- Ellen White wrote: “The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath...” —8T 117 (1904).
Is the seal of God really Sabbath observance?
- The Bible is very clear in what it says about God’s Seal:
- “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” (Ephesians 1:13, 14)
- “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” (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22)
The seal of God shows authentic ownership, and evidence that we are His. He has approved of us as His children.
- Similar to believers, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, was the sign or seal of approval God gave to Christ at His baptism and on the mount of Transfiguration. ‘For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval“ (John 6:27)
- “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)
- Again this is very clear—we are sealed by, and with the Holy Spirit, designated for the day of redemption, or the second coming of Christ, when He takes us to be with Him, forever.
- Nowhere the new covenant records anything written or hinting that the seal of God that assures our salvation is dependent on Sabbath observance. It’s foolish to believe so.
- ‘You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? .. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse‘ (Gal 3:1-25)
- The Holy Spirit cannot be earned through observance or bought (Acts 8:18-30)
- This is hugely important and should be restated: as scriptures teach here, any human effort to keep the law, including Sabbath keeping, cannot account for our identity of salvation with God or by being identified with His seal.
- A common SDA answer or spin on this is that the Sabbath is kept in a love response to God and as a remembrance of His creation. This may be sincere, but if it is truly a love response to God, it would not be required (as SDA doctrine and Ellen White teach) and could not qualify as a sign or seal; it would be a gift of praise and only that.
- Now let’s look at the terms “sign” versus “seal”. SDA’s have used these terms interchangeably to spin their proof texts to support the Sabbath-Seal of God doctrine. However, the original term for “seal” (Hebrew, chotham: Greek, sphragis) is never translated “sign” in the Bible. The original term for “sign” (Hebrew, oth; Greek, semeion) is never translated “seal”.
- Romans 4:11 says Abraham ‘received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised’. Note carefully, the “sign” is one thing and a “seal” is something completely different!
- According to Paul, Romans 4:11 tells us that Abraham was identified with God (the righteous one or sealed as righteous ), because of what he believed by faith before he had the sign of circumcision! The point is there is no new testament confirmation that the Sabbath is a seal in anyway. It’s the Holy Spirit who is the seal, who does the sealing, and who identifies us as belonging to God (Ephesians 1:13, 14). Not Sabbath keeping.
Is the Sabbath still a “sign” between God and His People?
- Under the old covenant agreements, several SIGNS were instituted.
Circumcision ‘shall be a sign of the covenant..for an everlasting covenant’ (Gen. 17:9-14);
Passover, ‘shall be a sign…for your generations.. forever’ (Ex:12:13-14);
‘Speak to the Sons of Israel…observe my Sabbaths, for this is a sign…forever’ (Ex:31:13,17).
- Notice Sabbaths are plural which means it includes all Sabbaths (weekly, monthly, yearly).
- Also, the Sabbaths as a “sign” was given to the children of Israel. Seventh-day Adventists claim that they are “spiritual Israel”. If so, then why do they not also practice the other “eternal signs” of obedience between Israel and God? How inconsistent!
- Is the Seal of God found in the Ten Commandments?
- Isaiah 8:6 reads: “Bind up the testimony, seal the law (torah) among my disciples“
- Adventists teach the word “law” refers to the Ten Commandments which is sealed on people upon observance based upon the above verse. In reality, the word “law” means the Torah, which refers to the first five books of the Bible, said to be written by Moses. In the Torah there are 613 laws which the Israelites were expected to follow. The new covenant is clear Christians are not required to keep all of the laws of the Torah. Hence, this verse has nothing to do with the Seal of God in the new covenant.
- If the Lord’s name, title, and dominion appear in a Bible verse, is that passage the Seal of God?
- Just because a Bible verse mentions the name (YHWH), title (Elohim or Adonay) and dominion of God does not mean that verse is describing the “Seal of God”.
- For example, using SDA logic, one could argue that the Torah is the “Seal of God” because it contains this verse:
‘Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is’ (Deut. 10:14)
- Or one could claim that the prophetic writings of Isaiah or Jeremiah are the “Seal of God” using SDA logic: (Isa. 37:16; Jer. 32:17). Look at all of the other Bible verses that mention God’s name (God), His title (Lord), and His dominion (heaven and earth): Gen. 14:22, Gen. 24:3, Deut. 3:24, Deut. 4:39, Deut. 10:14, Jos. 2:11, 1 Ki. 8:23, 2 Ki. 9:15.
- Just because God’s name, title, and dominion appear within a Bible verse does not prove that passage has any particular connection with the “Seal of God”.
- Not once in the New Testament is the Sabbath ever referred to as a sign or a seal for Christians. Just as the Lord’s supper celebration replaced the Jewish Passover celebration, so has the Holy Spirit replaced the Sabbath as the “sign” or evidence that a person is one of God’s chosen people. If we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, the New Testament teaches the seal of Christianity is the Holy Spirit, not the Sabbath.
- The truth is the rest of God on the seventh-day in Genesis 2 is without ‘morning and evening’, meaning that it was a continuous rest available for God’s people, and not the Saturday Sabbath given to Israel. Hebrew 4 makes it clear, that God’s ‘seventh-day rest’ (Hebrews 4:4), was ‘ready since He made the world’ (Hebrews 4:3), and the ‘time for entering his rest is today’ (Hebrews 4:7), not Saturday or Sunday.
Jesus himself compared Sabbath to a ritual law. Jews to this day believe Sabbath is the only ritual law in the Ten commandments. Paul himself taught in Colossians 2:16-17: “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by a Sabbath day’. Jesus nor Paul taught the new testament church that the Sabbath is a seal. See: Sabbath.
- One may enjoy the Sabbath if he or she wishes, but if one is to remain true to the Scriptures and not the teachings of man he or she must separate “Sabbath keeping” from the “seal of being identified with God” and His people. This is the teaching of God’s word.
- Will SDA’s listen, or will they continue in pride with the teachings of man?