Sabbath, February 20, 2016
“Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus’ coming. The living saints, 144, 000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake….
“The 144,000 were all sealed and perfectly united. On their foreheads was written, God, New Jerusalem, and a glorious star containing Jesus’ new name.” –Early Writings, pp. 14, 15.
Care and restraint over world events
1. What would happen to people and the earth itself if God’s angels did not hold back the winds of strife and war? What did another angel have with him when he appeared?
Revelation 7:1, 2 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. 2And 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.
“Four mighty angels are still holding the four winds of the earth. Terrible destruction is forbidden to come in full. The accidents by land and by sea; the loss of life, steadily increasing, by storm, by tempest, by railroad disaster, by conflagration; the terrible floods, the earthquakes, and the winds will be the stirring up of the nations to one deadly combat, while the angels hold the four winds, forbidding the terrible power of Satan to be exercised in its fury until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.
“Angels are holding the four winds, which are represented as an angry horse seeking to break loose and rush over the face of the whole earth, bearing destruction and death in its path.” –My Life Today, p. 308.
The number sealed
2. What did the angel carrying God’s seal say to the angels holding back the winds of strife? According to what the prophet heard, how many would be sealed?
Revelation 7:3, 4 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4And 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.
“A terrible conflict is before us. We are nearing the battle of the great day of God Almighty. That which has been held in control is to be let loose…. The principalities and powers of earth … are filled with hatred against those who serve Him, and soon, very soon, will be fought the last great battle between good and evil. The earth is to be the battlefield–the scene of the final contest and the final victory.
“While their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels and bid them hold until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads.” –My Life Today, p. 308.
The sign or seal of the living God
3. What do the Holy Scriptures define as the sign between God and His people? What elements are included in the seal of the living God?
Exodus 31:13, 17; 20:8-11 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…. 17It 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. 20:8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10But 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: 11For 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.
“The Sabbath is a sign of the relationship existing between God and His people, a sign that they honor His law. It distinguishes between His loyal subjects and transgressors.
“The Sabbath given to the world as the sign of God as the Creator is also the sign of Him as the Sanctifier. The power that created all things is the power that re-creates the soul in His own likeness. To those who keep holy the Sabbath day it is the sign of sanctification. True sanctification is harmony with God, oneness with Him in character. It is received through obedience to those principles that are the transcript of His character. And the Sabbath is the sign of obedience. He who from the heart obeys the fourth commandment will obey the whole law. He is sanctified through obedience….
“The fourth commandment alone of all the ten contains the seal of the great Lawgiver, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 349, 350.
4. What characterizes God’s people, according to the Revelation? Accordingly to this information, what is impressed in their hearts and minds?
Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:4 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…. 14:12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus…. 22:4And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
“Two classes were presented before me. One class embraced the great bodies of professed Christians. They were trampling upon God’s law and bowing to a papal institution. They were keeping the first day of the week as the Sabbath of the Lord. The other class, who were but few in number, were bowing to the great Lawgiver. They were keeping the fourth commandment. The peculiar and prominent features of their faith were the observance of the seventh day, and waiting for the appearing of our Lord from heaven.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 223.
“Those who have in their foreheads the seal of the infinite God will regard the world and its attractions as subordinate to eternal interests.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 978.
Victory with the Lamb
5. After receiving the seal of the living God, where were the 144,000 seen in the prophetic view? What will they sing before God’s throne?
Revelation 14:1-3 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. 2And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
“John saw a Lamb on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 having His Father’s name written in their foreheads. They bore the signet of heaven. They reflected the image of God. They were full of the light and the glory of the Holy One. If we would have the image and superscription of God upon us, we must separate ourselves from all iniquity. We must forsake every evil way, and then we must trust our cases in the hands of Christ. While we are working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, God will work in us to will and to do of His own good.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 978.
6. What can be said of those who follow the Lamb? By God’s grace, how are they found before His throne?
Revelation 14:4, 5 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
“The Lord has a people on the earth, who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. He has His thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Such will stand with Him on Mount Zion. But they must stand on this earth, girded with the whole armor, ready to engage in the work of saving those who are ready to perish. Heavenly angels conduct this search, and spiritual activity is demanded of all who believe present truth, that they may join the angels in their work.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 978.
A great multitude of redeemed
7. Besides the special group of 144,000 described as singing on Mount Zion, what other group of redeemed were seen in vision standing before the throne and before the Lamb? Who will feed them and guide them to the living fountains of water?
Revelation 7:9, 15-17 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;… 15Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
“And beyond is the ‘great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,… before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.’ Revelation 7:9. Their warfare is ended, their victory won. They have run the race and reached the prize. The palm branch in their hands is a symbol of their triumph, the white robe an emblem of the spotless righteousness of Christ which now is theirs.” –The Great Controversy, p. 665.
For additional study
“ ‘And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with Him a hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads.’ Revelation 14:1. In this world their minds were consecrated to God; they served Him with the intellect and with the heart; and now He can place His name ‘in their foreheads.’ ‘And they shall reign for ever and ever.’ Revelation 22:5. They do not go in and out as those who beg a place. They are of that number to whom Christ says, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ He welcomes them as His children, saying, ‘Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’ Matthew 25:34, 21.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 590, 591.
“Why were they so specially singled out? Because they had to stand with a wonderful truth right before the whole world, and receive their opposition, and while receiving this opposition they were to remember that they were sons and daughters of God, that they must have Christ formed within them the hope of glory.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 978.
“Then, in the results of His work, Christ will behold its recompense. In that great multitude which no man could number, presented ‘faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy’ (Jude 24), He whose blood has redeemed and whose life has taught us, ‘shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.’ Isaiah 53:11.” –Education, p. 309.