Weekly Insights about the Quarterly Lessons from the 1888 Message Study Committee.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
"God's Seal or the Beast's Mark?"
SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #11
"God's Seal or the Beast's Mark?"
June 16, 2018
We have studied the issues of the Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast for many years, and many have seen in the study a reference to the issue of worship and Sabbath versus Sunday. I would like to deepen the understanding of the issues, as the point being made is very important for us to understand. It revolves around the statement in inspiration that "Justification is the Third Angel's Message in verity." It is important to note that Justification, not the day of worship or the Law of God, is directly called the "Third Angel's Message." The phrase "Third Angel's Message" embraces all three and so the issue of Justification is the essence of our message.
The lesson begins by a reference to the "Song of Moses and the Lamb" and refers to those who got the "victory" over the Mark, over the beast, over his image, and over his mark. I would like to expand on the "Song of Moses and the Lamb" by making a new contribution to our understanding of the song, in contrast to the Song of Moses, and how that relates to final issues.
The Hebrews saw God's miraculous deliverance at the Red Sea. They sang the Song of Moses in Exodus 15, in which they sang "Who is like unto thee, oh Lord", and "The Lord is a man of war." Yet, three days later, at the waters of Marah, they are murmuring and wanting to return to Egypt. Their faith was shallow, easily removed, and based on success and the absence of trial. God's people at the end times "loved not their lives even unto death." Revelation 12. The final followers of Satan, who receive the Mark of the Beast, are singing, in Revelation 13:4, "Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" Satan is mocking God by having the wicked sing elements from the "Song of Moses" and signaling the same type of weak faith. Why? Revelation 13 says they all "wonder after the beast" and are deceived by the miracles that are a part of final deceptions. Their faith is shallow and based on power, and on sensory experiences and the flesh. God's people have the "Faith of Jesus" Revelation 14:12. Their characters are based on a deep faith in Jesus, one not shaken by trial, as Daniel and his friends. They sing, the song of Moses AND the Song of the Lamb. The Lamb "takes away the sins of the world." The Lamb took the sins of the world. We place our faith in His faithfulness.
The people of God are "sealed in their foreheads." Revelation 14:1. The New Covenant promise is to write "His law in our hearts." Heb. 8:10. The law is a reflection of God's character. Other NT verses call for us to have the "mind" of Christ, the "life" of Christ, the "love of God", and "Christ in us." The Seal of God, internally, is the love, faith, and character of Christ. The Law of God contains the "seal" of God in the fourth commandment, but the only reason one would keep the external "seal" in the last days is because they have the Seal of God in their foreheads, or the character and faith of Christ internally. Obedience is the fruit of faith. What kind of faith?
Why is the Third Angel's Messages "Justification by faith?" Why is not sanctification a part of the message? Why? It is because "faith works by love and purifies the soul." (Galatians 5:6; II Corinthians 7:1). The people who have received Christ in living faith have believed in His act of redeeming the race at the cross, His act of justification unto life for us, and thus have personally experienced the fruit of faith, the new birth experience, and the life of Christ lived out in loving obedience. Those who have the "Mark of the Beast" internally, or the character of Satan, then bear fruit in the life of that experience by observing the day of Worship that Satan has created to compete with and replace the memorial of our Creator.
"The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God." Last Day Events by Ellen G. White, p. 200.
If you once look lightly on creation, the force of the Gospel is weakened for you. Satan is even content that you should call redemption a greater work than that of creation, for by doing so you are not in the least exalting the work of redemption, but depreciating it. Redemption and creation are the same work, and redemption is exalted only as creation is greatly appreciated. It may occur to you that since this is the case; that which commemorates creation must also commemorate redemption.
Justification, received by faith, results in forgiveness of sins, but also a heart change, in which we receive the power of Love in the Holy Spirit, and we are progressively recreated in holiness, love, obedience. The Third Angel's Message is, in its essence, a final call to the world to receive the everlasting Gospel. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Romans 1:18. To as many as receive Christ, He gives them the power to become sons and daughters of God. God recreates us in Christ-likeness.