SIGNIFICANCE OF A SEAL
WHAT is the purpose of a sign, or seal?
"Now, 0 king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed." Daniel 6:8.
Note.—That is, affix the signature of royalty, that it may have the proper authority. Anciently kings used a seal ring, containing the name, initials, or monogram, for this purpose. Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, "wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal." 1 Kings 21:8. Of a Persian decree it is said that "in the name of King Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring." Esther 3:12.
What are the three essentials of an official seal?
The seal of a lawgiver must show three things: (1) his name; (2) his official position, title, or authority, and so his right to rule; and (3) the extent of his dominion and jurisdiction.
Where is God's seal to be found?
"Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples." Isaiah 8:16.
Which commandment alone of the Decalogue reveals the name, authority, and dominion of the Author of this law?
"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 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.
NOTE.—In six days, (1) the Lord (name); (2) made (office, Creator); (3) heaven and earth (dominion). This commandment alone, therefore, contains "the seal of the living God." This commandment shows God's authority to enact all the commandments, and shows all other gods to be false gods. The Sabbath commandment, therefore, contains the seal of God; and the Sabbath itself, which is enjoined by the commandment, is inseparably connected with this seal; it is to be kept in memory of God's creation of all things; and it is itself called a "sign" of the knowledge of this great truth. (Exodus 31:17; Ezekiel 20:20.
Why is the Sabbath a sign between God and His people?
"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." Exodus 31:17.
NOTE.—The Sabbath is the sign, or mark, or seal, of the Creator.
In what two ways does God say the Sabbath is a sign?
1. "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." Ezekiel 20:20. 2. "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." Exodus 31:13.
NOTE.—The Sabbath is the sign of God's creative power, whether mani- fested in creation or redemption; for redemption is creation—re-creation. It requires the same power to redeem that it does to create. "Create in me a clean heart." Psalms 51:10. "We are . . . created in Christ Jesus unto good works." Ephesians 2:10. God designs that each Sabbath shall call Him to mind as the One who created us, and whose grace and sanctifying power are working in us to fit us for His eternal kingdom.
SPECIAL SEALING WORD PREDICTED
What special sealing work is to take place just before the let- ting loose of the winds of destruction upon the earth?
"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, . . . saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." Revelation 7:1-4. (See Ezekiel 9:1-6.)
How is this same company described a little later?
"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." Revelation 14:1.
NOTE.—The name of the Father is expressive of His character. When Moses asked to see the glory of God, the Lord passed by and proclaimed His name—"The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuflering, and abundant in goodness and truth." (Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:6.) God's law is the transcript of that character, and the name referred to in Revelation 14:1 is equivalent to the law of God. This is in harmony with the work of the new covenant, under which the law is written in the mind. (Hebrews 8:10.) Since the law is written in the mind, the seal of the law is there also.
What is said of the character of these sealed ones?
"And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." Verse 5.
How is the remnant church described?
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Verse 12.
GOD'S SPECIAL WARNING
What threefold warning does the third angel give?
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." Verses 9, 10.
NOTE.—The beast represents the Papacy; the image to the beast represents another ecclesiastical body dominating the civil power. (See readings on pages 265, 269.) And over against the seal of God stands the mark of the beast, the mark of apostasy. Against this false and idolatrous worship and the recep- tion of this mark, God sends this solemn warning.
What power is to enforce this mark?
"And he [the two-horned beast] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads." Revelation 13:16.
NOTE.—The two-horned beast is understood to represent the United States of America, with her principles of civil and religious liberty. (See reading on page 269.) As this nation repudiates these principles and becomes a persecuting power, other nations will follow her example in oppressing those who refuse to yield their allegiance to God.
THE MARK OF APOSTASY
What is the Papacy's mark, or sign, of authority?
"Ques.—How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holy days ?
"Ans.—By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of."—HENRY TUBERVILLE, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine (1833 approbation), p. 58.
NOTE.—In a letter written on February 8, 1898, Mr. C. F. Thomas, chan- cellor to Cardinal Gibbons, replying to an inquiry addressed to the cardinal said:
"If Protestants observe the first day of the week are they in that act recog- nizing the authority of the Catholic Church? . . . It looks that way: Since The custom they observe is of the Church and from the Church."
The official newspaper of the Cleveland Diocese says: "By what authority did the Church change the observance of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? "The Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her Founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant, claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh Day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant. Sunday as the day of rest to honor our Lord's Resur- rection dates to Apostolic times and was so established, among other reasons, to mark off the Jew from the Christian. St. Justin the Martyr, speaks of it in his Apologies."—The Catholic Universe Bulletin, Aug. 14, 1942, p. 4.
The true Sabbath being a sign of loyalty to the true God, it is but natural that the false sabbath should be regarded as a sign of allegiance to the apostate church. Such we find to be the case. For other statements concerning Sunday, see pages 435, 436, 439, 457, 458.
What do Catholics say of Protestant Sundaykeepers?
"The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Catholic] church." -MONSIGNOR LOUIS SEGUR, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today (1868), p. 213.
NOTE.—A full realization of this fact will lead those who honestly, but ignorantly, have been observing Sunday as the Sabbath, to refuse longer to pay homage to apostasy, and return to the observance of that which is the sign of loyalty to heaven—the only weekly day of rest which God, in His word, has commanded men to keep holy, the seventh day.
PERSECUTION OF COMMANDMENT KEEPERS
How will the dragon treat God's remnant people?
"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 12:17.
How far will the enforcement of this mark be urged?
"That the image of the beast should both speak, and cause [decree] that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark." Revelation 13:15-17. (See pages 275, 276.)
Over what do the people of God finally gain the victory?
"And I saw . . . them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God." Revelation 15 :2.