The Sealing and the 144,000
When Joshua was retiring his role as the leader of the Israelites, he made a retirement speech, in which he reviewed God’s leading of his people from Egypt and how He established them in the Promised Land. At the conclusion of his speech he exhorted the Israelites to:
…choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15.
This is a choice that comes to every generation. In the time of Elijah, it came on Mount Carmel. In the time of Daniel, it came on the plains of Dura. In the time of Jesus, it came outside the palace of Pontius Pilate. These are all moments when crucial decisions are made, which determine the path that people traverse, either towards eternal life or eternal death.
In similar fashion, in the last days, there is one great, last decisive moment when the whole world will once again hear the words of Joshua; they will ascend Mount Carmel one last time; stand on the plains of Dura and bow or not; join the mob outside Pilate’s palace or not. In the last days it is the sealing work which forces all of humanity to choose. There will be one final close of probation and then the end will come.
The Angels and the Four Winds
The world is in a turbulent state. However, if it were not for the angels of God restraining the power and malevolence of the evil One, the world would be in a far worse state than it already is. This is symbolized by the four angels holding back the four winds:
Angels are belting the world, refusing Satan his claims to supremacy, made because of the vast multitude of his adherents. We hear not the voices, we see not with the natural sight the work of these angels, but their hands are linked about the world, and with sleepless vigilance they are keeping the armies of Satan at bay till the sealing of God’s people shall be accomplished. The ministers of Jehovah, angels have skill and power and great strength, being commissioned to go forth from heaven to earth to minister to His people. They are given the work of keeping back the raging power of him who has come down like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 968-970.
It is not just the plans of Satan that are thwarted by the angels. Human powers are just as eager to wreak havoc upon the world, but they also are restrained by the angels:
Four mighty angels hold back the powers of this earth till the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. The nations of the world are eager for conflict, but they are held in check by the angels. When this restraining power is removed, there will come a time of trouble and anguish. Deadly instruments of warfare will be invented. Vessels, with their living cargo, will be entombed in the great deep. All who have not the spirit of truth will unite under the leadership of satanic agencies. But they are to be kept under control till the time shall come for the great battle of Armageddon. The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 968-970.
Another angel rising from the east (the east symbolizes Christ), flies with urgent instructions for the restraining angels:
Saying, Hurt not the earth neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads. Rev. 7:3.
In other words, a message is being passed on to the angels on duty, to persist in their work because the finishing touches to the completion of Christ’s kingdom are not yet finished. The angels must continue their restraining work until God’s people are sealed.
What is the Sealing?
The sealing is obviously a very important work, because it is the sealing that produces the 144,000. Therefore, if we want to be a part of the 144,000, it is essential that we know what the sealing is. In order to assist our inquiry into the sealing, it is helpful to know that the Son was sealed by the Father:
Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Jn. 6:27.
Leaving aside the question as to why Jesus needed to be sealed by the Father, for now it is instructive to note that we are exhorted to ‘labour.’ And what is it that we should labour after? We are told that we need to ‘labour’ after the ‘meat’ which will ‘endure’ unto eternal life. So, what is this meat that we should diligently seek after? The apostle Paul sheds some light on the answer to this question:
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. Heb. 5:12 – 6:3.
What we learn from the principle of ‘meat’ seeking is that God’s Kingdom is progressive. The Kingdom began with God adopting a baby (see Ezekiel chap. 16). God nourished the baby and lavished His care on the baby. Naturally, in its infancy the baby was nourished with milk, but there comes a time in every baby’s life when the baby is weaned off the milk and moves on to solid food. This is not just an illustration of the development of the Kingdom, it also illustrates the development of each individual in the Kingdom. Of course, the ‘meat’ is used as a symbol for the Truth. The exhortation to pursue the ‘meat’ is an exhortation to progress in one’s understanding of the Truth. So that there would eventually be a Kingdom, composed of individuals all united by a common understanding of the Truth.
This explains why Jesus was sealed by the Father. While Jesus was carrying out His ministry on earth, He often referred to the fact that He was not acting according to His own will, but that he was always doing the Father’s will (see Ps. 40:6-8; cf. Heb. 10:5-7; Jn. 6:38; 5:19, 30; Matt. 26:39). This means that Jesus understood the Truth of His ministry and His personal role in it. He not only understood, but accepted, His role and was willing to faithfully carry it out. God the Father then ‘seals’ the Son in His role as the Saviour of the world. This is exactly what we also need to learn. We need to thoroughly understand the Truth, understand our role in progressing the Truth and faithfully carry it out. If we do this, we also will be sealed. But we will be sealed by the Holy Spirit:
…grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Eph. 4:30.
Once we know who seals us, we can also know what He seals us with:
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. Jn. 16:13, 14.
The Holy Spirit seals us and He seals us with the Truth. When we understand and accept the Truth we will be sealed – with which Ellen White agrees:
…it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved… SDABC vol. 6, p. 1161.
The Kingdom of Truth versus the Kingdom of Lies
If God’s people are sealed by the Truth, it is entirely reasonable to assume that “the father of lies” (Jn. 8:33), will be doing everything in his power to denigrate the Truth, obfuscate the Truth, cover up the Truth and ultimately to construct an alternative reality to the Truth. This is something that Jesus and the Bible authors constantly remind us about. When the disciples asked Jesus to tell them about the destruction of the temple and the end of the world, the very first thing Jesus said was, “take heed that no man deceives you” (Matt. 24:4).
In Revelation, John was shown how extensive the deception would be. He saw a woman riding a beast and one of the many evils she was responsible for was giving the people of the earth ‘the wine of her fornication’ to drink. Literal wine makes people physically drunk, so that they cannot walk straight. Spiritual wine makes people spiritually drunk so that they cannot think straight. People who drink the ‘wine of her fornication’ cannot find the Truth. The purpose of the woman’s wine is to weave an alternative reality. It no longer matters what the Truth is; what matters is what is perceived to be true. Therefore, for their social, mental and spiritual edification the people are fed a never-ending diet of propaganda and ‘false news’ – which is the wine of her fornication.
However, fundamentally, the people are willingly deceived. They willingly give up their God-given faculties enabling critical thinking – they want to be deceived. It is more comfortable to be told warm fuzzy lies than the Truth, all the Truth and nothing but the Truth. They do not want to hear about sin and death. They want to be told that everyone goes to heaven, and takes their sins with them. This was the case in the time of Isaiah. The people actually asked Isaiah to prophesy ‘false news:’
That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers, see not; and to the prophets, prophecy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophecy deceits. Isa. 30:9, 10.
Paul tells us that the same spiritual condition and the same attitude would prevail in the last days:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears to the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Tim. 4:3, 4.
The Elect Escape
Man is a social being – he feels most comfortable when he is a part of the herd. However, being part of the herd requires one to act like and think like the herd. If one wants to practice one’s own God-given individual sovereignty one has to stand outside of the actions and mentality of the herd. This is difficult to do and can be very stressful. It is a life, like a fish, constantly having to swim upstream, and often battling turbulent waters. Nevertheless, if people want to get off the broad road that leads to destruction and find the narrow road that leads to eternal life, learning to exercise one’s sovereign individual rights is the necessary initial step. If one is willing to think for themselves and act according to their conscience, they are well on their way to becoming part of God’s elect.
When Jesus was telling His disciples to be on their guard against deception, He also told them that the deceptions would so great that possibly even God’s elect might be deceived – if such a thing were possible (see Matt. 24:24). In other words, according to Jesus, the alternative reality constructed by the enemy is going to be so compelling that maybe even God’s elect cannot see through it. Nevertheless, most of the elect will survive the onslaught. Therefore, we need to know who the elect are – what do they have that enables them to survive. When Peter wrote to the Christian Church at large he provided us with the answer:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 1 Pet. 1:1, 2.
Therefore, the ‘elect’ are those who have been sanctified by the Spirit unto obedience and have been sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ. What does this mean? Why do these three things make up or constitute the elect?
Sanctification is the process whereby sinners are turned into saints – this is the work of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives. According to Peter, the Elect are those who have been sanctified unto obedience. This means that they are keeping the law. This is the natural and ultimate goal of the process of sanctification. When all this is accomplished, Peter says the elect are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. Does this not seem backwards? Surely the sinner needs to start with the blood of Jesus to cover his sins? But Peter has read about this process before – he is repeating the protocol that was established at Sinai.
At Sinai the people first had to be sanctified. Then Moses read the law to them. Then they promised to keep the law (sanctified unto obedience), then Moses sprinkled them with the blood of the sacrifices (see Exod. 19:10-24:8). This is in the same order as written by Peter. The blood in this instance is used to ratify the commitment of the people. They are sprinkled with the blood because they have committed themselves to obey the conditions of the covenant, which is the law of God.
This is analogous to the sealing of the 144,000. We are told that the Seal of God is defined as being so entrenched in the Truth that the people cannot be shaken out of it. What is the Truth if not the law of God in all its fullness (such as the spiritual expansion of the law that Jesus delivered in His Sermon on the Mount)? Therefore, in the last days the Elect and the 144,000 will be the same people.
This can be further proven by what is revealed in chapter 14 of Revelation. The chapter begins with a description of the 144,000 which concludes by stating they “are without fault before the throne of God” (Rev. 14:5). Then come three angels with three messages. It is these messages that produce the 144,000. When the three angel’s messages are concluded, we find a people described as having: “the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). They are saints, which means they have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit. They are commandment keepers, which means they have been sanctified unto obedience. They have the faith of Jesus, which means they have been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. They have been sealed with the Seal of God, they cannot be shaken out of the Truth – they do not drink ‘the wine of her fornication’ – and they escape the deceptions of the enemy.
Type and Antitype
The biblical principles of interpretation tell us that the major events portrayed in the Book of Revelation are prefigured in the Old Testament. According to these principles, we should be able to find similar events, that have taken place in the past – and this is indeed the case with the sealing. The Old Testament type for the sealing work in the Book of Revelation is found in the events recorded in the Book of Ezekiel chapters eight and nine. Ellen White tells us:
This sealing of the servants of God [in Revelation] is the same that was shown to Ezekiel in vision. TM 445.
The vision that Ezekiel had is the type and the vision that John had is the anti-type. In Ezekiel’s vision, Jerusalem is about to be destroyed by the Babylonians. But before the destruction is meted out, God shows Ezekiel why the destruction was necessary. Jerusalem has been weighed in the balances and found wanting. The destruction comes because of the sins of the people (much of it done in secret). An angel is instructed to go through Jerusalem and ‘mark’ [or seal] those who are to be protected and saved from death. The mark was placed “upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Eze. 9:4). In other words, those who are sealed are those who do not accept or participate in the sins of the people. Not only do they not participate, they are lamenting over the sins of the people – they are lamenting the spiritual state of the people – and they are interceding for the people. The Philadelphians of Ezekiel’s time were praying for the Laodiceans of Ezekiel’s time.
The forehead is the seat of the will – the center of reason and choice. It is the place where the Holy Spirit “guides into all truth” (Jn. 16:13). This is why the 144,000 are also described as being sealed “in their foreheads” (Rev. 7:3). The location of the seal indicates ‘intellectual acceptance’ or ‘a settling into the Truth’ – being sealed in their foreheads is a spiritual representation of reason applied and choices made that ‘settle’ the people of God into all Truth.
Just as the sealing work among God’s people was over the issue of truth versus error in the days of Ezekiel, so too is it over the same issue in the last days. But what were the specific errors, that were prominent in the time of Ezekiel and what will the specific errors be in the last days? Fundamentally, the issue in question, both in Ezekiel’s time and in the future, is over worship – false worship versus true worship. This fundamental issue of worship can be further delineated into two main categories – idol worship and the worship of the sun. It was the worshipping of idols and the worship of the sun that characterized false worship in Ezekiel’s time. And so it will be over the same issues in the last days – idols and sun worship. This is why the sealing work in Ezekiel’s time is the type for the anti-type that is happening at the present time and what will be even more prominent in the future.
Judgment Begins at the House of God
Ellen White has told us that we need to pay special attention to the 9th chapter of Ezekiel:
Study the 9th chapter of Ezekiel. These words will be literally fulfilled; yet the time is passing and the people are asleep. Letter 106, 1909.
In the 9th chapter, it is revealed that those most prominently engaged in perpetrating the abominations in the land are the religious and political leaders. Through Ezekiel, God condemns the false teachers and false prophets for discouraging the righteous and encouraging the unrighteous:
Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life. Eze. 13:22.
The ‘influencers’ are responsible for the apostasy and the spiritual state of the people. Lies and deception (fake news) are the order of the day. Therefore the “ancient men”, those “before the house” (see Eze. 9:6), are the first to suffer the sentence pronounced upon the people.
The six angels with slaughter weapons in their hands, who follow the angel who places the seal on those sighing and crying, are specifically tasked with beginning their work in the temple (the headquarters). This is in keeping with Scripture which says: “…judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Pet. 4:17). The same principle applies when the anti-type takes place. The religious leaders, who have betrayed the trust of the people, are the first to suffer for their sins:
The mark of deliverance has been set upon those “that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done.” Now the angel of death goes forth, represented in Ezekiel’s vision by the men with the slaughtering weapons, to whom the command is given: “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.” Says the prophet: “They began at the ancient men which were before the house.” Ezekiel 9:1-6. The work of destruction begins among those who have professed to be the spiritual guardians of the people. The false watchmen are the first to fall. There are none to pity or to spare. Men, women, maidens, and little children perish together. GC 656.
True Worship versus False Worship
The enemy challenges all the important truths about God, Jesus, and the plan of salvation, by using a system of counterfeits. The existence of a counterfeit indicates that the original is a vital part of God’s plan for the redemption of man. Therefore, there is a counterfeit of ‘the Seal of God’ – it is ‘the mark of the beast’ (Rev. 13:16; 14:9-11). We know it is a counterfeit because both the Seal of God and the mark of the beast are ‘received’ in the forehead [the mark of the beast can also be received in the hand, indicating compliance only, without conviction]. Once we realize that the mark of the beast is a counterfeit we can easily determine what the Seal of God is. The one will be the opposite, and/or in competition, with the other.
Our investigation into the mark of the beast should begin with the type. In the time of Ezekiel, the conflict was one of truth versus error – but what were the actual issues. In the time of the 144,000 the conflict is again one of truth versus error – could the issues be the same? If they are, we will be one step closer to determining what the seal of God and the mark of the beast are.
Reading Ezekiel’s vision in chapter eight, we discover that the people are sinning in only one thing – worship. They have given themselves over totally to false worship. They are worshipping idols, and they are worshipping the sun.
If we turn to the conflict in the Book of Revelation we also find that the issue is false worship versus true worship. The prophetic picture paints a scene similar to what transpired on the plain of Dura, in Babylon. During Daniel’s time of captivity, a great image was erected and the people were instructed to bow down and worship it. However, a remnant of God’s people refused to bow down, and they were condemned to death. But they were miraculously preserved by the intervention of Christ. This conflict between true and false worship recorded in Daniel chapter three, is yet another type for the antitype presented in Revelation chapter thirteen.
In Revelation thirteen we have a beast that builds an image to the first beast, and the people of the world bow down and worship the dragon and the beast. Those who refuse are threatened with death. But this portion of prophecy concludes with the 144,000 pictured as being safe with Christ on Mount Zion.
The issues are the same. It is a conflict over who the people of the world are going to give their allegiance to. Once their allegiance is given they will worship as they are commanded. However, is it not the case that the world has become a little more sophisticated since the time of Ezekiel and Daniel – surely only the ignorant and the unsophisticated worship idols, and the sun anymore? Or is this a case of, the more things change the more things stay the same? For example, if we define idol worship as being anything that takes the place of God, we can easily see that idol worship is just as rampant in modern times as it was in Ezekiel’s time. When the destruction comes Ellen White has this insightful comment:
They look with terror upon the destruction of the idols which they preferred before their Maker. They have sold their souls for earthly riches and enjoyments, and have not sought to become rich toward God. GC 653.
The same principle applies to the sun worship that the people were practicing in Ezekiel’s time. Sun worship, in its modern guise, now appears as worshipping on the day of the sun – Sunday. Therefore, if our reasoning is correct, Sunday as the day of worship should be the Mark of the Beast and that which has been counterfeited namely, the seventh-day Sabbath, should be the Seal of God.
Sabbath verses Sunday
The conflict between Sabbath and Sunday is a conflict over authority. It is a conflict about who is the legitimate ruler of the universe, and who is therefore owed allegiance and worship.
There is a lot of difference between the words of a king and the words of the village idiot. The difference between them is; one speaks with legitimate authority and the other does not. All ‘words’ need to be established on authority [law]. For example, the ‘words’ of science are established on the natural laws of the universe. The ‘words’ of mathematics are established on proven mathematical theorems. The ‘words’ of common law are established on precedent [proven cases, investigated and judged correctly from the past]. All ‘words’ have to have an authority that legitimizes them otherwise they are meaningless.
When Jesus walked the earth, the people were constantly asking Him by what authority He did the things that He did, and said the things that He said (see Mk. 8:11,12,11:28-33; Matt. 12:38-41, 16:1-4; Lu. 11:16,29; Jn. 2:18-21; 4:48, 6:30). Jesus did not avoid the issue, but the problem was, they could not understand the ‘proof’ that He offered.
The apostle John understood the importance of establishing authority. The authority issue is the first thing that he deals with in his account of the gospel:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. Jn. 1:1-3.
John tells us that Jesus is the original WORD. All other ‘words’ [authorities] have their source in Him. In other words, the laws of nature that establish the authority of science owe their existence to Jesus. The same applies to mathematics, common law and all other authorities. And this is because, as John points out, Jesus is the Creator. All things: authorities, powers, principles and precepts have been established by the original WORD of God (cf. Col. 1:16,17).
Therefore, all Christians and Christian ‘authorities’ [Christian communities or churches], when they seek to authenticate their authority, they always appeal to the written word – the Bible. The Bible gives legitimacy and authority to all Christian communities. Just as scientists appeal to the established laws of the universe for their authority, Christians appeal to the established words of God for their authority. All except one. There is one church claiming the name of ‘Christian’ that does not find its ultimate authority in the revealed word of God. That church is the Roman Catholic Church.
The Protestant Churches of the world have a common constitution. It simply says, ‘grace alone, faith alone and the Bible alone.’ Of these three, the most important is ‘the Bible alone.’ This is because the first two can only be discovered by reading the Bible. The Protestant Churches, therefore, originated by establishing themselves on the Word. They took the word of Jesus, and built their ‘house’ on the Rock (see Matt. 7:24,25). On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church makes no such claims. This church claims for itself another foundation for its legitimacy and its authority. It claims that it has the God given right to change the Word of God. The proof that they offer for this assertion, is that they changed the day of worship from Sabbath to Sunday. On this issue there can be no dispute because the Catholics are not hesitant in this matter – they boldly proclaim that they are responsible and they challenge anyone to prove them wrong:
The Bible still teaches that the Sabbath or Saturday should be kept holy. There is no authority in the New Testament for the substitution of Sunday for Saturday. Surely it is an important matter. It stands there in the Bible as one of the Ten Commandments of God. There is no authority in the Bible for abrogating this commandment, or for transferring its observance to another day of the week. [But] For Catholics it is not the slightest difficulty… The Church is above the Bible; and this transference from Saturday to Sunday is proof positive of that fact. The Catholic Record, London, Ontario, September 1, 1923.
Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the church ever did happened in the first century. The holy day, the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday… not from any directions noted in the Scriptures, but from the Church’s sense of its own power… People who think the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become 7th Day Adventists and keep Saturday holy. Saint Catherine Catholic Church Sentinel, Algonac, Michigan, May 21, 1995.
In other words, the ‘word’ of the popes take priority over, and are more authoritative than, the Word of God. As proof they offer the fact that the Roman Catholic Church changed the Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first day of the week. By changing the law of God, they have demonstrated that they supposedly have authority over the law of God. Therefore, the change that the Catholic Church made, from Sabbath to Sunday, becomes the ‘mark’ of their supposed superior authority.
The Roman Catholic Church is a carefully constructed counterfeit of the true church of God. The Virgin Mary is a counterfeit savior. The priests are counterfeit mediators. The popes are counterfeit fathers/gods. Thus, they have even counterfeited the godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore, we should not be surprised that there is also a counterfeit Sabbath. It is this counterfeit system that constitutes the beast of Revelation. It is this beast that appeals to its supposed ability to change the law of God as its authority. Therefore, the fact that it changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday makes Sunday the mark of the beast. The Seal of God is therefore the opposite of Sunday. The Seal of God is the original and true Sabbath day – the seventh day Sabbath. The Bible confirms that our conclusions are correct:
Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. Ex. 31:16, 17.
The Sabbath is the sign, that binds God and His people together. It is a cathedral in time. When a marriage is transacted between a man and a woman, rings and vows are exchanged to ratify the agreement. The same thing occurs between God and man. When we accept God’s gift of salvation we enter into a type of marriage relationship and we agree to exchange time. God has set aside the Sabbath as a time of worship, communion, and learning. As we worship, commune and learn, we are “led into all truth” and our relationship with Christ deepens and broadens. We become like Him. This process is called sanctification, and the Bible confirms that sanctification is intimately connected to the Sabbath:
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. Ex. 20:12.
The Sabbath is therefore a vital part of God’s plan for saving His people. This is why it has been obscured, corrupted and counterfeited, by the enemy. And before the world can come to an end, this particular ‘breach’ that has been made in the wall of protection, that God has built around His people, must be restored. God is looking for “faithful and wise servants” who can ‘repair waste places’ and be ‘repairers of broken walls’ etc.
And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. Isa. 58:12.
Notice the context in which this restoration work is placed, the very next verse highlights the most important thing to be restored:
The Lord says, “If you will stop trampling on the Sabbath – pursuing your own interests and doing what you please on my holy day – and start honoring the Sabbath instead, making it a delight, not doing your own work or talking about your own business on that day, but considering others – then you will find the joy that comes from serving the Lord… Isa. 58:13, 14.
If it is God’s intention that He will perfect His people before the second coming of Christ, and the book of Revelation clearly indicates that this is His intention [a cursory reading of Revelation should convince those who ‘have ears to hear’ that this is the case], and those with ‘Christian authority’ confirm and assert this to be true:
The book [the book of Revelation] is a revelation of Jesus Christ at work perfecting a people on earth so that they may reflect His flawless character… SDABC vol. 7, p 724.
If the goal is to perfect His people before the end of time, and if the Sabbath is the sign between God and man of God’s sanctifying power, then it has to be concluded that the Sabbath has to be restored before the end of time. Without the Sabbath the work of sanctifying and perfecting God’s people would be impossible.
Because the Advent movement has been proclaiming the restoration of the Seventh-day Sabbath for nearly 200 years, it should not be difficult for students of prophecy to believe that the rise of the Advent movement is a direct result of heaven’s desire to finish the work that is left to do before Christ returns. The Advent movement is heaven’s reply to the false claims of the beast and its mark. It is heaven’s method of bringing history to a close by repeating the challenge of Joshua to the last generations, “choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Jos. 24:15).
The Advent movement is the ‘repairer of the breach.’ As it proclaims the truth about the seventh day Sabbath and as the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit has its effect, people receive the seal of God in their foreheads – it is this work of revival and reform that produces the 144,000. This is a “nail in a sure place” (Isa. 22:23). [One of the Advent pioneers favorite verses to quote].