Introduction: Do you like signs or symbols showing that you belong to
a certain group? I used to have a sticker on my car window for
Andrews University, the school three generations of my family
attended. I have Corvette hats, a shirt and a jacket. Of course, I
have clothing with Regent University’s logo, because it is the school where I
teach. What about you, do you have symbols, signs or marks showing
that you have an affinity to some group, product, or school? The
Bible demands some signs and warns against others. Some of the signs
seem to be relevant for a limited time and group. Let’s plunge into
our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Circumcision

    1. Read Genesis 17:9-11. What is circumcision? (“The sign of
      the covenant between [God] and [Abraham and his

      1. What is that “covenant” (or contract)? (Read Genesis
        17:7-8. These verses contain God’s promise that He
        will be their God and give them land.)

      2. Read Galatians 5:3. What do God’s people promise?
        (Obedience. Genesis 17 is not clear on what the
        people are promising.)

      3. Read Romans 4:11. How does this describe
        circumcision? (It calls it “a seal of the
        righteousness” by faith that Abraham had before he
        was circumcised.)

    2. Read Colossians 2:11-12. From time to time companies
      change the “mark” under which they trade. Has the
      circumcision sign changed? (This text says that baptism is
      the new circumcision. In Acts 15 we find that the early
      church decided, based on the leading of the Holy Spirit
      and statements in the Old Testament, that circumcision was
      not required for Gentiles to be in a right relationship
      with God. Indeed, 1 Corinthians 7:18-19 says that
      “circumcision is nothing.” What a change!)

    3. Read Genesis 17:12-13. Could you be forgiven for thinking
      that circumcision would never end as a sign? (I think God
      is saying that His contract is forever with those who
      choose to be His people. However, that particular sign
      might not be forever.)

    4. What does this teach us about signs? (They can change.
      They may be applicable for a limited time, group, or
      situation. The end of a sign might be difficult to

  2. The Sabbath

    1. Read Exodus 31:12-13. Is the Sabbath a sign? (Yes.)

      1. Of what is it a sign? (That God makes us holy.)

    2. Read Exodus 31:17. Is the Sabbath limited to one meaning?
      (No. Here we are told it is a sign that God is our
      Creator. He created the heavens and earth in six days and
      rested on the seventh.)

      1. Is this a sign only with “the Israelites?” Notice
        that both verses specifically refer to “Israelites.”
        Is it like circumcision, something directed towards
        Abraham’s descendants? (Read Revelation 14:6-7. The
        call to worship our Creator God is still relevant to
        the very end of time. God may have said the Sabbath
        was a sign for the Israelites, but that does not mean
        it is only for them. The fact that Christians believe
        that the entire Ten Commandments is for all believers
        shows the universal applicability of the Sabbath.)

  3. The Seal of God

    1. Read Ephesians 1:13-14. What is the seal of God for
      Christians in the end times? (The Holy Spirit.)

      1. Why is the Holy Spirit our seal? (He is called “a
        deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.” That means the
        Holy Spirit is a sign that Jesus has given us eternal
        life and He is returning to take us home with Him to

    2. Read Revelation 7:1-4 and Revelation 7:9-10. What is this
      seal? Is it a sign only for “the tribes of Israel?” (The
      144,000 are described as from the tribes, but there is
      also “a great multitude that no one could count, from
      every nation, tribe, people and language.” This shows the
      saved are not merely 144,000.)

      1. What does the great multitude wear? (“White robes.”

      2. Do you think the white robes are a seal? (On the one
        hand, I don’t wear my robe on my forehead. See
        Revelation 7:3. On the other, grace is a decision of
        the mind.)

      3. As you contemplate Revelation 7:2-9, are both groups
        sealed on the forehead, or only the 144,000?

        1. If they are not all sealed, should we conclude
          that not everyone who is saved is also sealed
          on the forehead? Some enter heaven only by
          wearing a white robe?

    3. Read Romans 8:5-8. What does this teach us about the Holy
      Spirit and being in a right relationship with God? (Having
      the Holy Spirit (a seal) in our mind (forehead?), is
      essential to being in a right relationship with God and
      submitting to His law.)

    4. Read Revelation 7:13-14. What do we learn about the great
      multitude who are wearing white robes? (They are saved by
      grace! They depend on the blood of the Lamb for their
      right relationship with God.)

    5. We see that those in the greater multitude are saved by
      grace alone. They are sealed by the Holy Spirit which
      directs their minds and actions to live a life in accord
      with God’s law. Are you a part of that group?

  4. Mark of the Beast

    1. Read Revelation 14:9-11. What mark do we want to avoid?
      (The mark of the beast.)

    2. Re-read Revelation 14:6-7. What counterpoint do we find to
      worshiping the beast? (Those who worship our Creator God.
      Worship is at the center of the controversy!)

    3. As you consider these two alternative worship choices, why
      do you think the creation is specifically mentioned? (The
      worship choice has something to do with creation.)

    4. Contemplate this: which of the current theological
      controversies largely turn on whether the Genesis creation
      account is literal and accurate?

      1. Read Genesis 3:1-5. What is the issue here? (Trusting
        God. Believing that sinners die.)

      2. Read Genesis 2:18 and Genesis 2:21-24. What is the
        issue here? (Marriage between a man and woman is the
        only “suitable” arrangement.)

      3. Read Genesis 1:31. What is the issue here? (That God
        created everything. It did not evolve, it is not the
        product of chance and natural selection.)

      4. Read Genesis 2:2-3. What is the issue here? (The
        seventh day Sabbath memorial to the work of our
        Creator God.)

      5. Are these issues all in play right now? (The world is
        conflicted, and the divide is serious. Humans
        generally fall on one side or the other in their
        views on these four issues that largely depend on
        what they believe about human origins.)

    5. Look again at Revelation 14:9-10. Receiving the mark of
      the beast in either the forehead or hand is fatal. What do
      you think “forehead” or “hand” means? (Forehead suggests a
      freely made decision to be on the wrong side of the
      creation issues. Hand suggests reluctantly going along
      with the wrong side of the creation issues. Doing what you
      are told, although you do not agree.)

      1. The week I am writing this lesson, the United States
        Supreme Court ruled in favor of a baker, Jack
        Phillips, who refused to use his artistic talent to
        promote a same sex wedding. Jack’s refusal was based
        on his religious beliefs. Because Jack refused to
        compromise his religious beliefs, he got into a lot
        of trouble with the Colorado state government. Is
        Jack a Christian who refused to accept a creation
        issue mark on his hand? (I think so.)

    6. Friend, these are serious times in which we live. There
      are outcome determinative decisions that you must make.
      Will you accept the seal of God, the Holy Spirit? Will you
      accept righteousness by faith alone? Will you follow the
      leading of the Holy Spirit to be both intellectually and
      physically on the right side of the Creator God issues?
      Why not make your decision right now?

  5. Next week: Babylon and Armageddon.