Sabbath, November 5, 2016
“It is for the interest of all to understand what the mark of the beast is, and how they may escape the dread threatenings of God. Why are men not interested to know what constitutes the mark of the beast and his image? It is in direct contrast with the mark of God.
Obedience to God
1. What will be God’s people’s position when the Sunday law is imposed?
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Revelation 14:9-11 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, 10The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
“The people of God will recognize human government as an ordinance of divine appointment and will by precept and example teach obedience to it as a sacred duty so long as its authority is exercised within its legitimate sphere. But when its claims conflict with the claims of God we must choose to obey God rather than men. The Word of God must be recognized and obeyed as an authority above that of all human legislation. ‘Thus saith the Lord’ is not to be set aside for a ‘Thus saith the church or the state.’ The crown of Christ is to be uplifted above all the diadems of earthly potentates.” –(The Home Missionary, November 1, 1893) Last Day Events, p. 142.
“The third angel’s message has been sent forth to the world, warning men against receiving the mark of the beast or of his image in their foreheads or in their hands. To receive this mark means to come to the same decision as the beast has done, and to advocate the same ideas, in direct opposition to the Word of God. Of all who receive this mark, God says, ‘The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.’…” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 979.
The two-horned beast
2. According to Revelation 13:15-17, what will the two-horned beast do?
Revelation 13:15-17 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16And 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: 17And 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.
“When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of ‘heresy.’ In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so control the civil government that the authority of the state will also be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends.”
–The Great Controversy, p. 443.
3. What characterizes the beast and its image?
Daniel 8:25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
“The special characteristic of the beast, and therefore of his image, is the breaking of God’s commandments. Says Daniel, of the little horn, the papacy: ‘He shall think to change times and the law.’ Daniel 7:25, R.V. And Paul styled the same power the ‘man of sin,’ who was to exalt himself above God. One prophecy is a complement of the other. Only by changing God’s law could the papacy exalt itself above God; whoever should understandingly keep the law as thus changed would be giving supreme honor to that power by which the change was made. Such an act of obedience to papal laws would be a mark of allegiance to the pope in the place of God….
“As the sign of the authority of the Catholic Church, papist writers cite ‘the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of;… because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin.’ –Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, p. 58. What then is the change of the Sabbath, but the sign, or mark, of the authority of the Roman Church–the mark of the beast?” –The Great Controversy, pp. 446, 448.
Enforcement by law
4. How will the observance of Sunday be imposed?
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: 17And 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.
“ ‘He causeth all, both small and great, … to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.’ Revelation 13:16. Not only are men not to work with their hands on Sunday, but with their minds are they to acknowledge Sunday as the Sabbath.” –(Special Testimony to the Battle Creek Church, pp. 6, 7 ) Last Day Events, p. 224.
“Those who choose to follow antichrist are subjects of the great apostate. Ranged under the banner of Satan, they break God’s law and lead others to break it. They endeavor so to frame the laws of nations that men shall show their loyalty to earthly governments by trampling upon the laws of God’s kingdom….
“The so-called Christian world is to be the theater of great and decisive actions. Men in authority will enact laws controlling the conscience, after the example of the papacy. Babylon will make all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. Every nation will be involved… [Revelation 18:3-7 quoted].”
–(Manuscript 24, 1891) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 949.
5. Do people today have the opportunity to choose whether or not to accept the mark of the beast?
Exodus 23:32, 33 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.
Acts 17:30, 31 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
“John was called to behold a people distinct from those who worship the beast or his image by keeping the first day of the week. The observance of this day is the mark of the beast.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 133 (1898); Last Day Events, p. 223.
“The change of the Sabbath is the sign or mark of the authority of the Romish church. Those who, understanding the claims of the fourth commandment, choose to observe the false sabbath in the place of the true, are thereby paying homage to that power by which alone it is commanded. The mark of the beast is the papal sabbath, which has been accepted by the world in the place of the day of God’s appointment.
“No one has yet received the mark of the beast. The testing time has not yet come. There are true Christians in every church, not excepting the Roman Catholic communion. None are condemned until they have had the light and have seen the obligation of the fourth commandment. But when the decree shall go forth enforcing the counterfeit sabbath, and the loud cry of the third angel shall warn men against the worship of the beast and his image, the line will be clearly drawn between the false and the true. Then those who still continue in transgression will receive the mark of the beast.” –Evangelism, p. 234.
6. What will show that one has received the mark of the beast?
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
“If the light of truth has been presented to you, revealing the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and showing that there is no foundation in the Word of God for Sunday observance, and yet you still cling to the false sabbath, refusing to keep holy the Sabbath which God calls ‘My holy day,’ you receive the mark of the beast. When does this take place? When you obey the decree that commands you to cease from labor on Sunday and worship God, while you know that there is not a word in the Bible showing Sunday to be other than a common working day, you consent to receive the mark of the beast, and refuse the seal of God.
“If we receive this mark in our foreheads or in our hands, the judgments pronounced against the disobedient must fall upon us. But the seal of the living God is placed upon those who conscientiously keep the Sabbath of the Lord.” –(Review and Herald, July 13, 1897) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 981.
“But now time is almost finished, and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months. They will also have much to unlearn and much to learn again. Those who would not receive the mark of the beast and his image when the decree goes forth, must have decision now to say, Nay, we will not regard the institution of the beast.” –Early Writings, p. 67.
The call of the other angel
7. What will be the fruit of God’s people’s labor at the time of the loud cry?
Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
“I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches, and before the plagues shall be poured out, ministers and people will be called out from these churches and will gladly receive the truth. Satan knows this; and before the loud cry of the third angel is given, he raises an excitement in these religious bodies, that those who have rejected the truth may think that God is with them. He hopes to deceive the honest and lead them to think that God is still working for the churches. But the light will shine, and all who are honest will leave the fallen churches, and take their stand with the remnant.” –Early Writings, p. 261.
“Multitudes will receive the faith and join the armies of the Lord.” –Evangelism, p. 700 (1895).
“Many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the great Shepherd.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 401 (1900); Last Day Events, p. 211.
“The substitution of the false for the true is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal, God will reveal Himself. When the laws of men are exalted above the laws of God, when the powers of this earth try to force men to keep the first day of the week, know that the time has come for God to work. He will arise in His majesty, and will shake terribly the earth. He will come out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity.” –(Review and Herald, April 23, 1901) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 980.
“The Lord has shown me clearly that the image of the beast will be formed before probation closes; for it is to be the great test for the people of God, by which their eternal destiny will be decided… [Revelation 13:11-17 quoted]. “This is the test that the people of God must have before they are sealed. All who proved their loyalty to God by observing His law, and refusing to accept a spurious sabbath, will rank under the banner of the Lord God Jehovah, and will receive the seal of the living God. Those who yield the truth of heavenly origin and accept the Sunday sabbath, will receive the mark of the beast.” –(Letter 11, 1890) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 976.