- 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 actually foolish to believe that you can be sealed with the Spirit by observing the law.
- ‘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 of any law or neither can it purchased 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! Circumcision was only an external sign that he was already sealed by God. The argument that Paul is making in Romans 4 is that circumcision could not have had anything to do with His justification because he was justified [had seal of righteousness by faith] thirteen years before he was circumcised [had the sign of circumcision]. Even if “Sign” and “Seal” were to be used interchangeably, the fact remains that 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 that the word “law” refers to the Ten Commandments which is sealed on people upon observance of it based upon the above verse. In reality, the word “law” means the Torah, which refers to the first five books of the Bible. 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 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.
- What about God’s first seventh day? On that first seventh day, God entered into a STATE of rest or ceasing due to His creative work being completed on the previous six days. The first six days had creative “work” that was demarcated by an “evening and morning”, but the seventh day “rest” did not have a demarcation of “evening and morning”. God’s rest was open for Adam and Eve to enter from that seventh day onwards, and even today “a promise remains of entering His rest” for Christians (Hebrews 4:1). If there is any example to follow from God’s rest in Genesis, it is that we must enter that state of rest, (because God only ceased once).
After that first seventh day, God did not restart a “work for six days and rest on the seventh” cycle for man to follow. He ceased from His creative work once and for all. Therefore, His state of rest on that first seventh day continued from that seventh day onwards. God did not say to Adam and Eve. Now you folks, every time a seventh day rolls around, you also rest. There is no such command for man to rest on every seventh day in Genesis. The ritual Seventh day Sabbath which the Lord “gave” to Israel for the first time (Exodus 16:29) was only a “shadow” of God’s original rest (Colossians 2:16-17).
Jesus himself compared Sabbath to a ritual ceremonial law. Mainstream 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 or even feast days 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?
The Bible, mainstream Jews, early Christians, and many Reformers, show that the Sabbath was a ritual ceremonial law that is not binding on Christians.
Martin Luther taught the validity of the moral law of the old covenant but saw Sabbath as ceremonial. “Scripture has abrogated the Sabbath day; for it teaches that since the gospel has been revealed, all the ceremonies of the old law can be omitted” (Article 28, The Augsburg Confession(1530)).
John Calvin wrote “First, with the seventh day of rest the Lord wished to give to the people of Israel an image of spiritual rest…there is no doubt that it ceased in Christ (Col. 2:17), Hence, though the sabbath is abrogated, it so happens among us that we still convene on certain days in order to hear the word of God” ([From Instruction in Faith, Calvin’s own 1537 digest of the Institutes, sec. 8, “The Law of the Lord”].
Mainstream Judaism: “Shabbath is the most important RITUAL observance in Judaism. It is the only ritual observance instituted in the Ten Commandments” (Source: Judaism 101: Shabbat (jewfaq.org)).
Roman Catholic’s understood the same. “The sabbath command is the only one of the Ten Commandments which can be altered in any way, because only it is a part of the ceremonial law. This is taught by the Roman Catechism issued after the Council of Trent” (Source: https://www.catholic.com/qa/did-jesus-alter-the-commandment-about-observing-the-sabbath
John Milton wrote: “With regard to the doctrine of those who consider the decalogue as a code of universal morality, I am at a loss to understand how such an opinion should ever have prevailed; these commandments being evidently nothing more than a summary of the whole Mosaic law as the fourth is of the whole ceremonial law; which therefore can contain nothing applicable to the gospel worship.” Treatise on Christian Doctrine, Vol. 1, Book 2, Chap. 7.
John Bunyan writes: “The seventh day Sabbath, therefore, was not from paradise, nor from nature, nor from the fathers, but from the wilderness and from Sinai.” Complete Works, page 895.
See our chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse, commentaries on the book of Daniel, Revelation & Genesis for a deeper understanding of the Sabbath.
- God’s Great Moral Law Is Unchangeable
- Catholic Church Changed The Sabbath?
- What Law Are Christians Under?
- Christ Did Not Come To Abolish the Law?
- Do You Only Keep 9 Commandments?
- Sunday Worship Is Not Pagan
- No Sabbath Keeping in Acts
- Sabbath Is A Ritual Law, Not Moral
- New & Old Covenant Examined
- Does Isaiah 66 Support Sabbath?
- Creation Seventh Day is Sanctified
- God’s Rest is not the Jewish Sabbath
- History of First Day
- Why the First Day or Lord’s day?
- SANCTUARY TRUTH
- STATE OF THE DEAD
- Origins of Futurism and Preterism
- Truth about the Year-Day Principle
- This Generation will not pass away – Matt 24
- Zechariah 14:1-21 – Is it about the earthly Jerusalem or New Jerusalem
- Zechariah 13:1-9 Who is the shepherd who is struck?
- Zechariah 12:1-14 – Is it Yahweh who is pierced?
- Micah 5:1-15 – Will the Messiah come from Bethlehem?
- Isaiah 9:1-7 Is the child about the Messiah or Hezekiah?
- Isaiah 7:14: Is it really about Jesus or someone else?
- Isaiah 53:1-12: Israel or Messiah?
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