by Joe Crews
I. THE BEAST AND HIS BACKGROUND - A Fearful Warning
THE most fearful warning of punishment found anywhere in the Bible is
contained in Revelation 14:9, 10: "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."
This description is so alarming and so very unlike all other verses
which deal with God's character that we almost recoil in horror. But it
points clearly to a time when God's mercy will be withheld from those
who have persistently rejected the authority of Heaven. It will be an
unparalleled performance on the part of God in His relationship to the
human family. For almost 6,000 years, His punishing judgments upon the
most wicked men have been tempered with mercy. But now the measure of
rebellion reaches a point which makes it necessary for God to intervene
and to expose the terrible extent of man's treason against God's
Right here we are curious to know more about the sin that provokes God's
strange act of fiery punishment. Notice that the final issue involves a
false allegiance to the beast power, so often referred to in Bible
prophecy. At last, the world shall stand divided into two great camps:
those who worship the true God, and those who worship the beast of
Revelation 13. But what issue leads to this massive division of the
world's people? After describing the fate of the false worshipers in
Revelation 14:9-11, John has this to say in the very next verse: "Here
is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments
of God and the faith of Jesus." We see here a startling contrast between
those who follow the beast and those who follow the Lamb.
Please note that the issue revolves around the keeping of God's
commandments. Those who do not have the mark of the beast are described
as obedient to those commandments, and the rest suffer the wrath of God.
This agrees perfectly with Paul's statement in Romans 6:16, "Know ye
not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye
are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto
The highest allegiance is accorded through the act of obedience. At
last, the majority of earth's inhabitants will accept the authority of
an antichrist counterfeit power, in disobedience to God's great ten
commandment laws. Every individual will be on one side or the other. The
Bible makes it very clear that life or death revolves around the final
decision concerning the beast of Revelation 13.
Strangely enough, modern theologians have simply ignored the warning
message of Revelation 14, relating to the mark of the beast. The
interest of multitudes has been destroyed by the influence of pastors
who would not take seriously the solemn words of John's prophecy. Often
it is dismissed as a confused, insignificant letter, applying only to a
local problem in the early church. For some reason the book called
Revelation is counted a sealed book, instead of the obviously revealed
truth that its name implies. But please note the promise made to those
who search out the truth of this wonderful book, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those
things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." Revelation
Before delving into John's vivid account of that final clash between
Christ and Satan, let us take time to examine the contestants in the
conflict. When and how did it get started, and how will it end?
Two Powerful Contenders
Even though the climax in the great struggle takes place in the very end
of human history when all the world is arraigned in two opposing camps,
the controversy between Christ and Satan has been going on for almost
6,000 years. It started in heaven with the rebellion of Lucifer against
God's rule of the universe. The story of that beautiful angel who
coveted the position of God Himself is revealed through a number of Old
Testament prophetic writings. Isaiah says in reference to this glorious
being: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For
thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt
my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the
congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights
of the clouds; I will be like the most High." Isaiah 14:12-14.
The seeds of that selfish revolt of one leading angel spread rapidly to
affect the loyalty of other angels. Soon one third of the heavenly host
had joined the disaffection of Lucifer, and the great controversy was
under way - a controversy that was to rage for over 6,000 years, and which
would finally demand the decision of every living creature in heaven and
The immediate result of the discord was war in heaven that climaxed in
the complete expulsion of Lucifer from the presence of God and the loyal
angels. John describes it this way: "And there was war in heaven:
Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought
and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any
more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent,
called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was
cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
No more was the fallen angel to be known as Lucifer, signifying "star of
the morning," but Satan which means "adversary." The conflict had now
been transferred from heaven down to this earth. Here it will continue
until it reaches a desperate climax in the division of earth's
multitudes for or against the commandments of God. Just as the rebellion
began by disloyalty to the authority of God, so it will end by a
defiance of His authority as vested in the law of His government.
Satan has been here with his evil angels from the time he was banished
from the regions of light. With devilish cunning, he has experimented
with successive forms of warfare against God and His plan for this
world. Through various insidious approaches, he has continued his
efforts to overthrow the authority of God. The purpose of this booklet
is to expose the massive assaults that have been made, and are being
made, by Satan against the foundations of truth.
Every generation has witnessed a new manifestation of that evil power in
its untiring warfare with Heaven's program to save the world. The final
form of the enemy opposition will be that of the beast of Revelation 13.
That counterfeit power will be set up in deadly conflict with the
commandments of God. The whole world will be called to take sides. The
confederation of evil will consolidate for a desperate last-ditch
struggle to engage the loyalty of earth's inhabitants. The issues will
be clearly revealed, and no one can remain neutral. Obedience to God or
to Satan, as manifested through the beast power, will be the only
alternatives open to man.
A Life or Death Issue
Now, with this little background of the contenders, let us look closer
at the biblical setting for the last decisive engagement in the great
controversy. Please note that the beast of Revelation 13 symbolizes a
gigantic antichrist power that attempts to displace God entirely. Here
is the description of that power in the language of Revelation 13:1-7:
"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of
the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten
crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I
saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear,
and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power,
and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were
wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world
wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon that gave power
unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto
the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto
him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given
unto him to continue forty and two months. 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: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations."
We cannot fail to see here an unprecedented scale of opposition to God
and those who follow Him. Later in this same chapter, we read that this
beast power will exercise so much influence over the earth, that it
causes men to receive a mark in their foreheads or hands (Revelation
13:16). Finally, those who have the mark will suffer the terrible wrath
of God as described in Revelation 14:9, 10. The wrath of God is further
defined in Revelation 15:1 in these words, "Seven angels having the
seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God."
The awful nature of those plagues and the extreme sufferings they visit
upon those who receive the mark of the beast are fully revealed in the
sixteenth chapter of Revelation. We will not dwell on them at this point
in detail, but let us remind ourselves again that this issue will
involve eternal life or death for all. How earnestly should we seek to
understand who the beast represents and how we might avoid that mark!
There must be no guesswork or speculation on this vital subject. We must
know exactly where the danger lies and how to avoid it.
The average Christian has scarcely even heard about the urgency of this
subject. He has not the faintest idea about the beast or his mark, even
though his destiny hinges upon the issue. Multitudes of preachers
comfort the people in their ignorance of this point. They say, "Don't
worry about the beast. It is too complicated to understand. As long as
you love the Lord, you will be all right. You can't really know who the
beast is." Listen, will God warn us about the fearful danger of this
beast - a danger so deadly that it will mean life or death - and then tell
us it is impossible to know what it is? Would He say to us, "You will be
cast into the fire if you have the mark, but I'm not going to tell you
what it is - it's just too bad if you have it"? No, that is not like God.
He warns us of a danger that can be avoided. We can know that we are
safe from the beast only if we know who the beast is. We can know we are
free from the mark only if we know what the mark is.
A Symbolic Animal
Is it possible to understand the mark of the beast? Without fail, we can
know and must know. But first we must understand the identity of the
prophetic beast itself. Let us establish that this strange, composite
animal is not to be taken literally. No one ever saw a creature with the
body of a leopard, the mouth of a lion, and the feet of a bear. The
prophetic books of the Bible usually deal in types and symbols. This
beast represents something. But what does it symbolize? There must be no
guessing here. The Bible does not leave any room for doubt. It serves as
its own divine commentary and provides the key for understanding the
Everything in the Bible description of the beast is symbolic. Consider
the water, for example, out of which the animal arises. What does it
represent? Read the answer in Revelation 17:15, "And he saith unto me,
The waters which thou sawest... are peoples, and multitudes, and nations,
and tongues." There can be no quibbling over this point. God clearly
explained the meaning of water in prophecy. Once the symbol is
interpreted in any prophecy, the rule will apply in every other
prophecy. Water will always symbolize people in biblical prophetic
Now, what about the other parts of the strange, apocalyptic beast? What
do they represent? In order to understand the beast we must go back to
the Old Testament book of Daniel and compare Scripture with Scripture.
The books of Daniel and Revelation explain each other. They fit together
like a hand and glove. Please notice that Daniel had a vision very
similar to that of John. It is described in Daniel 7:2, 3: "Daniel spake
and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of
the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from
the sea, diverse one from another." He saw the prophetic water just as
John did, but Daniel saw four beasts arising instead of only one.
We have already found out that water symbolizes peoples or multitudes,
but what do the animals represent? The answer is found in verse 17,
"These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise
out of the earth." There it is. So plainly worded that no one can
question or doubt! God says that animals in prophecy represent nations.
Just as we have the American eagle and the Russian bear in our modem
political vocabulary, God used animals long, long ago to represent
countries also. Then, to be more explicit, God added this in verse 23,
"The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth." If the fourth
animal represented the fourth empire of history, then the first three
would have to represent the first three empires.
This explanation becomes more simple and clear when we remember that
there have only been four world empires in the earth since the days of
Daniel. These kingdoms are referred to often in Bible prophecy and are
called by name in some related prophecies of Daniel. Refer to Daniel
8:20, 21 and Daniel 11:2 for examples of this. In the second chapter of
Daniel the same four world kingdoms are symbolized by four metals in the
great statue of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Those four empires are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.
Four Empires of History
Will you take a closer look at these animals, one by one, as they arose
in the prophet's vision? The first was "like a lion and had eagle's
wings." Daniel 7:4. Here we have represented that grand empire of
Babylon, so well symbolized by the king of beasts. It was one of the
wealthiest, strongest nations ever to exist on the earth. Notice that
this animal has wings. Wings are used in prophetic terminology to
symbolize speed. And sure enough, Babylon arose very quickly to take its
place as a ruler of the entire world.
From 606 B.C. until 538 B.C. Babylon continued to exercise her extensive
authority. But a change was to take place. Daniel saw the second beast,
"like unto a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three
ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it." Daniel 7:5. After
Babylon came the kingdom of Medo-Persia in 538 B.C., the second world
The bear is raised up on one side to represent the fact that Persia was
stronger than the Medes. Those two powers were allied together in their
domination of the earth. The three ribs probably symbolize the three
provinces of that kingdom - Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt.
Then in 331 B.C. Medo-Persia went down, and the third world empire
arose. According to the prophecy, "dominion was given to it." Verse 6.
It was "like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a
fowl; the beast had also four heads." Verse 6. Any schoolboy who has
studied his lessons carefully in ancient history will know that Greece
arose as the next world ruler. Alexander the Great came marching from
the west, laying the world at his feet in a very short time. The four
wings of the leopard denote the exceeding speed with which Alexander
subdued the nations. Within eight years, he had completely subjugated
the world and sat down to weep because there were no more worlds to
conquer. But he could not conquer himself; he died as a young man of
thirty-three at the height of his power. At his death the kingdom was
divided among his four leading generals: Cassander, Lysimachus,
Seleucus, and Ptolemy. The four heads of the beast represent those
divisions of his empire. This brings us to the year 168 B.C. and the
downfall of the Grecian empire in that very year. So far, every detail
of the prophecy has been fulfilled exactly.
The Terrible Fourth Beast
Now let us notice the rise of the fourth beast, which is "the fourth
kingdom upon earth." Verse 23. Although Daniel had seen living wild
beasts like those portrayed in the first three prophetic symbols, he had
never seen anything resembling the fourth terrible beast. This is the
way the Bible describes it: "After this I saw in the night visions, and
behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly;
and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and
stamped the residue with the feet of it... and it had ten horns." Verse
As we have already learned, this symbolizes the fourth world empire,
which was the iron monarchy of Rome. The extension of its cruel
domination of the earth has been well documented in the pages of ancient
history. But this powerful nation was also to be divided, as verse
twenty-four indicates, "And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten
kings that shall arise." Please notice that this is God's interpretation
of the ten horns on this animal. Rome would be divided into ten distinct
By following the course of history we discover that the exact
fulfillment did come in the year 476 A.D. Fierce tribes came sweeping
down from the north country, and overwhelmed the territory of Western
Europe, dividing it finally into ten parts. Those parts, of course,
correspond to the ten toes of the great image of Daniel 2.
All students of history are well acquainted with the names of those
tribal conquerors of Western Europe in 476 A.D. They were the
Anglo-Saxons, Alemanni, Heruli, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Suevi,
Lombards, Burgundians and Franks. Seven of those tribes are still in
existence to this very day, having grown into modem nations. They
survive on the map of Europe as significant twentieth century powers.
Three of them disappeared from the stage of history, as we shall learn
in just a moment.
The Little Horn
Now we are prepared to read the next verse of the prophecy and find out
the meaning of the little horn in the vision of Daniel. "I considered
the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn,
before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots:
and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth
speaking great things." Verse 8. Here we must be very, very careful,
indeed. We must not make the mistake of falsely identifying the little
horn power, because it will prove to be the great antichrist power of
In order to avoid all mistakes of identity, it would be well first to
consider the nine characteristic marks described in the prophecy itself.
These marks of identity will enable us to be absolutely sure of the
interpretation. We dare not guess or speculate concerning the historical
identity of this "little horn" of prophecy.
First of all, the little horn came up among the ten. This places it
geographically in Western Europe. Second, it came up after the ten
arose, because it came up "among them." Since the ten arose in 476 A.D.,
the little horn would have to begin its reign some time after that date.
Third, it would uproot three of the ten tribes as it came to power. The
eighth verse says that before the little horn, "there were three of the
first horns plucked up by the roots."
Fourth, the little horn would have "eyes like the eyes of man, and a
mouth speaking great things." Verse 8. This indicates that a human being
would be at the head of the power represented by the little horn. Fifth,
"he shall be diverse from the first (horns)." Verse 24. This means that
the little horn would be a different kind of power from those purely
political kingdoms that preceded it. The sixth characteristic is
revealed in the first part of verse twenty-five, "And he shall speak
great words against the most High." Another verse says, "speaking great
things and blasphemies." Revelation 13:5.
At this point, let's define from the Bible the meaning of blasphemy. In
John 10:3033, Jesus was about to be stoned for claiming to be one with
the Father. The Jews who were going to kill Him said, "For a good work
we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a
man, makest thyself God." According to this text, it is blasphemy for a
man to be accorded the place of God.
Now let us read another definition of blasphemy. Jesus had forgiven a
man his sins, and the scribes said, "Why doth this man thus speak
blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?" Mark 2:7. Clearly,
Jesus was not a blasphemer, because He was God and He was able to
forgive sin. But for a man to make such claims would constitute
blasphemy, according to the Bible's own definition.
Now we come to the seventh point of identity, found also in verse
twenty-five, "and shall wear out the saints of the most High." This
tells us that the little horn is a persecuting power. It will make war
with God's people and cause them to be put to death. The eighth mark is
also given in verse twenty-five, "and think to change times and laws."
Apparently, in its bitter opposition to the God of Heaven, in speaking
great words against Him, this power also seeks to change the great law
of God. This move of the little horn could only be an attempt to make a
change. Obviously, man can never alter the moral law of God.
A Rule of 1,260 Years
The ninth, and final identifying mark, in verse twenty-five, tells us
exactly how long this little horn would exercise authority in the earth,
"and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the
dividing of time." Here we are faced with a strange expression. It is
actually a prophetic term that the Bible itself explains. In Revelation
12:14, we read these words concerning the same time period, "And to the
woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the
wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and
times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." Now read verse
six, which describes the same event. Instead of saying, "a time, times,
and half a time," it says, "a thousand two hundred and threescore days."
Thus we see that the two periods of time are exactly the same. By
comparing these Scriptures, we understand that a time is a year in Bible
prophecy, times is two years, and half a time is half a year. This gives
us a total of 3 1/2 times, or 3 1/2 years, because 3 1/2 years is
exactly equal to 1,260 days. We are using, of course, the Bible year of
We are now ready to apply another great principle in the interpretation
of prophecy. Please notice that always in measuring prophetic time, God
uses a day to represent a year. In Ezekiel 4:6 we read the actual rule,
"I have appointed thee each day for a year." Further support of this is
found in Numbers 14:34. This method of reckoning time must always be
applied in the study of Bible prophecy. This means, then, that the
little horn power would rule for 1,260 years, instead of merely 1,260
An Exact Fulfillment
We have before us now a list of nine specific characteristics, which
have been lifted out of the seventh chapter of Daniel in description of
the little-horn power. There is only one power in all history that meets
the description given here. In other words, God closes every other
option, and forces us to the only possible conclusion: the Catholic
Church alone fulfills all the points of identity established in Daniel
Let us take a quick look and notice how clearly this is done. First of
all, the papacy did arise in western Europe, at the very heart of the
territory of the pagan Roman Empire - in Rome itself. Second, it did come
up after 476 A.D. It was in the year 538 A.D. that a decree of Emperor
Justinian went into effect that assigned absolute preeminence to the
Church of Rome. These are facts of history that can be verified by any
authoritative historical source.
Third, when the papacy arose, it was opposed by three of the tribes that
had taken over at the collapse of the Roman Empire. The Vandals, Ostrogoths and Heruli were Arian powers that strongly opposed the rise
of the Catholic Church. The armies of Rome marched in to uproot and
completely destroy these three tribes. The last of the three was
destroyed in the very year 538 A.D., when Justinian's decree went into
Fourth, the Catholic Church did have a man at the head of its system.
Fifth, the papacy was a diverse kind of power from the other political
kingdoms before it. It was a religio-political system quite unlike
anything that had been seen in the world before that time.
Now we take a look at the sixth characteristic - the speaking of great
words and blasphemy against the Most High. Does the papacy meet this
description? We need only to be reminded that the Catholic Church has
ever attributed to itself the power to forgive sins. As to the great
words, let me quote from an article by F. Lucii Ferraris, contained in
the book Prompta Bibliotheca Canonica Juridica Moralis Theologica. This
book was printed at Rome and is sanctioned by the Catholic encyclopedia.
Listen to these claims: "The Pope is of so great dignity, and so
exalted, that he is not a mere man, but as it were God and the Vicar of
God. The Pope is, as it were, God on earth, chief king of kings, having
plenitude of power." Volume VI, pp. 2529. These are only a few of the
words that the Bible defines as blasphemy. Thus, the papacy meets the
marks of identity as the little horn power.
Coming now to the seventh point of identity, we find that history
supports the prophecy concerning papal persecution. Everyone who has any
knowledge of the Middle Ages is acquainted with the fact that millions
of people were tortured and killed by the Catholic inquisitions. From a
book written by a Catholic cardinal, which also bears the sanction of
the Church, we read, "The Catholic Church... has a horror of blood.
Nevertheless when confronted by heresy... she has recourse to force, to
corporal punishment, to torture. She creates tribunals like the
Inquisition. She calls the laws of the state to her aid. ...Especially
did she act thus in the 16th Century with regard to Protestants. ...In
France, under Francis I and Henry II, in England under Mary Tudor, she
tortured the heretics." The Catholic Church, The Renaissance and
Protestantism, pp. 182-184.
We could multiply statements like this from historians, both Catholic
and Protestant, that describe the horrible tortures of the papal
authorities upon Protestants. Thus we can see the complete fulfillment
of this description of the little horn.
The eighth mark, as given in verse twenty-five, concerns the attempt to
change God's laws. Does this apply to the papacy? Please note this: the
Catholic Church has removed the second commandment from her doctrinal
books and catechism, because it condemns the worship of images. The
tenth commandment is then divided so that they still have ten
commandments. But two are against coveting, and there is none against
idolatry. In this way, the papacy has thought to change the law, but
unsuccessfully. God's law cannot be changed.
Finally, we come to the ninth identifying mark, which tells us exactly
how long this papal power would exercise its authority in the earth. We
discovered that it would be for a period of 1,260 years. Is this
according to the record of history? Remember, that we have noted how the
papacy began its reign, by order of Justinian, in 538 A.D. By counting
down 1,260 years from this date we are brought to the year 1798. In that
very year the French general, Berthier, marched his armies into Rome and
pulled the Pope off his throne. He was carried away into exile, and all
the properties of the Church were confiscated.
The French Directory government decreed that there would never be
another Bishop of Rome. As far as the world was concerned, and by all
outward appearance, the Catholic Church was dead. After exactly 1,260
years, in fulfillment of the prophecy, she lost her control of the
world. Thus, the final point is clearly fulfilled in the papacy, and in
The Beast and Little Horn Identical
You may be wondering what all of this has to do with the beast of
Revelation 13. We are now ready to identify that strange, composite
animal described in the book of Revelation. Let us read the description
of that beast once more, which has the body of a leopard, the feet of a
bear, and the mouth of a lion. "And there was given unto him a mouth
speaking great things and blasphemies." Verse 5. Notice, please, that
this beast is doing exactly the same thing as the little horn of Daniel.
Verse five continues, "And power was given unto him to continue forty
and two months." How long is forty-two months? Exactly 1,260 prophetic
days or years - the same as the 3 1/2 times of Daniel's prophecy.
Concerning the beast, we read further, "And it was given unto him to
make war with the saints, and to overcome them." Verse 7. This beast is
also a persecut- ing power. In other words, the beast of Revelation 13
is the very same power as the little horn. Both are symbolic of the
papacy. This is God's graphic illustration of the papal power, as it
came up to exercise arbitrary authority over the earth for 1,260 years.
Further similarity is found by reading Revelation 13:3, "And I saw one
of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was
healed: and all the world wondered after the beast." As we have already
established, the deadly wound was given in the year 1798 A.D., when the
French armies carried the Pope away into exile. But that wound was to be
healed, and finally the whole world would give its allegiance to the
papacy again. That prophecy has been fulfilled very, very vividly before
It was in the year 1929 that Mussolini executed the Concordat of 1929
with the Pope, restoring the properties that had been taken away from
the Church. At that time, the Pope was actually made king once more, and
the Vatican City was set up as a political sovereign power. From that
day to this, the strength of the papacy has been advancing with
At this present time most of the countries of the world have political
representatives at Vatican City. The incredible influence of the papacy
in world affairs is attested to by the headlines in today's newspaper.
Almost every utterance of the pope is published to the ends of the
earth, and millions and millions of people look to the papal power as
the greatest influence in politics today. Yes, the wound has certainly
been healed, and the world continues to follow after the beast.
II. THE DRAGON AND THE WOMAN
At this point, we are prepared to ask another question concerning this
appropriation of power on the part of the beast. Where did she receive
the authority to rule over the world for 1,260 years and to persecute so
many millions of people for their faith? The answer is found in
Revelation 13:2, "And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and
great authority." Notice that the power comes from the dragon. But who
is the dragon? Revelation 12:7-9: "And there was war in heaven: Michael
and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his
angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in
heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the
Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into
the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
The dragon, of course, is Satan himself. But when did Satan deceive the
whole world? When he was cast out of heaven, there were only two people
on the earth, and they represented the entire world. By deceiving Adam
and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan led all the world astray and came
into temporary possession of the earth. The great controversy between
good and evil, which had started in heaven, was now transferred to this
A Prediction of Enmity
After the fall of man, God pronounced a curse upon each participant in
that original transgression. In Genesis 3:15, we read of the curse that
was placed upon the devil or the dragon. "And I will put enmity between
thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise
thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Here is a prophecy of the age
long struggle that would exist between the dragon and the woman, and
between the seed of the dragon and the seed of the woman.
But whom is the woman referred to in this prophecy? A woman, in Bible
prophecy, always represents the church. In Jeremiah 6:2 we read, "I have
likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman." Who is
Zion? Isaiah 51:16, "And say unto Zion, Thou art my people." So the
great controversy has been going on ever since Eden. There have been two
sides from then until now. The dragon and his followers are arraigned
against God and His followers. Truth versus error, and Satan versus the
Satan and God have been contending for the control of every living human
being. Even in the children of Adam the two sides were represented. Cain
was on the dragon's side and wanted to substitute his own way instead of
the way God had commanded him. Abel belonged to God's side and was so
righteous that Cain finally killed him. Do you remember how God told
each one of them to bring a lamb, but Cain substituted fruit or
vegetables for that which God had commanded as a sacrifice? This, you
will discover, will always be the mark of the dragon. He tries to
substitute, or make a counterfeit, for the exact truth of God.
Through the descendants of Cain the earth was so corrupted that God
finally had to destroy it with the flood. But after the deluge the two
sides appeared once again. The dragon's followers concentrated in Babel
and tried to defy God by building a great tower that was to reach up to
heaven. The plan failed, of course, and that site of the tower of Babel
later became Babylon, which in 606 B.C. began to rule as the first world
During those early years of confusion, God called Abraham out of Babylon
and sent him over into Canaan. Abraham had grown up right there in
Mesopotamia, near the place where the great tower of Babel was
attempted, and where the empire of Babylon developed. God's plan has
always involved a call of separation from the confusion of falsehood.
The Dragon and Sun Worship
Briefly, let us study the history of the dragon's side. The city of
Babylon was the first capital of the dragon on this earth. A pagan
system of religion developed there in the form of sun worship. It was a
blasphemous idolatry, filled with immoralities, licentious ceremonies
and degrading rites. But soon the dragon's followers quarreled among
themselves, and Medo-Persia came into power. But it was still the
dragon's headquarters. Baal worship continued to predominate as it did
in the previous kingdom. Then Greece took over, and she also subscribed
to the same pagan sun worship. Finally, Rome began to rule the world.
But there was no change in the religion. Mithraism, or sun worship, was
the universal religion of the pagan Roman Empire. From Babylon to Rome,
the dragon held control through heathen sun worship.
But during the Roman rule, a great thing happened! It was time for the
seed of the woman to appear. Remember, the prophecy spoke of enmity
between the seed of the woman and the seed of the dragon. The seed of
the woman appeared in the days of the Roman Empire. Let's read about it
in Revelation 12:1, "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a
woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her
head a crown of twelve stars." Do not forget that a woman in prophecy
represents a church. A pure woman stands for the true church, but a
fallen woman symbolizes a false religious system.
The Seed of the Woman
This woman in white, described in Revelation twelve, represents the true
church, the apostolic church, with its pure doctrines. The twelve stars
on her head are the twelve apostles. "And she being with child cried,
travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared
another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven
heads and ten horns... and the dragon stood before the woman which was
ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a
rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne."
Revelation 12:25. Now, who was this man-child? There has been only one
man-child who was destined to rule all nations and who was finally
caught up to God's throne. It is none other than Jesus Christ. But who
tried to kill Jesus as soon as He was born? You answer, "Herod, the
Roman king." And so it was. Herod tried to put all the boy babies to
death in Judea in an attempt to destroy Christ.
The Roman Empire, then, is symbolized in Bible prophecy by the same red
dragon as is the devil himself. Because Satan worked so closely through
that nation to destroy Jesus, pagan Rome is represented by the same
symbol in prophecy as the devil. But Herod did not succeed in his
attempt to destroy the man-child. Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt and
escaped the terrible decree. The masterstroke of Satan to destroy Jesus
on the cross was foiled on that Sunday morning when the Crucified One
broke the bonds of death in the resurrection. Forty days later, He was
caught up to heaven in perfect fulfillment of the words of the prophecy.
When the dragon saw that he was not able to destroy Christ, he turned
his wrath against the early church. According to Revelation 12:13, "When
the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman
which brought forth the man child." At this time, there was only a small
number of Christians in all the world, and Satan felt that he could
completely obliterate them by persecution. Thousands and thousands of
Christians were martyred under the terrible persecutions of the cruel
Roman emperors. But the gospel continued to grow and spread. The blood
of the martyrs seemed to become the seed of the church. When one died a
hundred more sprang up to take his place. Paul preached his gospel right
up to the very gates of Rome. The old dragon became worried. It was now
time for the seed of the dragon to appear.
The Seed of the Dragon
For centuries, Satan had tried to destroy God's people through the
violent opposition of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Through
violence and persecution, he had failed to stamp out the truth. So what
he could not do through force, the dragon would now attempt by strategy
and deception. He would organize his own counterfeit religious system.
He would bring in pagan doctrines and philosophy from the old empires of
Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome and combine them with Christian
teaching. Thus, he attempted to destroy millions through deception.
In what form did the seed of the dragon appear? It was brought forth as
the beast of Revelation 13. It is very significant that the beast is
actually made up of parts of the lion, the leopard, the bear and the
nondescript animal of Daniel 7. God's illustrative depiction of the
papacy reveals that she was made up of parts from all those old pagan
kingdoms. In particular did she draw her strength from the pagan Roman
nation. According to Revelation 13:2, the dragon gave the beast his
power and seat and great authority. We have learned that the dragon
actually symbolizes the pagan Roman Empire, as well as the devil
Did the pagan Roman Empire actually bestow any authority upon the
papacy? The fact is that in 330 A.D., Constantine, the Roman emperor,
turned the whole city of Rome over to the Pope as the seat of his
authority. History uses almost the words of the prophecy in describing
it. I shall quote from one Catholic source and one history book on this
point: "When the Roman Empire became Christian, and the peace of the
Church was guaranteed, the Emperor left Rome to the Pope, to be the seat
of the authority of the Vicar of Christ, who should reign there
independent of all human authori ty, to the consummation of ages, to the
end of time." Papal Rights and Privileges, pp. 13, 14.
"The removal of the capital of the empire from Rome to Constantinople in
330 A.D., left the western church practically free from imperial power,
to develop its own form of organization. The Bishop of Rome, in the seat
of the Caesars, was now the greatest man in the west, and was soon
forced to become the political as well as the spiritual head." The Rise
of the Medieval Church, p. 168. How clearly these statements show that
the papacy received her seat and power from pagan Rome! But where did
Rome get it? From Greece. And where did Greece get her power? From Medo-Persia. And where did Medo-Persia get hers? From Babylon. And where
did Babylon get it? From the dragon. So we begin to understand why God
has given such fearful warnings against the beast power. The dragon is
actually behind it all.
Counterfeits In Pagan Dress
Let us consider for a moment how pagan doctrines were able to find a
place in this counterfeit religious system that Satan introduced.
Because a mark of the dragon power is to counterfeit and substitute, we
will be able to see in this religio-political system t he operation of
Satan at his infernal best. Just as was the case with Cain, substitutes
were fashioned to meet the commandments of God. Many relics of sun
worship actually came to be accorded Christian status. A whole set of
counterfeit doctrines was added so that the papacy could gain prestige
with the pagan peoples of that age. Pagan idols were left at the door,
but idols of Peter, Mary and the saints took their place.
As an example of the way in which pagan concepts came into the church,
consider the example of Christmas. Do you know where the observance of
Christmas originated? Christmas, as a festival, existed long before
Jesus was born into this world. December 25 was actually celebrated
hundreds of years before Christ was born. The pagans worshiped the sun,
and they noticed that in December, the days were becoming shorter and
shorter and the sun was getting farther away from them. Fearing that the
sun would leave them altogether, they prayed and offered sacrifices.
Then on December 25, for the first time, they could tell that the sun
was coming back closer; the days were beginning to lengthen out again.
So these people said, "The sun is reborn to us." They called December 25
the birthday of the sun or sun god. It became a great religious festival
Only the pagans celebrated the day until the counterfeit papal system
was taking form. At that time, the day was adopted by the papacy and
called the birth of the SON, instead of the birthday of the SUN. Dr.
Gilbert Murray, M.A., D. Litt., LL.D., F.B.A., professor of Greek at
Oxford University, has written this: "Mithraism had so much acceptance,
that it was able to impose on the Christian world its own Sunday in
place of the Sabbath; its Sun's birthday, 25th of December, as the
birthday of Jesus." History of Christianity in the Light of Modern
Knowledge, Chapter III; cited in Religion and Philosophy, pp. 73, 74.
New York: 1929.
Actually, we do not know the date of Christ's birth. As you can readily
see, the adoption of December 25 was based purely upon the heathen
observance of the festival of sun worship. Please take note how easily a
pagan institution can slip into Christian churches and can even be
passed along in Protestantism.
And what about Easter? It is a well-known Christian observance in our
modem churches. Yet, it was also celebrated by pagans long before the
resurrection of Christ. All Christian groups recognize that Easter
Sunday is often as much as five weeks apart from one year to the next.
Few know that it is all governed by the heavenly bodies. Easter always
falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the equinox.
The pagans of long ago noticed that everything seemed to take on new
life in the early spring, as soon as the sun crossed the equinox. So
they designated a day in the spring to honor the goddess of
reproduction. That day was dedicated to Ishtar, the goddess of
reproduction, because of the new life and growth in nature. The very
word Easter has been transliterated from the name of the goddess Ishtar,
whose worship was memorialized by the adoption of Easter.
Many times Christian laymen have asked just what the bunny rabbit and
Easter egg have to do with the resurrection of Christ. Of course, they
have nothing to do with it. Those pagans chose the rabbit as a symbol of
Ishtar's day because it was the most prolific reproducer. The egg was
also chosen because it was a symbol of fertility. Among the heathen, the
day was associated with the most licentious practices.
During the time the papacy was developing, Ishtar's day was adopted by
the Church and called Easter. Even the symbols, the bunny rabbits and
eggs, are retained as reminders of its pagan origin. These examples have
been presented merely to show how easily the devil was able to impose
pagan ideas upon that church. As the papacy developed, it was open to
the reception of unbiblical customs that marked it clearly as the real
counterfeit power described by God in Revelation 13.
The question comes to our minds at this point: Are we really following
the Bible in all our doctrines? If tradition and heathen custom have
crept so easily into the church, what about other doctrines? The things
mentioned so far have not been opposed to the direct commandments of
God. We do not have any commandments concerning the observing of
Christ's resurrection or His birth. We can think of His resurrection and
birth at any time and on any day of the year. In the next chapter we
shall discover, though, that other pagan doctrines were introduced which
strike at the very heart of true Bible religion. We are not so
concerned, except for those things which contravene a plain command of
The growing power of the papacy continued its program by counterfeiting
some of the most vital truths contained in God's Word. May our eyes be
opened to recognize these counterfeits and to remain loyal to the exact
truth in its original form.
III. THE NUMBER AND MARK OF THE BEAST
Two of the most important aspects of the beast's power are brought to
light in Revelation 13: "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. Here 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 13:16-18. So far in our study, we have described
nine identifying marks of the beast power and its application to the
papacy. Right here we will add the tenth point to our list by explaining
the number of his name.
According to Revelation 13:17, the number of his name will also be the
number of a man. Undoubtedly this refers to the man who heads the beast
power. The ancient method of deriving the number of a name is to take
the numerical value of all letters and add them up to get the sum. If we
want to apply this test to the papacy, we must find the official name of
the pope, who is the head of his church. If this is the number of a man,
it would naturally be the man who is the head of the organization.
It is interesting to note that there is an official Latin title for the
pope, a title which has been granted by the Church itself. This title is
found repeatedly in the publications of Rome. But in the weekly Catholic
newspaper, Our Sunday Visitor, of April 18, 1915, we have the interesting
statement that the letters of the official title are inscribed in the
pope's miter. Here is the actual quotation: "The letters inscribed in
the pope's miter are these; Vicarius Filii Dei, which is the Latin for
'Vicar of the Son of God.' Catholics hold that the Church, which is a
visible society, must have a visible head. (p. 3) Christ, before His ascension
into heaven appointed St. Peter to act as His representative. Hence, to
the Bishop of Rome as head of the church, was given the title, 'Vicar of
Christ.'" At present, the pope's miter does not contain the Latin title,
but the words are incorporated into the coronation ceremonies of each
newly crowned pope. The issue of November 15, 1914 of Our Sunday Visitor
admitted that the Latin numerals added together total 666, but
went on to declare that many other names also yield to this total.
So with this official name of the pope in hand we can proceed to apply
the test of the Scripture. How do we derive the number of his name? By
getting the numerical value of the Roman numerals of the title Vicarius
Filii Dei, we actually come to a definite number 666. Notice how it is
worked out below as each letter is given its numerical value:
NOTE - During the late Middle Ages, two forms of "v" developed, which were both used for modern u and v.
The pointed form "v" was written at the beginning of a word, while a
rounded form "u" was used in the middle or end, regardless of sound. So "have" and "upon" were printed haue and vpon.
Eventually, in the 1700s, to differentiate between the consonant and
vowel sounds, the "v" form was used to represent the consonant, and "u"
the vowel sound, giving us the modern letter "u". Capital "U" appeared
at this time; previously, V was used in all cases.
Someone might object that this could be a coincidental occurrence. We
grant that it is possible for such a thing to be a mere happenstance if
we had only this one mark of identity to lean upon. But the fact is that
this is the tenth of a long list of characteristic marks that the Bible
uses to identify the beast power. It only adds weight and strength to
that which has already been said in making the application to the papal
power. It is the capstone proof in conjunction with all the other marks
laid down so clearly in the Scripture.
The Mark - A Master Counterfeit
We are now prepared to consider the climax of counterfeits as far as the
beast power is concerned. We have already learned that this power was to
counterfeit many of the great truths of God. It was a combination of
pagan ideas with Christian doctrine which formed a conglomeration of
confusion, well designated as "Babylon" in the Scripture.
A few of the counterfeits might be listed as follows: instead of the
word of God, tradition; instead of the Holy Spirit, the pope; instead of
baptism, sprinkling; instead of communion, transubstantiation; instead
of the eternal law of God, the changed law; instead of tithe, taxes and
indulgences; instead of death, purgatory; instead of the seal of God,
the mark of the beast.
Here we are especially concerned about the mark of the beast. In
Revelation 14:9, 10, we read, "If any man worship the beast... 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." This is a matter of life or death. We
must know exactly what this mark is and how we can avoid it.
We first of all notice in the Bible that the mark is always opposed to
the seal of God. In Revelation 7:2, 3, we learn that the seal of God is
placed in the forehead, just as the mark of the beast is set in the
forehead. The two things seem to be in direct contradistinction to each
other. Both are received in the forehead. Now we ask, "What is the
seal?" If we can establish this point, it will help us to identify the
The Seal of God
A seal is something that has to do with legal affairs. Official
documents are always stamped with the seal of the governing body. Every
government has a seal that is placed upon its legal documents. Its
purpose is to show that there is authority behind the doc- ument. This
is especially true of the laws of the country. Every new law has a seal
to show that there is power and authority to back up the law.
Notice that each seal has three things in it. It must contain the name
of the authority, the office or title of the authority, and the
territory over which he has power. The seal of America's president
contains the following words: Bill Clinton, President, United States of
America. When that seal is placed upon a law or an official document, it
shows that the president's authority is supporting that declaration.
Does God's seal have to do with His law also? If so, how and where is it
impressed? Let's read Isaiah 8:16, "Bind up the testimony, seal the law
among my disciples." This proves that the seal is connected with the
law. In fact, His law is sealed among the disciples of God. But where is
the law actually placed upon those who are faithful? The answer is found
in Hebrews 10:16, "This 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."
This, then, is how the Lord's seal is placed on the disciples. It is
written on their minds or, symbolically, on their foreheads. Proverbs
7:2, 3 makes it even plainer: "Keep my commandments, and live; and my
law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them
upon the table of thine heart." The law, you see, is observed both by
the hand and in the mind; thus, it is spoken of as being applied to the
hand and forehead.
The Sign of God's Authority
We want to search in God's law to see which part actually does
constitute the seal. But first, let's find out what constitutes God's
power and authority. The President exercises authority by virtue of his
office as President. God claims power based on His office as Creator of
the universe. Notice the words found in Jeremiah 10:10-12: "But the Lord
is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: ... Thus
shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the
earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these
heavens. He hath made the earth by his power." Again, Psalm 96:5, "For
all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens."
Put with these texts one more found in Isaiah 40:25, 26: "To whom then
will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your
eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things."
We are impressed that the great thing that distinguishes the true God is
His creative power. He bases His claims of authority as the true and
only God upon His power to create. But what is the sign or memorial of
His creation? Genesis 2:2, 3 gives the answer: "And on the seventh day
God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day
from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day,
and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work
which God created and made." The Sabbath is a memorial of the creative
power that distinguishes Him from the false gods.
The Seal in the Law
We are now prepared to search God's law to determine what His seal of
authority really is. Remember that a seal must contain the name, office,
and territory of the authority. One by one, we study through the ten
commandments of the Decalogue. Gradually all are eliminated except one.
The three requisites of a seal will be found only in the one that
includes name, title and territory of God.
Right in the heart of the law is the memorial of His creative power, and
behold, in that fourth commandment we find also the three components of
the seal. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt
thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of
the Lord thy God (name): ... For in six days the Lord made
(office - Creator) heaven and earth (territory), the sea, and all that in
them is, and rested the seventh day." Exodus 20:8-11. In other words,
the Sabbath is the seal of God - the mark of the only one who can create
and who is authorized to rule the earth. And to make His law
authoritative, He has placed the seal in it, showing that He stands
behind every single commandment in that law.
You may ask, "Is the Sabbath really the seal of God?" Let's look at
Ezekiel 20:12, "Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign
between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that
sanctify them." Here the Sabbath is called the "sign" of God. Is that
the same as a seal? Romans 4:11 reveals that "seal" and "sign" are the
very same thing, being used interchangeably in the Scripture. "And he
received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the
faith which he had yet being uncircumcised."
Seal and Mark in Competition
Let us see what the relation is between the seal of God and the mark of
the beast. The two things are in competition with each other. In
Revelation 14:9, 10, the third angel's message portrays those who have
the mark: "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."
In verse twelve we have another group identified by these words, "Here
is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments
of God, and the faith of Jesus." In other words, those who keep the
commandments of God do not have the mark of the beast and those who have
the mark of the beast do _not obey the commandments of God. The Ten
Commandments, containing the seal of God, are set up in competition with
the mark of the beast. The seal is the Sabbath; therefore, the Sabbath
is opposed to the mark. Then what is the mark?
An Attempted Change
To answer this question we are pointed back again to Daniel 7:25, where
the papacy is described as a power who would "think to change times and
laws." We have learned already how the second commandment was removed
and the tenth commandment divided in the catechisms of the papacy. But
what about the "times" mentioned in the text? Where only is time
mentioned in the law? It is in the fourth commandment. Did the papacy
think to change the Sabbath, the only time designated by the law? Yes,
it did, and it happened in a most interesting way.
The pagans had a system of religion based on sun worship. Their sacred
day was the first day of the week, which they named Sun-Day in honor of
the sun god. Sunday was observed by the pagans in contrast to the
Sabbath observance of Christians. But in the time of the Roman Emperor
Constantine, a significant thing happened. Constantine professed
conversion to Christianity and opened the doors of the church to all his
In order to gain power, prestige, and greater numbers to the church, he
accepted many of the customs of sun worship from the pagans. Many of
these compromises, such as Christmas and Easter, have already been
described. Another of those customs was the observance of Sunday. It
appeared more convenient to let the pagans keep their own day of worship
on Sunday and ask the Christians to join them in it. So Constantine
actually made the first law about keeping Sunday instead of the Sabbath.
Papal church councils strengthened that law until it became firmly
entrenched in Christianity and the world.
The Testimony of History
Turning now to the witness of secular historians, you may read the facts
for yourself. Every statement is clearly defined in the historical
records. From the Encyclopedia Britannica under the article "Sunday" we
read: "It was Constantine who first made a law for the proper observance
of Sunday, and who ... appointed that it should be regularly celebrated
throughout the Roman Empire." Here are the words of Dr. Gilbert Murray,
M.A., D. Litt., L.L.D., F.B.A., professor of Greek at Oxford University:
"Now since Mithras was 'The Sun, the Unconquered,' and the Sun was the
'Royal Star,' the religion looked for a King whom it could serve as the
representative of Mithras upon earth. ... The Roman Emperor seemed to be
clearly indicated as the true King. In sharp contrast to Christianity,
Mithraism recognized Caesar e as the bearer of the divine Grace, and its
votaries filled the legions and the civil service. ... It had so much
acceptance that it was able to impose on the Christian world its own
Sun-Day in place of the Sabbath, its Sun's birthday, twenty-fifth of
December, as the birthday of Jesus." History of Christianity in the
Light of Modern Knowledge.
Dr. William Frederick states the same historical truth: "The Gentiles
were an idolatrous people who worshipped the sun, and Sunday was their
most sacred day. Now, in order to reach the people in this new field, it
seems but natural, as well as necessary, to make Sunday the rest day of
the Church. At this time, it was necessary for the Church to either
adopt the Gentiles' day or else have the Gentiles change their day. To
change the Gentiles' day would have been an offense and stumbling block
to them. The Church could naturally reach them better by keeping their
day." Sunday and Christian Sabbath, pp. 169, 170.
The North British Review gives the following reasons for the Christians
adopting the heathen Sunday: "That very day was the Sunday of their
heathen neighbors and respective countrymen, and patriotism glad- ly
united with expediency in making it at once their Lord's day and their
Sabbath. ... That primitive church, in fact, was shut up to the adoption
of the Sunday, - until it became established and supreme, when it was too
late to make another alteration." Volume XVIII, p. 409.
Since the prophecy of Daniel predicted that the papacy would "think to
change times and laws," let us ask her if she had anything to do with
this change of the Sabbath. We want to be fair to everyone, and get
authentic testimony from all. The next several quotations are taken from
well-known Catholic authorities that express clearly the claims of the
papacy on the attempted change. From the Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume
IV, p. 153: "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
Salvation History and the Commandments, p. 294, 1963 edition, by Rev.
Leo. J. Trese and John J. Castlelot, S.S. describes it in these words:
"Nothing is said in the Bible about the change of the Lord's day from
Saturday to Sunday. We know of the change only from the tradition of the
Church - a fact handed down to us from earliest times by the living voice
of the Church. That is why we find so illogical the attitude of many
non-Catholic, who say that they will believe nothing unless they can
find it in the Bible and yet will continue to keep Sunday as the Lord's
day on the say so of the Catholic Church."
Another well-known Catholic writer gave this explanation of the change:
"The Catholic Church transferred the observance from the seventh to the
first day of the week. ... The Catholic Church deemed it more fitting to
appoint this day, rather than Saturday, the festival day of Christians."
This Is Catholicism, 1959 edition, John Walsh, S. J., p. 325.
A 1958 catechism by Killgallen and Weber entitled Life in
Christ - Instructions in the Catholic Faith explained it thus: "Why did
the Church change the Lord's day from the Sabbath to Sunday? The Church,
using the power of binding and loosing which Christ gave to the Pope,
changed the Lord's day to Sunday." Page 243.
Rev. Stephen Keenan's A Doctrinal Catechism has this to say:
"Question—Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to
institute festivals of precept? Answer - 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." Please note the word
"substituted," a term we have used over and over to describe the
activities of this power.
Cardinal Gibbons, in his book The Question Box, p. 179, makes this
startling admission: "If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian,
then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observing the Saturday with
the Jew. ... Is it not strange that those who make the Bible their only
teacher, should inconsistently follow in this matter the tradition of
the Catholic Church?"
Rev. John A. O'Brien in the book Understanding the Catholic Faith, p.
13, 1955 edition, states: "The Bible does not contain all the teachings
of the Catholic religion, nor does it formulate all the duties of its
members. Take, for instance, the matter of Sunday observance, attendance
at divine service, and abstention from unnecessary servile work on that
day. This is a matter upon which our Protestant neighbors have for many
years laid great emphasis; yet nowhere in the Bible is the Sunday
designated as the Lord's Day; the day mentioned is the Sabbath, the last
day of the week. The early Church, conscious of her authority to teach
in the name of Christ, deliberately changed the day to Sunday."
One of the greatest challenges ever cast into the face of Protestantism
is contained in a statement by Father Enright, President of Redemptorist
College in America: "It was the Holy Catholic Church that changed the
day of rest from Saturday to Sunday, the first day of the week. And it
not only compelled all to keep Sunday, but also urged all persons to
labor on the seventh day under pain of anathema. Protestants ... profess
great reverence for the Bible, and yet by their solemn act of keeping
Sunday, they acknowledge the power of the Catholic Church. The Bible
says, 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' But the Catholic
Church says, 'NO: Keep the first day of the week' and lo, the entire
civilized world bows down in reverent obedience to the command of the
holy Catholic Church."
You must answer that challenge! Whom are you going to obey? Listen to
these words by C. F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons, in answer
to a letter regarding the change of the Sabbath: "Of course the Catholic
Church claims that the change was her act. And the act is a mark of her
ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters." Thus, the
issues become plain - God says that He is the true God: He has given the
Sabbath as a seal of His authority as the Creator of all. By keeping the
Sabbath, we recognize His authority as the true God. But the Catholic
Church appears and says in effect, "No, don't keep the Sabbath; keep the
first day of the week. We changed it, and that change is a mark of our
power to overrule God's law and authority."
The mark of the beast, then, is the counterfeit Sunday by which the
beast power is trying to be recognized as an authority greater than the
Creator Himself. The sign, or seal, of God's authority (Sabbath) is
displaced by the papal institution of a substitute mark (Sunday) that
she claims as her authority. Oh, that the world would see clearly the
tremendous issue before us today! To whom will we yield our obedience - to
God or to the beast? When we understand the issues we must make a
tremendous decision either to keep the true Sabbath and recognize God's
authority, or to take the false Sabbath and recognize the Catholic
Church's claims. We must finally receive the seal of God or the mark of
the beast. There are only two sides - God and the dragon, truth and error,
Bible and tradition.
A book published in 1956 entitled The Faith of Millions and currently
available from the Catholic Book Store as a textbook on the Catholic
religion has this interesting statement on page 473: "But since
Saturday, not Sunday, is specified in the Bible, isn't it curious that
non-Catholic who profess to take their religion directly from the Bible
and not from the Church, observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Yes, of
course, it is inconsistent; but this change was made about fifteen
centuries before Protestantism was born, and by that time, the custom
was universally observed. They have continued the custom, even though it
rests upon the authority of the Catholic Church and not upon an explicit
text in the Bible. That observance remains as a reminder of the Mother
Church from which the non-Catholic sects broke away - like a boy running
away from home, but still carrying in his pocket a picture of his mother
or a lock of her hair."
Long ago Cardinal Gibbons summarized the issue facing every individual
on the Sabbath question: "Reason and sense demand the acceptance of one
or the other of these alternatives: either Protestantism and the keeping
holy of Saturday, or Catholicity and the keeping holy of Sunday.
Compromise is impossible." Catholic Mirror, December 23, 1893.
Perhaps you are wondering what the Protestant bodies think of these
things we have been considering. They will speak for themselves. Here
are some candid admissions of those churches upon the Sabbath question.
All statements are taken from the most authoritative spokesmen. Here is
a quotation from Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, the author of the Baptist Manual:
"There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that
Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show
of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the
first day of the week. ... Where can the record of such a transaction be
found? Not in the New Testament - absolutely not. ... Of course, I quite
well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a
religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers, and other
sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of
paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and
sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to
Protestantism!" (From a paper read before a New York ministers'
conference held November 13, 1893.) This great Baptist leader condenses
into a few sentences all that has been said in the pages of this
The Presbyterian Christian at Work said this: "Some have tried to build
the observance of Sunday upon apostolic command, whereas the apostles
gave no command on the matter at all. ... The truth is, as soon as we
appeal to the litera scripta (the literal writing) of the Bible, the
Sabbatarians have the best of the arguments." Ed. April 19, 1883. The
Methodist Theological Compendium states: "It is true that there is no
positive command for infant baptism ... nor is there any for keeping holy
the first day of the week."
Dr. W. R. Dale (Congregational) in The Ten Commandments, pp. 106, 107,
says: "It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend
Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath. The Sabbath was founded on a
specific, divine command. We can plead no such command for the
observance of Sunday. ... There is not a single line in the New Testament
to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity
The Lutheran position, as revealed in the Augsburg Confession of Faith,
states: "The observance of the Lord's day (Sunday) is founded not on any
command of God, but on the authority of the church." Episcopalian
spokesman Neander writes in the History of the Christian Religion and
Church, p. 186: "The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was
always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the
apostles to establish a divine command in this respect, far from them
and from the early apostolic church to transfer the laws of the Sabbath
In Ten Rules For Living, by Clovis G. Chappell we read: "We ought to
remember that the Sabbath is God's gift to man. We realize, of course,
that our Sabbath is not the same as that observed by the Jews. Theirs
was the seventh day of week, while ours is the first. The reason we
observe the first day instead of the seventh is based on no positive
command. One will search the Scriptures in vain for authority for
changing from the seventh day to the first. The early Christians began
to worship on the first day of the week because Jesus rose from the dead
on that day. By and by, this day of worship was made also a day of rest,
a legal holiday. This took place in the year 321. Our Christian Sabbath,
therefore, is not a matter of positive command." Page 61.
We could give statements from dozens of other denominational sources,
but space does not permit. What is your answer to these things? Clearly,
we have seen that God predicted the rise of a power who would try to
change the Sabbath; history records that the power attempted the change;
the power herself admits that she tried to change it; and Protestants
confess the change was made. How many will take their stand on the side
of Bible truth?
The world is rapidly approaching the time when God's Sabbath becomes a
great test of obedience. Its claims will be placed before all earth's
inhabitants. At that time, when the issues stand clearly revealed,
individuals will accept the seal of God or the mark of the beast. The
book of Revelation describes a final edict of this earth's governments
that will actually seek to enforce the mark upon all the world. "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." Revelation
It is evident that no one has the mark until it is pressed upon all
through this legislative act of human government. Then, the true Sabbath
and the counterfeit (Sunday) will be so revealed that no one can escape
a decision - a decision to keep the true Sabbath with mind and hand, or to
submit to the counterfeit Sabbath of the papacy. In the next chapter you
will learn the identity of the nation which will influence the world to
accept the counterfeit Sabbath, and which will seek to enforce that mark
of loyalty to the papacy.
IV. THE UNITED STATES IN PROPHECY
Any person should be proud to be an American. Certainly there is no spot
on earth where freedom is so fully enjoyed as in our own United States.
Have you ever wondered why this is true? There is a reason for the rise
of democracy in this hemisphere. It is not just a happenstance that
America is the freedom capital of the world. Actually, the beast power
of Revelation 13 had a lot to do with the rise of America.
You may be asking, "How could the papal power be responsible for the
United States of America?" It was because of the persecutions of the
beast power in Europe that the United States came into existence. The
Pilgrim Fathers, to escape the religious persecutions of the papacy,
fled to the New World of America where they could follow their
conscience in worship.
Let's get the picture now from the pages of prophecy in God's Word. The
first ten verses of Revelation 13 describe the papacy in its rise to
power. We have already studied this prophecy in detail. Verse 10 closes
with the description of the Pope's capture in 1798: "He that leadeth
into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword
must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the
saints." Then immediately John saw a second beast in vision that he
describes in the next verse. "And I beheld another beast coming up out
of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a
dragon." Revelation 13:11. Let us be very careful in identifying this
second beast. There are several points that will reveal the identity of
First of all, it is seen "coming up" as the first beast received his
deadly wound. Since the first beast (papacy) received its wound in 1798
when General Berthier took the Pope captive, we should look for the
second beast to be coming up at that time. This means that around 1798
this power would be rising in the world. Secondly, this second beast
would come up "out of the earth." This is in contrast to the first that
rose out of the water. We found in Revelation 17:15 that water
symbolizes peoples and nations. The second beast, coming out of the
earth, would depict a nation rising in some area of the world where
there were no previous civilizations and multitudes. The absence of
water denotes a dearth of people.
Thirdly, this nation had two horns like a lamb, and they had no crowns
on them, as did the first beast. It came up peacefully, like a lamb, and
the absence of crowns reveals that there were no kings at the head. It
was not a monarchy, or dictatorship. Everything about this beast
indicates a peaceful democracy.
Second Beast Identified
We are now ready to identify this second beast. There can be no doubt as
to its identity. There is only one nation in history that meets the
description. The United States of America was the only nation "coming
up" to power in 1798, as the first beast received its deadly wound. The
Constitution had been voted in 1787, and the Bill of Rights adopted in
1791. Also, it was in 1798 that America was first recognized by a world
power. Historians record that there was something wonderful and
providential about the rise of this country.
In exact fulfillment of the prophecy this nation arose in the New World,
where no former civilizations had existed. It came up peacefully,
democratically, and established itself upon the two great principles of
Protestantism and republicanism. Church and state were to be kept
separate. Our forefathers had seen enough of the evils of a church/state
Let us read a statement by John Wesley, a marvelous student of the
Bible, and the architect of the Methodist Church. Writing in 1754 in his
New Testament with Explanatory Notes after applying the first beast of
Revelation 13 to the papacy, he said, "Another ... beast ... But he is not
yet come, though he can not be far off; for he is to appear at the end
of the forty-two months of the first beast." Page 427. Please note that
Wesley was looking for a nation to be rising within a very short time
that would meet the description of the prophecy. Only the United States
could have fulfilled his expectation.
It would be good if we could stop right here in our study, but we would
not be true to the Scripture if we did not read the rest of the
prophecy. Verses 11 and 12 continue: "He had two horns like a lamb, and
he spake as a dragon. And 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." In other words,
the time would come when the United States would change its peaceful,
democratic tone. Under some influence, it would begin to compel worship,
"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. And 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. 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."
A nation speaks through its laws. It may seem incredible to us as we
read these things today that the United States would ever be persuaded
to enact religious laws, and try to force people to worship a certain
way, but prophecy has never failed. She will make an image to the
papacy, or develop a system that resembles that power. Church and state
will be united enough to enforce religious laws and will thus closely
resemble the papal system.
According to the prophecy, America will finally enforce the mark of the
beast. What does this mean? What is the mark? Based on God's Word we
have shown it to be the counterfeit Sabbath set up by the beast power.
The keeping of Sunday instead of the Bible Sabbath is claimed as a mark
of allegiance to the Catholic Church by her own priests and leaders.
Will the United States, then, seek to enforce the keeping of Sunday?
That is exactly what is predicted, and it is also exactly what is
shaping up right now in American politics.
No matter how much we might prefer to believe otherwise, our own beloved
country will begin to use its influence to compel the keeping of Sunday.
Already the groundwork has been laid. Right now, most of the states have
such Sunday laws on the books. In some places these religious laws have
created economic hardships on Sabbathkeepers. A few large cities have
been urged to boycott those who refuse to keep Sunday. The prophecy in
Revelation 13:17 indicates that economic sanctions will be applied, "and
that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark."
National Sunday Law Near
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that Sunday laws are not
unconstitutional or discriminatory. This opens the way for all the
present confused, contradictory local state laws to be replaced by a
national law that will standardize the enforcement of Sunday all over
America. With the incredible strides being taken toward federal control
of individual freedoms, this step to regulate the day of worship will
not seem so drastic when it actually does take place.
Mark this well: These developments are already on the horizon. Those who
refuse to accept the false day of worship will face fines, boycott,
prison and finally, the threat of death. When the Sabbath question is
thus made a national issue, people will be forced to accept one side or
the other. Every single person will have to make a decision. The mark of
the beast will then be placed upon all who choose to disobey the
commandment of God to keep the Sabbath day holy. By accepting the mark
of allegiance to the papacy (Sunday), they reject the mark that God
claims as His sign of authority - the seventh-day Sabbath.
One might well raise the question, "What does all this have to do with
me?" That is an important question, and the answer is even more
important. Your eternal salvation hinges upon your decision now. You
cannot shrug off the implications of this revelation concerning
obedience to the Sabbath commandment. There is no question of
convenience or inconvenience. We are dealing with the Ten-Commandment
law that was written by God Himself. To break one of those commandments
is to commit sin, and no willful sinner will be saved. The keeping of
the seventh day Sabbath has been made the test of loyalty and love to
God. "To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is
sin." James 4:17.
Rapidly, the world is confederating under the two banners. Time is
running out. The great controversy is entering its final stages. While
ecumenism draws one block of denominations into a liberal camp, based
largely upon disobedience to the Sabbath of God's holy law, another
group is distinguished as those who "keep the commandments of God and
the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12. As the test becomes more severe,
every individual must choose to obey God or man, to follow the
commandments of God or tradition, to keep the true Sabbath or the
counterfeit, to receive the seal of God, or the mark of the beast. Now
is the time to settle the issue. "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.
Preparing For Eternity ©1999-2023 All Rights Reserved