Chapter 14 THE MARK OF THE BEAST
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. (Revelation 14:9,10).
This is the strongest, most severe warning God gives anywhere in the Bible. Those who receive the mark of the beast shall suffer the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture. Without mixture indicates that there will be no mercy mixed with this judgment. Previous to this time, Gods judgments have always been tempered with mercy. However, because of the nature of events during the time of the seven last plagues and because of the critical nature of the issue represented by this mark, those who receive the mark of the beast will suffer the results of evil without restraint during the final hours of this earths history. At this time Gods Holy Spirit and the influence of His righteousness and grace will be completely withdrawn from the wicked. The resulting horror defies description as the evil of this world is brought to full bloom. God tells us in Daniel 12:1 that the trouble during this time will be more severe than at any time since the earth was created. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
We have just read Gods warning against receiving the mark of the beast. Man will also issue a warning. Mans warning will be against NOT receiving the mark of the beast. Both warnings are severe. Revelation 13:15-17 shows that mans warning includes the threat of death: 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. 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.
Think what this means. It means that if you remain true to God and refuse the mark of the beast, you will lose your job and will not receive compensation of any kind. It means that you will not be able to buy groceries to feed your family and yourself. It means that you will not even be able to sell some of your possessions in order to get a little food. You will be totally isolated from society and will not be able to obtain even the simplest necessities. Life will be extremely difficult for Gods true people at this time. This is to be a time of severe trial for the righteous; however, those who refuse the mark of the beast and remain true to God will be saved to enjoy eternity in Gods beautiful new earth.
On the other hand, those who do receive the mark of the beast will continue to lead normal lives for a short time before the time of trouble begins. They will be able to go to work and buy the necessities and comforts of life, but they will not be able to face the Lord Jesus when He returns to this earth. They will die in the cataclysmic earthquakes and destruction of this world, and at the end of the millennium they will be destroyed in the lake of fire.
The mark of the beast is an issue of prime importance in the great controversy between Christ and Satan. What is this mark of the beast? There is much confusion in the world today concerning this mark. Since receiving this mark is of utmost importance, God surely must tell us exactly what it is, for He would not give such a stern warning against receiving the mark of the beast and then keep the nature of this mark hidden from our understanding. As we might have suspected, the seal of God is opposite to the mark of the beast, for one can receive either the seal of God or the mark of the beast, but not both.
The Bible uses the words mark, sign, and seal interchangeably. According to Revelation 13:16, the mark of the beast is received either in a persons forehead or in his right hand. The seal of God, on the other hand, is received only in the forehead, as Revelation 7:2,3 shows. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
Winds in Bible prophecy represent war and strife. These four angels, pictured in verse one as holding back the four winds of the earth, prevent the war, strife, and trouble which is coming on the earth from occurring until the people who are to receive the seal of God have been sealed. And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. (Revelation 7:1)
As soon as the people of God receive His seal, the angels will release the four winds, and the earth will suffer the trauma of the worst trouble since it was created. This trouble, the seven last plagues, is described in detail in chapter seventeen.
If we can discover what the seal of God is, we will then be able to determine exactly what the mark of the beast is since it is the opposite of the seal of God.
Isaiah 8:16 refers to the seal of God. Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. Here we see that the seal of God has something to do with His law. This, of course, stands to reason, for if a king puts out a proclamation of, for instance, ten laws, what must he do to make it official? He must seal it with his seal so that the people know it is from the king. Otherwise it would only be a piece of paper without signature, a proclamation with no authority.
We have seen that the great King of the universe has issued Ten Commandments. In order to make them official, He must have placed His seal in these laws. Let us now consider what constitutes a seal. The seal of any monarch or official must include these three elements: (1) his name, (2) his title, (3) the territory over which he is empowered to rule. The presidential seal of the United States contains the presidents name; his title: President; and the territory over which he rules: the United States of America.
Where in the Ten Commandments do we find the seal of God? Let us painstakingly examine each of the Ten Commandments to see where God has placed His seal.
The first and the last five commandments contain none of the three essentials for a seal.
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10. 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.
The Second, Third, and Fifth Commandments contain His name, Lord, but neither of the other essentials of a seal.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing 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 shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
3. 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.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days my be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
The Fourth, then, must contain the information which constitutes the three required elements of a seal.
4. 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 no 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 [His name: Lord] MADE [His title: Creator] HEAVEN AND EARTH, THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IN THEM IS [the territory over which He is empowered to rule: the universe], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Here we see that all three essentials of a seal are contained in the Fourth Commandment: (1) His name: Lord; (2) His title: Creator (Maker); (3) The territory over which He is empowered to rule: Heaven and Earth. Thus, the seal of God is in the Fourth Commandment. You can see why Satan tries so hard to have the world reject the Fourth Commandment, for if this commandment is eliminated, the seal is removed and what remains is just a list of nine laws without signature.
Chapter eight explained in detail that the term Israel, which means ruling with God, refers to Christs true church today as well as to the Israelites of Old Testament times. (Galatians 3:28,29 and other texts). Revelation 3:21 shows that Gods true Christians will indeed rule with Him. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. In Matthew 21:43 Jesus indicated that the honor of being Gods chosen people would be taken from the Jews. Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. The nation mentioned in this verse to which Christ gave the kingdom of God is, of course, His true church. Israel refers to Christs true church and His true people today and has nothing to do with the nation of Israel in the middle east.
With this in mind and with the knowledge that the seal of God is found in the Fourth Commandment, consider Exodus 31:13-17: Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done: but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever. And since Christs true church today is Israel, the Sabbath is still Gods sign between Him and his people. This and the following verses show that the Sabbath, Saturday, is the Lord's Day, and not Sunday as the papacy would try to make us believe.
Thus, the Sabbath is the sign, the mark, the seal between God and His people. The Sabbath day is the seal of God; and it is an everlasting seal, a perpetual covenant, as this text shows.
Ezekiel 20:12 is another verse which shows that the Sabbath is Gods sign, His seal, a mark between Him and His people. In fact, this verse shows that God gave His Sabbaths specifically to be the sign of Gods true people! Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.
Ezekiel 20:20 also indicates that the Sabbath is Gods seal. And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.
How long will the Sabbath be a sign, a seal, a mark between God and His people? Isaiah 66:22,23 indicates that the seal of God will be forever, for His people will worship and keep holy every Sabbath day in the new earth, forever. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that, from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.
Remember that all of these Old Testament texts are applicable to us today, for 2 Timothy 3:16,17 tells us that All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly [thoroughly] furnished unto all good works. Sabbath observance is the sign of Gods true Christians, and it will always be the sign of Gods true Christians, for a perpetual covenant. (Exodus 31:16).
The mark of the beast is the opposite of Gods seal. Since the observance of the Sabbath is the mark of God, then Sunday observance must be the mark of the beast. Suppose we ask the beast what its mark is. The answer it gives is:
Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change [of Sabbath to Sunday] 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
Sunday is our MARK of authority . . . The church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact. Catholic Record, September 1, 1923 (Ontario).
Revelation 7:2,3 shows that Gods seal is received only in ones forehead. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. Revelation 14:9,10 shows that the mark of the beast is received either in ones forehead or in his hand. 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.
The mark is not a visible mark that is stamped on the forehead or on the hand. Likewise the seal of God is not a visible seal or mark. These verses tell us that both the seal of God and the mark of the beast are received inside the forehead. Since the forehead represents the mind, the significance of these marks being received inside the forehead is that a person must make a conscious choice as to which mark he will receive. He must understand the meanings and the relationships of these marks, both to God and to Satan and the beast. Thus, either mark received in the forehead will indicate that a conscious choice had been made. The person who receives either mark in his forehead understands both the penalty and the reward for receiving either one.
The mark of the beast is sometimes received in the right hand, symbolizing that the person does not understand but goes along with society in obeying the laws which dictate Sunday observance. Even though these people do not understand the importance of not receiving the mark of the beast, they will still suffer the penalty, for God has given them plenty of opportunity to learn and understand the necessity of obeying the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath commandment.
The mark of the beast, Sunday observance, will come to prominence only when the United States passes the national Sunday law. The controversy between those who have the mark of the beast and want to keep Sunday and those who have the seal of God and want to observe the Sabbath will be the final issue of contention before the end.
Sunday observance is the mark of the beast. Thus if you insist on keeping Gods Sabbath day holy, you will be able neither to buy nor to sell. You will be completely cut off from any means of support for yourself and your family. This religious persecution will be very bloody. Many of Gods true people will lose their lives in this bloody turmoil, but this time the Lord will not tolerate a wholesale slaughter of His people. He will come and put an end to Sunday-keeping and religious persecution forever. And when He comes, those who have disregarded His law will finally learn that God means exactly what He says.
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