Every one that defileth it - By any kind of idolatrous or profane worship.
Shall surely be put to death - The magistrates shall examine into the business, and if the accused be found guilty, he shall be stoned to death.
Shall be cut off - Because that person who could so far contemn the Sabbath, which was a sign to them of the rest which remained for the people of God, was of course an infidel, and should be cut off from all the privileges and expectations of an Israelite.
The penal law of the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2-3. In the fourth commandment the injunction to observe the seventh day is addressed to the conscience of the people (see Exodus 20:8 note): in this place, the object is to declare an infraction of the commandment to be a capital offence. The two passages stand in a relation to each other similar to that between Exodus 31:14
See Numbers 15:32-36. The distinction between the meaning of the two expressions, “to be cut off from the people”, and “to be put to death”, is here indicated. He who was cut off from the people had, by his offence, put himself out of the terms of the covenant, and was an outlaw. On such, and on such alone, when the offence was one which affected the well-being of the nation, as it was in this case, death could be inflicted by the public authority.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8. The Sabbath was instituted in Eden, after God had created the world. “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3. 9T 212.1
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” Exodus 31:12-16. 9T 212.2Read in context »
Moses and “his minister Joshua” were now summoned to meet with God. And as they were to be some time absent, the leader appointed Aaron and Hur, assisted by the elders, to act in his stead. “And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai.” For six days the cloud covered the mountain as a token of God's special presence; yet there was no revelation of Himself or communication of His will. During this time Moses remained in waiting for a summons to the presence chamber of the Most High. He had been directed, “Come up to Me into the mount, and be there,” and though his patience and obedience were tested, he did not grow weary of watching, or forsake his post. This period of waiting was to him a time of preparation, of close self-examination. Even this favored servant of God could not at once approach into His presence and endure the exhibitions of His glory. Six days must be employed in devoting himself to God by searching of heart, meditation, and prayer before he could be prepared for direct communication with his Maker. PP 313.1
Upon the seventh day, which was the Sabbath, Moses was called up into the cloud. The thick cloud opened in the sight of all Israel, and the glory of the Lord broke forth like devouring fire. “And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount; and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.” The forty days’ tarry in the mount did not include the six days of preparation. During the six days Joshua was with Moses, and together they ate of the manna and drank of “the brook that descended out of the mount.” But Joshua did not enter with Moses into the cloud. He remained without, and continued to eat and drink daily while awaiting the return of Moses, but Moses fasted during the entire forty days. PP 313.2
During his stay in the mount, Moses received directions for the building of a sanctuary in which the divine presence would be specially manifested. “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8), was the command of God. For the third time the observance of the Sabbath was enjoined. “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever,” the Lord declared, “that ye may know that I am Jehovah that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you.... Whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” Exodus 31:17, 13, 14. Directions had just been given for the immediate erection of the tabernacle for the service of God; and now the people might conclude, because the object had in view was the glory of God, and also because of their great need of a place of worship, that they would be justified in working at the building upon the Sabbath. To guard them from this error, the warning was given. Even the sacredness and urgency of that special work for God must not lead them to infringe upon His holy rest day. PP 313.3Read in context »
(Exodus 31:12-17.) God's Special Possession—Every soul in our world is the Lord's property, by creation and by redemption. Each individual soul is on trial for his life. Has he given to God that which belongs to Him? Has he surrendered to God all that is His as His purchased possession? All who cherish the Lord as their portion in this life will be under His control, and will receive the sign, the mark of God, which shows them to be God's special possession. Christ's righteousness will go before them, and the glory of the Lord will be their rereward. The Lord protects every human being who bears His sign. [Exodus 31:12-17 quoted.] 7BC 969.1
This recognition of God is of the highest value to every human being. All who love and serve Him are very precious in His sight. He would have them stand where they are worthy representatives of the truth as it is in Jesus (Letter 77, 1899). 7BC 969.2
Natural Traits Must Be Transformed—How few bear in mind that the tempter was once a covering cherub, a being whom God created for His own name's glory. Satan fell from his high position through self-exaltation; he misused the high capabilities with which God had so richly endowed him. He fell for the same reason that thousands are falling today, because of an ambition to be first, an unwillingness to be under restraint. The Lord would teach man the lesson that, though united in church capacity, he is not saved until the seal of God is placed upon him.... 7BC 969.3
The Lord has a work for us all to do. And if the truth is not rooted in the heart, if the natural traits of character are not transformed by the Holy Spirit, we can never be colaborers with Jesus Christ. Self will constantly appear, and the character of Christ will not be manifested in our lives (Letter 80, 1898). 7BC 969.4
Without Spot or Wrinkle—Missionary agencies are greatly needed in every branch of God's work. Our institutions need converted, devoted men, who will make the Lord their dependence. God will reveal through such workers the power of His grace. His servants are to be distinguished from the world by the seal of the living God; their words and their works are to reveal that they are laborers together with God. 7BC 969.5
God can use the human agent just to the extent that he will be worked by the Holy Spirit. To men who accept positions of responsibility as presidents, ministers, physicians, or workers in any line, I am bidden to say: God will test every man who enters His service. He does not ask, Do they possess learning and eloquence? Have they ability to command and control and manage? He asks, Will they represent My character? Will they walk in humility, that I may teach them My way? The soul temple must not be defiled by any loose or unclean practice. Those whom I will acknowledge in the courts of heaven must be without spot and wrinkle. 7BC 969.6
The Lord will use humble men to do a great and good work. Through them He will represent to the world the ineffaceable characteristics of the divine nature (Letter 270, 1907). 7BC 969.7
(Chs. 14:1-3; 22:4; John 1:12.) An Honor to Bear God's Sign—Those who come out from the world, to stand distinct from worldlings in words and works, those who realize that it is an honor to bear God's sign, will receive power to become His sons. The Lord will have men who can be depended on. No one will enter the courts above who does not bear the sign of God. Those who in this sin-cursed earth bear this sign in holy boldness, looking upon it as an honor, will be recognized and honored by Christ in the courts above (Letter 125, 1903). 7BC 969.8
(Jeremiah 8:20; 1 John 3:3.) Will the Angel Pass Us By?—“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” In a little while every one who is a child of God will have His seal placed upon him. O that it may be placed upon our foreheads! Who can endure the thought of being passed by when the angel goes forth to seal the servants of God in their foreheads (The Review and Herald, May 28, 1889)? 7BC 969.9Read in context »
(Ch. 18:1-5.) A Loyal Company—The churches have become as described in the eighteenth chapter of Revelation. Why are the messages of Revelation fourteen given? Because the principles of the churches have become corrupted.... [Revelation 14:6-10 quoted.] 7BC 979.1
Apparently the whole world is guilty of receiving the mark of the beast. But the prophet sees a company who are not worshiping the beast, and who have not received his mark in their foreheads or in their hands. “Here is the patience of the saints,” he declares; “here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Manuscript 92, 1904). 7BC 979.2
Large Numbers Accept the Truth—The time of God's destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who have no opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter. Large numbers will be admitted who in these last days hear the truth for the first time (The Review and Herald, July 5, 1906). 7BC 979.3
7. Giving Glory to God—To give glory to God is to reveal His character in our own, and thus make Him known. And in whatever way we make known the Father or the Son, we glorify God (Manuscript 16, 1890). 7BC 979.4
8 (Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4; see EGW on Revelation 18:1-5). World Drunk With Wine of Babylon—God denounces Babylon “because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” This means that she has disregarded the only commandment which points out the true God, and has torn down the Sabbath, God's memorial of creation. 7BC 979.5
God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh, sanctifying this day, and setting it apart from all others as holy to Himself, to be observed by His people throughout their generations. 7BC 979.6
But the man of sin, exalting himself above God, sitting in the temple of God, and showing himself to be God, thought to change times and laws. This power, thinking to prove that it was not only equal to God, but above God, changed the rest day, placing the first day of the week where the seventh should be. And the Protestant world has taken this child of the papacy to be regarded as sacred. In the Word of God this is called her fornication. 7BC 979.7
God has a controversy with the churches of today. They are fulfilling the prophecy of John. “All nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” They have divorced themselves from God by refusing to receive His sign. They have not the spirit of God's true commandment-keeping people. And the people of the world, in giving their sanction to a false sabbath, and in trampling under their feet the Sabbath of the Lord, have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication (Letter 98, 1900). 7BC 979.8
9-12 (ch. 13:11-17; see EGW on chs. 12:17; 18:1; Isaiah 58:12-14). The Real Issue in the Final Conflict—[Revelation 14:9, 10 quoted.] It is for the interest of all to understand what the mark of the beast is, and how they may escape the dread threatenings of God. Why are men not interested to know what constitutes the mark of the beast and his image? It is in direct contrast with the mark of God. [Exodus 31:12-17 quoted.] 7BC 979.9
The Sabbath question will be the issue in the great conflict in which all the world will act a part. [Revelation 13:4-10 quoted.] This entire chapter is a revelation of what will surely take place [Revelation 13:11, 15-17 quoted] (Manuscript 88, 1897). 7BC 979.10
What Is the Mark of the Beast?—John was called to behold a people distinct from those who worship the beast and his image by keeping the first day of the week. The observance of this day is the mark of the beast (Letter 31, 1898). 7BC 979.11
(Ch. 13:16, 17.) Warning Against Mark of the Beast—The third angel's message has been sent forth to the world, warning men against receiving the mark of the beast or of his image in their foreheads or in their hands. To receive this mark means to come to the same decision as the beast has done, and to advocate the same ideas, in direct opposition to the Word of God. Of all who receive this mark, God says, “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” ... 7BC 979.12Read in context »