000 were saved), it would be hundreds of trillions in hell…that cannot be right.


I understand that the 144k comes from the Christians that flee to the mountains when the Romans destroy the temple in 70AD


The number 144,000 is certainly not meant to be taken as the literal amount of people who will be saved. We must be careful in taking the Book of Revelation literally, as it is chock full of symbolism, disguised and hidden references to history, and prophecy. If you want help on how to interpret Revelation, I suggest a good commentary like the Navarre Bible or Ignatius Study Bible.

In this passage, we must remember that the number of Israelite tribes was 12, and that there were 12 apostles. In the Book of Revelation, one thousand usually represents an immense number. 12 x 12 x 1000= 144,000

See these threads for in-depth discussion:


In my mind I would explain it that way too. Number 12 when understood in that way is also to denote fullness or infinitely many. Thus we can imagine the great number that is in the symbolism of 144,000.

closed #12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit