Larger font
Smaller font
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font


    THE principal acts ascribed to the two-horned beast, which seem to be performed with special reference to the papal beast, are, the causing of men to worship that beast, causing them to make an image to that beast, and enforcing upon them the mark of the beast. The image, after it is created and endowed with life, undertakes to enforce the worship of itself. To avoid confusion, we must keep these parties distinct in our minds. There are three here brought before us: 1. The papal beast. This power is designated as “the beast,” “the first beast,” “the beast which had the wound by a sword and did live,” and, the “beast whose deadly wound was healed.” These expressions all refer to the same power; and wherever they occur in this prophecy, they have exclusive reference to the papacy. 2. The two-horned beast. This power, after its introduction in verse 11, is represented through the remainder of the prophecy by the pronoun “he;” and wherever this pronoun occurs, down to the 17th verse (with possibly the exception of the 16th verse, which perhaps may refer to the image), it refers invariably to the two-horned beast. 3. The image of the beast. This is, every time, with the exception just stated, called the image; so that there is no danger of confounding this with any other agent.USLP 112.1

    The acts ascribed to the image are speaking and enforcing the worship of itself under the penalty of death; and this is the only enactment which the prophecy mentions as enforced under the death penalty. Just what will constitute this worship, it will perhaps be impossible to determine till the image itself shall have an existence. It will evidently be some act or acts by which men will be required to acknowledge the authority of that image and yield obedience to its mandates.USLP 113.1

    The mark of the beast is enforced by the two-horned beast either directly or through the image. The penalty attached to a refusal to receive this mark is a forfeiture of all social privileges, a deprivation of the right to buy and sell. The mark is the mark of the papal beast. Against this worship of the beast and his image, and the reception of his mark, the third angel’s message of Revelation 14:9-12, is a most solemn and thrilling warning.USLP 113.2

    Here, then, is the issue before us. Human organizations, controlled and inspired by the spirit of the dragon, are to command men to do those acts which are in reality the worshiping of an apostate religious power, and the receiving of his mark, or lose the rights of citizenship and become outlaws in the land; and to do that which constitutes the worship of the image of the beast, or forfeit their lives. On the other hand, God says by a message, mercifully sent out a little before the fearful crisis is upon us, Do any of these things, and you “shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.” He who refuses to comply with these demands of earthly powers exposes himself to the severest penalties which human beings can inflict; and he who does comply, exposes himself to the most terrible threatening of divine wrath to be found in the word of God. The question whether we will obey God or man is to be decided by the people of the present age, under the heaviest pressure, from either side, that has ever been brought to bear upon any generation.USLP 113.3

    The worship of the beast and his image, and the reception of his mark, must be something that involves the greatest offense that can be committed against God, to call down so severe a denunciation of wrath against it. This is a work, as was shown in chapter 4, which takes place in the last days; and as God has given us in his word most abundant evidence to show when we are in the last days, so that no one need to be overtaken by the day of the Lord as by a thief, so likewise it must be that he has given us the means whereby we may determine what this great latter-day sin is which he has so strongly condemned, that we may avoid the fearful penalty so sure to follow its commission. God does not so trifle with human hopes and human destinies as to denounce a most fearful doom against a certain sin, and then place it out of our power to understand what that sin is, so that we have no means of guarding against it.USLP 114.1

    That we are now living in the last days, the volumes both of revelation and nature bear ample and harmonious testimony. Evidence on this point we need not here stop to introduce; for the testimony already presented in the foregoing chapters of this series, showing that the two-horned beast is now on the stage of action, is in itself conclusive proof of this great fact, inasmuch as the power exists and performs its work in the very closing period of human history. All these things tell us that the time has now come for the proclamation of the third message of Revelation 14, to be given, and for men to understand the terms which it uses, and the warning it gives.USLP 115.1

    We therefore now call attention to the very important inquiry, What constitutes the mark of the beast? The figure of a mark is borrowed from an ancient custom. Says Bp. Newton (Dissert on Proph., vol. 3, p.241):—USLP 115.2

    “It was customary among the ancients for servants to receive the mark of their master, and soldiers of their general, and those who were devoted to any particular deity, of the particular deity to whom they were devoted. These marks were usually impressed on their right hand, or on their foreheads, and consisted of some hieroglyphic character, or of the name expressed in vulgar letters, or of the name disguised in numerical letters according to the fancy of the imposer.”USLP 115.3

    Prideaux says that Ptolemy Philopater ordered all the Jews who applied to be enrolled as citizens of Alexandria to have the form of an ivy leaf (the badge of his god, Bacchus) impressed upon them with a hot iron, under pain of death. (Connection B.C. 216.)USLP 116.1

    The word used for mark in this prophecy is charagma, and is defined to mean, “a graving, sculpture, a mark cut in or stamped.” It occurs nine times in the New Testament, and with the single exception of Acts 17:29, refers every time to the mark of the beast. We are not, of course, to understand in this symbolic prophecy, that a literal mark is intended; but the giving of the literal mark, as practiced in ancient times, is used as a figure to illustrate certain acts that will be performed in the fulfillment of this prophecy. And from the literal mark as formerly employed, we learn something of its meaning as used in the prophecy; for between the symbol and the thing symbolized there must be some resemblance. The mark, as literally used, signified that the person receiving it was the servant of, acknowledged the authority of, or professed allegiance to, the person whose mark he bore. So the mark of the beast, or the papacy, must be some act or profession by which the authority of that power is acknowledged. What is it?USLP 116.2

    It would be naturally looked for in some of the special characteristics of the papal power. Daniel, describing that power under the symbol of a little horn, speaks of it as waging a special warfare against God, wearing out the saints of the Most High, and thinking to change times and laws. The prophet expressly specifies on this point: “He shall think to change times and laws.” These laws must certainly be the laws of the Most High. To apply it to human laws, and make the prophecy read, “And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change human laws,” would be doing evident violence to the language of the prophet. But to apply it to the laws of God, and let it read, “And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and laws of the Most High” — then all is consistent and forcible. The Septuagint reads, nomos, in the singular, “the law,” which more directly suggests the law of God. So far as human laws are concerned, the papacy has been able to do more than merely “think” to change them. It has been able to change them at pleasure. It has annulled the decrees of kings and emperors, and absolved subjects from allegiance to their rightful sovereigns.USLP 117.1

    It has thrust its long arm into the affairs of nations, and brought rulers to its feet in the most abject humility. But the prophet beholds greater acts of presumption than these. He sees it endeavor to do, what it was not able to do, but could only think to do; he sees it attempt an act which no man, nor any combination of men, can ever accomplish; and that is, to change the laws of the Most High. Bear this in mind while we look at the testimony of another sacred writer on this very point.USLP 118.1

    Paul speaks of the same power in 2 Thessalonians 2; and he describes it, in the person of the pope, as the man of sin, and as sitting as God in the temple of God (that is, the church), and as exalting himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped. According to this, the pope sets himself up as the one for all the church to look to for authority, in the place of God. And now we ask the reader to ponder carefully the question how he can exalt himself above God. Search through the whole range of human devices; go to the extent of human effort; by what plan, by what move, by what claim, could this usurper exalt himself above God? He might institute any number of ceremonies, he might prescribe any form of worship, he might exhibit any degree of power; but so long as God had requirements which the people felt bound to regard in preference to his own, so long he would not be above God. He might enact a law and teach the people that they were under as great obligations to that as to the law of God. Then he would only make himself equal with God. But he is to do more than this: he is to attempt to raise himself above him. Then he must promulgate a law which conflicts with the law of God, and demand obedience to his own in preference to God’s. There is no other possible way in which he could place himself in the position assigned in the prophecy. But this is simply to change the law of God; and if he can cause this change to be adopted by the people in place of the original enactment, then he, the law-changer, is above God, the law-maker. And this is the very work that Daniel said he should think to do.USLP 118.2

    Such a work as this, then, the papacy must accomplish according to the prophecy; and the prophecy cannot fail. And when this is done, what do the people of the world have? They have two laws demanding from them obedience: one, the law of God as originally enacted by him, an embodiment of his will, and expressing his claims upon his creatures; the other, a revised edition of that law, emanating from the pope of Rome, and expressing his will. And how is it to be determined which of these powers the people honor and worship? It is determined by the law which they keep. If they keep the law of God as given by him, they worship and obey God.USLP 119.1

    If they keep the law as changed by the papacy, they worship that power. But further, the prophecy does not say that the little horn should set aside the law of God and give one entirely different. This would not be to change the law, but simply to give a new one. He was only to attempt a change, so that the law as it comes from God, and the law as it comes from the hands of the papacy, are precisely alike, excepting the change which the papacy has made therein. They have many points in common. But none of the precepts which they contain in common can distinguish a person as the worshiper of either power in preference to the other. If God’s law says, “Thou shalt not kill,” and the law as given by the papacy says the same, no one can tell by a person’s observance of that precept whether he designed to obey God rather than the pope, or the pope rather than God. But when a precept that has been changed is the subject of action, then whoever observes that precept as originally given by God is thereby distinguished as a worshiper of God; and he who keeps it as changed, is thereby marked as a follower of the power that made the change. In no other way can the two classes of worshipers be distinguished. From this conclusion, no candid mind can dissent; but in this conclusion we have a general answer to the question before us, “What constitutes the mark of the beast?” THE MARK OF THE BEAST IS THE CHANGE HE HAS MADE IN THE LAW OF GOD.USLP 120.1

    We now inquire what that change is. By the law of God, we mean the moral law, the only law in the universe of immutable and perpetual obligation, the law of which Webster says, defining the terms according to the sense in which they are almost universally used in Christendom, “The moral law is summarily contained in the decalogue, written by the finger of God on two tables of stone, and delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai.”USLP 121.1

    If, now, the reader will compare the ten commandments as found in Roman Catholic catechisms with those commandments as found in the Bible, he will see in the catechisms that the second commandment is left out, that the tenth is divided into two commandments to make up the lack of leaving out the second, and keep good the number ten, and that the fourth commandment (called the third in their enumeration) is made to enjoin the observance of Sunday as the Sabbath, and prescribe that the day shall be spent in hearing mass devoutly, attending vespers, and reading moral and pious books. Here are several variations from the decalogue as found in the Bible. Which of them constitutes the change of the law intended in the prophecy? or, are they all included in that change? Let it be borne in mind that, according to the prophecy, he was to think to change times and laws. This plainly conveys the idea of intention and design, and makes these qualities essential to the change in question. But respecting the omission of the second commandment, Catholics argue that it is included in the first, and, hence, should not be numbered as a separate commandment. And, on the tenth, they claim that there is so plain a distinction of ideas as to require two commandments. So they make the coveting of a neighbor’s wife the ninth commandment, and the coveting of his goods the tenth.USLP 121.2

    In all this they claim that they are giving the commandments exactly as God intended to have them understood. So, while we may regard them as errors in their interpretation of the commandments, we cannot set them down as intentional changes. Not so, however, with the fourth commandment. Respecting this commandment, they do not claim that their version is like that given by God. They expressly claim a change here, and also that the change has been made by the church. A few quotations from standard Catholic works will make this matter plain. In a work entitled, Treatise of Thirty Controversies, we find these words:—USLP 122.1

    “The word of God commandeth the seventh day to be the Sabbath of our Lord, and to be kept holy; you [Protestants], without any precept of Scripture, change it to the first day of the week, only authorized by our traditions. Divers English Puritans oppose, against this point, that the observation of the first day is proved out of Scripture, where it is said, the first day of the week. Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10. Have they not spun a fair thread in quoting these places? If we should produce no better for purgatory, and prayers for the dead, invocation of the saints, and the like, they might have good cause, indeed, to laugh us to scorn; for where is it written that these were Sabbath days in which those meetings were kept? Or where is it ordained they should be always observed? Or, which is the sum of all, where it is decreed that the observation of the first day should abrogate or abolish the sanctifying of the seventh day, which God commanded everlastingly to be kept holy? Not one of those is expressed in the written word of God.”USLP 122.2

    In the “Catholic Catechism of Christian Religion,” on the subject of the third (fourth) commandment, we find these questions and answers:—USLP 123.1

    Ques. — What does God ordain by this commandment?USLP 123.2

    Ans. — He ordains that we sanctify, in a special manner, this day on which he rested from the labor of creation.USLP 123.3

    Q. — What is this day of rest?USLP 123.4

    A. — The seventh day of the week, or Saturday; for he employed six days in creation, and rested on the seventh. Genesis 2:2; Hebrews 4:1, etc.USLP 123.5

    Q. — Is it then Saturday we should sanctify in order to obey the ordinance of God?USLP 123.6

    A. — During the old law, Saturday was the day sanctified; but the church, instructed by Jesus Christ, and directed by the Spirit of God, has substituted Sunday for Saturday; so now we sanctify the first, not the seventh, day. Sunday means, and now is, the day of the Lord.”USLP 123.7

    In “Abridgment of Christian Doctrine,” we find this testimony:—USLP 124.1

    Ques. — How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?USLP 124.2

    Ans. — By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which the Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.USLP 124.3

    Q. — How prove you that?USLP 124.4

    A. — Because by keeping Sunday they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin.”USLP 124.5

    In the “Catholic Christian Instructed,” again we read:—USLP 124.6

    Ques. — What warrant have you for keeping the Sunday, preferable to the ancient Sabbath, which was the Saturday?USLP 124.7

    Ans. — We have for it the authority of the Catholic church and apostolic tradition.USLP 124.8

    Q. — Does the Scripture anywhere command the Sunday to be kept for the Sabbath?USLP 124.9

    A. — The Scripture commands us to hear the church (Matthew 18:17; Luke 10:16), and to hold fast the traditions of the apostles. 2 Thessalonians 2:15. But the Scriptures do not in particular mention this change of the Sabbath.”USLP 124.10

    In the “Doctrinal Catechism,” we find further testimony to the same point:—USLP 124.11

    Ques. — Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?USLP 124.12

    Ans. Had she not such power, she could 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.”USLP 124.13

    And finally, W. Lockhart, late B. A. of Oxford, in the Toronto (Cath.) Mirror, offered the following “challenge” to all the Protestants of Ireland; a challenge as well calculated for this latitude as that. He says:—USLP 125.1

    “I do, therefore, solemnly challenge the Protestants of Ireland to prove, by plain texts of Scripture, the questions concerning the obligation of the Christian Sabbath. 1. That Christians may work on Saturday, the old seventh day. 2. That they are bound to keep holy the first day, namely, Sunday. 3. That they are not bound to keep holy the seventh day also.”USLP 125.2

    This is what the papal power claims to have done respecting the fourth commandment. Catholics plainly acknowledge that there is no scriptural authority for the change they have made, but that it rests wholly upon the authority of the church; and they claim it has a token or mark of the authority of that church; the “very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday,” being set forth as proof of its power in this respect. For further testimony on this point, the reader is referred to a tract published at the Review Office, Battle Creek, Mich., entitled, “Who Changed the Sabbath?” in which are also extracts from Catholic writers, refuting the arguments usually relied upon to prove the Sunday Sabbath, and showing that its only authority is the Catholic church.USLP 125.3

    “But,” says one, “I supposed that Christ changed the Sabbath.” A great many suppose so; and it is natural that they should; for they have been so taught. And while we have no words of denunciation to utter against any such for so believing, we would have them at once understand that it is, in reality, one of the most enormous of all errors. We would therefore remind such persons that, according to the prophecy, the only change ever to be made in the law of God, was to be made by the little horn of Daniel 7, and the man of sin of 2 Thessalonians 2; and the only change that has been made in it, is the change of the Sabbath. Now, if Christ made this change, he filled the office of the blasphemous power spoken of by both Daniel and Paul — a conclusion sufficiently hideous to drive any Christian from the view which leads thereto.USLP 126.1

    But why should any one labor to prove that Christ changed the Sabbath? Whoever does this is performing a thankless task. The pope will not thank him; for if it is proved that Christ wrought this change, then the pope is robbed of his badge of authority and power. And no truly enlightened Protestant will thank him; for if he succeeds, he only shows that the papacy has not done the work which it was predicted that it should do, and so that the prophecy has failed, and the Scriptures are unreliable. The matter had better stand as the prophecy has placed it, and the claim which the pope unwittingly puts forth, had better be granted. When a person is charged with any work, and that person steps forth and confesses that he has done the work, that is usually considered sufficient to settle the matter. So, when the prophecy affirms that a certain power shall change the law of God, and that very power in due time arises, does the work foretold, and then openly claims that he has done it, what need have we of further evidence? The world should not forget that the great apostasy foretold by Paul has taken place; that the man of sin for long ages held almost a monopoly of Christian teaching in the world; that the mystery of iniquity has cast the darkness of its shadow and the errors of its doctrines over almost all Christendom; and out of this era of error and darkness and corruption, the theology of our day has come. Would it then be anything strange if there were yet some relics of popery to be discarded ere the reformation will be complete? A. Campbell (Baptism, p.15), speaking of the different Protestant sects, says:—USLP 126.2

    “All of them retain in their bosom, in their ecclesiastic organizations, worship, doctrines, and observances, various relics of popery. They are at best a reformation of popery, and only reformations in part. The doctrines and traditions of men yet impair the power and progress of the gospel in their hands.”USLP 127.1

    The nature of the change which the little horn has attempted to effect in the law of God is worthy of notice. With true Satanic instinct, he undertakes to change that commandment which, of all others, is the fundamental commandment of the law, the one which makes known who the Law-giver is, and contains his signature of royalty. The fourth commandment does this; no other one does. Four others, it is true, contain the word God, and three of them the word Lord, also. But who is this Lord God of whom they speak? Without the fourth commandment it is impossible to tell; for idolaters of every grade apply these terms to the multitudinous objects of their adoration. With the fourth commandment to point out the Author of the decalogue, the claims of every false god are annulled at one stroke; for the God who here demands our worship is not any created being, but the One who created them all. The maker of the earth and sea, the sun and moon, and all the starry host, the upholder and governor of the universe, is the One who claims, and who, from his position, has a right to claim, our supreme regard in preference to every other object. The commandment which makes known these facts is therefore the very one we might suppose that power would undertake to change, which designed to exalt itself above God. God gave the Sabbath as a memorial of himself, a weekly reminder to the sons of men, of his work in creating the heavens and the earth, a great barrier against atheism and idolatry. It is the signature and seal of the law. This the papacy has torn from its place, and erected in its stead, on its own authority, another institution designed to serve another purpose.USLP 128.1

    This change of the fourth commandment must therefore be the change to which the prophecy points; and Sunday-keeping must be the mark of the beast! Some who have long been taught to regard this institution with reverence will perhaps start back with little less than feelings of horror at this conclusion. We have not space, nor is this perhaps the place, to enter into an extended argument on the Sabbath question, and an exposition of the origin and nature of the observance of the first day of the week. Let us submit this one proposition: If the seventh day is still the Sabbath enjoined in the fourth commandment; if the observance of the first day of the week has no foundation whatever in the Scriptures; if this observance has been brought in as a Christian institution and designedly put in place of the Sabbath of the decalogue, by that power which is symbolized by the beast, and placed there as a badge and token of its power to legislate for the church, is it not inevitably the mark of the beast? The answer must be in the affirmative. But all these hypotheses can easily be shown to be certainties. See History of the Sabbath, and other works on the subject, published at the Review Office. To these we can only refer the reader, in passing.USLP 129.1

    It will be said again, then all Sunday-keepers have the mark of the beast; then all the good of past ages who kept this day had the mark of the beast; then Luther, Whitefield, the Wesleys, and all who have done a good and noble work of reformation, had the mark of the beast; then all the blessings that have been poured upon the reformed churches have been poured upon those who had the mark of the beast. We answer, No! And we are sorry to say that some professedly religious teachers, though many times corrected, persist in misrepresenting us on this point. We have never so held; we have never so taught. Our premises lead to no such conclusions. Give ear: The mark and worship of the beast are enforced by the two-horned beast. The receiving of the mark of the beast is a specific act which the two-horned beast is to cause to be done. The third message of Revelation 14, is a warning mercifully sent out in advance to prepare the people for the coming danger. There can therefore be no worship of the beast, nor reception of his mark, such as is contemplated in the prophecy, till it is enforced by the two-horned beast. We have seen that intention was essential to the change which the papacy has made in the law of God, to constitute it the mark of that power. So intention is necessary in the adoption of that change to make it on the part of any individual the reception of that mark. In other words, a person must adopt the change, knowing it to be the work of the beast, and receive it on the authority of that power, in opposition to the requirement of God.USLP 130.1

    But how with those referred to above who have kept Sunday in the past, and the majority of those who are keeping it to-day? Do they keep it as an institution of the papacy? No. Have they decided between this and the Sabbath of the Lord, understanding the claims of each? No. On what ground have they kept it, and do they keep it? They suppose they are keeping a commandment of God. Have such the mark of the beast? By no means. Their course is attributable to an error unwittingly received from the church of Rome, not to an act of worship rendered to it.USLP 131.1

    But how is it to be? The church which is to be prepared for the second coming of Christ must be entirely free from papal errors and corruptions. A reform must hence be made on the Sabbath question. The third angel proclaims the commandments of God, leading men to the true in the place of counterfeit. The dragon is stirred, and so controls the wicked governments of the earth that all authority of human power shall be exerted to enforce the claims of the man of sin. Then the issue is fairly before the people. On one hand, they are required to keep the true Sabbath; on the other, a counterfeit. For refusing to keep the true, the message denounces the unmingled wrath of God; for refusing the false, earthly governments threaten them with persecution and death. With this issue before the people, what does he do who yields to the human requirement? He virtually says to God, I know your claims, but I will not yield to them. I know that the power I am required to worship is anti-Christian; but I yield to save my life. I renounce your allegiance, and bow to the usurper. The beast is henceforth the object of my adoration; under his banner, in opposition to your authority, I henceforth array myself; to him, in defiance of your claims, I henceforth yield the obedience of my heart and life. Such is the spirit which will actuate the hearts of the beast-worshipers; a spirit which insults the God of the universe to his face, and is prevented only by lack of power from overthrowing his government and annihilating his throne. Is it any wonder that Jehovah denounces against so Heaven-daring a course the most terrible threatening that his word contains?USLP 131.2

    Larger font
    Smaller font