What is the Seal of God?

By Robert K. Sanders


Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church officials mislead people who attend their evangelistic seminars and Bible studies, read Adventist publications, or study views posted on their Internet sites on the topics of "The Seal of God" and "The Mark of the Beast". Adventists teach that those who keep the seventh day Sabbath will receive the Seal of God and those who worship on Sunday will receive the Mark of the Beast.

This non-biblical teaching is an evangelistic tool that causes fear and pressures people to join the SDA Church, as no Christian wants to receive the Mark of the Beast. In addition, I might note that many SDAs fear leaving Adventism and giving up the Sabbath, as they do not wish to receive the Mark of the Beast and lose their salvation. Seventh-day Adventists must teach this non-biblical doctrine as one of the major doctrines of their church since it has been defined as such by the visions of their prophetess Ellen G. White (EGW).

Mrs. White repeatedly states that in order to receive "the seal of God" a person must maintain the works of Sabbath keeping. If this were true then all Sabbatarians, including Jews, would receive the Seal of God.


Ellen G. White Denies the Holy Spirit's Seal and Replaces it With the Jewish Sabbath

EGW: In these things I saw great danger; for if the mind is filled with other things, present truth is shut out, and there is no place in our foreheads for the seal of the living God. This seal is the Sabbath. To Those who are receiving the seal of the living God. —January 31, 1849, paragraph 11.

EGW: “To the church of God who keeps the Sabbath—the seal of the living God.” [Used as a closing sentence.]Ms 3, 1849, p. 2. (To Brethren and Sisters, January 18, 1849.) {5MR 200.1}

EGW: "Those who would have the seal of God in their foreheads must keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment."7BC 970 (1899).

EGW: "The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord's memorial of creation . . . . The mark of the beast is the opposite of this--the observance of the first day of the week."8T 117 (1904)

EGW: “In Revelation 13 this subject is plainly presented. [Rev. 13:11-17 quoted]. This is the test that the people of God must have before they are sealed. All who prove their loyalty to God by observing His law, and refusing to accept a spurious sabbath, will rank under the banner of the Lord God Jehovah, and will receive the seal of the living God. Those who yield the truth of heavenly origin, and accept the Sunday sabbath, will receive the mark of the beast. What need will there be of the solemn warning not to receive the mark of the beast, when all the saints of God are sealed and ticketed for the New Jerusalem? "O consistency, thou art a jewel!" —Letter 11, 1890 - MR. 1140, 15.3.

God puts his "seal of ownership" on Christians who believe in Christ and the Holy Spirit. God DOES NOT SAY keep the Sabbath and I will seal you.

2 Cor. 1:21, 22 (NIV): 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.

Eph. 1:13,14 (NIV): And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. 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.

Eph: 4:30 (NIV): And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Please note that Sabbath is NEVER called a SEAL, either in the Old Covenant or in the New Covenant. Sabbath keeping will never entitle anyone to receive the SEAL OF GOD.

Revelation tells us about another sealed group called the 144,000. They are from the twelve tribes of Israel. This means that no Seventh-day Adventists will be sealed and be among the 144,000, because they never belonged to any tribe of Israel.

Rev. 7:2-4 (NIV): Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

The Seal is the Son and the Father's name written in the forehead of the 144,000 and not the Sabbath!

Rev 14:1 (NIV) Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.


How the 1888 Bible Readings were changed

On January 31, 1849, James and Ellen White published an 11 X 17 inch Broadside titled To those who are receiving the seal of the living God. The three-column document contained three lengthy articles by Ellen G. White. Sometime after 1888, either Rosswell Cottrell or Frank Belden republished the same broadside, this time adding a comments on the bottom right-hand column of the page, clearly showing disgust and contempt for EGW and Bates’ calling the Sabbath “the Seal of God.” The note was signed by "your gospel song writer".


This is what was not approved

The quote from Ellen G. White in the Topsham Jan. 18, 1849 broadside, which brought about the change in the 1888 edition of Bible Readings for the Home Circle, is as follows:

EGW: "I saw great danger; for if the mind is filled with other things, present truth is shut out, and there is not place in our foreheads for the seal of the living God is the Sabbath."

The note points out that it was he, U. Smith, and George Butler that changed the “corruptive error of Sabbath keeping being the seal of God in the 1888 Bible Readings.


The full statement is as follows:

Preceding this "E. G. White" publication, and in that same month, Joseph Bates had issued his pamphlet -- "A Seal of the Living God: 144,000 being sealed in 1849." She echoed him. Their false six-o'clock Bates-White sabbath of two years (1847-1848) became, Jan. 5, 1849, their doubly false ("6 P.M." and "Seal of God") sabbath during the next seven years to Nov. 19, 1855, when Eld. Andrews lopped off the 6 o'clock of nine years. But the far more corruptive error -- Sabbath observance "the seal of God" on the individual observer -- remained until Elds. Smith, Butler, and your gospel song writer changed it as in a million copies of the 1888 "Bible Readings," using the Scriptural word "SIGN" (of loyalty)sign of Law observance.


Information about Rosswell F. Cottrell

“Rosswell F. Cottrell (1814-1892) He was a poet, especially noted as a hymn writer . . . He is better known for such hymns as "The Wonders of Redeeming Love," and was an effective force as a writer and counselor . . .. Soon after founding of the "Youth's Instructor," Cottrell wrote a series of Sabbath school lessons on the law of God (August 1854 - January 1855), and then on the faith of Jesus . . . And the third [angel's] message is a "separating message" involving the commandments of the Beast versus the commandments of God.” Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Volume 4, page 1090. See also SDA Encyclopedia, p.354.

Below are examples of the corrections by "your gospel song writer", Butler, and Uriah Smith made in the 1888 edition of Bible Readings for the Home Circle – pp. 244-247. They corrected the false Seal of the Living God from the “Sabbath Seal" to "the Scriptural word “SIGN” (of loyalty)sign of Law observance. The numbers 10, 14, and 15 are numbers from the 1888 ed.

10. With what is God's seal connected? "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples." Isa. 8:16.

14. Is the Sabbath ever called a sign? "It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed." Ex. 31:17.

15. For what purpose is the Sabbath a sign? “Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.” Eze. 20:12.


SDAs misread Isa. 8:16

When SDAs read point 10 from Isa.8:16, and see the word “law,” they have been taught that it is the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath, which have been bound up among the disciples. These words are not present in the text. The word “law” means the Torah, which has 613 commands to which Israel was fettered under the old covenant. Christians are not under the law/Torah. Christians are under the new covenant. The Sabbath was never a sign or seal between God and new covenant Christians.


James White was confused on the Seal of God

Even James White was confused on what constituted the Seal of God, and accepted his wife's view over the clear evidence provided in the Bible.

"…The Sabbath is the seal, and the Holy Spirit is the sealer.” Advent Review, 1:57, September 1850.



There are no requirements, other than the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior, for receiving the Seal of God!

Keeping the Old Covenant Sabbath is not a prerequisite for receiving the Seal of God as claimed by Ellen G. White. The Bible is clear on this matter. If the Seal of God were given only on the condition of Sabbath works, then all Sabbatarians would be entitled, including the works-driven Pharisees and Sadducees in Jesus' day, as well as present-day Jews, who do not accept Christ as their Savior.

The Seal of the Living God, which is the Holy Spirit, can only be given to those who have faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. This seal was given to the Christians in the Apostolic Church, and will continue to be given until the Second Coming of Christ. It has nothing to do with the end of the world or Sabbath keeping works as taught by EGW.

Ellen G. White was so Bible illiterate and brain damaged by the stone that hit her in the head that for seventy years she simply could not get things right -- especially the Seal of God! It is sad that so many intelligent people follow her, believing that she has received the truth directly from God, when, in fact, her "truth" contradicts the Bible.


Related Subjects

Sabbath Not a Law For Christians

The Pope nor the Catholic Church changed the Sabbath to Sunday

Robert K. Sanders, Founder and Editor of Truth or Fables, 1997–2012
Life Assurance Ministries assumed ownership of Truth or Fables in 2012
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