Chapter 11 THE MYSTERIOUS 666
The Bible describes the number 666 in Revelation 13:18, and it specifically says that it is the number of a man. 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.
There is much confusion and speculation today concerning this mysterious number. Many believe this to be the number of the antichrist. Still others believe that this number is somehow associated with the sinister mark of the beast. Who is the man who bears this number? Is he the antichrist? When will he appear? What are the devastating effects his presence is expected to have on the earth? Is he already in the world? Will this person choose to remain unknown, or will his presence be announced and his work done openly? Or, will he masquerade as some holy person that the whole world looks up to, thinking he is working for God instead of the devil? An essence of evil surrounds the term antichrist, and evil rarely works openly. Instead, evil usually wears a facade of righteousness to cover its real character in order more easily to deceive.
In order to answer all these questions, we will continue with the prophecy found in Daniel 7, which should be quite meaningful now that we have an understanding of the various prophetic symbols that are used. This prophecy adds considerable detail to the great outline prophecy of King Nebuchadnezzars dream in Daniel, chapter two.
Daniel 7:1-8,15-21: In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. With our understanding of prophetic symbols, we can readily see that this text depicts war among the inhabitants of earth.
Continuing with verse 3: And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse (different) one from another. Here we see that as a result of the wars, four separate nations appeared on the stage of history, each one different from the others.
Continuing with verse 4: The first was like a lion, and had eagles 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 mans 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 to 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 (different) from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
With our knowledge of prophetic symbols, it is easy to see that as a result of military conquest, four powerful nations or empires arose successively on the stage of history. The first was represented by the lion, the king of beasts. The wings symbolized the rapid conquest of this power as it defeated one nation after another to assemble its empire. The second is represented to be a cruel power at whose hands many lost their lives as it devoured many nations.
The third beast had four wings, indicating extreme swiftness, and four heads, representing the four leaders or kings who divided the empire among themselves and took power concurrently.
The fourth power is represented by a beast such as is not known on earth, signifying an extremely cruel and powerful empire. The ten horns, or nations, succeed this cruel power, and then the little horn with eyes and a mouth arrives on the scene.
Continuing with Daniel 7:15: I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
As Daniel was witnessing this procession of history, he did not understand, and asked one of the angels standing by to explain the vision to him. The angels explanation is found in verses 17 and 18: These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
In order to put Daniel at ease, the angel reassured him that the saints, the true Christians, the true people of God, will finally rule the world with their Lord Jesus Christ. This assurance corroborates the prophecy represented by King Nebuchadnezzars dream in Daniel, chapter two.
Continuing with verse 19: Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse (different) from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.
Here we have more information about the little horn, which had eyes and a mouth and grew to be more stout than the others. The power which is represented by the stout horn made war against three of the ten nations, represented by the ten horns, and completely defeated and uprooted them so that today there is no trace of these nations. We see also that the power represented by the stout horn made war against the saints, Gods true people, and prevailed against them. This power put to death many millions of true Christians, as we shall see.
The angel continues in verse 23 to explain the vision to Daniel: Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
Now we can identify these four empires. The angel told Daniel that this extremely cruel beast represented the fourth kingdom on earth. Daniel received this vision during the reign of Belshazzar, king of Babylon. Babylon, therefore, is represented by the first beast, the lion with wings. As we remember the sequence of empires represented by Nebuchadnezzars dream of the image with the head of gold, we see that Medo-Persia was the second kingdom, represented by the bear; Greece was the third, represented by the leopard.
It is interesting to note that the leopard with four wings (which symbolize speed) represents the Grecian Empire. Under the reign of Alexander the Great, this Grecian power marched its army over 25,000 miles during a two-year period as it conquered virtually the entire known world. Alexanders troops ranged as far as India and China. Thus, to indicate very great speed of conquest, the symbol of four wings is used instead of just two wings as on the first beast, the lion. In the political intrigue that followed Alexanders death, his young son, heir to the throne, was murdered, and four of Alexanders generals divided the kingdom among themselves. The four heads on the leopard represent these four generals. Ptolemy took the southern section of the empire, consisting of Egypt, Palestine, and part of Syria; Cassander took Macedonia and Greece; Lysimachus received the northern part, consisting of Thrace and a large part of Asia Minor; and Seleucus received the eastern part of the empire.
The Roman Empire was the fourth kingdom, represented by the last beast with ten horns in this prophecy.
Continuing with Daniel 7:24: And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
The ten horns of this terrible beast represent the nations or kingdoms into which the Roman Empire disintegrated, seven of which are the ancestors of the modern nations of Europe. These ten nations were the Anglo-Saxons (English), the Franks (French), Suevi (Portuguese), Visigoths (Spanish), Burgundians (Swiss), Alemanni (Germans), Lombards (Italians), Ostrogoths, Heruli, and the Vandals in northern Africa.
After these ten nations were established, another power, represented by the stout horn which had eyes and a mouth, arose. This power subdued and completely uprooted three of the ten nations.
The verses just read give numerous clues to help us to identify the power represented by the stout horn. It is important that we understand who this power is, and for this reason God has given us many identifying points. Let us now consider the points of identity of this power.
(1). Daniel 7:24 states that the stout horn power would arise after the Roman Empire and after the emergence of the other ten horns, or nations, following the disintegration of the empire.
(2). This power is different from the other ten kingdoms. Daniel 7:24 says, He shall be diverse from the first. We have a clue in verse 25 as to just how this power differed from the other kingdoms. This power made an attempt to change the law of God and the times of God. The Catholic Douay translation of the Bible says that he shall think himself able to change times and laws. This power has published the changed law and admits to changing a time of God, and nearly the entire Christian world follows the dictates of this power rather than the times and laws of God. Since this power thought itself able to change Gods times and Gods laws, it must be a religious power. The other ten powers were political. That is the difference mentioned in verse 24.
(3). This power went to war with three of the ten kingdoms and defeated them. Daniel 7:24 says, He shall subdue three kings. The reason for this war was that the three defeated nations would not accept the religious doctrine of the stout horn; the other seven nations, under pressure, accepted its dictates. The three defeated nations were the Ostrogoths, Heruli, and the Vandals. Verse 8 says they were plucked up by the roots; there is no trace of these nations today. They have been completely uprooted, as this prophecy foretold.
(4). This power speaks blasphemous words against God. Daniel 7:25 says, He shall speak great words against the most High. The first beast of Revelation 13 also represents this stout horn power, as we will see shortly. Revelation 13:5 says, And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. What is blasphemy? We can find the definition of blasphemy in John 10:30-33: Jesus said, I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. For a man to claim he is God is blasphemy.
Another definition of blasphemy is found in Mark 2:7: Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? For a man to claim to be able to forgive sins is also blasphemy.
This power, therefore, must claim either that its leader is God or that it can forgive sins, or both. Did a religious power arise shortly after the breakup of the Roman Empire which makes either of these claims?
(5). The stout horn power kills the saints of God. Daniel 7:25 says, And shall wear out the saints of the most High. This power is a cruel, persecuting power which has put to death millions of Christians who wanted to worship God according to the Bible. This power made its own doctrine and required that people follow its laws. If a person worshiped God as specified in the Bible, he was in danger of severe persecution, such as being burned at the stake. During the Saint Bartholomews Massacre in August, 1572, an estimated 70,000 Christians were put to death in one night, and this power boasted about it in its various writings.
(6). This power attempted to change the times of God. Daniel 7:25 says, And think to change times and laws. In some of its publications this power admits to having changed the day of worship, and virtually the entire Christian world follows its dictates rather than the Bible.
(7). He would attempt to change the laws of God. (Daniel 7:25). We shall shortly compare the Ten Commandments as found in the Bible with the Ten Commandments as published by the stout horn. The changes will be readily apparent.
(8). Finally, this power reigned supreme for 1260 years. Daniel 7:25 says, And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. As was shown previously, the word time in this verse is a year, times is two years, and the dividing of time is one-half year. The 360-day prophetic year, you will remember, consists of twelve months of 30 days each. The three and one-half years mentioned in this verse, therefore, are this 1260-day time period. Since one day in Bible prophecy represents one year of actual time, we arrive at the 1260-year period for the stout horn power. Revelation 12:14 shows us that Gods church had to go into hiding during these 1260 years in an attempt to avoid the severe persecution which this power inflicted on the true Christians. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
A woman in Bible prophecy, you will remember, represents a church. The serpent is, of course, the devil. Since the woman is hiding from the face of the devil, the woman in this verse must represent Gods true church. Revelation 12:6 repeats essentially the same thing but shows clearly that this time period is 1260 prophetic days, or years of actual time. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. A score is twenty; threescore is sixty. This time period under consideration, therefore, is established to be 1260 years.
Additional points of identity are found in Revelation 13:1-10,18. As we consider these verses, it will become apparent that this first beast of Revelation 13 represents the same power as the stout horn of Daniel 7.
Revelation 13:1-10,18: And 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. And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 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. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 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. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. 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 (666).
(9). Notice here that this beast rises out of the sea. Revelation 13:1 says, I . . . saw a beast rise up out of the sea. Water, you will remember, is the symbol for many people, the sea of humanity. The ninth point of identity of this power, represented by the stout horn in Daniel 7 and the first beast of Revelation 13, is that it arises in a populated area of the world. We saw that when the Roman Empire fell, it disintegrated into ten nations, represented by the ten horns of the terrible beast of Daniel 7. It was among these nations, the heavily populated area of Europe, that this power, the stout horn, arose.
(10). This power received a deadly wound. Revelation 13:3 says, I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death. Exactly 1260 years after this power defeated the three nations represented by the three uprooted horns on the head of the terrible beast of Daniel 7, the stout horn power received its deadly wound, and the world believed that this was the end of this power.
(11). But, as Revelation 13:3 says, His deadly wound was healed. This power recovered from its wound and regained much of its former strength.
(12). Virtually the whole Christian world follows the dictates of this power as Revelation 13:3,4 says. All the world wondered after the beast. And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? Indeed, who is like the beast? He is completely different from all other powers, as this verse and Daniel 7:24 say. This power is known by practically everyone today, and it is a major factor in world events. According to prophecy, this power will very shortly exert much more control over the people of the world than at present.
(13). This power is a world-wide, well-known church, for Revelation 13:8 says that all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Lambs Book of Life. People worship this power and obey its dictates rather than Gods requirements as found in the Bible. This power effectively changed Gods requirements in the minds of most, and the people of the world obey (worship) this power rather than God.
(14). The last point of identity of this power is the number 666. Revelation 13:18 tells us that this is the number of a man. 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. It was customary in Roman times to speak of a persons number. This number was obtained by adding the values of the Roman numeral letters in a persons name.
Can you identify this power from the preceding fourteen points of identity from the pages of the Bible? What great religious power arrived on the scene of history shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire? Which great religious power defeated the Vandals, Ostrogoths, and the Heruli? Which great religious organization wielded enormous power over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations during the Dark Ages? Indeed, which great religious power was about the only large religious organization that existed during the Dark Ages? Which great religious power persecuted and put to death many millions of Christians, Gods true people, during the Dark Ages? Which great religious power attempted to change Gods times and Gods laws? Which great religious power spoke great, blasphemous words against God? Which great religious power commits blasphemy when it claims to be able to forgive the sins of the people? Which great religious power does practically the entire world wonder after, and follow, and obey?
Please understand that these prophecies are speaking about an organization, and not about specific individuals within the organization. At the present time true Christians are to be found in all churches, but God has an urgent message for His people who find themselves within this organization. This vitally important message from God will be covered toward the end of this chapter and also in chapter sixteen.
Anyone who is moderately familiar with history should easily be able to understand that the power symbolized by the stout horn with eyes and mouth in Daniel 7 and the first beast of Revelation 13 is the Roman Catholic Church.
Let us review again these fourteen points of identity and fill in the historical details which prove beyond any doubt that the power referred to is the papacy.
The following chart summarizes these points and gives the verses in which they are found.
(1). The ten nations which arose after the breakup of the Roman Empire were fairly well established when the papacy appeared on the stage of history, exactly as Daniel 7:24 foretold.
(2). Daniel 7:24 also foretold that the papacy would be different from the other nations. The papacy was a religious power, actually a union of church and state, whereas the other nations were political powers.
(3). Daniel 7:8,20,24 says that the papacy would subdue three of these nations. Because the Vandals, Heruli, and Ostrogoths had religious beliefs which were different from those of the papacy, considerable pressure was put on these nations to conform with papal doctrine. History shows that when they would not change their beliefs and accept papal doctrine, the papacy was instrumental in defeating them in battle, uprooting them so that there is no trace of these three nations in the world today.
(4). Has the papacy spoken great words of blasphemy against God, as Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:6 predict? Blasphemy, you will remember from John 10:30-33 and Mark 2:7, is committed when a man claims to be God and also when a man claims to be able to forgive sins. Consider some quotations from Catholic literature:
We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty. Pope Leo XIII, in an encyclical letter dated June 20, 1894, The Great Encyclical Letters of Leo XIII, p. 304. New York: Benziger Brothers.
All names which in the Scriptures are applied to Christ, by virtue of which it is established that he is over the church, all the same names are applied to the Pope. On the Authority of Councils, Bellarmine (R. C.), book 2, chap. 17 (Vol. II, p. 266), ed. 1619.
Let us consider some of the names applied to Christ in the Scriptures and see if they could possibly apply to the pope: Almighty God, Creator, Savior, Christ, Lord, King of kings, Most Holy, and Reverend. What could be more blasphemous than for a man to claim any of these titles? And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God. . . . (Revelation 13:6).
The Pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not a mere man, but as it were God, and the Vicar of God. . . . The Pope is of such lofty and supreme dignity that, properly speaking, he has not been established in any rank of dignity, but rather has been placed upon the very summit of all ranks of dignities . . . . The Pope is called most holy because he is rightfully presumed to be such. . . . The Pope alone is deservedly called by the name most holy, because he alone is the vicar of Christ, who is the fountain and source and fullness of all holiness. . . . He is likewise the divine monarch and supreme emperor, and king of kings. . . . Hence the Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions. . . . Moreover the superiority and the power of the Roman Pontiff by no means pertain only to heavenly things, to earthly things, and to things under the earth, but are even over angels, than whom he is greater. . . . So that if it were possible that the angels might err in the faith, or might think contrary to the faith, they could be judged and excommunicated by the Pope. . . . For he is of so great dignity and power that he forms one and the same tribunal with Christ. . . . The Pope is as it were God on earth, sole sovereign of the faithful of Christ, chief king of kings. . . . The Pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even divine laws. Translated from Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca, art. Papa, (Pope) II, Vol VI, pp. 26-29.
What could possibly be more blasphemous than that last quote?
Bishops and priests being, as they are, Gods interpreters and ambassadors, empowered in His name to teach mankind the divine law and the rules of conduct, and holding, as they do, His place on earth, it is evident that no nobler function than theirs can be imagined. Justly, therefore, are they called not only Angels, but even gods, because of the fact that they exercise in our midst the power and prerogatives of the immortal God.
In all ages, priests have been held in the highest honor; yet the priests of the New Testament far exceed all others. For the power of consecrating and offering the body and blood of our Lord and of forgiving sins, which has been conferred on them, not only has nothing equal or like to it on earth but even surpasses human reason and understanding. --- Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests, trans. by John A. McHugh and Charles J. Callan (1958), p. 318. New York: Wagner, 1934.
Just as the Bible predicted nearly two thousand years ago, the papacy opened his mouth in blasphemy against God. (Revelation 13:6).
(5). Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:7 foretold that this power would put Christians to death. Has the papacy done this? Indeed it has. The number of persons whom the papacy put to death during the Dark Ages because they wanted to worship God according to the Bible and because they would not obey the papal dictates is not known exactly, but some estimates run as high as two hundred million.
That the Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind, will be questioned by no Protestant who has a competent knowledge of history. W. E. H. Lecky, History of the Rise and influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, (reprint: New York: Braziller, 1955), Vol. 2, pp. 40-45.
Consider a few more quotations from Catholic literature:
We have always defended the persecution of the Huguenots, and the Spanish inquisition. The Western Watchman, December 24, 1908.
The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty of conscience are a most pestilential error a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a state. Pope Pius IX, Encyclical letter, August 15, 1854.
Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to our said lord (the Pope), or his aforesaid successors, I will to my utmost persecute and oppose. The Oath of Allegiance to the Pope, Josiah Strong, Our Country, Ch. 5, pars. 2-4.
When she [the Catholic Church] thinks it good to use physical force, she will use it. The Western Watchman, December 24, 1908.
In order to show the horror of the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew, the following is quoted from The Great Controversy, by E. G. White, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1950, pages 272,273.
But blackest in the black catalogue of crime, most horrible among the fiendish deeds of all the dreadful centuries, was the St. Bartholomew Massacre. The world still recalls with shuddering horror the scenes of that most cowardly and cruel onslaught. The king of France, urged on by Romish priests and prelates, lent his sanction to the dreadful work. A bell, tolling at dead of night, was a signal for the slaughter. Protestants by thousands, sleeping quietly in their homes, trusting to the plighted honor of their king, were dragged forth without a warning and murdered in cold blood.
As Christ was the invisible leader of His people from Egyptian bondage, so was Satan the unseen leader of his subjects in this horrible work of multiplying martyrs. For seven days the massacre was continued in Paris, the first three with inconceivable fury. And it was not confined to the city itself, but by special order of the king was extended to all the provinces and towns where Protestants were found. Neither age nor sex was re(s)pected. Neither the innocent babe nor the man of gray hairs was spared. Noble and peasant, old and young, mother and child, were cut down together. Throughout France the butchery continued for two months. Seventy thousand of the very flower of the nation perished.
When the news of the massacre reached Rome, the exultation among the clergy knew no bounds. The cardinal of Lorraine rewarded the messenger with a thousand crowns; the cannon of St. Angelo thundered forth a joyous salute; and bells rang out from every steeple; bonfires turned night into day; and Gregory XIII, attended by the cardinals and other ecclesiastical dignitaries, went in long procession to the church of St. Louis, where the cardinal of Lorraine chanted a Te Deum. . . . A medal was struck to commemorate the massacre, and in the Vatican may still be seen three frescoes of Vasari, describing the attack upon the admiral, the king in council plotting the massacre, and the massacre itself. Gregory sent Charles the Golden Rose; and four months after the massacre, . . . he listened complacently to the sermon of a French priest, . . . who spoke of that day so full of happiness and joy, when the most holy father received the news, and went in solemn state to render thanks to God and St. Louis. Henry White, The Massacre of St. Bartholomew, Ch. 14, par. 34.
We can easily see that the papacy had no hesitation in putting people to death for not obeying its dictates. Indeed, the day is coming when it will again use force over the consciences of men.
(6). How did the papacy change the times of God, as predicted in Daniel 7:25? By its own admission it is the one who changed the day to be kept holy from Saturday, Gods Sabbath day of the Fourth Commandment, to Sunday, the old pagan day of worship on which people paid allegiance to the sun god. Consider again some quotations from Catholic sources:
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. Catholic Mirror, official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.
Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act. And the act is a MARK of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters. C. F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons.
The observance of Sunday by the protestants is an homage they pay in spite of themselves to the authority of the (Catholic) Church. Mgr. Louis Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today, Boston: Patrick Donahoe, 1868, page 225.
If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observing the Saturday with the Jew. . . . Is it not strange that those who make the Bible their only teacher, should inconsistently follow in this matter the tradition of the (Catholic) Church? Bertrand L. Conway, The Question Box Answers, The Columbus Press, 1910, pp. 254,255.
Question: How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?
Answer: By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which protestants allow of, and therefore they fondly contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.
Question: How prove you that?
Answer: Because by keeping Sunday they acknowledge the churchs power to ordain feasts and to command them under sin. Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, New York: Edward Dunigan and Brothers, 1833, p. 58.
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, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority. Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism, 3rd. American edition, revised; New York: T. W. Strong, 1876, page 174.
(7). Did the Catholic Church change Gods laws as Daniel 7:25 predicted? The Catholic Church completely deleted the Second Commandment, that prohibits the making and worshipping of statues. They also changed the Bible Fourth Commandment, which is now their third, by removing all the instruction that tells us how to keep the Sabbath Day holy. They removed the statement which says that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. In order to have ten, they divided the Bible Tenth Commandment and made part of it their ninth.
The following chart compares the Ten Commandments as found in Exodus 20:2-17 with the Ten Commandments as commonly published in Catholic catechisms.
COMPARISON OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
as found in the Bible with the Ten Commandments as changed by the papacy
As originally given by God
As commonly found in
Roman Catholic Catechisms
1st Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me. 2nd Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. 3rd Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day. 4th 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. Honour thy father and thy mother. 5th Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. 6th Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 7th Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. 8th Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 9th Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours wife. 10th Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbours wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbours. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours goods.
Thus, we see that the Catholic Church has, indeed, changed the law of God just as Bible prophecy said it would nearly one thousand years before it happened.
(8). The papacy reached undisputed power in 538 AD by defeating the Ostrogoths, the last of the three nations represented by the three uprooted horns, and then, as Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:5 indicate, reigned supreme for 1260 years before it received its deadly wound.
(9). The papacy appeared in the populous area of Europe exactly as the Bible predicted in Daniel 7:24 by the stout horn arising among the other ten horns and in Revelation 13:1 by the beast rising out of the sea.
(10). At the expiration of the 1260-year period in 1798, the Catholic Church received its deadly wound, as Revelation 13:3 predicted. General Berthier, one of Napoleons generals, was sent to Rome in that year to take the pope prisoner. The pope died in exile in France the following year, and the French would not permit the election of another pope. People proclaimed, The papacy is dead, as once again Bible prophecy was perfectly fulfilled, precisely 1260 years after the papacy defeated the three nations who would not fall into line with its doctrine.
(11). Obviously the deadly wound was healed exactly as Bible prophecy foretold in Revelation 13:3, for the papacy is very well respected throughout the entire world today. The deadly wound was healed on February 11, 1929, when Cardinal Gaspari and Mussolini, the leader of Italy during the Second World War, signed a concordat which made the pope a king again. Today he is the sovereign ruler of Vatican City, a separate country, which is not a part of Italy or the city of Rome. This papal country masquerades as a church, and because of this it has been able easily to infiltrate practically every political entity in the world. What an intelligence gathering system this papal country has with its subjects telling priests everything they want to know in confessionals! The papacy is a deadly enemy of the United States as we shall see. The papacy, through her facade of religion, has been able to infiltrate thoroughly the United States government. As a result, the United States will soon lose her constitution and become a tyrannical, persecuting power according to Bible prophecy.
(12). Revelation 13:3 says, All the world wondered after the beast. Many nations of the world send ambassadors to the Vatican, a separate country in the city of Rome, just as they do to any other nation. When the pope travels to other countries he is given a tumultuous welcome, and millions upon millions flock to see him. The whole world does indeed follow after the beast.
(13). The Bible predicted in Revelation 13:8 that the papacy would be a world-wide, well-known church. This prophecy has indeed come true. But Revelation 13:8 also says that the whole world would worship the papacy with the exception of those who are written in the Lambs Book of Life. Worship entails obedience. When the people of the world obey the dictates and laws of the papacy, they are worshiping the papacy. Satan, through his agency the Catholic Church, has deceived virtually the entire world into observing a pagan holy day, which the papacy by its own admission has set up instead of Gods holy Sabbath day of the Fourth Commandment.
Christ says, If ye love me, keep MY commandments. (John 14:15).
Also: But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9).
And finally: Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16).
(14). Revelation 13:18 says that his number is 666. What is the popes title? Let us again consult Catholic literature.
The title of the Pope of Rome is Vicarius Filii Dei. Our Sunday Visitor, Nov. 15, 1914, p. 3.
The letters inscribed in the popes mitre are these: Vicarius Filii Dei, which is Latin for Vicar of the Son of God. Our Sunday Visitor, April 18, 1915, page 3.
Thus, the official title of the pope is Vicarius Filii Dei, Vicar of the Son of God. (A vicar is a substitute in office.) A persons number was obtained by adding the numerical values of the letters in his name, that is, the values of the letters in the Roman numeral numbering system. If the letter had no value, the value of zero was assigned. For example, the value of I is one; the value of V is five; and the value of X is ten. There was no U in the Latin alphabet; the letter V is the correct letter. (This is the reason why sometimes inscriptions on older public buildings use a V instead of U for instance, PVBLIC LIBRARY.) The values of the letters of this name, Vicarius Filii Dei, add up to 666, exactly as predicted in Revelation 13:18!
No other power which has ever existed has precisely fulfilled every one of these fourteen points of identity as does the papacy. No other power has ever existed that even comes close to fulfilling these fourteen points of identity from the pages of the Bible. There have been many attempts made to throw the onus of this prophecy away from the pope and the Catholic Church, such as fitting the nations of empire into a different sequence than history shows. Many ingenious schemes have been devised to show that this number, 666, applies to other men, but these schemes are an obvious attempt to sidestep prophecy.
Consider the final verses of our prophecy in Daniel 7. Speaking of the stout horn with eyes and mouth in verses 26 and 27: But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. We see here that the Catholic Church is to be consumed and destroyed and that dominion will be given to the true Christians, including those who lost their lives at the hands of this power.
Here again is shown that all earthly powers will be destroyed and that Christ and His kingdom will reign forever.
The title vicar means a substitute in office. Who is Christs substitute in office here on earth? Is it the pope, as is claimed? Consider John 16:7, where Jesus says, Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. The Comforter, therefore, is the Vicar of the Son of God. John 14:26 tells us who the Comforter is: But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
The Comforter is the Holy Ghost. He is the Vicar of the Son of God. He, not the pope of Rome, is Christs substitute in office. For a man to claim this position is blasphemy.
There are other verses in the Bible which describe the papal power. Because the early Christians in Thessolonica thought that Christs return was imminent, they were told in 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 that the return of Christ was yet far away, that the people would corrupt the pure Christian doctrine and fall away from the truth, and that the pope would appear before the return of the Lord. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Many who do not understand that these verses refer to the pope believe that the temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem before this sinister person appears and that the Lords return is therefore far in the future. We have seen by the prophecies which we have studied thus far that this is not the case. The climax of this earths history is very near.
Continuing with 2 Thessalonians 2:7-11, the faithful were told that evil had already started its sinister work at that time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [hinders] will let [hinder], until he be taken out of the way. The verb to let is an old English verb which means to hinder. It was pagan Rome which was hindering or preventing the arrival of papal Rome. Continuing with verse 8: And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.
Notice here that in order for a person to understand the truth, he must love the truth. He must, in fact, love and search for truth with all his heart; otherwise he will receive strong delusion so that he will believe lies.
The strong delusion which God sends to those who do not love and search for the truth with all their heart is the propaganda of the devil and his angels. If a person does not love the truth above all else, God does not shield him from the deception of the devil.
The vast majority have fallen away from the truth, and nearly everyone believes the lies so prevalent in our world today. This is especially true in the churches of today and is commented on in 2 Timothy 4:3,4: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
In other words, people who do not love the truth those who have itching ears will find teachers who will tell them what they want to hear instead of Bible truth. They will go to church and listen to comfortable sermons. During the week they can have fun and do as they wish. The people have itching ears; the false teachers turn them to fables lies.
In the end, however, this papal power will be destroyed, as Daniel 7:11 prophesies. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. The burning flame, of course, refers to the destruction of all the wicked by fire just before God creates the new earth. God will not save anyone who continues to ignore His Ten Commandments.
The Catholic Church is generally thought of as the Mother Church. It makes this claim itself:
I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church for the mother and mistress of all churches. Art. 10, Creed of Pope Pius IV. Double Bull of Pope Pius IV, Nov. 13 and Dec. 9, 1564, trans. in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, New York: Harper, 1919, Vol. 1, p. 99.
With this in mind, and with the knowledge that an immoral woman in Bible prophecy is the symbol of a false church, consider Revelation 17:1-6: And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.
You will remember that water represents humanity. Many waters in this verse, therefore, refers to many nations upon which this prostitute sits. In other words this false church is world-wide, having its organization in many nations. Continuing with verse 2: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
Fornication in this verse is referring to spiritual adultery, the defiling of the pure doctrine of the Bible with pagan practices and beliefs. Here we see that the nations of the earth have willingly accepted this harlots doctrine. Fornication also refers to the illicit union of the church and the state (nation) in which the church uses the police power of the state to enforce its doctrine.
Continuing with verse 3: So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.
The cup filled with abominations and filthiness of her fornication and the wine mentioned in verse 2 represent the false, pagan doctrine which this church teaches. Verse 2 indicates that the entire world is drunk on this wine of Babylon. Practically the entire world has believed the lies and deceptions which the false churches have put forth as Bible truth. The world is so intoxicated on this wine of Babylon that people will hardly even listen to the truth. No wonder God warns us in 1 Peter 5:8 to be sober and not drunk on this wine of Babylon. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
Dont misunderstand here. The Catholic Church is NOT a Christian religion. It is a strange combination of all the old pagan religions with a Christian facade. Just because they claim to be a Christian church does not make it so.
Continuing with Revelation 17:5, And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. Notice that Babylon is a name which the Bible gives to the harlot which represents this mother church. The word Babylon means confusion, What better term to describe the religious situation in the world today? This harlot, Babylon, is the mother of harlots; she has spawned many other churches that teach much of the same doctrine which this mother church teaches, and they all worship on Sunday instead of Saturday, Gods holy Sabbath day of the fourth commandment.
Notice that the design on the Vatican 100 Lira coin displays a woman holding a cup in her hand with the symbol of the sun god in the cup. This is a rather graphic fulfillment of the prophecy in Revelation 17:4. It strongly implies that they know they are the great harlot of Revelation 17.
Remembering that the papacy slaughtered millions of Gods true Christians, continue with verse 6: And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
How many denominations are there of Christs true church, the one which He Himself established? Ephesians 4:4-6 tells us that there is one and only one true church. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. The 500 or so church denominations we find in the world today are not of God, and they do not serve God. What better way for the devil to keep people out of Christs church than to have some 500 denominations, each claiming to be the true church? It is easy to see why those searching for the truth would give up in despair. Satan is clever enough to make sure that when a person gets into one of his counterfeit churches, that person feels as if he were in Gods church. Satan provides all kinds of spiritual highs to make people believe that their experiences are from God. How thoroughly Satan has deceived the people of the world! How complete is their deception at the hands of this master liar and his ministers!
This is not to say, however, that people in these many false churches will not be saved if with all their heart they are following the Lord to the best of their knowledge. John 10:14-16,26-28 tells us that Christ has many of His true people scattered throughout all denominations. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. Jesus tells us here that His sheep hear His voice and know Him. When they hear the truth, they will abandon the false churches and join Christs true church so that they can more readily follow the Lord as the Bible requires. Those who are not of the Lords flock will not respond to the truth, to the Shepherds call, and will remain in the false churches, refusing to abide by the truth. They will continue to ignore the law of God. They will continue to believe a lie.
The vitally important message from God to His true Christians in all the false churches is found in Revelation 18:1-5. Christ tells His true people in all the denominations to come out of them, to have nothing more to do with them. After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. God says, Come out of her my people, to save them from the terrible seven last plagues.
Again in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 God strongly pleads with His true people to come out of Babylon, to come out of the papacy and all the daughter churches and be separate. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
In these final days of earths history, the devil and the Catholic Church have even managed to infiltrate the church organization that was Gods true church. Satan has been able to place his people as leaders in this organization and, to a large extent, ministers in the pulpits, so that now no church denomination is following God as the Bible specifies.
Gods true people are now starting to meet in small groups in peoples houses, just as they did shortly after Christ was crucified. Romans 16:5 mentions one of these church groups meeting in a house. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Please understand that the people constitute Gods true church and not any organization or building. When Christ was on earth the denomination at that time was the Jewish organization, and the Jewish people were Gods true church, but after they crucified Christ the true church consisted of true Christians and not the Jewish organization.
Some of the small groups of true Christians today, who keep all the commandments of God, publish magazines and books, and put out audio and video tapes that contain the accurate truth of the Bible, and some even have radio and television programs that proclaim the truth. Some have even started small independent church congregations and meet in a separate church building. It is the responsibility of each of us to study the Bible continually so that we will understand enough to be able to locate a group of people who are Gods true church. We will see that just before the end, the entire world will be arrayed against the small groups of people that make up Gods true church in an attempt to put them to death!
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