Signet rings are a signature that is secured or approved by a higher authority, usually a king, to accomplish what is needed to fulﬁll his purpose or desire. The authority depends upon the user’s character.
The king gives his signet ring to authorize a person to carry out a noble purpose for his subjects in his kingdom, like what Pharaoh commissioned Joseph to do for him.
Prophetic Voices in the Exile: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah
It is interesting that the symbols of the signet ring and signet seals were used by God Himself in speaking to His people in the Old Testament.
“Bind up the testimony of warning and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples” (Isa. 8:16).
“’As surely as I live,’” declares the Lord, “’even if you, Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off’” (Jer. 22:24).
“Fields will be bought for silver and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem” (Jer. 32:44).
“Have I not kept this in reserve and sealed it in my vaults?” (Deut. 32:34).
Such sealing talks about security, authority and the ownership of God. When God places His seal on something, no one is able to open it without His authority.
A person who opens what has been sealed with the king’s signet ring should have not only special permission but also ultimate authority and approval from the king. This picture was well described in Revelation 5. In his revelation, John saw a book or scroll that was sealed in the hand of the One who was seated on the throne. At the same time, he heard an angel asking if there was anybody who was qualified to open the book by breaking the seal. The answer was no one. This was not about the ability or power to open the seal, but about the final authority from God to open the seal and read the book.
While the apostle John was weeping, the good news came: “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:5). Jesus took the book from the Father, broke the seal and read the scroll. Jesus Christ was the only One, on earth and in the heavens, who had all authority to open what God had closed and sealed. That is why what Jesus Christ shuts, no one can open, and what He opens, no one can shut. In that sense, Jesus Christ was not only given a seal of authority, but He became God’s signet ring. Jesus not only opens and closes, but He is the Door. As the final signet ring of God, He is the I AM (see John 8:58).
King Cyrus and the Signet Ring
God had a plan for His covenant people to redeem His treasures for His purposes. God also may give special authority for a special purpose to a person with His approval. King Cyrus was chosen by God to conquer the Babylonians and facilitate the rebuilding of the temple after 70 years of captivity in Babylon—about 150 years before he was born. He was the king of Persia from 559–530 BC1 and the last king of the Median kingdom.
Three Key Elements of King Cyrus’s Anointing
King Cyrus’ anointing was a manifestation of three key elements that every effective leader needs to do the work of God: power, authority and provision. This is a checklist for the transformation of those who have a calling, commitment, character and gifting to correct wrong history and build on the right foundation to shape the future. “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings” (Isaiah 58:12). Let us look at the power, authority and provision that comes with this anointing:
- When God anointed King Cyrus, He gave him power to do the work Cyrus would not have had the ability or capacity to do in his own strength. We clearly see God’s power in Cyrus’s ability to subdue nations, strip kings of their armor and open doors (see Isa. 45:1). Hence, the power of God is the manifested enabling presence of God in an incredibly special and unique way. The seal of the signet ring is when God says, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zech. 4:6). That is why the anointing is needed!
- Authority. Anointing is not only limited to power, but it also gives authority. Receiving the seal of a king qualifies a person to walk in the authority of that king. Authority is not about ability, but position. Authority is a right to act with legal or official permission. As it is related to anointing, it is walking in divine authority with God. It is what the Lord Himself does for the glory of His name in us, through us and for us. That is what we observe in Cyrus’s life. “I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron” (Isa. 45:2). The phrase I will use is delegated authority. Walking in authority, therefore, is not trusting in our ability; rather, our trust is in God, and our full obedience is to represent Him. Thus, to have the signet ring is to have full authority to represent His will, desire and pleasure. The base of authority is a relationship that reflects trust, faith and wholehearted obedience.
- Provision is resourcing a person’s needs to fulfill their calling. The provision that anointing releases isn’t limited to financial resources. God’s provision in the lives of called and anointed people includes spiritual gifts, vision, wisdom, favor, resources and a pattern for the work to be done. Moses’s experience is a good example. When he was called to bring the people out of Egypt, the first thing he saw was the provision of God’s favor. Before that, for 40 years Moses was a criminal who should have been killed. Then, when he was sent by God, he was feared and accepted as a leader of God’s people because of God’s favor. Provision of favor is the most important provision for an effective leader. The second most important provision is guidance. The Lord gave Moses special guidance by His presence, day and night. Furthermore, God made known His ways to Moses; God gave Moses His word, He showed him the pattern for the Tabernacle; He gave him skilled and anointed individuals who could do the work; and finally, He gave Moses abundant financial provision.
When we come to Cyrus, the Lord promised him a hidden treasure that would lead him to know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Lord didn’t promise him the rebuilding of the city and the Temple, but gifts for him: “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places” (Isa. 45:3). The amazing thing is that the Lord told him such gifts would lead him into the knowledge of the God of Israel as the Lord and the Creator of everything.
The purpose of the provision, therefore, was first to help Cyrus to know who the God of Israel was: “That you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel” (Isa. 45:3). Second, it was to understand his own calling and anointing: “who summons you by name.” It was made abundantly clear that the source of all Cyrus’s success and accomplishments came from delegated authority, the signet ring, of the Almighty God.
Yes, King Cyrus used his anointing—the seal of approval, the signet ring of the King of Glory—to fulfill his calling by facilitating and providing for God’s people to rebuild the city and the temple of God for greater glory. In the process, the Lord brought Cyrus to the true knowledge of Himself.
Do you have the authority and security, through God’s anointing, in your life to release His power, authority and provision to accomplish His will? His pleasure is for us to know Him, honor Him, worship Him and use our spiritual power and authority to facilitate others to build His Temple. We are accountable to the Giver and Provider at the end of our lives. Let us use the signet ring with responsibility and a greater desire to know Him.
Excerpted from The King’s Signet Ring by Chuck Pierce and Alemu Beeftu provided by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright 2022. Used by permission.