The Two Covenants

There is much confusion today over what the covenants are. Especially is the New Covenant and its application to the Christian misunderstood. We will first take a close look at what a covenant is and then consider the difference between the old and the new.

Webster’s Dictionary defines covenant this way: “An agreement between persons or groups of persons; especially, a formal agreement solemnly promising mutual help or common effort; contract. In theology—the promises of God to man, usually carrying with them conditions to be fulfilled by man, as recorded in the Bible.”

Consulting an encyclopedia concerning covenants and contracts, we find there are several parts that are essential.

  1. It must be written.
  2. It will contain promises.
  3. It will contain terms or conditions.
  4. There must be mutual agreement signified by the signatures.
  5. And finally it must have a seal placed upon it.

Here is an example of a typical covenant or contract in our society. When someone is selling their house, the seller says, “Give me $120,000, and I will give you my house.” The buyer agrees. The contract is signed and then sealed by a notary public. When the buyer gives the specified amount to the seller, the seller then gives the buyer his house. However, if the buyer does not come through with the money within the time given, he does not get the house. He has broken the contract, making it void.

God’s Covenant

Now let us look at the covenant God made with Israel in the wilderness as recorded in Exodus 19:5–8: “Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

The Covenant is Conditional

You see, there is an “If–Then” in the covenant, a promise upon condition—if you obey Me, then you will be My people. The people gave their promise to fulfill the conditions, thereby signing the contract.

Now, what exactly was the covenant? “And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even Ten Commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone.” Deuteronomy 4:13. It is very clear. The Ten Commandments are God’s covenant, written by His finger. (Also see Exodus 31:18 and 34:28.)

Leviticus 26 very plainly spells out all the conditions and promises of the covenant God made with Israel. Notice the “If–Thens.” The promises were all conditional upon the actions of the people. “If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” (Verses 3, 4.)

“But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise My statutes, or if your soul abhor My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but that ye break My covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.” (Verses 14–16.)

But what is the sad record of Israel’s compliance with the conditions of the covenant? “They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in His law.” Psalm 78:10.

Israel had signed the contract. They had promised, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” But they were doomed to fail. They broke the contract. You remember at the close of Joshua’s life he exhorted the people to “fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.” Joshua 24:14. And all the people answered, “God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;…therefore will we also serve the Lord; for He is our God.” (Verses16, 18.) But what was Joshua’s startling reply? “Ye cannot serve the Lord!” (Verse 19.) Why would Joshua say such a thing? I believe he was trying to get them to realize how incapable they were in their own strength to carry out their promise. But the people disagreed with Joshua. “Nay; but we will serve the Lord…The Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey.” (Verses 21, 24.)

Theirs was the “Promise of the Penniless Prospective Buyer.” The penniless prospective buyer does not have a penny, but he wants that house. He signs the contract, somehow possessing wild optimism that he can come up with the money. But, alas, he fails to come through with his end of the bargain. He breaks the contract. The contract is no longer valid, not because the seller did not make his promise good, but because the buyer’s promise was faulty. If the prospective buyer ever should be able to come up with the money, he would have to enter into a new contract with the seller, because the old contract is broken and can no longer be used.

God is so gracious with His people. Though we have failed, He is yet willing to enter into a new covenant with us. Jeremiah prophesied of this new covenant: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah 31:31–33.

In writing to his Jewish brethren, Paul reminds them of this promise and points to Jesus as the mediator of this new covenant. “But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” Hebrews 8:6. Why is this a better covenant? Because it is based on better promises. “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” (Verse 7.) So there was a fault in the first covenant! What was the fault? “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:” (Verse 8.) The fault was with the people’s promise. They did not come through on their word.

“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” (Verse 9.) They did not comply with the conditions as they had promised they would. But God has a solution for their faulty promises—His powerful promise to change their heart, so they can comply with the conditions.

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.” (Verse10.) Once God’s law is internalized, becoming a part of our character, then we obey from the heart instead of chafing under external rules.

So it is like this: God says, “If you keep My commandments, I will give you eternal life.”

Man says, “God, there is no way I can keep Your Law. I am a sinner by nature.”

God says, “I will enable you to keep My law if you will surrender your will and cooperate with Me. I will give you a new nature. I will write My Law in your heart.”

Now these are the better promises. God’s promises are better than man’s, so we accept God’s promise by faith, thus signing the contract.

Did you know everyone saved in the Old Testament was saved under the New Covenant? Hebrews 11 says all these obeyed by faith. The Old Covenant cannot save anyone. It is not a saving covenant, because no one is capable of keeping the Law in his own strength. The promise, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do” is a faulty promise. We can only be saved by accepting the terms of the New Covenant, by accepting the offer of God’s power to change our hearts and give us the power to obey.

The Seal

There is one aspect of a contract or covenant that we have not yet discussed. That is the seal. Does God’s covenant have a seal? Yes, it does. Right in the heart of the Law of God He has placed His seal, in the fourth commandment, Exodus 20:8–11. “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Verse 11.)

A seal always contains three things:

  1. The ruler’s name—LORD
  2. His title—Creator (“made heaven and earth. . .”)
  3. Area of jurisdiction—heaven, earth, the sea, and all that in them is.”

So we see all the elements of a seal in the fourth commandment.

Exodus 31:12, 13 speaks of the Sabbath as a sign of the perpetual covenant. “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.” And in verses16 and 17 it says, “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.”

What is a Sign?

Webster’s Dictionary defines sign, “in theology, that which being external, represents or signifies something internal or spiritual; as, an outward and visible sign.”

Observing the Sabbath is the sign that you understand that you cannot of yourself fulfill the Law, that you rest in the power that God gives you to obey.

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it… For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into My rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:… There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:1–11.

No Faith

So the gospel was preached to ancient Israel, but it did not do them any good because they did not exercise faith in it. God gave them His Sabbath to be a sign that He would give them the power to obey His law, but they did not enter into that rest because of their lack of faith in His power. They felt they were to obey by their own works. So instead of grasping the true significance of the Sabbath, they strictly observed it to earn their salvation. The true Sabbath rest is still offered to the people of God. How do we enter into it? By ceasing from our own works and taking hold of God’s power by faith. This is what true Sabbath–keeping represents. Keeping the Sabbath is not a work, it is a rest!

Let us review now the elements of a covenant and analyze the New Covenant.

  1. It must be written. —The New Covenant is written out for us in the Bible.
  2. It will contain promises. —God promises to write the Law in our hearts.
  3. It will contain terms or conditions. —–Obedience through God’s power.
  4. There must be mutual agreement signified by the signatures. —Our faith.
  5. And finally it must have a seal placed upon it. —The Sabbath.

Revelation 14:12 gives promise of a people who will live by the New Covenant. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

[All emphasis supplied.]

The Sabbath, Part II

Now, passing from that [the idea of the Sabbath], why is it that this message, calling the attention of the world—for it is a world-wide message—to God as the Creator, through Christ, and turning men’s minds to worship him—why is it that it has come just at this time, and just at the close of the great controversy? From the very first, the purpose of Satan was to put himself in the place of Christ, and that was what started the rebellion in heaven, because Christ alone was exalted to an equality with the Father, though Satan stood in the next place; although he stood in the presence of God, so that the light and the glory of God shone upon him continually; although there enveloped him such a panoply of light as enveloped none others of the angels of God, yet he was not satisfied. He must needs be put in the place of Christ himself. So that feeling in his heart rankled till open rebellion came, and after every effort was made to save him, with forgiveness and restoration, just the same as we have to-day, everything being refused and the most persistent rebellion indulged in, he with his sympathizers was cast out of heaven, just as you and I will be shut out of heaven if we persist in rebelling against God.

And since that time, Satan has lost none of his purpose to put himself in the place of Christ, and as the only hope of salvation for a lost world was in Jesus Christ, it has been Satan’s effort from that time,—and is to-day,—to turn men’s minds away from Christ, to cover up the true character of Christ, to keep men from trusting in Christ, and to conceal his power to save. But there is no institution in all the world that so turns men’s minds toward Christ as the Sabbath, when the Sabbath is rightly understood. So Satan is ever at work to destroy and tear down that institution which above all others reminds the world of Jesus Christ, the Creator and the Redeemer. But, when he tried that, what consideration, do you suppose, led him to choose the first day of the week as the rival day?

Let me read two or three scriptures. The first scripture, Isaiah 14:12: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground which didst weaken the nations?” The marginal reading is “day-star.” Lucifer means “light-bearer.” What was the first thing that was created? God said, “Let there be light, and there was light!” We read in John’s epistle, the first chapter and the fifth verse: “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” So Christ said, “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Satan’s position was that of the first angel next to Christ: upon him as upon none other except Christ, did the light show itself as he moved about clothed in a very panoply of light.

Well, can you not see that the nearest thing that Satan can get to be like God, is light? The very idea of light? God created the sun to be a light-bearer. He placed light in the sun to let it rule the day. The sun as being to us the source of light is the one created object that attracts every eye. Now, does it seem to you that Satan connected those ideas, and out of that idea of light and the glory of God manifested in light has made a counterfeit? He who fashioneth himself as an angel of light, turns men’s minds away from God, the source and the Creator of this light, to the light itself, and to himself—Satan—in that light. And that, really, when you get to it, is the very essence of the change,—that Satan might be exalted as the lightbearer, as the light of the world, instead of Christ.

Trace that idea all through heathendom. The sun has been worshiped in every nation and in every phase of worship, and it has always been of a degrading character. The worship of God is uplifting and elevating; the worship of Satan or of self or of anything except God, degrades, and when man is left to himself in the worship of anything else except God, he gets down to the very lowest depths of heathendom, no matter if intellectual light shines like the sun. You only have to read the first chapter of Romans to see that. Right at the time when intellectual light was at its height—at the time to which people look back now as a time of boasted civilization,—right then was heathen worship at its height, and men changed the image of God, the Creator, and worshiped the creature and they were degraded to the very depths by it.

It is evident that all these years there has been one deep laid plan, and that is the same as of old. Just as Satan made the effort to secure a following among the angels and did secure it, so his effort has been, and is, to secure a following among men, that they should turn to him and worship him instead of turning to God in Jesus Christ. Now the close of the great controversy is coming, and therefore we read: “The Sabbath question is the great testing question for this time.” Why? Because in the Sabbath question—in the Sabbath idea, is involved the whole question of whether we will turn to God and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, or whether we will give ourselves to Satan and yield to his control. The whole thing is right there.

So, therefore, there is but one test today, and that test is the Sabbath,—and no man in whom Jesus Christ does not dwell as a living Saviour can keep the Sabbath. Understand when I say that the Sabbath is the test, I do not mean that if a man drops his work at the beginning of that time and does not work any more until it is past, that that is keeping the Sabbath. No man who does not know Jesus Christ and has not had the experience of the new birth with Christ formed within, can keep the Sabbath. So the whole idea of the worship of God, of trust in God as our Creator, with his power pledged for our redemption, and of exalting Jesus Christ, is in the Sabbath question. The whole idea of whether now we turn to God for salvation, and for redemption, and for power, or whether we prefer to trust ourselves in the hands of Satan, lies in the Sabbath question. And he who truly keeps the Sabbath exalts Christ as it is impossible to do in any other way. Talk about the idea that Seventh-day Adventists do not believe in Christ! Talk about the idea that Seventh-day Adventists have left Christ and have gone back to some Jewish custom! Who is it that has left Jesus Christ? Everyone who turns his back on the Sabbath of God leaves Jesus Christ. It is impossible to exalt Jesus Christ to the place where he belongs as Creator, as Redeemer, as Saviour, and trample on him in violating the Sabbath. The two do not go together.

So now, at the time when men are to decide for eternity—because now is the time for decisions for eternity—comes this test. In whom are you trusting? In the power of God in Jesus Christ? or in the power of Satan manifested through his agents? . . . We have heard for years the statement, “Christ must be king” in our courts, in our cloisters, everywhere, Christ must he king; and he must come in by the gateway of politics. I want to tell you that in trying to exalt Jesus Christ in that way, Christ has been set aside and Satan put in his place. That is the simple fact of it. . . . Who has turned his back upon Jesus Christ? Who has dishonored God? . . .

Now let me read:—

“No greater contempt can be shown to the Creator than the contempt manifested for the day which he has sanctified and blessed.”

What follows? That is the greatest contempt that can be put upon God. We have been for years working up to this climax. . . . When that is done, what next? “It is time for thee, Lord, to work, for they have made void thy law.” “Arise, O arm of the Lord! Put on strength.” It is time. . . . It is time for everyone who believes in God to exalt his day as never before. It is time for everyone who believes in God to find out what the Sabbath is,—to find out how the Sabbath can be kept, that he may truly honor God. Again I read:—

“And as Satan with his human agents pushes the warfare against God by leading man to trample on the Sabbath, the few who do honor God should be aroused to greater zeal and earnestness in his defense.”

There is just one more thought in connection with this subject that I would like to leave with you. We have taught in a certain way for years that the Sabbath is the seal of God. I have not time to go into the whole subject. When a seal is put upon anything, it leaves an imprint; it may be a monogram; it may be a figure; it makes no difference. We take a seal and drop the wax on the spot, and then while it is warm—notice that, while it is warm—the wax can be impressed while it is warm; but when it is cold, if you attempt to do it, you will smash it all to pieces—then while it is warm and yielding, ready to receive the imprint, the pressure is brought to bear upon it with the seal, and the seal being removed, there is the image which you wished to impress.

The Sabbath is the seal of God. What is the image that God wants to impress upon us? Why, the very purpose of all this time of probation has been that the image of God, as manifested in Jesus Christ when he was here, shall be received by us. And just as when Christ was here and walked the earth he was to the world an interpretation of the character of God, so everyone of his followers is to be a living epistle, known and read of all men, and is to show forth the excellencies, the praises, of him who has called him out of darkness into his marvelous light; and the Christian walking the earth now is to show forth the character of God as Christ did of old when on the earth. That is the image of God restored, and that image is to be restored in humanity, just as that image was in Christ when he was here in humanity; for what Christ was in his perfect humanity, that we must be.

But have we not found by this study that the Sabbath from every point of view brings out Christ? And the Sabbath being kept in its perfection must be because Christ is formed within. Then do you not see that the Sabbath is simply a sign, a mark, a measure of what Christ is to the soul? that Christ is the one that makes us holy, that sanctifies us, that blesses us, that refreshes us; that as he said: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” so our Sabbath is a Sabbath of rest in him? And then every step of the way;—at every turn you give to it, Christ stands out in the Sabbath everywhere. Then the Sabbath is the seal of God, because, when the Sabbath is accepted as the Sabbath of the true God, in the meaning that God intended it to be for us, and we really keep it that way, the image of God is being, and is, restored in the soul; so that when God looks upon his Sabbath-keeping children, who are indeed Sabbath-keepers, he sees in them the image of his own Son. Then he is ready to close the work, and say: “Let him that is holy, be holy still.”

We read in Matthew 3:17, when Christ was baptized, “Lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Let me read Dr. Young’s translation of that verse: “And lo a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I did delight.” Now keep that thought in mind—“In whom I did delight,” and let me read with it from Isaiah 42:1: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.” That was a prophecy of Christ. When he came, the voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, my beloved, in whom my soul did delight.” Why did God delight in Christ? Because of his perfect harmony with him; because it was God in Christ, and Christ in God;—“As thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee.” This is the union he wants between us as brethren, and between us and him, and then God delights in us. Christ delighted to do the will of God, and God delighted in him, and when he came he gave him that evidence with that voice that spoke, “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I did delight.”

Let me now read a very familiar scripture from Dr. Young’s translation. Isaiah 58:13:—

“If thou dost turn from the Sabbath thy foot, doing thine own pleasure on my holy day, and hast cried to the Sabbath, ‘A delight.’ ” When the Sabbath comes, just call to it, “A delight!” Why? Because he in whom the Father’s soul did delight is there. When the Sabbath comes, we say, “Welcome it! A delight! Glad it is here!” Why? Because the One in whom the Father delighted is there,—Christ in the Sabbath;—Christ the delight of the soul. “And has cried to the Sabbath, ‘A delight,’ to the Holy of Jehovah, ‘Honored.’ ” Notice, the Sabbath is the Holy of Jehovah, and he is the Holy One himself, and his Son, that Holy Child Jesus, and you cannot separate them.

When you really take the Sabbath as the Holy of Jehovah, you find God in Christ there, the Holy Saviour. And to the Holy of Jehovah we cry, “Honor, honor!” “Blessing and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne.” It is the same idea. It is to exalt Christ to the place where he belongs, and recognize him in the Sabbath as the “Delight,” as the “Holy One,” as the “Honored One.” Now we read that he received honor. 11 Peter 1:17: “For he received from God the Father honor and glory.” When this voice came, saying: “This is my Son, my beloved, in whom my soul did delight.” What are we to receive? 1 Peter 2:7: “Unto you, therefore, which believe, he is precious.” The margin says, “an honor,” which is the literal translation, making it read: “Unto you which believe, he is an honor.” We say to the holy of the Lord, “Honored!” When we say to the Holy of the Lord, “Honored,” he turns about to us and confers honor upon us, and he says to us, “Honored!” Why? Because we acknowledge the honor due to Jesus Christ in the Sabbath.

Remember that all exaltation to us comes through humility. Remember that the only genuine life that is worth having comes through death. He that humbleth himself shall be exalted; and because he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name.” Now we are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt us in due time. As he raised him up to sit in heavenly places, so by the same power working in us, he is to raise us up to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. And all this comes from a knowledge of what the true Sabbath is, and by the proper keeping of the Sabbath. Exalt Jesus Christ. Lift him up. Exalt his day. Trust in him and his power as against every power, and all the power that the world knows. “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” [Hebrews 13:5.]

Reprinted from Review and Herald Extra, Daily Bulletin of the General Conference, vol. 5, No. 9, February 11, 12, 1893, 219–225.

W. Prescott (1855–1944) served as president of four Seventh-day Adventist colleges as well as administrator and editor of the Review and Herald for seven years.

Question – What does the Bible mean when it talks about the seal of the living God?


What does the Bible mean when it talks about the seal of the living God?


And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Revelation 7:2, 3.

Let us stop and think about a seal, any seal. While canning fruit the jar is sealed and you expect the fruit to be preserved in the same condition as when you put it into the jar until you break the seal.

Another kind of seal is one that is used when you take a document to sign in the presence of a Notary Public and have them put an official seal on it. What is the purpose of this seal? It is to make the document permanently official. When a document is stamped and signed by the Notary Public it is sealed and cannot be changed.

In conclusion, anything that is sealed is permanent and in the condition that it was when sealed. It is agreed to, it is unchangeable, and it is final!

If we apply these definitions to the seal of God we come up with some very interesting facts. Whatever God’s seal says, the receiving party agrees to the conditions and acts accordingly.

A seal contains three elements—the name, the title, and the territory of the one issuing the seal. When we read the Ten Commandments we find that God put His seal right in the middle of the commandments. The fourth commandment says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: … For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is. …” Here we find the three necessary elements for a seal—His name, the Lord; His title, the Creator; His territory, heaven and earth.

Exodus 31:13 says, “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the Lord that doth sanctify you.”

Ezekiel 20:20 says, “And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I [am] the Lord your God.”

From these texts we can conclude that the seventh-day Sabbath is the seal of God. Those people who have decided to obey God and honor Him by resting on the Sabbath and refusing to do ordinary work on that day will be sealed with the seal of the living God and given a home in heaven with Him forever.

The text in Revelation 7 continues, “Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees until the servants of God are sealed on their foreheads.” Verse 3. The servants of God will keep the Sabbath because they are truly convinced beyond a doubt that the Sabbath is the seal of the living God. They are determined to keep the seventh-day Sabbath in honor of God forever. God protects the earth and the sea from destruction until His servants are sealed, or until His people decide to keep His holy day regardless of the consequences. Then they are sealed for eternity.

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Bible Study Guides – The Seal of God

July 19, 2009 – July 25, 2009

Key Text

“And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” Ezekiel 9:4.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 207–216; The Great Controversy, 653–661.


“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.

1 In contrast to those entrusted as guardians of God’s temple, what was Ezekiel shown? Ezekiel 9:1–4.

Note: “What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1161.

2 How does the seal of God relate to faithful Sabbath keepers today? Revelation 14:1; Exodus 31:13, 14.

Note: “Those that overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, will be the favored ones who shall receive the seal of the living God. Those whose hands are not clean, whose hearts are not pure, will not have the seal of the living God. Those who are planning sin and acting it will be passed by. Only those who, in their attitude before God, are filling the position of those who are repenting and confessing their sins in the great anti-typical day of atonement, will be recognized and marked as worthy of God’s protection. The names of those who are steadfastly looking and waiting and watching for the appearing of their Saviour–more earnestly and wishfully than they who wait for the morning–will be numbered with those who are sealed.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 445.

3 Discuss the seriousness of the sealing message. Ezekiel 9:10. How does this message relate to the third angel of Revelation 14:9–12?

Note: “Those who link in sympathy with the world are eating and drinking with the drunken and will surely be destroyed with the workers of iniquity.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 212.

“The most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in the third angel’s message. That must be a terrible sin which calls down the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. Men are not to be left in darkness concerning this important matter; the warning against this sin is to be given to the world before the visitation of God’s judgments, that all may know why they are to be inflicted, and have opportunity to escape them.” The Great Controversy, 449, 450.

4 What should cause us to think soberly about the sealing message? Jeremiah 25:33.

Note: “Our own course of action will determine whether we shall receive the seal of the living God or be cut down by the destroying weapons. Already a few drops of God’s wrath have fallen upon the earth; but when the seven last plagues shall be poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation, then it will be forever too late to repent and find shelter. No atoning blood will then wash away the stains of sin.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 212.

5 When the destroying angel goes forth, who suffers first and why? Ezekiel 9:5–7.

Note: “Here we see that the church—the Lord’s sanctuary—was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God’s power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus ‘Peace and safety’ is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 211.

6 What is especially offensive to God? Ezekiel 9:8, 9.

Note: “The abominations for which the faithful ones were sighing and crying were all that could be discerned by finite eyes, but by far the worst sins, those which provoked the jealousy of the pure and holy God, were unrevealed. The great Searcher of hearts knoweth every sin committed in secret by the workers of iniquity. These persons come to feel secure in their deceptions and, because of His long-suffering, say that the Lord seeth not, and then act as though He had forsaken the earth. But He will detect their hypocrisy and will open before others those sins which they were so careful to hide.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 211, 212.

7 What will come upon the whole earth as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads? Revelation 16:1.

Note: “The angel with the writer’s ink horn is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel follows this angel.

“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—just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. In deed it has begun already, the judgments of God are now upon the land, to give us warning, that we may know what is coming” “Ellen G. White Comments” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1161.

8 How did several prophets describe the destruction that is coming upon the world? Isaiah 26:21; Jeremiah 25:31; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 2.

Note: “When He [Jesus] leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint which has been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended. The world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old.” The Great Controversy, 614.

“In the mad strife of their own fierce passions, and by the awful outpouring of God’s unmingled wrath, fall the wicked inhabitants of the earth—priests, rulers, and people, rich and poor, high and low.” Ibid., 657.

9 What was shown to John the Revelator? Revelation 7:2–4. How must we prepare to receive the seal of God?

Note: “Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth—these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads. When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity.

“Now is the time to prepare. The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God–candidates for heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 216.

10 What is promised to those who receive the seal of God? Malachi 3:17; Revelation 21:7.

Note: “The day of wrath to the enemies of God is the day of final deliverance to His church. The prophet declares: ‘Strengthen ye the weak hands, And confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: Behold, your God will come with vengeance, Even God with a recompense; He will come and save you.’ ‘He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.’ Isaiah 35:3, 4; 25:8. And as the prophet beholds the Lord of glory descending from heaven with all the holy angels, to gather the remnant church from among the nations of earth, he hears the waiting ones unite in the exultant cry: ‘Lo, this is our God; We have waited for Him, And He will save us: This is the Lord; We have waited for Him, We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.’ Isaiah 25:9.” Prophets and Kings, 727, 728.

“Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand.” Maranatha, 241.

Additional Reading

“‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.’ [Exodus 20:8–11.]

“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.

“Let us remember that while the work we have to do may not be our choice, it is to be accepted as God’s choice for us. Whether pleasing or unpleasing, we are to do the duty that lies nearest. ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.’ Ecclesiastes 9:10.

“If the Lord desires us to bear a message to Nineveh, it will not be as pleasing to Him for us to go to Joppa or to Capernaum. He has reasons for sending us to the place toward which our feet have been directed. At that very place there may be someone in need of the help we can give. He who sent Philip to the Ethiopian councilor, Peter to the Roman centurion, and the little Israelitish maiden to the help of Naaman, the Syrian captain, sends men and women and youth today as His representatives to those in need of divine help and guidance.” The Ministry of Healing, 472, 473.

“Our plans are not always God’s plans. He may see that it is best for us and for His cause to refuse our very best intentions, as He did in the case of David. But of one thing we may be assured, He will bless and use in the advancement of His cause those who sincerely devote themselves and all they have to His glory. If He sees it best not to grant their desires He will counterbalance the refusal by giving them tokens of His love and entrusting to them another service.” Ibid., 473.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

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.


Editorial – Marked and Sealed

The book of Revelation is very clear that in the final days of this earth’s history, everybody in the world will be marked or sealed. Some will be sealed with the seal of the living God and they will be saved. (See Revelation 7:1–8; 9:4; 14:1–5; 15:2, 3.) Unfortunately, the great majority of the world’s population will receive the mark of the beast, sometimes referred to as the mark of antichrist. (See Revelation 13:1–10.) The antichrist power is also described in Daniel 7 and in 2 Thessalonians 2. Those who receive this mark will lose their souls. (See Revelation 14:9–12; Revelation 15:1; 16:2; 19:20, 21.)

The words seal and sign are used interchangeably in the Bible. (See Romans 4:11.) The sign or seal of God has always been the fourth commandment—the Sabbath commandment. (See Exodus 31:12–18 and Ezekiel 20:12–20.)

Jesus said that not even part of a letter of the law can be changed. (See Luke 16:17.) Note that the Ten Commandments were spoken verbally by God to the human family and did not come through visions or dreams of prophets. (See Deuteronomy 5:22.) To attempt to change the Sabbath is to attempt to change the longest commandment in the Ten Commandment law and in this way to exalt oneself above the Lawgiver and thereby become an antichrist power. (Compare Daniel 7:25.)]

Has anyone attempted to change the Sabbath commandment? Yes.

“Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles. … From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first.” Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August, 1900.

“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act. It could not have been otherwise as none in those days would have dreamed of doing anything in matters spiritual and ecclesiastical and religious without her. And the act is a mark of ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters.” James Cardinal Gibbons, in a letter to J. F. Snyder of Bloomington, Illinois, dated November 11, 1895, and signed by H. F. Thomas, Chancellor for the Cardinal.

“Protestants … accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change … But the Protestant’s mind does not seem to realize that in accepting the Bible, in observing the Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the Pope.” Our Sunday Visitor, February 5, 1950.

Is the Virgin Mary Dead or Alive? Chapter 15

by Danny Vierra

Is the Virgin Mary Dead or Alive booklChapter 15 – The Counterfeit Seal of God

In Chapter 11 we learned what the seal of God is— the Sabbath. God’s seal is not a visible sign that can be seen by anyone, but only by the angels of Heaven, for it has to do with the moral character of the person and an evidence of whom he serves. Just as the seal of God is written in the foreheads of His true and faithful people, the name “Mystery, Babylon, the Mother of Harlots” is written upon the forehead of the whore, and fittingly, her followers, who are evidenced by whom they serve and worship and who accordingly will receive the mark of the beast in the forehead or in the hand. I will now quote from The Thunder of Justice, page 329, and show you what they teach is the seal of God: “Then as I listened he shouted, ‘Come here, you scourges of the city, and bring your weapons of destruction…. He called the man in white with a scribe’s ink horn in his belt and said, ‘Go all through the city, all through Jerusalem, and mark a cross on the foreheads of all who deplore and disapprove of all the filth practiced in it. ’ I heard him say to the others, ‘Follow him through the city, and strike. Show neither pity nor mercy; old men, young men, virgins, women, kill and exterminate them all. But do not touch anyone with a cross on his forehead. Begin at my sanctuary. ’ (Ezekiel 9: 1- 6).”

Please notice that the writers just quoted Ezekiel 9: 1- 6. I want you to take your Bible right now and open it to Ezekiel 9 and read verses 1- 6. Do you find the word “cross” in any of the verses? The Bible simply mentions to “set a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry for all the abominations” (verse 4) and “slay utterly old and young… but come not near any man who has the mark” (verse 6). Do you see the word “cross” in the verses of whatever version of the Bible you are using? Well, why not? Because it is not there! How could anyone put any faith in the advocates of the Marian Movement, when they blatantly add words to the Bible that are not in the original?

The only explanation I can find for their conclusion is a footnote commenting on verse 4 in the New Catholic Version of the Douay- Confraternity Bible. The footnote for the verses referred to above says: “Mark Thau, thau or tau, is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and signifies a sign, or a mark: which is the reason why some translators render this place set a mark, or mark a mark, without specifying what this mark was. But St. Jerome and other interpreters, conclude it was the form of the letter Thau, which in the ancient Hebrew character, was the form of a cross.”

This conclusion is absolutely absurd, for if you research the origin of the word Thau or Tau, and the origin of the cross, you may be astonished at what you will discover! Quoting from Alexander Hislop’s book The Two Babylons once again, we find: “The same sign of the cross that Rome now worships was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, was applied by Paganism to the same magic purposes, was honoured with the same honours. That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians— the true original form of the letter T— the initial of the name of Tammuz —which, in Hebrew, radically the same as ancient Chaldee, is found on coins. That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries [Interestingly, Catholic priests make the sign of the cross on the foreheads of infants at baptism], and was used in every variety of way as a most sacred symbol. To identify Tammuz with the sun it was joined sometimes with a circle of the sun; sometimes it was inserted in the circle. Whether the Maltese cross, which the Romish bishops append to their names as a symbol of their episcopal dignity, is the letter T, may be doubtful; but there seems no reason to doubt that the Maltese cross is an express symbol of the sun; for Layard [author of Ninevah and Babylon] found it as a sacred symbol in Ninevah in such a connection as led him to identify it with the sun. The mystic Tau, as a symbol of great divinity, was called ‘the sign of life; ’ it was used as an amulet over the heart; it was marked on the official garments of the priests of Rome; it was borne by the kings in their hand, as a token of their dignity or divinely- conferred authority. The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome wore it suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns do now . The Egyptians did the same, and many of the barbarous nations with whom they had intercourse, as the Egyptian monuments bear witness…. It was worshipped in Mexico for ages before the Roman Catholic missionaries set foot there, large stone crosses being erected, probably to the ‘god of rain. ’ The cross, thus widely worshipped, or regarded as a sacred emblem, was the equivocal symbol of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah, for he was represented with a head- band covered with crosses. This symbol of the Babylonian god is reverenced at this day in all the wide wastes of Tartary, where Buddhism prevails….‘ The cross, ’ says Colonel Wilford, in Asiatic Researches,….‘ is exactly the cross of the Manicheans, with leaves and flowers (and fruit also, as I am told), is called the divine tree, the tree of the gods, the tree of life and knowledge , and productive of whatever is good and desirable, and is placed in the terrestrial paradise .’ ” (The Two Babylons, pp. 197- 199). Is there any question as to whether God would place the “T” for Tammuz as a mark or sign on the foreheads of his true and faithful people? “It was an essential principle of the Babylonian system, that the Sun or Baal [the god of nature] was the only god. When, therefore, Tammuz was worshipped as God incarnated, that implied also that he was an incarnation of the Sun.” (Ibid., p. 96).

Do you remember the words of Elijah when he faced Ahab and the four hundred “prophets of Baal” during the great contest on Mount Carmel: “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? [Elijah was a reformation prophet, a voice of one crying in the wilderness to rebuke sin and press back the tide of evil, and who sought to arouse Israel to repentance and to forgo their worship of idols and return unto the law of the Lord]. And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord [by violating the first and second commandments], and have followed Baalim…. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions ? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him . And the people answered him not a word.” (I Kings 18: 17, 18, 21). The story continues with Elijah slaying all the false prophets of Baal, because they refused to repent of their idolatrous practices and continued to worship the god of the sun— the object of creation, rather than the Creator Himself. The cross, or the “T,” is a sign or mark of the god of nature, Tammuz, or Baal, and therefore, of Satan— the false god who had the true God, Jesus Christ, hung on that pagan cross , or “T”, until he died! How many Christians, by their idolatrous practices of worshipping idols, whether in the form of images or statues, or of the “living dead,” such as in the form of the Virgin Mary or the Saints, are but halting between two opinions?— for they say they love the Lord with all their hearts, yet they worship these very idols which He has expressly forbidden in forceful and explicit terms!

Another modern, pagan practice adopted from the Mysteries is the Zodiac, which the Greeks derived from the Chaldees. And is this abominable sign displayed anywhere in the Catholic system? The solar wheel, or the wheel of the sun (for the system is built around astrology— the study of the sun, moon, planets, and stars to foretell the future— and dates back to the Chaldees and the Babylonians, whose very names came to mean astrologer) can be found not only on Buddhist temples and temples in India, but also on the altars and ceilings in the cathedrals of the Roman Catholic Church— at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, and the monastery of St. Ignatius Loyola in Spain. But, “unquestionably, the largest occult solar wheel on earth is located in the court of St. Peter at the Vatican in Rome . From the air, you can see the wheel within a wheel, with eight spokes, a common symbol of cosmic energy in paganism. Protruding from its center is an obelisk , the ancient symbol of Osiris, the solar phallic god of Egypt.” [Information obtained from the book, The (New, Illustrated) Great Controversy]. It should be noted also, that since astrology and the signs of the Zodiac deal with foretelling your future and whether you will have a “lucky” or “unlucky day” by “observing times,” they are, therefore, classified with those that are witches and have a familiar spirit and are, likewise, an abomination to God. (See Deut. 18: 10- 12; Lev. 19: 26). Friends, getting back to the seal of God, we obviously can see that it is not a tattoo of the pagan cross which will be engraved on the foreheads of the saints, but the law of God, His very own character, that will rightfully be written in their minds or foreheads. Specifically, it is the Sabbath, the fourth commandment, that is the sign or seal of God [see Eze. 20: 12 and compare Romans 4: 11 to confirm that “seal” and “sign” are used interchangeably in the Scriptures], because the Sabbath distinguishes them as His true people who worship “Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14: 7). It is the one commandment that distinguishes God as the Creator, the only Being in all the universe who deserves to be worshipped, and His true people who keep the seventh- day Sabbath holy! Why are billions of people following the traditions of Rome, rather than a “Thus saith the Lord,” anyway? In the book of Deuteronomy we read the following: “That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all… His commandments…. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes .” (Deut. 6: 2, 6- 8).

One point of interest that I must make is that The Thunder of Justice claims that Christ gave the following message to Julka, Zagreb, in the former Yugoslavia: “This will be the Little Flock [those who make it through the ‘Great Tribulation’ of the last days] and I shall hover over it. In those days there will be one Shepherd and one Faith, that of the Roman Catholic Church , which I established when I walked visibly on the earth. After the distresses, which I am now permitting to come upon My obstinate people on the earth, there will arise a fair and pure race and the earth will abound with My gifts. My sons and My daughters will keep My Commandments , thus everything will live and grow with My Blessing for thirty years . Later on My people will again tend to evil and to sin. I shall send my messengers, Elijah and Enoch, from heaven to instruct the people in the true faith.” (The Thunder of Justice, p. 354).

Friends, do you see anything wrong in the paragraph above? First— Did Christ establish the Roman Catholic Church while on earth, or was it the result of apostasy as foretold by the apostle Paul? Second— The commandments here referred to are not the Ten Commandments as given by God, but the commandments of Rome, with the change of the Sabbath, the fourth commandment, to Sunday, as the third commandment. Third— Where in the Bible do we read about a thirty- year period at the end of time? Fourth— This false christ said he will send his messengers, Elijah and Enoch, who, by the way, were two seventh- day Sabbath- keepers , to instruct the people in the Roman Catholic doctr ines! Elijah and Enoch, both noted foes of apostasy, would never support the false doctrines of Rome! And, besides, would they not first need to be enlightened in regard to the Sunday- sabbath—“ the venerable day of the sun”— set up by the papacy as the new day they would worship God? Elijah would be facing the prophets of Baal all over again! How absurd!! But not so, if these “messengers” are, in reality, demons! Never forget what I am about to tell you: Satan will always mingle error with truth, because it is like disguising poison with healthy food. The poison then becomes more dangerous than ever before, because the person takes it unawares !

It should be noted, that those destroyed who have not the “mark,” or seal of God (see Ezek. 9: 4), are those that have been practicing the abominable idolatries recorded in the preceding chapter, Ezekiel 8. In Ezekiel 8, the prophet records some of the most atrocious practices of the “elders of Judah”— the priests that have offended the true God. Ezekiel sees in the entry, at the gate of the altar (in other words, in the church— a place dedicated to the worship of the true God), images of false gods, and one in particular that arouses His wrath—“ the image of jealousy.” (Verse 3). This image, in particular, provokes His high displeasure or “jealousy” because the Babylonian Madonna— the queen of heaven— reveals “the heinous character of that idolatry, to say that the child she holds forth to adoration is called by the name of Jesus.” (The Two Babylons, p. 88). And why is this so? Because the false “Madonna,” in the name of Jesus, God’s Son, is leading multitudes to perdition, when God, at such infinite sacrifice, has ordained that these same misled victims should be won instead to life everlasting through the priceless gift of man’s true Redeemer. What is happening is both sacrilegious and blasphemous! But one only has to notice that it is the idolaters themselves that are the victims of Ezekiel 9— including those of the Marian Movement who have perpetuated this lie that the seal of God is a cross on the forehead! Never forget, dear reader, that it is God’s own image, which man lost in Eden (see Gen 1: 26), that He wants to restore in us (see II Peter 1: 3, 4) through the agency of the Holy Spirit (see II Cor. 3: 18).

Go to Chapter 16 ⇒

All emphases in this article are mine.
Published by Modern Manna Ministries

The Two Marks

by Cody Francis

The Two MarksThe mark of the beast—it strikes terror into the hearts of all who hear it, and rightly so. The most fearful warning in all of the Bible is given against receiving the mark of the beast, but did you know that the mark of the beast is not the only mark recorded in Revelation? There are actually two marks, and your destiny hinges upon which mark you receive. There is so much said about the mark of the beast, but the more important of the two marks is God’s mark—the seal of the Living God. Do you know the difference between these two marks? Do you know which one you will have? Do you know how you can be certain to have God’s mark and not the beast’s mark? The only way that you will be able to know the answers to these most important questions is through the Word of God. What does the Bible say about this life and death question, the two marks?

There have always been two marks in the Word of God—a mark upon the righteous and a mark upon the disobedient. The concept of two marks goes all the way back to Cain and Abel. When Cain became angry and slew Abel, the Lord put a mark upon him. This mark was not a desirable mark, but it was still a mark that was put upon rebellious Cain. “And the Lord said to him, ‘Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.” Genesis 4:15. Just a few years outside of the Garden of Eden, a mark is placed upon disobedient Cain. This was not God’s mark, marking one of His faithful and true children, but this was the mark of a murderer. It was a mark of transgression against God’s law. The idea of a mark is not something new to the book of Revelation; it starts in Genesis and continues throughout the entire Bible.

A mark upon both the righteous and the wicked and the fate of each is clearly portrayed in the story of the exodus from Egypt. This account of the children of Israel being delivered from Egypt is the very story that the latter scenes of Revelation are based upon. There are the two groups of people—those who were following and obeying God and those who were following the customs and traditions of men. The children of Israel had a sign or mark of deliverance upon their houses, so that the angel of death would pass by. “For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.” Exodus 12:23. Thus it was for the people of God. For those who followed and obeyed the directions of the Lord, they were preserved from the destroying angel. But it was only those who had God’s mark of deliverance that were saved. If there were any of the children of Israel who did not have God’s mark, they were not protected, but rather their firstborn perished with the disobedient. The Egyptians also had a mark, but this mark did not save them, it marked their destruction. “And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock.” Exodus 12:29. It was a mark of death. Why did they have this mark of death? It was because they did not receive God’s mark of deliverance. All who refuse or neglect God’s mark of protection will receive the mark of death as the Egyptians did. It was not that the Egyptians did not know. They knew. Moses and Aaron had faithfully warned Pharaoh and the news had trickled down the to the ear of the lowliest servant. There were even those who had joined the Israelites and had been preserved, and these individuals became a part of the “mixed multitude.” Exodus 12:38. There were two marks then, and there are two marks now.

As marks are a symbol that is used throughout the Scriptures, it becomes the climax and the focal point of the book of Revelation. Just as in the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt there were two marks, so in the final deliverance of God’s people from this wicked world there will be two distinct marks. There will be the mark of disobedience that the Egyptians had, and there will be the mark of deliverance that God’s true people will have. “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.’” Revelation 14:9, 10. The same mark of disobedience that both Cain and the Egyptians received, in the last days is called “the mark of the beast,” and the results will be the same as in Egypt. In Egypt, it was death to the firstborn, in the last scenes of this earth’s history it will be death to all who receive this dreadful mark. The mark of the beast is not the only mark; there is the seal of the living God. “Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’” Revelation 7:2, 3. Those who receive the mark of the beast receive the most awful judgments ever threatened upon mankind, but those who have the seal of the living God are miraculously preserved from the terrible judgments that devastate this world. “They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Revelation 9:4. If you did not understand the difference between God’s seal of protection and the devil’s mark of destruction during the plagues of Egypt, you would have received the mark of destruction and been lost. So today, if we do not understand this most important topic of the two marks, we will inevitably be lost. The world is going to be brought to a choice just as the country of Egypt was brought to a choice. Who will you serve? Then only the country of Egypt was affected, but today it will be the whole world. (See Revelation 13:3.) Everyone will be brought to a choice—which mark will you receive? There are only two; it will be one or the other.

God’s Mark

It is important to note that marks are usually symbolic. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” Psalm 37:37. The Lord had given direction to mark the perfect man. This mark was not a literal brand that he received, but a mark of character. Marks are usually symbolic, and this is certainly true with God’s mark. It is a mark of character, a mark of the heart. The Lord looks deeper than man does. Man is always looking to externals, but God does not look at the external appearances, God’s eyes pierce into the very depths and intents of the heart and soul. “And the Lord said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.’” Ezekiel 9:4. The Lord commands one of the angels to put a mark upon the men who are sighing and crying for the abominations. This mark is put on by an angel, not by a man. This mark is read by angels, not by men. This mark is marking “the perfect man.” It is a mark of character; not a literal brand burned into the forehead. God’s mark of deliverance is a symbolic mark.

“Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always…. Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land which you cross over to possess… And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul… Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” Deuteronomy 11:1, 8, 13, 18. The Lord says exactly what His sign or mark is. It is obedience to God’s Ten Commandments. Clearly not a literal mark, but a mark of character. Just like David said, “mark the perfect man” (See Psalm 37:37) so he also says, “The law of the Lord is perfect,” Psalm 19:7. James also agrees calling the Ten Commandments, “the perfect law of liberty.” James 1:25; 2:11. In order to be marked as a perfect man, you must be keeping that perfect law of liberty, or the Ten Commandments. It is obedience to this holy law that is a sign on our hands and upon our foreheads that we are God’s people. God looks deeper than mere external ornaments; He looks into the heart to see if a person is living in obedience to the holy Ten-Commandment law. If an individual is obeying the law of liberty, God knows that He can trust him, and so He puts his mark or seal upon him. “It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt.” Exodus 13:9. Even in the children of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, they knew that the mark of deliverance was obedience to God’s Ten-Commandment law.

God’s mark of deliverance is obedience to His Law. It is a sign upon the hand and on the forehead. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day took this completely literal. They tied portions of the law around their head and on their hands so that they would have that actual sign, but Jesus rebuked them for relying upon the external requirements and not allowing the real meaning to occur. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:27, 28. Jesus sternly rebuked those who fulfilled the letter of the law, but not the spirit. They hung God’s mark on the outside, but inside they were not keeping it. Jesus said that even though they hung these portions of the law upon them, they were lawless. Simply hanging the sign on the outside is not God’s true mark. God’s true mark is having His law in our forehead and in our hand. The forehead is where our thought process occurs. God wants His law, not on the outside, but inside our forehead. He wants His law in our thoughts and in our minds. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly… but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1, 2. Those who have God’s mark in their foreheads are the ones who think upon God’s law. By having God’s mark on the hand is represented actually doing God’s Law. With our hands we work and do all of our actions. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might,” Ecclesiastes 9:10. So those who not just think about the Law, but who do it, are the ones who receive God’s true mark of deliverance. “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14. Those who think and meditate upon God’s Law with their minds and who do His commandments with their hands have God’s mark of deliverance.

Obedience to God’s holy Law is what has continually distinguished between the children of God and the children of this world. With Cain and Abel this difference is seen, and prophecy teaches that it will be the distinguishing mark in the future, as well. Abel obeyed the Lord by following His directions, while Cain did what he wanted and not what God had said. As a result of Cain’s disobedience, the Lord said, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.” Genesis 4:7. Cain disobeyed and his children followed his lawless example. Thus, there were the descendants of Cain and the descendants of Seth, those who disobeyed and those who obeyed. The distinguishing mark continues through Abraham’s time. “Because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Genesis 26:5. Abraham obeyed God’s commandments and was honored for His obedience. Through all time, obedience to God’s Law has been the mark that divides God’s true people from His disloyal subjects. Especially in our time, at the close of this earth’s history, God’s Law becomes a distinguishing mark. “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. The very last remnant of God’s people is described again as obedient to the commandments. Clear to the close of time this mark of obedience is in affect. Obedience to God’s commandments is a line of demarcation distinguishing between those who are truly following Jesus and those who are not.

God’s Sign or Seal

Obedience to God’s Holy Law is what has marked God’s people from the very beginning, but there is a special part of God’s Law that is designated as His special sign or seal of obedience. It is this seal that God’s last day people receive. “After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:” Revelation 7:1-4. The children of Israel represent God’s faithful people in the last days just as they have represented God’s faithful people from the beginning of time. (Romans 2:28, 29; Galatians 3:7, 9, 14, 26-29; Ephesians 2:12-16; James 1:1) Simply stated, the one hundred and forty-four thousand are God’s faithful people at the end of time. (For more information see Steps to Life’s booklet, The Rapture and Israel’s Future.) They receive the seal of the living God in their foreheads. While obedience to the commandments is the mark that distinguishes God’s faithful people, what is the special seal? The Bible does say that there is a seal within the Ten Commandments. “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” Isaiah 8:16.

A seal was something that was very common to all of the Biblical writers, for it was something that was repeatedly used in ancient times. In order for a king to make a law, he would have the law written and then put his seal upon the Law so that all would know that he had indeed signed it into law. It was like putting his signature or fingerprint upon it. When his subjects saw the seal, all knew that they had to obey it and that it was an authentic seal. Frequently this seal was a signet ring or a cylinder. “‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet ring on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off;’” Jeremiah 22:24, margin. In order to be an authentic seal, it needed to have three essential elements—name, title and dominion. An example of a seal is found in Daniel 4:1, “Nebuchadnezzar, the king, to all peoples, nations and languages that dwell in all the earth:” Nebuchadnezzar is writing an official decree to his subjects and he begins it with his seal. It has his name—“Nebuchadnezzar.” It contains his title—“the king.” It has his dominion—“all peoples, nations, and languages.” Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the entire world. Thus when people read the official document they would see Nebuchadnezzar’s seal containing his name, title and dominion. They would know that this was something that they needed to heed. Another example of a seal is given in Ezra 7:12, 13, 21, “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, a scribe of the Law of the God of heaven: Perfect peace, and so forth. I issue a decree that all those of the people of Israel and the priests and Levites in my realm, who volunteer to go up to Jerusalem may go with you…. And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, do issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the region beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, let it be done diligently.” Once again the three essential elements to a seal are seen—Artaxerxes, king of kings, and people of Israel and those beyond the River. This was a specialized law that only applied to the children of Israel and to those beyond the river, but it shows again the three essential parts to any seal—the name, title, and dominion.

God as the true king and ruler of this world also has a seal. This seal can be seen several places in the Bible, so that we can know that God has put His official seal upon His Holy Word. The first place that this seal appears is the very first verse in the Bible. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. Notice that there are the three essential elements in this verse. The Lord’s name—“God.” His title—“created.” He is the creator and that is why He has the right to give us a Book of Directions, the Bible. His dominion—“heavens and the earth.” In the very first verse in the Bible, God stamps His seal upon it, by giving His name, title and dominion. The very first verse of the Bible contains the seal of God, showing that the entire Bible is His Word to us. God’s seal is also in the last book of the Bible. “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’” Revelation 14:6, 7. God records the last worldwide messages that are to go to the entire world, and in the midst of it He stamps His seal. His name—God. His title—Creator, for he made heaven and earth. His dominion—heaven and earth and sea. This last message that is to go to all the world bears God’s stamp and seal showing that it is His message.

“Seal the law among my disciples.” Isaiah 8:16. There are several places where God’s seal is seen, but the focal point must be in the law, for His Law must be sealed. While the entire Bible is God’s Book, the Law is the most official document ever given and to be valid must contain His seal. If the seal was broken or missing on an earthly king’s law, it was known that the law did not need to be honored, for it was a counterfeit. So if the seal is taken out of God’s Law then the entire Law becomes void. What is the seal in the Law? “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11. There is only one commandment in the entire Law that contains the essential elements to a seal. It is the Sabbath commandment. In verse 10, is found the Lord’s name—the Lord your God. In verse 11, is seen the Lord’s title—the Creator, for he made the heaven and the earth. In the same verse is also seen the Lord’s dominion—the heavens and the earth and the sea. The fourth commandment is the only commandment that contains God’s seal. It is the fourth commandment that binds up the testimony and seals the Law. (See Isaiah 8:16.) The seventh day Sabbath is the seal of the Living God.

“Hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.” Ezekiel 20:20. The Lord has said that the Sabbath is the sign between God and His people. It is the sign that clearly distinguishes them from the world, but more than this is meant by this verse. Sign and seal are synonymous terms is the Scriptures. The very fact that the seal was frequently applied with a signet (signing) ring testifies to this fact. There is a verse showing this without a doubt, “and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised,” Romans 4:11. The sign of circumcision was the seal of righteousness by faith. Sign and seal are used interchangeably. Thus, when the Lord says that the Sabbath is a sign, He is saying that the Sabbath is His seal! “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is sign [seal] between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you…. It is a sign [seal] between Me and the children of Israel [God’s people throughout all time, Hebrews 4:9] forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.” “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign [seal] between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.” Exodus 31:13, 17; Ezekiel 20:12. The seventh day Sabbath is the seal of the Living God!

While obedience to the entire Law is a distinguishing mark between the people of God and children of the devil, the Sabbath commandment is the specially designated sign, or seal, that marks them as His people. While the entire world is willfully violating the fourth commandment of keeping holy the seventh day as the Sabbath, God will have a people who receive His seal in their foreheads. (Revelation 7:3.) He will have a people who will keep the Sabbath no matter what the rest of the world is doing. Prophecy has predicted that almost the entire world would bow down and worship the beast in the last days. “I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.” Revelation 13:3. But God’s people will stand up against the prevailing tide of lawlessness just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego did twenty-five hundred years ago. They will “call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words.” Isaiah 58:13. Although the entire world is breaking the Sabbath by worshipping on the first day of the week (Sunday) instead of the seventh day of the week (Saturday), they will hold fast to “the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. Because they keep holy God’s seventh day Sabbath and refuse to break God’s Holy Law, they are sealed by the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:30.) They have the seal of God (the keeping of the seventh day Sabbath) and are preserved from the threatened judgments. The Devil’s Mark

The devil attempts to counterfeit everything that God has done. There are numerous examples of this and many pages could be written on this topic; but it is sufficient to say that he is “a liar and the father of it.” John 8:44. He is the biggest copycat the world has ever known, and he has counterfeited God’s true mark, as well. He has set up a mark that is as close to the true as possible, but is just far enough off to deceive millions into being lost. “Then a third angel followed them saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’ Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:9-12. The devil’s mark is referred to throughout the book of Revelation as the “mark of the beast.” As we have previously noted, God’s mark is a mark of character and not a literal brand. It only makes sense that the mark of the beast would be the same. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” I Samuel 16:7. Man always looks to the outside. The nicest house, the nicest car, the nicest clothes, but forgets the inward adornment of the heart. It is the same way with the mark of the beast. Man thinks of a brand, a computer chip, a credit card, but these are outward appearances. God does not look at the outward appearance. God’s mark is not an outward sign or seal; it is a decision of the heart and mind. Since the devil has counterfeited God’s mark, he has not counterfeited it as an outward sign, but as a decision of the heart. (The devil may use some of these outward signs, but it is not the Biblical mark of the beast.)

There is another way that we know for sure that the mark of the beast cannot be some outward sign. We know that whoever receives the mark of the beast will be lost—bar none. There are no exceptions to the Loud Cry of the Third Angel. This has led many mothers to ask me a question, “What if my child is too young to understand and they are forced to receive the mark of the beast?” This would indeed be a problem if the mark of the beast were an outward sign. A person could be physically forced to receive a sign that they did not want, and then would be arbitrarily lost. Does that sound like a God of love and mercy to you? Absolutely not! But the mark of the beast is not an external sign that someone can be forced to receive. It is a decision of the heart, just like the mark of God is a decision of the heart. No one can force another person to make a decision. They may coerce, but they cannot force you, or anyone else, to make a choice. God gives all a choice. The mark of the beast, like every other sin, is a choice. (I John 3:4; James 4:17.) It is a decision that each person must make; it is not a brand, computer chip, or a card.

The Beast’s Mark

Some individuals have mistakenly gotten the idea that the mark of the beast is 666. It is true that 666 is the number of the beast (see Revelation 13:18), but the number and the mark are not synonymous. “And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over the mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” Revelation 15:2. There are four distinct things that the people of God are going to be victorious over, the beast, his image, his mark, and his number. Obviously, from this verse we can see that the mark and the number are two different things. What we are concerned with is his mark. What is it and how can it be avoided?

There are three basic descriptions of the beast power. They are found in Revelation 13, II Thessalonians 2, and Daniel 7. A different aspect of this power is given in each of these passages, but they are similar enough to know that it is the same power that is being described. There is one mark that is continuous through all three. It is the most blasphemous and presumptuous mark of all. This continuous thread is that the beast power is lawless. “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.” Daniel 7:25. Under the symbol of the little horn, the beast power is described. There are over ten points in this chapter alone that conclusively identify who this power is, but the most blasphemous of all is that he intends to change times and law. This power exalts himself so much above God that he intentionally claims to change God’s holy Law. Of course, he could not really change God’s Law for the Bible says, “I am the Lord, I do not change;” Malachi 3:6. God’s Law cannot really be changed for it is a transcript of God’s very own character, and He does not change. Jesus said, “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17. It would be more likely that both heaven and earth would melt away than for the smallest part of God’s Law to be done away with, but this is exactly what this bold and blasphemous Little Horn does. He is indeed a lawless power. Notice that in Revelation this power is guilty of breaking the first commandment, “So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’” Revelation 13:4. The beast is worshiped as God; thus, breaking not only the first, but the second commandment as well. He puts himself in the place of God and sets himself up as an idol to be worshiped. His ruthless violation of God’s law does not stop here, though. “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue and nation.” Revelation 13:6, 7. He breaks the third commandment by blaspheming God’s name and is guilty of breaking the sixth commandment by making war with God’s true people. Truly this is a lawless power. The mark of the beast is most clearly described by Paul, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition… For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,” II Thessalonians. 2:3, 7-9. Three times in this passage the beast power is referred to as the lawless one. The beast not only breaks the law himself, but he intentionally changes God’s law and leads others to break God’s holy law. He is called the “man of sin.” “Sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4, KJV. He is the man of lawlessness. Wherever the beast is described his specific mark is breaking God’s law. Throughout scripture the mark of the beast is disobedience to God’s holy law.

God’s mark is obedience to His law and the beast’s mark is disobedience to God’s law. They are not literal brands or computer chips that people receive, but rather a decision of who you are going to obey that is the identifying mark as to which side you are on. Those who follow the beast are described as lawless and those who refuse the mark of the beast are described as commandment keepers. “Then a Third Angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God…’ Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:9, 10, 12. Here two groups of people are described, as is frequently done in Revelation. One group receives the mark of the beast. The other group keeps the commandments of God. Those who do not receive the mark of the beast are the ones who have been obedient to all of God’s commandments. Those who receive the mark of the beast are those who have broken the commandments. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.’ Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:21-23. Jesus here describes those who are deceived into following the beast power. They think that they are saved. They have done all of these miraculous signs, but they are still lost. Why? Because they followed the lawless beast power. They have broken God’s law, thinking that it was unimportant and done away with, and now when they come face to face with their Maker; they realize too late that they have received the mark of the beast and are lost. The mark of the beast is much more deceptive than what many people think. It is simply breaking God’s Law.

The Bible zeros in even further and pinpoints the commandment that those who receive the mark of the beast are breaking. “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law.” Daniel 7:25. Prophecy states that this power will intentionally change times and law. There is only one commandment in the Ten Commandments that deals with time. That one commandment is the fourth commandment, the Sabbath commandment. It specifically states which day is the Sabbath, the seventh day. You can search every word in all other nine commandments and not find another word mentioning time. The only commandment that could possibly fit the description of times and law is the Sabbath commandment. Has some despotic power presumptuously changed the Sabbath commandment? Prophecy is fulfilled! Have you ever wondered why the entire world is worshipping on Sunday, the first day of the week, when the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, is the day mentioned in the Bible? It seems strange doesn’t it? Why would the entire world be going directly contrary to God’s Ten Commandment Law? The answer is because some power has attempted to tamper with God’s Holy Law There is a power that claims that it was the one responsible for this most blasphemous act of attempting to change God’s Law. “Question: Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept? Answer: Had she not had such power she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no scriptural authority.” An Abridgement of Christian Doctrine, 58. Ages ago, the early church leaders thought that it would be advantageous to the growth of the church to mix some pagan ideas with Christianity. The supposed change of the Sabbath is one of the reminders of that great apostasy. “The sun was a foremost god with heathendom… hence the church… would seem to have said, ‘Keep that old pagan name. It shall remain consecrated, sanctified,’ and thus, the pagan Sunday, dedicated to Balder, became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Jesus.” The Catholic World (March 1984), 809. Sunday came straight from paganism and is a blatant violation of God’s Law. Nowhere in the Bible does it call the first day of the week a day of worship, assembly or any such thing. It is totally based upon the authority of the beast power that this change was instituted. Not only did this power do just what prophecy predicted, but it also claims this change in God’s law as the mark of its authority, just as prophecy predicted as well. “Sunday is our mark of authority… The church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of this fact.” Catholic Record, September 1, 1923. The Bible clearly teaches that lawlessness is the identifying mark of the beast, and then it goes even further to state that it is violation of the fourth commandment that is its specific mark. Then the power that presumptuously attempted to change God’s Law claims this change as the mark of its authority as well. Surely the Bible and history both testify that exalting Sunday above the Sabbath is the mark of the beast! “I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.” Revelation 13:3. Nineteen hundred years ago, the Lord told us through prophecy that the entire world would worship the beast, and sure enough, that is exactly what is happening. “The Bible says, ‘Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.’ The Catholic Church says, “No! By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day, and command you to keep holy the first day of the week. And, lo! The entire civilized world bows down in reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.” Priest Thomas Enright, CSSR, President of Redemptorist College, Kansas City, MO, in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, February 22, 1884.

Twenty-five hundred years ago prophecy foretold that a power that would arise and attempt to change the part of God’s law dealing with time, and it has happened exactly as God’s Word predicted. Not only does the Word of God teach that this power was going to change the Sabbath commandment, but it also pinpoints this as the mark of the beast. Then this power comes along, changes the Sabbath commandment from the seventh day to the first day, and claims that this is the specific mark of their authority! This power itself testifies that honoring the first day of the week above the seventh day of the week is the mark of the beast! God’s Word and history are too plain to be misunderstood. The mark of the beast is breaking the Sabbath and keeping Sunday when it is enforced by law to do so. “And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,” Revelation 13:16. When this decree is given, all of the world will be brought to the decision of whom they will serve. When a person, knowing that there is absolutely no scriptural authority for keeping the first day, goes along with this decree to keep holy the first day of the week and break the Sabbath, he has chosen to follow and obey the beast above the God of heaven. He has rejected the seal of God (Sabbathkeeping) and has made the choice to receive the mark of the beast. These scenes are just around the corner.

It may seem like such a minute point. Someone may think, “It is only a day.” Yes, it is only a day, but it’s the decision behind the day. Eve convinced herself that it was only a tree and it wouldn’t really matter if she ate of the forbidden fruit. “After all,” she may have thought, “it is just like any other tree. There are thousands of trees, surely this one is no different from any of the others. God is not that particular. God loves me.” The tree of knowledge of good and evil was just like all the other trees and it was only a tree, but it was the choice behind the tree. Eve chose to disbelieve God and believe the serpent. Eve obeyed the serpent instead of God, and paradise was lost. It is the same way with the Sabbath day. Oh, it may seem like such a mute point. It may not seem that important, but it is the difference between serving God or the beast. God says to keep holy the seventh day; the beast says to keep the first day. Who are you going to serve? Who are you going to love? Who are you going to obey? “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?” Romans 6:16. If we obey the beast’s laws we become his slaves, but if we obey the laws of our loving God we become his servants. Whose servant will you be?

The Consequences

There are only two marks, it is only two days, it is only a choice, but the consequences are eternal. Those who choose to receive the seal of God will be safely hidden under God’s wing of protection, but for those who go along with the rest of the world and receive the mark of the beast; it will be the most dreadful scourge ever to fall upon mankind.

Those who receive the seal of God are protected from the terrible disasters that fall upon the earth. “They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Revelation 9:4. The judgments fall not upon those who have the seal of God, but upon those who have rejected it and received the mark of the beast. “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;” Psalm 91:9, 10. Those who have followed the Lord, no matter what the cost, are now protected from the horrendous disasters falling all around them. They can see it with their eyes, but it cannot come any closer than that because the Lord’s protecting hedge is about them. “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past.” Isaiah 26:20. Those who have received the seal of the Living God are safely hidden in God’s chambers. His sheltering wings are over them, and no evil shall befall them. It requires a sacrifice to keep holy God’s Sabbath day because the entire world is doing something different, but it is worth it in the end. There is a cross to lift (Matthew 16:24), but the eternal consequences well repay the burden that must be borne. Those who honor the Lord by loving and obeying Him, will be honored by the Lord by being preserved from the terrible judgments so soon to fall. (I Samuel 2:30.)

As there are two marks, there are likewise two consequences. The vast majority of the world will receive the mark of the beast (See Revelation 13:8), but those who receive this mark of apostasy will also receive of the dreadful consequences. Those who receive the mark of the beast do not have a heavy cross to lift. They go along with the rest of the world. They do not have to be different from the rest of the world. They are not boycotted by the ban “that no one may buy or sell” (See Revelation 13:17) for they have the mark of the beast. They can buy and sell all that they desire. They do not have to worry about losing their life because they have the mark of the beast and have no fear of death by man. Although it appears like the easy way, it is the hardest way imaginable. (See Proverbs 13:15.) They may have all the things that this world has to offer, but they have lost the most valuable possession in the whole world—God’s presence. (See Exodus 33:14, 15.) They have forfeited God’s loving protection and he can do no more. The words that Jesus wept over Jerusalem so many years ago apply with even greater force to the entire world who have chosen the Beast’s mark instead of God’s. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Matthew 23:37. The world has rejected the last pleas of God’s Spirit and there is nothing more that our loving Lord can do. He has pled and called year after year, “Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 33:11. The Lord has waited year after year, until there is no more hope. He has borne as long as He possibly can, but the vast majority has chosen to go along with the world instead of their Creator. Now the only thing that God can do is pour out His dreadful judgments upon the despisers of His grace.

God is a God of love. All that He does is because He loves His children, but He is also a God of justice. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;” Psalm 89:14. God bears long, but there is a limit to His forbearance. Justice must also be done. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7. If a person persists in following his own course and receiving the mark of the beast, he must reap the judgments of a just God. “Then a Third Angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation.” Revelation 14:9, 10. All who obey the Beast instead of God; will receive of the wrath of God; but what is the wrath of God? “Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.” Revelation 15:1. The terrible judgments that are poured on those who receive the mark of the beast are none other than the seven last plagues. God’s wrath is complete in these dreadful seven last plagues. The consequences for receiving the seal of God is protection from the final judgments, but the consequences of accepting the mark of the beast is to experience the outpouring of the seven last plagues.

“Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God upon the earth.’ So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image.” Revelation 16:1, 2. When the plagues begin to be poured on those who have received the mark of the beast, the consequences of obeying man instead of God begin to be felt. Those who have the mark of the beast receive a terrible sore, but those who have the seal of God do not have one sore on their bodies. Which side would you rather be on then? Probably it will be as when Job was smitten with painful boils. The pain was so great that he said, “Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?” Job 3:11. But the terrible sores are just the beginning; it gets much worse. Under the second and third plagues the oceans and fresh waters become as the blood of a dead man. “For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.” Revelation 16:6. Imagine having only blood to drink! The wicked have slain some of God’s true followers and now the Lord gives them their reward of blood to drink. Indeed “the way of transgressors is hard.” Proverbs 13:15, KJV. But for those who have chosen to follow and obey the Lord no matter what, the promise is “Bread will be given him, his water will be sure.” Isaiah 33:16. Then, while men are still dying from thirst, the Lord turns the sun on double high and scorches those who have followed the traditions of man. “Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire.” Revelation 16:8. By exalting Sunday above the true Sabbath of God, the world has been worshipping the sun, and now the Lord smites them with the god of their choosing. God’s faithful people can, in calm faith, claim the promises in the Word of God. “For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.” Isaiah 4:5, 6. Under the fifth plague, the Lord turns off the scorching sun and sends painful darkness on the seat of the beast, but still there is no repentance for “the day of salvation” has passed. (II Corinthians 6:2.) In the sixth plague, the Euphrates is dried up and Armageddon is prepared for, but then the seventh and final plague brings an end to the terrible judgments of God and he finally delivers His people. “Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’ And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, every hailstone about the weight of a talent. And men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceeding great.” Revelation 16:17-21. The destruction wrought by this final plague is indescribable. The sky unleashes its fury, the greatest earthquake ever to occur shakes this planet to pieces, and hail weighing from sixty to seventy pounds pelts the surface of the earth. It is the last plague, for at the end of this plague there is nothing left. It is as if the earth is turned upside down (See Isaiah 24:1, KJV) and every wall falls to the ground (Ezekiel 38:20.) The destruction wrought upon the wicked and all their habitations under the seventh plague leaves the earth without form and void. (Jeremiah 4:23.) Although the terrible destruction is terrifying to those who have received the mark of the beast, the worst is when they see their Creator coming with great power and glory. “Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” Revelation 6:14-17.

Two Marks, Two Choices

In the final generation there are only two marks, only two choices, and only two consequences. We must decide whom we are going to obey. Will we obey the God of heaven or the traditions and customs of the men? Our destiny depends upon the choice that we make. The most terrible judgments known to man will be poured upon those who chose to obey man instead of God. It will be worse than the holocaust. It will be worse than World War I and World War II combined. It will make all the terrible atrocities of this world pale in insignificance. It is the “just due” of those who have despised the Word and mercy of God. Which side will you be on? Which choice will you make? The mournful words are forced from the lips of the lost during the seventh plague, “Who is able to stand?” There is only one group who is able to stand in that day. It is those who have received the seal of the Living God. Those who love the Lord enough to keep His commandments instead of the traditions of man. Those who will stand for the Word of God though the heavens fall. Those who will not follow a crowd to do evil. (See Exodus 23:2.) Those who keep holy the seventh day Sabbath of the Lord our God instead of the pagan Sunday of the beast. It doesn’t seem like such a big thing now, but think of the day when that mournful cry is forced from the lips of the lost. How they will wish that they had yielded to the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit, but now it is too late. They have made their decision. They have made their choice. They have received their mark. They are lost. There are just two marks, just two days, just two choices, and just two destinies. Which mark will you chose?

All emphasis the authors unless otherwise stated.
All texts from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.


  • An Abridgement of Christian Doctrine, page 58.
  • The Beast’s Mark, Michael Wells, Steps to Life, 1999.
  • The Catholic Record, London, Ontario, Canada, September 1, 1923.
  • The Catholic World (March 1984), page 809.
  • Priest Thomas Enright, CSSR, President of Redemptorist College, Kansas City, MO, in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, February 22, 1884, and The American Sentinel, a New York Roman Catholic Journal in June 1893, page 173.
  • Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, “Seal,” pg. 997, 998, Review & Herald Publishing Association, 1979.

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