Weekly Spirit of Prophecy Reading
Chapter 15—The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast
Only Two Classes
There can be only two classes. Each party is distinctly stamped, either with the seal of the living God, or with the mark of the beast or his image.—The Review and Herald, January 30, 1900.
In the great conflict between faith and unbelief the whole Christian world will be involved. All will take sides. Some apparently may not engage in the conflict on either side. They may not appear to take sides against the truth, but they will not come out boldly for Christ through fear of losing property or suffering reproach. All such are numbered with the enemies of Christ.—The Review and Herald, February 7, 1893.
As we near the close of time the demarcation between the children of light and the children of darkness will be more and more decided. They will be more and more at variance. This difference is expressed in the words of Christ, “born again”—created anew in Christ, dead to the world, and alive unto God. These are the walls of separation that divide the heavenly from the earthly and describe the difference between those who belong to the world and those who are chosen out of it, who are elect, precious in the sight of God.—Special Testimony to the Battle Creek Church (Ph 155), 3 (1882).
Family Members Are Separated
Those who have been members of the same family are separated. A mark is placed upon the righteous. “They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” [Malachi 3:17]. Those who have been obedient to God's commandments will unite with the company of the saints in light. They shall enter in through the gates into the city, and have right to the tree of life.
“The one shall be taken.” His name shall stand in the book of life, while those with whom he associated shall have the mark of eternal separation from God.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 234, 235 (1895).
Judged by the Light We Have Received
Many who have not had the privileges that we have had will go into heaven before those who have had great light and who have not walked in it. Many have lived up to the best light they have had and will be judged accordingly.—Letter 36, 1895.
All must wait for the appointed time, until the warning shall have gone to all parts of the world, until sufficient light and evidence have been given to every soul. Some will have less light than others, but each one will be judged according to the light received.—Manuscript 77, 1899.
We have been given great light in regard to God's law. This law is the standard of character. To it man is now required to conform, and by it he will be judged in the last great day. In that day men will be dealt with according to the light they have received.—The Gospel Herald, January, 1901 (Supplement).
Those who have had great light and have disregarded it stand in a worse position than those who have not been given so many advantages. They exalt themselves but not the Lord. The punishment inflicted on human beings will in every case be proportionate to the dishonor they have brought on God.—Manuscript Releases 8:168 (1901).
Everyone is to have sufficient light to make his decision intelligently.—The Great Controversy, 605 (1911).
No Excuse for Willful Blindness
None will be condemned for not heeding light and knowledge that they never had, and they could not obtain. But many refuse to obey the truth that is presented to them by Christ's ambassadors, because they wish to conform to the world's standard, and the truth that has reached their understanding, the light that has shone in the soul, will condemn them in the judgment.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1145 (1884).
Those who have an opportunity to hear the truth and yet take no pains to hear or understand it, thinking that if they do not hear they will not be accountable, will be judged guilty before God the same as if they had heard and rejected. There will be no excuse for those who choose to go in error when they might understand what is truth. In His sufferings and death Jesus has made atonement for all sins of ignorance, but there is no provision made for willful blindness.
We shall not be held accountable for the light that has not reached our perception, but for that which we have resisted and refused. A man could not apprehend the truth which had never been presented to him, and therefore could not be condemned for light he had never had.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1145 (1893).
The Importance of Practical Benevolence
The decisions of the last day turn upon our practical benevolence. Christ acknowledges every act of beneficence as done to Himself.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 400 (1896).
When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and suffering....
Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God.
How surprised and gladdened will be the lowly among the nations, and among the heathen, to hear from the lips of the Saviour, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me”! How glad will be the heart of Infinite Love as His followers look up with surprise and joy at His words of approval!—The Desire of Ages, 637, 638 (1898).
Motive Gives Character to Actions
In the day of judgment some will plead this good deed and that as a reason why they should receive consideration. They will say, “I set up young men in business. I gave money to found hospitals. I relieved the necessities of widows, and took the poor into my home.” Yes, but your motives were so defiled by selfishness that the deed was not acceptable in the sight of the Lord. In all that you did, self was brought prominently to view.—Manuscript 53, 1906.
It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth.—The Desire of Ages, 615 (1898).
What the Seal of God Is
Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads—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—just as soon as God's people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 4:1161 (1902).
The seal of the living God is placed upon those who conscientiously keep the Sabbath of the Lord.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:980 (1897). [This statement and others like it should be understood in the light of passages quoted earlier in the chapter, indicating that God holds people responsible only for the knowledge they have or which they could obtain.]
Those who would have the seal of God in their foreheads must keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:970 (1899).
True observance of the Sabbath is the sign of loyalty to God.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:981 (1899).
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 6:350 (1900).
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 6:350 (1900).
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].—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:969 (1900).
A Likeness to Christ in Character
The seal of the living God will be placed upon those only who bear a likeness to Christ in character.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:970 (1895).
Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.—Early Writings, 71 (1851).
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.—Testimonies for the Church 5:216 (1882).
Love is expressed in obedience, and perfect love casteth out all fear. Those who love God, have the seal of God in their foreheads, and work the works of God.—Sons and Daughters of God, 51 (1894).
Those that overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, will be the favored ones who shall receive the seal of the living God.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 445 (c. 1886).
Are we striving with all our God-given powers to reach the measure of the stature of men and women in Christ? Are we seeking for His fullness, ever reaching higher and higher, trying to attain to the perfection of His character? When God's servants reach this point, they will be sealed in their foreheads. The recording angel will declare, “It is done.” They will be complete in Him whose they are by creation and by redemption.—Selected Messages 3:427 (1899).
In the Sealing Time Now
I saw that the present test on the Sabbath could not come until the mediation of Jesus in the holy place was finished and He had passed within the second veil; therefore Christians who fell asleep before the door was opened into the most holy, when the midnight cry was finished, at the seventh month, 1844, and who had not kept the true Sabbath, now rest in hope, for they had not the light and the test on the Sabbath which we now have since that door was opened. I saw that Satan was tempting some of God's people on this point. Because so many good Christians have fallen asleep in the triumphs of faith and have not kept the true Sabbath, they were doubting about its being a test for us now....
Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God's people from the present truth and to cause them to waver.—Early Writings, 42, 43 (1851).
I saw that she [Mrs. Hastings] was sealed and would come up at the voice of God and stand upon the earth, and would be with the 144,000. I saw we need not mourn for her; she would rest in the time of trouble.—Selected Messages 2:263 (1850).
There are living upon our earth men who have passed the age of fourscore and ten. The natural results of old age are seen in their feebleness. But they believe God, and God loves them. The seal of God is upon them, and they will be among the number of whom the Lord has said, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.”—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:982 (1899).
Oh, That God's Seal May Be Placed Upon Us!
In a little while every one who is a child of God will have His seal placed upon him. Oh, that it may be placed upon our foreheads! Who can endure the thought of being passed by when the angel goes forth to seal the servants of God in their foreheads?—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:969, 970 (1889).
If the believers in the truth are not sustained by their faith in these comparatively peaceful days, what will uphold them when the grand test comes and the decree goes forth against all those who will not worship the image of the beast and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands? This solemn period is not far off. Instead of becoming weak and irresolute, the people of God should be gathering strength and courage for the time of trouble.—Testimonies for the Church 4:251 (1876).
What the Mark of the Beast Is
John was called to behold a people distinct from those who worship the beast or his image by keeping the first day of the week. The observance of this day is the mark of the beast.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 133 (1898).
The mark of the beast is the papal sabbath.—Evangelism, 234 (1899).
When the test comes, it will be clearly shown what the mark of the beast is. It is the keeping of Sunday.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:980 (1900).
The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord's memorial of creation.... The mark of the beast is the opposite of this—the observance of the first day of the week.—Testimonies for the Church 8:117 (1904).
“He causeth all, both small and great, ... to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads” (Revelation 13:16). Not only are men not to work with their hands on Sunday, but with their minds are they to acknowledge Sunday as the Sabbath.—Special Testimony to Battle Creek Church (Ph 86), 6, 7 (1897).
When the Mark of the Beast Is Received
No one has yet received the mark of the beast.—Evangelism, 234 (1899).
Sundaykeeping is not yet the mark of the beast, and will not be until the decree goes forth causing men to worship this idol sabbath. The time will come when this day will be the test, but that time has not come yet. The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:977 (1899).
God has given men the Sabbath as a sign between Him and them as a test of their loyalty. Those who, after the light regarding God's law comes to them, continue to disobey and exalt human laws above the law of God in the great crisis before us, will receive the mark of the beast.—Evangelism, 235 (1900).
The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not.
While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God's law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other, choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.—The Great Controversy, 605 (1911).
Enforcement of Sunday Observance Is the Test
None are condemned until they have had the light and have seen the obligation of the fourth commandment. But when the decree shall go forth enforcing the counterfeit sabbath, and the loud cry of the third angel shall warn men against the worship of the beast and his image, the line will be clearly drawn between the false and the true. Then those who still continue in transgression will receive the mark of the beast.—Evangelism, 234, 235 (1899).
When Sunday observance shall be enforced by law, and the world shall be enlightened concerning the obligation of the true Sabbath, then whoever shall transgress the command of God to obey a precept which has no higher authority than that of Rome, will thereby honor popery above God. He is paying homage to Rome, and to the power which enforces the institution ordained by Rome. He is worshiping the beast and his image.
As men then reject the institution which God has declared to be the sign of His authority, and honor in its stead that which Rome has chosen as the token of her supremacy, they will thereby accept the sign of allegiance to Rome—“the mark of the beast.” And it is not until the issue is thus plainly set before the people, and they are brought to choose between the commandments of God and the commandments of men, that those who continue in transgression will receive “the mark of the beast.”—The Great Controversy, 449 (1911)
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