Sabbath, November 12, 2016
“Who are these? God’s denominated people–those who on this earth have witnessed to their loyalty. Who are they? Those who have kept the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ; those who have owned the Crucified One as their Saviour.” –(Manuscript 132, 1903) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 981.
1. What is the sign between God and His people?
Exodus 31:13 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 20:12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.
“The sign of obedience is the observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. If men keep the fourth commandment, they will keep all the rest.” –(Letter 31, 1898.)
“There is to be a mark placed upon God’s people, and that mark is the keeping of His holy Sabbath.” –(Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, p. 217) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 981.
“… 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….” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1161 (1902); Last Day Events, p. 219.
2. When did God’s people use a sign that identified and protected them? Is God’s sign necessary today?
Exodus 12:3, 7, 13 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house…. 7And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it…. 13And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
“A mark is placed upon every one of God’s people, just as verily as a mark was placed over the doors of the Hebrew dwellings to preserve the people from the general ruin. God declares, ‘I gave them My sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.’ Ezekiel 20:12.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 969 (1900); Last Day Events, p. 220.
“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.” –(Letter 126, 1898) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1161.
Those who honor God’s commandments
3. What will clearly distinguish God’s people?
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
“After the warning against the worship of the beast and his image the prophecy declares: ‘Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ Since those who keep God’s commandments are thus placed in contrast with those that worship the beast and his image and receive his mark, it follows that the keeping of God’s law, on the one hand, and its violation, on the other, will make the distinction between the worshipers of God and the worshipers of the beast.” –The Great Controversy, p. 445.
“The work of the Holy Spirit is to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. The world can only be warned by seeing those who believe the truth sanctified through the truth, acting upon high and holy principles, showing in a high, elevated sense, the line of demarcation between those who keep the commandments of God and whose who trample them under their feet. 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, p. 980.
4. What characterizes those who will receive God’s seal?
Revelation 14:1, 4, 5 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…. 4These 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 seal of the living God will be placed upon those only who bear a likeness to Christ in character.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 970 (1895); Last Day Events, p. 221.
“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….
“Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. 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.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 216.
5. What will God’s people feel when they face the iniquity of those who pretend to serve God?
Ezekiel 9:4 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.
“Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect….
“The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God….
“The day of God’s vengeance is just upon us. The seal of God will be placed upon the foreheads of those only who sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 210-212.
6. What warning is given concerning the danger of superficial Sabbath observance?
Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.
James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
“Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Master’s will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works. These who were so familiar with prophecy and the treasures of divine wisdom should have acted their faith. They should have commanded their households after them, that by a well-ordered family they might present to the world the influence of the truth upon the human heart.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 213.
“The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hypocrites. They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit’s working.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 411.
Sign of distinction
7. Why is it so important to receive God’s sign now?
Mark 8:37, 38 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Matthew 10:32; 25:34 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven…. 25:34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
“Those who come out from the world, to stand distinct from worldlings in words and works, those who realize that it is an honor to bear God’s sign, will receive power to become His sons. The Lord will have men who can be depended on. No one will enter the courts above who does not bear the sign of God. Those who in this sin-cursed earth bear this sign in holy boldness, looking upon it as an honor, will be recognized and honored by Christ in the courts above.” –(Letter 125, 1903.)
“Those who would have the seal of God in their foreheads must keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. This is what distinguishes them from the disloyal, who have accepted a man-made institution in the place of the true Sabbath. The observance of God’s rest day is the mark of distinction between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” –(Manuscript 27, 1899) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 969, 970.
For personal study
“Every individual soul, if he would receive the seal of the living God, must hear the Word of the Lord, and do it with exactitude. There must be no such thing as haphazard religion if men would have a place in the family of God.
“Now is the time, while the four angels are holding the four winds, to make our calling and election sure.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 288.