Tag Archives: Daniel

Right on Time! Prophetic Appointments Revealed!

24 Nov
Fasten your seat belt! You’re now going to explore the longest time prophecy in the Bible – a prophecy that perfectly predicted the first coming of Jesus and the time of His death.  In Study Guide 16, “Angel Messages from Space,” you learned that God has an extremely important message the world must hear before Christ’s return! The first point commands people to worship God and glorify Him, because the hour of His judgment has arrived(Revelation 14:7). In Daniel 8 and 9, God reveals the date for His final judgment to begin and powerful prophetic clues proving Christ as the Messiah.  Thus no prophecy in all of Scripture is more vital – yet few people are aware of it! Others completely misinterpret it. Please read Daniel chapters 8 and 9 before starting this Study Guide, and ask God’s Spirit to guide you in understanding this phenomenal lesson.
The ram represents Medo-Persia.

The ram represents Medo-Persia.

1. In vision, Daniel saw a two-horned ram pushing west, north, and south and conquering every beast he met (Daniel 8:3, 4).  What does that ram symbolize?

“The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.” Daniel 8:20.

Answer:   The ram is a symbol of the world kingdom of Medo-Persia, which was also represented by the bear of Daniel 7:5.  The prophecies of the Bible books of Daniel and Revelation follow the principle of “repeat and expand,” which means they repeat prophecies covered in earlier chapters of the book and enlarge upon them.  This approach brings clarity and certainty to Bible prophecies.

The goat symbolizes Greece.

The goat symbolizes Greece.

2. What striking animal did Daniel next see?

“And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.  Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation.” Daniel 8:21, 22.

Answer:   Next in Daniel’s vision, a male goat with one huge horn suddenly appeared, traveling at great speed.  He attacked and conquered the ram.  Then the great horn was broken off and four horns arose in its place.  The rough male goat symbolized the third world kingdom of Greece, and the huge horn symbolized Alexander the Great.  The four horns that replaced the great horn represent the four kingdoms into which Alexander’s empire was divided.  In Daniel 7:6, these four kingdoms are represented by the four heads of the leopard beast, which also symbolizes Greece.  These symbols are so fitting that it is easy to identify them in history.

The

The “little horn” of Daniel chapter 8 represents Rome in both its pagan and papal stages.  So the little horn of the last days is the papacy.

3. According to Daniel 8:8, 9, a little horn power next arose. What does the little horn represent?

Answer:   The little horn represents Rome.  Some have suggested that the little horn represents Antiochus Epiphanes, a Seleucid king who ruled over Palestine in the second century B.C. and who disrupted the Jewish worship services.  Others, including most leaders of the Reformation, have believed that the little horn represents Rome in both its pagan and papal forms.  Let’s examine the clear Bible evidence for this:
A. In harmony with the prophetic rule of “repeat and expand,” Rome must be the power represented here because both chapters 2 and 7 of Daniel point to Rome as the kingdom that follows Greece.  Daniel 7:24-27 also establishes the fact that Rome in its papal form will be succeeded by the kingdom of Christ. The little horn of Daniel chapter 8 fits this pattern exactly:  It follows Greece and is finally supernaturally destroyed or “broken without hand” at Jesus’ second coming.  (Compare Daniel 8:25 with Daniel 2:34.)
B. Daniel chapter 8 says the Medo-Persians would become “great” (verse 4), the Grecians “very great” (verse 8), and the little horn power “exceeding great” (verse 9).  History is clear that no power following Greece became “exceeding great” other than Rome.
C. Rome extended its power to the south (Egypt), the east (Macedonia), and the “pleasant land” (Palestine) precisely as the prophecy predicted (verse 9).  No major power other than Rome fits this point.
D. Only Rome stood up against Jesus, “the prince of the  host” (verse 11) and “the Prince of princes” (verse 25).  Pagan Rome crucified Him.  It also destroyed the Jewish temple.  And papal Rome effectively caused the heavenly sanctuary to be “cast down” (verse 11) and “trodden under foot” (verse 13) by replacing the essential ministry of Jesus, our High Priest in heaven, with an earthly priesthood which claims to forgive sins.  No one but God can forgive sins (Luke 5:21).  And Jesus is our only Priest or Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).

The little horn power persecuted and destroyed millions of God's people.

The little horn power persecuted and destroyed millions of God’s people.

4. Daniel 8 informs us that this little horn power would also destroy many of God’s people (verses 10, 24, 25) and cast truth to the ground (verse 12).  When a saint asked how long God’s people and heavenly sanctuary would be trodden under foot, what was heaven’s reply?

“And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”  Daniel 8:14.

Answer:   Heaven’s reply was that the sanctuary in heaven would be cleansed after 2,300 prophetic days, or 2,300 literal years.  (Study Guide 15 gives a full explanation of the prophetic day-for-a-year principle found in Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34.)  We have already learned that the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary took place on the day of atonement in ancient Israel.
On that day God’s people were clearly identified as His, and the record of their sins was removed.  The wicked who clung to sin were cut off forever from Israel.  Thus the camp was cleansed from sin.
Heaven was here assuring Daniel that sin and the little horn power would not continue to prosper, control the world, and persecute God’s people endlessly.  Instead, in 2,300 years God would step in with the heavenly day of atonement, or judgment, where sin and sinners would be identified and later removed from the universe forever.  Thus the universe will be cleansed from sin.  The wrongs against God’s people will at long last be righted, and the peace and harmony of Eden will once again fill the universe.

Daniel prayed that God would help him understand the 2,300-year prophecy.

Daniel prayed that God would help him understand the 2,300-year prophecy.

5. What urgent point did the angel Gabriel repeatedly stress?

“Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.”  “I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation.”  “Wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.” Daniel 8:17, 19, 26, emphasis added.

Answer:   Gabriel repeatedly asserted that the 2,300-day vision involved events in the end-time, which began in 1798, as we learned in Study Guide 15.  The angel wanted us to understand that the 2,300-day prophecy is a message which applies primarily to all of us who are living in the end-time of earth’s history.  It has special meaning for today.
Introduction to Daniel Chapter 9 After Daniel’s vision of chapter 8, the angel Gabriel came and began explaining the vision to him.  When Gabriel reached the point of the 2,300 days, Daniel collapsed and was ill for some time.  He regained his strength and resumed doing the king’s business but was much concerned regarding the unexplained portion of the vision, the 2,300 days.  Daniel prayed earnestly for his people, the Jews who were in captivity in Medo-Persia.  He confessed his sins and pleaded with God to forgive His people.  Daniel chapter 9 begins with the prophet’s earnest prayer of confession and appeal to God.
Please take time now to read Daniel 9 before proceeding further with this Study Guide.

The angel Gabriel came to Daniel to explain the 2,300-year prophecy.

The angel Gabriel came to Daniel to explain the 2,300-year prophecy.

6. While Daniel was praying, who suddenly touched him and with what message (Daniel 9:21-23)?

Answer:   The angel Gabriel touched him and stated he had come to explain the rest of the vision described in Daniel chapter 8 (compare Daniel 8:26 with Daniel 9:23).

Gabriel explained to Daniel important events to take place within the 2,300 years.

Gabriel explained to Daniel important events to take place within the 2,300 years.

7. How much of the 2,300 days would be allotted to (or cut off for) Daniel’s people, the Jews, and their capital city, Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24)?

Answer:   Seventy weeks were to be “determined upon,” or cut off, for the Jews.  The seventy prophetic weeks equal 490 literal years (70 x 7 = 490).  God’s people would soon be returning from captivity in Medo-Persia, and God would cut off 490 years from the 2,300 years and allot them to His chosen people as another opportunity to repent and serve Him.

8. What event and date were to mark the starting point for the 2,300-day and 490-year prophecies (Daniel 9:25)?

Answer:   The starting event was a decree from Persian King Artaxerxes authorizing God’s people (who were captive in Medo-Persia) to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city.  The decree, found in Ezra chapter 7, was issued in 457 B.C.–the seventh year of the king (verse 7)–and was implemented in the autumn. Artaxerxes began his reign in 464 B.C.

Jesus' baptism was an accurate fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

Jesus’ baptism was an accurate fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

9. The angel said that 69 prophetic weeks, or 483 literal years (69 x 7 = 483), added to 457 B.C. would reach to the Messiah (Daniel 9:25).  Did it?

Answer:   Yes, indeed!  Mathematical calculations show that moving ahead 483 full years from the fall of 457 B.C. reaches the fall of A.D. 27.  The word “Messiah” means “anointed”  (John 1:41, margin).  Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost (Acts 10:38) at His baptism (Luke 3:21, 22).  His anointing took place in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1), which was A.D. 27.  And to think the prediction was made more than 500 years before!
Then Jesus began to preach that “the time is fulfilled” (referring to the 483 years which were to reach to the Messiah).  He thus audibly confirmed the prophecy (Mark 1:14, 15 Galatians 4:4).  So Jesus actually began His ministry by clearly referring to the 2,300-day prophecy, stressing its importance and accuracy.  This is awesome and thrilling evidence that:
A. The Bible is inspired.
B. Jesus is the Messiah.
C. All other dates in the 2,300-day/490-year prophecy are valid.  What a firm foundation on which to build!

10. We have now considered 483 years of the 490-year prophecy.  There is one prophetic week, or seven literal years, left (Daniel 9:26, 27).  What happens next?  When does it happen?

10. We have now considered 483 years of the 490-year prophecy.  There is one prophetic week, or seven literal years, left (Daniel 9:26, 27).  What happens next?  When does it happen?

Answer:   Jesus is “cut off” or crucified “in the midst of the week,” which is three and one-half years after His anointing, or the spring of A.D. 31.  Please notice how the gospel is revealed in verse 26: “After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself.”
No, praise God, when Jesus was cut off, it was not for Himself.  He “who did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22) was crucified for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3 Isaiah 53:5).  Jesus’ priceless life was lovingly and willingly offered to save us from sin.  Hallelujah, what a Saviour!  Jesus’ atoning sacrifice is the very heart of Daniel chapters 8 and 9.

The disciples preached to multitudes of Jews.

The disciples preached to multitudes of Jews.

11. Since Jesus died after three and one-half years, how could He “confirm the covenant with many” for the full final seven years, as the prophecy in Daniel 9:27 mandates?

Answer:   The covenant is His blessed agreement to save people from their sins (Hebrews 10:16, 17).  After His ministry of three and one-half years ended, Jesus confirmed the covenant through His disciples (Hebrews 2:3).  He sent them first to the Jewish nation (Matthew 10:5, 6), because His chosen people still had three and one-half years remaining of their 490-year opportunity to repent.

After the stoning of Stephen, the disciples began preaching to the Gentiles.

After the stoning of Stephen, the disciples began preaching to the Gentiles.

12. When the 490-year period of final opportunity for the Jewish nation ended in the fall of A.D. 34, what did the disciples do?

Answer:   They began preaching the gospel to other people and nations of the world (Acts 13:46). Stephen, a righteous deacon, was publicly stoned in A.D. 34. From that date onward the Jews, because they rejected Jesus and God’s plan, were no longer God’s chosen people or nation. Instead, God now counts people of all nationalities who accept and serve Him as spiritual Jews. They have become His chosen people–“heirs according to the promise.” Spiritual Jews do, of course, include Jewish people who individually accept and serve Jesus (Galatians 3:27-29; Romans 2:28, 29).

God's investigative judgment is witnessed by the heavenly host.

God’s investigative judgment is witnessed by the heavenly host.

13. After A.D. 34, how many years of the 2,300-year prophecy remained?  What is the ending date for the prophecy?  What did the angel say would happen on that date (Daniel 8:14)?

Answer:   There were 1,810 years remaining (2,300 minus 490 = 1,810).  The ending date for the prophecy is 1844 (A.D. 34 + 1810 = 1844).  The angel said the heavenly sanctuary would be cleansed, or the heavenly judgment would begin.  (The earthly sanctuary was destroyed in A.D. 70.)  We learned in Study Guide 17 that the heavenly day of atonement, or judgment, was slated for the end time.  Now we know that the beginning date is 1844.  God set this date.  It is as certain as the A.D. 27 date for Jesus to become the Messiah.  God’s end-time people must be announcing it (Revelation 14:6, 7).
You will be thrilled and gratified to learn the details of the judgment in Study Guide 19.  In Noah’s day, God stated that the Flood judgment would occur in 120 years (Genesis 6:3)and it happened.  In Daniel’s day, God stated that His end-time judgment would begin in 2,300 years (Daniel 8:14)and it happened.  God’s end-time judgment has been in session since 1844.
Meaning of the Atonement The English word “atonement” originally meant “at-one-ment” that is, a state of being “at one” or in agreement.  It denotes harmony of relationship.  Perfect harmony originally existed throughout the universe.  Then Lucifer, a brilliant heavenly angel (as we learned in Study Guide 2), challenged God and His principles of government.  One-third of the angels of heaven joined Lucifer’s rebellion (Revelation 12:3, 4, 7-9).
This rebellion against God and His loving principles is called sin in the Bible (Isaiah 53:6 1 John 3:4).  It brings heartache, confusion, chaos, tragedy, disappointment, sorrow, betrayal, and evil of every kind.  Worst of all, its penalty is death (Romans 6:23)from which there is no resurrection in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).  Sin spreads faster and is more lethal than the most deadly type of cancer.  It put the universe itself in jeopardy.
So God cast Lucifer and his angels out of heaven (Revelation 12:7-9), and Lucifer received a new name”Satan,” which means “adversary.”  His fallen angels are now called demons.  Satan seduced Adam and Eve, and sin thus came upon all humans.  What a horrendous tragedy!  The devastating conflict between good and evil had begun, and evil appeared to be winning.  The situation seemed hopeless.
But, no!  Jesus, God’s Sondeity Himself who was more than equal to all the people who would ever live on earth, agreed to sacrifice His life to pay the death penalty for every sinner (1 Corinthians 5:7).  By accepting His sacrifice, sinners would thus be freed from the guilt of sin (Romans 3:25).  This glorious plan also included Jesus entering a person’s life when invited (Revelation 3:20) and changing him to a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17).  It provided power from Jesus to resist Satan and to restore every converted person to the image of God, in which he was created (Genesis 1:26, 27 Romans 8:29).
This blessed atonement offer includes a plan to isolate sin and destroy it including Satan and his fallen angels, plus all who join him in rebellion (Matthew 25:41 Revelation 21:8).  Further, the full information regarding Jesus and His loving government and Satan and his diabolical dictatorship will be taken to every person on earth so all can make an intelligent, informed decision to align either with Christ or Satan (Matthew 24:14 Revelation 14:6, 7).
The case of every person will be examined in the heavenly courtroom (Romans 14:10-12), and God will honor the choice of each individual to serve either Christ or Satan (Revelation 22:11, 12).  Finally, after eradicating sin, God’s plan is to create new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13 Isaiah 65:17), where sin will never again rise (Nahum 1:9), and give it to His people as their home throughout eternity (Revelation 21:1-5).  The Father and Son will then dwell with their people in perfect joy and harmony forever.
All of this is included in the “at-one-ment.”  God has informed us of it in His Word and demonstrated it in the Old Testament sanctuary services, especially the day of atonement. Jesus is the key to the atonement. His loving sacrifice for us on Calvary makes it all possible. Getting rid of sin in our lives and in the universe is possible only through Him (Acts 4:12). No wonder heaven’s three-point final message to the world calls upon us all to worship Him (Revelation 14:6, 7).

Why would anyone cut away an important part of this prophecy?

Why would anyone cut away an important part of this prophecy?

14. Why do some Bible interpreters detach the last week (or seven years) of the 490 years allotted to the Jewish nation and apply it to Antichrist’s work at the end of the world’s history?

Answer:   This question is a good one”Why would anyone remove the last seven years of the 490 years allotted to the Jewish nation and place it at the end of the world’s history?”
Let us review the facts:
A. There is no warrant or evidence whatever for inserting a gap anywhere between any of the years of the 490-year prophecy.  It is continuous, as were the 70 years of exile for God’s people mentioned in Daniel 9:2.
B. Never in Scripture does a specific number of time units (days, weeks, months, years) comprising a stretch of time mean anything but continuous or consecutive time units.  The burden of proof is on those who claim that any part of any time prophecy should be detached and counted later.
C. A.D. 27 (the year of Jesus’ baptism) was the starting date for the last seven years of the prophecy, which Jesus emphasized by beginning at once to preach, “The time is fulfilled.” Mark 1:15.
D. At the moment of His death on the cross in the spring of A.D. 31, Jesus cried out, “It is finished.”  The Saviour here clearly refers to the predictions of His death made in Daniel chapter 9, such as:
1. “Messiah” would be “cut off” or crucified (verse 26).
2. He would “cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” by dying for all as the true Lamb of God (verse 27 1 Corinthians 5:7 15:3).
3. He would “make reconciliation for iniquity” (verse 24).
There is no biblical authority or evidence for detaching the last week, or seven years, of the 490 years allotted to the Jewish nation and applying it to the work of Antichrist near the end of the world’s history.  More serious, detaching the last seven years from the 490-year prophecy so distorts the true meaning of many prophecies in the books of Daniel and Revelation that people simply cannot correctly understand them. This is why God condemns private interpretation of prophecy, such as this seven-year gap theory. Such interpretations always lead people astray.

Case Closed

21 Nov
The jury is in, the verdict read … case closed! Few thoughts could be more sobering. The day is fast approaching when every person who has ever lived will have their lives reviewed before the all-knowing eyes of God (2 Corinthians 5:10). But don’t let this alarm you – take heart! Millions have already found the judgment message in this Study Guide to be very good news! On four occasions when the book of Revelation mentions the great judgment, it brings forth praise and thanksgiving! But did you know that the Bible mentions judgment more than a thousand times? Almost every Bible writer refers to it, so its importance cannot be overemphasized. In the next few minutes, you’re going to get a real eye-opener in this neglected subject.
First Phase of the Final Judgement

1. The angel Gabriel gave Daniel the prophecy of the 1844 heavenly judgment.  The first phase of the judgment is called the pre-advent judgment because it takes place before Jesus’ second coming.  What group of people will be considered in the first phase of the judgment?  When does it end?

“Judgment must begin at the house of God.” 1 Peter 4:17. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”  Revelation 22:11, 12.  (See also 1 Timothy 3:15.)

Answer:   It ends just before the second coming of Jesus.  Those (living and dead) who claimed to be Christians–“the house of God”–will be considered in the pre-advent judgment.  (The 1844 date is established in Study Guide 18.)

Jesus stands with His faithful people in the judgment and promises them a positive verdict.

Jesus stands with His faithful people in the judgment and promises them a positive verdict.

2. Who presides at the judgment?  Who is the defense attorney?  The judge?  The accuser?  Who are the witnesses?

“The Ancient of days did sit, … his throne was like the fiery flame.”  “The judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9, 10.  “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1. “The Father … hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” John 5:22. “The Devil, … the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” Revelation 12:9, 10.  “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” Revelation 3:14.  (See also Colossians 1:12-15.)

Answer:   God the Father, the Ancient of days, presides in the judgment.  He loves you very much (John 16:27).  Satan is your only accuser.  In the heavenly court, Jesus, who loves you, your best friend will be your attorney, judge, and witness.  And He promises that judgment will be “given in favour of the saints.” Daniel 7:22, NEB.*
*The New English Bible, (C) 1961, 1970 by the Delegates of the Oxford University Press and the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press. Used by permission.

Evidence presented in the judgment comes from the books of heaven.

Evidence presented in the judgment comes from the books of heaven.

3. What is the source of evidence used in the pre-advent judgment?  By what standard will all be judged?  Since God already knows everything about every person, why have a judgment?

“The judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:10.  “The dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Revelation 20:12.  “They … shall be judged by the law of liberty.” James 2:12.  “We are made a spectacle [theater] unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” 1 Corinthians 4:9.

Answer:   Evidence for court comes from books in which all details of one’s life are recorded.  For the faithful, the record of prayer, repentance, and forgiveness of sin will be there for all to see.  The records will prove that God’s power enables Christians to live changed lives. God is pleased with His saints and will delight in sharing the evidence of their lives. The judgment will confirm that there is “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1.
The Ten-Commandment law is God’s standard in the judgment (James 2:10-12).  Breaking His law is sin (1 John 3:4).  The righteousness of the law will be fulfilled by Jesus in all of His people (Romans 8:3, 4).  To claim that this is impossible is to doubt Jesus’ word and His power.
The judgment is not to inform God.  He is already fully informed (2 Timothy 2:19).  However, the redeemed people will be coming to heaven from a world that has been degraded by sin.  Both the angels and the inhabitants of other unfallen worlds would certainly feel uneasy about admitting anyone to God’s heavenly kingdom who might start sin all over again.  Thus, the judgment will open to them every detail and answer every question.  Satan’s real aim has always been to discredit God as unfair, ruthless, unloving, and untruthful.  This makes it even more important for all beings in the universe to see firsthand how extremely patient God has been with sinners.  The vindication of God’s character is the prime purpose of the judgment (Revelation 11:16-19 15:2-4 16:5, 7 19:1, 2 Daniel 4:36, 37).  Note that the praise and glory are given to God for the way He handles the judgment.

Every facet of a person's life will be reviewed in the judgment.

Every facet of a person’s life will be reviewed in the judgment.

4. What portion of a person’s life is considered in the pre-advent judgment?  What will be confirmed? How will rewards be decided?

“God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14. “Let both [wheat and tares] grow together until the harvest.” “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend.”
Matthew 13:30, 41. “Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12.

Answer:   Every detail of life will be reviewed, including secret thoughts and actions.  For this reason, this first phase of the judgment is also called the investigative judgment.  The judgment will confirm who will be saved of those who claimed to be Christians.  It will doubtless also confirm as lost those whose names are not judged in the pre-advent judgment.  Although we are saved by grace, rewards will be given based on works, deeds, or conduct, which prove the genuineness of a Christian’s faith (James 2:26).

Second Phase of the Final Judgement

5. What group is involved in the heavenly judgment during the 1,000 years of Revelation chapter 20?  What is the purpose of this second phase of the judgment?

“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? … Know ye not that we shall judge angels?”
1 Corinthians 6:2, 3.  “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.” Revelation 20:4.

Answer

Answer:   The “saints,” or righteous people of all ages who Christ takes to heaven in the cloud at His second coming, will be participating in this second phase of the judgment.
Suppose a family discovered that their much-beloved son who was murdered was not in heaven.  But the murderer was.  Doubtless they would need some answers.  This second phase of the judgment will answer all the questions of the righteous.  The life of every lost person (including Satan and his angels) will be carefully reviewed by the righteous, who will then totally agree with Jesus’ decisions regarding the reward for each one.  It will become obvious to all that the judgment is no arbitrary matter.  Instead, it simply confirms the choices which people have already made to serve either Jesus or another master (Revelation 22:11, 12).  (For a review of the 1,000 years, see Study Guide 12.)

Third Phase of the Final Judgement

6. When and where will the third phase of the final judgment take place?  What new group will be present at this phase of judgment?

“His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem.” “And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.” “All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem.” Zechariah 14:4, 5, 10. “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.” Revelation 21:2.  “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall … go out to deceive the nations … to gather them together to battle.” Revelation 20:7, 8.

The wicked will try to attack the holy city.

The wicked will try to attack the holy city.

Answer:   The third phase of the judgment will take place on the earth at the close of the 1,000 years of Revelation chapter 20, after Jesus’ return to earth with the holy city.  All the wicked who have ever lived, including the devil and his angels, will be present.  At the close of the 1,000 years, the wicked dead of all ages will be raised (Revelation 20:5).  Satan immediately launches a powerful propaganda campaign to deceive them.  Amazingly, he succeeds in convincing the nations of earth that they can capture the holy city.

7. What happens next?

“They went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city.” Revelation 20:9.

Answer:   The wicked surround the city and prepare to attack.

The third phase of the judgment will interrupt the plan to attack the city.

The third phase of the judgment will interrupt the plan to attack the city.

8. What interrupts their battle plan, and with what results?

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Revelation 20:12. “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:10. “As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:11, 12.

Answer:   Unexpectedly, without warning, God appears with almost paralyzing brightness above the city (Revelation 19:11-21).  The moment of truth has arrived.  Every lost soul since the world began, including Satan and his angels, now faces God in judgment.  Every eye is fastened upon the King of kings (Revelation 20:12).
Each Person Sees Own Life Reviewed Then each lost soul recalls his own life story:  God’s constant, warm, pleading calls to repent that wooing, still, small voice the awesome conviction that often came the repeated refusals to respond.  It is all there.  Its accuracy is incontestable.  Its facts are irrefutable.  God wants the wicked to fully understand.  He will provide any details desired in order to make all things clear.  The books and records are available.
No Cover-Up God is not involved in some celestial cover-up.  He has destroyed no evidence, erased no tapes.  There is nothing to hide.  Everything is open, and every person who has ever lived plus all the good and bad angels will be viewing this drama of all dramas.
The Lost Fall to Their Knees Suddenly there is a movement.  One lost soul drops to his knees to admit his guilt and openly confess that God was more than fair with him. His own stubborn pride kept him from responding. And on all sides now, people and evil angels are likewise kneeling. Then in one great, almost simultaneous move all remaining people and evil angels, including Satan, fall prostrate before God (Romans 14:11).  They openly clear the name of God from all false accusations and give witness to His loving, fair, merciful treatment of them.
All Confess That the Sentence Is Fair All confess that the sentence of death pronounced upon them is fairthe only safe way to handle sin. Of each lost person it can be said, “Thou hast destroyed thyself.” Hosea 13:9. God now stands vindicated before the universe. The accusations and claims of Satan have been exposed and unequivocally discredited as the perverse lies of a hardened sinner.

Fire from heaven will eradicate sin and sinners for eternity.

Fire from heaven will eradicate sin and sinners for eternity.

9. What final steps will eradicate sin from the universe and provide a secure home and future for the righteous?

“They … compassed the camp of the saints about, … and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:9, 10.  “For they [the wicked] shall be ashes under the soles of your feet.” Malachi 4:3. “Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth.” Isaiah 65:17. “Look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:13. “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, … and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them.” Revelation 21:3.

Answer:   Fire from heaven will fall upon the wicked.  The fire will completely eradicate sin and sinners from the universe forever.  (See Study Guide 11 for full details on hellfire.)  This will be a time of deep sadness and trauma for God’s people.  Virtually every person will have a loved one or friend in the fire.  Guardian angels will probably shed tears over the loss of the people they protected and loved for years.  Even Christ will doubtless weep over those He loved and plead with so long.  At that awful moment the anguish of God, our loving Father, over the terrible cost of sin will defy description.
New Heavens and Earth Then the Lord will wipe all tears away from His redeemed people (Revelation 21:4) and create new heavens and a new earth lovely beyond description for His saints.  And best of all, He will reside here with His people throughout eternity.  No thinking person would want to miss that.

The sacrificed animal represented Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.

The sacrificed animal represented Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

10. How did the “day of atonement” service in the Old Testament earthly sanctuary symbolize the judgment and God’s plan to eradicate sin from the universe and restore perfect harmony?

Answer:   In Study Guide 2, we learned how Satan falsely accused and challenged God and brought the ugly malignancy of sin into the universe. The day of atonement in ancient Israel taught, through symbols, how God will handle the sin problem and bring harmony back to the universe by the atonement.  (Atonement means “at-one-ment,” or “to bring all things into total divine harmony.”)
In the earthly sanctuary, the symbolic steps were:
A. Lord’s goat slain to cover sins of the people.
B. Priest ministered the blood before the mercy seat.
C. Judgment took place in this order:
(1) the righteous confirmed, (2) the unrepentant cut off, and (3) the record of sin removed from the sanctuary.
D. Record of sin placed on scapegoat.
E. Scapegoat sent into wilderness.
F. People cleansed from their sins.
G. All begin new year with a clean slate.
These five symbolic steps represent literal atonement events which are instituted from the heavenly sanctuary, God’s celestial headquarters for the universe.  The first point above is the symbol of the literal atonement event of the first point below the second point above is the symbol of the second point below, etc.  Notice how clearly God has symbolized these great atonement events:
A. Jesus’ sacrificial death as man’s substitute (1 Corinthians 15:3 5:7).
B. Jesus as our High Priest restores people to God’s image (Hebrews 4:14-16 Romans 8:29).
C. Judgment provides records to confirm lives,good and bad, and then removes the records of sin from the heavenly sanctuary (Revelation 20:12 Acts 3:19-21).
D. Responsibility for originating sin and for causing all people to sin is placed on Satan (1 John 3:8 Revelation 22:12).
E. Satan banished into wilderness (1,000 years of Revelation chapter 20).
F. Satan, sin, and sinners eradicated permanently (Revelation 20:10 21:8 Psalms 37:10, 20 Nahum 1:9).
G. New earth created for God’s people.  Everything lost by sin is restored to the Lord’s saints (2 Peter 3:13 Acts 3:20, 21).
The atonement is not completed until the universe and all in it are restored to pre-sin condition with the assurance that sin will never rise again.

After the judgment, sin will be gone forever.  The righteous will be safe for eternity.

After the judgment, sin will be gone forever.  The righteous will be safe for eternity.

11. What is the good news about the judgment as revealed in this Study Guide and listed below?

Answer:   A. God and His manner of handling the sin problem will be gloriously vindicated before the entire universe.  This is the central purpose of the judgment.
B. Judgment will be decided in favor of God’s people.
C. The righteous will be safe from sin for eternity.
D. Sin will be completely eradicated and will never rise a second time.
E. Everything that Adam and Eve lost by sin will be restored to the redeemed.
F. The wicked will be turned to ashes, not tortured endlessly.
G. In the judgment, Jesus is our judge, attorney, and witness.
H. Both the Father and Son love us. It is the devil who accuses us.
I. The heavenly books will be helpful to the righteous because they will show how the grace of the gospel changed their lives.
J. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  The judgment will only make that truth evident.
K. Not one soul (man or angel) will complain that God is unfair. It will be unanimous that God has been loving, fair, gracious, and kind in dealing with all.

12. God promises to acquit you in the heavenly judgment if you will invite Him to enter your life and permit Him to remain in control.  Will you invite Him to enter your life today?

Answer:

Thought Questions

1. What is the difference between accepting Jesus as my Saviour and accepting Him as my Lord? The difference is substantial.  When I accept Him as Saviour, He saves me from the guilt and penalty of sin and gives me the new birth.  He changes me from sinner to saint.  This transaction is a glorious miracle and is essential to salvation.  No one can be saved without it.  However, Jesus is not finished with me at this point.  I have been born, but His plan is that I also grow up to become like Him (Ephesians 4:13).  When I accept Him daily as the ruler, or Lord, of my life, He, by His miracles, causes me to grow in grace and Christian conduct until I am mature in Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
The Problem – I Want My Own Way The problem is that I want to run my own life – have my own way. The Bible calls this “iniquity”, or sin (Isaiah 53:6).  Making Jesus my Lord is so important that the New Testament mentions Him as “Lord” 766 times.  In the book of Acts alone, He is referred to as “Lord” 110 times and as “Saviour” only twice.  This demonstrates how important it is to know Him as Lord and Ruler of our lives.
A Neglected Imperative – Making Him Lord Jesus placed continuing emphasis upon His Lordship because He knew that crowning Him Lord would be a forgotten and neglected imperative (2 Corinthians 4:5).  Unless I make Him Lord of my life, there is no way I can ever become a full-grown Christian clothed in Christ’s righteousness.  Instead, I will end up “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” and, even worse, feeling that I “have need of nothing”. Revelation 3:17.

2. Since the record of the sins of God’s people were transferred on the day of atonement to the scapegoat, doesn’t that make him also our sin-bearer?  I thought Jesus alone bore our sins. The scapegoat, which represents Satan, in no way bears, or pays for, our sins. The Lord’s goat, which was sacrificed on the day of atonement, represents Jesus, who assumed and paid for our sins on Calvary. Jesus alone “taketh away the sin of the world”.  John 1:29.  Satan will be punished (as will all other sinners—Revelation 20:12-15) for his own sins, which will include responsibility for  (1) the existence of sin, (2) his own evil actions, and (3) influencing every person on earth to sin.  God will clearly hold him accountable for evil.  This is what the symbolism of the transfer of sin to the scapegoat (Satan) on the day of atonement is meant to convey.

3. The Bible is clear that God forgives all sins which are confessed (1 John 1:9).  It is also clear that, though forgiven, the record of these sins remains on heaven’s books until the end of time (Acts 3:19-21). Why aren’t the sins blotted out when forgiven? There is a very good reason.  The heavenly judgment is not complete until the judgment of the wicked takes place—immediately prior to their destruction at the end of the world.  If God destroyed the records before this final phase of the judgment, He could be accused of a massive cover-up.  All records of conduct remain open for viewing until the judgment is completed.

4. Some say the judgment took place at the cross.  Others say it takes place at death.  Can we be certain the timing for the judgment as shown in this Study Guide is correct? Yes.  To make it possible for us to be certain regarding the timing for the judgment, God clearly specified it three times in Daniel chapter 7.  Notice God’s specific timing.  God left no room for uncertainty.  The divine sequence is stated three times (verses 8-14, 20-22, 24-27) in this one chapter as follows:
A. The little horn power – ruled A.D. 538-1798.   (See Study Guide 15.)
B. The judgment – begins after 1798 (in 1844) and continues until Jesus’ second advent.
C. God’s new kingdom – established at the end of the judgment.
So God makes it clear that the judgment does not take place at death or at the cross, but between 1798 and Jesus’ second coming.  Remember that the first angel’s message is in part, “The hour of his judgment is come”. Revelation 14:6, 7.  God’s end-time people must be telling the world that the final judgment is in session now!

5. What important lessons can we learn from our study of the judgment? Notice the following five points:
A. God may seem to take a long time before He acts, but His timing is right.  No lost person will ever be able to say “I didn’t understand” or “I didn’t know”.
B. Satan and evil of all kinds will ultimately be dealt with by God in the judgment.  Since the judgment is God’s work and He has all the facts, we should stop judging others and let God do it.  It’s a serious matter for us to take over God’s work of judging.  It’s usurping His authority.
C. God leaves us all free to decide how we will relate to Him and who we will serve.  However, we must be prepared for serious consequences when we decide contrary to His Word.
D. God loves us so much that He has given us the books of Daniel and Revelation to make these end-time issues clear.  Our only safety lies in listening to Him and following His counsel from these great prophetic books.
E. Satan is determined to destroy every one of us.  His deceiving strategies are so effective and so convincing that all but a very few will be ensnared.  Without Jesus’ resurrection power in our lives daily to protect us from the devil’s traps, we will be devastated by Satan.

 

“The Time Of Trouble.”

30 Oct

“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.”1053
When the third angel’s message closes, mercy no longer pleads
for the guilty inhabitants of the earth. The people of God have accomplished
their work. They have received “the latter rain,” “the
refreshing from the presence of the Lord,” and they are prepared
for the trying hour before them. Angels are hastening to and fro
in heaven. An angel returning from the earth announces that his
work is done; the final test has been brought upon the world,
and all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts
have received “the seal of the living God.” Then Jesus ceases His
intercession in the sanctuary above. He lifts His hands, and with
a loud voice says, “It is done;” and all the angelic host lay off
their crowns as He makes the solemn announcement: “He that is
unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be
filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and
he that is holy, let him be holy still.”1054 Every case has been
decided for life or death. Christ has made the atonement for His
people, and blotted out their sins. The number of His subjects [614]
is made up; “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of
the kingdom under the whole heaven,” is about to be given to
the heirs of salvation, and Jesus is to reign as King of kings, and
Lord of lords.
When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants
of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight
of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint which has
been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control
of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended. The
world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled
upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their
probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last
withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection
from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the
earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to
hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements
of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in
ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old.
A single angel destroyed all the first-born of the Egyptians,
and filled the land with mourning. When David offended against
God by numbering the people, one angel caused that terrible
destruction by which his sin was punished. The same destructive
power exercised by holy angels when God commands, will be
exercised by evil angels when He permits. There are forces
now ready, and only waiting the divine permission, to spread
desolation everywhere.
Those who honor the law of God have been accused of bringing judgments upon the world, and they will be regarded as
the cause of the fearful convulsions of nature and the strife and
bloodshed among men that are filling the earth with woe. The
power attending the last warning has enraged the wicked; their
[615] anger is kindled against all who have received the message, and
Satan will excite to still greater intensity the spirit of hatred and
persecution.
When God’s presence was finally withdrawn from the Jewish
nation, priests and people knew it not. Though under the control
of Satan, and swayed by the most horrible and malignant
passions, they still regarded themselves as the chosen of God.
The ministration in the temple continued; sacrifices were offered
upon its polluted altars, and daily the divine blessing was invoked
upon a people guilty of the blood of God’s dear Son, and seeking
to slay His ministers and apostles. So when the irrevocable
decision of the sanctuary has been pronounced, and the destiny
of the world has been forever fixed, the inhabitants of the earth
will know it not. The forms of religion will be continued by a
people from whom the Spirit of God has been finally withdrawn;
and the satanic zeal with which the prince of evil will inspire
them for the accomplishment of his malignant designs, will bear
the semblance of zeal for God.
As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy
throughout Christendom, and religious and secular authorities
have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the
persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular
demand, will make them objects of universal execration. It will
be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of
the church and a law of the state, ought not to be tolerated; that
it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown
into confusion and lawlessness. The same argument eighteen
hundred years ago was brought against Christ by the “rulers of
the people.” “It is expedient for us,” said the wily Caiaphas, “that
one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation
ish not.”1055 This argument will appear conclusive; and a decree
will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of
the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the
severest punishment, and giving the people liberty, after a certain
time, to put them to death. Romanism in the Old World, and [616]
apostate Protestantism in the New, will pursue a similar course
toward those who honor all the divine precepts.
The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of
affliction and distress described by the prophet as the time of
Jacob’s trouble. “Thus saith the Lord: We have heard a voice of
trembling, of fear, and not of peace…. All faces are turned into
paleness. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it
is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of
it.”1056
Jacob’s night of anguish, when he wrestled in prayer for deliverance
from the hand of Esau,1057 represents the experience
of God’s people in the time of trouble. Because of the deception
practised to secure his father’s blessing, intended for Esau, Jacob
had fled for his life, alarmed by his brother’s deadly threats.
After remaining for many years an exile, he had set out, at God’s
command, to return with his wives and children, his flocks and
herds, to his native country. On reaching the borders of the
land, he was filled with terror by the tidings of Esau’s approach
at the head of a band of warriors, doubtless bent upon revenge.
Jacob’s company, unarmed and defenseless, seemed about to fall
helpless victims of violence and slaughter. And to the burden of
anxiety and fear was added the crushing weight of self-reproach;
for it was his own sin that had brought this danger. His only hope
was in the mercy of God; his only defense must be prayer. Yet
he leaves nothing undone on his own part to atone for the wrong
to his brother, and to avert the threatened danger. So should
the followers of Christ, as they approach the time of trouble,
make every exertion to place themselves in a proper light before
the people, to disarm prejudice, and to avert the danger which
threatens liberty of conscience.
Having sent his family away, that they may not witness his
distress, Jacob remains alone to intercede with God. He confesses
[617] his sin, and gratefully acknowledges the mercy of God toward
him, while with deep humiliation he pleads the covenant made
with his fathers, and the promises to himself in the night vision
at Bethel and in the land of his exile. The crisis in his life has
come; everything is at stake. In the darkness and solitude he
continues praying and humbling himself before God. Suddenly
a hand is laid upon his shoulder. He thinks that an enemy is
seeking his life, and with all the energy of despair he wrestles
with his assailant. As the day begins to break, the stranger puts
forth his superhuman power: at his touch the strong man seems
paralyzed, and he falls, a helpless, weeping suppliant, upon the
neck of his mysterious antagonist. Jacob knows now that it is
the Angel of the Covenant with whom he has been in conflict.
Though disabled, and suffering the keenest pain, he does not
relinquish his purpose. Long has he endured perplexity, remorse,
and trouble for his sin; now he must have the assurance that
it is pardoned. The divine visitant seems about to depart; but
Jacob clings to Him, pleading for a blessing. The Angel urges,
“Let Me go; for the day breaketh;” but the patriarch exclaims, “I
will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” What confidence,
what firmness and perseverance, are here displayed! Had this
been a boastful, presumptuous claim, Jacob would have been
instantly destroyed; but his was the assurance of one who confesses
his weakness and unworthiness, yet trusts the mercy of a
covenant-keeping God.
“He had power over the Angel, and prevailed.”1058 Through
humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring
mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven. He had fastened
his trembling grasp upon the promises of God, and the heart
of Infinite Love could not turn away the sinner’s plea. As an
evidence of his triumph, and an encouragement to others to
imitate his example, his name was changed from one which was
a reminder of his sin, to one that commemorated his victory. And
the fact that Jacob had prevailed with God was an assurance that
he would prevail with men. He no longer feared to encounter [618]
his brother’s anger; for the Lord was his defense.
Satan had accused Jacob before the angels of God, claiming
the right to destroy him because of his sin; he had moved upon
Esau to march against him; and during the patriarch’s long night
of wrestling, Satan endeavored to force upon him a sense of his
guilt, in order to discourage him, and break his hold upon God.
Jacob was driven almost to despair; but he knew that without
help from heaven he must perish. He had sincerely repented of
his great sin, and he appealed to the mercy of God. He would not
be turned from his purpose, but held fast the Angel, and urged
his petition with earnest, agonizing cries, until he prevailed.
As Satan influenced Esau to march against Jacob, so he will
stir up the wicked to destroy God’s people in the time of trouble.
And as he accused Jacob, he will urge his accusations against
the people of God. He numbers the world as his subjects; but the
little company who keep the commandments of God are resisting
his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph
would be complete. He sees that holy angels are guarding them,
and he infers that their sins have been pardoned; but he does not
know that their cases have been decided in the sanctuary above.
He has an accurate knowledge of the sins which he has tempted
them to commit, and he presents these before God in the most
exaggerated light, representing this people to be just as deserving
as himself of exclusion from the favor of God. He declares that
the Lord cannot in justice forgive their sins, and yet destroy him
and his angels. He claims them as his prey, and demands that
they be given into his hands to destroy.
As Satan accuses the people of God on account of their sins,
the Lord permits him to try them to the uttermost. Their confidence
in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested.
[619] As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole
lives they can see little good. They are fully conscious of their
weakness and unworthiness. Satan endeavors to terrify them with
the thought that their cases are hopeless, that the stain of their
defilement will never be washed away. He hopes so to destroy
their faith that they will yield to his temptations, and turn from
their allegiance to God.
Though God’s people will be surrounded by enemies who are
bent upon their destruction, yet the anguish which they suffer
is not a dread of persecution for the truth’s sake; they fear that
every sin has not been repented of, and that through some fault in
themselves they will fail to realize the fulfilment of the Saviour’s
promise, “I will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which
shall come upon all the world.”1059 If they could have the assurance
of pardon, they would not shrink from torture or death;
but should they prove unworthy, and lose their lives because of
their own defects of character, then God’s holy name would be
reproached.
On every hand they hear the plottings of treason, and see the
active working of rebellion; and there is aroused within them
an intense desire, an earnest yearning of soul, that this great
apostasy may be terminated, and the wickedness of the wicked
may come to an end. But while they plead with God to stay
the work of rebellion, it is with a keen sense of self-reproach
that they themselves have no more power to resist and urge
back the mighty tide of evil. They feel that had they always
employed all their ability in the service of Christ, going forward
from strength to strength, Satan’s forces would have less power
to prevail against them.
They afflict their souls before God, pointing to their past repentance
of their many sins, and pleading the Saviour’s promise,
“Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with
Me; and he shall make peace with Me.”1060 Their faith does not
fail because their prayers are not immediately answered. Though [620]
suffering the keenest anxiety, terror, and distress, they do not
cease their intercessions. They lay hold of the strength of God as
Jacob laid hold of the Angel; and the language of their souls is,
“I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.”
Had not Jacob previously repented of his sin in obtaining the
birthright by fraud, God would not have heard his prayer and
mercifully preserved his life. So, in the time of trouble, if the
people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while
tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed; despair
would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence
to plead with God for deliverance. But while they have a deep
sense of their unworthiness, they have no concealed wrongs to
reveal. Their sins have gone beforehand to judgment, and have
been blotted out; and they cannot bring them to remembrance.
Satan leads many to believe that God will overlook their unfaithfulness
in the minor affairs of life; but the Lord shows in His
dealings with Jacob that He will in no wise sanction or tolerate
evil. All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and
permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed
and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. The more exalted
their profession, and the more honorable the position which they
hold, the more grievous is their course in the sight of God, and
the more sure the triumph of their great adversary. Those who
delay a preparation for the day of God cannot obtain it in the
time of trouble, or at any subsequent time. The case of all such
is hopeless.
Those professed Christians who come up to that last fearful
conflict unprepared, will, in their despair, confess their sins in
words of burning anguish, while the wicked exult over their
distress. These confessions are of the same character as was that
of Esau or of Judas. Those who make them, lament the result of
transgression, but not its guilt. They feel no true contrition, no
[621] abhorrence of evil. They acknowledge their sin, through fear of
punishment; but, like Pharaoh of old, they would return to their
defiance of Heaven, should the judgments be removed.
Jacob’s history is also an assurance that God will not cast off
those who have been deceived, and tempted, and betrayed into
sin, but who have returned unto Him with true repentance. While
Satan seeks to destroy this class, God will send His angels to
comfort and protect them in the time of peril. The assaults of
Satan are fierce and determined, his delusions are terrible; but
the Lord’s eye is upon His people, and His ear listens to their
cries. Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem
about to consume them; but the Refiner will bring them forth
as gold tried in the fire. God’s love for His children during the
period of their severest trial, is as strong and tender as in the
days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be
placed in the furnace of fire; their earthliness must be consumed,
that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected.
The season of distress and anguish before us will require a
faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger,—a faith that
will not faint, though severely tried. The period of probation is
granted to all to prepare for that time. Jacob prevailed because
he was persevering and determined. His victory is an evidence
of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of
God’s promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as
he was, will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling
to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly
for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God—how
few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn
out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the
stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express
sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to
the promises of God. [622]
Those who exercise but little faith now, are in the greatest
danger of falling under the power of satanic delusions and the
decree to compel the conscience. And even if they endure the
test, they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the
time of trouble, because they have never made it a habit to trust
in God. The lessons of faith which they have neglected, they will
be forced to learn under a terrible pressure of discouragement.
We should now acquaint ourselves with God by proving His
promises. Angels record every prayer that is earnest and sincere.
We should rather dispense with selfish gratifications than neglect
communion with God. The deepest poverty, the greatest self-denial,
with His approval, is better than riches, honors, ease, and
friendship without it. We must take time to pray. If we allow our
minds to be absorbed by worldly interests, the Lord may give
us time by removing from us our idols of gold, of houses, or of
fertile lands.
The young would not be seduced into sin if they would refuse
to enter any path save that upon which they could ask God’s
blessing. If the messengers who bear the last solemn warning
to the world would pray for the blessing of God, not in a cold,
listless, lazy manner, but fervently and in faith, as did Jacob,
they would find many places where they could say, “I have seen
God face to face, and my life is preserved.”1061 They would be
accounted of heaven as princes, having power to prevail with
God and with men.
The “time of trouble such as never was,” is soon to open
upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now
possess, and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often
the case that trouble is greater in anticipation that in reality; but
this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation
cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial,
every soul must stand for himself before God. “Though Noah,
Daniel, and Job” were in the land, “as I live, saith the Lord God,
[623] they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver
their own souls by their righteousness.”1062
Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for
us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a
thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of
temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he
can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means
of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared
of Himself, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing
in Me.”1063 Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that
would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s
commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could
use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must
be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.
It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith
in the atoning blood of Christ. Our precious Saviour invites us to
join ourselves to Him, to unite our weakness to His strength, our
ignorance to His wisdom, our unworthiness to His merits. God’s
providence is the school in which we are to learn the meekness
and lowliness of Jesus. The Lord is ever setting before us, not
the way we would choose, which seems easier and pleasanter to
us, but the true aims of life. It rests with us to co-operate with the
agencies which Heaven employs in the work of conforming our
characters to the divine model. None can neglect or defer this
work but at the most fearful peril to their souls
The apostle John in vision heard a loud voice in heaven exclaiming,
“Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for
the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he
knoweth that he hath but a short time.”1064 Fearful are the scenes
which call forth this exclamation from the heavenly voice. The
wrath of Satan increases as his time grows short, and his work
of deceit and destruction will reach its culmination in the time of
trouble. [624]
Fearful sights of a supernatural character will soon be revealed
in the heavens, in token of the power of miracle-working demons.
The spirits of devils will go forth to the kings of the earth and
to the whole world, to fasten them in deception, and urge them
on to unite with Satan in his last struggle against the government
of heaven. By these agencies, rulers and subjects will be alike
deceived. Persons will arise pretending to be Christ Himself,
and claiming the title and worship which belong to the world’s
Redeemer. They will perform wonderful miracles of healing,
and will profess to have revelations from heaven contradicting
the testimony of the Scriptures.
As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan
himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to
look to the Saviour’s advent as the consummation of her hopes.
Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come.
In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among
men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the
description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation.1065
The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that
mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out
upon the air, “Christ has come! Christ has come!” The people
prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his
hands, and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed
His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and
subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he
presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the
Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in
his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the
Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which
he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping
holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to
listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the
strong, almost overmastering delusion. Like the Samaritans who
[625] were deceived by Simon Magus, the multitudes, from the least
to the greatest, give heed to these sorceries, saying, This is “the
great power of God.”1066
But the people of God will not be misled. The teachings of
this false christ are not in accordance with the Scriptures. His
blessing is pronounced upon the worshipers of the beast and his
image, the very class upon whom the Bible declares that God’s
unmingled wrath shall be poured out.
And, furthermore, Satan is not permitted to counterfeit the
manner of Christ’s advent. The Saviour has warned His people
against deception upon this point, and has clearly foretold the
manner of His second coming. “There shall arise false christs,
and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders;
insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very
elect…. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the
desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe
it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth
even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man
be.”1067 This coming, there is no possibility of counterfeiting. It
will be universally known—witnessed by the whole world.
Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures,
and who have received the love of the truth, will be shielded
from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the
Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To
all, the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation, the
genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now
so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield
to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis,
cling to the Bible, and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible,
prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day.
He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them
with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome
burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of [626]
this life, and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief.
As the decree issued by the various rulers of Christendom
against commandment-keepers shall withdraw the protection of
government, and abandon them to those who desire their destruction,
the people of God will flee from the cities and villages and
associate together in companies, dwelling in the most desolate
and solitary places. Many will find refuge in the strongholds
of the mountains. Like the Christians of the Piedmont valleys,
they will make the high places of the earth their sanctuaries, and
will thank God for the “munitions of rocks.”1068 But many of all
nations, and of all classes, high and low, rich and poor, black
and white, will be cast into the most unjust and cruel bondage.
The beloved of God pass weary days, bound in chains, shut in
by prison bars, sentenced to be slain, some apparently left to die
of starvation in dark and loathsome dungeons. No human ear is
open to hear their moans; no human hand is ready to lend them
help.
Will the Lord forget His people in this trying hour? Did
He forget faithful Noah when judgments were visited upon the
antediluvian world? Did He forget Lot when the fire came down
from heaven to consume the cities of the plain? Did He forget
Joseph surrounded by idolaters in Egypt? Did He forget Elijah
when the oath of Jezebel threatened him with the fate of the
prophets of Baal? Did He forget Jeremiah in the dark and dismal
pit of his prison-house? Did He forget the three worthies in the
fiery furnace? or Daniel in the den of lions?
“Zion said, Jehovah hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath
forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she
should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they
may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee
upon the palms of My hands.”1069 The Lord of hosts has said,
[627] “He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of His eye.”1070
Though enemies may thrust them into prison, yet dungeon
walls cannot cut off the communication between their souls and
Christ. One who sees their every weakness, who is acquainted
with every trial, is above all earthly powers; and angels will come
to them in lonely cells, bringing light and peace from heaven.
The prison will be as a palace; for the rich in faith dwell there,
and the gloomy walls will be lighted up with heavenly light, as
when Paul and Silas prayed and sung praises at midnight in the
Philippian dungeon.
God’s judgments will be visited upon those who are seeking
to oppress and destroy His people. His long forbearance with the
wicked emboldens men in transgression, but their punishment is
none the less certain and terrible because it is long delayed. “The
Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in
the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work;
and bring to pass His act, His strange act.”1071 To our merciful
God the act of punishment is a strange act. “As I live, saith the
Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.”1072
The Lord is “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant
in goodness and truth, … forgiving iniquity and transgression
and sin.” Yet He will “by no means clear the guilty.” “The Lord
is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit
the wicked.”1073 By terrible things in righteousness He will vindicate
the authority of His downtrodden law. The severity of
the retribution awaiting the transgressor may be judged by the
Lord’s reluctance to execute justice. The nation with which He
bears long, and which He will not smite until it has filled up the
measure of its iniquity in God’s account, will finally drink the
cup of wrath unmixed with mercy.
When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the
unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast
and his image and receive his mark,1074 will be poured out.
The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel,
were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive [628]
judgments which are to fall upon the world just before the final
deliverance of God’s people. Says the revelator, in describing
those terrific scourges: “There fell a noisome and grievous sore
upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them
which worshiped his image.” The sea “became as the blood of
a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.” And “the
rivers and fountains of waters … became blood.” Terrible as
these inflictions are, God’s justice stands fully vindicated. The
angel of God declares: “Thou are righteous, O Lord, … because
Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and
prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are
worthy.”1075 By condemning the people of God to death, they
have as truly incurred the guilt of their blood as if it had been
shed by their hands. In like manner Christ declared the Jews of
His time guilty of all the blood of holy men which had been shed
since the days of Abel; for they possessed the same spirit, and
were seeking to do the same work, with these murderers of the
prophets.
In the plague that follows, power is given to the sun “to scorch
men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat.”1076 The
prophets thus describe the condition of the earth at this fearful
time: “The land mourneth; … because the harvest of the field
is perished.” “All the trees of the field are withered: because
joy is withered away from the sons of men.” “The seed is rotten
under their clods, the garners are laid desolate.” “How do the
beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they
have no pasture…. The rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire
hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.” “The songs of the
temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord God: there
shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them
forth with silence.”1077
These plagues are not universal, or the inhabitants of the earth
[629] would bewholly cut off. Yet theywill be the most awful scourges
that have ever been known to mortals. All the judgments upon
men, prior to the close of probation, have been mingled with
mercy. The pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from
receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final judgment,
wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy.
In that day, multitudes will desire the shelter of God’s mercy
which they have so long despised. “Behold, the days come, saith
the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine
of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the
Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north
even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the
Lord, and shall not find it.”1078
The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while
persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation, and suffer
for want of food, they will not be left to perish. That God
who cared for Elijah, will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing
children. He who numbers the hairs of their head, will care for
them; and in time of famine they shall be satisfied. While the
wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield
the righteous, and supply their wants. To him that “walketh righteously”
is the promise, “Bread shall be given him; his waters
shall be sure.” “When the poor and needy seek water, and there
is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear
them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”1079
“Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit
be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields
shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and
there shall be no herd in the stalls:” yet shall they that fear Him
“rejoice in the Lord,” and joy in the God of their salvation.1080
“The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right
hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve [630]
thy soul.” “He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler,
and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His
feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be
thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by
night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence
that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at
noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at
thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine
eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because
thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most
High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall
any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”1081
Yet to human sight it will appear that the people of God must
soon seal their testimony with their blood, as did the martyrs
before them. They themselves begin to fear that the Lord has left
them to fall by the hand of their enemies. It is a time of fearful
agony. Day and night they cry unto God for deliverance. The
wicked exult, and the jeering cry is heard, “Where now is your
faith? Why does not God deliver you out of our hands if you are
indeed His people?” But the waiting ones remember Jesus dying
upon Calvary’s cross, and the chief priests and rulers shouting in
mockery, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be
the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and
we will believe Him.”1082 Like Jacob, all are wrestling with God.
Their countenances express their internal struggle. Paleness sits
upon every face. Yet they cease not their earnest intercession.
Could men see with heavenly vision, they would behold companies
of angels that excel in strength stationed about those who
have kept the word of Christ’s patience. With sympathizing
tenderness, angels have witnessed their distress, and have heard
their prayers. They are waiting the word of their Commander
to snatch them from their peril. But they must wait yet a little
[631] longer. The people of God must drink of the cup, and be
baptized with the baptism. The very delay, so painful to them,
is the best answer to their petitions. As they endeavor to wait
trustingly for the Lord to work, they are led to exercise faith,
hope, and patience, which have been too little exercised during
their religious experience. Yet for the elect’s sake, the time of
trouble will be shortened. “Shall not God avenge His own elect,
which cry day and night unto Him?… I tell you that He will
avenge them speedily.”1083 The end will come more quickly than
men expect. The wheat will be gathered and bound in sheaves
for the garner of God; the tares will be bound as fagots for the
fires of destruction.
The heavenly sentinels, faithful to their trust, continue their
watch. Though a general decree has fixed the time when commandment-keepers may be put to death, their enemies will in
some cases anticipate the decree, and before the time specified,
will endeavor to take their lives. But none can pass the mighty
guardians stationed about every faithful soul. Some are assailed
in their flight from the cities and villages; but the swords raised
against them break and fall as powerless as a straw. Others are
defended by angels in the form of men of war.
In all ages, God has wrought through holy angels for the
succor and deliverance of His people. Celestial beings have
taken an active part in the affairs of men. They have appeared
clothed in garments that shone as the lightning; they have come
as men, in the garb of wayfarers. Angels have appeared in human
form to men of God. They have rested, as if weary, under the
oaks at noon. They have accepted the hospitalities of human
homes. They have acted as guides to benighted travelers. They
have, with their own hands, kindled the fires of the altar. They
have opened prison doors, and set free the servants of the Lord.
Clothed with the panoply of heaven, they came to roll away the
stone from the Saviour’s tomb.
In the form of men, angels are often in the assemblies of the
righteous, and they visit the assemblies of the wicked, as they [632]
went to Sodom, to make a record of their deeds, to determine
whether they have passed the boundary of God’s forbearance.
The Lord delights in mercy; and for the sake of a few who really
serve Him, He restrains calamities, and prolongs the tranquillity
of multitudes. Little do sinners against God realize that they are
indebted for their own lives to the faithful few whom they delight
to ridicule and oppress.
Though the rulers of this world know it not, yet often in their
councils angels have been spokesmen. Human eyes have looked
upon them; human ears have listened to their appeals; human
lips have opposed their suggestions and ridiculed their counsels;
human hands have met them with insult and abuse. In the council
hall and the court of justice, these heavenly messengers have
shown an intimate acquaintance with human history; they have
proved themselves better able to plead the cause of the oppressed
than were their ablest and most eloquent defenders. They have
defeated purposes and arrested evils that would have greatly
retarded the work of God, and would have caused great suffering
to His people. In the hour of peril and distress, “the angel of the
Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth
them.”1084
With earnest longing, God’s people await the tokens of their
coming King. As the watchmen are accosted, “What of the
night?” the answer is given unfalteringly, “ ‘The morning cometh,
and also the night.’1085 Light is gleaming upon the clouds above
the mountain tops. Soon there will be a revealing of His glory.
The Sun of Righteousness is about to shine forth. The morning
and the night are both at hand,—the opening of endless day to
the righteous, the settling down of eternal night to the wicked.”
As the wrestling ones urge their petitions before God, the
veil separating them from the unseen seems almost withdrawn.
The heavens glow with the dawning of eternal day, and like the
[633] melody of angel songs, the words fall upon the ear, “Stand fast
to your allegiance. Help is coming.” Christ, the almighty victor,
holds out to His weary soldiers a crown of immortal glory; and
His voice comes from the gates ajar: “Lo, I am with you. Be
not afraid. I am acquainted with all your sorrows; I have borne
your griefs. You are not warring against untried enemies. I have
fought the battle in your behalf, and in My name you are more
than conquerors.”
The precious Saviour will send help just when we need it. The
way to heaven is consecrated by His footprints. Every thorn that
wounds our feet has wounded His. Every cross that we are called
to bear, He has borne before us. The Lord permits conflicts, to
prepare the soul for peace. The time of trouble is a fearful ordeal
for God’s people; but it is the time for every true believer to look
up, and by faith he may see the bow of promise encircling him.
“The redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing
unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they
shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall
flee away. I, even I, am He that comforteth you: who art thou,
that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son
of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy
Maker; … and hast feared continually every day because of the
fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where
is the fury of the oppressor? The captive exile hasteneth that he
may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his
bread should fail. But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the
sea, whose waves roared: the Lord of hosts is His name. And I
have put My words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the
shadow of Mine hand.”1086
“Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but
not with wine: Thus saith thy Lord Jehovah, and thy God that
pleadeth the cause of His people, Behold, I have taken out of
thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of My
fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: but I will put it into the [634]
hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow
down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the
ground, and as the street, to them that went over.”1087
The eye of God, looking down the ages, was fixed upon the
crisis which His people are to meet, when earthly powers shall
be arrayed against them. Like the captive exile, they will be in
fear of death by starvation or by violence. But the Holy One
who divided the Red Sea before Israel, will manifest His mighty
power and turn their captivity. “They shall be Mine, saith the
Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and
I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth
him.”1088 If the blood of Christ’s faithful witnesses were shed at
this time, it would not, like the blood of the martyrs, be as seed
sown to yield a harvest for God. Their fidelity would not be a
testimony to convince others of the truth; for the obdurate heart
has beaten back the waves of mercy until they return no more.
If the righteous were now left to fall a prey to their enemies, it
would be a triumph for the prince of darkness. Says the psalmist,
“In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the
secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me.”1089 Christ has spoken:
“Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy
doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment,
until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh
out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their
iniquity.”1090 Glorious will be the deliverance of those who have
patiently waited for His coming, and whose names are written in
the book of life.

Taken from THE GREAT CONTROVERSY BY ELLEN G WHITE

Two Beasts

17 Oct

Revelation 13

 

13:1 This beast is similar to the dragon from Revelation 12. They both have “seven heads and ten horns.” Revelation 17:10 shows us that the seven heads are seven consecutive world powers- earthly governments Satan uses to persecute God’s faithful church. The dragon is Satan working through pagan religions, the occult and spiritualism, while the beast symbolizes Satan working in disguise, using the corrupted Christian church to do his work. In verse 5 we see that the beast continues “forty and two months” (the 1,260 year period of Papal dominance). In verse 7 it makes “war with the saints,” persecuting Christ’s true followers who struggled to maintain the truth of God’s Word. This beast is none other than the Papal church system. It arose as predicted among the populated nations of Europe, symbolized by “the sea” and the “ten horns.” Revelation 17:15.

13:2 This beast has the characteristics of a leopard, a bear and a lion, the same beast powers mentioned in Daniel 7—the leopard of Greece, the bear for Medo-Persia and the lion for Babylon. This beast represents the Papacy, the same religious-political power portrayed by the little horn of Daniel 7.

The dragon gives this beast “his power, and his seats, and great authority.” Pagan Rome gave all these things to Papal Rome, and apostates Christianity replaced paganism as the means through which Satan persecuted God’s faithful people for hundreds of years

 

13:3-4 In 1798 the French General Berthier under the commands of Napoleon took the Pope prisoner and attempted to completely eliminate the Papacy as an institution. It seems to the world that the Papacy was “wounded to death.” However, the prophecy says that the wound “was healed.” In 1929 the Papacy regained its civil power with the creation of the Vatican State, and the wound began to heal. At some point in the near future the Roman Catholic Church system will completely cover her former glory and will have more power and prominence than ever before. “And the entire world wondered after the beast.” See also vs. 8.

13:5-7 The characteristics of this beast parallel very closely the ones in Daniel 7:20-21, 25 and 8:10-12.

13:8-9 In the last days, nearly the whole world, those “whose names are not written in the book of life,” with “worship” this beast. The day is coming soon when the majority of humankind will obey a few supporting the authority of the Papacy above the commands of God, and will thus worship the beast. See notes on Revelation 13:11-15. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s “Book of Life” will stay true to God. This book records the names of all the saved from every generation of Earth’s history. Revelation 20:12, 15.

13:10 This prediction was fulfilled when the Pope was taken into captivity and this persecuting power received its deadly wound

13:11-15 The next beast in the vision comes up “out of the earth: and is described as having “two horns like a lamb. This beast represents the United States of America. Here are five clues which help us to accurately determine its identity:

1. It comes to power around 1798 as the Papacy is going into captivity and receiving its deadly wound. At that time the United States was just “coming up” as a youthful nation. The United States declared its independence on July 4, 1776, and by 1790 all thirteen colonies had ratified the constitution. This nation was quickly drawn into world politics and today is a world superpower.

2. The “sea” represents “multitudes and nations.” Revelation 17:15. The beasts that arise from the sea usually do so amid the strife of war. By contrast, this one comes “out of the earth,” representing a relatively peaceful emergence in a comparatively unpopulated area. This is exactly the manner in which The United States came to power.

3. This beast with “two horns like a lamb” represents a nation of youth, innocence and gentleness, which is based on the two great principles of civil and religious liberty (“for where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” 2 Corinthians 2:17). At its inception, the United States had the strength of its form of government, and of its people’s religion. Republicanism and Protestantism were the fundamental principles of the nation. These principles are the secret of its power and prosperity. It is strong because the government and the church are separate, without one controlling the other.

4. It is noteworthy that this beast lacks any crowns. The United States of America is a grand experiment in government that serves its people rather than enslaving them, and in religion that allows freedom of conscience and expression. It is a country that has government without a king and religion without a pope.

5. It becomes a world power, strong enough to force the world, on pain of death, to worship the image of the beast, vss. 12-17.

This beast will speak “as a dragon” and exercise “all the power of the first beast before him.” The “first beast,” as an agent of the dragon, used its “power” in state affairs to enforce religious laws, resulting in the persecution of the “heretics” who would not submit. For America to do this and “give life unto the image of the beast” it would have to abandon the principles of religious freedom, repudiate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and discard the fundamental beliefs that have made this great nation what it is. When America uses its power to enforce religious laws and persuades other governments to do the same, it creates an “image of the beast” and it gives life, reflecting the intolerance and persecutions of the medieval Papal Church.

In the near future the United States will speak like a dragon and impose a religious law enforcing the worship of the first beast. Protestants in America will reject God’s law, and His power will be withdrawn from the churches and His protection from the nation. Society will become increasingly evil and violent, and at the same time the judgements of God will descend on the United States and on the world. Instead of embracing repentance and inward heart change, Protestant America will demand that the government enforce religious laws to “bring this nation back to God.” First of all a law will be enacted making Sunday a day of rest as all its citizens. This will be a further rejection of God’s law and of His seventh-day Sabbath in the fourth commandment. As world conditions continue to deteriorate, economic sanctions will be legislated against those who refuse to comply with this new Sunday law, and they will be unable to buy or sell. Finally a death decree will be issued against them, and the United States will “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Christ’s return to save His faithful interrupts the death decree.

The United States will deceive the world into making “an image of the first beast” through the use of “great wonders” and “miracles.” In Revelation 19:20 this beast is called “the false prophet,” and in Revelation 16:13, 14 he is said to work these miracles through “the spirits of devils.” Matthew 14:23-27 indicates that false Christ will add such strength to those deceptions as to make them very nearly overpowering; 2 Corinthians 11:14 adds that Satan himself is capable of masquerading as “an angel of light.”

13:16-18 The beast causes his followers to receive a “mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell” without the “mark,” or the “name,” or the “number of the name of the first beast.

The mark of the beast will be the observance of a religious law, enforced by the United States and other governments around the world, endorsing the authority of the Papacy. Those who receive the mark in their foreheads believe that this “Sunday law” is necessary to regain God’s favor, while those marked in the hand obey only out of fear of death. This mark is Satan’s counterfeit of the seal God places in the forehead of His followers. Revelation 7:3. God’s seal is His name, character and law written in His people’s hearts and minds and is seen in His seventh-day Sabbath commandment, which identifies Him as our Creator. See note on Revelation 7:2-3. In Revelation 14:12 those who resist the mark of the beast are those who “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

What is the significance of the number 666? We know that the beast, whose number this is, symbolizes the Roman Papacy, and that it’s “the number of a man.” One of the pope’s titles is said to be Vicarius Filii Dei, “Vicar of the Son of God.” In Latin, the language of Catholicism, some of the letters double as numbers, and the numerical value of Vicarius Filii Dei adds up to 666, and a great many Bible scholars believe that this is how 666 is to be interpreted.

Taken from www.amazingdiscoveries.org

 

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!

The True Identity Of The Antichrist!

13 Oct
Who, or what, is the Antichrist? Evil alliance, or sinister individual? Some say his appearance is still in the future. Others say he appeared long ago in the days of ancient Rome. But the Bible indicates that he is alive today! The Bible prophecies teach this antichrist power will play a crucial role in the final events of earth’s history. Do you know who he is? Are you sure? You need to be, for you can’t understand last-day events until you understand this evil power. Be prepared for one of the most intriguing Study Guides yet! This Study Guide, based on Daniel chapter 7, clearly and unmistakably identifies the Antichrist. But it is only an introduction. Future lessons will reveal details of some of his activities that will have worldwide impact. What you discover today may displease or sadden you, but please remember that the prophecy of Daniel chapter 7 comes from Jesus, who loves you. Pray for God’s guidance as you delve into this urgent subject. Be sure to read Daniel 7 before studying this guide.
In prophecy, God uses beasts to symbolize nations.

In prophecy, God uses beasts to symbolize nations.

 

1. As the chapter begins, Daniel sees four beasts coming up out of the sea. In prophecy, what does a beast represent? What does the sea represent?

“The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth.” Daniel 7:23. “The waters … are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Revelation 17:15.

Answer:   Beasts represent kingdoms or nations. Water represents multitudes of people or large populations.

 

The lion beast of Daniel 7 represents the empire of Babylon.

The lion beast of Daniel 7 represents the empire of Babylon.

 

2. The four beasts of Daniel 7 represent the four world kingdoms (verses 17, 18). Babylon, the first kingdom (Daniel 2:38, 39), is represented as a lion in Daniel 7:4. (See also Jeremiah 4:7 50:17, 43, 44 for Babylon pictured as a lion elsewhere.) What do the “eagle’s wings” mean? What do the “four winds” of verse 2 represent?

“The Lord shall bring a nation against thee … as swift as the eagle flieth.” Deuteronomy 28:49.

“Thus saith the Lord of hosts, … a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth.” Jeremiah 25:32, 33.

Answer:   The wings of eagles represent speed.
(See also Jeremiah 4:13; Habakkuk 1:6-9.) Winds represent strife, commotion, and destruction. (See also Revelation 7:1-3.)

 

The bear with three ribs in its mouth symbolizes Medo-Persia.

The bear with three ribs in its mouth symbolizes Medo-Persia.

 

3. What kingdom does the bear represent (Daniel 7:5)? What do the three ribs in its mouth symbolize?

Answer:   Read Daniel 8. Notice that the beasts in chapter 8 parallel those in chapter 7. Daniel 8:20 specifically names Medo-Persia as the kingdom that precedes the rough goat, or Greece, of verse 21. It is the second world kingdom, the same power as the bear of Daniel 7. The empire was made up of two groups of people.

The Medes came up first (represented in Daniel 7:5 by the bear coming up on one side), but the Persians eventually became stronger (represented in Daniel 8:3 by the ram’s second horn which grew “higher,” or taller). The three ribs represent the three principal powers conquered by Medo-Persia:

Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt.

 

The leopard beast of Daniel 7 represents the world kingdom of Greece.

The leopard beast of Daniel 7 represents the world kingdom of Greece.

 

4. Greece, the third kingdom (Daniel 8:21), is represented by a leopard with four wings and four heads (Daniel 7:6). What do the heads represent? What do the four wings represent?

Answer:   The four heads represent the four kingdoms into which the empire of Alexander the Great was divided when he died. The four generals who headed these areas were: Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus. The four wings (instead of two like the lion) represent super-speed, which was true of Alexander’s conquests (Jeremiah 4:11-13).

 

The world empire of Rome is symbolized by the monster beast of Daniel chapter 7.

The world empire of Rome is symbolized by the monster beast of Daniel chapter 7.

 

5. The Roman empire, the fourth world kingdom, is represented by a horrible monster with iron teeth and 10 horns (Daniel 7:7). What do the horns represent?

Answer:   The 10 horns represent the 10 kings or kingdoms into which pagan Rome was eventually split (Daniel 7:24). (These 10 kingdoms are the same as the 10 toes of the image described in Daniel 2:41-44.) Roving barbarian tribes swept in upon the Roman empire and carved out land niches for their people.

Seven of those 10 tribes developed into the countries of modern Western Europe, while three were uprooted and destroyed. The next section will discuss those kingdoms that were rooted up.

Visigoths – Spain

Anglo-Saxons – England

Franks – France

Alemani – Germany

Burgundians – Switzerland

Lombards – Italy

Suevi – Portugal

Heruli – Rooted up

Ostrogoths – Rooted up

Vandals – Rooted up

 

The little horn of Daniel 7:8 represents Antichrist.

The little horn of Daniel 7:8 represents Antichrist.

 

6. In the Daniel 7 prophecy, what happens next?

“I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Daniel 7:8.

Answer:   The “little horn” power appears next. We must identify it carefully because God takes more space describing it than the other four kingdoms combined. Why? Because the biblical characteristics identify it as the Antichrist of prophecy and history. There must be no mistake in making this identification.

 

The Bible says Antichrist would persecute God's people.

The Bible says Antichrist would persecute God’s people.

 

7. Are there clear points of identification?

Answer:   Yes, God gives us nine characteristics of Antichrist in Daniel 7 so we can be certain of his identity. And even though some may find these truths from God’s Word painful, we must be honest enough to accept them as His revealed will. Now let’s discover what Jesus’ nine points are:

A. The “little horn” or kingdom “came up among them”the 10 horns which were the kingdoms of Western Europe (Daniel 7:8). So it would be a little kingdom somewhere in Western Europe.

B. It would have a man at its head who could speak for it (Daniel 7:8).

C. It would pluck up or uproot three kingdoms (Daniel 7:8).

D. It would be “diverse” or different from the other 10 kingdoms (Daniel 7:24).

E. It would make war with and “wear out” or persecute the saints (Daniel 7:21, 25).

F. It would emerge from the pagan Roman empire, the fourth world kingdom (Daniel 7:7, 8).

G. God’s people (the saints) would “be given into his hand” for “a time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25).

H. It would “speak great words against” or blaspheme God (Daniel 7:25). In Revelation 13:5, the Bible says the same power speaks “great things and blasphemies.”

I. It would “think to change times and laws.” Daniel 7:25.

Don’t forget all these identification points come directly from the Bible. They are not some human opinion or speculation. Historians could tell you quickly what power is being described. These points can fit only one power, the papacy. But in order to be certain, let us carefully examine all nine points, one by one. There must be no room left for doubt.

 

The papacy clearly fits all nine identification points.

The papacy clearly fits all nine identification points.

 

8. Does the papacy fit these points?

Answer:   Yes, it fits every point perfectly. See items A through H below.

A. It “came up among” the 10 kingdoms of Western Europe.
The geographical location of the papal power was in Rome, Italy the very heart of the territory of Western Europe.

B. It would have a man at its head who speaks for it.
The papacy meets this identifying mark because it does have one man at the head (the pope) who speaks for it.

C. It would pluck up or uproot three kingdoms.
The emperors of Western Europe were largely Catholic and supported the papacy in its growth and authority. Three Arian kingdoms, however, did not support the papacy, the Vandals, Heruli, and Ostrogoths. So the Catholic emperors decided they must be subdued or destroyed. Here is how Dr. Mervyn Maxwell, a theologian and historian, described the results in volume 1, page 129, of his book God Cares:

“The Catholic emperor Zeno (474-491) arranged a treaty with the Ostrogoths in 487 which resulted in the eradication of the kingdom of the Arian Heruls in 493. And the Catholic emperor Justinian (527-565) exterminated the Arian Vandals in 534 and significantly broke the power of the Arian Ostrogoths in 538. Thus were Daniel’s three horns the Heruls, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths’plucked up by the roots.’ ” It is not difficult to recognize that the papacy fits this point.

D. It would be “diverse” or different from the other kingdoms.
The papacy clearly fits this description, also. It came on the scene as a religious power and was totally different from the secular nature of the other 10 kingdoms.

E. It would make war with and persecute the saints.
That the church did persecute is a well-known fact. The papacy clearly admits doing so. Much supportive evidence exists. Even conservative historians claim the church probably destroyed at least 50 million people over matters of religious conviction. We will quote here from two sources:

1. “That the Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind, will be questioned by no Protestant who has a competent knowledge of history. 1

2. In The History of the Inquisition of Spain, D. Ivan Antonio Llorente provides these figures from the Spanish Inquisition alone:

  • 31,912 persons were condemned and perished in the flames.
  • 241,450 persons were condemned to severe penalties.

F. It would emerge from the fourth kingdom of iron – the pagan Roman Empire.
We are quoting two authorities on this point:

1. “The mighty Catholic Church was little more than the Roman Empire baptised … The very capital of the old Roman Empire became the capital of the Christian empire. The office of Pontifex Maximus was continued in that of the pope.” 2

2. “Whatever Roman elements the barbarians and Arians left … [came] under the protection of the Bishop of Rome, who was the chief person there after the emperor’s disappearance. The Roman Church in this way privily pushed itself into the place of the Roman World-Empire, of which it is the actual continuation.” 3

So, once again, the point fits the papacy.

G. God’s people (the saints) would “be given into his hand” for “a time and times and the dividing of time.” Daniel 7:25.

Several things need clarification in connection with this point:

1. A time is a year, times is two years, and the dividing of time is a half-year. The Amplified Bible translates it: “Three and one-half years.” 4

2. This same time period is mentioned seven times (Daniel 7:25 12:7 Revelation 11:2, 3 12:6, 14 13:5) in the books of Daniel and Revelation: three times as a time, times, and half a time twice as 42 months and twice as 1,260 days. Based on the 30-day calendar used by the Jews, these time periods are all the same amount of time:

3 1/2 years = 42 months = 1,260 days.

3. One prophetic day equals one literal year (Ezekiel 4:6 Numbers 14:34).

4. Thus, the little horn (Antichrist) was to have power over the saints for 1,260 prophetic days or 1,260 literal years.

5. The rule of the papacy began in A.D. 538, when the last of the three opposing Arian kingdoms was uprooted. Its rule continued until 1798 when Napoleon’s general, Berthier, took the pope captive with hopes of destroying both Pope Pius VI and the political, secular power of the papacy. This period of time is an exact fulfillment of the 1,260-year prophecy. The blow was a deadly wound for the papacy, but that wound began to heal and continues healing today.

6. This same period of persecution is mentioned in Matthew 24:21 as the worst period of persecution God’s people will ever experience. Verse 22 tells us it was so devastating that not one soul would have survived if God had not shortened it. But God did shorten it. The persecution ended long before the pope was taken captive in 1798. It is plain to see that this point, likewise, fits the papacy.

H. It would speak “great words” of blasphemy “against the most High [God].”
Blasphemy has two definitions in Scripture:

1. Claiming to forgive sins (Luke 5:21).

2. Claiming to be God (John 10:33).

Does this point fit the papacy? Yes!

Let’s first look at the evidence for it claiming to forgive sins: “Does the Priest truly forgive the sins, or does he only declare that they are remitted? The Priest does really and truly forgive the sins in virtue of the power given to him by Christ.”

5 The papacy further undermines Jesus by setting up a system of confession to an earthly priest, thus bypassing Jesus, our High Priest (Hebrews 3:1 8:1, 2) and only Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).

Next consider the evidence for it claiming to be God: “We [the popes] hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”

6 Here is another: “The pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ, Himself, hidden under the veil of flesh.”

7 Its obvious this point, likewise, fits the papacy.

I. It would “think to change times and laws.”
In a future Study Guide we will deal with the “times” of this point. It is a major topic and needs separate consideration. But what about changing the “laws”? The Amplified Bible translates “laws” as “the law.” The reference is to changing God’s law. Of course, no one can really change it, but has the papacy attempted to do so? The answer is “yes.”

In its catechisms, the papacy has omitted the second commandment against veneration of images and has shortened the fourth commandment from 94 words to eight and divided the tenth commandment into two commandments. (Check this for yourself. Compare the Ten Commandments in any Catholic catechism with God’s list of the commandments in Exodus 20:3-17.)

There is no doubt that the little horn power of Daniel chapter 7 (the Antichrist) is the papacy. No other organization could possibly fit these nine points. And incidentally, this is no new teaching. Every Reformer, without exception, spoke of the papacy as Antichrist. 8

Words of Care and Concern
Lest some should think that we are attacking fellow Christians by identifying this little-horn power, please keep in mind that the prophecy is aimed at a system and not individuals. There are sincere, devout Christians in all churches, including the Catholic faith. Daniel chapter 7 is simply a message of judgment and correction upon a large religious institution which compromised with paganism, like so many other churches that arose after her.

Prophecy Reveals Faults of All Faiths
Other prophecies point out the faults of Protestant and Jewish faiths. God has true people in all religions. His true people (no matter what their faith) will always humbly accept the correction of the Lord and will not shut their ears and hearts against Him by self-defensiveness. We should be very thankful that God’s Word speaks with impartial honesty on every subject.

1 W. E. H. Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, Volume 2, p. 40.

22 Alexander Clarence Flick, The Rise of the Medieval Church, pp. 148, 149.

3 Adolf Harnack, What is Christianity? (New York: Putnam, second edition, revised, 1901), pp. 269, 270.

4 The Amplified Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1962.

5 Joseph Deharbe, S.J., A Complete Catechism of the Catholic Religion (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin & Fauss, 1924), p. 279.

6 Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter “The Reunion of Christendom” (dated June 20, 1894) trans. in the Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII (New York: Benziger, 1903), p. 304.

7 Catholic National, July 1895.

8 R. Allen Anderson, Unfolding the Revelation, p. 137.

 

The angel told Daniel that the prophecies of this book would be sealed until 1798, the time of the end.

The angel told Daniel that the prophecies of this book would be sealed until 1798, the time of the end.

 

9. Wasn’t Daniel told to seal up his book until “the time of the end”? (Daniel 12:4) When will Daniel’s prophecies be opened to our understanding?

Answer:   In Daniel 12:4, the prophet was told to seal parts of the book till “the time of the end.” In verse 6 an angelic voice asked, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” Verse 7 says, “It shall be for a time, times, and an half.” The angel assured Daniel that the section of the book dealing with end-time prophecies would be opened after the end of the 1260-year period of papal control which was, as we learned earlier in this Study Guide, 1798. So the time of the end began in the year 1798. Obviously, the book of Daniel contains crucial messages from heaven for us today. We absolutely must understand it.

 

All religious teachings must be compared with Scripture to determine their accuracy.

All religious teachings must be compared with Scripture to determine their accuracy.

 

10. Many Christians today have been tragically misinformed regarding the Antichrist. To believe an untruth about the Antichrist could easily cause a person to be deceived and lost. What should a person do when new Bible teachings are encountered?

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11.

Answer:   When a new Bible teaching is encountered, the only safe procedure is to compare it carefully with Scripture to see if it is in harmony with God’s Word.

 

11. I am willing to follow where Jesus leads, even though it may be painful?

 

 

11. I am willing to follow where Jesus leads, even though it may be painful?

Concluding Remarks

Many momentous prophecies from the Bible books of Daniel and Revelation will be featured in upcoming Amazing Facts Study Guides. God has given these prophecies to:

A. Reveal earth’s closing events.

B. Identify the participants in the final phase of the battle between Jesus and Satan.

C. Clearly reveal Satan’s sinister plans to ensnare and destroy us all.

D. Present the security and love of the judgment God’s saints will be vindicated!

E. Uplift Jesus, His salvation, love, power, mercy, and justice.

Major Participants Will Appear Repeatedly

Key participants in the closing war between Jesus and Satan will appear repeatedly in these prophecies. These include: Satan, Jesus, the United States, the papacy, Protestantism, and spiritism. Jesus repeats and expands His messages from the prophets to make certain His warnings of love and protection come through with clarity and certainty.

Answer:   

 

Thought Questions

1. I always thought Antichrist was a person rather than an organization. Am I wrong?
Antichrist is an organization–the papacy. The words “eyes of man” in Daniel 7:8, however, do point to a leader. Revelation 13:18 speaks of man with a number being involved. In Daniel
chapter 8, Greece is represented by a goat and its leader, Alexander the Great, is symbolized by a horn. The same is true of Antichrist. The organization is the papacy. The pope in office is its representative. The prophecy of Daniel chapter 7 is not saying that popes are evil and that Catholics are not Christians. There are many warm, loving Catholic Christians. The system, however, is called Antichrist because it has usurped Jesus’ authority and attempted to change His law.

2. Do you think it is wise or Christian to pass laws to enforce Christianity?
No. The Bible is clear that all should have freedom to choose the direction they wish to go in matters of conscience (Joshua 24:15)–even if they choose to deny God and be atheists. God permitted Adam and Eve to choose to disobey even though it hurt both them and Him. Forced worship is not acceptable to God. Forced worship is the devil’s way. God’s way is loving persuasion. History shows that virtually every time the church passed laws to enforce its beliefs, persecution and murder of others resulted. This is a lesson we can learn from the Middle Ages history of the little horn.

3. Perhaps I have misunderstood, but my concept has always been that Antichrist would be an evil being who openly opposed God. Is this concept incorrect?
We usually consider the word “anti” to mean “against”. But in “Antichrist” it means “in the place of” or “instead of”. Antichrist is guilty of assuming the prerogatives of God. It claims:

A. Its priests can forgive sins which only God can do (Luke 5:21).

B. To have changed God’s law by dropping out the second commandment (on worshiping images) and splitting the tenth into two parts. God’s law cannot be changed (Matthew 5:18).

C. That the pope is God on earth.

Satan’s Original Plan
Satan’s original plan (in heaven) was to assume God’s position and authority. His aim was to oust God and rule in His place. (See Study Guide 2.) When Satan was ejected from heaven, his aim did not change, but rather intensified. Through the centuries he has endeavored (using various human agencies) to discredit God and take over His position.

Antichrist Appears to Be Spiritual
Satan aims to replace God in these last days by deceiving people into following Antichrist, who appears spiritual and holy. The main purpose of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation is to expose Satan’s traps and strategies and lead people to anchor in Jesus and His Word for safety.

Antichrist Will Deceive Many
Most people will follow the Antichrist (Revelation 13:3), thinking they are following Christ. Only the very elect will be safe (Matthew 24:23, 24). They will be safe because they test every spiritual teaching and leader by Scripture (Isaiah 8:20). Religious deception is everywhere today. We cannot be too careful.

4. Doesn’t the Bible say in 1 John 2:18-22 that there are many antichrists?
Yes, there have been many antichrists down through history who have worked against the kingdom of God. However, there is only one entity that specifically fulfills all the prophesied characteristics of the Antichrist. In Daniel chapters 7 and 8 and in Revelation chapter 13, you will find at least 10 identifying traits of the Antichrist. These 10 identifying marks can be fulfilled in only one entity, the papacy.

5. In prophecy, does the symbol “beast” mean “beastly” characteristics?
Not at all. God uses the symbolism of a beast to signify a ruler, nation, government, or kingdom. It is His way of depicting governments in prophecy. We do this ourselves to some degree: We have depicted Russia as a bear, the United States has an eagle, etc. The symbol “beast” is not a demeaning, disrespectful term. It is synonymous with “animal” or “creature”. Even Christ is portrayed as a Lamb by John the Baptist (John 1:29) and the apostle John (Revelation 5:6, 9, 12, 13). The term “beast” is utilized by God to give us a message about nations and leaders, good and evil.\

This is taken from the amazing facts website.

There is no doubt who the anti christ is after this post.

May God keep you.

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