November 26, 2006 – December 2, 2006
“Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the Lord that sanctify them.” Ezekiel 20:12.
Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 575–577; The Desire of Ages, 763, 764; The Great Controversy, 605–610.
“The seal of God’s law is found in the fourth commandment.” The Great Controversy, 452.
“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:13–17.
1 In ancient times, as today, what did an official decree have to contain to make it binding? 1 Kings 21:8; Nehemiah 9:38; Esther 8:8; Daniel 6:17.
2 How do we know that the Ten Commandments Law is binding? Isaiah 8:16.
3 Seals always contain the name, title, and territory of the lawgiver. Where do we find God’s seal in the Ten Commandment Law? Exodus 20:8–11.
note: “The Sabbath is not introduced as a new institution but as having been founded at creation. It is to be remembered and observed as the memorial of the Creator’s work. Pointing to God as the Maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from all false gods. All who keep the seventh day signify by this act that they are worshipers of Jehovah. Thus the Sabbath is the sign of man’s allegiance to God as long as there are any upon the earth to serve Him. The fourth commandment is the only one of all the ten in which are found both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. It is the only one that shows by whose authority the law is given. Thus it contains the seal of God, affixed to His law as evidence of its authenticity and binding force.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 307.
“The Lord commands by the same prophet: ‘Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples.’ Isaiah 8:16. The seal of God’s law is found in the fourth commandment. This only, of all the ten, brings to view both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. It declares Him to be the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and thus shows His claim to reverence and worship above all others. Aside from this precept, there is nothing in the Decalogue to show by whose authority the law is given. When the Sabbath was changed by the papal power, the seal was taken from the law. The disciples of Jesus are called upon to restore it by exalting the Sabbath of the fourth commandment to its rightful position as the Creator’s memorial and the sign of His authority.” The Great Controversy, 452.
4 What does God’s seal declare about the Ten Commandment Law and especially the Sabbath? Ezekiel 20:12, 20; 11 Timothy 2:19.
note: “The Israelites placed over their doors a signature of blood, to show that they were God’s property. So the children of God in this age will bear the signature God has appointed. They will place themselves in harmony with God’s holy law. A mark is placed upon every one of God’s people just as verily as a mark was placed over the doors of the Hebrew dwellings, to preserve the people from the general ruin. God declares, ‘I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.’ [Ezekiel 20:12.] When men say that the law of God is abrogated by the testimony of the Fathers, they are teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. Their word is not founded upon the teaching of the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ is not the chief cornerstone of their structure. John says, ‘He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’ [1 John 2:4.] Those who permit themselves to be deceived will, with the deceiver, feel the wrath of the Lamb.” Review and Herald, February 6, 1900.
5 From where does true allegiance to God come? John 14:15, 23; 1 John 5:2, 3; Deuteronomy 5:29.
note: “We must have that genuine faith which works by love, and purifies the soul. God has given us a perfect standard of righteousness in his law. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.’ [Luke 10:27.] This comprehends the whole duty of man to his God and to his neighbor. We owe to God our life, and all that makes life desirable, and when we refuse to render obedience to him, we rob and defraud our own souls. No man can choose his own way without deep ingratitude to God; in so doing he renders to God enmity for love.” Review and Herald, March 5, 1889.
“The Sabbath given to the world as the sign of God as the Creator is also the sign of Him as the Sanctifier. The power that created all things is the power that re-creates the soul in His own likeness. To those who keep holy the Sabbath day it is the sign of sanctification. True sanctification is harmony with God, oneness with Him in character. It is received through obedience to those principles that are the transcript of His character.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 350.
6 What is God waiting for before He will end this world and usher in the new heavens and the new earth? Revelation 7:1–3.
note: “We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Prophecies are fulfilling. Strange and eventful history is being recorded in the books of heaven—events which it was declared should shortly precede the great day of God. Everything in the world is in an unsettled state. The nations are angry, and great preparations for war are being made. Nation is plotting against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. The great day of God is hasting greatly. But although the nations are mustering their forces for war and bloodshed, the command to the angels is still in force, that they hold the four winds until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 221, 222.
7 In this final work on earth, how many classes are developed? Matthew 25:32, 33; Revelation 14:1, 9.
note: “The warfare against God’s law, which was begun in heaven, will be continued until the end of time. Every man will be tested. Obedience or disobedience is the question to be decided by the whole world. All will be called to choose between the law of God and the laws of men. Here the dividing line will be drawn. There will be but two classes. Every character will be fully developed; and all will show whether they have chosen the side of loyalty or that of rebellion.” The Desire of Ages, 763.
“In the issue of the great contest, two distinct, opposite classes are developed. One class ‘worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark,’ and thus bring upon themselves the awful judgments threatened by the third angel. The other class, in marked contrast to the world, ‘keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.’ [Revelation 14:9, 12.] Though the powers of earth summon their forces to compel ‘all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,’ [Revelation 13:16] to receive the mark of the beast, yet the people of God do not receive it. The prophet of Patmos beholds ‘them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God,’ [Revelation 15:2] and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 282, 283.
8 Since we see these things coming, what should we be doing? 11 Peter 3:11, 12.
9 We have seen that the seal of God is the Sabbath. This is not a physical mark but is apparent by adhering to the sign of allegiance designated by the Father to His children. What then is the mark of the beast? Revelation 14:9–11.
note: “If the light of truth has been presented to you, revealing the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and showing that there is no foundation in the word of God for Sunday observance, and yet you still cling to the false Sabbath, refusing to keep holy the Sabbath which God calls ‘My holy day,’ [Isaiah 58:13] you receive the mark of the beast. When does this take place?—When you obey the decree that commands you to cease from labor on Sunday and worship God, while you know that there is not a word in the Bible showing Sunday to be other than a common working-day, you consent to receive the mark of the beast, and refuse the seal of God. If we receive this mark in our foreheads or in our hands, the judgments pronounced against the disobedient must fall upon us. But the seal of the living God is placed upon those who conscientiously keep the Sabbath of the Lord.” Review and Herald, July 13, 1897.
10 How do we know that the mark of the beast is connected with how we worship? Revelation 13:12, 15.
note: “After the warning against the worship of the beast and his image the prophecy declares: ‘Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ [Revelation 14:12.] Since those who keep God’s commandments are thus placed in contrast with those that worship the beast and his image and receive his mark, it follows that the keeping of God’s law, on the one hand, and its violation, on the other, will make the distinction between the worshipers of God and the worshipers of the beast.” The Great Controversy, 445, 446.
“The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.” Ibid., 605.
11 What evidence do we have that the world will oppose those who are loyal to God? Matthew 24:9–12; 10:17–22.
note: “Jesus does not present to His followers the hope of attaining earthly glory and riches, of living a life free from trial. Instead He calls upon them to follow Him in the path of self-denial and reproach. He who came to redeem the world was opposed by the united forces of evil. In an unpitying confederacy, evil men and evil angels arrayed themselves against the Prince of Peace. His every word and act revealed divine compassion, and His unlikeness to the world provoked the bitterest hostility.
“So it will be with all who will live godly in Christ Jesus. Persecution and reproach await all who are imbued with the Spirit of Christ. The character of the persecution changes with the times, but the principle—the spirit that underlies it—is the same that has slain the chosen of the Lord ever since the days of Abel.” The Acts of the Apostles, 576.
12 How do we know that those who are true to God in keeping the Sabbath will be persecuted? Revelation 13:15–17; 11 Timothy 3:12.
note: “As the Protestant churches reject the clear, Scriptural arguments in defense of God’s law, they will long to silence those whose faith they cannot overthrow by the Bible. Though they blind their own eyes to the fact, they are now adopting a course which will lead to the persecution of those who conscientiously refuse to do what the rest of the Christian world are doing, and acknowledge the claims of the papal sabbath.
“The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet’s words: ‘The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ Revelation 12:17.” The Great Controversy, 592.
A Warning—“Christ warned us in view of this very time that we should not be engrossed in the cares of the world, to the neglect of eternal interests; but how many of us allow the things of this life to interpose between our souls and the great gift of Heaven. How few are living for the glory of God and the good of humanity. How few are telling their children of the love of Christ, of the mansions of Heaven, of the necessity of faith and obedience. How few are warning their friends and neighbors of the fast-hastening Judgment. My heart is pained with the thought of the ingratitude of man to his Maker, and the indifference of souls to their dearly-purchased salvation. We are warned that if we do not watch and pray, the day of final reckoning will overtake us as a thief in the night, and our portion will be appointed with the hypocrites and unbelievers. ‘But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day.’ [1 Thessalonians 5:4, 5.] There is every provision made that we may have the light, and there will be no excuse in the day of God if we are overtaken in our sins. Sorrow and woe await those who do not heed the instructions of the word of life; but what joy is in store for those who have made preparation for the coming of their Lord! They will be changed from mortality to immortality. They will see the King in his beauty, and reflect his image. They will be caught up to be forever with the Lord.” The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1888.
Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.