The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast: Part 1

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Ephesians 2, Romans 8, Revelation 7, 13 & 14
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 11 The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast: Part 1

(Ephesians 2, Romans 8, Revelation 7, 13 & 14)


Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.


Introduction: What have we learned so far? The world will be divided into two groups. One is faithful to our Creator God and the other rejects God and is faithful to human achievement. Those who reject God get worse and worse and their ability to think clearly is impaired. The identifying characteristics of those who choose God, according to Revelation 14:12, is that they have faith in Jesus and they are faithful to God’s commandments. Revelation 14 accords perfectly with the idea that God’s faithful people rely on Jesus for their salvation, and not on their own works. But at the same time they understand that relying in faith on Jesus means taking seriously His sacrifice and directions for our life. What other consequences arise from this great divide? Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!


  1. The Walk


    1. Read Ephesians 2:8-10. Are we given salvation based on our works? (No! Our faith in Jesus and not our works save us. Salvation is a gift from God.)


      1. Why were we created? (To do good works.)


      1. Why would Ephesians 2:10 talk about walking in good works? What does that mean? (It means the direction of our life is in accord with God’s commandments - which He prepared beforehand.)


      1. I just read an article stating that our salvation turned on our obedience to the law. Is that true? Or is that heresy? (There is a fine but very distinct line. Choosing to rely on Jesus for our salvation means choosing to rely on His direction for our life. This direction is found in the Ten Commandments. This attitude is very distinct from those who believe that their obedience to the commandments is a requirement for salvation.)


    1. Read Romans 8:1-2. What is the “law of the Spirit of Life” and how is it different from “the law of sin and death?” (It is no accident that “Spirit” is central to our law. The Holy Spirit guides us regarding what is right and what is wrong. It is the victory of Jesus that gives us that freedom.)


    1. Read Romans 8:3-4. How can the law be “weakened by the flesh?” I thought it was engraved in stone! (Weakened by the flesh refers to us. We cannot keep the law. Jesus has done what we cannot do.)


      1. What does it means that Jesus “condemned sin in the flesh?” (It means that He gave us victory over sin. He showed us very clearly what Satan wants to do to us. His life revealed the issues in the great controversy between good and evil.)


  1. The Mark


    1. Read Revelation 13:15. We have previously traced the history of Babylon and its founder, Satan. Satan’s goal is to have us worship him and his anti-God philosophy of life. What is part of that goal? (To kill those who refuse to accept his view of life. To kill those who refuse to deny their Creator God. These faithful saints demonstrate their choice by holding to the downstream beliefs that follow a belief in Genesis. We have previously learned that these downstream beliefs are Creation, the Sabbath, marriage, and sexuality.)


    1. Read Revelation 13:16-17. What other consequence flows from refusing the mark of allegiance to Satan and his allies? (Economic boycott. We cannot sell what we produce, and we cannot buy what we need.)


      1. Is that happening today? Are those who believe in the Genesis account of marriage and sexuality losing their jobs?


    1. Read Revelation 13:5-7 and Daniel 7:25. This time period, three and a half years, or 1,260 days is a very specific identifier. If you add the time context of Daniel 7 we see that this is connected with the “fourth beast” which is the Roman Empire. To what entity does this point? (Barnes Notes commentary on this text, along with other older commentaries, explains the traditional Protestant teaching that this refers to Papal Rome.)


      1. Papal Rome is the Catholic Church. How can this great body of Christian believers be included in the philosophy of Babylon?


    1. Read 1 Timothy 2:5. Who does this say is the “one mediator” between God and men? (Jesus.)


      1. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 969, refers to Mary as the Mediatrix. How can Mary be a mediator between God and man when the Bible states that Christ is the only mediator? (This points out part of a serious problem with Catholic theology. Not only do we have Mary inserted between the individual and God, but we have priests inserted through the confession. Claims about the authority of the Pope reduce further the direct relationship between the individual and God.)


      1. How does this conflict with 1 Timothy 2:5 fit, if at all, into the historic problem of relying on human effort rather than relying on God? (This is another aspect of reliance on humans rather than God. Protestants who believe they are saved by their works, Christians who believe they can reject sections of the Bible they dislike, all join in the same error of rejecting God in place of human works and thinking.)


      1. What is the obvious problem with focusing on the Catholic Church when discussing the choice between the Mark and Jesus? (We have a specific and limited time period that is related to the rise of the Roman Empire. Many different groups and philosophies fit into the enduring religious philosophy of Babylon.)


  1. The Seal and the Robe


    1. Read Revelation 7:2-3. What is this seal? (It is a mark on the forehead of those who serve God.)


    1. Read Revelation 7:4. Are the number of those who are sealed limited? (The text says 144,000.)


    1. Read Revelation 7:9-10. Are the number of those who are wearing white robes limited? (No! They are so numerous that they cannot be numbered.)


      1. What should we conclude from this about those who are saved? (Those who have chosen God are either sealed or wearing a white robe.)


    1. Re-read Revelation 7:4 and re-read Revelation 7:9. Are those who are sealed and those wearing robes limited by their tribe? (The description in Revelation 7:4-8 is limited to “the sons of Israel.” While Revelation 7:9 reveals that “all tribes and peoples” are wearing the white robe.)


    1. Read Ephesians 1:13-14. What does this text say is the seal of God? (The Holy Spirit.)


      1. Let’s examine these verses in some detail to see how they relate to Revelation 7 and our discussion of the Mark of the Beast. How do we acquire the seal of Ephesians 1:13? (We believe “in Him” and “the gospel of your salvation.”)


      1. Is this connected to the seal and the robes of Revelation 7? (Yes! A seal in the forehead reflects our belief in salvation through grace alone. The white robe of righteousness is Jesus covering us with His righteous deeds. See the parable of the wedding garment in Matthew 22:1-14, Zechariah 3:1-4, and Isaiah 61:10. But see Revelation 19:8.)


    1. Let’s continue with the seal described in Ephesians 1:14. How is the Holy Spirit a guarantee of our future inheritance in heaven? (When we are in heaven we live with God. The Holy Spirit, as part of the Trinity, lives with those who invite Him into their life. Living a life in accord with the leading of the Holy Spirit not only separates us from those who follow human authority, but it gives us the experience of heaven.)


    1. You may have noticed my “But see” reference to Revelation 19:8. Read Revelation 19:7-8. How does the bride obtain this fine linen? (It is “granted,” given to her. I do not believe that this means that the robe of righteousness is the result of our works. Otherwise, Philippians 3:9 and Romans 3:25-26 could not be true. More important, the big picture is that the saved reject reliance on the idea that we look to human effort. Instead, Revelation 19:8 reinforces the idea that our choice has consequences in the way that we act.)


      1. Read Matthew 22:10-12. What clothes was this man wearing? (His own clothing. He refused to change to the garment provided by the King.)


        1. What does this teach us about the linen of Revelation 19:8. It forecloses the idea that our clothing is acceptable, much less “fine linen.”)


    1. Friend, which will it be? The Mark of the Beast or the Seal or Robe of God? Why not, right now, accept Jesus as the One you will follow?


  1. Next week: The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast: Part 2.