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The  Seal  of the  Living  God
&  The  Mark  of the  Beast

     “And 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: And 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.” Revelation 13:16-17.

     Would you like to know the meaning of these important words?  Then carefully read the following:
     When God led His people out of Egypt, and fed them manna in the desert, they were to gather each morning enough manna for that day only, and any unused manna became wormy and stank.  But on the sixth day they were to “prepare that which they bring in and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily….And they laid it up until morning...and it did not stink...So the people rested on the seventh day.” Exodus 16:5, 24, 30.  These words show that the people had a knowledge of God‘s seventh-day Sabbath even before the law was given on Mount Sinai!
     At Sinai God Himself came down and proclaimed His holy law—the ten commandments.  Notice that the fourth commandment, dealing with God’s Sabbath, is the very heart or central part of this law.  It is the seal that God has put to His law for it contains the three things necessary to make a law valid: The NAME of the lawgiver—Lord; His official POSITION—Creator; His DOMINION--heaven and earth.

     Lets read the Sabbath commandment:
     “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work...For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20: 8-11.

     The seventh-day Sabbath is a part of that law which God will put in the mind and write in the hearts of His people (see Hebrews 8:10).  The Sabbath is the seal, or sign that God will also put in the foreheads of His servants (see Revelation 7:3).
     God clearly states:  “Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign (mark or seal) between me and them...that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” Ezekiel 20:12, 20.

     The Sabbath was part of the law that Jesus magnified and made honorable, and of which He said: “I have kept my Father‘s commandments”  John 15:10.

     Therefore “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” 1 John 2:6.  That is, he should also obey all of God’s commandments.
     Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill….Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17-18.

     In the last book of the Bible—Revelation, we also see God‘s law exalted and attention called to those who keep these commandments.
     “...here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”  “And the dragon...went to make war with the remnant...which keep the commandments of God.”  “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 14:12, 12:17,  22:14.

     In spite of Christ’s example and His words of truth, the “man of sin...who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), presumed to put his hand to the law of God and thereby fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 7:25—which told of one who would arise and “think to change times and laws.”   Would you like to know who this is?  The word of God, along with history, make it very plain.
     Revelation 12:1-5 gives a representation of the birth of Jesus.  A great red dragon stands before a woman that is about to give birth to a child, “for to devour her child as soon as it was born.”  The woman represents God’s church, and the dragon is said to be Satan (vs. 9).  He it was that moved Herod to try and put the Saviour to death (see Matthew 2:13-18).  “But the chief agent of Satan in making war upon Christ and His people during the first centuries of the Christian era was the Roman Empire, in which paganism was the prevailing religion.  Thus, while the dragon primarily represents Satan, it is in a secondary sense, a symbol of pagan Rome.
     “In chapter 13 (of Revelation, verses 1-10) is described another beast, ‘like unto a leopard,’ to which the dragon gave ‘his power, and his seat, and great authority.’  This symbol, as most Protestants have believed, represents the papacy (Catholic Church), which succeeded to the power and seat and authority once held by the ancient Roman Empire.  Of the leopardlike beast it is declared: ‘There was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies....And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints and to overcome them…’” The Great Controversy, p 438-439.

     This power continued, as was prophesied, for a period of 1260 years, beginning in the year 538 A.D. and terminating in 1798 A.D. when it was to receive a deadly wound (see Revelation 13:3).  “At that time the pope was made captive by the French army, the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled…” Ibid., p 439.

     This is the power that thought to change the law of God!  Roman Catholics acknowledge that they substituted the first day of the week (or Sunday) for the seventh day of the week (or Saturday) as the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.
     “As the sign of the authority of the Catholic Church, papist writers cite ‘the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of;...because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin.’— Henry Tuberville, An Abridgement of the Christian Doctrine, p 58.  What then is the change of the Sabbath, but the sign, or mark, of the authority of the Roman Church—‘the mark of the beast’?”  Ibid., p 448.

     “At this point (the deadly wound given to the papacy) another symbol is introduced.  Says the prophet: ‘I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb,’ (Revelation 13:11).  Both the appearance of this beast and the manner of it’s rise indicate that the nation which it represents is unlike those presented under the preceding symbols.  The great kingdoms that have ruled the world were presented to the prophet Daniel as beasts of prey, rising when ‘the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea.’ Daniel 7:2.  In Revelation 17 an angel explained that the waters represents ‘peoples, and multitudes, and nations and tongues.’ Revelation 17:15.  Winds are a symbol of strife.  The four winds of heaven striving upon the great sea represent the terrible scenes of conquest and revolution by which kingdoms have attained to power (see Daniel 7).
     “But the beast with the lamblike horns was seen ‘coming up out of the earth.’  Instead of overthrowing other powers to establish itself, the nation thus represented must arise in territory previously unoccupied and grow up gradually and peacefully….
     “What nation of the New World was in 1798 rising into power...?  One nation, and only one, meets the specifications of the prophecy; it points unmistakably to the United States of America….
     “The lamblike horns indicate youth, innocence, and gentleness, fitly representing the United States when presented to the prophet as ‘coming up’ in 1798.”  But the nature of this gentle beast radically changed and he "‘spake as a dragon.  And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed;...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.’ Revelation 13:11-14….In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so control the civil government that the authority of the state will also be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends.”  The Great Controversy,  p 439-443.

     This will soon come to pass.  The “deadly wound” is about healed, as indicated by the popularity and power that the pope is gaining.
     “Fearful is the issue to which the world is to be brought.  The powers of the earth, uniting to war against the commandments of God, will decree that ‘all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond’ (Revelation 13:16), shall conform to the customs of the church by the observance of the false sabbath.  All who refuse compliance will be visited with civil penalties, and it will finally be declared that they are deserving of death.  On the other hand, the law of God enjoining the Creator’s rest day demands obedience and threatens wrath against all who transgress it’s precepts….
     “The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted....While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator.  While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.”  The Great Controversy, p 604-605.

May God help us all to stand for Him !