Before Jesus can come the second time He must have a people on whose foreheads He can place the seal of the living God. What is this seal and how do we receive it? The scriptures teach us that God wants to write His law on our hearts. “I will put My law into their minds and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people” (Hebrews 8:10).
The prophet Isaiah tells us, “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples” (Isaiah 8:16). The law Isaiah is referring to is God’s ten commandments, the keeping of which Solomon taught was the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13). What we see in Christianity today is a power that changed God’s moral law that was written by the finger of God on tables of stone. This anti-Christ power has boasted for hundreds of years that it had the authority and power to change this moral law. If you compare the teachings of the Catholic catechism with the ten commandments of the Bible you will find a world of difference. The order as well as the wording has been changed. The second commandment dealing with idolatry is conveniently missing and the fourth commandment became the third. To make up the ten laws, the tenth commandment has been divided into two.
Daniel prophesied that a power would arise after the apostolic church leaders died that would think to change times and laws (Daniel 7:25). The Protestant world has fallen into this delusion of Sunday worship that the Papal church has boastingly taught for centuries.
Uriah Smith wrote these words about the importance of the Sabbath commandment: “The author of this Sabbath law has declared who He is, the extent of His dominion, and His right to rule; for every created intelligent being must at once assent that He is the creator of all and has a right to demand obedience from all His creatures. Thus, with the fourth commandment in its place, this wonderful document among men that God only wrote with His own finger, has a signature, it has that which renders it intelligible and authentic, and it has a seal. But without the fourth commandment, the law is incomplete and unauthoritative.” Daniel and Revelation, 457.
This law of man’s devising in the Catholic catechism is not the law that God will write upon the hearts of His obedient children. His commandment-keeping people will offer the prayer of David: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
The agency that writes the seal of God upon the heart is the Holy Spirit. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). Ellen White calls it “the pure mark of truth.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 267.
On another occasion, she wrote these solemn words: “Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot of stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of all defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.” Ibid., vol. 5, 214. We are warned that “not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed.” Ibid., 213. Our profession will be tested in the future if we do not have sufficient oil in our lamps (Matthew 25). The following statement gives one of the clearest definitions of the seal of God: “Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads—it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so that they cannot be moved—just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come.” “Ellen G. White comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1161.
It appears from this statement that the shaking and the sealing are events that happen together. The fiery trial of our faith will only purify our characters. The straight testimony must be given in the spirit and power of the Holy Spirit to reveal who is really on the Lord’s side (see Early Writings, 270). This will be a terrible ordeal for the church to face, but the Lord will see us through it all (Isaiah 40; Zachariah 10:1). There is only one way of salvation found in Scripture, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). “For by grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Likewise, we are sealed by faith in the great and precious promise of God’s word (2 Peter 1:4). His word to us today is: “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds (thunder clouds), and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field” (Zechariah 10:1). We will have to enter into this experience of receiving the latter rain alone.
Compare Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:23–25. The prophet Zechariah also describes how this will be accomplished. “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem … . And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; … In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land … and the unclean spirit out of the land” (Zechariah 12:10–14, 13:1, 2).
The greatest victories for the church and for the individual Christian are not those victories gained by talent, education, wealth or the favor of man but those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power (see Patriarchs and Prophets, 203).
The destiny of the church is dependent upon heeding the counsel of the True Witness. Those within our church who are not willing to heed the counsel will rise up against it and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people (see Early Writings, 270).
What I understand from these statements as to the cause of the shaking is that the very positive message, calling for a revival, will cause a negative response by those who do not recognize their need of the Holy Spirit.
Ellen White describes the results of the shaking: “I was shown those whom I had before seen weeping and praying in agony of spirit. The company of guardian angels around them had been doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, like a company of soldiers. Their countenances expressed the severe conflict which they had endured, the agonizing struggle they had passed through. Yet their features, marked with severe internal anguish, now shone with the light and glory of heaven. They had obtained the victory and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude and holy, sacred joy.” Early Writings, 271.
She concludes this page with these words: “I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, ‘It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.’ ” Ibid.
It is the power of the Holy Spirit that seals and prepares us for translation as we cooperate by putting away our besetting sins of pride, selfishness, love of the world and every wrong word and action. We are sealing our destiny for translation. All glory belongs to the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).
Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam, lived in such communion with God that God took him to Himself, denying Satan’s power over the human family that had been created in God’s image.
The apostle Paul commenting on the heroes of faith in the Old Testament briefly describes how Enoch was prepared for heaven in these words: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5). How he pleased God we are told in the next verse. He pleased God because he exercised faith in the great and precious promises in God’s word (2 Peter 1:4). He also believed that “God was a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6) by prayer and Bible study.
Another powerful type of the last generation who will be sealed is demonstrated by Jacob’s experience in wrestling with the angel at the brook Jabbok. Separated and alone at the brook, he saw this person approach him and thinking he was the enemy caused him to wrestle all night for victory.
When the Angel of the Lord touched Jacob’s thigh and crippled him he recognized his assailant was Christ. Then Jacob would not release his hold on his Savior until he received the blessing of the forgiveness of sin, especially his sin against his brother Esau.
Commenting on this experience of Jacob, Ellen White writes: “Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His experience testifies to the power of importunate prayer. It is now that we are to learn this lesson of prevailing prayer, of unyielding faith. The greatest victories to the church of Christ or to the individual Christian are not those that are gained by talent or education, by wealth or the favor of men. They are those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 203.
We, like Jacob, must wrestle alone with God until we receive the power of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. As Jacob received a name change because of his persistent faith so also the faith of the 144,000 will be rewarded as the Israel of God, the saints of the Most High God. They have followed the Lamb of God on earth and will have special privileges in the kingdom of God in heaven (see Early Writings, 19).
Isaiah’s prophecy will then be fulfilled by the 144,000. “He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).
We must plead and agonize for His wonderful blessing in proportion to the value of this wonderful gift that God has promised His church (see The Desire of Ages, 668). Also, we must learn to walk and wrestle with God today as did Enoch and Jacob and cling to our Saviour and never let go until the morning breaks into eternal day.
We serve a God who loves us individually (John 3:16). May we each individually receive a goodly seal on this anti-typical day of atonement is my prayer for all Israel.
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me ever to adore Thee,
May I still Thy goodness prove,
While the hope of endless glory
Fills my heart with joy and love.
O, to grace how great a debtor,
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness like a fetter,
Bind me closer still to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart – O, take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.
Robert Robinson, 1758 (1725–1790)