Sabbath, April 21, 2007
A SEAL OF THE LIVING GOD
1. When did the early Seventh-day Adventists enter into this study?
Revelation 7:1-8 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 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. 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. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
2. What was God’s answer to this praying company?
Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
“After some time spent in earnest prayer for light and instruction, God gave Sister White the following in vision.
“In the vision she seemed to be watching a light as of the sun, ascending in the east, like the angel in Revelation 7, and she greeted it with exclamations of wonder at its increasing power. ‘Out of weakness it has become strong!… It arises, commencing from the rising of the sun…. The angels are holding the four winds…. The saints are not all sealed!… Yea, publish the things thou hast seen and heard, and the blessing of God will attend.’ ‘Look ye! That rising is in strength, and grows brighter and brighter!’” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 195.
3. What other instruction was given to this little company?
Habakkuk 2:2 And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
“When she came out of vision she said to her husband: ‘I have a mes¬sage for you. You must begin to print a little paper, and send it out to the people. Let it be small at first; but as the people read, they will send you means with which to print, and it will be a success from the first. From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world.’” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, pp. 195, 197.
EARLY PUBLICATIONS ON THE SEALING
4. How did they obey the message to start a paper?
2 Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
“James White answered the message. He wrote, and he prayed, and he walked out by faith. He started to publish with no money in sight, but, as he later testified, the money came in from readers. He arranged with a printer in Middletown, [Connecticut], Charles Hamlin Pelton, to print the little eight-page sheet, which he named Present Truth. It contained clear though brief presentations of the Sabbath truth, the sanctuary, and the gift of prophecy.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, pp.
5. How did early Seventh-day Adventists describe the seal of God?
Exodus 31:13-18 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. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 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. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
“Equating the words ‘sign’ and ‘seal’ as used in the Bible, early SDA’s noted also that the Sabbath is called a ‘sign’ between God and His people (Exodus 31:13-18; Ezekiel 20:12, 20) and that the Sabbath commandment contains the three elements of an official seal–the name, title, and jurisdiction of the one whom the seal represents. They found that the fourth command of the Decalogue refers to ‘the Lord thy God’ (name), to Him as Creator (title), and to heaven and earth (His jurisdiction). Acceptance of the Sabbath truth, they concluded, is the reception of God’s seal, and acceptance of a counterfeit is the ‘mark’ of the beast’s authority.” –S.D.A. Encyclopedia, Commentary Reference Series, vol. 10, p. 1306.
6. What further explanations were given by other Seventh-day Adventist pioneers?
Matthew 25.14, 15 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
(1) “Ellen White identified the seal of God with the Sabbath in November, 1848 [according to] (Joseph Bates [in his tract] A Seal of the Living God, pp. 24-26).
(2) “and [Joseph] Bates wrote his book on the subject in 1849.
(3) “Also in 1849, Mrs. White wrote that the sealing work was then going forward. (Present Truth, 1:21, August, 1849).
(4) “In the next issue (1:25, September, 1849) James White cited Ezekiel 13:5 as evidence that the repairing of the breach in the Sabbath (Isaiah 58:12-13) immediately precedes the great battle of the day of the Lord.
“He comments, further, that ‘the repairing of the breach in the law of God, and the sealing, are one and the same work, just before the day of the Lord.’
(5) “In the Review and Herald for June 24, 1852 (3:31), Benjamin Clark spoke of ‘the sealing time’ as ‘now,’ and said that God’s people would be ‘sealed forever with the love of the truth.’
(6) “In a series of three extended articles (ibid. 3:65, 73, 81, Sept. 2, 16, 30, 1852) Hiram Edson associated the seal with the fourth command¬ment, declared that the law is sealed in the hearts of the Lord’s people (Isaiah 8:16), and said, ‘The Sabbath then is the SIGN or seal of the living God.’ His argument rests on the fact that the fourth commandment con¬tains the elements of a royal seal. He also contrasts the seal of God with the mark of the beast, and points to the change in the law of God by the Papacy as a sign of its authority which even Protestants recognize.
(7) “Roswell F. Cottrell wrote (ibid., 7:44, Sept. 18, 1855): ‘The last mes¬sage before the time of trouble is the sealing message.’
(8) “Uriah Smith (ibid. 8:12, 20, April 24 and May 1, 1856) identified the sealing angel of Revelation 7 with the third angel of Revelation 14, and assigned the sealing work to ‘our own day.’ He too acknowledges the Sabbath commandment as containing the seal of God because it sets forth the distinguishing characteristics between the true God and false gods. He speaks of the Holy Spirit as ‘the sealer,’ and associates the sealing of Revelation 7 with the affixing of the mark in Ezekiel 9.” –S.D.A. Encyclopedia, Commentary Reference Series, vol. 10, p. 1306.