The Mark of the Beast Versus the Seal of God.
Revelation chapters 13 and 14 reveals two opposing systems of worship: (a) worship of the two beast powers (Rev. 13: 11-18) and (b) worship of the Creator God (Rev. 14: 6-10).
Revelation 13: 11-18 states how the lamb-like beast, the USA, would come to prominence in the religious and political arenas upholding as it were the first beast, the Roman Catholic Church, and demanding international obedience to “the image of the beast”, which is a union of Church and State similar to that exercised by the Papacy during the Dark Ages. The inhabitants of the earth would be coerced and persuaded by miracles, including fire flashing from heaven reminiscent of Elijah’s encounter with the false prophets of Baal (I Kings 18), as well as by an economic boycott of dissenters. This second beats would also “cause” or force all, both “small and great, rich and poor, free and bond” to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads.
This brings us to the question: “What constitutes the ‘mark of the beast’?”
Before answering that question, however, we will consider Revelation 14, where God’s counter claims for worship are brought to light in verses 6 and 7: “And I saw another angel…saying with a loud voice, fear God and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgement is come; and worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
This is undoubtedly a summons to the world to keep the fourth commandment of the Decalogue which enjoins the keeping of the seventh day as a Sabbath to the Lord, and was instituted at Creation.
Consider this: the fourth commandment is the only one of the ten which begins with the injunction to “Remember”. The fourth commandment also contains the Seal of God. Revelation 7:2,3: “And I saw another angel ascending from the East, having the Seal of the living God: and he cried…hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads”.
A law is stamped with the seal of the ruling government and is composed of three parts:
Similarly, God’s seal, enshrined in His law, contains the three components of His seal:
Other references may be found in Ezekiel 20: 12 and 20:20.
Now, we will let the beast, represented by the Roman Catholic Church, give the answer to the question of what constitutes the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast, plainly and simply, is the act of this church in substituting the first day of the week, Sunday, in place of the seventh day, Saturday, as the Sabbath.
H. F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons, in answering a letter regarding the change of Sabbath stated’ “Of course the Catholic Church claims that the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters.
So we have it. Sunday worship is the mark of the Papacy’s authority, and Sunday worship is the mark of the beast. God instituted His Sabbath as a sign of His authority as the Creator of the cosmos. By keeping it holy we recognise His authority. But the Catholic Church says’ “No! Keep the first day of the week, and the entire civilised world bows in reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.” “It is the Mark of our authority to overrule God’s law” [Father Enright, History of the Sabbath p. 802. Both statements were quoted in the book National Sunday Law, A. Jan Marcussen].
The Apostle Paul in Romans 6:16 asks the question; “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 righteousness?”
Revelation 13:4 states: “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast”, and Revelation 12 reveals that the dragon is none other than Satan whose tail drew the third part of the stars (angels) of heaven , and did cast them to the earth (Rev. 13:4) and “there was war in heaven: Michael (another name for Christ) and His angels fought against the dragon and his angels…and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven…he was cast out into the earth and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev. 12: 7-9).
It should be increasingly clear that what is happening is not merely about the New World Order with the Catholic Church and the USA warring against the commandments of God and His chosen people. The controversy is far wider and includes the forces of evil under the devil massed against God and His servants over issues of supremacy which started ages ago in heaven of all places.
The prophet Isaiah, in describing the overwhelming ambition and pride of Lucifer – Satan, states: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14). This once highly privileged, highly honoured and exalted angel, blessed with super talents and attributes actually coveted the position and power of the Creator and later had the supreme arrogance to ask His Creator in the wilderness of temptation to worship him, promising that “all these things will I give to Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4:1).
All inhabitants of the planet Earth are involved in this conflict of the Ages between God and Satan – Truth and Error – Righteousness and Unrighteousness – everlasting life or everlasting oblivion. Everyone will be brought to the position where he has to make a conscious and deliberate choice.
Many, the majority, unfortunately will choose the popular way, the line of least resistance as Jesus says: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth into life, and few there be which find it” (Matt. 7: 13, 14).
This remainder will maintain their loyalty to their Creator in spite of everything the enemy throws at them and will triumph finally when the Great Controversy has been settled once and for all.
“Here is the patience of the Saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12).
Osbert C. Ward