Chapter 11

The Seal of God

INTRODUCTION

We have looked at who will be sealed by God. But what is the Seal of God? Let's first look at some representative uses of the terms seal, sealing and sealed in the Bible.

SCRIPTURE

The names of the tribes of Israel were engraved on stones worn by the high priest

Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the LORD. (Exod. 28:11,12)

There are to be twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes. (Exod. 28:21)

"Holy to the Lord" worn as a seal on the forehead

"Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD. Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. It will be on Aaron's forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron's forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the LORD. (Exod. 28:36-38)

They made the plate, the sacred diadem, out of pure gold and engraved on it, like an inscription on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD. Then they fastened a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban, as the LORD commanded Moses. (Exod. 39:30, 31)

The covenant was sealed by an oath

You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the LORD your God, a covenant the LORD is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deut. 29:12, 13)

Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples. I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him. (Isa. 8:16, 17)

God's seal of approval

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:27-29)

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. (1Cor. 9:1, 2)

God's seal of ownership

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2Cor. 1:21, 22)

We are marked with the seal of God, the Holy Spirit until our redemption

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession --to the praise of his glory. (Eph. 1:13, 14)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph. 4:29 - 5:2)

Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." (2Tim. 2:19)

COMMENTARY

We can observe the following from the above verses

1) God's people are known clearly to Him.

2) The priests (those who minister to the Lord) were marked as "Holy to the Lord" on their foreheads a symbol of their dedication to the Lord. God's people are called to be priests.

1Pet. 2:9 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

3) God's seal of ownership, His sign of affirmation is the Holy Spirit. It is the sign or deposit "guaranteeing our inheritance" or salvation until "the day of redemption."

4) Our duty, to "do the work of God", is to believe in Jesus Christ and to work for the salvation of other souls. This confirms or seals our discipleship of Jesus. Those who claim to accept the salvation of Jesus but refuse to share it are like the servant who took his master's talent and hid it in the field, rather than investing it so that the master might receive some gain from it. (see Matt. 25:14-30)

The Holy Spirit is poured out on God's people in full measure near the end of time. Some have used the term "latter rain" to describe this event or process. This term comes from the book of Joel.

"Then be glad, sons of Zion, and rejoice in Jehovah your God. For He has given to you the early rain according to righteousness, and He will cause the rain to come down for you, the early rain and the latter rain in the first month." (Joel 2:23, The Interlinear Bible-Hebrew, Greek, English. The KJV also uses the term "latter rain")

The former or early rain was considered to be the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. In his discourse to the people in Jerusalem at that time, Peter quoted from Joel a section that actually applies better to the end of time.

"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls." (Joel 2:28-32)

As we have read and will study further, we will see that these wonders in the heavens will be manifested just prior to the coming of the great day of the Lord.

This latter rain will be a time of spiritual refreshing for God's people. Their struggles to overcome every sin in their lives will be replaced with a deeper understanding of God's love and forgiveness, of His approval, and that they are sealed with His signet, forever in His care. It prepares them for the time of trial shortly before them.

Some have claimed, and with some good evidence that the seal of God is the seventh-day Sabbath. The evidence for this comes from the way a seal or signet is structured. The seal or signet of a leader or authority contains the leader's name, title and domain. For example, the seal of the President of the United States says, "Barak Obama, President of the United States of America." Caesar's seal would say, "Caesar Augustus, Emperor of the Roman Empire." Within the Ten Commandments, written by God's own finger, we find His signet or stamp.

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy; six days you shall labor and do all your work; and the seventh day is a sabbath to Jehovah your God; you shall not do any work, you and your son, and your daughter, your male slave and your slave-girl, and your livestock, and your stranger who is in your gates. For in six days Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all which is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; on account of this Jehovah blessed the sabbath day and sanctified it. " (Exodus 20:8-11, The Interlinear Bible-Hebrew, Greek, English)

Hence, if God had a seal or signet, it would bear the inscription, "Jehovah, God of Heaven and Earth". And God did stamp the Ten Commandments with His signet.  It was right in the middle of the Ten Commandments, in the one that memorializes Him as the Creator.

However, it should make good sense to the reader that the seal of God is not given automatically to those who observe the 4th commandment Sabbath. If so, just keeping the seventh-day Sabbath would give one a reserved ticket to heaven. Sabbath-keeping Jews would have no need of Jesus Christ as their Savior if this were true. But the seal of God requires much more than that. It requires a trusting loyalty in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ AND as a result of that loyalty and love, an obedience to all of God's commandments.

"This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus." (Rev. 14:12)

"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."  (Rev. 12:17)

"Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (Rev. 22:14 KJV)

And it follows that obedience to God's commandments includes obedience to the 4th commandment which is disobeyed by most of the world, including most professed Christians. We will look more at this when we look at the mark and image of the Beast. But for now, we need to answer the pressing question, "what happens at the end of the sealing process and what is meant by the throwing down of the censor?"

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