Is the Sabbath the “seal” of God?

  Holy-Spirit-sky

  • 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.
  • Circumcisionshall 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?

8 thoughts on “Is the Sabbath the “seal” of God?

  1. I hope you will soon realized that the opposite of what you are explaining here is the truth.
    I chose to have no argument against you believing that the Holy Spirit is the seal of God because it is what you believe as of now, but I will do pray that as soon as possible through the grace of our God he will engraved in our hearts and minds the truth about the seal of God.

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    • Dear friend,

      Where does the Bible say that the Sabbath is a seal of God? Where did Jesus or the apostles say that the Sabbath is a seal, and not observing Sabbath will lead to the mark of the beast? Do you observe the Sabbath properly according to Sabbath instructions specified in the Old Testament to Israel in the Law?

      In Christ!
      John

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  2. I enjoyed reading and its very true as there are so many preacher who preached based on human convictions… Instructions from God is in the Bible and let along bible interpret bible and not other books..

    Anton from PNG

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  3. I appreciate your commitment to derive truth from Scripture alone. I agree that the seal is the Holy Spirit. I also believe that the Holy Spirit sets genuine believers apart by guiding them into truth. As for the possibility of connecting the Sabbath to the seal of Revelation: What about Romans 4:11? It mentions “seal” (same Greek word as Rev. 7) as synonymous with “sign”? In context, Abraham’s obedience to follow God’s commands as a sign of their relationship was a seal of “righteousness by faith.” Abraham’s obedience didn’t earn him righteousness, but his faith in Christ was demonstrated by that obedience. What differentiates the Sabbath from other “signs” between God and Israel is that the Sabbath is part of the Decalogue, God’s moral law, and is based in Creation thereby clearly predating any relation to the ceremonial law of Moses. The Sabbath is therefore best viewed a sign between God and man, including the Israelites.

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    • Hi Jason,

      Thanks for stopping by my friend.

      You assume that Abraham and other Gentiles who lived long before the Law of Moses was given to Israel kept the Sabbath.  That is a huge assumption.  In terms of explicit statements of Scripture, it is never said that anyone kept the Sabbath before the Red Sea exodus. There is no command for observing a Sabbath day nor is there a condemnation for not observing it before Ex. 16. There are, however, several Scriptures that affirm that the Sabbath was indeed given to Israel alone.  Deut.5:15 – “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.Therefore keep the Sabbath day.”  Neh.9:13 – “You came down also upon Mt. Sinai…and made known to them the holy Sabbath.”  Ezek.20:12 – “Moreover, also I gave them my Sabbaths to be a sign between me and them.” How can a sign that distinguished the Jews from the the rest of the world be also a sign that identifies with all nations? Not so!

      God’s rest in Genesis is unique
      God rested (ceased) on the seventh day because of His Creative work in the previous six days was finished in Genesis, and He continued to cease/rest from His Creative work since that seventh day on wards. That REST of God was a STATE, and not about a day; that seventh day had no boundaries of “evening and morning” unlike the previous six days. Just as God ceased, we are told to cease from our works not just the seventh but continuously, daily- that’s what Hebrew 4 says. God did not begin a cycle of six creative works and rest after that first unboundaried seventh day. He ceased. Hence, that Genesis rest of God is God’s rest, not ours. The way it becomes Christian’s rest is stated here: Hebrew 4 invites Christians to enter that STATE of REST, TODAY, not seventh day or first day.  God’s rest on that seventh day was not the Sabbath in the Decalogue, though the Sabbath of the decalogue was patterned after what God did in Genesis; similarly, not just for man or beast, but the land was to experience similar rest after God’s pattern in Genesis.

      Yes, the Sabbath was part of the Decalogue, but the Decalogue is part of the Law of Moses or the law that was part of the ‘tablets of the covenant’ and also part of the “book of the covenant”; which was placed in the ‘ark of the covenant’, which was the entire covenant that God made with Israel that included this entire law of Sabbath, decalogue, many other laws. Hebrews 8 & 9 and many other places say that covenant is now obsolete.

      Think about this. The Sabbath was a sign of the covenant between God and Israel (Exodus 31), but Abraham was given a different sign. If the Sabbath marked the people of God from all nations as distinctively God’s, couldn’t it just as easily mark Abraham as distinctively belonging to God? Besides, even if Abraham observed the Sabbath or circumcision, none of these rituals apply to Christians under new covenant (Col. 2:16,17). 

      Could you have a read of the following posts that may touch on your questions:

      https://reachingadventistschristiansandothers.com/2017/06/06/gods-great-moral-law-is-unchangeable/

      https://reachingadventistschristiansandothers.com/2017/05/23/the-decalogue-examined/

      https://reachingadventistschristiansandothers.com/2018/02/03/genesis-21-3-seventh-day-is-special/comment-page-1/#comment-340

      https://reachingadventistschristiansandothers.com/2017/05/28/sabbath-is-a-ritual-law-not-moral/

      Thanks!J

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