Do you realize the “mark of the beast” brands the vast majority today who believe themselves to be Christians? Unbelievable, but true!
You must be sure this brand is not upon you! – For it can mean your eternal death! Very soon, Satan the Devil will inspire his agents to enforce again, by the sheer brutality of military might, the “Mark of the Beast” upon the whole Western world as he did during the Middle Ages!
Sunday worship is the “mark of the beast”! Sunday is the day on which the ancient pagans assembled at sunrise, faced the east, and worshipped the rising sun.
It was Constantine “The Great,” a pagan sun-worshipper and Emperor of the Roman Empire, who made Sunday the official national weekly day of rest in the Roman Empire! Here are the words of Constantine’s famous Edict of 321 A.D.: “On the venerable day of the sun let all magistrates and people rest” (Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, article “Sunday Legislation”). Notice that Constantine was a civil ruler, not a priest. Thus, a civil Roman government, not ecclesiastical –power imposed Sunday as the accepted day of rest and worship upon the subjects of the kingdom.
In your Bible, the ancient Roman system is pictured as a wild animal, a wild “beast.” It was the “beast” which enforced its mark - Sunday observation - the “Mark of the Beast” upon the ancient world!
Once Sunday was established as the day of worship by Constantine, a religious power, a church, a church other than the true church Jesus Christ had established took over the furtherance of Sunday observance. This great church has continued to be the champion of this day on down through the centuries into our times. It is a tremendous ecclesiastical power which is prophesied to vigorously continue the furtherance of Sunday keeping down to the end of this age.
This church, the Catholic Church, became responsible for causing the civil government of the Empire to put people to death if they refused to keep Sunday. “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 (keeping God’s Sabbath), let them be declared anathema from Christ” (A History of the Councils of the Church p. 316).This decree was passed by the Roman Catholic Council of Laodicea, in about 365 A.D.!
Laws became so strict no man could even hold a job, or engage in any kind of business, unless he worked on Saturday and rested on Sunday. And when the Church declared one “anathema” (accursed as a heretic) the state police of the now Catholic Church dominated Roman Empire (symbolically represented in the Bible as the beast being ridden by a fallen “woman” – Rev. 17) began torturing them. Unless he recanted of his “heretical Sabbath keeping,” he was tortured to death!
Yes, it was for obeying the 4th Commandment, for observing the Sabbath and refusing to keep Satan’s Sunday, that millions (many of them true Christians) were tortured and killed during the Middle Ages.
Universal compulsory Sunday observance was caused to be enforced later by the Roman Catholic Church which finally gained political dominance over the “beast” – the Roman Empire!
This tribulation of the Middle Ages was only a small forerunner of the “great tribulation” which is yet to come! God shows this same satanically inspired religious-political system is to be in existence at the close of this age, now in just a few short years! And through it, the Devil will once again enforce the “Mark of the Beast” with more fiendish brutality than ever dreamed possible!
Notice the grim warning from your Bible: “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time” (Rev. 12:12). This is for the days now just immediately ahead of us!
Millions will suffer through this gruesome time of Satan’s wrath: “I beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes. These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9, 14).
Millions are to suffer through this terrible period of great tribulation that is just ahead! Multiplied thousands of them will be the ones who are spiritually asleep as they hear the warning message of God’s true servants. But you see here, you have God’s very word for it here, that hundreds of thousands of a great multitude, a multitude that “no man can number,” will neglect this warning! They will voluntarily take the dreadful Mark of the Beast!
God warned there would consecutively arise four great world-dominating destructive kingdoms. God pictured these four kingdoms by a huge terrible-looking four-sectioned image. To make it even clearer, God also pictured these same kingdoms by four fearful beasts. Read Daniel 2:28-40.
Here is symbolically described the four consecutive world-ruling Gentile empires. The first empire was Nebuchadnezzar’s Chaldean Empire called Babylon after the name of its capital city, Babylon existed from 625-538 B.C.
We know from history that the next kingdom was to be the Persian Empire called the Medo-Persian because it was composed of the Medes and Persians; it lasted from 558 to 333 B.C.
The third world-ruling empire was to be Greece under Alexander the Great who conquered the Persian Empire, it ruled from 333 to 31 B.C. And the 4th empire was to be the Roman Empire and it ruled from 31 to 476 A.D.
What was the description of the four beasts God showed Daniel? The first beast was like a “lion” (Dan. 7:4), the second was like a “bear” (v.5) , the third like a “leopard” (v. 6), and the fourth beast was so dreadful and terrible looking that it could not be compared to any wild beast that inhabited the earth (v. 7).
Why was the 4th beast, the Roman Empire, so “dreadful and terrible and strong exceedingly” and different from the other three beasts that were before it? Notice the words “devour the whole earth” (Daniel 7:23). The Roman Empire which the 4th beast represents, began at Rome, then spread out and gradually absorbed “devoured, and brake in pieces” all the remnants of the other preceding kingdoms, occupying all their territory. It became extremely powerful because it embodied the strong physical and military characteristics of all its predecessor kingdoms. Truly, the 4th beast was a very strange and mysterious-looking animal, for “dreadful and terrible and strong exceedingly” was the Roman Empire to become!
So important was the 4th beast, the Roman Empire, which God deals with in great detail because of its fearsome destructive power. And, because it is the beast which is to appear again in our time!
At this very moment, Satan is preparing the grand climax of his destructiveness through this great “beast” for it is the “beast” which will soon enforce its mark again upon the entire world!
What was the description of the composite beast God showed the apostle John approximately 650 years after Daniel’s vision? Read Rev. 13:1-2, here, again is described a very strange and mysterious-looking animal! God showed John a symbolic beast which looked as though it had swallowed up three different animals, a lion, a leopard and a bear, which in turn manifested parts of themselves in such a way as to make up the total body of the beast. John’s total beast, (Rev. 13:2) the 4th beast, is composed of the most powerful parts of the three previous empires and therefore is a composite of each of the other three beasts.
John’s total beast and Daniel’s 4th beast each symbolically represent the Roman Empire. The Satan-dominated “Holy Roman Empire,” during the Middle Ages, exterminated all known Sabbath-observing Christians! And it is for this very same purpose that at the close of this age, Satan is now reviving again this powerful Roman system! That system today will emerge from the confines of the European Union which is in its formation period right now!
Let’s learn how Satan, in the past, through this diabolical political instrumentality, the Roman Empire, began to force under threat of death, his own Sunday keeping upon millions of people in the Roman world. For it is a type of what is just ahead!
The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. IV, pp. 2259-60, art. “Sunday,” informs us: “Sunday (dies solis, of the Roman Calendar, ‘day of the sun,’ because dedicated to the sun), the first day of the week, was adopted by the early (apostatizing) Christians as a day of worship. It was called the ‘Lord’s Day’ (Satan is the “lord,” the god of this world II Cor. 4:4). No regulations for its observance are laid down in the New Testament, nor indeed, is its observance even enjoined (by the true God). It is a day of observance furthered by the Devil and his servants!).”
In 321 A.D. Sunday observance began to be enjoined by Roman state decree! History reveals that it was the Roman Empire’s, Constantine “The Great,” who made the decree to force the world to keep Sunday, and thereby break the True Sabbath of God.
Constantine’s edict reads as follows: “On the venerable day of the sun (Sunday) let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed” (Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12:3; by Schaff. Vol. III, p. 380).
What was Constantine’s specific reason for making this decree? It was his mode of harmonizing the discordant religions of the empire under one common institution (Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church, by Dean Arthur).
Isn’t there a move by a great Roman Church today to “harmonize” discordant religions? So Sunday observance became the “Mark of the Beast,” for it was the state, the beast or Roman Empire, which declared Sunday to be observed as an imperial holiday.
Very soon after 321, Constantine forced Sunday-keeping upon the world with armed military might, using a decree issued in 325 as legal authority.
History tells us death resulted for those who steadfastly opposed the Sunday observance dictates of the Roman government! The Roman Constantine warned the true followers of God, the Sabbath-keeping Christians who refused to keep Sunday and insisted on observing God’s test commandment, the Sabbath day, “To speak of your criminality as it deserves (Constantine inferred Sabbath-keeping was a criminal thing to do) demands more time and leisure than I can give. Why not at once strike, as it were, at the root of so great a mischief (keeping God’s true Sabbath day) by a public manifestation of displeasure? Forasmuch, then, as it is no longer possible to hear with your pernicious errors (of obeying God’s Sabbath commandment), we give warning by this present statute that none of you henceforth 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 (we) forbid the holding of your superstitious and senseless meetings (on the Sabbath day), not in public merely, but in any private house or place whatsoever. We have commanded that you be positively deprived of every gathering point for your superstitious meetings, I mean all the houses of prayer that any other places be confiscated to the public service, and no facility whatever be left for any future gathering (on God’s Sabbath) in order that from this day forward none of your unlawful (in the sight of the Roman government) assemblies may presume to appear in any public or private place” (from Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, bk. III).
This same Eusebius, a Catholic historian who lived in the time of Constantine, sums up the work of Constantine by declaring: “And the credit of having achieved this mighty work (of beginning the organized effort to stamp out all known Sabbath keeping) our heaven-protected Emperor alone, of all who had gone before him, was able to attribute to himself” (bk. III, chp. 66).
Satan has his destructive civil government on earth which is doing his will. Satan gives it “his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Rev. 13:2). But Satan also has an ecclesiastical organization, a Great Church which is his religious instrumentality in deceiving the world. God uses another “Beast” to picture this great destructive false church. It, too, is a ruling devouring government!
Here is God’s astounding revelation, from His Word, which positively identifies the “second beast” of Rev. 13:11 “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.” This “little horn” is nothing more than the Papacy – political government of the Roman Catholic Church which ruled the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages. Don’t confuse this beast with the first beast which you have proven to be the civil Roman Empire. (Send for our FREE DVD, “The Papacy”, for details on how this “little horn” came to power).
Notice that this second beast appears “like a lamb,” falsely impersonating Jesus Christ (which is the true Lamb of God), and His true teachings of salvation. It actually speaks the lies of the Satan the Devil.
It is this second beast that is godly appearing, but actually is the devil inspired false church which utilizes all of the power of the first beast’s might, the civil government !
Just how and when did it begin to exercise the first beast’s power? It was when the first beast’s deadly wound was received. The Roman Empire of the West fell (476 A.D.) when the barbarians overran it, thus ending its government for a while. The wound was healed in 554 A.D. by Justinian’s restoration of the Roman government. At that time this religious government completely took over all the power of the Roman civil government and exercised its power to rule the Roman Empire!
Here is how it was accomplished. Prior to 554 A.D. Justinian, Emperor of the Eastern division of the Roman Empire, had written a letter to the Pope acknowledging his supremacy. He, as civil governor, was willing to be ruled by the ecclesiastical head.
And when he ascended to the throne in 554, he was accepted by the Pope, whose authority the Emperor acknowledged. Church and state were now united. Here for the first time in history, the Church was ruling the State, instead of the state controlling the church! It was a new thing in the world, church over the State. A pattern to be striven for yet again in our time!
We read in history that the Popes were accepted as the Vicars of Christ, which means “in place of Christ”! The Catholic teaching was that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ had occurred, Christ has returned to earth, as King of kings and Lord of lords, in the person of the Popes!
The millennium had (supposedly) begun. For the entire duration of the “healed” church-dominated beast’s existence the Emperors accepted the Popes as ruling in Christ’s place, ruling all nations with a “rod of iron” as Christ is to do at His real coming! Consequently the Roman Emperors gave over their power to the Popes.
In the Encyclopedia Britannica, article “Millennium,” you will find the history of this very event, of how the “Holy Roman Empire” came to be called the “Kingdom of God upon earth.”
The two horns of the 2nd beast of Rev. 13:11 symbolize two types of government. A “horn” represents a king or government. There are two horns, two governments. It embodied church government, and it also was a state, or civil government, always occupying a certain amount of territory in Italy over which it, alone, ruled as an independent sovereign state, in addition to actually ruling over the vast civil kingdom called “The Roman Empire.” Even today the Catholic Church is a separate, independent, sovereign state. Most nations send ambassadors to it, just as they do to the United States, to China, Italy, and England. So this “second beast” was and is today, a Church-State government! But, with its power, it would expand its government and Sunday observance around the earth!
This Great Church which rules over these many nations and commits spiritual fornication by political relationships with civil governments is also a great Mother Church! She has “harlot” daughters. They have come out of her in “protest” of some of her doctrines.
But these “Protestant”, protesting “daughters”, have retained many doctrines of the Mother Church, the Roman Catholic Church. That is why God links these churches with her. They did not protest greatly, for it still continues to keep the same Catholic Sunday!
The modern Protestant “daughter” churches of the Catholic Church freely admit the reason they keep the Sunday “mark of the beast” is because they follow the Catholic Church in their Sunday-keeping practice. Have you read the Doxology in these churches? They profess belief in the Roman Catholic Church.
The Protestants recognize that Sunday worship was merely the result of Catholic tradition! They know it didn’t come from the Bible! Here is a frank admission from the Lutheran Church: “The observance of the Lord’s day (meaning Sunday) is founded not on any command of God, but on the authority of the (Catholic) Church” (the Augsburg Confession, part 2, chapter I sec. 10).
The Church of England (in one of its catechisms) makes the following frank statement regarding Sunday: “And where are we told in Scriptures that we are to keep the first day (Sunday) at all? We are commanded to keep the 7th: but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day. The reason why we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the 7th is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible but because the (Catholic) Church has enjoined it” (Plain Sermons on the Catechism,” by Mr. Isaac Williams, D.D., vol. 1, pp. 334-336). That is quite an admission!
The following confession, by Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, author of “The Baptist Manual,” “Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian (Catholic) fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it (Sunday) comes branded with the mark of paganism and Christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the Papal Apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism! What a revelation!
Yes, the Catholic Church bequeathed this pagan first day of the week; all wrapped up in a Sunday wrapper, to the Protestant churches, her daughters. They have followed Satan-inspired Mother Rome to this very day! Are you attending one of these “Churches”?
From the beginning the Protestants were not interested in obedience to God, or in the Gospel of the Kingdom. Exactly as the early Catholics, they were seeking to convert the kingdoms of this world to their own religions. The truth that was open to them passed through their fingers! This is why Protestants observe Sunday today! They have voluntarily adopted the “mark of the beast,” the Roman Empire’s national holiday, the day which the Roman Catholic Church voluntarily accepted and later caused to be enforced by the might of the sword!
And just as the Sabbath is the “sign” which distinguishes the true worshippers of God and pictures their destiny of eternal, restful spiritual bodies in the Kingdom of God: Sunday is the “mark” or “brand” which identifies the worshippers and followers of Satan the Devil. They are keeping a day in commemoration of their eternal destiny too, unless they repent, Eternal Death in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15) a time when the surface of this earth shall burn as the surface of the sun consuming all the disobedient upon it.
This is the ironic destiny of those who keep Satan’s Sun-Day! Don’t you keep Sunday, the “Mark of the Beast”!