The Sealing and the Sealer

“And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seal s. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much.” Revelation 5:1–4.

In order to understand the meaning of the seals, we must realize that according to Revelation 14, those who commit high treason against the government of God and receive the mark of the beast must drink the wine of the wrath of God poured out into the cup of His indignation. Those sealed with the seal of the living God, we are told in Revelation 7, will, as a part of their reward, serve their Lord in His heavenly temple.

“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel . . . 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.” Revelation 7:4, 13.

A burst of song accompanied the announcement that the Lion of the tribe of Judah had prevailed to unlock this mysterious scroll. But when John looked to see the Lion, he sees a Lamb as our High Priest, pleading His blood in our behalf. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” Revelation 5:9.

And someday soon, Jesus as the Lion will execute the vengeance of God upon the finally impenitent. But Jesus is yearning for your friendship today. Oh, how He loves you! But those who reject His love develop an enmity toward Him, and Jesus cannot take an avowed enemy to heaven. The choice belongs to you.

“With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful; . . . and with the froward, Thou wilt show Thyself froward.” Psalm 18:25, 26. Men and women must decide whether they will obey God’s government and receive His seal or join Satan’s rebellion and receive the mark of the beast.

“The observance of God’s rest day is a mark of distinction between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” The Review and Herald, April 23, 1901. “ But when Sunday observance shall be enforced by law, . . . those who continue in transgression will receive the ‘mark of the beast.’ ”The Great Controversy, 449.


God’s Seal


“Seal the law among my disciples.” Isaiah 8:16. Within the ten commandments we find the seal of God with its three identifying elements: One. The name. Two. The title. Three. The jurisdiction. “The fourth commandment is the only one of all 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.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 307.

The sealing of the believer is a progressive experience beginning with conversion and continuing as long as life shall last. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” Ephesians 1:13.

But Bible prophecy also speaks of a special sealing of the believers just before the close of probation. This sealing involves the Sabbath. “In a little while everyone who is a child of God will have His seal placed upon him.” The Review and Herald, May 28, 1889.

The functions of the seal are: First, the seal assures the indwelling of the Holy Spirit so that God’s character is revealed in our deportment and behavior. The sealed “must reflect the image of Jesus fully.” Early Writings, 71. And how is this accomplished? “As the wax takes and retains the impression of the seal, so should the soul take and retain the image of God . . . The character, the spirit of God, is to be revealed in finite man.” The Review and Herald, July 28,1891.

Second: The seal is irreversible. “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 they cannot be moved.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1161.

Third: Seals denote ownership. The Lord of the Sabbath claims Lordship of observers. “The Sabbath is a sign of the relationship existing between God and His people, a sign that they are His obedient subjects, that they keep holy His law.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 198.


Seal Expresses Final Approval


Fourth: The seal expresses final approval. “Upon those who uphold the principles of the Word . . . and who labor faithfully for . . . souls, God will put His seal of approval.” The Review and Herald, July 8, 1909.

Fifth: God’s seal includes the sanctification of the Spirit. “The world can only be warned by seeing those who believe the truth sanctified through the truth . . . The sanctification of the Spirit signalizes the difference between those who have the seal of God and those who keep a spurious rest day.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 980.

Sixth: God’s seal denotes perfection of character. “Are we seeking . . . the perfection of His character? When the Lord’s people reach this mark, they will be sealed in their foreheads filled with the Spirit, they will be complete in Christ.” Seventh-day Adventist Commentary, vol. 6, 1118. The sealing, like sanctification, represents the inner spiritual development which is made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Seventh: The seal denotes abhorrence of sin. This is why the faithful earnestly pray over the abominations which exist within the church.

Summarizing these seven points: “Brethren, how long before you will be ready for the seal of God? . . . Terrible destruction is forbidden to come in full . . . until the servants of God are sealed . . . Get ready, get ready, I beseech you, get ready . . . The ministers of vengeance will pour all the terrible judgments upon a God-forsaken people.” The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.

“The living righteous will receive the seal of God prior to the close of probation.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 66. “Before the work is closed up and the sealing of God’s people is finished, we shall receive the outpouring of the Spirit of God.” Ibid., 111. “The image of the beast will be formed before probation closes . . . This is the test that the people of God must have before they are sealed.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 976.

There are some who believe that church membership insures them of salvation. Satan before his fall enjoyed church leadership. “The Lord would teach men the lesson that, though united in church capacity, he is not saved until the seal of God is placed upon him.” Ibid. Nothing could be more plainly stated.

“Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, . . . are those ‘that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done’ in the church.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 267. The remnant must also prepare the world for the impending crisis. Our lives must testify to the sacredness of the Sabbath.

We must experience the deep movings of the Holy Spirit. Ellen White saw this experience in a vision. “We were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully.” Early Writings, 33. Soon the Sabbath/Sunday issue will be headlines in all the news. The Spirit of God will arouse every religious body on the face of this earth—Christian and non-Christian. A terrible conflict is coming.


The Four Babylons


The responsibilities frighten us. But a still greater crisis awaits the saints. Have we so lived that the Holy Spirit has placed the seal of the living God upon us? In order to fully comprehend this life-and-death issue, we must review the four Babylons.

Number one: The first Babylonian kingdom began with the tower of Babel. Nimrod was inspired by Satan to unify the whole world in rebellion against the God of heaven. This led to the building of the first skyscraper which Satan hoped to make his throne. This is the first example of using the power of the majority to defy God, using the means of ecumenical power. “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven and let us make us a name lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4. But God used lightening to knock the tower down, and confused their language and the inhabitants scattered.

Number two: The second kingdom of Babylon was under the rulership of Nebuchadnezzar. “The king spake and said, Is not this great Babylon which I have built for the house of the kingdom by my might and of my power and for the honor of my majesty? Daniel 4:30. Nebuchadnezzar’s unholy ambition was to rule men’s souls as well as their bodies. Satan inspired Nebuchadnezzar to build an image entirely of gold, contrary to the dream God gave that his kingdom would end. Then he sent out a decree that all the world must worship his image or be cast into the fiery furnace. Satan would force all to forsake God or be cremated in the furnace. But God delivered His three faithful believers. Religious despotism always tries to force obedience. On the other hand, the Spirit of God never uses pressure, economic sanction, or police state methods to force the conscience.

Number three: Papal Babylon. The prophet Daniel foresaw the rise of this persecuting power. The little horn, “would make war with the saints . . . and would wear out the saints of the Most High.” Daniel 7:21, 25. It was a religious super power shedding the blood of millions. Again, God had to intervene to stop this diabolical power. “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: But for the elects’ sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew 24:22. God shortened the reign of the Papal power by bringing in the Protestant Reformation.

Number four: Protestant Babylon. The Bible-based people of the Reformation might have become God’s spiritual bride. But in 1844, the bride turned away from her Lover. The thought that the Bridegroom might come, distressed the nominal churches. They did not want a marriage. As time continued, Protestantism substituted evolution for the Creation story. Their higher criticism cast doubts on the virgin birth and their modernism and liberalism denied the inspiration of the Bible. Since man is incurably religious, a union of church and state is now in the making.

John, on Patmos, saw this one world church developing in which Protestantism would wonder after Papal Babylon and eventually join with her to become a part of Babylon. “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded unto death, and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:3, 4, 7, 8.

This union of church and state is now developing and so an unscriptural day of worship will be offered to the people. And when it happens, we can expect a reincarnation of Papal Babylon. Ecumenism now applauded by the Adventist hierarchy will turn with a vengeance to persecute any dissenter who would dare to keep holy God’s seventh-day Sabbath.

Apostasy will increase until these fallen ecclesiastical bodies will become Babylon. “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon, the great, is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Revelation 18:2. The spirit of intolerance will displace liberty. Those filled with the Holy Spirit will discern this and alert the entire world. “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4.

God in His mercy will have a qualified people to give a faithful warning by the unction of His Spirit. “The sins of Babylon will be laid open . . . The stealthy but rapid progress of the Papal power—all will be unmasked . . . Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church . . . The power attending the message will only madden those who oppose it . . . In this time of persecution the faith of the Lord’s servants will be tried . . . God’s Spirit, moving upon their hearts, has constrained them to speak . . . Christ’s ambassadors have nothing to do with the consequences . . . The contest grows closer and sharper.” The Great Controversy, 606–610.

The results are certain. “Souls that were scattered all through the religious bodies answered to the call, and the precious were hurried out of the doomed churches.” Early Writings, 279. God could have used any one of the Protestant churches in 1844. But Protestantism in 1844 grieved the Holy Spirit. Thus the remnant church was born. “And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And 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 12:16,17.


Silence the Sabbathkeepers


Thus prophecy predicts that the four Babylons will have persecuted God’s chosen people and for some six millenniums the devil has used these powers to fight God’s church. Now Satan plans more terror. Ellen White was given a vision of Satan’s assemblies in which Satan discusses his final strategy.

“Our principal concern is to silence this sect of Sabbath keepers . . . The Sabbath which I have set up shall be enforced by laws the more severe . . . We led the Romish church to inflict imprisonment, torture, and death . . . We will finally have a law to exterminate all who will not submit to our authority. When death shall be made the penalty of violating our Sabbath, then many who are now ranked with commandment keepers, will come over to our side.” Testimonies to Ministers, 473.

Satan plans to do this before probation closes. He is using every wind of doctrine to unsettle the faith of God’s commandment keepers, to recruit them to his side. And he will go so far as to employ death as his weapon. But those sealed with the seal of the living God will demonstrate to the Universe “that humanity, combined with divinity does not commit sin.” Ministry of Healing, 180.

Nothing in the history of this world has ever generated the intensity that will flare up as the coming Sabbath/Sunday crisis. Sabbath keepers will suffer the most stringent economic sanctions ever planned by Satan. The hatred of Babylon the great and her daughters will demand that all who will not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (See Revelation 13:15). Before probation closes, some of God’s children will suffer martyrdom rather than yielding up their faith.

Church and state will combine to suspend religious liberty. The faithful will be harassed and driven from society. Christ’s faithful will inhabit earth’s desolate wastes, but thank God, no martyrs blood will flow during the seven last plagues. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the time has arrived when God’s people must offer the love, the joy and peace to the world which we have discovered in God’s heavenly sanctuary.

Having finally attained to perfect characters by the power of God, we shall be able to stand the searching test of the judgment. Thus we shall openly proclaim God’s presence in the Most Holy Place in a judgment hour message and the glorious second coming. And His Holy Spirit will provide the flame of the living fire.

Oh, for that flame of living fire, Which shone so bright in saints of old;

Which bade their souls to heaven aspire, Calm in distress, in danger bold.

Where is that Spirit, Lord, which dwelt in Abram’s breast, and sealed him Thine?

Which made Paul’s heart with sorrow melt, And glow with energy divine?

That spirit which from age to age Proclaimed Thy love, and taught Thy ways?

Brightened Isaiah’s vivid page, And breathed in David’s hallowed lays?

Is not Thy grace as mighty now As when Elijah felt its power?

When glory beamed from Moses’ brow, Or Job endured the trying hour?

Remember, Lord, the ancient days; Renew Thy work, Thy grace restore;

And while to Thee our hearts we raise, On us Thy Holy Spirit pour.