The Covenant, the Mark and the Seal

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Covenant, the Mark, and the Seal

By Larry R. Lasiter

1998

My friends, I believe that we are living in the period of time the Bible calls the "last days" or the "end time." This is not necessarily bad, for it is only the end of life as we have known and experienced. At its end, God will usher in the wonderful world to come where Jesus and his faithful will bring peace to a world that has not truly known peace. In the 5758 years of recorded history,(Hebrew Calendar) there has been war somewhere on this planet for all but about 300 years. In the world to come war will be abolished, notice -"And they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war." (Micah 4:3)  

For the first time in history, man actually has the means to destroy all life on planet Earth.Jesus foretold of this time, and said -"Had not those days been cut short, no life would be saved alive."(Matt.24) The Prophet Daniel prophesied that knowledge and transportation would be vastly increased in the latter days. (Dan.12) Certainly, there has never been a century like the 20th century. Man has literally gone from horse and buggy, to trips to the moon. And from fighting his battles with sword and musket, to laser-controlled missiles each armed with nuclear warheads capable of destroying entire cities.  

Think about it. For thousands of years little changed in how man traveled, fought his wars and treated illnesses. How greatly that has all changed in this century.  

In the END-TIME, there will be a great tribulation. A time of trouble unlike any other time since creation. The last of man's world-ruling empires will arise. This will be the final revival of the fourth beast spoken of in the book of Daniel. Its leader, which the Bible also calls the "beast", will be possessed by Satan, and be assisted by a great religious leader the Scriptures call the "false prophet." The beast, both the man and the system, will deceive the entire world and demand worship. All mankind will worship the beast and receive his MARK except the chosen people of God, the very elect, -the true Christians living during this time period. Notice Jesus' warning, -For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect."(Matthew 24:24)  

Other than those faithful true Christians, the entire world will follow the beast and worship the Devil unwittingly, notice -"And the WHOLE EARTH was amazed and followed after the beast; and they WORSHIPED THE DRAGON, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast saying, -"Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?" (Revelation 13:3-4)  

Verse 7 says that the beast will make war with the saints of God and will overcome them. Notice ,-"And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, every one whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain." (Revelation 13:7-8)   

A "saint" is one who has been "sanctified." To be "sanctified' means to be "set-apart." True Christians are "set-apart" by TRUTH. (John 17:13-21) The apostle Paul warned that those who reject truth at that time, will be given a spirit of "strong delusion" in order that they may actually believe lies. (2 Thes. 2)Paul goes on to say that many Christians will fall away to apostasy because they will not have a deep love for the truth.  

During this END-TIME period, the followers of God and the followers of Satan will bedistinguished by identifying traits. (1) One group, the vast majority will worship the beast, the dragon and his system. One, the small minority, will not. (2) One group will make war and one group will be overcome. (3) One group will be deceived because they do not have a deep love for God's truth. And one will not be deceived because they do love God's truth. (4) One group will receive the beast's MARK and one group will receive God's SEAL. (5) One group will attack those who will not comply to the commands of the beast. And one group will suffer attack because of their faithfulness to God. (6) One group will despise the COVENANT of God and attack those will hold to it. One group will hold to the COVENANT and suffer persecution because of it. (7) One group will cry for the rocks to fall on them to hide them from the face of the Lord at His return. And one group will rejoice at the return of the Lord in all His glory, knowing that their redemption is at hand and righteous judgment will prevail.  

Whether the MARK of the beast will be an actual visible impression is debatable. One may argue, that if the MARK can be seen with the eyes, then God's SEAL would be visual also. The reason: The Greek word for MARK is "charagma", which means "impressed mark", and the Greek word for SEAL is"sphragis", which means "to impress." The Hebrew word used for SEAL is "chatam", which means "to impress with a seal to confirm and verify." The Bible plainly says that those who receive the MARK, will worship the beast, and those with the SEAL will not. The real key to receiving the SEAL of God, and not the MARK of the beast, is determining who you WORSHIP. True Christians worship God in TRUTH. (John 4)  

To SEAL or MARK comes from the custom of sealing a judgment with the SIGNET RING of a King. The signet ring, bearing the mark of the King represented, would be pressed into the clay or wax seal used to hold a scroll together. The scroll would usually contain a judgment or a measure that had been determined by the King. A courier then could take this scroll to whoever it was intended for with the authority of the King. Notice this from the Illustrated Dictionary and Concordance of the Bible, -"In ancient times, (signet) seals were used to denote personal ownership." In the case of a judgment or measure, the King's signet seal meant that non-compliance would be equivalent to personal rebellion against him and his decree.  

The highest honor and symbol of trust that could be given to one in government in ancient times, was to receive the signet ring of the King. Though very rare, sometimes a person was so trusted and respected by his King that he was actually given the King's signet ring. Having this seal gave the holder the authority of the King. The Pharaoh of Egypt so trusted Joseph, he bestowed upon him this honor, notice -"And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "See I have set you over all the land of Egypt." Then Pharaoh took off HIS SIGNET RING from his hand, and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen, and put the gold necklace around his neck." (Gen.41:41-42)  

Before the wrath of God is poured out during the last year of the tribulation, an Angel with God's SEAL will descend to seal the Lord's bond-servants on their foreheads for protection. (Revelation 7:3) And after Satan is removed from his throne, an Angel will come down out of heaven with the key to the abyss, a great chain and the SEAL of God to seal the abyss shut over him. (Rev.20:3) But why would Satan SEAL his followers with his MARK?  

The Bible tells us of a time before man when the Angels had dominion with Lucifer as the leader of one-third of them as given by God. In Ezekiel 28 the prophet tells us that Lucifer had the "SEAL of perfection", or literally, "you were the SIGNET of perfection." the Masoretic Text reads, -"You were the one SEALING up, or a SEALER of proportion, measure, symmetry -perfection." TheLatin Vulgate reads, -"You were the SIGNET RING of proportion, measure, symmetry and perfection."  

Notice what M.L. Andreasen said in his book entitled The Sabbath, -"Different translations give the same general idea, that Lucifer had something to do with the SEAL, that he had the SIGNET RING, and that that which was SEALED was something perfect, a pattern, a measure. We therefore, with the support of the original, translate, -"Thou art the SEALER of the measure." We take the word "measure" to denote LAW, a common use, as, -"The legislature has just passed a new measure."  

Understand also, that the Ark of the COVENANT has two Angels with their wings out-stretched to COVER the mercy seat. The mercy seat represents the throne of God. The Ark was simply a box to house the TESTIMONY, which was the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God into tablets of stone. The COVENANT is the agreed terms between God and man. God promised to bless those who will keep His Commandments. Keeping the Commandments is being faithful to the terms of the covenant.  

In Ezekiel 28, Lucifer is named as a "COVERING ANGEL." "COVERS" in Hebrew is "sakak" meaning "to hedge in" or "protector." Lucifer was one of the covering Angels, one of those who had been given charge of the LAW, to protect it. He was the keeper of the SIGNET RING used to confirm measures or judgments of God. This was the highest honor which God could bestow upon him, but Lucifer became disqualified because he desired the very throne of God. He said to himself, -"I will ascend and establish my throne in heaven."(Isa.14) His unlawful desire led to war in heaven.(Rev.12) After his defeat, he lost the honor of possessing the signet of God and was cast down to the earth. But as the god of this world (2 Cor.4:4) Lucifer has replaced God's SEAL with his own MARK. A MARK to impress his lawless way on all who would receive it. This gives greater meaning to the passage, "And they worshipped the dragon (Lucifer) because he GAVE HIS AUTHORITY to the BEAST." The beast will receive the SIGNET or MARK of Lucifer which will enable him to exercise all the AUTHORITY of the god of this world, which is the Devil.  

Those SEALED by God are those who keep the Commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.(Rev.12) They are SEALED with the holy spirit and the name of God is on their foreheads.(Rev 14) Notice, -"And the dragon was enraged with the woman (church) and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of God and hold the TESTIMONY OF JESUS." (Rev.12:17) Some teach that this woman is Israel, but notice that she not only "keeps the commandments" but "holds the testimony of Jesus." Israel for the most part has never received the testimony of Jesus. Notice again how God's SAINTS are identified in this time,-"Here is the perseverance of the SAINTS who KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of God and their FAITH IN JESUS." (Rev.14:12)  

In sharp contrast, the beast is called the "man of lawlessness", -"Let no one in any way DECEIVE YOU, for it will not come (Jesus' second coming) unless the apostasy (falling away from the true faith) comes first, and the MAN OF LAWLESSNESS is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God." (2 Thes.2:3-4)  

During the great tribulation the beast will claim to be God and demand worship, but notice that Paul calls him the "man of lawlessness", why? Could it be it is because he seeks to destroy the terms of the COVENANT? Not the Sinai covenant ratified by the blood of animals, but the NEW COVENANT ratified by the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God? Notice, -"But if you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and CHURCH of the first-born who are ENROLLED IN HEAVEN, (Book of Life)and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the MEDIATOR of a NEW COVENANT, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel." (Heb.12:22-24) The church of God are partakers of the new covenant. They know their God and God knows them personally. They have repented (changed) of their old lawless ways and have agreed to the terms of the new covenant, which is living by the Commandments of God. After confessing their former sinful ways, they have been baptized and received the holy spirit, which is the SEAL of God.(Ephesians 1:13) They understand that to stop practicing sin is to stop transgressing the commandments. Notice, -"Sin is the transgression of the LAW." Or as rendered in the NAS, -"Every one who PRACTICES SIN also PRACTICES LAWLESSNESS; and SIN IS LAWLESSNESS." (1 John 3:4)  

Anyone who does not practice keeping the Ten Commandments has not entered into the new covenant. The Apostle John was inspired to write, -"And BY THIS we know that we have come to KNOW HIM, if we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. The one who says, -"I have come to know Him"and does not KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS is a LIAR, and the TRUTH is not in him." (1 John 2:3-4)  

Remember, as we learned from 2 Thes. Chapter 2, it is those who possess and love the TRUTH that will not be deceived by the "man of lawlessness." And as John says, those who do not keep the Commandments do not possess the truth that would ultimately protect them from being deceived by the beast. As Revelation chapter 12 and chapter 14 states, those who refuse the MARK are those who keep the commandments and hold to the belief that Jesus is the Messiah. It will not be enough to keep the commandments alone, without partaking of the blood and terms of the new covenant, -without accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. But it will also not be enough to profess Jesus as your Lord but live a lawless way of life.  

The "King of the North" of Daniel chapter 11 is the "beast" of chapter 7 and Revelation 13. InDaniel 11 the prophet foretells that this man will become enraged at the "HOLY COVENANT" and take action against it. In Verse 30, Daniel says the beast will show favor to those who "forsake the holy covenant." In Verse 31 we see that by smooth, deceitful words he will convince many Christians to turn from keeping the commandments, notice -And by smooth words he will TURN TO GODLESSNESS those who act wickedly toward the COVENANT, but the PEOPLE who KNOW THEIR GOD will DISPLAY STRENGTH and TAKE ACTION." We have already seen that those whokeep the commandments are those who know their God. The true Christians will stand in the truth of what it means to abide in the grace of the new covenant,(Heb.10:26-29) and will "give understanding to many"(Verse 32), for which many will be killed. Isn't it easy to understand why the Apostle Paul referred to him as the "man of lawlessness?"  

One cannot know God without keeping His commandments. One cannot be a true, faithful Christian without knowing God. One cannot receive God's SEAL without the holy spirit. And one cannot receive the holy spirit without repenting of practicing sin, which is breaking the commandments on a regular basis, and is not submitting to the terms of the new covenant. One cannot have the truth without keeping the commandments. And one cannot be protected from the deception to come without the truth. All without the SEAL and TRUTH of God will be seduced by "smooth words" into receiving the MARK of the beast, the very impress of the Devil. They will be stamped with his SIGNET RING which connotes his ownership. Those who are not owned by God, having been purchased with the blood of His Son (blood of the new covenant) and impressed with His SEAL, will be claimed by Satan andimpressed with his MARK.  

David Spangler, a well-known leader in the New Age religious movement and Author of several books, claims that he has communicated with the "New Age Messiah" in spirit. This spirit calls himself "Limitless Love and Truth". This demonic spirit masquerading as a messenger from God sent these words to the people of the earth, -"I present to you, therefore, the revelation of man's destiny, for behold! I have PLACED MY SEAL upon this PLANET." (The Birth of a New Age, Spangler) The "god of this world" is claiming all who will forsake the covenant and God's commandments, as his followers. The Devil calls it his "SEAL" but God calls it his "MARK", sealing up not a pattern of LAW, as he did while in the grace of God, but of LAWLESSNESS. Let true Christians respond to that foul, demonic spirit, -"I submit to you therefore, your destiny. You shall be banished at the return of Jesus as Lord of Lords and King of Kings! You lost the battle at the cross of Calvary."  

We could spend much time trying to determine just what the MARK of the beast will be, and yet still ultimately be deceived into receiving it. It will only be those who have a love for the truth that will not be deceived. Those spoken of as being persecuted and even killed at that time are those who keep the commandments and receive Jesus as their Messiah.  

Almost 2000 years ago a young rich ruler asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life? Jesus answered, -"Keep the Commandments."(Matt.19) It's still the same today. True Christians will keep the Commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus.  

My friends, make sure you stand in obedience to God by keeping all Ten of His great Commandments including the seventh-day Sabbath. If it weren't still holy, then why would Jesus instruct us to pray this prayer at the time of the tribulation? -"But PRAY that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a SABBATH."(Matt.24:20) My friends, seek the SEAL.    

 

 

 

 

Points of Truth Ministries