Church of God, New World Ministries

Who Or What Is The Prophetic Beast? (Part Four)

What Is the Mark of the Beast?

Part Four

We begin now to see that the mark of the beast involves a point of obedience – whether we shall obey God or reject the commandments of God and obey man’s rule. It has something to do, then, with the commandments of God!

Notice, there are two classes – one has the mark, the other rejects it and is martyred. Notice now the description of those who refuse this evil mark:

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12).  There it is! In verses 9-11 of this chapter the third angel warns that those who have the mark of the beast shall be punished by the plagues of God. In the next verse, the 12th, the saints who do not have the mark are those who keep the commandments of God.

Those who have the mark, therefore, are those who refuse to keep the commandments of God! The mark of the beast, therefore, involves a rejection of the commandments of God, or, more specifically, of one of them, for if we break one we are guilty of all (James 2:10). So, one class of people accepts the mark of the beast; the other class keeps the commandments of God.

Hence, whatever the mark of the beast may be, it means disobedience to God’s government – to the commandments of God. Here’s further proof – here are they who get victory over this mark:

“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Rev. 15:2-3).

This corresponds to the children of Israel, delivered from Egyptian bondage under Moses. Moses was a type of Christ. Pharaoh was the type and forerunner of this beast. The plagues God poured on Egypt were a type of the last plagues to be poured out on Babylon.

The children of Israel stood on the shore of the Red Sea, and God miraculously delivered them. Here the saints of God are pictured on this symbolic sea of glass. They sing the song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb (Christ). Moses pictures law and God’s commandments; the Lamb pictures faith and salvation from sin.

Remember, the beast is the human civil organization of the devil. In Revelation 12, we find Satan stirred to great wrath “because he knows that he hath but a short time” (v. 12). He then starts a great persecution, or tribulation, against the True Church – the true saints of God. This is just prior to the Second Coming of Christ (v. 3). Now notice against whom Satan is wroth:

“And the dragon (Satan) was wroth with the woman (Church), and went to make war with the remnant (last generation) of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (the Bible)” (v. 17).

There it is again! Those keeping God’s commandments – those yielding themselves to God’s rule, and living by every word of God – by the Bible – which is the written testimony of Jesus Christ. They are the ones the devil will persecute and martyr through his false church and his reborn empire.

But Satan knows his own. He will brand his own with a mark, so they shall not receive this persecution and martyrdom, even as God put a mark on sinning Cain lest men finding him slay him (Gen. 4:15).

All who do not receive Satan’s brand – the mark of the beast-- will suffer Satan’s wrath in the tribulation. Thank God, those days shall be cut short, for the elect’s sake!

Again, there are two classes of people. That class that receives the mark of the beast is the class upon whom the plagues of God will fall. So if we can further identify those who shall receive this wrath of God, and why God will thus punish them, we shall further identify what the mark is.

In Eph. 5 Paul is telling Christians to flee fornication, covetousness, idolatry – transgressing the Ten Commandments. Then he says: “For because of these things (transgressing God’s law) cometh the wrath of God (last plagues) upon the children of disobedience” (v. 6). How plain! The wrath of God – the seven lat plagues are coming on those who disobey God, by violating the commandments. The plagues fall upon those who have the mark of the beast.

Those who receive the plagues are breakers of God’s commandments, and also at the same time receivers of the mark! It becomes more and more plain that the mark of the beast represents commandment breaking.

Notice this again in Colossians 3:5-6: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry (transgression of some of the Ten Commandments): for which things’ sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience.”

Notice it also in the prophecies of the Old Testament: “The great day of the Lord (time of God’s wrath – the last plagues) is near that day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress and I (God) will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men (The plagues! But why?), because they have sinned against the Lord” (Zeph. 1:14-17).

What is sin? “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4) – commandment breaking.

Now, let’s recapitulate! The truth is becoming plain!

  1. The mark plainly means the rejecting and breaking of God’s commandments. And in James 2:10-11, God says if we break only one of the commandments, we are guilty of breaking the law – guilty of all!

  2. The Roman Empire is the real author of this mark. It is the mark of the beast, not the woman who rode the beast.

  3. The church caused people to be deceived into receiving this mark.

  4. Satan gives this Roman Empire its seat and great authority – it is the political instrument through which Satan works, in deceiving the world.

  5. Those that refuse this mark are prohibited from “buying or selling” – engaging in commerce, trade or holding a job.

  6. Many of those refusing this mark were, and shall again be, martyred because of their refusal, because they keep the commandments of God.

  7. Therefore, the inevitable and plain conclusion is that the 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 one commandment of God that he can counterfeit 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 that 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.

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 worshiped 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! It was for obeying God’s Fourth Commandment – keeping the Sabbath – that millions of saints were put to death. The local Council of Laodicea, about A.D. 363, passed this decree: “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 from Christ.”

The church caused them to be killed. When the church branded one “anathema” (a heretic), the state police of the empire began torturing him. Unless he recanted, he was tortured until he died!

Laws became so strict no man could hold a job, or engage in business, unless he worked on Saturday and rested on Sunday. And the world is now so geared that it is almost impossible for one to “buy and sell” except he receive this mark of the beast!

This is the only commandment that was altered by the Roman Empire! In Daniel 7:25 we read the prophecy of this beast and the little horn (the political government of the church) rising up, which was to think to change “times and laws.” That is, think to change God’s law in respect to time – the time for the Sabbath!

Now what is a mark? In Bible usage it is virtually synonymous with a “sign,” and in one or two places used interchangeably. There is merely this difference: A mark is a brand of identification, forced on one. Cattle raisers put by force their mark on their cattle – their brand.  A sign is also a badge of identity, but one voluntarily accepted and used. A druggist hangs a sign in front of his store. It may say, “Jones & Co., Drugs.” It identifies. It tells what kind of store, and who owns it.

Now the beast, in association with the church, used force to brand the Western world with their mark. Those who obeyed God and kept His Sabbath were martyred. They were unable to “buy or sell.” But God does not force anyone. God lets us make our own decision about obeying Him, accepting Christ and becoming His obedient children.

But is the Sabbath God’s sign that we are Christians, belonging to Him? Yes, indeed!

It was after God had made, and ratified, the covenant with Israel. The Old Covenant, of course, was for limited duration and is now replaced with the New. But any covenant made after it had been made and ratified by blood was no part of that Old Covenant.

It was 40 days after that ratification that God made a new, separate, different covenant between Himself and all who should be His people, to last forever. This was no temporary covenant, but for all generations, forever.

It is found in Exodus 31:12-17: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying . . . . . Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations.” Now why is it a sign? Does it identify God to us? Does it identify us as His? “That ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” Get the powerful meaning of those words!

It is a sign, that we may know that the Eternal is the true God. It identifies who God is. How? Notice verse 17: “It is a sign . . . . . for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

It is the memorial of God’s rest creation. Always, in all parts of the Bible, God identifies Himself as Creator. How can we distinguish who is the true God from all the false gods? The true God created everything that is, including everything people have turned into false gods and worshiped.

Some worshiped the sun. But the Eternal, the true God, created the sun, and rules it. Some worship idols carved out of stone, or wood, or marble. But the true God created that from which they were made, and even the human beings who made them.

The Sabbath is God’s Sabbath, not the Jewish Sabbath. Never does the Bible call it the”Jewish Sabbath.” It identifies God as the Creator. The Sabbath was made for man. So said Jesus (Mark 2:27). It was made when man was made (Gen. 2:1-3). It was made – and it was Christ, the Yahweh or Eternal-- who made it! Therefore He is the Lord of the Sabbath!

It was made to keep man in the true knowledge of the identity of the true God, to keep him from idolatry! And history proves that every nation who did not keep God’s Sabbath worshiped false gods, and did not know who the true God was! When Israel quit keeping God’s Sabbath, they went into idolatry (Ez. 20:5, 11-13, 17-21).

It was for Sabbath breaking God sent both Israel and Judah into slavery! Now, go back to Exodus 31:17-18. It also is the sign by which we are identified as belonging to God. We belong to whom we obey – so we read in Romans (Rom. 6:16)! It is the sign by which we know he is the Eternal “that doth sanctify you.”

To sanctify is to set apart for spiritual use. The Sabbath sets one apart from the world, and always did as obeying and belonging to God. Can you think of any reason why anyone would ever keep the Sabbath, except to obey God? Would any man defy human custom and invite persecution, and be set apart as different, through human reason? Could any atheist be a Sabbath keeper? The Sabbath identifies God’s people!

God’s people, we have seen above, are identified as they who keep the commandments. The world acknowledges all the other nine commandments. The only one the world rejects is the fourth. The only one that sets one apart from the world – that identified one as belonging to God –is the Sabbath.

Notice, verse 16, it is a “perpetual covenant.” It is a covenant! It is not part of the Old Covenant! Not part of the Law of Moses! It was made with Israel after all these, and is a separate and perpetual covenant! “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever.” There it is! It is a covenant. It is forever!

When given to physical flesh-born Israel, this covenant punished by death any breaking of the sign. Today, since the administration of the death penalty by the Levities and judges is not being done (II Cor. 3:7-8), and since all believers, in all nations, whether Israelite or gentile, are grafted into spiritual Israel (Rom. 11:24), the willful refusal to keep this sign is punishable by death – the second death. “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God” (Heb. 10:28-20)?

God says the penalty for sin is death! Sin is the transgression of the law. If we break only this one commandment, we are guilty. The penalty is death!

The Roman church caused people to receive the mark of pagan Rome – the Sunday observed by the pagan Roman Empire – and the penalty for disobedience was death; Fifty million or more were put to death – so says history.

It is the only commandment the world will not accept in its mind (forehead) and obey (by work, or rest, with the hand). It is the only commandment that can distinguish between those who have the mark of the beast, or the sign of God.

Now the book of Revelation is written mostly in symbols. The right hand symbolizes work or labor, the forehead, the intellect or mind. It has to do with what we believe, in the mind, and whether we obey, with the hand.

How about God’s sign? It also was received in the forehead, and the hand! Regarding one of God’s annual Sabbaths, we read: “It shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes (forehead), that the Lord’s law may be in thy mouth” (Ex. 13:9).

“Now these are the commandments . . . . . .and these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart and thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes” (Deut. 6:1, 6-8).

“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes” (Deut. 11:18).  Also see Proverbs 7:2-3 and Revelation 7:3-4, 14:1. There is absolute proof!

The Sabbath is God’s sign, standing, more than any commandment, for obedience. It was symbolically in the hand and in the forehead, just as the mark of the beast – the pagan Sunday – was in the right hand and in the forehead!

Sunday observance – Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, etc this is the mark of the beast!

The church did cause all under the “Holy Roman Empire” to receive this mark, during the Middle Ages. Not only were active church members caused to observe Sunday instead of the Sabbath, but it became a universal custom so that all the Western world – regardless of religious connection or belief accepted Sunday instead of Saturday as the weekly day of rest. It has become universal in the Western world except for Judaism, a few sects in Christianity and the comparative few whom God has called out of this world and into His true Church.

Has the Roman church stopped causing people to receive this mark? Just at present she has not the power to enforce this mark on everyone. But there will be a United States of Europe – a union of 10 nations. It will be a union of church and state and the church once again will sit astride the beast.

Now notice Daniel 7:21-22: “I beheld, and the same horn (the political government of the church) made war with the saints, and prevailed against them: until the Ancient of days came (Second Coming of Christ), and judgment was given to the saints of the most High.”

The mark of the beast once again will be enforced! No one will be able to hold a job or engage in business without it. Those refusing will once again be tortured and martyred – probably by the secret police of the political state – but at the behest of the church!

God’s last warning is this: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4). Do you at this time have the mark of the beast? Do you observe Sunday as your day of worship? (Enroll today in our Mini-Correspondence Course and our Traditional Christian Doctrine series.  They are FREE!)

If you obey God – if you are watching, praying without ceasing – you shall be accounted worthy to escape – and come under God’s protection (Luke 21:36).

 
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