28. The Mark of the Beast
IN REVELATION 13:16 the Apostle John has penned these significant words: “And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.” What is this mark? It must be of great importance to understand this, for Jesus gives us a solemn warning against receiving the mark. (Revelation 22:16, 14:9, 10) Some claim that it is the mark of the labour unions; but the “small” cannot belong to them, neither are the “rich,” or capitalists, members of labour organisations. Others say this prophecy refers to the peculiar “handshake” of the Freemasons; but the “bond,” or slave, and the “small,” or children, cannot become members of that organisation; and yet all these will receive the mark of the beast. (Revelation 13:16).
This mark must belong to religion, for it has to do with “worship” (Revelation ), and it must have originated with the Papacy, for it is “his mark” (Revelation 15:2), and yet it must be something both Catholics and Protestants agree upon, for “all” will receive it (Revelation , 16). It is something in which not only the people but also “the earth” on which they dwell, can show obedience. (Revelation 13:12) There is but one thing that answers to all these specifications; namely, Sunday-keeping. Sunday is a religious institution that originated with the Catholic Church, and yet Protestants agree to keep it, and we shall now show how the earth can have a part in receiving the mark.
God required “thy manservant,” “thy
stranger,” and “thy cattle” to rest on His holy Sabbath (Exodus );
that is, no work should be allowed in a field of which we have control. And
because the Jews did not obey this, the Lord declared: “I will scatter you
among the heathen, and your land shall be desolate . . . . Then shall the land
rest, and enjoy her Sabbaths; . . . because it did not rest in your Sabbaths, when
ye dwelt upon it.” Leviticus 26:33-35. And so the Jews were taken into
We have now seen that God wants the earth as well as the people to rest on His holy Sabbath. But the Roman Catholic Church has put herself on record as flatly denying God’s claim. Father Enright declares:
“The Bible says: ‘Remember the Sabbath
day, to keep it holy,’ but the Catholic Church says: ‘No, keep the first day of
the week,’ and the whole world bows in obedience.” – “The Industrial
When our government, under pressure from the churches, shall by law enforce the papal Sunday in open violation of God’s command, so that the people rest on Sunday, and work their land on the Sabbath, then “the earth and them which dwell therein” will yield obedience to the papal power. (Revelation 13:12).
Some will ask how a day can be a mark in a person’s forehead or hand. But we read in Exodus 13:3, 4, 9 that a day can be “for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes.” But some one will ask how this “mark” can be received by some only “in their right hand,” while others receive it “in their foreheads.” (Revelation 13:16) That is easy to see. Many people tell us: “We know that the seventh day is the right Sabbath, but we have to work on that day or lose our jobs.” Such people have no Sunday-Sabbath in their mind, or forehead, because they do not believe in it; but their“hand” obeys it, and so they receive it in their hand. There are others who see the seventh day is the true Sabbath in the New Testament, but they love their old friends and their old ways more than the unpopular truth, and wish they did not have to obey it.
Now, as God cannot accept unwilling service, He will no longer impress them with the importance of obeying it. God’s Spirit is grieved away, and another spirit steps in unnoticed and leads them against the truth. “Because they received not the love of the truth, . . . God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11. (We have an example of this in 1 Kings 22) After rejecting the truth they become enthusiastic believers in the false Sabbath, and thus they receive this mark “in their foreheads.”
On the other hand, people who have never heard the facts presented, but innocently keep Sunday, thinking it is the right day, are not receiving the mark of the beast by so doing, for God does not hold a person responsible for light that he has never had opportunity to hear or reject. Let us illustrate this fact:
An earnest Christian is the owner of a dry-goods store, and has sold a woman ten yards of cloth. Later she comes back with it claiming that it is too short. He measures it again, and finds it full length, but, as she insists that it is short, he buys a new yardstick, and placing both side by side he finds his old one an inch short. In amazement he exclaims: “My grandfather was an earnest Christian, and he used this yardstick, and so did my godly father. They were unwittingly stealing, and died without repenting of their sin; they are lost!” He reflects a moment, then adds: “No! I saw them die triumphantly in Christ; they are saved. And I have had blessed seasons with Jesus during these twenty years I have used this old yardstick. If they could be saved using it, and I could serve God acceptably all these years, I will continue to use it hereafter! “But can he be saved while knowingly breaking one of God’s commandments? He could have been saved, if his attention had not been called to it. But can he now continue to use the short yard measure and remain a true Christian?
Christ says: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin” (John ); And Paul declares: “The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts ). “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17. Seeing that God’s law is His measuring rod, or standard for moral conduct, and that the Papacy has cut off part of it, so people innocently have followed a faulty rule, and Christ has not attributed this sin to His people till they had opportunity to know better. But when His last message of mercy is being heralded to the world, all are given their choice as to whom they will serve, and those who refuse to listen to His message are as responsible as though they had heard it. (Revelation 22:14, 14:12; Luke 11:31; Proverbs 28:9).
All will admit that Christ has a perfect right to choose any “sign” He desires, and when He sets forth the Sabbath as the sign, or mark, of His authority and of His sanctifying power, we should accept it with pleasure. (Ezekiel 20:12, 20, 9:4-6).
On the other hand the pope claims to be Christ’s representative on earth, having authority to act in His name, so that “the sentences which he gives are to be forthwith ratified in heaven.” - Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, art. “Pope,” par. 20, p. 265.
Any one who makes counterfeit money tries to make it as near like the genuine as possible. And when Christ has chosen the Sabbath as His sign, the Papacy, in selecting a counterfeit sign, would naturally choose one as near like the genuine as possible, and so it took the very next day. And after having changed the day of rest from the seventh to the first day, the Papacy would naturally point to such a vital change in God’s law as evidence of its power; for no one could validly change God’s moral law without being authorised to act in Christ’s stead.
Hence if, after we have carefully searched the New Testament, and found no command there for the change of the day, we still rely on the custom of the church by keeping the Sunday, we thereby acknowledge the authority of the church that made this change. The Roman Catholic Church sees this point, and uses it as a challenge to Protestantism, as the following quotations from Roman Catholic authorities will show:
Rev. Stephen Keenan says:
“Q.- Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
“A.- 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.” - “Doctrinal Catechism,” p. 174. New York: P. J. Kenedy and Sons, 1846.
Rev. Henry Tuberville, D. D., says:
“Q.- How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holy-days?
“A.- By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same Church.
“Q.- How prove you that? “A.- Because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the Church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin: and by not keeping the rest by her commanded, they again deny, in fact, the same power.” - “An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine,” p. 58. New York: Kenedy, 1858.
J. F. Snyder, of Bloomington, Ill., wrote Cardinal Gibbons asking if the Catholic Church claims the change of the Sabbath as a mark of her power.” The Cardinal through his Chancellor, gave the following answer:
“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act. It could not have been otherwise, as none in those days would have dreamed of doing anything in matters spiritual and ecclesiastical and religious without her. And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters.”
(Signed) “H. F. Thomas,
“Chancellor for the Cardinal.”
“Nov. 11, 1895.”
We will now let the Catholic Church tell when it changed the Sabbath day. Here is its answer:
“Q. - Which is the Sabbath day? A. - Saturday is the Sabbath day. Q. - Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? A.- We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A. D. 336), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” - “Convert’s Catechism,” Rev. P. Geiermann, p. 50. London: 1934. Sanctioned by the Vatican, Jan. 25, 1910.
“The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her Divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.” - “The Christian Sabbath,” p. 29. Printed by the “Catholic Mirror,” the official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, Baltimore, Md., 1893.
Kindly notice how often Catholic authors refer to the fact that there is no Scripture proof for Sunday, but that it rests solely on the authority of the Catholic Church. Rt. Rev. John Milner says:
“The first precept in the Bible is that of sanctifying the seventh day: ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.’ Genesis 2: 3. This precept was confirmed by God in the Ten Commandments: ‘Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy. The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.’ Exodus 20. On the other hand, Christ declares that He is not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. Matthew 5:17. He Himself observed the Sabbath: ‘and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.’ Luke 4:16. His disciples likewise observed it after His death: ‘They rested on the Sabbath day according to the commandment,’ Luke 23:56. Yet with all this weight of Scripture authority for keeping the Sabbath, or seventh day, holy, Protestants of all denominations make this a profane day, and transfer the obligation of it to the first day of the week, or the Sunday. Now what authority have they for doing this? None whatever, except the unwritten word, or tradition, of the Catholic Church.”- “End of Religious Controversy,” p. 89. New York: P. J. Kennedy, 1897.
The Brotherhood of St. Vincent de Paul says:
‘The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.’ (Exod. XX. 8, 9). . . . Such being God’s command then, I ask again, Why do you not obey it? . . .
“You will answer me, perhaps, that you do keep holy the Sabbath-day; for that you abstain from all worldly business, and diligently go to church, and say your prayers, and read your Bible at home, every Sunday of your lives.
“But Sunday is not the Sabbath-day, Sunday is the first day of the week; the Sabbath-day was the seventh day of the week. Almighty God did not give a commandment that men should keep holy one day in seven; but He named His own day, and said distinctly, ‘Thou shalt keep holy the seventh day: and He assigned a reason for choosing this day rather than any other reason which belongs only to the seventh day of the week, and cannot be applied to the rest. He says, ‘For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day and hallowed it.’ Almighty God ordered that all men should rest from their labour on the seventh day, because He too had rested on that day: He did not rest on Sunday, but on Saturday. On Sunday, which is the first day of the week, He began the work of creation. . . . Gen. 2:2, 3. Nothing can be more plain and easy to understand than all this; and there is nobody who attempts to deny it. . . . Why then do you keep holy the Sunday, and not Saturday?
“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 ofAlmighty 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. . . . 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?
“We blame you not for making Sunday your weekly holy day instead of Saturday, but for rejecting tradition, which is the only safe and clear rule by which this observance can he justified.” - “Why Don’t You Keep Holy the Sabbath-Day? “ pp. 2-4, 8. London: Burns and Oates. Found also in “The Clifton Tracts,” Most Rev. John Hughes, D. D.
“That the Church has instituted the Sunday as the Lord’s day instead of the Sabbath . . . shows forth her great power which she solemnly received from Christ.” - “Manual of the Catholic Religion,” p. 186.
Dr. Martin Luther and Melancthon felt the stinging force of this Catholic argument in proof of the power of the papal church, although they knew that the time had not then come for a Sabbath reform. Dr. Eck, disputing with Luther, said:
“If, however, the Church has had power to change the Sabbath of the Bible into Sunday and to command Sunday keeping, why should it not have also this power concerning other days? . . . If you omit the latter, and turn from the Church to the Scriptures alone, then you must keep the Sabbath with the Jews, which has been kept from the beginning of the world.” “Enchiridon,” pp. 78, 79. 1533.
Calling attention to this Roman Catholic assumption of authority, the Reformers said:
“They also point out, that the Sabbath is changed to Sunday, contrary as it seems, to the Ten Commandments; and there is no example over which they make more ado than the change of the Sabbath. Great, they assert, must be the power of the Church, when it can grant release from one of the Ten Commandments.” - “The Augsburg Confession,” art. 28, in “Book of Concord,” p. 79. (Norwegian ed., printed in Christiania, 1882.)
At the great Council of Trent (1545-1563), which was called to determine the “doctrines of the Church in answer to the heresies of the Protestants” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XV, art. “Trent,” p. 30), the question of the authority of the church over that of the Bible was decided in the following manner:
“Finally, at the last [session] opening on the eighteenth of January, 1562, their last scruple was set aside; the archbishop of Reggio made a speech in which he openly declared that tradition stood above Scripture. The authority of the church could therefore not be bound to the authority of the Scripture, because the church had changed Sabbath into Sunday, not by the command of Christ, but by its own authority. With this, to be sure, the last illusion was destroyed, and it was declared that tradition does not signify antiquity, but continual inspiration.” - “Canon and Tradition,” Dr. J. H. Holtzman, p. 263. (“Source Book,” pp. 603, 604.)
After the Jesuits were expelled from England in 1579 they determined to recapture that country, and at their school at Rheims, France, they translated their New Testament from the Vulgate Latin into English in 1582. (Their Old Testament was printed at Douay, 1609, so that their whole Bible has come Page 181 to be called the Douay version.) In their English New Testament, translated from the Vulgate Edition of 1582, printed in New York, 1834, we read on page 413, note on the Apocalypse 1: 10:
“And if the Church had authority and inspiration from God, to make Sunday, being a work-day before, an everlasting holy day: and the Saturday, that before was holy day, now a common work-day: why may not the same Church prescribe and appoint the other feasts of Easter, Whitsuntide, Christmas, and the rest? For the same warrant she hath for the one she hath for the other!’
Thus we see that the Roman Catholic Church always and everywhere points to her change of the Sabbath as the mark, or evidence, of her having the power and inspiration from God to legislate in Christ’s stead for His church on earth, and that this power is vested in the pope. Pope Leo XIII says: “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.” All must yield “complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself.” - “Great Encyclical Letters,” pp. 304, 193. And Pope Gregory says of the power of the pope:
“Hence he is said to have a heavenly power, and hence changes even the nature of things, applying the substantial of one thing to another - can make something out of nothing - a judgment which is null he makes to be real since in the things which he wills, his will is taken for a reason. Nor is there any one to say to him, Why doest thou this? For he can dispense with the law, he can turn injustice into justice by correcting and changing the law, and he has the fullness of power.” - “Decretals of Gregory” (R. C.), Book I, title 7, chap. 3. Gloss on the Transfer of Bishops.
The Roman “Decretalia,” an authentic work on Roman ecclesiastical law, says of the power of the pope:
“He can pronounce sentences and judgments in contradiction to the right of nations, to the law of God and man. . . . He can free himself from the commands of the apostles, he being their superior, and from the rules of the Old Testament.
“The pope has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ.” – “Decretal, de Translat. Episcop. Cap.”
“The Pope’s will stands for reason. He can dispense above the law; and of wrong make right, by correcting and changing laws.” - Pope Nicholas, Dist. 96; quoted in “Facts for the Times,” pp. 55, 56. 1893.
We have now seen that the pope claims to be the “Vicar of the Son of God “on earth; to have authority to act in His name. And as proof for this claim he points to the fact that he has changed the Sabbath into Sunday. How conclusive! He must be authorised as Christ’s “Vicar” in order to validly make such a vital change in God’s moral law. That is imperative! The Sunday-Sabbath is therefore the proof or mark of his “vicarship”; it is “the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:11. When once a person has become aware of the wording of this text (Revelation 14:11), it becomes impossible for him to exchange this explanation of either the “mark” or the “name” for some other. For the creation of the Sunday-Sabbath by the Papacy constitutes the mark, or proof, of the pope’s being invested with authority to act as “Vicar of the Son of God.” This “mark” and this “name” fit together as prepared by the divine hand of prophecy, and no others do. Catholics can therefore appeal to Protestants in the following way:
Sunday-keeping “not only has no foundation in the Bible, but it is in flagrant contradiction with its letter, which commands rest on the Sabbath, which is Saturday. It was the Catholic Church which, by the authority of Jesus Christ, has transferred this rest to the Sunday. . . . Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the Church.” - “Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today,” from the French by Segur, p. 213. Boston: 1868.
While God did not attribute this sin to His people in former ages, when they had not been enlightened on the subject, we are now approaching the final struggle between Christ and the restored Papacy, and it behooves us to show under which flag we have decided to stand. For example: In times of peace, no serious results would come to an alien in this country, if, on his holiday, he should hoist his native flag. But if our country was at war with his homeland, and he then should tear down the “Stars and Stripes,” and trample on it, while he hoisted his own flag, it would be an entirely different matter. And so now, while Christ and Antichrist face each other in the last deadly struggle, it becomes a serious matter to hoist the enemy’s flag, while trampling on the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel!
The papal power was “to continue forty and two months” (Revelation 13:5), and, as the Bible reckons thirty days to a month, this period would be 1260 prophetic days (Revelation 11:2, 3). And a day in prophecy stands for a year. (Ezekiel 4:6.) Thus we see that the papal supremacy would continue for 1260 years. We have already seen that this period began in 538 and ended in 1798 A. D. (See pp. 52- 60.) At that time the pope, who had for centuries driven God’s people “into captivity,” was himself to “go into captivity,” the prophet declared. (Revelation 13:10.) And when the hour struck, to which God’s prophetic clock had pointed for 1700 years, the pope had to “go into captivity.” Rome was taken by the French on February 10, 1798, the Roman Republic proclaimed on the fifteenth, and on the night of the twentieth, Pope Pius VI was hurried off “into captivity,” where he finally died at Valence, France, in 1799. Napoleon had previously given orders that no new pope was to be elected in his place. “No wonder that half Europe thought Napoleon’s veto would be obeyed, and that with the Pope the Papacy was dead.” - “Modern Papacy,” Joseph Rickaby, S. J., p. 1.
But this prophecy also foretells its restitution. The prophet declares: “His deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast.” Revelation 13: 3. (Compare 17: 8.) A new pope (Pius VII) was elected March 14, 1800, and, as J. Rickaby further states:
“Yet since then, the Papacy has been lifted to a pinnacle of spiritual power unreached, it may be, since earliest Christian history.” - Id., p. 1.
Especially since the days of Pope Leo XIII the healing of the deadly wound” has been steadily progressing. On February 11, 1929, the pope once more became a civil ruler (a king) Some day he will attempt to assume his ancient authority over the nations of earth, and then the world will realise that the Papacy is unchanged in spirit, that it will do today just what it did in the Dark Ages.
We shall now see what God will do for those who have been faithful to Him in this time of apostasy, and have not deviated from His word, while the whole Christian world has gone astray. But let all remember that we cannot follow what is easy and popular, and expect to stand under God’s protection. It was the ark of Noah - the object of so much scorn and derision from the world-that finally became the means of rescue to all who stood faithfully by it under taunt and ridicule. And so now. (Luke 17:26) God always uses unpopular truths with which to test His people and gather out the honest in heart, and He will protect His own in the time of trouble.
They “shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty,” safe “from the noisome pestilence.” As a hen protects her brood in a storm, so “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 [night raids by aeroplanes]; nor for the arrow that flies by day; nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee, . . . neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” Psalm 91:1-10.
God will reveal that He still lives and reigns, and the world shall yet see that He puts a difference “between him that serves God and him that serves Him not” (Malachi 3:18), just as He did during the plagues of Egypt (Exodus 8:22, 23; 9:4, 10:23; Isaiah 4:5, 6). “His truth shall be thy shield and buckler” Psalm 91:4. (Compare John 17:17; Colossians 1:5; Psalm 119:142, 151).
According to the new covenant promise, the Holy Spirit is to write the law of God in the heart of God’s children. (Hebrews 8:8-10; 2 Corinthians 3:3) But it must be put “into their mind” before it can be written “in their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10); and as they have been looking at a mutilated law, the missing part must be restored before the Holy Spirit can write it in their hearts. And so the message comes to “bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples.” Isaiah 8:16. While the nations are moving toward Armageddon, while angels are about to release the winds of war but have been admonished to hold a little longer, another angel comes with the “seal of the living God,” saying: “Hurt not the earth, . . . till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads,” so they shall be able to stand during the terrible time of trouble just ahead. (Revelation 6:17, 7:1-3). The Lord revealed the same scene to Ezekiel. He saw the destroyers coming, but a man clothed in linen (a symbol of purity, Revelation 19:8) went before them to “set a mark upon the foreheads of” God’s people, after which the destroyers were told to “slay utterly old and young. . . . but come not near any man upon whom is the mark.” Ezekiel 9:1-6. This mark, or sign, is the Sabbath. “I gave them My Sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them.” Ezekiel 20:12, 20.
As Christ viewed His people on the earth, and found them without “the seal of the living God,” He commanded the winds of war to be held in cheek “till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Revelation 7:1-3. They were God’s servants, but lacked the seal. In Ezekiel 9:4-6 and 20:12, 20 it is called God’s “mark,” or “sign,” while in Revelation 7:1-4 it is called His “seal.” God’s “name” will be written in the foreheads of His people. (Revelation 14:1) In God’s law His name is found only in the fourth commandment. The fourth commandment, which enjoins the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath, is the seal of God which the Holy Spirit places in the minds and hearts of His people.
The day of wrath is fast approaching. God’s people will need a shelter during Armageddon. But God will not do miracles to protect the willfully disobedient. The Lord is greatly grieved over the situation, and complains that His watchmen are not preparing the people “to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord” Ezekiel 13:5. Compare Ezekiel 22:26, 30; Isaiah 58:1, 2, 12, 13, 56:1-5, 10, 11; Hebrews 10:26, 29. “But the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:16.