t h e K e y o f D av i d R e p r i n t S e r i e s
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The mark of The
By Stephen Flurry
R e pr i n t e d f rom t h e P h i l a de l ph i a Tru m pet, Ja n ua ry 19 95
What is the mark of the beast? No other question today could receive so many different answers! Why is there so much confusion in the religious world over this mysterious mark? If we carefully examine Scripture and allow the Bible to interpret itself, we can know what this mark is!
he biblical “scholars” of this world generally refer to one particular passage of Scripture when discussing the mysterious mark of the beast. That passage can be found in 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.” Some assume the mark is something people should definitely have since it will enable you to buy and sell; and after all, everyone wants to buy and sell, right? Few people realize the mark is spoken of in several other scripThe beast of tures. Furthermore, the beast is mentioned in many other Bible passages as well. This is important because of the distinct relationship the mark has with the beast. After all, it is a mark of the beast. For us to begin to understand this important subject, we first have to go back to the beginning of Revelation 13 and get the background.
Who Is the Beast?
“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 the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (verses 13:1-2). The latter part of verse two says the dragon is behind this ferocious beast. You can see from Revelation 12:9 that Satan the devil is referred to in Scripture as a dragon. Satan is the deceitful being behind this end-time beast. This beast in Revelation 13 has seven heads and 10 horns. It has the strongest characteristics of all the beasts mentioned in Daniel 7:1-7. This is significant because the four beasts in Daniel represent four great, world-ruling empires that began at the time of Daniel and were to continue on until the return of Christ. (See Daniel 7:17, 23 for proof that these four beasts represent four kingdoms.) History proves that to be true. The four t h k ingdom in Daniel was prophesied to be even more dreadful and powerful than the previous three. That explains why the beast in Revelation 13 has the strongest characteristics of the previous three—because it represents the fourth and final beast. Revelation 13 When Daniel wrote his book, the world at that time was under the rule of the first beast, or kingdom—the Chaldean Empire (625-538 b.c.). When John wrote the book of Revelation during the last part of the first century, the first three kingdoms had already come and gone. The world at the time of John was under the rule of the Roman Empire (31 b.c. to a.d. 476)—the greatest empire this world has ever seen. With the first three empires already gone by the time John wrote, it only makes sense that John wrote specifically about the fourth and final world empire. But doesn’t this fourth empire continue until the return of Christ? The fourth beast of Daniel 7 and the beast of
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Revelation 13 both represent the Roman Empire. Both beasts are seen as having 10 horns. The late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “The ten horns symbolize the same thing—the 10 stages of government continuing out of the Roman Empire after its fall (a.d. 476)” (Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?). Mr. Armstrong then quoted Daniel 7:24, 27 to prove this. “The 10 horns,” he continued, “are 10 kingdoms to arise out of the fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire. These kings, also called kingdoms, continue from a.d. 476 until the time when the Stone, Christ and His Kingdom, smashes the image [of Daniel 2] …” (emphasis mine throughout). The first three of these kingdoms were foreign barbarian kingdoms—the Vandals, the Heruli and the ostrogoths. Finally, in a.d. 554, the Roman Empire was restored by Justinian and was to continue through seven resurrections which were dominated by a great church. The empire became known as the “Holy” Roman Empire. Mr. Armstrong warned for many decades of the final resurrection of the Roman Empire. After World War ii, he boldly proclaimed that germany would rise again and lead a group of 10 united nations in Europe. For this to be accomplished, communism had to crumble in Eastern Europe. Mr. Armstrong also predicted this. And that is exactly what has happened! Communism has fallen in Eastern Europe and now a group of nations is very quickly pulling together to form a powerful combine economically and militarily. Those familiar with Mr. Armstrong’s writings, many of which were written in the 1950s and 1960s, know he prophesied of these events! Mr. Armstrong was preaching it at a time when it looked impossible. And now it is happening—precisely as he said. We need to know WHY! It is because of these very prophecies concerning the beast and the mark of the beast! let’s continue in Revelation 13: “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast” (verse 3). Here is what Mr. Armstrong wrote concerning this deadly wound in his booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?: “The deadly wound, then, was the one administered to the Roman Empire, when, in its last decaying stages, the barbarians overran it, ending its government in a.d. 476. … “But when the seventh head of this great beast received its deadly wound in a.d. 476, was that the end? No, the prophecy says ‘his deadly wound was healed … and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months’ (verses 3, 5). The 10 horns represent 10 successive kingdoms to follow out of this kingdom. … “The text says one of his heads was wounded to death. The beast included the seven heads and the 10 horns. John sees the beast living in the days of its seventh head, the Roman Empire. And when that head of the beast was suffering from its deadly wound, his—the beast’s—deadly wound was healed. The horns now reign, one by one.” And that is exactly what has occurred in history. To this point, there have been nine kingdoms that have ruled since the Roman Empire fell in a.d. 476. Six of those nine have been the resurrected Holy Roman Empire. The seventh resurrection is now forming in Europe. “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (verse 4). The Roman Empire is the greatest war-making
power this world has ever known. That proves this beast is not a great religious organization as some people believe. It refers to a great war-making nation. Verses 5-7 show that this evil beast will 1) speak great things, and 2) make war with the saints, or god’s people.
Th e S e c on d B e a s t
There is a second beast mentioned in Revelation 13 that has a heavy influence on the first beast. Notice: “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon” (verse 11). Notice this beast is motivated by Satan also. But it is different in that it has the appearance of a lamb. We know that Jesus Christ is referred to as the lamb of god in Revelation 17:14. So this second beast looks very religious! It looks like Jesus Christ. But it speaks like Satan the devil. This beast represents a great religious organization that has been and will be closely related to the affairs and policies of the Roman Empire. “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (verse 12). Notice the word cause. This second beast causes people to worship the first beast. You could say this great religious organization is the power behind the Roman Empire. In verse 15, we again see the cause behind the killing that the first beast does. The great religious body is actually responsible for the killings. She causes the saints to be killed by the Roman Empire, the first beast. This brings us back to the verses we quoted at the beginning of this article. If you read verse 16 again, you will see that it is the same power that causes the martyrs to be killed that also causes the vast majority to receive the mark. The mark will be very popular. The Bible says the “small and great, rich and poor, free and bond” will receive the mark. In verse 17, it says those who refuse the mark won’t be able to “buy or sell.” In other words, those refusing the mark won’t be able to make a living or to engage in business. So how does this mark relate to the two beasts we read about in Revelation 13? First, it is the mark of the beast, or the Roman Empire, not the great false church. But it is the great false church that causes all to worship the first beast and receive its mark. And those who don’t receive the mark, the same church causes to be killed. So the mark, simply put, is that of the Roman Empire which the Roman church did cause or shall cause the Western world to receive.
Tho se w ho R e f use t h e M a r k
We have already seen how the great false church causes those who refuse the mark to be killed. other scriptures add a few details. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of god, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).
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The beast of Revelation 17 has a woman riding it. In the Bible, a woman symbolizes a church— in this case, the great false church. The woman, or great church, is drunk with the blood of the saints. There is a great martyrdom prophesied to come upon God’s people in the very near future!
A little more background is necessary at this point. The Bible reveals two groups of god’s people extant during the great Tribulation (the time of Satan’s wrath upon the whole world). Revelation 12:14-17 show that one of these groups is protected during the Tribulation while the other group must experience it. Numerous pieces of philadelphia Church of god literature prove these two groups to be the philadelphia and laodicean churches (Revelation 3:7-22). The philadelphians are protected (verse 10) while the laodiceans are punished in the Tribulation (verse 19). The mark of the beast will be enforced during the Tribulation (Revelation 13:5; notice “forty and two months”— or 31/2 years). So those who are beheaded because they reject the mark are none other than the repentant laodiceans who go into the Tribulation. They lose their lives physically, but will be resurrected to rule with Jesus Christ a thousand years. Revelation 15:1-4 give more details concerning the reward of those repentant laodiceans who refuse the mark. Revelation 17:6 also shows the woman (the same as the second beast of Revelation 13, picturing the great false church) drunk with the blood of the saints. There is a great martyrdom prophesied to come upon god’s people in the very near future. That is not a message you hear much about in the churches of this world. But let the Bible be true and those who refuse to believe it wrong! Those who refuse the mark in the Tribulation will be martyred.
of the Day of the lord when god unleashes the seven last plagues. Notice verses 1-2: “And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of god upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which HaD the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.” So, without this mark, you’ll be tortured to death in the Tribulation. But with this mark, you will be subject to the great wrath of Almighty god during the Day of the Lord! Revelation 14:9-11 also explain what is to happen to those who accept the mark. They will have to deal with god. We can now clearly see two very different and distinct groups: 1) Those who refuse the mark will be martyred in the Tribulation and will lose their physical lives, but be given a wonderful reward beyond that; and 2) those who receive the mark will live through the Tribulation, but will have to come face to face with the wrath of god in the Day of the lord.
D i f f e r e nc e R e volv e s Around the Commandments
We referred to Revelation 14:9-11 earlier showing how those accepting the mark will experience the wrath of god. But in verse 12, the subject shifts back to those who refuse this mark: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of god, and the faith of Jesus.” Those who refuse the mark are those who keep the commandments of god. on the other hand, Zephaniah 1:14-17 (see also Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:5-6) show that god’s wrath during the Day
Tho se w ho R e c e i v e t h e M a r k
The last year of the 31/2-year Tribulation is referred to in Bible prophecy as the Day of the Lord. The Tribulation will be Satan’s wrath on mankind while the Day of the Lord will be god’s wrath on those who still refuse to repent. Revelation 16 explains what is to happen at the very end
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of the lord falls upon those who sin, or those who break God’s law (1 John 3:4). Notice Zephaniah 1:17: “And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.” Those who are subject to the Day of the lord, as we have already seen, are those who accept the mark. Those who receive the mark, then, are those who refuse to keep god’s commandments!
been referred to as the vicar of Christ. Vicar does not mean Christ’s representative as some assume. It means “in place of” Christ. Those truly are “great words.” The author of the above-mentioned book urges readers who assume a pope would never really exercise his full power to remember the “voice of the past.”
C h a n g i n g Ti m e s a n d L aw s
let’s continue with Daniel 7:25: “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws ….” Who has changed times? In this Western society, how do we mark time? Where do we get our calendar? Who changed the beginning of a day from sunset to midnight? In Bible times, months were divided according to new moons—a very simple, logical and godly way of dividing time. Today, months are divided according to the Roman calendar. And who changed the beginning of the year from the spring, when everything is new, to January—the middle of dead winter? These are all changes instituted by the Roman Empire as influenced by this little horn, or the Roman Catholic Church. And the biggest change of all? Who changed the seventhday Sabbath to the first day of the week? Here is what Mr. Armstrong wrote in Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?: “Where did Sunday originate? Not with the church, but with the pagan religion of the Roman Empire! It is the day on which the ancient pagans assembled at sunrise, faced the east (as they do Easter Sunday morning today), and worshipped the rising sun. It was Constantine, emperor of the Roman Empire, not a pope, who made Sunday the official so-called Christian day of rest. But it was enforced—people were caused to accept it universally—by the church!” History proves Mr. Armstrong to be absolutely correct! Sunday observance was initiated by Constantine, not a pope, but it was enforced by the Roman Catholic Church. According to The History of Roman Catholicism, “The accession of Constantine the great to the throne of the Caesars, and his subsequent conversion to Christianity, forms a most important era in the history of the church.” It is important, as the writer points out, because this began the intimate relationship the Roman Empire was to develop with the Roman church—a relationship that was to last for many centuries. Changing the official day of worship to Sunday was made by Constantine during the Nicean Council of a.d. 325. Here is what he said: “At this meeting the question concerning … Easter was discussed. … First of all, it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this … feast we should follow the practice of the Jews. … Let us then have nothing in common with the Jews. … It has been determined by the common judgment of all, that the … feast of Easter should be kept on one and the same day.” In other words, Easter was to be kept on Sunday and the passover, one of god’s seven annual festivals, was expressly forbidden! Constantine continued, “Forasmuch, then, as it is no longer possible to bear with your pernicious errors, we give warning by this present statute that none of you henceforth
Prophecy is Dua l
We have seen the differences between the two distinct groups of people—those who receive the mark and those who refuse it. The difference revolves around commandment-keeping. So the mark, then, has something to do with god’s commandments. At this point, we need to go back in history to accurately prove what this mark is. We know the mark is prophesied to be enforced in the end time before Christ returns, but prophecy is dual and we should be able to look back in history and see when this mysterious mark was enforced and find out who enforced it. The beast, as we have already seen, is the Roman Empire. Notice Daniel 7:24: “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another [referring to another horn, or the little horn in verse 8 that plucks
Those who are subject to the Day of the Lord, as we have already seen, are those who accept the mark. Those who receive the mark, then, are those who refuse to keep God’s commandments!
up the first three horns by the roots] shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” The little horn in verse 8 refers to a great religious organization that speaks great things. Here is a quote from a book titled The History of Roman Catholicism (1836, page 524): “The Roman Church has adopted as its fundamental principle that it can never err, and the body of the civil law when once chosen by the church, as the basis of its system of ecclesiastical jurisprudence, partook at once of its infallibility, and unchangeableness and became one of its prominent features. To change it in one of its most unimportant [details], would be to acknowledge that the church had erred, which is impossible. … Thus the Roman pontiff is clothed with supreme authority, and combines at once in his own sacred person all the functions of the legislative, the judicial and the executive powers. He has no constitutional restraint, he is absolutely unlimited and without control. … Those surely are fallacious reasoners, who argue that because the pope has never yet exercised the power that he really possesses, with evident political effect, that he will never exercise it; they cruelly and fatally deceive themselves who indulge in pleasant slumbers when the voice of the past calls upon them to rouse to ceaseless watchfulness.” Remember, this powerful church was prophesied to speak great things. Throughout history, the pope has
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presume to assemble yourselves together. We have directed, accordingly, that you be deprived of all the houses in which you are accustomed to hold your assemblies: and forbid the holding of your superstitious and senseless meetings, not in public merely, but in any private house or place whatsoever …. Take the far better course of entering the Catholic Church …. From this day forward none of your unlawful assemblies may presume to appear in any public or private place. let this edict be made public.” And there you have it—historical proof of the enforced observance of Sunday. To assemble together on any other day for a religious observance was considered unlawful. This was confirmed at the Council of laodicea almost 40 years later in a.d. 363. At that conference, it was determined, “Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, resting rather on Sunday. But, if any be found to be Judaizing, let them be declared anathema [cursed and excommunicated] from Christ.” Daniel 7:25 prophesies that this beast, as led by the little horn, was to “change times and laws.” That is, it was to change god’s law in respect to time—the time for the Sabbath! The Sabbath is one of god’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-10). Today, the most universally disobeyed command of god, the one most people don’t really believe matters, is the command to “remember the sabbath day” and to “keep it holy”! That is because for most people, that law, in respect to time, has been changed. Today, many Sunday-observing “Christians” even admit the Sabbath was changed. Notice the question posed to the Catholic Church in the book Catholic Doctrinal Catechism: “Question: Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals or precept? answer: Had she not such power, she should 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.” As Christians today, are we to heed what a great church has admittedly changed or what is divinely inspired in the Bible? Here is a quote from the Theological Dictionary, by Charles Buck, a Methodist minister: “Sabbath in the Hebrew language signifies rest, and is the seventh day of the week … and it must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day.” And finally, here is what Isaac Williams wrote in Plain Sermons on the Catechism: “And where are we told in Scripture that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are no where commanded to keep the first day … the reason why we keep the first day of the week instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the church has enjoined it.” The Bible prophesied it would happen. History confirmed it. Back to Daniel 7:25. This same little horn that changed the law of god with respect to time was also prophesied to “wear out the saints” for “a time and times and the dividing of time”—or 31/2 years. This 31/2-year period, or 1,260 days, is to occur in the very near future. But according to a day for a year in prophecy (Ezekiel 4:6), we can also look for a 1,260-year period in history to see where this great church did actually “wear out” the saints. This principle of duality
in Bible prophecy is vital in proving exactly what is the mark of the beast, because to know what it will be in the future, all we must do is find out what it was in the past!
G o d’s C h u rc h D u r i n g the Middle Ages
Since it was Constantine who enforced Sunday observance in the Roman Empire, we should expect this 1,260-year tribulation period to begin when he made his decree in a.d. 325. And that is exactly what happened. With his decree, those saints who remained faithful to god’s Sabbath command were forced to flee into hiding for fear of their lives. persecution against these people set in almost immediately. Revelation 2 and 3 outline the history of god’s Church from its beginning in the New Testament all the way to the return of Jesus Christ. Seven Church eras were prophesied to come and go. Today, we are in the midst of the seventh and final era, Laodicea. (Write for your free copy of Malachi’s Message for a more thorough explanation.) There were two eras of god’s true Church that spanned the 1,260-year tribulation that began with Constantine. They were Pergamos and Thyatira (the third and fourth eras). of the pergamos era, John was inspired to write, “thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is” (Revelation 2:13). Satan’s seat of government at that time was where the Roman Empire was located. And that is where you will find those of the pergamos era—scattered within the Roman Empire. Concerning this group of saints, the booklet a True History of the True Church stated: “This partially preserved record [referring to a book called The Key of Truth by Fred C. Conybeare] of god’s people proves that they preached the gospel of the Kingdom; that they believed the Church was founded not only upon Jesus Christ, but also upon the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20); that they baptized by immersion; that they laid on hands for the ‘reception of the Spirit.’ They not only ‘continued to keep the passover on the 14th of Nisan,’ but they also observed the Sabbath and the festival of unleavened Bread.” Yes, they were Sabbathkeepers! In secular sources, those of the pergamos era became known as the Paulicians. Many in pergamos began to compromise with god’s truth once persecution set in. In Revelation 2:16, god warned them to either repent, or be faced with the sword. Most did not repent. So they had to suffer the sword, just as god said. According to a True History of the True Church, over 100,000 of them were martyred. The pergamos era was virtually wiped out. However, because of the teachings of the paulicians, there was a small band of followers that remained faithful to god in the Alpine regions of southern Europe. Thus began the next era—Thyatira. Concerning this era of god’s people, the lutheran historian Mosheim noted that these congregations held “a notion that the observance of the law of Moses, in everything except the offerings of sacrifices, was obligatory upon Christians. … They abstained from those meats the use of which was prohibited under the Mosaic economy, and celebrated the Jewish Sabbath. The second tenet which distinguished this sect was advanced in opposition to the doctrine of three persons in the divine nature.” Here is a group which observed the Sabbath and rejected
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the pagan trinity belief! They were severely persecuted for what they believed. A crusade against these people was instituted in Southern France. once again, many thousands were martyred. Around the time of a.d. 1,000, it looked as though this era of god’s Church had come to an end. This is significant, because concerning the Thyatira era, god said the last works would be more than the first (Revelation 2:19). That is exactly what happened in history. The era was revived during the last half of the 12th century by a man named peter Waldo. He was to do an even greater work. After much study of the Scriptures, Waldo claimed that nowhere was the apostolic life observed as commanded by Christ. He quickly amassed thousands of followers. The Catholic Church considered him a great threat. It was around this time that pope Alexander iii made this stunning decree at the Council of Tours in a.d. 1163: “Whereas a damnable heresy has for some time lifted its head in the parts about Toulouse, and already spread infection through gascony and other provinces, concealing itself like a serpent in its folds; as soon as its followers shall have been discovered, let no man afford them refuge on his estates; neither let there be any communication with them in buying and selling: so that, being deprived of the solace of human conversation, they may be compelled to return from error to wisdom.” Notice that people were forbidden to buy or sell with these “heretics” because of what they believed. Remember, Revelation 13:17 says those who refused the mark would not be able to buy or sell. The Waldenses grew nonetheless. Waldo devoted his life to making more copies of the Scriptures. Back then, very few people owned their own Bibles. If the Catholic priests taught it, it must have been true because most people didn’t have a Bible to check up on it. With the rapid spread of Scriptures came the increase of dissension. Many Waldenses began to meet privately in homes to discuss the Bible. pope Innocent iii ruled the Catholic Church in the early 1,200s. Though he admitted it was all right for the common people to study the Scriptures themselves, he nevertheless warned, “It is not proper for you to hold your meetings in private, nor to act as preachers, nor to ridicule the priests. Remember that men must have a special training before they can understand the deep things of Holy Scripture. The priests are trained for this purpose. listen to them. Respect even the most ignorant of them. Beware of thinking that you alone are correct, and despising those who do not join you” (History of the Christian Church, 1879). As dissension grew, those who were reading the Scriptures for themselves began to be persecuted. The author of History of the Christian Church then continued, “They were called Waldensians, as if that were a hard name. Force was applied to them. They were routed; their versions were burnt, so far as possible; their opinions rooted out. The priests of Metz breathed freely again, and went on in their old ways of ignorance, idleness, and vicious selfishness. like cases seem to have occurred at Auxerre, and various towns in France, until the Council of Toulouse, in 1229, forbade the laity to possess the books of the old and New Testaments in any language ….” That’s history. A great church actually forbade people to read the Bible. Throughout history, this church has
spoken “great things.” In any doctrinal controversy, we must believe the Bible, NOT MEN! The followers of peter Waldo and those of the pergamos and Thyatira eras were persecuted by the Roman Empire. The cause behind it was the Roman church. god’s people were persecuted to the point that they were literally worn out just as Daniel prophesied (Daniel 7:25).
Tw o M a r t y r d o m s
As mentioned earlier, prophecy is dual, and this is crucial to proving what is the mark of the beast. Notice Revelation 6:9-10: “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of god, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, o lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” When the fifth seal is opened, the prophesied great Tribulation begins (Matthew 24:21-22). And notice, we find the martyrs of god already dead when the Tribulation begins. Why were they killed? Because of the Word of god, or because of what they believed. Verse 11 continues, “And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” There is another martyrdom yet to take place during the soon-coming Tribulation! prophecy is dual! The same mark that will be enforced in the near future has already been enforced in history. With all the background covered up to this point, we come to seven clear points concerning this mark: 1) The mark plainly means the rejection of God’s commandments. 2) Refusing the mark plainly means one is keeping the commandments of God. 3) It is a mark OF the beast. So the Roman Empire is the author of this mark. 4) But Satan gave this empire its power. So Satan is the real author of the mark. 5) Furthermore, it is the Roman church that deceives people into accepting this mark. She causes all to receive the mark. 6) If you refuse this mark, you are prohibited from buying and selling—prohibited from holding a job. So it must revolve around a commandment of god that has to do with work. 7) History and Revelation 6:9-10 prove that god’s people have been slaughtered already for refusing the mark. It should be clear to all now just what this mysterious mark is. Here is what Mr. Armstrong wrote in Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?, “[T]he mark is something enforced by the church, originating in the paganism of the Roman Empire, which a cunning, deceiving devil would seize on as a means of cleverly deceiving people into breaking god’s Ten Commandments. And it involves a direct connection with holding a job—engaging in business—earning a living. “Satan is clever—cunning—a deceiver. He palms off counterfeits, which look like the genuine! Naturally he would select the one commandment of god that he can counterfeit
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with a substitute—one in which by human reason alone no man could see where it would make any difference! He would select the one which would seem of least importance to the carnal human mind! “He would not try to deceive men on idolatry, profanity, or on stealing, lying, murder, adultery—though he has led people into all of these. “But what commandment could it be—what commandment affecting a man’s job or his business? “There is only one possible commandment—the one regarded by the largest number as the ‘least’ of the commandments—and that is the Fourth Commandment, which says: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy … The seventh day is the sabbath of the lord thy god.’ “No carnal mind can see, without the special spiritual revelation of god through His Word, where it makes any difference which day man observes.” Sunday observance, as Mr. Armstrong thoroughly proved, is the mark of the beast that will be enforced in the near future. Most of the world has willingly accepted this mark for many centuries now. But god’s people still keep the Sabbath. And those saints who have become lukewarm in these last days will be tested on this very command!
But Exodus 31:13 also says god sanctifies those who obey the Sabbath. Sanctify means “to set apart for a holy use or purpose.” Just try obeying god’s Sabbath command along with His annual holy days and see if it doesn’t set you apart in this world! It was for breaking the Sabbath that both
“There is only one possible commandment—the one regarded by the largest number as the ‘least’ of the commandments—and that is the Fourth Commandment, which says: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy … The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God.’ “No carnal mind can see, without the special spiritual revelation of God through His Word, where it makes any difference which day man observes.” Herbert W. Armstrong Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?
Israel and Judah went into captivity, anciently (Ezekiel 20:5, 11-13, 17-21). Why did Israel go into captivity and eventually become known as the “lost 10 tribes”? Why do people of the united States and British nations today not realize they are in fact Israel? Because they lost god’s Sabbath sign! They lost the sign that identifies them. So they became lost. But the Sabbath was done away with once the New Covenant came, people might argue. let’s continue in Exodus 31: “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever …” (verses 16-17). This was a different and separate covenant made by god and the people of Israel. This occurred after the old Covenant was given. If it was not part of the old Covenant, then it was not abolished in the New Testament! It was to be a sign forever. lose the sign and you lose your identity. Why do people today call the Jews Israel? Because they still observe Saturday as the Sabbath! And so people identify them as Israel. They are actually Judah. But Judah was one of the 12 tribes of Israel. The rest of the tribes can be found primarily in Western Europe, the united States and the nations which were once part of the British Empire. They remain unidentified today because of losing the sign. (please write for your free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy for proof of where Israel is today.) We have already seen how those who refuse the mark of the beast will be martyred. When we put the scriptures together it becomes clear: By holding on to god’s Sabbath commandment you are rejecting the mark of the beast, which is Sunday observance, and all of the pagan, worldly customs that go along with it.
Th e S a b b at h I s G o d’s S i g n
In realizing that Sunday is Satan’s mark, it is also important to know that Saturday, or the Sabbath, is god’s sign. Mark and sign are often used interchangeably in the Bible. But there is one clear distinction between the two as Mr. Armstrong pointed out. A mark is forcefully branded on someone while a sign must be voluntarily accepted. god entered into a Sabbath covenant with the ancient Israelites in which they voluntarily accepted god’s sign of the Sabbath. “And the lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the lord that doth sanctify you” (Exodus 31:12-13). Notice first that it says sabbaths, plural. god’s sabbaths are a sign. That means the weekly Sabbath as well as the annual sabbaths—god’s holy days. leviticus 23 is commonly referred to by god’s people as the holy day chapter of the Bible. But a quick review of the chapter shows that the very first holy day to be observed is god’s weekly Sabbath (leviticus 23:3). god commanded us to keep the Sabbath day holy. The annual holy days were added as statutes of god’s law. They go hand in hand with the weekly Sabbath. Together, they are a sign. Sunday, Satan’s mark, goes hand in hand with the popular customs and beliefs of this world: Christmas, good Friday, Easter, etc. But how does god’s Sabbath command identify god? Exodus 31:13 says, “that ye may know that I am the lord.” It identifies god because it points back to creation! Notice the last part of verse 17: “[F]or in six days the lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” The Sabbath was created when man was created (genesis 2:1-3). It was made for man (Mark 2:27). It was made for man to point man back to god—the Creator! That is how it identifies god.
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Th e M a r k of t h e BE A S T
S a t a n ’ s C o m i n g Wa r
In the end time, Satan was prophesied to be cast down to this Earth after an attempt to overtake god on His throne (Revelation 12:9). This undoubtedly occurred around the time of Mr. Armstrong’s death in 1986. looking at what has happened to god’s Church since that time proves this. Satan was to be cast to this Earth and it says he would be filled with great wrath (verse 12). He would focus his attention on persecuting the woman, or god’s Church (verse 13). That has happened. The Church split is proof of that! But in verse 14, it says the woman is taken to a safe place. This occurs at the beginning of the great Tribulation. The philadelphians will be protected. But notice verse 17: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make
war with the remnant [or rest] of her seed, which keep the commandments of god [like the Sabbath], and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Satan is going to make war! He is doing everything he can to deceive philadelphians today to keep them from this place of protection so they will go through the Tribulation. Then, once the Tribulation begins, Satan will make war with those saints who are not protected in an attempt to destroy their eternal lives. That war will consist of him trying to force his brand, or mark, upon god’s people. There is not much time left to prove where you stand with god. Are you accepting this mark of the beast today? Will you accept it in the Tribulation? Those who do, will be subject to the wrath of god. But for those who reject this evil mark, the greatest possible reward you could ever imagine awaits you! ■
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