The Sabbath and the Seal of God
Since the Ten
Commandments are a transcript of Godís character it comes as no surprise
to discover that they contain the seal of the living God. While some
commandments contain Godís name, the fourth commandment alone contains
all three elements.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days
shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the
sabbath of the Lordthy 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 20:8ó11)
Those elements of the seal of God are found in verse
11: Godís nameóthe Lord; His authorityómade (Creator), His region of
governanceóheaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is.
There is a most important reason why the seal of the
living God is located in the fourth commandment. This commandment
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Exodus
There is only one manner in which we can truly keep
Godís Sabbath and that is in holiness. In order to keep the Sabbath
holy, men must themselves be holy. If one has stolen a hundred dollars
during the week and has not confessed that sin nor made restitution, no
matter how earnestly that individual may worship the Lord on the holy
Sabbath day, he has not kept the Sabbath day holy. It is little wonder
that the Jews referred to Friday as the preparation day. It was a day to
examine each heart and make right any wrongs so that the Sabbath could
be kept in holiness unto the Lord.
Thus the Sabbath is the key to obedience to Godís
law, for it is only as we obey each one of the other nine commandments
that we can keep the Sabbath holy. The Sabbath commandment with its
intrinsic call to a holy life is the only commandment which centers on
our total character. Thus it was most appropriate that God placed His
seal within this commandment, for the seal of the living God is Christís
character within the heart.
Indeed the entire Bible has as its theme Godís loving
offer of the gift of His seal. This is the purpose for its presence in
the very first verse of Scripture. It is the reason that it is found in
the very last message God in His love gives to mankind.
When Christ related the signs of His coming to His
disciples, He made a very important promise which was also a prophecy.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in
all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end
come. (Matthew 24:14)
It will be observed that at this time Christ did not
specify the precise content of this last message to mankind to be
presented prior to His Second Coming. However, in the Book of Revelation
this message is expounded. It is termed, for obvious reasons, the three
angelsí messages. We have already referred to the third angelís message
concerning Godís wrath upon those who receive the mark of the beast.
This is the last of the three angelsí messages. The introduction to
these messages specifically states that they are the gospel messages to
be taken worldwide.
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven,
having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the
earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
If we examine the first of these three messages we
discover that it contains the seal of the living God. Indeed the final
portion, referring to the all-important subject of worship, is almost an
exact quotation of the last portion of the fourth commandment.
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory
to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that
made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Notice that this message contains the three mandatory
elements of the sealóGodís name (God), His authority (made), and the
territory of His rulership (heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains
Indeed the great purpose of Scripture is to offer to
every human being the seal of the living God, for God is unwilling that
any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
The Sabbath day is of the greatest significance, for
full obedience to this commandment ensures a sanctified life.
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. (Ezekiel 20:12)
The Sabbath will be observed in the new earth, for
only holy people reside there.
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I
will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed
and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new
moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come
to worship before me, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 66:22, 23)
If Sabbath observance is the external sign of the
seal of the living God, then clearly the adherence to a counterfeit
Sabbath, one which God has never blessed or hallowed, is the external
sign of the mark of the beast as we come to the close of earthís
history. Each symbolizes the character of its founder. The seventh-day
Sabbath was instituted by Christ; the counterfeit sabbath promoted in
the popeís 1998 Apostolic Letter, Dies Domini, entered the
Christian church via paganism, as confirmed by the Baptist author, Dr.
There was and is a commandment to keep holy the
Sabbath day, but that Sabbath Day was not Sunday. It will be said,
however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was
transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week. . . . Where
can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New
Testamentóabsolutely not. . . . Of course, I quite well know that
Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious
day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers, and other sources. But
what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and
christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and sanctioned
by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to
Protestantism! (Dr. Edward T. Hiscox [author of the Baptist Manual],
Source Book, pp. 513, 514)
The popeís claim that Sunday worship was instituted
to remember the resurrection of Christ carries with it no thread of
biblical unction. It is not "Easter which returns week by week," as the
pope asserted. If we are to construct a human basis for the selection of
a day of worship, some surely would select Friday, the day of Christís
crucifixion. Others would select Thursday, the day of the first
It was the lack of Scriptural support for Sunday
observance which caused the Council of Trent (convened 1545ó1563) to
deny the Bible as the lone rule of faith. The Council of Trent was
called to counter the Protestant Reformation. At one point the bishops
present were evenly divided as to whether it would be a good ploy to
follow the Protestant lead and declare the Bible as the sole source of
faith and doctrine, or to retain church authority and tradition, in
addition to Scripture, as the rule of faith.
The newly founded Society of Jesus (the Jesuits)
perceptively recognized that if the Scriptures alone were the rule of
faith, the Catholic Church would lose its mandate for Sunday observance.
The Jesuits found in Cardinal Gaspare de Fosso,
Archbishop of Reggio, a city in the "toe" of Italy, one who acknowledged
their reasoning. The day following his discussions with the Jesuits,
January 18, 1562, Cardinal de Fosso arose in the Council of Trent and
Such is the condition of the heretics [Protestants]
of this age that on nothing do they rely more than that, under the
pretence of the Word of God, they overthrow the authority of the
Church. . . . The authority of the Church, then, is illustrated most
clearly by the Scriptures; for while on the one hand she recommends
them, declares them to be divine . . . on the other hand, the legal
precepts in the Scriptures taught by the Lord have ceased by virtue of
the same authority. The Sabbath, the most glorious day of the law, has
been changed into the Lordís day.
Here church authority and church tradition are placed
above the Scripture. Cardinal de Fossoís argument swayed the thinking of
the assembled bishops; and the Council of Trent entrenched church
authority as at least equal, and in practice, above Scripture, as its
authority for faith, practice, and doctrine.
Unfortunately, the rash of Christian "conversions"
from paganism which transpired after the "conversion" of Emperor
Constantine I, led to the introduction of many pagan religious practices
to which a veneer of Christianity was applied. Worship on the first day
of the week, Sunday, was just one of these practices. The truth that
Christ rose on that day was a convenient veneer to apply to that rite of
The end-time prophecy of Revelation 13:15ó17, warning
of the enactment of dire penalties for those who refuse to receive the
mark of the beast, provides cause to ponder John Paulís call for civil
legislation to ensure Sunday observance. The new canons call for
unspecified penalties for any person who teaches contrary to the Roman
Catholic Church. The new canon 1371 states:
The following are to be punished with a just
1 a person who, apart from the case mentioned in
canon 1364, teaches a doctrine condemned by the Roman Pontiff, or by
an Ecumenical Council, or obstinately rejects the teachings mentioned
in Canon 750 s 2, or in Canon 752 and, when warned by the Apostolic
See or by the Ordinary, does not retract;
2 a person who in any other way does not obey the
lawful command or prohibition of the Apostolic See or the Ordinary or
the Superior and, after being warned, persists in disobedience. (Canon
1371 cited in the popeís Apostolic Letter of May 28, 1998 entitled
Ad Tuendam Fidem)
Such a canon generates considerable concern for all
lovers of the principles of religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
We emphasize that this was a twentieth century canon, not one enacted in
the fifteenth century.
It is time to raise, once more, the cry of religious
liberty around the lands of this earth. (See the book entitled,
Liberty in the Balance authored by Colin and Russell Standish.) It
is time to study Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is
time to "make your calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10). It is time
to eschew all non-Scriptural doctrines and practices. It is time to seek
God with the whole heart.
Let us recapitulate the Biblical evidence defining
the seal of the living God and mark of the beast.
At the close of earthís history every individual will
have heard the everlasting gospel of Revelation 14:6ó12. It is preached
"to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people" (Revelation
14:6). Those who accept Christís salvation receive the seal of the
living God. Those who reject it receive the mark of the beast.
Those who receive the seal of the living God will
have developed the character of Christ which the Bible summarizes as two
characteristicsóHe did no sin and no guile was found in His mouth (1
Peter 2:22). This is demonstrated in the life by true Sabbath keeping,
for the Sabbath is the commandment of character, since it may be kept
only in holiness. Holiness is the possession of Christís character.
The mark of the beast is received by those who
develop the character of Satan, a character of rebellion against God.
This is manifested by observing a counterfeit day of worshipóthe day of
paganism, Sunday, a day of worship for which the Bible provides no
Those who receive the mark of the beast will receive
eternal destruction. This is an act of love by God, for they would never
find happiness among holy beings, and their continued sin would insure
the eternal pollution of the universe.
Those who receive the seal of the living God receive
eternal life; for in Christís strength and through His spilled blood,
they have been fitted for heaven. The choice is ours today.