THE MARK OF THE BEAST(Part 7)Evangelist Lawrence Nelson
The authority of this presentation is found in Revelation 14: 9, 10: "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; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb."
Nowhere in the entire Bible will you find a more startling warning given by God against a most grievous sin of our day. These Bible verses describe the consequences of those who refuse to heed this message and cling to the mark of the beast. Anyone in the their right mind can understand this mighty appeal of a loving God. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son to die for you and He wants you to spend eternity with Him in a glorious place called heaven. Yet, God cannot accept those who knowingly disobey His warning.
The most important question for this generation is: What is the mark of the beast? We will discover God's Holy Scripture gives the answer – so simple that even a child can understand. Therefore, this requires a fearless presentation as we read in Isaiah 58:1, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins."
My friend, this question is a life and a death issue. This is why we must ask God for His help. Please bow your head with me as I pray. Loving Father, we have now come to the most important truth in this series which requires Thy Holy Spirit to guide us as we search for the answer to the question, What is the mark of the beast. We need to know so that we can intelligently decide to have nothing to do with it and to be saved in Thy kingdom. In Jesus' name we ask, Amen.
The mark of the beast actually identifies anyone who has decided to obey the devil and worship him. It is no wonder that God has promised to destroy those who accept Satan's authority. This mark has to do with worship; will we obey God and worship Him as He commands or will we worship a counterfeit god that the Bible calls the man of sin. This act of worship includes all Christians and non-Christians and divides them into two distinct groups. One group worships the Almighty God in obedience to His commandments which requires us to keep holy the seventh-day Sabbath. The other group, knowingly obey the beast by their worship on a day dedicated to the pagan sun god, Baal.
I realize that this is a shocking statement, but please hear me out for I am revealing this terrible fact because I love you. During the last six sermons I have never failed to give you a "Thus saith the Lord God" to back up every statement made and this sermon will be no exception. I promise to do the same – to give you absolute Biblical proof – to back up every truth presented.
Now let us briefly review the divine prophecies that reveal this great counterfeit system which is soon to control the world. I am reading Revelation 13: 1 – 3, "I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast." Please note that this beast of Revelation 13 (which you will find is beast #6 on your visual aid) is comprised of all the traditions and doctrines developed by the dragon power which you find is beast #1.
Beginning with Nimrod, Satan's first monarch, who built the Tower of Babel in defiance of God which God destroyed, eventually the dragon passed all its pagan traditions to Babylon (beast #2), who then passed them on to Medo-Persia (beast #3), who passed them on to Greece (beast #4), who passed them on to pagan Rome (beast #5), and who finally gave them all to papal Rome (beast #6). The scriptures are very emphatic about this beast of Revelation 13. You will notice in verse 2 its horns came from pagan Rome (beast #5), its body from the leopard, Greece (beast #4), its feet were taken from the bear (beast #3), and its head came from the lion (beast #2), and the papal authority came from the dragon as we read in Revelation 13:2, "The dragon gave him his power, and his seat, (and then note these words…) and great authority." No one will question that the authority of the papacy is found in its pagan traditions.
Please consider carefully what God says of those who accept and obey the dragon's traditions. I am reading verse four of Revelation 13, "They worshipped the dragon" (that's beast #1), for obedience is the highest form of worship. Therefore, those who obey the beast of Revelation 13 are worshipping Satan. Let's read all the verse to make sure, "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"
God wants us to be absolutely positive so He has given us six major points of identity. These are as follows:
Blasphemy. Revelation 13:5 says, "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies." The pope claims to be another god. "Thou art the shepherd, thou art the physician, thou art the director; finally, thou art another god on earth." History of the Councils, Volume 14, column 109.
It was to rule for 1260 years. The papacy was to rule the world for 1260 years. This is found in Revelation 13:5, "And power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." According to Ezekiel 4:6, a day stands for a year in prophecy. Therefore 1260 days are 1260 years. The papacy destroyed the Ostrogoths in 538 and thereby began their universal rulership of the world which continued until 1798 when the pope was taken prisoner by Berthier, by the order of Napoleon. This was a papal reign of 1260 years – exactly as God had said.
It would be a persecuting power. The papal power would be a persecuting power. Revelation 13:7, "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." During the papal reign of 1260 years the papacy destroyed from 100 – 140 million of the saints of God. The present pope has recently admitted that they had persecuted during the Dark Ages.
It would receive a deadly wound. The papal power was to receive a deadly wound and the wound would be healed. Revelation 13:3 says, "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast." The papal kingdom was destroyed by France in 1798 when Berthier took the pope prisoner, but in 1929 his throne was restored by Mussolini of Italy and the deadly wound began to heal. Today it is almost completely healed for almost all governments of the world have their ambassadors to the pope.
The number of this beast is the number of a man's name. God has given a specific number to this papal power. Revelation 13:18 tells us, "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." The pope's official title is "Vicarius Filii Dei." The official language of the papacy is Latin and by adding up the value of each Latin letter it comes to 666. Amazingly you can also do this with the Bible languages of Greek and Hebrew. All three languages will give you the same number – 666.
Its wound is to be fully healed and once again all the world will wonder after the beast. God's Word predicts that almost the entire world will worship (that is obey) the papal power. This is found in Revelation 13:8, "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life." Please keep in mind that these are God's words – they are not mine. Here are six absolute points of identity.
Now we come to the question, Where in the scriptures does God describe true worship of obedience that He will accept? In the book of Revelation chapter 14 verses six and seven, God's final appeal is given by three mighty angels declaring in positive words that God will accept only the worship of obedience. I read, "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth; and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: (then notice…) and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."
And where is this command to worship God explained in detail? – It is found in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:8 – 11, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." The Catholic Church has changed the fourth commandment to read, "Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day" – leaving out "the seventh day." This makes it possible for the papacy to command worship on the first day to honor the dragon's pagan sun god instead of worshiping the Creator who made heaven and earth.
Now the question: How and when did the pope change God's eternal Ten Commandments? You will be surprised at the answer. I am quoting from Pope Nicholas, "The pope has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things even the precepts of Christ." Decretal Dei Translet. I continue to quote, "The pope's will stands for reason. He can dispense above the law and of wrong made right by correcting and changing laws." DIS-96. It is in the changing of God's holy law that we discover the mark of authority of the beast. I shall read this to you from an authentic Catholic testimony, "The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday." The Catholic Mirror, September 23, 1893.
"Question: Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept? Answer: Had she not such power she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day. Take note: this is a change for which there is no scriptural authority." That's taken from the Catholic Doctrinal Catechism by Reverend Stephen Keenan, p. 174.
Again I quote, "She, the Church, took the pagan sun-day and made it the Christian Sunday and thus the pagan Sunday, dedicated to Boldar, a sun-god, became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Jesus." The Catholic World 1894. "Nowhere in the Bible, do we find that Christ or the apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandments of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day – that is, the seventh day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the Church of Rome outside the Bible." Catholic Virginian, October 3, 1947.
Here is a challenge by Rome: an offer that has never been taken, "I have repeatedly offered $1000.00 to anyone who can 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 that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.' 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." That's taken from Priest Enright of Kansas City, Missouri.
Does the papacy admit that she changed the Sabbath and that it is her mark? – In reply to a letter of October 28, 1895 asking the Church if it claimed the change of the Sabbath as her mark the following was received: "Of course the Catholic Church claims the change was her act and the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters." C. F. Thomas, Chancellor. Now these statements of fact by Catholic Church writers make it absolutely clear that the mark of the beast is the counterfeit Sunday sacredness that is commanded by the pope of Rome.
You may be further surprised to discover that the Protestant churches of the world agree with Rome. I shall now read from Protestant testimony, the Presbyterian Church: "The Christian Sabbath, Sunday, is not in the scriptures and was not by the primitive church called the Sabbath." Dwight's Theology, Volume 4, p. 401. From the Congregational Church we read, "There is no command in the Bible requiring us to observe the first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath." The Mode and Subjects of Baptism by Fowler.
The Lutheran Church says, "The observance of the Lord's Day, Sunday, is not found on any command of God, but on the authority of the Church." Augsburg Confessions of Faith, as quoted in Cox's Sabbath Manual, p. 287. The Episcopalian Church teaches, "The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always on a human ordinance and it was far from the intention of the apostles to establish a divine command in this respect. Far [be it] from them and from the apostolic church to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday." History of the Christian Religion of the Church, Neander, p. 186.
We read from the Methodist Church, "It is true that there is no positive command for infant baptism, nor is there any for keeping holy the first day of the week." Logical Compends, 1902, by Reverent Amos Benny, p. 180, 181.
Now we come to the Baptists. Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual, in a paper read before the New York ministers' conference held on November 13, 1893 made this candid admission before a group of ministers, "There was, and is, a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said however, with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week with all its duties, privileges, and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject which I have studied for many years I ask, Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament – absolutely not. There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week. Of course I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day as we learn from the Christian fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism and christened with the name of the sun-god and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism."
Now, by comparing the Catholic testimony which reveals that they adopted Sunday-keeping from the pagan sun worshipers with that of the Protestant testimony admitting that there is no Bible authority for keeping holy the first day of the week, an honest individual discovers he must make a decision. He must choose to give his allegiance to truth or error; to God's Holy Word the Bible or to the devil's traditions. It's a decision that you must make. We must keep the seventh-day Sabbath according to God's commandments or we must obey the dragon by keeping the first day holy. By this decision you receive the seal of God or the mark of the beast.
Let us take a moment to consider the original seventh-day Sabbath which contains the seal of God. What makes a seal authentic when placed on a legal document? – The seal must contain the ruler's name giving his title and dominion. You will find God's genuine seal in the Ten Commandments, centered in the fourth containing His name – "The Lord thy God" – His title – "The Creator" – His dominion – "Heaven and Earth" – which makes the Ten Commandments a legal document requiring His servants to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.
Keep in mind that God has stated in Malachi 3:6, "I am the Lord, I change not." Since these commandments were spoken by God we read in Psalms 89:34, "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." Therefore, the Bible states, "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples." Isaiah 8:16. Is it any wonder then that God, the Creator of heaven and earth, has given to us the greatest warning message found in the scriptures? You read this in Revelation 14: 9 – 11, "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; and 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 ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." God will destroy all those who accept and obey the mark of the beast.
In the same chapter He tells of those whom He will accept. I'm reading Revelation 14:12, "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
Now I must read to you Rome's challenge. Listen carefully. "I'm going to propose a very plain and serious question to which I would entreat all who profess to follow the Bible and the Bible only, to give their most earnest attention. It is this, Why do you not keep holy the Sabbath day? The command of Almighty God stands clearly written in the Bible with these words, 'Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work.' Exodus 20: 8, 9. Such being God's command then I ask again, Why do you not obey it? Why do you not keep holy the Sabbath day? You will answer me, perhaps, that you do keep holy the Sabbath day for that you abstain from all worldly business and diligently go to church and say your prayers and read your Bible at home every Sunday of your life. But Sunday is not the Sabbath day. Sunday is the first day of the week. The Sabbath day is the seventh day of the week. Almighty God did not give a commandment that men should keep holy one day in seven, and He assigned a reason for choosing this day rather than any other; a reason that belongs only to the seventh day of the week and cannot be applied to any other. He says, 'For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.' Almighty God ordered that all men should rest from their labors on the seventh day because He too had rested on that day. He did not rest on Sunday, the first day of the week, but on Saturday, the seventh day. On Sunday, the first day of the week, He began the work of creation. He did not finish it. It was on Saturday that He 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: 2, 3. Nothing can be plainer and easier to understand than all this, and there is nobody who attempts to deny it. It is acknowledged by everybody that the day that Almighty God appointed to be kept holy was Saturday, not Sunday.
"Why do you then keep holy Sunday instead of Saturday? You tell me that Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath, but the Christian Sabbath has been changed to Sunday. Changed? – But by whom? Who had authority to change an express command of Almighty God when God had spoken and said, 'Thou shalt keep holy the seventh day,' who shall dare say, 'Nay, thou mayest work and do all manner of worldly business on the seventh day, but thou shalt keep holy the first day in its stead'? This is the most important question which I know not how you can answer. You are a Protestant, and you profess to go by the Bible and the Bible only, and yet in so important a matter as the observance of one day in seven as a holy day you go against the plain letter of the Bible, and put another day in the place of the day the Bible has commanded. The command to keep holy the seventh day is one of the Ten Commandments. You believe the other nine are still binding. Who gave you the authority to tamper with the fourth? If you are consistent with your own principles, if you really follow the Bible and the Bible only, you ought to be able to produce some portion of the New Testament in which the fourth commandment is expressly altered or at least from which you can confidently infer that it was the will of God that Christians should make that change in its observance which you have made."
Now Rome gives you the answer. "The present generation of Protestants keep Sunday holy instead of Saturday because they received it as part of the Christian religion from the last generation, and that generation received it from the generation before and so on. Backward from one generation to another by a continual succession until we come to the time of the so-called Reformation when it so happened that those who conducted the change of religion of this country left this particular portion of Catholic faith and practice untouched.
"Now mind you, in all this you would greatly misunderstand me if you supposed that I was quarreling with you for acting in this matter on a true and a right principle - in other words, a Catholic principle - the acceptance, without hesitation, of that which has been handed down to you by unbroken tradition. What I do quarrel with you is this: For your lack of consistency in occasionally acting upon a true principle, but your adoption as a general rule of a false one. You keep Sunday and not Saturday and you do so rightly for this was the practice of all Christians when Protestantism began. But you have abandoned other Catholic observances which were equally universal at that day preferring the novelties introduced by the men who invented Protestantism to the unvarying tradition of about 1500 years.
"We blame you not for keeping Sunday for your weekly holiday instead of Saturday, but for rejecting tradition which is the only safe and clear rule by which this observance can be justified. In outward act we do the same as yourself in this matter; we too no longer observe the ancient Sabbath, but Sunday instead. But there is this important difference between us. We do not pretend, as you do, to derive our authority for doing so from a book, but we derive it from a living teacher and that teacher is the Church. We Catholics then have precisely the same authority for keeping Sunday holy, instead of Saturday, as we have for every other article of our creed – namely the authority of the Church of the Living God, 'the pillar and ground of truth,' (1 Timothy 3:15) whereas you who are Protestants have really no authority for it in the Bible and you will not allow that there be authority for it anywhere else." That is Rome's challenge to you taken from The Liberty of Christian Doctrines, p 3, 4. Also found in the book, The Pope King Again, by Alonzo Baker, p. 119 – 122.
So, it's an undeniable fact that the fourth commandment is of God which demands that we keep holy the seventh-day Sabbath in honor of God our Creator. But this has been changed by the papal Church to honor the dragon's Sunday, who claims that he has power to change what God commands. The dragon is commanding you to worship on Sunday, the first day of the week, to honor the ancient sun god of old Babylon.
Now in closing, there is one further question for those who have honestly thought all their lives they were honoring God by keeping Sunday holy: Will I be lost if I don't keep the Bible Sabbath? Listen carefully. There was an owner of a country store who was a very honest man. He sold yardage to the community - to the mothers who made clothing for their families. He was a faithful believer in the commandments of God. One day a lady bought just one yard of cloth. When she got home she discovered it was a half-inch short and it could not be used after all. She had trusted the storeowner. He had never cheated her before. She measured the piece of cloth with her yardstick and found that it was a half-inch too short. She went back to the store stating that she had measured the cloth with her yardstick and found it to be less than a yard. The owner measured it once again and found it to be exactly right.
Then she had a happy thought. She went over to the hardware section and picked up a tape measure and gave it to the owner who measured the material and to his amazement he found that his yardstick was one-half inch short. Now you fill in the rest of the story. Can this honest man continue to use his old yardstick to sell cloth? He now knows that it is defective. He is an honest man. Will God hold it against him because he unknowingly used an inaccurate yardstick? – Of course not. But can he continue to use the old yardstick and be accepted by God as an honest man? – Of course not.
God has given us a divine rule to follow. In James 4:17 I read, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." The time has come, my friend, when I must ask you to make a decision for eternal life. In Joshua 24:15 we read, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." I believe you to be honest in heart and you have chosen to obey God and keep His seventh-day Sabbath holy, God helping you.
Let us pray. Loving Father, I present to you this precious child of God who has promised, with Thy help, to keep holy the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Place these dear ones' name in Your Book of Life and give them strength that they may be faithful. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.