by Michael C. Wells
Have you ever wondered why so many people today are fearful of the future? Many are afraid because of a prophecy in Revelation that warns the world about a dreaded mark that every person will receive if they follow the “beast.” The penalty for receiving this mark is death! Is it no wonder people are scared to receive it and want to avoid it at all cost? Yet today, society is so complacent about the book of Revelation that many preachers are teaching that it doesn’t apply to Christians at all, but only to those who will be left here to face the wrath of God. Is this what the Bible says? Why would Jesus spend His time giving a personal prophecy about these end times if it didn’t apply to you and me?
Unfortunately, people are easily deceived into believing doctrines that make them feel safe and secure. Paul tells us to watch out for such doctrines, “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety! ’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape [destruction].” I Thessalonians 5:3. If I came running into you’re house screaming “Fire! Fire!” would you be alarmed and take action, or would you just let yourself die in the fire? But so many times when we hear a warning from the Bible, we dismiss it as not important or not being applicable to us.
John the Revelator writes concerning this mark, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Revelation 14: 9- 11. What a warning! I don’t think there is anyone who wants to receive the mark of the beast.
What is this mark and how do we avoid receiving it?
What is this mark and how do we avoid receiving it? That is the question at hand. In order to answer that question, we must look at what this mark entails. Notice that this beast is involved in worship. “So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him. ’ All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13: 4,8. Therefore, this must be a religious power. Only religious organizations are involved in invoking the worship of someone.
He is also involved in civil authority and government. He will be involved in the persecution and killing of those who oppose him. He will use his agents to do his work for him while he sits behind the scenes and reaps the results. “It was granted to him [the first beast] to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. And he [the second beast] exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13: 7, 12, 15- 17.
This power will subjugate the people of the earth to do his will. He will cause them to worship him, which is against God’s law. Therefore, he will teach the people of the earth to break God’s law! This is not just speaking about those who do not believe in God, but also those who profess to be His people. Could you receive the mark of the beast and still think you are following God? Jesus said many would have this experience. We read in Matthew 7: 21- 23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ (notice that they are acknowledging Jesus as Lord. These are professed Christians), shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, ’ have we not prophesied in Your name, cast our demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
These people really thought they were Christians. They thought they were “filled with the Holy Spirit,” but they had not searched hard enough for God’s will and were not willing to submit fully to His law. Jesus says to them “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do the things which I say?” Luke 6: 46. They are lawbreakers. They are those who claim that God’s law is not binding on Christians today. Someone might say, “Doesn’t the Bible say we live under grace and not the law? That we live by the Spirit of the law, not by the letter?” The answer is yes! But what does it mean to live under grace? If you were a murderer in prison on death row waiting to be executed, and the warden gave you a pardon and freed you, you would have just moved from condemnation to grace. Now that you are under grace do you have the right to go out and kill someone again? Does grace give you the authority to break the law or are you still required to keep it?
You see how simple it is. This is the spirit of the law, that you keep it out of gratitude for your life and because it is right in the sight of God. It shows where our loyalties lie, and how our character is formed. It is an outward sign of an inward change. The letter of the law brings condemnation, because we are keeping it solely out of the fear of the punishment for breaking it. The letter of the law kills not because the commandments are wrong or bad, but because a book with words in it can not make a change in us if we do not apply it to our lives. Children who obey their parents exclusively out of fear of punishment may well break the laws of the land, because they were not instilled with a love for truth and righteousness. We must keep God’s law, because we love Jesus and we want to obey Him, otherwise, we are doing it out of “works” and not “faith.” Jesus came to set us free from condemnation by His great sacrifice of His life on the cross, one of the worse forms of torture ever devised by man.
He gave us His pardon (grace) from the sentence of death that hung over our heads, yet He did not say “go and sin as much as you want,” but “Go, sin no more.” John 8: 11. He wants to help us overcome sin by writing His laws on our hearts and establishing them in our minds (Hebrews 10: 16), not by doing away with them. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” and He said, “I do not change.” Hebrews 13: 8; Malachi 3: 6.
What is Sin?
What is sin anyway? “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness (or transgression of the law), and sin is lawlessness.” I John 3: 4. So sin is breaking God’s Ten Commandment law. James 2: 10 speaks to this when he quotes from the Ten Commandments and declares “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one, he is guilty of all.” Every person has committed sin in his or her life. Paul exclaims, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 3: 23; 6: 23. That is why we need Jesus. Someone had to pay the penalty for our sin, and if not ourselves, someone else had to die for the wickedness that we have committed. Jesus made that sacrifice for you and me so that we might have life. It is a free gift, but we have a part to play in receiving it.
We know that the beast power in Revelation 13: 1- 10 is the antichrist power because it says, “he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God,” Revelation 13: 6. In two other places in the Bible the antichrist power is also described, first in Daniel 7 where the antichrist power is described as the “little horn.” We know that this is the antichrist power, because it says, “he shall speak great words against the Most High,” Daniel 7: 25. Then in II Thessalonians 2: 3 where the antichrist power is described as the “man of sin.” We know that here, Paul is talking about the antichrist power because he says concerning this “man of sin” that he “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, [among God’s professed people, the professed church of God] showing himself that he is God.” II Thessalonians 2: 4, Concerning the antichrist power, Paul shows us that he teaches people to break God’s law: “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” II Thessalonians 2: 8.
In fact, not only will this beast power break God’s law, but he will also think to change God’s law. Can you imagine someone thinking that they could get away with changing God’s law? No way, you might say! But look at Bible prophecy and again notice that this is the same power. It has all the same identifying marks as those we find in Revelation 13 and II Thessalonians, “he shall speak pompous (great, blasphemous) words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law . Then the saints shall be given into his hand (to be persecuted) for a time and times and half a time.” Daniel 7:25.
Paul says that this “man of sin” or beast power was already working in his day, he said, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.” II Thessalonians 2:7. Paul also makes it clear that this power will continue until Jesus returns to this world again and that it will then be destroyed: “And then shall the lawless one be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” II Thessalonians 2: 8. Peter tells us from where this power will come. He points specifically to where the “man of sin” power will emerge. “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way the truth will be blasphemed.” II Peter 2:1,2. Where does Peter say he will arise? Right among the believers of Christ! This man of sin will come out of the early church and will use his false doctrines to contaminate the pure doctrine of Jesus. He will introduce false teachings and deceptive lies to turn people from the true worship of God, to a false worship of man, and most of the people will put up with it! (See II Corinthians 11:3,4).
Obviously, if this beast power (better known as the antichrist) was alive in Paul’s day, and he is still work today, this cannot be speaking of an individual man, but a system of religion. Notice how long this system was to persecute the saints. “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty- two months. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” “Then the saints shall be given into his hands for a time, times, and half a time.” Revelation 13:5,7; Daniel 7:25. We have two prophecies that deal with time here. Because this is the same power that is being described in both Daniel and Revelation, the time prophecies both deal with this same “beast/ little horn” power.
The Bible gives two examples of prophecies dealing with time. One is in Ezekiel 4: 4- 6, and the other is in Numbers 14: 34, which says, “According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear you guilt one year, namely forty year, and you shall know My rejection.” So the Lord uses a day to equal a year in Bible prophecies. In Revelation and in Daniel we see two time prophecies, one for forty- two months, and the other for a “time, times, and half a time.” A “time” represents one year, so “times” would speak of two years, and, of course, half a time would be a half a year. The total years mentioned here would be three and a half years. Since a day equals a year in Bible prophecy, we must convert these years and months into days.
First let’s calculate the months of Revelation. Forty- two multiplied by 30 days for each month (the Bible specifies 30 days for one month see Genesis 7: 11; 8: 3, 4) will give us a total of 1260 days, which would convert to 1260 years. Now the 3½ years multiplied by 360 would again give us 1260 days/ years. Again we see that still another characteristic of this beast/ little horn power is the same. If this power will be around for at least 1260 years, these prophecies cannot be speaking of a person, but a religious power that will endure for a long time.
Now notice what will happen to this power. “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.” This beast was to be “mortally wounded.” If you are mortally wounded it means that you are close to death. The King James Bible translates this term as “wounded to death.” This beast, or religious power, was to be wounded so bad (lost so much power and prestige) that all the world will believe that it was to become extinct, yet its “deadly wound was healed.”
This antichrist power was to arise out of the fourth beast in Daniel 7. A beast represents a kingdom or empire. “The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces.” Daniel 7: 23. Out of this fourth kingdom will arise ten horns. A horn also represents a kingdom. “The ten horns are ten kings (kingdoms) who shall arise from this kingdom” (verse 24). So ten other kings, or kingdoms will come up out of this fourth beast.
Notice that another “horn” or kingdom will also arise. “And another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings,” Daniel 7: 24. This kingdom will arise after the other ten kingdoms have been established and will be different than the rest. Yet this power will be a persecuting power. It subdues three of the kingdoms, or in other words, he destroys them. “I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots . And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man (there will be a man at the head of this power), and a mouth speaking pompous words,” Daniel 7: 8. “And the ten horns were on its head (the head of the fourth beast), and the other horn which came up, before which three fell , namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows. I watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom” (Daniel 17: 20- 22).
Identifying marks of the “little horn” from Daniel 7
Here are some identifying marks of this “little horn” that are found here in Daniel 7.
- It arose out of the fourth beast. Verses 7,8
- It arose after the ten horns. Verse 24
- It arose among or in the same geographical area of the ten horns. Verse 8
- It was “different” from the other horns. Verse 24
- It destroyed three of the other horns Verses 8,20,24
- Its appearance was greater than the other horns (meaning it became more prominent). Verse 20
- It speaks pompous (blasphemous) against the Most High. Verse 25
- Thought to change times and God’s law. Verse 25
- Would have temporal power (civil govern mental authority) for 1260 years. Verse 25
- Would persecute God’s people (true Christians). Verse 25
- A man would be at the head of this power. Verse 24, 25.
In our booklet, The End of War and Injustice, we examined the four beasts of Daniel 7: 3- 7, showing that they represent four world empires. These consisted of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and the fourth was Rome. Notice that this little horn power comes out of the fourth kingdom (Rome). Also notice that it comes up after the ten kingdoms that split off and divided the Roman Empire. So we can say that this little horn power, which is diverse from the rest of the kingdoms, takes its power from Rome. This is made clear when we take the prophecies of Revelation and combine them with Daniel. This beast in Revelation 13 takes its power from the dragon and is a composite of all the beasts of Daniel 7. “Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.” Revelation 13:2.
Clearly, we can see this is like no other beast on the face of the earth. If this beast really existed, some carnival or circus would be making big money showing it off. No, this beast represents the characteristics of each of the following beasts before it. This was a swift power like a leopard. A leopard is so fast that it can chase down its prey quickly. It also has great agility to get out of scrapes. This beast power has these same abilities to be able to survive through varying situations. It also has feet like a bear. A bear’s feet are big, strong and very sure- footed. He really can put some weight behind him when he “puts his foot down.” So it is with this beast power. He has authority and power to actuate his policies and doctrines. He has the weight of political and religious power behind him. Remember that we notice earlier that he would be involved in worship (or religion). The beast speaks as the lion of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar. He speaks pompous words as the king of Babylon did. Check out the words of King Nebuchadnezzar in defiance to God, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” Daniel 4: 30.
As King Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself and did not give God the glory for what he had, so does the beast or Revelation 13. It is common among rulers, kings, and religious leaders to forget where their sovereignty came from. Daniel reminds the king of Babylon in Daniel 2: 20,21, “Daniel answered and said: ‘Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”
Finally, let’s investigate the power base of this beast. He receives his power, authority, and throne from the dragon. Who does this dragon represent? “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12: 9. Ultimately, it is Satan who gives this beast his authority. But does this dragon also represent an earthly power, too? In Revelation 12, we find the prophecy of Jesus’ birth and the oppression that the “dragon” gave Him at His birth, What tyrannical power tried to destroy the Christ child at birth? It was Rome, of course. The Roman soldiers, under the direction of Herod the Great, killed all the children of Bethlehem up to the age of two years old. It was also the Roman Empire, through its despotic and cruel leaders, who pursued and tried to destroy the early church through murder and torture.
We can see that the dragon not only symbolizes Satan but also denotes Pagan Rome. So from Rome, this beast receives power and authority (muscle to enforce its will) to rule over all the people of the world. It also receives its “throne” from the Roman Empire. It is always so interesting how God presents His truth so clearly, leaving nothing to speculation. In 532 A. D., the Roman Emperor Justinian made a decree to force everyone to submit to the papacy. The historian says, “By an edict which he issued to unite all men in one faith, whether Jews, Gentiles or Christians, such as did not, in the term of three months, embrace and profess the Catholic faith, were declared infamous, and as, such, excluded from all employments both civil and military, rendered incapable of leaving anything by will, and their estates confiscated, whether real or personal. These were convincing arguments of the truth of the Catholic faith; but many, however, withstood them; and against such as did, the imperial edict was executed with the utmost rigor. Great numbers were driven from their habitations with their wives and children, stripped and naked.” Bower, The History of the Popes, vol. 1 p. In 533 A. D Justinian exalted the papacy as “the head of all the holy churches.” Croly The Apocalypse of St. John pages 167, 168. But this could not be put into effect as long as the Arian nations did not acknowledge it. The kingdom of Odoacer which had ruled Italy had already been destroyed in 493 A. D. and his people universally massacred (Italy and Her Invaders, book IV chap VI) In 533 A. D Justinian sent his armies to conquer the Vandals in Northern Africa. When this was accomplished by his general Belisarius in 534, “Impatient to abolish the temporal and spiritual tyranny of the Vandals, he proceeded, without delay, to the full establishment of the Catholic Church. . . .Arian worship was suppressed, the Donatist meetings were proscribed;” Gibbon Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire chapter 12) As soon as this was done, Justinian turned his arms against the East Goths (Ostrogoths) in Italy itself who also were Arian Christians and not Catholic. In March of A. D 538, for the first time Rome was delivered completely from the rule of the Ostrogothic kingdom, “They (the Ostrogoths) had lost their king (an inconsiderable loss), their capital, their treasures, the provinces from Sicily to the Alps, and the military force of two hundred thousand barbarians, magnificently equipped with horses and arms.” (Gibbon Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire chapters 41, 43) The historian Milman in History of Latin Christianity book 3 chapter 4 states it like this, “The conquest of Italy by the Greeks was, to a great extent at least, the work of the Catholic clergy… The overthrow of the Gothic kingdom was to Italy an unmitigated evil… In their overthrow began the fatal policy of the Roman see… which never would permit a powerful native kingdom to unite Italy, or a very large part of it, under one dominion. Whatever it may have been to Christendom, the papacy has been the eternal, implacable foe of Italian independence and Italian unity; and to the welfare of Italy.” Emphasis supplied. So A. D. 538 is the year that marks not only the destruction of the kingdom of the east Goths but, the true date which marks the establishment of the independent temporal authority of the papacy and the exercise of such authority as a world power.
Characteristics of the “Beast” of Revelation 13
Let’s list some of the characteristics of the “beast” of Revelation 13 and see if there are not a lot of similarities to the little horn in Daniel.
- He receives his power, seat, and authority from the pagan Roman empire. Verse 2. Arises among the ten horns on the fourth beast Daniel 7: 8
- Speaks blasphemy (pompous words) against God and His tabernacle (His church). Verses 5,6 Speaks great things or pompous words against the Most High Daniel 7:25
- Is a superpower- has authority over all nations Revelation 13: 7
- His appearance is greater than his fellows Daniel 7: 20
- Is not only a superpower (see #4 above) but is a religious power because it is worshiped. Revelation 13: 4, 8, 12; the little horn is different from the other horns Daniel 7:24
- Receives a deadly wound that was later healed. Verse 3 6. Persecutes the saints of the Most High (people of God). Verse 7 also Daniel 7:25
- It is a worldwide religious and political power that the whole world will follow and worship in one form or another. Verse 3,4,8
- Will continue for forty- two months (1260 years). Verse 5; also Daniel 7: 25
- Will be led into captivity at the end of the 1260- year period. Verse 10
- Has a man at its head that has a number of 666. Verse 18
After examining all of the identifying attributes of this power, it is not hard to figure out whom it designates. God makes sure that we can identify who the beast is, for He does not want us to be deceived. If we know just a little bit of history it certainly appears that the little horn/beast power cannot apply to any other power than the papacy. But let us go through the identifying marks in Revelation 13 again and see if every single one is an exact fit- if even one identifying mark did not fit then we would know that we have made a mistake because it is impossible for God to lie.
- Did the papacy receive its power, seat (throne) and authority from the Pagan Roman Empire? We will give the answer from a Catholic source. “Long ages ago, when Rome, through the neglect of the Western emperors, was left to the mercy of the barbarous hordes, the Romans turned to one figure for aid and protection, and asked him to rule them; . . . and thus. . .commenced the temporal sovereignty of the popes. And meekly stepping to the throne of Caesar, the vicar of Christ took up the scepter to which the emperors and kings of Europe were to bow in reverence through so many ages.” –James P. Conroy, American Catholic Quarterly Review, April 1911.
- Does the papacy have a “blasphemous name?” The Jewish definition of blasphemy in the days of Christ was when a man claimed to be able to forgive sins (Matthew 9) and when a man claimed to be God (John 10). The name will be discussed under item 10 below.
- Has the papacy spoken great words (pompous words Daniel 7: 20, 25) against the Most High (against God). Again, let us look at the official Catholic teachings. The Council of Trent defines papal power thus: “We define that the Holy Apostolic See and Roman Pontiff holds the primacy over the whole world.” –Labbe and Cossart (A. C.), The Most Holy Councils, Vol. XIII, col. 1167.
When the triple crown is placed on the head of a new pope at his “coronation” ceremony, the ritual prescribes the following declaration by the officiating cardinal: “Receive the tiara adorned with three crowns, and know that thou art the Father of Princes and Kings, Ruler of the World, the Vicar of Our Savior Jesus Christ.” National Catholic Almanac
The New Catechism, under the section of the pope, states: “The pope takes the place of Jesus Christ on earth… He is the infallible ruler, the founder of dogmas, the author of and the judge of councils; the universal ruler of truth, the arbiter, the judge of all, being judged by no one, God himself on earth.”
Does the Papacy fit the prophecy that it would “speak pompous words”? Again, let the record speak for itself.
In an encyclical letter by Pope Leo XIII, on June 20, 1894 (notice, this is NOT that long ago, this was not during the Dark Ages, but was an official statement by a pope that ended his pontifical reign in this very century- 1903), he stated: “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.” This is in the official records and can be checked out by any caring student. Could more pompous words be spoken? What else could possibly be said to more accurately fit the description? Moreover, the pope is declared to be infallible when speaking ex-cathedra according to Vatican Council I in 1870, again, not that long ago.
- Is the papacy a superpower with influence over all the nations of the earth? Anybody that listens to the news or reads the news knows the answer to this question.
- Nobody of any belief would argue against the papacy being a religious power that is worshiped.
- Did the papacy at one time receive a deadly wound that today has been healed? In 1798, Napoleon’s general, Berthier, captured the pope and removed him to prison, where he died and for a short time there was no papacy. At that time much of the world believed the papacy was finished and would never hold temporal power over the earth again. Yet in 1929, Pope Pius XI signed the Treaty of the Lateran with Mussolini, whereby Vatican City was established and the papacy now had back its temporal governing power. The deadly wound was healed and Bible prophecy claimed that after this all the world would marvel and follow and worship this power (Revelation 13: 3, 4, 8)
- Has the papacy persecuted the saints of the Most High? In the massacre of St. Bartholemew alone most of 100,000 Protestants were slain. That the Catholic Church hunted down, tortured, and burned people at the stake throughout the Middle Ages hardly even needs to be said. That is common history. In one sweep in the year 1208, a crusade organized by Pope Innocent III crushed out the lives of approximately one million Waldenses and Albigenses in upper Italy and lower France. Was it their crime? They were teaching and disseminating copies of the Scriptures to people throughout Europe in their own language.
Estimates range from the most conservative figure of around 50,000,000 upwards to much larger numbers of martyrs who lost their lives during the Dark Ages at the hands of the Catholic Church during the years of its supremacy.
Does the prophecy fit? Again, history speaks for itself. As even the Roman Catholic paper, the Western Watchman, declared, “The church has persecuted, only a tyro (one uninformed in church history) will deny that.”- December 24, 1909.
- Is the papacy a worldwide religious and political power that people from every country all over the world are worshipping today? Anyone who has traveled the world knows that this is the case.
- Did the papacy continue as a religious and political (civil) power that is as a union of church and state through the dark ages for 1260 years? It did. Beginning with its acquirement of independent civil authority for the first time in 538 1260 years last until 1798, the very year that the pope was taken prisoner and the papacy ceased to exist for a short time.
- Does the papacy have a man at its head who has the number 666? We noticed that the little horn (papacy) would “intend to change times and law.” This has been one of the primary doctrines of the Roman Pontiff and the Catholic Church. And by changing God’s law, it gives credence to their suggestion that the pope has all power and authority. “The Pope can modify [change] the Divine Law.” Lucius Ferraris, Ecclesiastical Dictionary. They claim that the ability to change God’s law is their mark of authority. For instance, if you look in the Catechism, you will find the second commandment has been removed, relating to graven images and bowing down to them, and the tenth commandment split into two commandments. Mary is referred to as a Mediatrix (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1994 p 252), but, the Bible says, “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus.” I Timothy 2: 5.
The one commandment that God said to remember, the Catholic Church has disregarded, and they have convinced the rest of the world to follow suit. Through reasoning and human philosophy, men have rejected the one commandment that was to give men rest. They have profaned and polluted that commandment which was meant to give life and happiness. It was to be a sign between God and us to identify us as His people. “Moreover I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. Hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I an the Lord your God.” Ezekiel 20: 12,20.
The papacy claims the authority to change God’s law, especially this very commandment about worship. “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Solemn rest, a holy convocation [worship day]. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.” Leviticus 23: 3. If God set a day aside for worship, does any man have the right to decide that any other day is just as acceptable? Who is God and who is the created being? Yet the papacy has claimed the authority to switch days for God’s day of rest and worship.
They even claim that by doing this, and the world following its lead, that it is the Mark of their authority. “Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change [of the Sabbath to Sunday] was her act . . . and the act is a mark of the ecclesiastical power.” – From the office of Cardinal Gibbons, through Chancellor H. F. Thomas, November 11, 1895. The Roman Church derides Protestants for claiming to believe in the Bible while keeping Sunday as their “Sabbath.” “If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day [Saturday]. In keeping the Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church.” Albert Smith, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, replying for the Cardinal in a letter dated February 10, 1920.
Yet in another bold statement, a priest says, “Prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. ’ The Catholic Church says, no. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week. And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in reverent obedience to the command of the Holy Catholic Church.”- Priest Thomas Enright, CSSR, President of Redemptorist College, Kansas City, Mo., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, February 22, 1884, and the American Sentinel, a New York Roman Catholic journal in June 1893, page 173.
Who will you worship?
It is evident from these statements that the issue of worship will be over who is God. The Lord of the heavens has given His “mark” or “sign,” which is the Sabbath Day. Only God can make a day holy, and only God can sanctify it. Only God has the ability to work miracles in the lives of people, and only God can sanctify a people for Himself. God’s sign is His commandments and specifically His Sabbath. The Beast’s Mark is the counterfeit worship day- Sunday. “Sunday is our mark of authority… The Church is above the Bible, and the transference of the Sabbath observance is proof of that fact.” The Catholic record, London, Ontario, Canada, September 1, 1923. In the last generation, all, who continue to worship the beast by honoring his “mark” of authority (Sunday worship) after they have seen the truth, will receive of the plagues, the unmixed wrath of God. “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice (this is so important that the Lord is having His messenger shout out this last day warning), ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead (has allowed himself to be deceived into believing the lie) or on his hand (performs this form of worship for fear of his life and livelihood), he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the lamb.” Revelation 14: 9,10.
This is a life and death message to the world. Wake Up! Search the scriptures and find the truth, God says to His people. Maybe for years you have believed false doctrines and have lived up to all the light (truth) you knew. Now that God has opened your eyes to more Biblical wisdom, will you turn away and shut your mind and heart away from His righteousness? “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” Matthew 6: 33 Jesus commands. Those in past times were destroyed because they did not have a love for the truth. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” Hosea 4: 6. And all who reject His knowledge today will also be rejected by Him. “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” II Thessalonians 2: 11,12.
God is not a God of force. He will not force you to love Him, to follow Him, or to receive the gifts that He wants so badly to give to you. Yet He cannot allow this world to continue forever in sin and degradation. He is working to create for Himself a people who will be loyal to Him in all that He says. All, who will not follow Him and allow Him to remove sin (the breaking of His Ten Commandments I John 3: 4; James 2: 10- 12) from their hearts, will be die in their sins. All who are not willing to listen to His counsel and truth will be given over to the adversary and will be allowed to believe the lies of the devil. God will eventually fully withdraw His Holy Spirit from working on the hearts of those who continue in rebellion. They will fall into strong delusions, that they may be condemned because of their love for sinful pleasure and disobedience to His law.
The mark of the beast is not an outward mark that all can see, but an inward mark of a deceptive thought process and a corrupted heart. Just as God’s sign will be written on our hearts and minds, the Beast’s mark will be written on the hearts and minds of all who follow his doctrines and theology. These will have their place in the lake of fire along with the devil, the beast, and the false prophet. See Revelation 20: 10,15.
This is an urgent message to the world! God is exerting untold energy in the attempt to turn mankind from their sinful path and bring them to a condition of salvation. God is calling you and me today. He is long suffering, but cannot wait forever for us. He is giving us that chance today. What will be your decision? Do you love Jesus more than the customs of this world? Paul said, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” “ Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he shall reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Colossians 2: 8; Galatians 6: 7,8.
Do not deceive yourselves today thinking that God’s Sabbath is not important. We will be keeping His Sabbath in the new heavens and earth (Isaiah 66: 22,23). His Sabbath is an everlasting covenant which can never be changed (Exodus 31: 12- 18), because God Himself wrote it with His own finger. There is an over abundance of evidence that all the apostles kept the Sabbath, and neither Jesus or any of His apostles ever commanded or kept Sunday as a holy day. This would have gone directly against the prophecy of Revelation 13. Who are God’s last day people? “Here is the patience (steadfastness) of the saints (God’s people); here are those who keep the commandments of God (including the Sabbath commandment) and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14: 12. Who are called blessed and will enter into New Jerusalem? “Blessed are those who do his commandment, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14.
Here is the bottom line for each of us. If God says one thing, and we believe another, who should change his mind, God or us? The question is over who will be God! Who are we truly worshipping when we break His Sabbath and worship on the day that has only human authority as a day of worship? Who has the right to change God’s law? God said “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my mouth,” Psalms 89: 34 and “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4: 4. God sends this last day warning to all his people because He loves them and does not want to see them destroyed. When Sunday worship is set up as a law under penalty of death, the mark of the beast will be enforced. Which side will you be found on in these last days of Bible prophecy. When the roll is called up in heaven, will you truly be found there? Will you today devote your life to God and obey His voice? Will you let Him give you His special sign? Will you worship the Lord your God on His Sabbath day as He has asked and avoid receiving the mark that brings death and destruction? The decision is in your hands.
- Beyond Pitcairn, Harvestime Books.
- Wilkinson, B. G., Truth Triumphant.
- J. T. C., Smokescreens.
- White, E. G., Great Controversy.
- Grosboll, John J., God Predicts Your Future.
- The Bulwark, Oct. 1922, pg. 104.
- The Great Encyclical Letters of Leo XIII, pg. 304.
- Philippe Labbe and Gabriel Cossart, The Most Holy Councils, vol. 13, col. 1167, on “The Council of Trent.
- Lucius Ferraris, Ecclesiastical Dictionary.
- From the office of Cardinal Gibbons, through Chancellor H. F. Thomas, November 11, 1895.
- Albert Smith, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, replying for the Cardinal in a letter dated February 10, 1920.
- Priest Thomas Enright, CSSR, President of Redemptorist College, Kansas City, Mo., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, February 22, 1884, and the American Sentinel, a New York Roman Catholic Journal in June 1893, page 173.
- The Catholic Record, London, Ontario, Canada, September 1, 1923.