Book of Revelation – a series presented by pastor Michael Walker
Lesson #15 – Revelation, chapter 13
The topic of the ‘Mark of the Beast’ has attracted the interest and curiosity of many people who claim a range of theories as to what it is. Yet, as we examine the Bible’s clear teachings we discover its true identity. It is vitally important therefore to have that knowledge so that we are not deceived and “carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). We therefore embark upon this study to understand what the Bible has Revelation revealed to us.
1. The Composite Beast from the Sea
In our previous study we identified the emergence of the papacy in the beast that arose out of the sea (vs. 1,2), when the church in the course of its historical journey, compromised the pure faith of Jesus for the pagan rites and practices of the former Pagan Roman Empire.
Our attention was drawn to the time of the papacy’s demise towards the close of the 18th century, when another power arose that was established upon two important principles – namely civil freedom styled in a republican form of government and religious liberty in Protestantism. This has been identified as the United States of America. Yet despite its principles of liberty that are embedded in its Constitution, prophecy Revelation reveals that it will eventually violate those freedoms by forming an alliance with Spiritism, Roman Catholicism and apostate Protestantism. This confederacy will then form an image to the beast by the same method previously used by Papal Rome in order to enforce the ‘Mark of the Beast’.
Satan provides counterfeits for every divine truth. Here are some examples: Salvation by works instead of salvation by grace; christening instead of believer’s baptism; Sunday instead of the true, Christian Sabbath. The triumvirate confederacy will attempt to usurp the place of God as the divine trinity by enforcing the spurious Sabbath; and by substituting the Mark of the Beast for the Seal of God as signs of allegiance.
The Seal of God vs the Mark of the Beast
This has already been explained in an earlier study [c.f. Lesson: 6 – The Sealing of God’s Faithful People]. A seal validates and empowers the laws of a ruler or government.
It contains 3 elements:  Name of the ruler;  Title of the ruler;  Territory of the ruler.
NAME: Elizabeth II
TERRITORY: Great Britain and Dominion
God also has a Seal in His Law of 10 Commandments: Exodus 20:8-11.
NAME: The Lord thy God * Lord – i.e. YHWH, God’s personal name
TITLE: Maker (Creator)
TERRITORY: Heaven and Earth
“Bind up the testimony, Seal the law among my disciples” – Isaiah 8:16. God’s Law is sealed in the hearts and minds of His people: Psalms 40:8; Hebrews 8:10. When God’s law is in our hearts, it is a safeguard against sin, because sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).
Satan has a counterfeit seal promoted by the Church of Rome – namely, Sunday in opposition to God’s holy Sabbath Day. Prophecy foretold that the papacy would “think” it could change the law (Daniel 7:25); and the Catholic Church does actually make that claim: “The Pope can modify Divine Law.” – Prompta Bibliotheca, “Papa”, art.2. “The pope has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ” – Decretal De Translat, Episcap, Cap.
On the basis of this claim, Rome has not only meddled with God’s Law but has also changed the Sabbath of the 4th Commandment:
“The church . . . after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, to the first, made the Third Commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’s Day” – The Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. 4, p. 153.
“Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever did happened in the first century. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday . . . not from any directions noted in the Scriptures, but from the Church’s sense of its own power . . . People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become Seventh-day Adventists, and keep Saturday holy” – Saint Catherine Catholic Church Sentinel, May 21, 1995.
“Q: How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?
A: By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore fondly contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.
Q: Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?
A: Had she not had such power 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.” – An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, p. 58.
Jesus says: “If you love me, you will keep My commandments” – John 14:15.
His 4th Commandment says to Remember to keep the Sabbath Day holy (Exodus 20:8-11)
Antichrist says: ‘No! By my authority, I command you to disregard God’s fourth Commandment and keep Sunday instead!’
Whereas the Sabbath of the 4th Commandment represents the ‘Seal of God’ – i.e. [Gk: sphragidos] the identity that we belong to Christ as His faithful (Revelation 7:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:19; Ephesians 1:13,14; 4:30; Ezekiel 20: 12,20), Sunday is the ‘Mark’ of Rome’s authority and identifies those who give allegiance (i.e. homage) to her. “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” – Romans 6:16.
“Sunday is our mark of authority . . . The church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact” – Catholic Record, Sept., 1, 1923.
“The Sabbath day is as old as man and was in memory of creation. . . . Our Sunday is not the Sabbath of the Bible; it is a different day of the week, established with a different object in view, and kept in a different manner. . . . The observance of Sunday rests not upon the Bible, but upon the canon law of the Holy Catholic Church. . . . The Sunday feasts, like the Friday feasts, are binding upon Catholic Christians, and are to be observed in accordance with the church that ordained them” – Revelation, Father Himes, Manistoe, Michigan, USA
“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act. It could not have been otherwise as none in those days would have dreamed of doing anything in matters spiritual and ecclesiastical and religious without her. And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things” – C.F. Thomas, Chancellor to Cardinal Gibbons, in a letter, Nov 11, 1895.
“The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the (Catholic) Church” – Monsignor Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today, p.213.
The ‘Mark of the Beast’ in the forehead or the right hand is not to be understood as a visible mark on the body any more than those who are sealed with the ‘Seal of God’ in their foreheads. Behind the forehead is the frontal lobe of the brain where we make our decisions or choices. The hand does not think but goes along with the crowd.
When the triumvirate confederacy unites in making an image to the beast (i.e. Rome), Satan will then continue to deceive the nations by miraculous signs and wonders into enforcing the observance of Sunday on the pain of death (c.f. Revelation 16:13,14).
“The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience” – E. G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 588.
“When the time comes . . . Catholics will make obligatory the religious observance of Sunday on behalf of the whole society, . . . revoking the permit . . . to celebrate Monday or Saturday. . . . Those whom this may annoy, will have to put up with the annoyance” – Louis Veuillot in Liberal Illustration, p. 63.
“Let those who will, remember the Sabbath [Sunday] to keep it holy, from motives of love and obedience; the remnant must be made to do so through fear of law. We have no option” – The Christian Nation, Sept. 28, 1887.
“The Church has persecuted. Only a tyro (novice) in church history will deny that . . . We have always defended the persecution of the Huguenots and the Spanish Inquisitions . . . When she thinks it good to use physical force, she will use it” – The Western Watchman, Dec. 24, 1909.
Persecution will come to those who remain faithful to the Lord Jesus (c.f. Revelation 12:17; 14:12). This is only to be expected since the ‘Image to the Beast’ will follow a similar line of tyranny as did the papacy during its 1,260-year reign of supremacy (c.f. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 6:7-11).
God also forewarns us that this ‘Image to the Beast’ will bring sanctions on those who refuse to conform to its legislation. Satan will obviously use every method he can engineer in order to force those loyal to Jesus to submit to the pressure to turn their backs on Him.
Nevertheless, God has promised to watch over His faithful. Jesus has promised to be with us right through to the very end of the world: Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5,6; Revelation 1:12,13. He has promised to supply our every need: Philippians 4:19. He has promised that our bread and water will be sure: Isaiah 33:16. He has promised protection during the Time of Trouble: Psalms 91. He has promised to deliver His people: Daniel 12:1,2; John 14:1-3. God’s Seal [GK: sphragis] is the sign of His ownership & and protection.
At what point in time will the Mark of the Beast be received?
“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” – E.G. White, Evangelism, pp. 234, 235.
Jesus said that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” – . This gospel is central in God’s last warning message to this world; and that message is the theme of the next chapter of Revelation.
In Daniel 3 there is an enlightening account of three young Hebrew men in ancient Babylon who were confronted with the decision to obey the command of a pagan ruler and worship a golden image or be cast alive into a burning, fiery furnace. They were true to God and faced the consequences, but Jesus came to their rescue and delivered them. This was their declaration: “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” – Daniel 3:17,1
“Since 1988 the papacy has been hosting by U.N. invitation, an annual meeting with major world religions in Assisi, Italy to discuss religious unification and political issues. The U.N. sees the Vatican as holding the leadership key to religious tolerance and unity to help bring world peace” – Current Issues, p. 1.
When that time comes, and everyone is confronted with the choice of yielding to Satan’s kingdom of modern Babylon or be cast into the fiery furnace of affliction, what will you do? That is a choice we can make now and like those three Hebrew young men, take our stand on the side of Christ.
The full video presentation is available below: