There are different kind of seals in the Bible. Here's a brief overview of the most important ones, and how they work together.
The seal of God is linked to Sabbath-keeping, and the mark of the beast is linked to Sunday-keeping.
A seal, a mark, and a sign are synonymous.
Seals (and marks) can be used for different things:
|Character||Impress the image of the seal (God's law) into the wax (mind and heart)|
|Forehead||Ownership / Approval (judgment)|
It seems that the seal of God has to do with with authority, character, ownership, and approval.
I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts.
- Hebrews 8:10 (KJV)
There are also protective marks, but this article mainly focuses on the seals mentioned above.
Seal of God
A seal was something that was very common to all of the Biblical writers, for it was something that was repeatedly used in ancient times. In order for a king to make a law, he would have the law written and then put his seal upon the law so that all would know that he had indeed signed it into law. It was like putting his signature or fingerprint upon it. When his subjects saw the seal, all knew that they had to obey it and that it was an authentic seal.
- Cody Francis
- By Roger Griffith / Wikimedia Commons
The Bible confirms this use of a seal.
Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse.
- Esther 8:8 (KJV)
A seal has a name, a title, and a territory.
For example "Donald Trump President of the United States of America" is an official seal:
|Territory||The United States of America|
The Ten Commandments have such a seal as well. It's the Sabbath commandment.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, 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 (KJV)
In the same way:
|Name||The Lord thy God|
|Territory||Heaven and Earth|
In many ways the Sabbath commandment is like a signature commandment that points directly at God.
The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God. It points to God as the Creator, and is the sign of His rightful authority over the beings He has made. Those who obey this law will bear the seal of God, for He has set apart this day as a sign of loyalty between Himself and His people. To Moses on Mount Sinai He said, "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."
- Ellen White, The Signs of the Times, March 22, 1910
The Sabbath commandment seals the law.
Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
- Isaiah 8:16 (KJV)
God doesn't change, and nor will His law.
Keeping the Sabbath is a sign that you agree with all of God's Law (the Ten Commandments).
The sign of obedience is the observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. If men keep the fourth commandment, they will keep all the rest.
- Ellen White, Letter 31, 1898
Sealed by the Holy Spirit
We are sealed by the Holy Spirit.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
- Ephesians 4:30 (KJV)
We receive the Holy Spirit when we become new-born Christians.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
- Ephesians 1:13-14 (KJV)
The Holy Spirit then seals us with God's Law (the Ten Commandments).
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.
- Hebrews 8:10 (KJV)
There are different measures of the Holy Spirit that can be given:
- Deposit (when we first become Christians)
- With some different measure (like with the apostles at Pentecost, or the Latter Rain)
- Without measure (like with Jesus)
The sealing of the Holy Spirit has everything to do with a person's character.
As wax takes the impression of the seal, so the soul is to take the impression of the Spirit of God and retain the image of Christ.
- Ellen White, Signs of the Times, December 26, 1892
To be sealed with the Holy Spirit means to be sealed with the character of God as reflected in His Law, the Ten Commandments.
Here's how that works. Let's say you are reading your Bible which says that you shouldn't lie. You think about it, and you come to the conclusion that God is right. We shouldn't lie. So you change your mind and you stop lying. Now your character has become more like that of God, e.g. you have been sealed with God's character if you will. This is of course a process that can take many years.
The idea of God's character written in our foreheads can also be found in the verse below. (Name = character)
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 (KJV)
And then we're in God's image and likeness again.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
- Genesis 1:26-27 (KJV)
The sealing of the Holy Spirit is a process, and may take some time.
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.
- Ellen White, Manuscript 173, 1902
Sabbath keeping is an external sign, that the Holy Spirit is indeed sealing (sanctifying) us on the inside.
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)
Seal of God (Judgment)
This seal is very much about judgment and ownership. A seal of approval if you will.
And 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 (KJV)
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
- 2 Timothy 2:19 (KJV)
This is an instant sort of sealing, and not a process as described above.
It gets more specific when the Bible talks about the 144,000 servants.
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, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
- Revelation 7:2-3 (KJV)
What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption.
- Ellen White, Letter 126, 1898
This protective mark is similar to Ezekiel 9.
This sealing of the servants of God is the same that was shown to Ezekiel.
- Ellen White, Testimonials p. 445
I think the above happens just before the close of probation. After that all cases are decided.
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
- Revelation 22:11 (KJV)
Either way, after judgment, you are either sealed (obedient to God) or marked (in rebellion to God).
The warfare against God's law, which was begun in heaven, will be continued until the end of time. Every man will be tested. Obedience or disobedience is the question to be decided by the whole world. All will be called to choose between the law of God and the laws of men. Here the dividing line will be drawn. There will be but two classes. Every character will be fully developed; and all will show whether they have chosen the side of loyalty or that of rebellion.
- Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 763
The three seals described above are closely related, and together form the sealing process.
Here are the three components to the sealing process:
The Lord, Creator, Heaven and Earth
The seal is in the Sabbath commandment which is part of God's law
The Holy Spirit seals God's law into our mind and heart (the wax if you will)
The end result, e.g. pass or fail
The seal is in the forehead
So the sealing process is something like this: obedience to God's law, combined with the Holy Spirit who will transform our character, which will eventually be tested by God.
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.
- Ellen White, Last Day Events, p. 215
The time of testing is at the door.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
- Revelation 3:20 (KJV)
Now is the time to prepare.
Now is the time to prepare. 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.
- Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 216