March 25, 2007 – March 31, 2007
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 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 out without mixture into the cup of his indignation . . . .” Revelation 14:9, 10.
Study Help: The Great Controversy, 440–450, 578–581.
“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: “In contrast to those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus, the third angel points to another class, against whose errors a solemn and fearful warning is uttered: [Revelation 14:9, 10 quoted].” The Great Controversy, 438.
2 When human legislation shall conflict with the law of God by demanding false worship, how will the world be divided? 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.” The Acts of the Apostles, 590.
3 How will a religio-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’ [Revelation 13:11, 12] 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’ [verse 12] 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 What will Satan use to deceive the inhabitants of the earth? Revelation 13:13. What specific truth must we understand in order to escape many of these 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.” Early Writings, 87.
“Satan will come in to deceive if possible the very elect. He claims to be Christ, and he is coming in, pretending to be the great medical missionary. He will cause fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men to prove that he is God. We must stand barricaded by the truths of the Bible.” Medical Ministry, 87, 88.
5 What is the object of the second beast, in direct opposition to the law of God? Revelation 13:16. What is the mark of the beast?
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.
“The mark of the beast is the opposite of this—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.
6 What sanctions will be imposed by the authorities on those who refuse to receive the mark of the beast? Revelation 13:17, 15.
note: “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.” The Great Controversy, 604.
7 What punishment will Heaven send upon those who receive the mark of apostasy and accept the false worship imposed by the powers symbolized by the two beasts? 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. Men are not to be left in darkness concerning this important matter; the warning against this sin is to be given to the world before the visitation of God’s judgments, that all may know why they are to be inflicted, and have opportunity to escape them.” The Great Controversy, 449, 450.
8 While the servants of God will be protected from the seven last plagues (Malachi 3:17), 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.
9 Ever 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.
10 What is the number of those living saints who will be sealed and taken to heaven without seeing death? Revelation 14:1; 7:4. Why is the seal of God necessary in order to be saved under this message?
note: “Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus’ coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake.” Early Writings, 15.
“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.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 212.
“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.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 968.
“Only those who receive the seal of the living God will have the passport through the gates of the Holy City.” Ibid., 970.
Liberty of Conscience Threatened
“Records of the past clearly reveal the enmity of Rome toward the true Sabbath and its defenders, and the means which she employs to honor the institution of her creating. The word of God teaches that these scenes are to be repeated as Roman Catholics and Protestants shall unite for the exaltation of the Sunday.
“The prophecy of Revelation 13 declares that the power represented by the beast with lamblike horns shall cause ‘the earth and them which dwell therein’ to worship the papacy—there symbolized by the beast ‘like unto a leopard.’ [Revelation 13:12, 2.] The beast with two horns is also to say ‘to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast’; and, furthermore, it is to command all, ‘both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,’ to receive the mark of the beast. Revelation 13:11–16. It has been shown that the United States is the power represented by the beast with lamblike horns, and that this prophecy will be fulfilled when the United States shall enforce Sunday observance, which Rome claims as the special acknowledgment of her supremacy. But in this homage to the papacy the United States will not be alone. The influence of Rome in the countries that once acknowledged her dominion is still far from being destroyed. And prophecy foretells a restoration of her power. [Verse 3 quoted.] The infliction of the deadly wound points to the downfall of the papacy in 1798. After this, says the prophet, ‘his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.’ Paul states plainly that the ‘man of sin’ will continue until the second advent. 11 Thessalonians 2:3–8. To the very close of time he will carry forward the work of deception. And the revelator declares, also referring to the papacy: ‘All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life.’ Revelation 13:8. In both the Old and the New World, the papacy will receive homage in the honor paid to the Sunday institution, that rests solely upon the authority of the Roman Church.
“Since the middle of the nineteenth century, students of prophecy in the United States have presented this testimony to the world. In the events now taking place is seen a rapid advance toward the fulfillment of the prediction. With Protestant teachers there is the same claim of divine authority for Sundaykeeping, and the same lack of Scriptural evidence, as with the papal leaders who fabricated miracles to supply the place of a command from God. The assertion that God’s judgments are visited upon men for their violation of the Sunday-sabbath, will be repeated; already it is beginning to be urged. And a movement to enforce Sunday observance is fast gaining ground.
“Marvelous in her shrewdness and cunning is the Roman Church. She can read what is to be. She bides her time, seeing that the Protestant churches are paying her homage in their acceptance of the false sabbath and that they are preparing to enforce it by the very means which she herself employed in bygone days. Those who reject the light of truth will yet seek the aid of this self-styled infallible power to exalt an institution that originated with her. How readily she will come to the help of Protestants in this work it is not difficult to conjecture. Who understands better than the papal leaders how to deal with those who are disobedient to the church?
“The Roman Catholic Church, with all its ramifications throughout the world, forms one vast organization under the control, and designed to serve the interests, of the papal see. Its millions of communicants, in every country on the globe, are instructed to hold themselves as bound in allegiance to the pope. Whatever their nationality or their government, they are to regard the authority of the church as above all other. Though they may take the oath pledging their loyalty to the state, yet back of this lies the vow of obedience to Rome, absolving them from every pledge inimical to her interests.
“History testifies of her artful and persistent efforts to insinuate herself into the affairs of nations; and having gained a foothold, to further her own aims, even at the ruin of princes and people. . . .
“God’s word has given warning of the impending danger; let this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape the snare. . . . Stealthily and unsuspectedly she is strengthening her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come for her to strike. All that she desires is vantage ground, and this is already being given her. We shall soon see and shall feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall believe and obey the word of God will thereby incur reproach and persecution.” The Great Controversy, 578–581.
Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.