God’s seal, not the name of the church, identifies His people
Many religions today use different signs or marks to identify themselves as a group. For most in Christianity, it is the cross. Within Christianity, some groups take hold on to the church’s proper name, particularly those ones with God’s or Jesus’ name on it, as the identifying mark to tell people that theirs is the true church of God.
In the Bible, God uses two signs to identify His people, not because He needs it but because He has important lessons to impart to His people. These lessons are so relevant to our generation today. Those signs have something to do with the sealing of God and the avoidance of the mark of the beast in these last days.
Circumcision as a private sign
In Genesis 17:9-11, God commanded Abraham and his descendants to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant of salvation. This sign did not commence in the Garden of Eden which signifies a non-permanent status and thus ended when literal Israel as a nation ceased as God’s peculiar people. Nevertheless, its principle is vital to the understanding of God’s seal in the end times.
This sign of circumcision to identify God’s people is different compared to normal identifications. Circumcision should be literally hidden and private, though immediate family members know that a man was circumcised when he was eight days old (Leviticus 1:2-3).
This private identification tells us that God’s people can be identified inwardly, that is, from the heart. This is actually what the Old (Deuteronomy 30:6) and New Testament testify of the true purpose of this literal circumcision.
“Just because you live like a Jew and are circumcised doesn’t make you a real Jew. To be a real Jew you must obey the Law. True circumcision is something that happens deep in your heart, not something done to your body…” Romans 2:28-29 CEV.
When spiritual Israel commenced its existence in the new testament, the literal circumcision was replaced with baptism (1 Corinthians 7:19, Galatians 5:6; 6:15), which symbolizes conversion, a dying to sin and rising to new life.
A true Christian is identified through his or her “circumcised heart”, i.e., converted heart, which produces faith in Jesus and obedience to God’s laws.
Sabbath as God’s Sign of Identifying His People
Another sign that God gave to identify His people can be read in Exodus 31:13, 17 and Ezekiel 20:12, 20.
“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.” Exodus 31, 13 KJV
“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 KJV
“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 KJV
“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 KJV
This seventh-day Sabbath did not start in Mt. Sinai nor in the time of Abraham. It was mentioned right at the beginning during the Creation week.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3 CEB
This seventh-day Sabbath is also in existence even in the new heavens and new earth and for all humanity, not only for the literal Jews, as told by Prophet Isaiah.
“As the new heavens and the new earth that I’m making will endure before me, says the Lord, so your descendants and your name will endure. From month to month and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all humanity will come to worship me, says the Lord.” Isaiah 66:22-25 CEB.
It is also clear from the verses above that this seventh-day Sabbath is given to remind us of our Creator, that there is a Super Intelligent Being who made this amazing world. Those who are bound to heaven are worshipers of this Creator.
Another purpose of the Sabbath is to sanctify the believers. Sanctification means a process, not a one-time event. A sanctified life is one that is separated for a holy purpose. Only through the Holy Spirit can true sanctification happens.
The Holy Spirit and the Sealing
The seal of God is a sign of God’s ownership and protection of His people. In Ephesians 1:13, 14 Paul described a sealing in connection with conversion and receiving of the Holy Spirit. Remember the “circumcision of the heart” as mentioned above? That’s the working of the Holy Spirit.
And so, a person who has been sealed by the Holy Spirit produces a life that reflects God’s character, which eventually a life that is in harmony with God’s laws. One of God’s laws is the seventh-day Sabbath-keeping as written in Exodus 20:8-11.
Bear in mind that a true follower of Jesus is obedient to all of God’s laws. Thus, the obedience to the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath will be a filtering factor in the last days to identify who is on God’s side and who is not.
Sealing in the Last Days
In the last days, the Apostle John told us that there will be a sealing that will happen:
“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth. They held back the earth’s four winds so that no wind would blow against the earth, the sea, or any tree. I saw another angel coming up from the east, holding the seal of the living God. He cried out with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given the power to damage the earth and sea. He said, “Don’t damage the earth, the sea, or the trees until we have put a seal on the foreheads of those who serve our God.” Revelation 7:1-4 CEB.
There are no other seal from God that was mentioned in the Bible aside from the circumcision and the Sabbath. Since the literal circumcision is not in effect anymore, then it is safe to say that the Sabbath is the one that remains as God’s seal in the last days. In fact, God’s name, His dominion, and designation as the Creator are all in the fourth commandment, a fitting description of a king’s seal.
This sealing in the last days is the culmination of the work of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. This means that one cannot receive the end-time seal of God if he will not allow the Holy Spirit to work on his or her life.
That working of the Holy Spirit on one’s life covers all of God’s instructions and teachings, but in the end times, it is the seventh-day Sabbath-keeping that will be the identifying mark to know who are God’s true followers.
The Holy Spirit is deeply involved in the sealing of God’s people up to the very last thread of God’s mercy to the earth.
A believer that has been sealed before the pouring of God’s wrath in the very near future is someone that is a seventh-day Sabbath keeper. He obeys the keeping of the Sabbath as God has directed it, not as the Pharisees and scribes nor the present-day false teachers wanted it to be.
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God’s Seal Only On The Forehead
Unlike the mark of the beast which will be received by hand or forehead, God’s seal is given only on the forehead. This indicates that the one who will receive God’s seal has a definite choice of the mind to worship God. He studied it, he was convicted, and thus he is practicing it.
Remember that those who will receive God’s seal will live in the new heavens and new earth. There are only two options: receiving the seal of God or the mark of the beast.
We’ve seen in this short study that it is not the name of the church, nor the logo and its colors, nor any seal made by men that identifies God’s true church in the last days. The seal comes from God. God instituted His seal in the Creation and stays up to the new heavens and new earth. It is the seventh-day Sabbath.
Are we regularly studying God’s words? Do we spend the time to listen to Him? Are we ready to receive His seal?