Sabbath, April 28, 2007


1. What teaching existed in the Middle Ages concerning the mark of the beast?
Revelation 13:16, 17 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.

“In general, commentaries of the Apocalypse prior to the fourteenth century are content to explain the mark of the beast simply as a mark of the coming Antichrist.” –S.D.A. Encyclopedia, Commentary

2. How did the early Reformers interpret this subject?
1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.

“From the fourteenth century onward pre-Reformation and Protestant expositors have identified it as a mark of submission to the Papacy. Walter Brute, a Wyclifite writer on prophecy, considered it to be the sup¬posedly indelible imprint made by the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church upon those who receive them. (L. E. Froom, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2, p. 86). Others, such as John Purvey, who, upon Wyclif’s death, took his place, regarded the mark received in the hand to be compliance with works prescribed by the church, and on the forehead, as the public profession of papal teachings (ibid., p. 99).” –S.D.A. Encyclopedia, Commentary Reference Series, vol. 10, p. 856.


3. How was this subject described by European Protestants?
Ecclesiastes 1:10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

“Reformation writers identified it as subservience to the canons, decrees, and traditions of Rome, or Rome’s power to excommunicate (ibid., pp. 300, 306, 342, 367, 461, 462, 616, 617, 678). –S.D.A. Encyclopedia, Commentary Reference Series, vol. 10, p. 856.

4. How did Layman Holyoke, a seventeenth-century American, portray the mark of the beast?
James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

“Mark of the Beast is Yielding to the Pope’s Law. Declaring the mark of the beast to be the mark of his ‘Politie,’ he says:
“‘The Pope’s canon-Law telleth that none may live under the Empire, but by yielding to the Pope’s laws, in his subscribing to his Imperial and Ecclesiastical Supremacy, and oath of fidelity as a mark on the hand, and some open token of communion with him, and profession of his decrees as a mark in the forehead.’” –LeRoy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 3, p. 96:8, 9.


5. What interpretations of this subject were made by the pioneers of our church?
Ephesians 4:13-16 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

a. “In the second edition of his pamphlet The Seventh Day Sabbath, a Perpetual Sign (January, 1847), Joseph Bates asked (p. 59), ‘Is it not clear that the first day of the week for the Sabbath or holy day

[of which he speaks on page 57 as ‘a perpetual covenant’ of allegiance to the true God] is a mark of the beast?’

b. “Writing to Bates in April, 1847, Ellen G. White identified receiving the mark of the beast as the act of giving up ‘God’s Sabbath,’ and keeping ‘The Pope’s [sabbath]’ (A Word to the Little Flock, p. 19).

c. “James White similarly wrote:
‘The observance of the first day as a day of holy rest, instead of the seventh, is a mark of the beast, it undoubtedly is the mark mentioned in the solemn message of the third angel.’ (Present Truth, 1:68, April, 1850).

d. “In 1851 Roswell F. Cottrell called the mark of the beast ‘the counterfeit Sabbath of Rome.’ (Review and Herald, 2:40, Oct. 7, 1851).

e. “J. N. Andrews spoke of the mark as an ‘institution of papacy, enforced by Protestantism’ (The Three Messages of Revelation XIV, 6-12, 1860 ed., p. 99).

f. “Perhaps the earliest full SDA statement on the mark of the beast occurs in an article by J. N. Loughborough in 1854: ‘The Sabbath is a
sign between God and His people. [Exodus 31:13-18 and Exodus 20:19, 20 previously cited]; hence it seals His law as genuine. As the seal of an earthly monarch is a sign between him and his subjects, so the Sabbath is a sign between the Lord and His subjects, that they may know Him from all others. Take this fourth commandment from the ten, and the seal of the living God is gone, and the knowledge of their author is taken from us. Here is where Papacy has aimed a blow. The Pope has taken away the seal of the living God, and the ten commandments as taught by Him do not contain it…. In place of God’s seal or mark, we have Sunday attached to the law. It does not point out the living God, but claims to be instituted on the authority of the Papal church. Yea, it points to the Pope. It is ‘the mark of the beast.’

g. “In his classic commentary, Thoughts on the Revelation (1865, i.e., 1867), Uriah Smith, foremost early SDA expositor of Bible prophecy, wrote:
‘“To receive the mark of the beast in the forehead, is, we understand, to give the assent of the mind and judgment to his [the first beast’s] author¬ity, in the adoption of that institution which constitutes the mark; to receive it in the hand is to signify allegiance by some outward act. The mark is the mark, not of the two-horned beast, nor of the image of the beast, but of the papal beast…. The mark of the beast is understood to be a counterfeit Sabbath which is erected in opposition to the Sabbath of Jehovah, which we have shown on chap. vii, 1-3, to be the seal of the living God. (p. 224).” –S.D.A. Encyclopedia, Commentary Reference Series, vol. 10, pp. 856, 857.