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Seven Churches

14 Oct

 

These seven messages written for specific congregations in the early Christian Church are prophecies of what God’s people would face during the following centuries of history. Each message to the churches includes an address, commendation, reproof, and promise.

Ephesus:

The Apostolic Church, AD 31-100. Ephesus means desirable. It was located on the Aegean Sea, had a beautiful harbor and was situated on the main highway for the region. It also held one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the temple to Diana (Artemis), pagan goddess of fertility.

Prophetically, Ephesus represents the early Christian church, the time period from the formation of the church in AD 31 to about AD 100 when all the firsthand witnesses to Christ’s life and work had passed on. The period of the Apostolic Church was nearly over when Revelation was written.

Commendation: The Apostolic Church was a pure church that would not tolerate heresy. Its labors had brought the Gospel to the then-known world

Reproof: Sadly, the early Christian church lost its ardent first love and excitement for Jesus. He was calling them back to that first-love experience, to repentance and reformation. Without a burning love for Christ in our hearts our religion is useless.

The Nicolaitanes claimed to be Christian but taught that obedience to God’s law was unnecessary. The Bible teaches that the saved shows evidence of salvation by living a changed life in harmony with God’s law and character. 1 John 5:3.

Promise: Through Jesus, all may be overcomers and have eternal life. Christ’s power in the life provides victory over sin and gives us holiness of character

 

 

Smyrna:

The Persecuted Church, Early 100s-Early 300s. Smyrna was located on the Aegean Sea about 40 miles north of Ephesus. It was an important center of trade with a good harbor. Its name means sweet smelling.

Prophetically, Smyrna stretches from the early 100s to the early 300s. Throughout this time the church experienced tremendous growth while enduring severe persecution. This period effectively ended in AD 313 with the Edict of Milan when the Roman Emperor Constantine proclaimed religious toleration throughout the empire

Commendation: They are known for good works, poverty and tribulation. During these two centuries the pagan Roman Empire periodically tried to destroy the Christian church. The worst persecution was during a span of ten years (AD 303-313) under the Roman emperor, Diocletian, indicated in verse 10 as “tribulation ten days.”

Reproof: There is no reproof for those in Smyrna. Jesus knew their works of faith under trial.

Promise: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” These Christians would rather die than deny their Lord Jesus. The second death is described in Revelation 20:11-15.

Pergamos:

The Church of Compromise, Early 300s-Mid 500s. Pergamos means height or elevation. It was located on a high mountain. The capital of the Roman province of Asia, it was a sophisticated city, a famous cultural center with a tremendous library and several pagan temples.

Prophetically, Pergamos represents the period from the early 300s to the mid-500s when the last major obstacle hindering the power of the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome was removed. It was during this time that the church became strongly linked with the state. The bishop of Rome was made head of all the churches. The pomp, splendor, corruption and absolute authority wielded by the pope’s “seat” during this period could rightly be called “Satan’s seat.”

Commendation: During this time the Christian Church which had held fast to the truth in the midst of persecution began to compromise its principles because of its worldly success, the praise of men and its newfound political power. Yet there were many who held fast to their faith and opposed this corruption of Christianity.

Reproof: In the Old Testament “Balaam” sought to destroy Israel by tempting them to join the Moabites in fornication and idol worship. Numbers 22-25. Here Satan sought to destroy the Church by inducing its leaders to mingle paganism with Christianity and to use the state to enforce those compromises. By doing so, the Church committed spiritual “fornication.” Ezekiel 23:3.

As the centuries progressed and the church did not repent, the Lord sent reformers with cutting Bible truths—the two-edged sword (Hosea 6:5) that exposed the false teachings and errors being taught in the fallen church

Promise: In ancient times, a white stone was used in court to symbolize innocence and purity while a black one symbolized guilt. Jesus promised that the overcomers, those who are faithful to Him, will never be condemned but will instead be given a white stone inscribed with a new name, a pure name that signifies their close personal relationship with Him. Romans 8:1.

Thyatira:

Church of the dark or Middle Ages, Mid 500s-Early 1500s. Thyatira means “odor of affliction.” The city was inland on the river Lycus at a fork where two branches of the river came together, and was famous for its bright purple dye (A color known today as Turkish Red), which was the color used for royalty. It was here that Lydia bought her dyes. Acts 16:11-15.

Prophetically, Thyatira represents the period dominated by the Roman Catholic Church from the mid-500s to the early 1500s. During this time the Catholic (meaning main or universal) Church system accepted so many pagan practices that the truths of God’s Word were forgotten. The Bible was banned, and all who refused to acknowledge the supremacy of the Papal Church were persecuted. Many faithful Christians were put to death as “heretics,” causing great numbers of God’s people to flee into the wilderness. This was the darkest period yet for God’s people, as the corrupted church enforced its domination and tried to destroy the faithful remnant.

Commendation: This church is praised for its works, charity, service and faith.

Reproof: Jezebel was a heathen princess that Ahab, king of Israel, married. She spread the most vile idol worship throughout Israel and slew God’s prophets. 1 Kings 16:29-22:24. Similarly, the church of the Dark Ages adopted many pagan beliefs and practices and murdered those who dared to oppose her authority.

Promise: Even during the periods of darkest apostasy God has always had His faithful few. There were many Christians during the Dark Ages, like the Waldenses hidden in the mountains of northern Italy, who suffered torture and death rather than compromise the truth. To those who do not partake in apostasy Christ says, “Hold fast,” “I will put upon you none other burden.” Many of the devoted Christians in Thyatira understood only a limited amount of truth, yet Christ promised to give them Himself, forever, and make them co-rulers if they would life up to all the light they had been given. God only judges us by what we know or have the opportunity to know. Acts 17:30.

 

Sardis:

Church of the Reformation Period, Early 1500s-Mid 1700s. Sardis means “that which remains.” The city was situated 1000 feet up on the side of a mountain and was thought to be impregnable. However, the city did fall to enemies twice during its history both times the enemy sneaked in and opened the gates while the people of Sardis slept.

Prophetically, Sardis is the time of the Protestant Reformation from the early 1500s to the late 1700s. During the initial brilliance of the Reformation, many errors of the Dark Ages were exposed. Many old truths were rediscovered, such as: salvation by faith in Jesus, the Bible as the only rule of faith and doctrine and Christ as the only Mediator between God and man. However, in spite of the heroic contributions of the individual Protestant leaders like Martin Luther, John Calvin and Roger Williams, the impetus for reform did not last. As the fervent pioneers of each reform movement passed from the scene, the movement would lose its fervor and become spiritually cold and weak. Protestant Europe in the mid-1700s has become comfortable with formal religion, devoid of spirituality.

Reproof: “Name that thou livest, and art dead.” The Church claimed to be spiritually alive and reformed but was dead. The Lord intended that the Reformation would continue until the pure Gospel was restored, but the followers of the reformers refused to advance beyond the truths which their leaders had discovered. John 12:35-36; Hebrews 5:12-6:2.

Commendations: There were many in the Sardis period who were eager for Biblical truth and were eager for a vibrant experience with Christ.

Promise: The overcomers are promised “white raiment,” which is Christ’s righteousness. Being clothed with “white raiment” is a symbol of exchanging sin for righteousness. Zechariah 3:4-5. The way to become an overcomer is to remain faithful and continue to grow in Christ

Philadelphia: The Church of the Great Second Advent Awakening, Mid 1700s-Mid 1800s. Philadelphia means “brotherly love.” Due north of Antioch, this inland city was built by a Greek king in memory of his brother. The city was prone to earthquakes, and had to be periodically restored and rebuilt.

Prophetically, the time period covered by Philadelphia is the mid-1700s to mid-1800s. During this time there was an extensive spiritual revival in many places around the world. The evangelical awakening in England and the great awakening in America revived the established churches and led to the formation of both the Baptist and Methodist church movements. These revivals stirred the Christian world to great missionary efforts. Many mission societies were formed and sent out missionaries, such as David Livingstone, all over the world. They also formed Bible societies, worked for the abolition of slavery, and began orphanages and colleges. Important Bible truths such as the seventh-day Sabbath and the work of Jesus as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary were rediscovered. During this period Jesus began the last phase of His heavenly ministry; he opened the door to the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary in 1844, and the antitypical Day of Atonement began. This is the “open door” referred to in Revelation 4:1-5. A great spiritual awakening transpired as the soon return of Jesus and the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation were carefully studied and preached.

Commendation: They have “a little strength,” have kept Christ’s “word,” have “not denied my name” and have “kept the word of my “patience” (endured). Thousands were put out of their churches and ridiculed for believing the prophecies of the Bible regarding the Second Advent of Jesus. Despite this, they kept patiently waiting for Christ’s return. The coldness and persecution of the churches which had rejected the message of the Second Coming of Christ brought the believers into a close “brotherly love” with one another.

Reproof: None.

Promise: They will be kept from “the hour of temptation,” and those who overcome will be made “a pillar in the temple of my God” and have the “name of my God” and “the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem” and “my (Jesus’) new name” written on them.

As pillars they are honored for their support of Christ’s church and their salvation is guaranteed. Names indicated character and ownership, thus they are given the character of God and proclaimed as His special people, citizens of His glorious city

 

Laodicea:

The “Lukewarm” Church, Mid 1800s-Second Advent. Laodicea is comprised of two words that mean “people” and “judgement.” It was a place of commerce. The people were very rich and proud of it. They had a medical school which was famous for its warm mineral baths and its eye ointment. The merchants sold fine clothing made from soft, glossy, black wool.

Prophetically, this is the seventh and final period of Church history and stretches from the mid-1800s, when the Church began to lose its fervor, to the time of the Lord’s return. This is the period we live in today.

Commendation: None.

Reproof: Jesus wishes that the Laodiceans were either cold or hot instead of lukewarm. The cold people can be made to feel their need, the hot ones are on fire for the Lord, but the lukewarm ones congratulate themselves that they aren’t cold and don’t realize how far from the hot they have become. They don’t realize how truly destitute of spiritual riches they are; they are blind to their true spiritual condition and don’t know that they are naked, devoid of Christ’s robe of righteousness. This is the condition of God’s church today. Jesus compares them to revolting mouthful of lukewarm water

.Jesus, the source of true riches, wants His people to come to Him and exchange their unbelief and selfishness for the purified gold of faith and love. 1 Peter 1:7; Galatians 5:6. He wants us to trade our sin and our useless works for His own robe of righteousness. Revelation 19:8; Isaiah 61:10. He bids us give up our mistaken view that we are spiritually healthy graciously bestowed by the Holy Spirit, which will open our eyes to our true condition. 2 Peter 1:5-9.

Promise: Despite the fact that there is no commendation but only the sternest rebukes, this church is given the greatest promises. Christ pictures Himself knocking on our heart’s door. Whoever invites Him to come in will enjoy the closest relationship with Him, receive the power to become an overcomer and have the great honor to sit with Him on his throne. Luke 12:37; John 14:23.

In this last message to the last church Christ pleads with his people for repentance and faithfulness.

Have you given your life to Him? If not, you can do it right now by praying this simple prayer: “Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my sins. (Confess to Him the ones that you can remember.) Thank you for your life, your death and your resurrection for me. I accept you as my personal Lord and Saviour, and claim your free gift of eternal life. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”

This was taken from the www.amazingdiscoveries.org website.

 

 

 

 

Bible Symbol Chart

14 Oct
SYMBOL MEANING REFERENCES
Angel Messenger Daniel 8:16;   9:21; Luke 1:19,26; Hebrews 1:14
Ark of   Testimony Ark of the   covenant/mercy seat where God dwells Exodus   25:10-22; Psalms 80:1
Babylon Religious   apostasy/confusion Genesis   10:8-10; 11:6-9; Revelation 18:2-3; 17:1-5
Balaam,   Doctrine of Advancing   our own interests, compromise, idolatry Numbers   22:5-25
Beast Kingdom,   government, political power Daniel   7:23
Bear Destructive   Power / Medo Persia Proverbs   28:15; 2 Kings 2:23-24; Daniel 7:5
Binding of   Satan A symbolic   chain of circumstances Isaiah   14:12-20
Black Moral   darkness, sin, apostasy Exodus   10:21-23; Jeremiah 4:20-28; 8:21; Acts 26:18; John 12:35; Joel 2:1-10
Blood Life Leviticus   17:11; Deuteronomy 12:23
Blue   (color) Law Numbers   15:38-39
Bottomless   pit Earth in   chaos, torn up, dark and empty Genesis   1:1,2; Jeremiah 4:23-28; Isaiah 24:1-4, 19; Revelation 20:1-3
Bow Success in   battle against evil Psalm   7:11,12; Psalms 45:4,5
Bread Word of   God John 6:35,   51, 52, 63
Brass,   Tin, Iron, Lead, Silver dross Impure   Character Ezekiel   22:20-21
Corrupt   Woman Corrupt,   apostate church Ezekiel   16:15-58; 23:2-21; Hosea 2:5; 3:1
Crowns Kingship,   victory 1   Chronicles 20:2; 2 Kings 11:12; Ezekiel 21:26,27; James 1:12; 2 Timothy   4:7,8;

1 Corinthians   9:25

Clothing Character Isaiah   64:6, Isaiah 59:6
Cup Meted out   suffering and judgments Psalm   11:6; Isaiah 51:12,22-23; Jeremiah 25:12-17; 49:12
Day Literal   year Ezekiel   4:6; Numbers 14:34
Door Opportunity/

Probation

2   Corinthians 2:12; Revelation 3:20

Luke   12:24, 25

Dove Holy   Spirit Mark 1:10
Dragon Satan or   his agency Isaiah   27:1; 30:6; Psalms 74:13,14; Revelation 12:7,9; Ezekiel 29:3; Jeremiah 51:34
Eagle Speed,   Power, vision, vengeance, protection Deut   28:49; Habakkuk 1:6-8; Revelation 12:1-4
Eating of   the book Assimilating   the message Ezekiel   3:1-3; Jeremiah 15:16
Egypt Symbol of   atheism Exodus 5:2
Eyes Spiritual   Discernment Matthew   13:10-17, 1 John 2:11
Eye salve Holy   Spirit to help us see truth, discernment to understand word, antidote for   spiritual blindness Ephesians   1:12-19; Psalms 119:18; I John 2: 20,27; John 16:7-13
Faithful   witness Christ John   18:37; John 3:11; Revelation 1:5; 3:14; 19:11
False   Prophet Apostate   Protestantism Revelation   16:13,14; 13:13,14; 19:20
Famine Dearth of   Truth Amos 8:11
Feet Your Walk   / Direction Genesis   19:2, Psalm 119:105
Forehead Mind Romans   7:25; Ezekiel 3:8,9
Fornication   Illicit   connection between church and world Ezekiel   16:15,26; Isaiah 23:17; James 4:4; Revelation 14:4
Four   Beasts of Living Creatures Heavenly   beings with special responsibilities Revelation   5:8-10; 4:6-9; 6:1-7; 14:3; 15:7; 19:4
Four   corners of Earth Four   directions of compass Jeremiah   49:36
Fire Holy   Spirit Luke 3:16
Fig Tree A Nation   that should bear fruit Luke   13:6-9
Field World Matthew   13:38, John 4:35
Fruit Works /   Actions Galatians   5:22
Garments Covering   of righteousness Genesis   35:2; Isaiah 61:10; 52:1; Zechariah 3:3-5; Romans 13:14
Gold True   riches of heaven, faith, scripture Psalms   19:7-10; Galatians 5:6; James 2:5; Job 23:10; Isaiah 13:12
Goat Greece Daniel   8:21
Hand Symbol of   Deeds / Works / Actions Ecclesiastes   9:10, Isaiah 59:6
Harvest End of   World Matthew   13:39
Harlot Apostate   church/religion Isaiah   1:21-27; Jeremiah 3:1-3; 6-9
Heads Major   powers/rulers/governments Revelation   17:3, 9, 10; Daniel 7:6; 8:8,22
Healing Salvation Luke 5:23-24
Hidden   Manna Christ John   6:49,50,53; mathew13:44
Honey happy life   Ezekiel   20:6, Deuteronomy 8:8-9
Horn King or   kingdom

Power and   Strength

Daniel   7:24; 8:5, 21, 22; Zechariah 1:18, 19; Revelation 17:12
Horse Strength   and Power in Battle

Special   representatives/angel

Job 39:19,   Psalms 147:10, Proverbs 21:31; Exodus 15:21; Isaiah 43:17; Jeremiah 8:6

Zechariah   1:8-10; 6:1-8

Image A likeness Exodus   20:4; Genesis 1:26; 5:3
Incense Prayers of   God’s people Psalms   141:2; Revelations 5:8
Israel True   Followers of Christ Romans   9:6-8; 2:28,29; Galatians 3:29
Jar /   Vessel Person Jeremiah   18:1-4, 2 Corinthians 4:7
Jezebel Immorality,   Idolatry, Apostasy 1 Kings   21:25; 2 Kings 9:22
Jordan death Romans   6:4, Deuteronomy 4:22
Key of   David Power to   open & close the sanctuary Revelations   3:7-9; Isaiah 22:22
Keys Control/jurisdiction Isaiah22:22;   Matthew 16:19
Lamb Jesus/sacrifice   John 1:29;   1 Corinthians 5:7; Genesis 22:7,8
Lamp Word of   God Psalm   119:105
Lamb’s   Wife New   Jerusalem Revelation   19:7-9; 21:2,9,10
Lion Jesus/Powerful   King i.e. Babylon Rev.   5:4-9, Jer. 50:43-44, Dan. 7:4,17,23
Locusts Destruction Joel 1:4;   Deuteronomy 28:38
Leopard Greece Daniel 7:6
Leprosy /   Sickness Sin Luke   5:23-24
Lords Day The   Sabbath Isaiah   58:13; Matthew 12:8; Exodus 20:10
Man Child Jesus Psalms   2:7-9; Revelation 12:5
Mark Sign/Seal/mark   of approval or disapproval Romans   4:11; Ezekiel 9:4; Revelation 13:17; 14:9-11; 7:2, 3
Measuring   Rod God’s Law

God’s Word

James   2:10-12; Ecclesiastes 12:13,14

Isaiah   8:19,20; 2 Timothy 3:16,17

Merchants Advocates   of Babylon’s teachings Isaiah   47:11-15;Nahum 3:16; Revelations 18:3,11,15,23
Moon Permanence

Moses’   system of types of sacrifices

Psalms   89:35-37

Hebrews   10:1,11

Morning   star Jesus Revelations   22:16
Mountains Political   or religion-political powers Isaiah   2:2, 3; Jeremiah 17:3; 31:23; 51:24, 25; Ezekiel 17:22, 23; Daniel 2:35, 44,   45
Mystery of   God The gospel Ephesians   1:9,10, 3:9, 6:19; Colossians 1:26,27
New   Jerusalem The Holy   city of Heaven Revelations   3:12, 21:2
Oil Holy   Spirit Zechariah   4:2-6; Revelation 4:5
Open Door Unlimited   Opportunity 1   Corinthians 16:9; Acts14:27; John 10:7-9

Hosea   2:15; Colossians 4:3

Purple Royalty Mark   15:17, Judges 8:26
Rainbow Token of   covenant keeping Genesis   9:11-17
Ram Medo   Persia Daniel   8:20
Red /   Scarlet (color) Sin/corruption   Isaiah   1:18; Nahum 2:3; Revelation 17:1-4
Reapers Angels Matthew   13:39
Reins Seat of   will, affections Psalms   7:9, 16:7, 26:2, 73:21; Proverbs 23:16; Jeremiah 17:10
Ring Authority Genesis   41:42-43, Esther 3:10-11
Rock Jesus/truth   1   Corinthians 10:4; Isaiah 8:13, 14; Romans 9:33; Matthew 7:24
Seal Sign or   mark of approval or disapproval Romans   4:11; Revelation 7:2, 3
Seed Descendents   / Jesus Romans   9:8, Galatians 3:16
Second   Death Lake of   fire Revelations   21:8; 20:2
Serpent Satan Revelation   12:9; 20:2
Seven   Candle sticks 7   candlesticks in Holy Place of Sanctuary

Seven   Churches

Exodus   25:31-40

Revelations1:20

Seven   Heads Seven Political   Powers Revelations   17:9,10; Isaiah 2:2-4
Seven   Lamps Jesus,   Word of God John 9:5,   1:9; Psalms 119:105; Revelations 4:5
Sickle Symbol of   Harvest-End of world Mathew   13:39; Revelations 14:14
Silver Pure Words   & Understanding Proverbs   2:4, 3:13-14, 10:20, 25:11, Psalms 12:6
Sodom Moral   degradations Ezekiel   16:46-55; Jeremiah 23:14; Genesis 19:4-14
Stars Angels/messengers   Revelation   1:16, 20; 12:4, 7-9; Job 38:7
Sun Jesus/the   gospel Psalm   84:11; Malachi 4:2; Matthew 17:2; John 8:12; 9:5
Skin Christ’s   righteousness Exodus   12:5, 1 Peter 1:19, Isaiah 1:4-6
Sword Word of   God

Bloodshed,   Destruction

Ephesians   6:17; Hebrews 4:12

Isaiah   3:25, 13:15; Acts 12:1,2; Jeremiah 48:2

Testimony   of Jesus Holy   Spirit/ gift of prophecy Revelations   19:10; 22:9; 1 Corinthians 13:2
Thief Suddenness   of Jesus’ coming 1   Thessalonians 5:2-4; 2 Peter 3:10
Thorns /   Thorny Ground Cares of   this life Mark   4:18-19
Tongue Language /   Speech Exodus   4:10
Time 360 Day   (Literal Years) Daniel   4:16, 23, 25, 32; 7:25; Daniel 11:13 margin
Times 720 Days   (Literal Years) Daniel   7:25, Revelation 12:6,14, 13:5; 11:1,2
Trumpet loud   warning of God’s approach Exodus   19:16-17, Joshua 6:4-5
Tree Cross;   People / Nation Deut.   21:22-23, Psalm 92:12, 37:35
Torment Test,   prove by trial 1   Corinthians 3:13; Hebrews 12:29; Isaiah 33:14
Twenty-four   elders A group   redeemed from earth Revelations   5:9-10, 4:4; 7:9-14
Two-edged   Sword God’s word Ephesians   6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Matthew 10:34
Two   witnesses Old and   New Testaments John 5:39,   Zechariah 4:1-14; psalms 119:130, 105; John 12:48
Vineyard Church   that should bear fruit Luke   20:9-16
Waters Inhabited   Area-People/ Nations Revelations   17:15
Water Holy   Spirit / Everlasting Life John 7:39,   4:14, Rev. 22:17, Eph. 5:26
White   (Color) Purity Revelation   12:9; 20:2
White   Robes Victory/righteousness   Revelation   19:8; 3:5; 7:14
Winds Strife,   Commotions, “winds of war” Jeremiah   25:31-33,49:36,37, 4:11-13; Zechariah 7:14
Wings Speed /   Protection / Deliverance Deuteronomy   28:49, Matthew 23:37
Wine blood/covenant/doctrines   Luke 5:37
Woman,   Pure True   Church Jeremiah   6:2; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-27
Woman,   Corrupt Apostate   church Ezk.   16:15-58; 23:2-21; Hos. 2:5; 3:1; Rev. 14:4
Wolf Disguised   Enemies that hunt in a time of darkness Matthew   7:15
Wormwood Sorrow/bitterness Jeremiah   9:15, 23:15; Lamentations 3:19
Wrath of   God Seven Last   Plagues Revelations   15:1

Websites you can visit for more info on the subjects im covering

14 Oct

www.amazingfacts.org

www.amazingdiscoveries.org

www.bibleprophecytruths.com

 

you will not be sorry you visited these sites u will however be shocked at what u learn.

Take care

Who will worship the Antichrist?

14 Oct
Who Will Worship It?
In the past few years we’ve seen a remarkable fulfillment of several apocalyptic prophecies. It has been exciting, thrilling, and faith-building to witness. But it also is sobering, for fulfilled prophecies indicate that the remaining last-day prophecies are soon to follow.
Unfortunately, some Christians do not want to face the coming reality of the prophecy of Revelation chapter 13. “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 all the world wondered after the beast . . . . 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.” (Revelation 13:1-3,15-17).      This is a frightening prophecy indeed. It predicts that a coalition of religious and political powers will align under the leadership of the Antichrist beast to cast the world into a boiling caldron of affliction. There will be a great time of trouble unlike the earth has ever seen before (Daniel 12:1). Some students of Bible prophecy have even suggested this tribulation will be worse than we can imagine.
With the future so bleak, we can easily appreciate why some have chosen to remain ignorant about last-day events. Many of those who have sought to learn about it are so fearful of living during the beast’s reign of terror that they have become easy prey for false doctrine. The prevalent false teaching that promises a pre-tribulation rapture appears attractive against the backdrop of Armageddon and the mark of the beast. But ignorance and false doctrine will leave their victims destitute and lost as these fig-leaf garments dry and crumble under the withering blast of the final tribulation.
The desire to live in peace and security is understandable. Few of us, in our introspective moments, feel capable to stand for God and His truth when demons will overrun the earth. But despite these natural fears and aversions, we must not chase after promises of peace and safety that are not founded upon the sure Word of God. While we should focus on the love of God for sinners and the true security that comes from making Him Lord and Savior of our life, we should also give attention to the warnings of the Spirit concerning the last days.
The Scripture injunction we should heed most is that which warns us against worshiping the beast. Consider these sobering facts. All who worship the beast will forfeit the precious experience of eternal life with Jesus in a glorious new world (Revelation 13:8). They will be inflicted with the extremely painful and fearsome seven last plagues (Revelation 16:2). And finally, they will suffer utter destruction in the fires of hell (Revelation 14:9-11). Without question, we do not want to be found worshiping the beast in the days to come.
But what assures us we will not be in this group? Mind you, it is no small group. Revelation 13:3 says that “all the world wondered after the beast.”
Although helpful, mere knowledge of the beast’s identity will not guarantee escape. Judas knew Jesus as the Messiah, yet he betrayed Him. Similarly, many of those who understand last-day prophecies will ultimately find themselves on the side of the beast. Knowledge definitely isn’t enough. So how can we be on the winning side when all the dust settles? Who will worship the beast? And what can we do now to keep from being part of that group.
The Final Conflict
First, we must understand that the final conflict will be over worship. All inhabitants of earth will be divided into one of two camps before the end—those who worship the beast and those who worship the Creator. Creature worship versus Creator worship will be the issue to divide the world. Everyone will have to make a choice regarding whom they will worship.      How will the whole earth be brought to make this choice between the creature and the Creator? The Bible predicts a time when the beast will gain immense political influence. From this position of authority, he will force people to worship him. Those who refuse will be economically boycotted and eventually sentenced to death. “And he had power to . . . cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all . . . to receive a mark . . . that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:15-17).
As the beast seeks to enforce worship through force, God mercifully warns people against the beast and urges them to worship Him as Creator. “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: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. . . . 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” (Revelation 14:6-10).
The scenario is clear. In the last days, the entire world will be squeezed between the two cosmic forces. There will be no neutral ground, no demilitarized zone. Everyone will have to make a decision whom they will serve and worship.
The Battle Over Worship
This last conflict over worship is actually the grand finale to a long drama that began in heaven before man was even created. The author of rebellion inaugurated this “creature versus Creator” war when he coveted the Creator’s throne. Lucifer, a created angel, decided his superior beauty and intelligence qualified him to better rule the universe than his Creator. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, . . . For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14). Working with stealthy deceit, he launched his campaign for the affections of the angels and was successful in attracting one-third of them (Revelation 12:4-9). Demanding the adoration due only the Creator, these created angels tried to bully their way onto God’s throne. This forced God to take drastic measures. Revelation 12:7 records, “There was war in heaven.” To protect the existence of the universe, God forcibly removed Satan and his angels from heaven.
But this was only the beginning of Satan’s campaign for worship that would last thousands of years and cost millions of lives. Cast to earth, Satan next solicited Adam and Eve’s worship and service. And it is by understanding our first parents’ test over worship that we learn how to keep from worshiping the beast in the last days.
Why did Eve eat the fruit of the forbidden tree? Simply because she lacked trust in God. She trusted the serpent’s word more than her Creator’s. Adam also distrusted God, but unlike Eve, he was not deceived _(1 Timothy 2:14). Adam’s decision to eat the forbidden fruit was a conscious, deliberate choice. He couldn’t dream of life without Eve. Worse yet, he didn’t trust God to come up with an acceptable solution to deal with Eve’s disobedience that would leave him happy throughout eternity.
Our first parents’ distrust led them to disobey. And their disobedience became an act of worship of the serpent. You see, worship and obedience are synonymous. “To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey” (Romans 6:16). When tempted by the devil to bow down and worship him, Jesus revealed that the act of worship is married to service and obedience. “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10).
When Adam and Eve trusted the lies of the serpent above the command of God, they entered into creature worship. They truly worshiped the beast. The last conflict in the world merely brings man full circle to retake Adam and Eve’s first test. Will we obey and worship the beast or obey and worship the Creator? Both the first and last tests of this world’s history contain the same elements: the serpent and his lies, worship, obedience versus disobedience, and the penalty of expulsion from the kingdom of God. Mankind’s path back to the tree of life ultimately retraces the steps of our first parents and passes through the corridor of the same test: will we trust God enough to obey Him? Only those who trustingly obey God will enter the pearly gates. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).
Adam and Eve’s worship of the beast laid the foundation for all false worship. Examine any false religion and you will find it is based upon distrust and disobedience of God. Paul makes this point in Romans 1:21-25, NKJV: “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful, but . . . exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” Whenever we know a Bible truth and refuse to obey it out of thankful hearts, we worship the creature instead of the Creator. We have put our own opinion and feelings above the revealed will of our Creator God.
Secular Humanism
The age in which we live has normalized this false religion of self-worship. We even have a name for it—humanism. Thousands of years ago, God predicted this humanistic movement. It is symbolized in prophecy both as the king of the south (Daniel 11:40) and as the beast from the bottomless pit (Revelation 11:7-10). When the French Revolution fulfilled this prophecy it deified man’s reason and established the foundation for the pseudo religion of secular humanism. The belief that man’s reason is sufficient to answer life’s most profound questions and needs, and that there is no God or moral absolutes, forms humanism’s axis. This belief system has largely controlled the affairs of man from the 1790s to the present day. According to Revelation 11:8, it has two key characteristics—Egypt’s atheistic unbelief in the true God, and Sodom’s immorality.
Secular humanism’s atheism and immorality have gained a strong position in the United States. Humanism also controls most of America’s government programs, institutions of higher learning, the training of grade-school children in public schools, the homosexual movement, etc. Consequently, America is now reaping the same whirlwind of degradation that France did in the wake of its Revolution. For lack of moral fiber, the United States is unraveling at the seams.
The current epidemic of homosexuality, adultery, crime, and other debasing actions should not surprise us. The Bible states this as the inevitable result of exalting man’s reasoning above God’s truth. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, . . . without natural affection, . . . Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:28-32).
Religious Humanism
Neither has the Christian church escaped the permeating influence of humanism. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), in its document “Human Sexuality and the Christian Faith” (December 1991), challenges its members to evaluate prejudices against homosexuals, insisting that “what we personally find offensive is not necessarily sinful.” Furthermore, it says, “We must distinguish between moral judgments regarding same-sex activity in biblical times and in our own time.”
The task force formed to make this document said upon release of the 1993 edition, entitled “The Church and Human Sexuality: A Lutheran Perspective” (October 1993), that “it recognizes that many Lutherans take literally the biblical condemnations of homosexuality . . . But the task force urges Lutherans to challenge such attitudes. It argues that ‘responsible biblical interpretation’ strongly supports the acceptance and even blessing of same sex unions and emphasizes what it says is the preeminent biblical command—to ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” 1
The United Methodist Church has also had panels convene to decide whether homosexuality is a sin. Though the proposals to loosen church strictures on homosexuality were rejected, the 1991 panel did agree that biblical references to sexual practices should not be viewed as binding “just because they are in the Bible.” 2
The church that has probably departed furthest from God’s Word on this topic is the United Church of Christ. It allows homosexuals to be ordained to ministry. 3
This issue is only one among many for which churches are placing their own reasoning above God’s commands. Although they have many sincere and dedicated members, these church organizations are as guilty of humanism as are the secularists. They are simply following “religious humanism” instead of “secular humanism.” Unfortunately, people who continue to support humanism under the guise of Christianity will be part of that group who will say to Jesus in the judgment, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” Sadly, Jesus will say to them, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” They will learn too late that religious humanism is insufficient to save the soul. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
Another area in which the Church has unashamedly followed humanistic principles is in the choice of Sunday as a day of worship. The Bible clearly says that the seventh-day Sabbath, Saturday, is the day upon which God’s people are to gather for weekly worship and rest from their work. Interestingly, the Catholic Church says that Saturday is the true biblical Sabbath and that Sunday worship is based not upon God’s Word, but upon the traditions of men. In his book Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today, Monsignor Segur admits Sunday-keeping “not only has no foundation in the Bible, but is in flagrant contradiction with its letter, which commands rest on the Sabbath, which is Saturday.” 4 Other Catholic writers concur. “The word, ‘Sabbath,’ means rest, and is Saturday, the seventh day of the week. Why, then, do Christians observe Sunday instead of the day mentioned in the Bible?. . . the infant Church changed the day to be kept holy from Saturday to Sunday . . . it rests upon the authority of the Catholic Church and not upon an explicit text in the Bible.” 5 “We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” 6
Of course, non-Catholics have their own reasons for keeping Sunday. But the facts of history and Scripture are stubborn things. They unquestionably testify to the accuracy of what these Catholic authors assert. The Catholic Church did change the day of worship, and the Bible doesn’t authorize it. With all due respect to Sunday-keepers churches and pastors who spin fine-sounding arguments for why the fourth commandment doesn’t need to be obeyed are following faulty reasoning as flimsy as spiders’ webs. All reasons for disobedience which man can amass have one thing in common. They are founded upon humanism. They place the reasoning of men above God’s plain commands.
The Humanistic Little Horn
God wants us to flee from humanism. Repeatedly, He has warned us against its deadly influence and shown how it would infiltrate the church. Using the symbol of a little horn in Daniel chapter 7, God predicted the Antichrist would be humanistic. “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, . . . and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things” (Daniel 7:8). Notice that it is not the eyes of the Spirit that are on this little horn, but “the eyes of man.” Here we see that Antichrist lacks true spiritual discernment and sees life only through human eyes.
His criterion for truth is “What do I think?” instead of “What does God command?” This is anti-Christian. Jesus taught that our will is to be held in subjection to God’s will. He prayed to His Father, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).
Christians seek to look at things from God’s vantage point (2 Corinthians 4:18). They do not base their decisions purely upon earthly considerations, but rather upon the eternal foundation of God’s truth and sovereign will. Christians ask only two questions—“What is God’s truth?” and “What are His promises?” Then they obey the one while claiming the other.
Because the Antichrist looks at things through humanistic eyes, he is led to some fearfully bold actions. He makes declarations that are counter to God’s truth. “And he shall speak great words against the most High . . . and think to change times and laws” _(Daniel 7:25). The ultimate expression of his humanism is to make people think God’s law has been changed.
He has especially attacked those laws which exalt God as Creator—laws such as the second and fourth commandments. The second commandment forbids the making of graven images and bowing down to them. The devil’s age-old war against the Creator has used the little horn to target this commandment. During the Middle Ages, the papal church compromised the second commandment and introduced graven images into Christendom. Today, Catholic catechisms omit the Bible’s second commandment, thus turning people away from their Creator.
Another law that has been “changed” by the little horn is the fourth commandment, which also exalts God as Creator. It establishes a weekly memorial to the Creator by commanding worship and rest from secular pursuits on the seventh-day Sabbath, Saturday. As we’ve already seen, the papacy readily admits it initiated this bold act. Amazingly, the papacy has been very successful in accomplishing the objective of making people think times and laws have been changed. Much of the Christian world has accepted the change of the seventh-day Sabbath to the first day of the week, Sunday.  The apostle Paul also understood the humanistic foundation of the Antichrist—“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the second coming] 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, showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4).
The man of sin, the Antichrist, assumes God’s place over the church. He declares himself to be God and that he has the power to institute doctrine, even if it is contrary to the Bible. This again is humanism—humans setting themselves up as a higher authority than God.
God’s True Believers
Fortunately, God still has people in all churches who trust their lives implicitly to Him in obedience. In fact, He has a message tailor-made to warn everyone of these compromises of truth and attacks against His Creatorship. This warning, known as the three angels’ messages, is found in Revelation 14:6-12.
The first angel’s message commands people to worship God as the Maker of “heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Verse 7). God wants people to reverse the compromises of the Middle Ages. He wants us to obey all His commandments—especially those that honor Him as Creator. But obedience cannot come from our own strength. It must be rooted in faith in Jesus.
Let’s face it—Saturday is one of the busiest days of the week. Consequently, it takes a special faith relationship with God to obey Him and keep it holy. Because true obedience can be accomplished only through faith in Jesus, the three angels’ messages are called the “everlasting gospel” (Verse 6).
This threefold message calls all to be righteous by faith. Righteousness simply means “right doing”—doing what God has commanded. This righteousness must come from Christ through faith. And faith is an active ingredient. Faith works. “But wilt thou know 0 vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” (James 2:20-22).
Faith works by love. “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6). What God really wants to produce in response to the everlasting gospel of the three angels of Revelation 14 is righteous people who have learned to love and obey Him. The love of God must shape their lives and become the controlling influence in all of their decisions. They will obey God as Creator because they know He loves them and is worthy of their worship and obedience.
This experience of righteousness by faith is what God requires in this hour of earth’s history—the judgment hour. The first angel’s message announces, “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:7. We live in this judgment hour that was prophesied to take place right before Jesus returns.
Notice that God wants us to worship Him as Creator during the judgment hour. Just what does this mean in a practical, everyday sense? Peter makes the answer obvious. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God . . . Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” _(1 Peter 4:17-19).
The experience God wants His people to have in the judgment hour is one of truly trusting Him as Creator and committing themselves to Him by doing His will. He wants them to be convinced of His faithfulness and to obey Him based on this conviction. Such persons God calls “saints” in Revelation 14:12: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” God’s saints have learned by experience that He keeps His promises. They’ve learned that He loves them unconditionally. He accepts them where hey are and gives them His power for victory and obedience. God’s saints have settled into the truth that God is a faithful Creator.
Just how might we demonstrate such faith and trust? In everyday life, we are all faced with choices where we understand God’ s will but are tempted to do the opposite. Let me illustrate in very practical terms how a person might reveal a lack of faith and trust. Let’s say a person is offered a job doing something that is not in harmony with Christian standards. Under temptation, he reasons: “I need a job, and this one is available. Should I take it? If I don’t, my bills won’t get paid. My house may be repossessed. It will put undue strain on my marriage if I’m unemployed. I can’t make it without this job.”
This type of thinking doesn’t factor the Almighty God into the equation. It focuses on the problem instead of God. Like Elisha’s servant, it sees only the enemy and not God’s host of angels who are all around, ready to help and deliver (2 Kings 6:8-17).
Unfortunately, many of us are tempted to make the same mistake. Even though we worship God on the weekend, we live according to the dictates of our own reasoning during the week.
Here is a point that is often stumbled over in this humanistic age—it is never acceptable to compromise truth. Why? Because compromise means we don’t believe God is adequate to take care of us. It means we think He is untrustworthy. What a statement we make about what we think of God when we compromise His truth!
God is calling for a different order of things. We must remember that He will provide a way for us to obey if we wait patiently for Him. With faith, even when we are severely tested we will be able to say: “I will wait upon my God to provide a way whereby I can obey Him. In the meantime, I will not compromise truth.”
Can our Creator provide jobs for the unemployed that will not require them to compromise truth? Can He provide a Christian companion for the single? Can He heal damaged marriages and relationships? Yes! Our Creator is not limited. He is infinite in power and resources. But sadly, all too often we limit Him. We are impatient. We do not wait upon the Lord to provide His solution in His own time. In some situations, His solution may not become tangible until Jesus comes. But the person with real faith in God’s infinite goodness can be satisfied even with this.
The Seal of God
This brings us to a crucial point that is absolutely vital for all who desire to avoid worshiping the beast to understand. The question of who will worship the beast is not simply a future issue. Daily we make decisions based upon whether or not we trust and obey God as our Creator. The cumulative effect of these decisions forms our characters. And the final conflict between the beast and God will reveal what character we have developed.
Did you catch this all-important point? It is so very practical and vital that I want you to fix it firmly in mind. Daily we make decisions based upon whether or not we trust and obey God as our Creator. The cumulative effect of these decisions forms our characters. And the final conflict between the beast and God will reveal what character we have developed. This is what the seal of God and the mark of the beast are all about.
The mark that we receive in the last days, whether it be God’s seal or the beast’s mark, will be the outward evidence of the type of inner character we have chosen to develop. Those who receive the seal of God have “set to their seal that God is true” and trustworthy _(John 3:33). They’ve learned to trust God as their Creator and Ruler in the little things of everyday life. Therefore, they are ready to face the larger tests of life. On the other hand, those who receive the mark of the beast _have lived lives of self-sufficiency and disobedience. Day by day they have brushed aside the still, small voice of God’s convicting Spirit as inconsequential. Little did they realize they were forming their ultimate destiny by choosing to disobey what they considered at the time to be “little things.” Because they have followed the beast’s principles of self-sufficiency it will be an easy matter for them to receive the mark of the beast.
Make no mistake about it. We are now living in the time when our daily decisions are no small matter. We all have a date with destiny when we will reap the character our choices have sown. Right now we all need to set ourselves on a path to consciously and deliberately settle into the truth that God is love and can be obeyed. If we neglect to gain this experience, we will find ourselves worshiping the beast along with most of the world.
The ultimate end-time expression of our having been sealed with God’s seal or marked with the character of the beast will be manifested in whether or not we keep God’s seventh-day Sabbath. The devil has especially contended with God’s Sabbath because it proclaims God’s rights and authority as Creator. Therefore, the Sabbath will become the visible line of demarcation between those who take God at His word and those who follow humanism to rationalize into oblivion God’s claims upon their lives.
Sabbath-keepers Forsake God?
Unfortunately, even among God’s current commandment-keeping people are those who will ultimately forsake the God of the true Sabbath that they now observe. How can this be? It will happen because they’ve not made God the Ruler of their entire life. Yes, they currently keep the Sabbath. But there is more to honoring God as Creator than simply going to church on the proper day. Those who live for self, whether they attend church on the Sabbath or not, will eventually find themselves opposed to the Sabbath when world conditions heat to a boiling point and bring them to the very last moments of time.
The large majority who will forsake God’s commandment-keeping remnant in the last days won’t come to this point overnight. They will have followed their self-will down this path for some time. Are some being deceived right now to think that since they know the objective truths of the gospel, the Sabbath, the sanctuary, and of man’s nature in death, etc., that this is going to be sufficient to save them? It certainly will not be if at the same time they are imbibing anger, bitterness, jealousy, or disobeying God in something that He has revealed to them. What is truly humbling is that we all are prone to make this fatal mistake. How important it is that we seek the Lord with all our hearts for His mercy and grace to give us a supreme love for Him and a faith which will obey implicitly!
Right now, we live in a time conducive to following God in all things. Relative peace and security still are ours. Revelation 7:1-4 says that this time of peace is for the sealing of God’s people. As we’ve already seen, the seal has everything to do with whether we trust and obey God by faith. Now is our day of opportunity to settle into the truth that God is trustworthy. We can obey Him, and He will take care of us. Each day God is giving us opportunities to develop godly character. But, eventually, the winds will blow. The time of trouble, such as no man has ever seen, will arrive. Then we will reveal character—not develop it. Let us praise God for the daily test and trials that try our patience and faith in God. These are the greatest blessings He can send us when we consider what He is preparing us to face. Never resent God’s providences. Seek Him with your whole heart and walk in faithful obedience, no matter how trying the circumstance.      Remember that the journey from following God to following the beast takes more than just one step. Slowly and almost imperceptibly is this road traveled. Nearly everyone would balk at the suggestion that he or she might someday worship the beast. But in the end, many will find it an automatic response to worship the beast. It will be the inevitable fruit of their cumulative daily choices.
On which side will we be in the end? Will we worship the beast or the Creator? The answer depends upon the daily decisions we make regarding the place of God in our life. Today is the day to commit 100 percent to Jesus and to gain, through obedience, an experience in trusting Him as Creator. Will we worship the beast or the Creator? It’s our choice. Today.

The mark of the Antichrist

14 Oct
A tattooed number, a computer chip under the skin, or something more subtle?  It’s one of the most misinterpreted prophecies in all of the Bible – yet it is so important to correctly understand this subject. But in studying the mark of the beast, we must address some very sensitive issues, naming names and being specific.  This is not a popular thing today, but we must be firm because God loves His people and He wants them to know the truth.  This message is not ours, but Jesus’. And with eternal death facing those who receive the mark, it would be a crime to not help Him deliver this message.  This lesson should probably be prefaced with a warning: “THE DEVIL DOES NOT WANT YOU TO READ AND COMPLETE THIS STUDY GUIDE.”  Please read Revelation 13:1-8, 14:9-12, and 16-18, and pray for the Holy Spirit to grant you an honest and understanding heart before embarking on this study adventure.An Urgent ReminderWe learned from Study Guide 2 that a terrible conflict is in progress between God and the devil.  It has raged through the centuries since Lucifer, heaven’s most powerful angel, rebelled against God.  With the angels who joined him, he attempted to overcome God and seize control of the universe.  God and the loyal angels had no choice but to eject Lucifer and his angels from heaven.  Lucifer, who became known as the devil and Satan, was infuriated.  His determination to destroy God and control the universe has grown with every passing year.  Amazingly, he has won the support of the vast majority of earth’s people in his rebellion.  The Lord also asks for people’s loyalty and support, but He leaves all free to choose.  Soon every person on earth will have aligned with either Satan or God.  The final battle between Satan and God is just ahead, and it is described in the book of Revelation.  This book points out that God has an emblem, or mark, which will identify His people.  Satan also has an emblem, or mark, that will identify those who support him.  As usual, Satan will work through an earthly power symbolized in Revelation by a beast to impose his mark.  This Study Guide will reveal the beast’s mark, which every lost person of the end time will receive.  Unless you know what his “mark” is, how will you avoid receiving it?
The papacy is the antichrist.

The papacy is the antichrist.

1. In order to know what the “mark” is, we must first identify the beast.  How does the Bible describe the beast?

Answer:   Revelation 13:1-8, 16-18  provides 11 identifying characteristics.  They are listed below:
A. Rises from sea (verse 1).
B. Composite of the four beasts of Daniel chapter 7 (verse 2).
C. Dragon gives it power and authority (verse 2).
D. Receives a deadly wound (verse 3).
E. Deadly wound healed (verse 3).
F. Strong political power (verses 3, 7).
G. Strong religious power (verses 3, 8).
H. Guilty of blasphemy (verses 1, 5, 6).
I. Wars with and overcomes the saints (verse 7).
J. Rules for 42 months (verse 5).
K. Has mysterious number 666 (verse 18).
Do some of these points have a familiar ring? Certainly! We encountered many of them earlier when we studied about the Antichrist in Daniel chapter 7. The “beast” of Revelation 13 is simply another name for the “Antichrist,” which we learned from Daniel 7 is the papacy.
Prophecies of Daniel and Revelation often cover the same ground as prior prophecies, but each time new features are added that help make the prophecies certain. So expect to learn some new things about the Antichrist from this Study Guide. Now let’s consider, one by one, the 11 points that describe the beast.
A. It would rise from the sea (Revelation 13:1). The sea (or water) in prophecy refers to people, or a populated area (Revelation 17:15). So the beast, or Antichrist, would arise from amid the established nations of the then-known world. The papacy, as we all know, arose in western Europe, so it fits this point.

A Word of Explanation
In harmony with God’s command to honor all people (1 Peter 2:17), we pause here to recognize the papacy for her many good deeds and activities. Her hospitals, orphanages, care for the poor, homes for unwed mothers, and care for the aged are appreciated universally. She can honestly be lauded for many things. But, like all other organizations, she has also made mistakes. God pinpoints some of her errors in Revelation. The Lord, who blesses and comforts, must sometimes chasten and correct. Please ask His Spirit to speak to you as you study this crucial topic.

B. It would be a composite of the four beasts of Daniel chapter 7 (Revelation 13:2). Study the comparison below to see how it all fits together:

Daniel chapter 7 Revelation chapter 13
Babylon Lion-like beast (vs. 4) “Mouth of a lion” (vs. 2)
Medo-Persia Bearlike beast (vs. 5) “Feet of a bear” (vs. 2)
Greece Leopard-like beast (vs. 6) “Like unto a leopard” (vs. 2)
Rome Ten-horned beast (vs. 7) “Having … ten horns” (vs. 1)

The four beasts of Daniel 7 are depicted as part of Antichrist, or the beast, because the papacy incorporated pagan beliefs and practices from all four empires. She clothed them in spiritual garb and spread them to the world as Christian teachings. Here is one of many supporting statements from history: “In a certain respect, she [the papacy] has copied her organization from that of the Roman Empire, has preserved and made fruitful the philosophical intuitions of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, borrowed from both Barbarians and the Byzantine Roman Empire, but always remains herself, thoroughly digesting all elements drawn from external sources.” 1 This point definitely fits the papacy.
C. The beast must receive its power, seat (capital), and authority from the dragon (Revelation 13:2). To identify the dragon, we go to Revelation chapter 12, where God’s end-time church is pictured as a pure woman. In prophecy, a pure woman represents God’s true people or church (Jeremiah 6:2 Isaiah 51:16). (In Study Guide 23, we will present a detailed study of God’s end-time church of Revelation chapter 12. Study Guide 22 explains Revelation chapters 17 and 18, where fallen churches are symbolized by a fallen mother and her fallen daughters.) The pure woman is portrayed as pregnant and about to deliver. The dragon crouches nearby, hoping to “devour” the baby at birth. However, when the baby is born He evades the dragon, fulfills His mission, and then ascends to heaven. Obviously the baby is Jesus, whom Herod tried to destroy by killing all the babies in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). So the dragon represents pagan Rome, of which Herod was a king. The power behind Herod’s plot was, of course, the devil (Revelation 12:7-9). Satan acts through various governments to accomplish his ugly work in this case, pagan Rome.
We will quote just two supportive references from history, though there are many: (1) “The Roman Church … pushed itself into the place of the Roman World-Empire, of which it is the actual continuation. …The Pope … is Caesar’s successor.” 2 (2) “The mighty Catholic Church was little more than the Roman Empire baptised. Rome was transformed as well as converted. The very capital of the old Empire became the capital of the Christian Empire. The office of Pontifex Maximus was continued in that of Pope.” 3 So this point also fits the papacy. She received her capital city and power from pagan Rome.
D. It would receive a deadly wound (Revelation 13:3). The deadly wound was inflicted when Napoleon’s general, Alexander Berthier, entered Rome and took Pope Pius VI captive in February of 1798. Napoleon decreed that at the death of the pope, the papacy would be discontinued. The pope died in France in August of 1799. “Half Europe thought … that without the Pope the Papacy was dead.” 4  So this point also fits the papacy.
E. The deadly wound would be healed, and the entire world would give homage to the beast (Revelation 13:3). Since its healing, the strength of the papacy has grown and increased until today she is one of the most powerful religio-political organizations and influence-centers in the world. Malachi Martin, consummate Vatican insider and intelligence expert, reveals the following in his best-selling book The Keys of This Blood 5 (page numbers in parentheses):

ABOUT THE POPE:
He is as determined to be world ruler as was Constantine in his day (49). He is protected by four governments (120). He is the best-known person of the 20th century (123). He is personal friends with the leaders of 91 countries (490). People of the world seem to him ready for strong worldwide moral government with control (160). Sixteen thousand journalists covered his American visit (490).
ABOUT THE PAPACY:
The American ambassador says the Vatican is unmatched as a “listening post” (120). The Vatican knows by Saturday what will happen on Monday anywhere in the world (439). Papal structure is prepared for worldwide rule now (143).
Obviously, the wound is healed and the eyes of the nations are upon the Vatican, so this point also fits the papacy.

F. It would become a strong political power (Revelation 13:3, 7). See item E above.
G. It would become a very powerful religious organization (Revelation 13:3, 8). See item E above.
H. It would be guilty of blasphemy (Revelation 13:5, 6). The papacy is guilty of blasphemy because her priests claim to forgive sins and her popes claim to be Christ.
I. It would war with and persecute the saints (Revelation 13:7). The papacy did persecute and destroy millions of saints during the Dark Ages.
J. It would reign for 42 months (Revelation 13:5). The papacy reigned for 42 prophetic months, which equals 1,260 years, from A.D. 538-1798.
Points H through J also clearly fit the papacy. We touched on them only briefly here because they were covered thoroughly in Study Guide 15, question 8, items E, G, and H.
K. It would have the mysterious number 666 (Revelation 13:18). This verse says, “It is the number of a man,” and Revelation 15:2 says it is “the number of his name.” What man do you think of when you think of the papacy? Naturally, we all think of the pope. What is his official name? Here is a Catholic quote: “The title of the pope of Rome is “Vicarius Filii Dei” (English: “Vicar of the Son of God”).6 Malachi Martin, in The Keys of This Blood, uses the same title for the pope on pages 114, 122. A footnote for Revelation 13:18 in some Douay [Catholic] versions of the Bible says, “The numeral letters of his name shall make up this number.”
Again, the papacy fits the identification point. The beast with the “mark” is the papacy. No other power in history could possibly fit these divine descriptive points. Now that we have positively identified the beast, we can discover her mark, or symbol of authority. But first, let’s look at God’s sign of authority.
1Andre Retif, The Catholic Spirit, trans. by Dom Aldhelm Dean, Vol. 88 of The Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism (New York, Hawthorne Books, 1959), p. 85.
2Adolf Harnack, What is Christianity? trans. by Thomas Bailey Saunders (New York: Putnam, 2nd ed., rev., 1901), p. 270.
3Alexander Clarence Flick, The Rise of the Mediaeval Church (reprint: New York, Burt Franklin, 1959), pp. 148, 149.
4Joseph Rickaby, “The Modern Papacy,” Lectures on the History of Religion, Lecture 24, (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1910), p. 1.
5(New York, Simon & Schuster, 1990)
6“Answers to Readers’ Questions,” Our Sunday Visitor, Nov. 15, 1914.

The Sabbath is the sign, or mark, of God's power.

The Sabbath is the sign, or mark, of God’s power.

2. What is God’s mark, or symbol, of authority?

“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 20:12.  “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth.” Exodus 31:17.

Answer:   God is saying in the texts above that He gave us His Sabbath as a glorious sign of His power to create and His power to sanctify (convert and save) us.  In the Bible, the words seal, sign, mark, and token are used interchangeably.7 God’s sign, the Sabbath, represents His holy power to rule as Creator and Saviour.  Revelation 7:1-3 says it will be written upon the foreheads (minds, Hebrews 10:16) of His people. It will signify that they are owned by Him and have His character.  Hebrews 4:4-10 confirms this by saying that when we enter His rest (receive salvation), we should keep His seventh-day Sabbath holy as a symbol, or mark, of salvation.  True Sabbath-keeping signifies that a person has surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and is willing to follow wherever Jesus leads.
Since the symbol, or mark, of God’s authority and power is His holy Sabbath day, it seems likely that the symbol, or mark, of God’s challenger, the beast, might also involve a holy day. Let’s see if it does.
7(Compare Genesis 17:11 with Romans 4:11 and Revelation 7:3 with Ezekiel 9:4.)

Sunday as a holy day is the beast's mark, or symbol of authority.

Sunday as a holy day is the beast’s mark, or symbol of authority.

3. What does the papacy say is her symbol, or mark, of authority?

Answer:   Notice the following section from a Catholic catechism:
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.”8
So the papacy is here saying that it changed Sabbath to Sunday and that virtually all churches accepted the new holy day.  Thus, the papacy claims that Sunday as a holy day is the mark, or symbol, of her power and authority.
8Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism [FRS No. 7.], (3rd American ed., rev.: New York, Edward Dunigan & Bro., 1876), p. 174.

Changing Sabbath to Sunday involves altering God's law - a very serious matter.

Changing Sabbath to Sunday involves altering God’s law – a very serious matter.

4. Did God predict such a change in Scripture?

Answer:   Yes!  In describing the Antichrist in Daniel 7:25, God said it would “think to change times and laws.”
A. How has the papacy tried to change God’s laws?  In three different ways:  In her catechisms she has (1) omitted the second commandment against veneration of images, and (2) shortened the fourth (Sabbath) commandment from 94 words to just eight.  The Sabbath commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) clearly specifies Sabbath as the seventh day of the week.  As changed by the papacy, the commandment reads: “Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.”  Written thus, it can refer to any day.  And, finally, she (3) divided the tenth commandment into two commandments.
B. How has the papacy attempted to change God’s times?  In two ways: (1) She has changed the time of the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day.  (2) She has also changed God’s “timing” for the beginning and closing hours of the Sabbath.  Instead of counting the Sabbath day from sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday night as God mandates (Leviticus 23:32), she adopted the pagan Roman custom of counting the day from midnight Saturday night to midnight Sunday night.  God predicted these “changes” would be attempted by the beast, or Antichrist.
Notice the following section from a Catholic catechism:
Question:  Which is the Sabbath day?
Answer:  Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Question:  Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
Answer:  We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”  9
Here is another Catholic statement:  “The Church is above the Bible and this transference of Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday is proof positive of that fact.” 10
The papacy is saying in these references that its successful change of Sabbath observance to Sunday worship is proof that its authority is greater, or “above,” Scripture.
9Peter Geiermann, The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (St. Louis, B. Herder Book Co., 1957 ed.), p. 50.
10The Catholic Record (London, Ontario, Canada, Sept. 1, 1923).

The papacy has changed Sabbath to Sunday.

The papacy has changed Sabbath to Sunday.

5. How could anyone dare attempt to change God’s holy day?

Answer:   We ask the papacy, “Did you really change Sabbath to Sunday?”
She replies, “Yes, we did.  It is our symbol, or mark, of authority and power.”
We ask, “How could you even think of doing that?”
It’s a pertinent question.  But the question the papacy officially asks Protestants is even more pertinent.  Please read it carefully:
“You will tell me that Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath, but that the Christian Sabbath has been changed to Sunday.  Changed!  but by whom?  Who has authority to change an express commandment of Almighty God?  When God has spoken and said, Thou shalt keep holy the seventh day, who shall dare to 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 a 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 that day which the Bible has commanded.
The command to keep holy the seventh day is one of the ten commandments you believe that the other nine are still binding who gave you 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 this fourth commandment is expressly altered.” 11
11Library of Christian Doctrine:  Why Don’t You Keep Holy the Sabbath-Day? (London: Burns and Oates, Ltd.), pp. 3, 4.
Tragically, both Catholicism and Protestantism stand guilty before the judgment bar of heaven for rejecting God’s holy Sabbath, His sacred sign of identification.

Religious leaders who ignore God's holy Sabbath will face His indignation.

Religious leaders who ignore God’s holy Sabbath will face His indignation.

6. What solemn warnings has God given regarding His law and His sign, or mark?

Answer:   A. God warns religious leaders against causing people to stumble by saying that some commandments do not matter (Malachi 2:7-9).  For example, some ministers teach, “It doesn’t matter what day you keep holy.”
B. God warns people who want their ministers to preach smooth fables rather than the truth about His law (Isaiah 30:9, 10).
C. God warns people about hardening their hearts against the truth of His law (Zechariah 7:12).
D. God warns people who say it would seem “strange” to keep God’s lawlike the Sabbath, for example (Hosea 8:12).
E. God states that the upheaval, tragedy, problems, and woes of earth come because people refuse to follow His law, and have even tried to change it (Isaiah 24:4-6).
F. God warns religious leaders who refuse to preach the prophecies of the end time (Isaiah 29:10, 11).
G. God solemnly warns that leaders who teach there is really no difference between sacred things (such as God’s holy Sabbath) and common things (such as Sunday) will face His indignation (Ezekiel 22:26, 31).

The forehead is a symbol of the mind.  People will be marked in their foreheads by observing Sunday as a holy day.

The forehead is a symbol of the mind.  People will be marked in their foreheads by observing Sunday as a holy day.

7. Revelation 13:16 says people will receive the mark of the beast in the forehead or in the hand.  What does this mean?

Answer:   The forehead represents the mind (Hebrews 10:16).  A person will be marked in the forehead by a decision to keep Sunday as a holy day.  The hand is a symbol of work (Ecclesiastes 9:10).  A person will be marked in the hand by working on God’s holy Sabbath or by going along with Sunday laws for practical reasons (job, family, etc.).  The sign, or mark, for either God or the beast will be invisible to people.  You will, in essence, mark yourself by accepting either God’s sign or mark, the Sabbath, or the beast’s mark, Sunday.  Though invisible to men, God will know who has which mark (2 Timothy 2:19).

God requires His people to stop trampling upon His holy day.

God requires His people to stop trampling upon His holy day.

8. According to Isaiah 58:1, 13, 14, what decisive message does God deliver to His people in the last days?

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression.” “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, … Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.” Isaiah 58:1, 13, 14.

Answer:   He says, show “my people” that they are (innocently perhaps) sinning because they are trampling on My holy day, and ask them to quit breaking My Sabbath so I can bless them.  Speak loudly so they will hear you!
Notice that the third angel of Revelation 14:9-12, who brings the message about the mark of the beast, speaks with a loud voice also (verse 9). The message is too important to treat as ordinary.  It’s a life-or-death issue. Jesus says His sheep, or people, will follow Him when He calls them. (John 10:16, 27).

When laws are passed forcing Sunday worship, those who comply will receive the beast's mark.

When laws are passed forcing Sunday worship, those who comply will receive the beast’s mark.

9. Do people who worship on Sunday (as a holy day) have the mark of the beast now?

Answer:   No!  No one will have the mark of the beast until Sunday worship becomes an issue forced by law.  At that time (just ahead), those who decide to follow the false teachings of the beast and worship on Sunday (the beast’s counterfeit holy day) will receive the mark of the beast.
Those who follow Jesus and obey His truth will keep His Sabbath day holy and receive His mark.  Those who expect to refuse the beast’s mark in the future must step under Jesus’ Sabbath banner now.  His power is available to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).  Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).  With Him, all things are possible (Mark 10:27).

Only those who have God's mark, or sign, in their foreheads will enter heaven.

Only those who have God’s mark, or sign, in their foreheads will enter heaven.

10. According to the book of Revelation, whom did John specifically see in God’s eternal kingdom?

Answer:   The answer is threefold and very clear:
A. Those who have God’s mark, or sign (His Sabbath), in their foreheads (Revelation 7:3).
B. Those who refused to identify with the beast or his image and who refused to have his mark or name in their foreheads (Revelation 15:2).
C. The people who today, and for eternity, follow where Jesus leads, trusting Him fully in everything (Revelation 14:4).  There is no other way.

Following Jesus must include keeping His seventh-day Sabbath holy.

Following Jesus must include keeping His seventh-day Sabbath holy.

11. What is Jesus saying to people today?

“He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12.

Answer:   What a fantastic promise!  If we follow Him, we will not end up in darkness but will, instead, have glorious truth.  Nothing could be more exciting!  Further, following Him and keeping His Sabbath will put God’s mark on our foreheads and protect us from the dreadful plagues (Psalms 91:10) that will fall upon the disobedient (Revelation chapter 16).  It also marks us as ready for translation at Jesus’ second coming.  What blessed protection and assurance God has offered us!
An Urgent Alert You will discover some astounding information as you study the final three Study Guides of the nine that deal with the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-14.  These Study Guides will explain (1) the role of the United States in earth’s final conflict, (2) how churches and religions of the world will be involved, (3) what world conditions will precipitate earth’s final battle, and (4) Satan’s amazing strategy for deceiving billions.
Perhaps you are wondering what Protestant churches have to say about the papal claim for changing Sabbath to Sunday.  The quotes that appear in the “Your Thought Questions Answered” section of this lesson will provide the shocking answers.

PLEASE START TO KEEP THE TRUE SABBATH!

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