11And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (Revelation 13:11-18, King James Version)
What is the mark of the Beast? This is a question that has caused much discussion down through the ages ever since it was penned by the Apostle John. Some say it will be a microchip placed under the skin of the hand, allowing one to buy or sell. Some say it is worship on Sunday. Some say it is a tattoo on the skin. What’s the truth?
The blunt truth is that the Bible does not directly come out and say, “This is the mark of the Beast.” What the Bible does say, however, is that there is another type of “mark” or “seal” placed upon God’s people. By comparing and contrasting, we can infer what the mark is.
First of all, notice that it is tied into worship (v 12). We are told that off the bat. Whatever the mark is, it is tied into worship, and that is what makes God’s people reject it. After all, if it simply were a microchip, who would refuse to take it if it means being able to work and eat? No, there must be some sort of allegiance involved. Those who refuse this form of worship will be killed (v 15).
Second, this allegiance is backed up by the whole notion of a mark. “Mark”, or “charagma”, means a stamp, brand (like on horses) or carving/sculpture. While there are many implications here, one thing that stands out is that it is a mark of ownership.
Thirdly, most of those involved in the false worship will be deceived (v 14). The second beast is pictured like a lamb that speaks like a dragon (v 11). Obviously, this contrasts against the vision of the Lamb of God in the opening sequence of Revelation. The dragon is Satan (Rev 12:9). What we are picturing here is a false Christ figure.
Fourthly, the mark is upon either their hand or their forehead. The hand is action. It is what you do. The forehead is the seat of intelligence. It is what you think. In other words, it doesn’t have to be a visible mark, although through your actions and worship, it will be evident.
You come away with the obvious answer that this is some form of false Christianity. Most likely, it will be a mixture of paganism and true Christianity, as we are also told that the Great Whore is called “Babylon the Great” in Rev 17:5.
This is not the only identifying mark in Revelation, however.
2And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. (Revelation 7:2-3, King James Version)
So, the “mark” of the Beast is a counterfeit to the seal of God’s servants! What is this “seal”? It comes from “sphragis” meaning a seal that is placed upon scrolls and imprinted with a signet ring. It was used to show the authority behind the contents of the scroll. Whomever’s seal was upon the scroll authorized whatever pronouncement was contained therein. Again, it signals ownership!
This can be backed up by Scripture.
30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30, King James Version)
The Holy Spirit, the power and might of God, is the seal of the true Christian! Anything else is counterfeit!
21Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
22Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, King James Version)
We are owned by God, and a down payment of His Spirit is placed into our hearts. The Spirit molds us, shapes us and guides us. It is the power by which the Law is written upon our hearts and minds (Heb 10:16).
3And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
5And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
6And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
7Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
8And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
9And 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,
10The 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:
11And 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.
12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:3-12, King James Version)
These same 144,000 who were sealed during the Great Tribulation are now protected by God. Those who are part of the false worship system of Babylon are punished.
Who are the saints? Those who keep God’s commandments! There are no alternatives. Either you are sealed by God in this time period, or you receive the mark of the Beast!
It is easy to see why HWA and the SDAs thought that Sunday worship is the mark of the Beast. The same amalgam of pagan practices that started in Babylon are continued down through the time of Christ’s return. The Catholic Church, instead of standing strong and going against the tide, brought these pagan practices into their own worship, including incorporating the day of worship of Mithras on the “venerable day of the Sun”.
The Sabbath was written in stone along with the rest of the Ten Commandments. Interestingly enough, most Protestants would gladly pronounce nine of them as good ones to keep. Some might even go as far as to say that nine of them are required to keep. There really is only one of the Ten Commandments that offends mainstream Christianity! Ask them why they don’t keep the seventh day Sabbath, and you might get answers like, “It was changed”, or “It was moved to Sunday.” Ask them to prove it, and they grasp at straws quite quickly.
The empire of Israel was split into two nations after the death of King Solomon. The northern tribes became known as the “Lost Ten Tribes of Israel” because they were taken captive and scattered throughout the kingdom of Assyria. The Jews, however, realized they were taken captive because, among other things, of their lax attitude towards keeping the Sabbath. The Sabbath, and the Law in general, needed to be protected, their thinking went, and they built up traditions in order to avoid breaking the commandments. Of course, it was all external, and thus doesn’t really work. It even misses the point, which is that God wants voluntary obedience.
Many Jews today, in spite of never having set foot in the Middle East, have retained their identity all these centuries because of their obedience to the Law, and in particular the seventh day Sabbath.
13Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
14Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
15Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
18And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. (Exodus 31:13-18, King James Version)
A “sign” is not of itself a thing so much as that it points to something greater. In this case, the “sign” is the Sabbath that identifies God’s people. It was so important as to incur the death penalty. Someone doing hard work like cutting up trees for gathering firewood (Strong’s H6086) was condemned to death by God (Nu 15:32). Why? Because the Sabbath was to point to God. It was instituted as a day to cease from our own pleasures and concentrate upon God Himself.
People like to talk about relationships, but can you have a relationship without being there? Without taking the time to be with someone? When we neglect the Sabbath, we are neglecting time with God Himself! When we neglect the Sabbath, we are saying we don’t belong to Him!
Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment?
~ Am 3:3 (NASB)
However, notice that Exodus 31 says “Sabbaths” plural. Most translations reflect this fact. Why would it be plural?
6Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.
7Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.
8And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.
9And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.
10Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year. (Exodus 13:6-10, King James Version)
Notice the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are also a “sign”! Here is something that is frequently overlooked! But! It does not end there!
4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8And thou shalt bind them [which is? “These words which I command thee this day”!] for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, King James Version)
Over and over again, we see that all of the commandments are a sign – all of which are on the hand and the forehead. Just like the counterfeit, it involves worship, and it involves what you think and do.
18Therefore 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.
19And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
20And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
21That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
22For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; (Deuteronomy 11:18-22, King James Version)
Again, what you do, what you think, and in this verse we even see it is what is in your heart.
16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (Hebrews 10:16, King James Version)
Jesus said it was from the heart that a man defiles himself. Mankind has a heart problem. Mankind is also limited in its knowledge. Writing the Law upon both the heart and mind solves a myriad of problems.
Revelation makes it clear. There is the way of God, and then there is the way of Babylon. One is real. The other is counterfeit. One is true Christianity. The other is not.
22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
~ Mt 7:22-23 (NLT)
If the 7th day sabbath is what you believe, fine. Keep worshipping on the sabbath.
History clearly shows that the pagan world leaders killed (and still kill) Christians based on whether a person claims allegiance to Jesus Christ or not. When threatened, you find out who really believes in Christ and who doesn't. The Catholic Church killed Christians because they refused to bow to the Catholic Church, not exclusively because people kept Saturday instead of Sunday, as it related to the orders of the Catholic Church.
The implied claim you all make that you keep all the commandments and then look down on others condemning them as not being Christian is so arrogant and full of pride, it stinks to the point of vomiting at times. This is the fault of this post and as your brother in Christ I exhort and encourage you to repent of this exclusive arrogant attitude.
The sabbath is clearly between the children of Israel and God. God is now and has been for the last 2,000 years working with pagan Gentiles. The Gentiles as foretold in the Old Testament emphasize the name of God – Jesus Christ. CG language and practice looks down upon those people as "Lord, Lord" people.
Not so quick.
No doubt if you want to bind yourself to 7th Day sabbath observance, you can do that just as you can bind yourself to not drinking alcohol, bind yourself to getting circumcised, to not eating meat or to not getting blood transfusions. All of these things are a matter of conscience and I believe God will bless you if you choose to do or not do those things.
But if you decide to keep the 7th day sabbath, that decision makes you a sabbatarian, not a Christian.
The "Lord, Lord" verse is found in Matthew 7:21. It is preceeded by, "by their fruits you will know them." One of the reasons that I changed to going to church on Sunday instead of Saturday was the clear evidence of what fruits of the Holy Spirit were being played out in the church. Spiritually healthy, growing congregations active with ministry, proclaiming the Gospel by making disciples, seeing real life change, a love of people, and clear fruit I found in more of the Protestant congregations.
Ask yourself, what is the fruit of the xCG congregation? Our family found the CG congregations to be more critical of other Christians, more judgmental of other Christians, more law-oriented, more spiritually immature, more divisive than other Christians, more prideful, lacking confidence and lacking security (i.e. lacking faith) in the salvation God gives by grace, the de-emphasis on God's precious grace, more emphasis on self-empowered maintainenance of one's salvation and self-empowered works and a general emphasis on exterior things often to the detriment of love, grace and relationships.
I would challenge whoever is reading this to critically review their church. If you find a loving 7th day or Protestant congregation that bears fruit of the Holy Spirit, is spiritually healthy, is disciple-making, is growing, etc. then I respect your decision as a member of Christ's body to go there and I welcome worship of God through Jesus Christ with you.
It just rubs me the wrong way when people boastfully imply as this post does they are the people of God because of their commandment keeping. Keep silent and let others brag on your commandment keeping. Why should you have to do that? That lacks humility and is a turn off at the beginning.
Anonymous wrote: "It just rubs me the wrong way when people boastfully imply as this post does they are the people of God because of their commandment keeping. Keep silent and let others brag on your commandment keeping. Why should you have to do that? That lacks humility and is a turn off at the beginning."
Pride and arrogance is when I prove something from the Bible, but then people allow their feelings and opinions to override God's word. I don't write this to elevate myself. I write it so others can see their errors and repent. I want others to make it into the Kingdom as well.
This is a great overview of why God gave us the Sabbath and Holy Days. It's clear from some of the other comments that God must call and open a persons mind.
The other sign that sets Christ's disciples apart is given in John 13:34-35
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Thanks for the blog.
I guess there is no exact set time to keep the Sabbath all over the world since sundown to sundown doesn't happen everywhere at the same time. What does one do if they keep the Sabbath in one area of the world fly to another area where it is still the Sabbath, is that person bound to keeping both Sabbath day's, however meany hours that may be? and if so isn't that way over the top legalism? but if you don't that's breaking the Sabbath.
I think that is one of the things that indicate it was meant for a group of people in one area who had came out of slavery and had to be told how to do everything from what to eat, what to wear, etc. They had been slaves and they knew nothing except what the masters had allowed them to do.
They were in training by God until the promised one came. Once Jesus came the rules in which they were held to changed, but of course they as a whole never acceped him, so they still hang on to those old rules that they couldn't keep in the first place.
Hi John where does it say in scripture that Israel was lost?? All I can find is in Matt. The Jesus said Go to the Lost sheep of Israel and that the disciples were not to go into the Gentile lands' What sayest thou!!
Anonymous..nowhere does the Bible say Israel was lost except spiritually. They were scattered not lost. The COG teaches they wound up in America with absolutely no evidence of that being the case.
They make a big deal out of nothing because salvation was opened to the gentiles after Christ. So it doesn't matter where they are.
The fact is they were scattered everywhere all over the world and one of the signs of the end times is they will start returning back to Israel which they have since 1948.
@ Anonymous (9:56 AM)
You are using human reasoning to justify your position against the Sabbath. Do you not think that God was aware that the timing of sundown is dependent on your exact location? If it was only for the Israelites up until the time of Christ, then what about the Israelites who were living far away from the land of Israel by the time of Christ – they would be keeping the Sabbath at a different time than those who were living in Israel. Was it only for the Israelites who continued living in the land of Israel?
@ John, what passage in Matthew? you said what I said except you called lost I call it scattered, yes they were scattered through captivity.
So you think that if someone doesn't believe in British Israelism they have a tendency to do so because they don't believe God can and will keep his promises. Excuse me, but that puts you in God's judgment seat about the reasoning behind other peoples belief's. Could it be we don't believe in it because the evidence is not there?
Anonymous wrote: "Could it be we don't believe in it because the evidence is not there?"
In a word: No.
God made magnificent promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that were to be fulfilled in the days we are living in. Either God lied, or He did not.
John, what promise are you talking about? He promised to make Israel a great nation, which he did. He promised a savior through Abraham's blood line which he provided.
Where did he say that Israel and the great nation that we are living in now are tied together? One has to do a lot of filling in the blanks to come up with that. Verses please?
Actually, that passage in Matthew is referring to the lost tribes of Israel. Historically and Biblically, it is a well known fact that Assyria took the northern kingdom captive and supplanted them with people of other nations. These were to become known as "Samaritans" and were hated by the Jews of Jesus' day. Those who dispute British Israelism have a tendency to do so because they don't believe God can and will keep His promises.
Please see "Does God Keep His Promises?" for an overview and references.
We,as Christians, should be keeping all of the Commandments to the Glory of God! AMEN!!!
The Biblical Sabbath, however, is not Saturday as many have supposed. Saturday was originally the first day of an 8-day week. . . The Biblical seventh day can only be found via the Biblial lunar solar calendar established at Creation. Check it out for yourself: http://www.worldslastchance.com
Anonymous said;"But if you decide to keep the 7th day sabbath, that decision makes you a sabbatarian, not a Christian."
Dear friend, why don't you spend more time trying to understand the simple things of Scripture before you go shooting off your mouth with heresy and things you do not understand?
Check Acts 11:26–these people, considered the COG, were all keeping the seventh day Sabbath and were followers of Christ by doing so. they were first called Christians because the rest of the unbelieving world around them associated them with Christ's disciples. not all sabbatarians are Christians–but all true Christians are sabbatarians. Jesus Christ was the God of the old testament and gave the Sabbath to mankind at creation. it is the only Day to worship on a weekly basis that has God's sanction.
Christ Himself said that the Sabbath (seventh day) was made for man–not any other day of the week. So a Christian is a sabbatarian–or he/she is not Christian. If you want to reject the Sabbath command and keep Sunday–fine–you are also rejecting Christianity in its true form.
Do not judge all Christains are COG people by the deeds and actions of some who need to repent of causing people like you to turn bitter.
Anony Jon's comment above:
The simplicity is in Christ (2 Cor 11:3).
Christian – "follower of Christ"
Sabbatarian – keeper of the Sabbath.
1. "one who practices or advocates strict conformity to law" (webster-dictionary.com)
2. "strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, esp. to the letter rather than the spirit." (dictionary.com)
By definition you are restricting the word Christian to Sabbatarians. Not mad or bitter, just being simple.
I "rest" my case. 🙂
Signed Anonymous 1-20-11; 12:55 AM
Anony Jon wrote: "not all sabbatarians are Christians–but all true Christians are sabbatarians."
Anonymous wrote: "By definition you are restricting the word Christian to Sabbatarians."
I think that is half of what he said. Am I missing something here?
Also, Anonymous wrote: "'strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, esp. to the letter rather than the spirit.'"
Actually, legalism goes farther than that definition, at least the type Jesus was confronting. Regardless, the key is that it is the "letter" of the Law, not the "Spirit". That doesn't mean the Law has been done away, but that it is harder to keep. You have to not only not steal, but you have to not lust after something. You not only don't commit adultery, but you don't even think about it. You not only not kill, but you don't hate.
The Law is magnified under Christ (Isa 42:21).
I see Bob Thiel also has written up something about the Pharisees and legalism at Were Pharisees Condemned for Keeping or Not Keeping the Law?
Anonymous said "I "rest" my case. 🙂
Signed Anonymous 1-20-11; 12:55 AM"
What real case have you made??
Let us look at something here that goes right along with what I said before; you said; "The simplicity is in Christ (2 Cor 11:3).
2 Cor 11:3-4
3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, (How so? he decieved her into disobedience!) so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.(what is this simplicity?? Unwavering obedience to the Commandments–Christ said He kept the Fathers commands–the simplicity of Christ–simple obey and leave it in God's hands)
4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus (Not the true Messiah)whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit (not the Holy Spirit) which you have not received, or a different gospel (not the true Gospel) which you have not accepted– you may well put up with it!"(NKJ)
You are advocating doing the very thing that Paul is here warning true Christians (Sabbatarins) against–so what kind of a case have you made?? "By definition you are restricting the word Christian to Sabbatarians."
Yes, all true Christians are-I repeat- (followers of Christ) Sabbatarians, because they will obey the 4th Commandment. Simple!