Many people in the last days will think that they are saved but will find at last that they are irretrievably lost: Matthew 7:21–23. The reason for this is because they are not loyal subjects of the divine government—they are living in violation of God’s law.
It was through disobedience that Adam and Eve lost Paradise and plunged our world into ruin that would have been permanent if God had not devised a way of redemption for the human race. This salvation that Jesus came to our world to bring could be brought only by obedience (John 15:10; Hebrews 5:8, 9).
The person who has faith will be obedient (Hebrews 11:8) and only the faithful will be in the kingdom of heaven. (See Luke 16:10–12, 1 Corinthians 4:2, Galatians 3:9, and Revelation 17:14.)
The final issue in the last days will be over obedience to God’s law, whether or not you will keep it. Pressure will be applied to force all to worship an image to the beast (Revelation 13:11–17). The antichrist power described in Daniel 7, 2 Thessalonians 2 and in Revelation 13:1–10 has a special identifying mark. Daniel says that a mark of this power will be his intent to change times and laws (Daniel 7:25). The special mark of God’s children in the last days, on the other hand, is their obedience to all of God’s commandments (Revelation 14:12; 12:17; 22:14).
As we draw near the end of time, the entire world is going to be polarized, divided into two camps. On one side are those who are obedient to God’s law who will be marked or sealed by Him and will receive eternal life (Revelation 7:1–3; 14:1–5). (NOTE: The words seal and mark are used interchangeably in the Bible. See Romans 4:11.) However, those who are disobedient and continue to break God’s law will receive the mark of antichrist, the mark of disobedience, called the “mark of the beast” (Revelation 14:9–12; 16:2; 19:20).
On one side will be those who have overcome the world, the flesh and the devil (Revelation 21:5–7; 1 John 5:4, 18; Romans 8:13), but on the other side will be those who have lived according to the flesh, who were conformed to this world and who were led on by evil spirits to commit all manner of sin. They will both worship the image to the beast and receive the mark of the beast (Revelation 21:8, 27; 22:15; 18:23, 24).
In the end of the world there will be no third category. You will be on one side or the other. The decisions that you make day by day are determining which side you will wind up on. “It is the issue of the daily test that determines their victory or defeat in life’s great crisis.” The Desire of Ages, 382.