December 22–28, 2002
MEMORY VERSE: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured our without mixture into the cup of his indignation.” Revelation 14:9, 10.
SUGGESTED READING: The Great Controversy, 440–450, 578–581.
INTRODUCTION:“As the ministration of Jesus closed in the holy place, and He passed into the holiest, and stood before the ark containing the law of God, He sent another mighty angel with a third message to the world.” Early Writings, 254.
1 What is the essence of the third angel’s message? Revelation 14:9, 10.
NOTE: “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.’ [Revelation 14:10.]
“If the light of truth has been presented to you, revealing the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and showing that there is no foundation in the word of God for Sunday observance, and yet you still cling to the false Sabbath, refusing to keep holy the Sabbath which God calls ‘My holy day,’ you receive the mark of the beast.” Review and Herald, July 13, 1897.
2 How will the world be divided when human legislation conflicts with the law of God by demanding false worship? Revelation 13:1–4, 8.
NOTE: “In the issue of the contest all Christendom will be divided into two great classes—those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark.” The Great Controversy, 450.
“In comparison with the millions of the world, God’s people will be, as they have ever been, a little flock; but if they stand for the truth as revealed in His word, God will be their refuge. They stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. God is always a majority.” The Acts of the Apostles, 590.
3 How will a religious-political power, symbolized by the second beast, flatter and imitate the first beast? Revelation 13:11, 12, 14.
NOTE: “The lamblike horns and dragon voice of the symbol point to a striking contradiction between the professions and the practice of the nation thus represented. The ‘speaking’ of the nation is the action of its legislative and judicial authorities. By such action it will give the lie to those liberal and peaceful principles which it has put forth as the foundation of its policy. The prediction that it will speak ‘as a dragon’ and exercise ‘all the power of the first beast’ plainly foretells a development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopardlike beast. And the statement that the beast with two horns ‘causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast’ indicates that the authority of this nation is to be exercised in enforcing some observance which shall be an act of homage to the papacy.” The Great Controversy, 442.
4 To deceive the inhabitants of the earth, what will Satan use? Revelation 13:13.
NOTE: “The time is at hand when Satan will work miracles to confirm minds in the belief that he is God. All the people of God are now to stand on the platform of truth as it has been given in the third angel’s message. All the pleasant pictures, all the miracles wrought, will be presented in order that, if possible, the very elect shall be deceived. The only hope for any one is to hold fast the evidences that have confirmed the truth in righteousness. Let these be proclaimed over and over again, until the close of this earth’s history.” Review and Herald, August 9, 1906.
5 What specific truth must we understand in order to escape many of Satan’s delusions? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6.
NOTE: “The saints must get a thorough understanding of present truth, which they will be obliged to maintain from the Scriptures. They must understand the state of the dead; for the spirits of devils will yet appear to them, professing to be beloved friends and relatives, who will declare to them that the Sabbath has been changed, also other unscriptural doctrines. They will do all in their power to excite sympathy and will work miracles before them to confirm what they declare. The people of God must be prepared to withstand these spirits with the Bible truth that the dead know not anything, and that they who appear to them are the spirits of devils.” Early Writings, 87.
6 What is the object of the second beast, in direct opposition to the law of God? Revelation 13:15, 16.
NOTE: “The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of creation. [Exodus 31:12, 13 quoted.] Here the Sabbath is clearly designated as a sign between God and His people.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 117.
“History will be repeated. False religion will be exalted. The first day of the week, a common working day, possessing no sanctity whatever, will be set up as was the image at Babylon. All nations and tongues and peoples will be commanded to worship this spurious sabbath. This is Satan’s plan to make of no account the day instituted by God, and given to the world as a memorial of creation.” Signs of the Times, May 6, 1897.
7 What is the mark of the beast? Revelation 14:11, last part. See also Daniel 7:23–25.
NOTE: “The mark of the beast is . . . the observance of the first day of the week. This mark distinguishes those who acknowledge the supremacy of the papal authority from those who acknowledge the authority of God.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 117.
8 The civil authorities will impose what types of sanctions on those who refuse to receive the mark of the beast? Revelation 13:17, 15.
NOTE: “Fearful is the issue to which the world is to be brought. The powers of earth, uniting to war against the commandments of God, will decree that ‘all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond’ (Revelation 13:16), shall conform to the customs of the church by the observance of the false sabbath. All who refuse compliance will be visited with civil penalties, and it will finally be declared that they are deserving of death. On the other hand, the law of God enjoining the Creator’s rest day demands obedience and threatens wrath against all who transgress its precepts.” The Great Controversy, 604.
9 What punishment will heaven send upon those who receive the mark of apostasy and accept the false worship? Revelation 14:10, 11.
NOTE: “The most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in the third angel’s message. That must be a terrible sin which calls down the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. But men are not left in darkness concerning this important matter; the warning against the worship of the beast and his image is to be given to the world before the visitation of God’s judgments, that all may know why the judgments are inflicted, and may have opportunity to escape.” Signs of the Times, January 25, 1910.
10 When God pours out the seven last plagues, what will happen to the adherents of the false system of worship? Revelation 16:1, 2.
NOTE: “Many of the wicked were greatly enraged as they suffered the effects of the plagues. It was a scene of fearful agony. Parents were bitterly reproaching their children, and children their parents, brothers their sisters, and sisters their brothers. Loud, wailing cries were heard in every direction, ‘It was you who kept me from receiving the truth which would have saved me from this awful hour.’ The people turned upon their ministers with bitter hate and reproached them, saying, ‘You have not warned us. You told us that all the world was to be converted, and cried, Peace, peace, to quiet every fear that was aroused. You have not told us of this hour; and those who warned us of it you declared to be fanatics and evil men, who would ruin us.’” Early Writings, 282.
11 Since the third angel’s message began to be proclaimed in 1844, what has God required of all who receive it? Revelation 14:12; 15:2.
NOTE: “Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth—these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 216.
“All who follow the Lamb in heaven must first have followed Him on earth, not fretfully or capriciously, but in trustful, loving, willing obedience, as the flock follows the shepherd.” The Acts of the Apostles, 591.
12 Under the third angel’s message, why is the seal of God necessary to be saved? Revelation 7:1–3. Compare Revelation 9:4.
NOTE: “What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The intelligent mind has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord’s adopted sons and daughters. The sin of the transgression of the law of God is taken away. They have on the wedding garment, and are obedient and faithful to all God’s commands.” Maranatha, 243.
“Our own course of action will determine whether we shall receive the seal of the living God or be cut down by the destroying weapons. Already a few drops of God’s wrath have fallen upon the earth; but when the seven last plagues shall be poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation, then it will be forever too late to repent and find shelter. No atoning blood will then wash away the stains of sin.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 212.
“Only those who receive the seal of the living God will have the passport through the gates of the Holy City. . . .
“The seal of the living God will be placed upon those only who bear a likeness to Christ in character.
“As wax takes the impression of the seal, so the soul is to take the impression of the Spirit of God and retain the image of Christ.
“Many will not receive the seal of God because they do not keep His commandments or bear the fruits of righteousness.
“The great mass of professing Christians will meet with bitter disappointment in the day of God. They have not upon their foreheads the seal of the living God. Lukewarm and halfhearted, they dishonor God far more than the avowed unbeliever. They grope in darkness, when they might be walking in the noonday light of the Word, under the guidance of One who never errs. . . .” Maranatha, 241.