According to the Scriptures (Part 4)
by Joseph E. Lahud
The Mark of the Beast
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).
Earlier we indicated a religious system which claims that by her “power,” she changed the Lord’s day from Saturday to Sunday, and called this her “mark.” Are you seeing the relationship? We are heading into the time when Sunday will be enforced as a law. “Blue laws” already exist in many states where you could be fined for working on Sunday. It is illegal to buy or sell a car on Sunday in the state of Indiana. This is similar to the days of Emperor Justinian, where the people were forced to work on Saturday, breaking God’s law. Pope John Paul II wrote, “Ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy refraining from work and activities which are incompatible with the Lord’s day” (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter: Dies Domini, dated May 31, 1998).
The Bible prophesies about this are in the books of Daniel and Revelation. The Jews in Poland never imagined Germany marching in on them and destroying them. History has a very sober way of indicating the repeating habits of lost mankind, inspired by Satan’s sophistries, unleashing his hatred of God and His children.
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4, 5).
Come out of the false, pagan, satanic religious system which is contrarily set against God’s kingdom!
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:11-13).
Any church organization that supports doctrines contrary to the truth as found in the Word of God is a backsliding church. There are many churches which claim to be the “remnant” church who proudly boast the exact same false doctrines as the apostate religious system described in the books of Daniel and Revelation. Beware! Just because a church professes to keep God’s Commandments, this does not mean they are without sin. Satan has influenced Christendom to deceive as many as are not grounded firmly in the Word of God.
Will God allow into heaven those who knowingly teach others to disregard God’s law? No! For this very reason God placed a flaming sword to guard the tree of life in the Garden of Eden, so as not to allow fallen man (sinners) to eat of the tree of life. If they did, then sinners would have the gift of eternal life (Genesis 3:22-24).
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Check to see if what your church teaches is in harmony with God’s Word.
About twenty four years ago I attended a meeting where an attorney mentioned this phrase; “the willing suspension of disbelief.” He went on to explain to me that this term was used in the legal profession to describe a condition produced by the mind to disengage from what is recognized as truth, and for a period of time believe something which you would otherwise reject as false and not true, such as when we go to the movies and willingly believe the giant gorilla is a good monkey, as he climbs the Empire State building.
I find that this is the condition that permeates throughout Christendom today. We willingly allow ourselves to believe doctrines which are contrary to what is contained in the Word of God. Through centuries of concessions, true Christianity has been defiled and made weak and powerless. Where is the evidence of God’s power manifested as in the book of Acts? Show me the evidence and I will immediately join that church today and support it prayerfully and financially.
Has the calendar been changed?
How do we know which is the seventh day? Did the calendar make a change in the days of the week? How do we know that Saturday today is the same seventh day of creation? Isn’t it true that our calendar has gone through some revisions? First, the Lord did not lose sight of the Sabbath. Can you imagine Him commanding us to do something that later would be impossible because of a man-made change? Some time ago, a well-known biblical scholar wrote to the royal astronomer in London for help in this matter. He asked three questions: “First, is there any doubt that there is an unbroken sequence of the week as far as reliable records go? Second, did the calendar change, in any way, effect the weekly cycle so that one day might have been lost, passed over or eliminated from its normal position? And then third, is today’s Saturday the same as in the days of Christ?” The reply was:
“Sir, your letter of October 15, I have to advise you that there is no reason to doubt the statement regarding the unbroken sequence of the week as far as reliable records go. Secondly, it is certain that the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582 and equally its introduction into the British Dominion in 1752 in no way affected the cycle of the week. Certain specific provision was made in the 1752 Act that although September 2 was immediately followed by September 14, these dates were successive days of the week, namely Wednesday and Thursday. Thirdly, there is no reason to doubt that present day Saturdays are an exact number of weeks after the Saturday between the first Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
“Harold W. Richards, for Royal Astronomer.”
“The calendar did not change the weekly cycle. It takes 30 days for the Moon to revolve around us. But it takes 365 days for us to revolve around the Sun. We have added an extra day every four years to make up that one-fourth of a day. We call it ‘leap year.’ But the calendar change simply made the world uniform and equal in its dating. The date of September 2 was moved up to September 14 to make this uniformity?” (Bill Stringfellow, All in the Name of the Lord).
The “Seal” of God
The word ‘seal’ is used in the Scriptures in various senses, even as in common life. The definition by Webster is as follows: “that which confirms, ratifies, or makes stable; assurance; that which authenticates; that which secures, makes reliable, or stable.” The terms “mark” and “sign,” also given by him, are used in the Scriptures as synonymous with seal, as in Romans 4:11. In the covenant with Noah it is used in the idea of assurance, or evidence of stability. The bow in the cloud was given as a sign or token that God would not destroy the Earth by a flood (Genesis 9:13). In the covenant with Abraham circumcision was the token or sign. This ratified, or made sure; for he who had not this token was cut off (Genesis 17:11, 14). This sign or token was an institution, or rite. Gesenius gives “a memorial” as one of the definitions of the word found in the original of these texts. But a memorial, in the sense of a reminder, or a remembrance, is a token or sign. In Exodus 31:17 and Ezekiel 20:12, 20 the Sabbath of the Lord is called a sign. It is a memorial of the Creator’s work, and so a sign of His power and Godhead (Romans 1:20). This is also an institution as was circumcision; but there was this distinction: circumcision was a sign in the flesh, while the Sabbath was a sign in the mind.
“Hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God” (Ezekiel 20:20). In Ezekiel 9:4 the word used in the original is translated “mark.” In Revelation 7:2, 3, the mark or sign is said to be placed in the foreheads of the servants of God. Both of these Scriptures refer to a time when utter destruction is coming on the ungodly. The seal is placed upon God’s people as a safeguard to preserve them from the impending evil. But the “forehead” is evidently used as a figure, to denote the disposition or affections. To mark or seal in the forehead is the same as to “write in the mind” (Hebrews 10:16). The Sabbath is the sign of God; it is the seal of His law (Isaiah 8:16). lt is the token of His authority and power. lt is a sign whereby we may know that He is God, and therefore it is appropriately said to be placed in the forehead. The worshipers of the Beast (Revelation 13) are said to receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands. As the forehead represents the intellect, the hand represents power, as in Psalm 89:48. Compulsory worship is not acceptable to God; His servants are sealed only in their foreheads. But it is acceptable to wicked powers; it has always been craved by the Romish hierarchy.
The sign or seal of God is His Sabbath, and the seal or mark of the beast is in direct opposition to it; it is a counterfeit Sabbath on the “day of the sun.” In the message of the third angel (Revelation 14:9-12) they which do not receive the mark of the beast keep the commandments of God, and the Sabbath is the fourth precept; they keep the Sabbath of the Lord; they have His sign or seal. The importance of this sign is shown in this, that the Fourth Commandment is the only one in the law which distinguishes the Creator from false gods. (Compare Jeremiah 10:10-12; Acts 17:23, 24; Revelation 14:6, 7; etc.) And it is that part of His law which His people will suffer persecution for keeping. But when the wrath of God comes upon the persecutors who are found enforcing the sign or mark of the beast, then they will realize the importance of the Sabbath—the seal of the living God. They who turn away from that which the Lord spoke when His voice shook the Earth, will confess their fatal error when His voice shall shake the Heavens and the Earth (Hebrews 12:25, 26; Joel 3:9-16, and others).
“It is impossible to describe the horror and despair of those who have trampled upon God’s holy requirements. The Lord gave them his law; they might have compared their characters with it, and learned their defects while there was yet opportunity for repentance and reform; but in order to secure the favor of the world, they set aside its precepts and taught others to transgress. They have endeavored to compel God’s people to profane his Sabbath. Now they are condemned by that law which they have despised. With awful distinctness they see that they are without excuse. They chose whom they would serve and worship. ‘Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.’ (Malachi 3:18.)
“The enemies of God’s law, from the ministers down to the least among them, have a new conception of truth and duty. Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God. Too late they see the true nature of their spurious sabbath, and the sandy foundation upon which they have been building. They find that they have been fighting against God. Religious teachers have led souls to perdition while professing to guide them to the gates of Paradise. Not until the day of final accounts will it be known how great is the responsibility of men in holy office, and how terrible are the results of their unfaithfulness. Only in eternity can we rightly estimate the loss of a single soul. Fearful will be the doom of him to whom God shall say, Depart, thou wicked servant” (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, pp. 639, 640).
The Testimonies contained in the Word from our heavenly Father, indicate conclusively that good intentions alone do not justify for disobedience to His Commandments. The evidence to support this is overwhelming, both biblically and historically.
If we love Him, why do we reject Him in this way? Why believe otherwise? Why willingly disobey Him?
By prayerful and willing surrender of our hearts to our loving Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, we enter into a new and wonderful covenant experience unlike anything we have had before. The embracing of the true Sabbath of the Lord is but the threshold of a new and powerful level of intimacy in our knowledge of Him. He will reveal to us a greater intimacy and knowledge of Himself through obedience to His Word. The Sabbath is but the threshold of entering into a true covenant relationship with our Creator. It is a test of our faithfulness to Him. He stands at the door of our hearts and gently awaits for those who will receive Him and His gift of eternal life. It is with great reverence, and desire, that this writer prays: “May the reader receive the message contained in these pages with an open heart, and make the decision to follow Christ.”
“That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.” (Psalms 78:7, 8).
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalms 1:1-3).
Joseph Emilio Lahud, 2006