Just as there is speculation about what the Mark of the Beast is, there is also speculation about what the seal of the 144,000 is:
Revelation 7:3 â€” Donâ€™t harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the servants of our God on their foreheads.
In a previous post, I debunked the SDA theory that the Mark of the Beast is Sunday-Keeping. At the same time, I should have covered a side belief that goes along with this one. If someone believes that the Mark of the Beast is (sinful, pagan) Sunday worship, it’s natural that they believe that Sabbath-keeping is also mentioned in Revelation, but in a positive way.
One such teaching is that the seal given to the 144,000 is “keeping of Adonai’s appointed Sabbath”â€”even though the Sabbath is not mentioned anywhere in connection with them let alone the entire Book of Revelation.
Torah Required On Everyone Today?
Where does this idea come from then? Just like the Sunday Mark idea, it comes from an underlying assumption that the Sabbath is required today. In fact, not just Sabbath, but that all of the Torah is required on everyone. Here’s a few verses used to support this assertion:
Matthew 5:17-19 (NKJV) 17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Revelation 12: 17 (NKJV) And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Because Jesus said the Law and Prophets would not pass away until the earth does, some people read this as saying that the Torah has never stopped being required as well, down through history after the Old Covenant was broken. Additionally they believe it expanded its jurisdiction beyond the people it was given to, ancient Israel, to everyone. Naturally, under that understanding putting these two verses together makes it seem like the commandments that the righteous (as represented by the Woman and 144,000, cf. Rev 14:12) are keeping in the end times are the Torah, including Sabbath.
What Are the Commandments of God Today?
The problem with this thinking is this. Matthew 5 refers to the Millennial Kingdom of Heaven when the Torah will be taught to all and all will keep it (Isa 66:23; Zech 14:16). But that’s future and the Torah has not been taught or commanded by a prophet of God since before the exile of Israel and Judah. Even in Jesus time the leaders did not teach and keep Torah but their own religion (John 7:19).
Further, if the commandments of God referred to in Revelation 12 are Torah, then we’re all in trouble because the Torah was an all or nothing proposition with punishments when it was given and will be again (Zech 14:17-19).Â Today we can’t keep most of it (with no judges, priests, Levites, temple, altar, etc.) and like Judah and Israel would be guilty and punished for noncompliance.
Instead, what best fits the “commandments of God”Â in context is the commands that apply to a person in that time; in this case, the end times. What are the commandments of God we have today? They are expressed in the last six of the Ten Commandments included in the Torah, or “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:36-40). This was Jesus’ teaching on how to have eternal life (Lk 10:28), which was not the purpose and mission of the Torah was (i.e. wisdom, national greatness – Dt 4:6-7). By loving your neighbor for God, you are loving and pleasing God.
By the way, these commandments are the same ones that existed and were taught long before the Torah listing them was ever given to ancient Israel. And they never went away like the Torah for Israel when they broke the covenant. Further, unlike the Sabbath commandment, you are made aware of their necessity to this day by just being alive in a society of people. Not just from the government authority, but people around you are quick to teach you when you violate them (steal, kill, bear false witness, adulterate, disrespect elders). You don’t need a Torah or a Bible to learn how to love your neighbor. You can deduce that doing this must please God who made and loved them first, without a Bible. (Although a Bible can be needed in our times now to counteract such commonly taught errors such as Evolution.)
With that out of the way, it’s easy to see the correct interpretation of what the seal of the 144,000 is. The seal of the 144,000 is something that the angels do (for protection). It’s definitely not something the 144,000 are doing to be protected, and certainly nothing in the text says they are keeping Sabbath. (Yes, they must be righteous to be sealed, but the Woman is also righteous and not sealed in the same way.)Â It even tells us what it is: God’s name on their forehead.
Revelation 7:3 (HCSB)Â Donâ€™t harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the slaves of our God on their foreheads.
Revelation 14:1 (HCSB) Then I looked, and there on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with Him were 144,000 who had His name and His Fatherâ€™s name written on their foreheads.