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Chapter 20

The Mark of the Beast and the Seal of God

 

ALTHOUGH the Bible states that the saints will receive the seal of God that secures their eternal salvation, it also introduces the mark of the beast, which will be received by those who reject the invitation of Christ to separate from Babylon. This mark will be received either in the forehead or in the hand.

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. (Revelation 13:16)

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 . . . (Revelation 14:9)

Some students of Scripture have postulated that lost men and women will receive a visible mark; however, in view of the symbolic language of Revelation, it is evident that the mark or seal received in the forehead is indicative of allegiance to Satan or Christ. These marks will be embedded in the mind, the decision-making area of the brain. Those who receive the mark in the hand (unlike those who receive it in the forehead) will not be deceived by the papal power or its false teachings; however, they will capitulate when the test comes. They will obey the dictates of the antichrist and fail to secure eternal life because of their refusal to fully accept Jesus and all His directions in their lives. The following words of Jesus are of eternal importance to every Christian:

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Matthew 16:24Ė27)

Now certainly is the time to draw close to Jesus, allowing Him to lead in every step of our lives.

We can expect that, in its last, desperate effort to subjugate the whole world to its nefarious deception, step by determined step, the Papacy will attempt to enforce Sunday observance as a sign of its authority and power. Because of the prophesied allegiance of the nations to the Papacy (see Revelation 14:8, 18:3), there will be a repetition of the pastóthe civil governments of the world will enforce the wishes of the Papacy; thus national and international laws will be framed, requiring all to worship on Sunday. It can be expected that legislation will eventually be enacted, in an attempt to force Sabbathkeepers to violate Godís sacred day of worship.

A careful study of Revelation, chapter 13, indicates that the United States will play a significant role in these closing events. As we have seen, the prophecy of Revelation 13 identifies the second power that will play the primary role as the enforcer of the dictates of the Papacy. This new power is brought to view in the second part of Revelation 13.

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. (Revelation 13:11)

The following facts demonstrate that this power is the United States of America.

1. A beast in biblical prophecy always represents an earthly power, as is evident from Danielís prophecy of the four beasts.

And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagleís wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a manís heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given unto it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. (Daniel 7:3Ė7)

These four beasts represented the four successive dominant political powers of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

2. This new power, revealed in Revelation 13:11, arose from the earth. It will be noted that the powers of Daniel 7 arose from the sea.

And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. (Daniel 7:3, emphasis added)

The sea in biblical prophecy represents multitudes and people.

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. (Revelation 17:15)

These powers depicted in Daniel, chapter 7, arose out of the densely populated areas of the Old World. This new power, by contrast, must be a New World nation because it arises from the earth (indicating a sparsely populated are) instead of the sea.

3. This second beast power had to arise around 1798 (the end of the 1260 years of European papal domination). Prophecy spoke about the first beast of Revelation 13 which represented the Papacy.

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months [or 1260 days]. (Revelation 13:5)

The lamblike beast arose to power after the papal beast, fixing its origin in the latter portion of the eighteenth century.

4. This new power is depicted as lamblike in its beginning, whereas, the other beasts of biblical prophecy are generally depicted as beasts of prey. Such a power would establish itself without great conquest in a minimally populated region of the world.

5. The choice of a lamb rather than a sheep indicates a very young nation.

The biblical criteria exclude every nation upon earth except the United States of America. It arose under the banner of a constitution which granted, as no other nation before, political and religious liberty. In this enactment, the United States forged the peaceable characteristics of a lamb. It arose, at the end of the eighteenth century, in the sparsely populated territory of the New World far removed from the densely populated nations of Europe and the Middle East. When the United States gained independence, its total population was a mere three million.

Divine prophecy predicted that the characteristics of this lamblike beast would change. It would speak as a dragon; thus we must expect the United States to become, even though founded upon the principles of religious freedom, an oppressive power that will enforce papal dictates.

Recent court rulings indicate a dramatic departure from the time-honored American heritage of protecting the religious rights of minority groups. A 1990 Supreme Court opinion (in the United States) is a frightening example of this change.

In what was called a "radical departure" from previous rulings protecting religion, the Supreme Court Tuesday forcefully declared that it would no longer shield believers whose practices violate general laws.

Religions that are out of the mainstream are most likely to be affected because their unconventional practices and lack of political clout have led them to depend on the courts for protection.

The ruling came in the case of two American Indians who were fired from their jobs as drug counselors, in Oregon, after they admitted ingesting peyote during a religious ceremony. On a 6Ė3 vote, the court upheld their dismissal.

But in the sweeping opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia went far beyond the case, and declared that when religious rights clash with the governmentís need for reform rules, the court will side with the government.

As a nation, "we cannot afford the luxury" of striking down laws simply because they limit someoneís religious practices, Scalia said. He advised religious adherents to look to the political system, not the courts for protection. ("Religious Fine Print Blurred," The Fresno Bee, April 18 1990)

When the supreme court of Nebraska in 1990 ruled that a Jehovah Witness father could not teach his daughter Jehovah Witness beliefs in competition to his divorced wifeís Roman Catholic beliefs, another nail was hammered into the coffin of religious liberty.

And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. (Revelation 13:12)

Sadly, we must expect that this great nation of freedom will be transformed into a persecuting power whose main object will be to obliterate Godís saints from the earth.

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16, 17)

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (Revelation 13:15)

Is it not highly significant that members of the Protestant churches in America are now seeking reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church? Even one of the most conservative of all Protestant churches in the United States, the Southern Baptists, seek basic agreement with the Roman Catholic Church (see chapter 9, entitled, "All That Dwell Upon the Earth Shall Worship Him").

The Southern Baptists are not the only Protestants who are drawing closer to Roman Catholics.

Roman Catholics and Lutherans stepped closer together Monday, when church officials from both denominations announced plans to draw up a covenant that will increase cooperation between the most powerful religious bodies in Minnesota. (The Minneapolis Star and Tribune, October 17 1989)

The capitulation of Protestantism to Catholicism is seen worldwide. In July 1990, the president of the Australasian Council of Churches, the Anglican bishop of Bendigo, Bishop Oliver Heywood, and the Roman Catholic archbishop of Sidney, Cardinal Edward Clancy, sat side by side, in Adelaide, talking about plans for a new national ecumenical body. . . . The move has been described as "a revolution" in Anglican-Catholic nations, and could be the first step towards the eventual merger of the two churches. (Sidney Morning Herald, July 1990)

The new ecumenical body is projected to be operating by 1992. It seems that the 1992Ė93 era will be tremendously significant in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Ninety percent of the Christian community, in Australia, will be represented in the new organization.

The following assertion is even more ominous:

Its [the new councilís] formation is also expected to encourage the church community to take an even greater part in the political area. "Politics is what drives our society in many ways, and if the church is to be part of society, which it is, then clearly we have to be involved," Bishop Heyward said. "If there is a bit of rough and tumble, then so be it." (Sidney Morning Herald)

When the church unites with the state, persecution of dissenters inevitably follows.

Today many Christians of various faiths and their ministers are joining together in special days of prayer for Christian unity, little recognizing that such prayers do not ascend to God, but to the archdeceiver. At these ecumenical prayer meetings, Christians are being subtly conditioned to unite with Rome.

It is obvious that not only the churches of Protestantism are turning their faces toward Rome but also the nations of the world are uniting under the supervision of the Papacy. We can expect these unions to continue to accelerate their cooperation in the near future. The closer they come together, the more secure the unity achieved. The persecution of Godís people will consequently follow this renewed union of church and state. The Bible predicts it. History confirms that persecution has always been the result of such a union. The gospel will be taken to every part of the world under most difficult and trying circumstances. Many faithful children of Christ will lose their lives during this time.

Communist nations have officially apologized for their past wrongs. Poland and East Germany have openly apologized for joining the Russian Army in quelling the democracy movement in Prague during 1968. Even the U.S.S.R. has at last confessed its guilt to Poland for the liquidation of 15,570 officers of the Polish Army in the Katyn Forest in 1940. Even the emperor of Japan, in 1990, apologized for the actions of Imperial Japan against Korea during its occupation in the years 1905Ė1945.

But no such confession has ever come from the lips of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. When Pope John Paul II visited Czechoslovakia in April 1990, he had a golden opportunity to visit Huss Square, where his spiritual predecessors burned John Huss at the stake simply because he refused to acknowledge the Roman Catholic blasphemy that priests are capable of creating our Lordís body and His blood in the Mass. The pope studiously avoided such a confession of wrong. This attitude stems from the papal dogma of infallibility, which protects the seeds of further persecution when papal authority exercises the power that it had during the Middle Ages. Since she has never repented of her evil excesses of the past, she is capable of persecuting Godís people again.

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)

We must expect to see large numbers of professed Protestants capitulating to Roman Catholicism. This tragic trend is already accelerating; on the other hand, we must expect significant numbers of Godís faithful people to leave the apostate churches, and join one fold under the bloodstained banner of Jesus Christ.

Before the return of Jesus, there comes a time when every human beingís destiny is sealed. All have made an irrevocable decision for Jesus Christ or for Satan. A million years would not change that decision.

At that time, Christ will make His awesome pronouncements;

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (Revelation 22:11)

At this time, the Spirit of the Lord will no longer call people to repentance, for there is no purpose in the Holy Spiritís appeal to the heart once each personís destiny is sealed. The Bible speaks about this time.

There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation. (Daniel 12:1)

The prophet Jeremiah also refers to it.

It is even the time of Jacobís trouble. (Jeremiah 30:7)

At this time, the full fury of Satan will be turned upon Godís faithful people in an attempt to eliminate them from the face of the earth. The effort to destroy Godís people becomes universal. God pours out His judgments upon the earth during this period of vicious persecution. Many of these judgments, as recorded in Revelation 16, are directed against those who have worshiped the beast or are at the center of papal power. Two typical plagues are cited. There are seven in all.

And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. (Revelation 16:2).

And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain. (Revelation 16:10)

Prior to the return of Jesus, Rome is destroyed.

And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. (Revelation 16:19)

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. (Revelation 14:8)

At that time, Godís saints who have been sustained only by His love and preserving power will see, with great rejoicing, the return of their long-awaited Lord and Redeemer.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).

These saints have not worshiped the beast, for they have fully surrendered their lives to Jesus, and their names are recorded in the Lambís book of life (see Revelation 13:8).

The Lord is now calling all readers to total loyalty to Himself, so that their eternal destiny will be secure in the One who gave His life for the salvation of every human being.

 


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