John has just described a series of terrible events that will affect the whole world in the future. John saw a great war, in which many people died. People also died from other causes, for example disease or the lack of food. Then a serious earthquake happened, in other words, the ground shook. The people who were still alive escaped into the mountains.
There, they were in great danger from a sudden storm. They expected more troubles; they believed that God was angry with them. However, nothing happened. There was no storm. The people just returned to their homes and they continued to live as previously.
John explains why that storm does not happen. God has placed 4 angels (special servants of God) to stop the wind. There are 4 of them because a storm can come from any of 4 directions: north, south, east and west. The 4 angels had complete power over the wind. They could hold it back, or they could allow it to cause great damage. God had ordered them to hold it now, because it was not yet the right time for this judgement to happen.
God has delayed the punishment because some of his people are still living on the earth. It is necessary for the angels to mark them with evidence that they belong to him. That mark is Godís own name, and the name of Christ (14:1).
The seal (or mark) that the angels use probably means the work of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).
God has sent his Holy Spirit into these peopleís lives as proof that they belong to him. God will not punish his people with the wicked people of this world (Genesis 18:25).
First, he sends his angels to separate his people from them (Matthew 13:49). God will only act against the wicked people, forces and systems of this world after that task is complete.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.