Few prophecies in the Bible are as fascinating to its readers as is the subject of the mark of the beast. As with other aspects of prophecies described in this book, theories attempting to explain this mark abound.
This intriguing, mysterious mark is much talked about, but almost universally misunderstood. Some believe it is a computer chip implanted in people’s foreheads or right hands. Others have thought it was Hitler’s swastika and still others have thought it has been this or that government program. Despite endless sermons preached and articles written about its possible meaning, millions remain baffled by it.
While almost none have known or suspected this, you will learn that the mark has much—in fact, everything—to do with the subject of this book. But before seeing how, important background must be brought in to build a foundation of understanding without which the reader will be lost.
Revelation 14 pictures three angels bearing three messages (vs. 6-11). These messages announce the fall of Babylon through the seven last plagues and warn against receiving the “mark of the beast.” Many prophecies show that most—all who belong to the coming great false church-state system—will ignore the warning, and will be deceived into receiving it!
The prophecies that describe the mark are stark—and horrible! Sadly, most all preachers focus on just one passage to the exclusion of the many others on the subject. Let’s read it: “And he causes 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” (Rev. 13:16-17).
This is a critical statement, for it speaks of some kind of a universal mark backed by authority in a way that controls people’s ability to conduct normal matters of commerce (“buying and selling”). Those who do not have the mark are isolated from the most routine matters of purchasing food, goods and services.
Being able to buy and sell goods is certainly essential—something that everyone needs to be able to do. But understand. This is not speaking of whether stores and retail establishments will be willing to sell goods to people without the mark, but rather whether people can earn a living—meaning a wage and a salary—in order to have income, if they do not have it. The implication of the Greek is that one will not be able to buy or sell—will not have money in hand to do so—because he is unemployed!
So then, the “mark of the beast” involves ability to obtain and hold a job in order to make a living.
Obviously then, millions will have it—and it will have to be considered desirable and attractive, or else the masses would not seek or accept it.
But the mark will be a trap to those who are charmed by the surface of its attraction. For here is what will happen to all those who receive it: “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God …And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues [vials], clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles…And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials [plagues] of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them who worshipped his image” (Rev. 15:1, 6; 16:1-2).
This is serious! Terrible punishment will fall on all who have taken this mark. However unwittingly they did this, the result will be the same—horrible plagues on all, including you or me, if we have this mark!
God Must Explain the Mark
To get a complete picture of the mark of the beast, we must study all of the verses that pertain to it. There are many, and studying just a few will not reveal the full truth. Using imagination and human reasoning to invent various silly—and some are truly ludicrous—conclusions about what the mark of the beast may be, only serves to further deceive and confuse those with interest in the subject.
Ask: Would God foretell plagues on all those who receive the mark and then leave mankind in the dark about what it is? Would He say, in effect, “I am going to pour out terrifying, horrible PLAGUES—causing the death of millions—on those who receive the mark of the beast, but I will not tell you what it is or how to avoid it—so that you can escape”?
Comprehend this vital point. Men cannot reveal the meaning of or explain the mark—only God can. Plain reality is that He must do this—and He does tell us most plainly exactly what it is!
The Beast’s Mark
Now understand this most basic point. The mark is plainly identified as one pertaining to the beast. It is the “mark of the beast.” Other of my books have carefully identified the beast as the Roman Empire, with much proof. The beast of Revelation 17 exists at and just before the Return of Christ. This is the Holy Roman Empire through its seven revivals, or resurrections. Therefore, the mark of the beast is the mark of the seventh and last head of the (Holy) Roman Empire.
The mark of the beast is not the mark of the Roman Catholic Church. This is because the woman of Revelation 17 is the great church that rides the (Holy) Roman Empire. The Bible does not speak of the “mark of the woman,” but rather of the “mark of the beast” that the woman rides. Is this clear?
Certainly the “woman” is also a small organized civil kingdom, or government, as well as being a church—and she does guide, direct and lead the far greater kingdom that she rides. But, while the beast has much greater power than she has, like any horse, camel or elephant has greater power than its rider, the rider—in this case, the “woman”—steers the animal to do its bidding.
Remember what we read: “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 causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads” (Rev. 13:15-16).
We can summarize in this way: This great false church steers, guides and directs—“causes”—others to receive the mark. She does not directly administer it herself, but rather causes all in the empire to accept—“receive”—the mark. She is the same woman that caused the martyrdom of saints throughout the ages. The mark is received in the right hand and the forehead—and it is a kind of brand of the (Holy) Roman Empire, not of the church. This mark will be brought—caused—upon the entire civilized western world!
Martyrdoms—Past and Future!
In Matthew 24, Christ, in answer to a question by His disciples about when He would return, spoke of and clarified events that would precede what the Bible calls “the great tribulation” (vs. 21-22). This, followed by the wrath of God, comprises the three and a half years preceding His Second Coming.
A few verses before explaining the tribulation, Christ explained that a terrible martyrdom lay ahead for true Christians at the end of the age: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake” (Matt. 24:9). It is obvious that Christians will be doing something that identifies them as different from all those around them. They will be hated with such intensity that they will be tortured (“afflicted”) and martyred in great numbers (“killed”).
Revelation 6 is a precise parallel of Matthew 24. In fact, the careful reader will see that Matthew 24 is Christ interpreting His own words in Revelation 6.
In Revelation, John, in vision, was shown a preview of future events (“hereafter,” 4:1). Since John was “in the spirit” as the seals were opened (vs. 2), the events he witnessed were not actually occurring when he saw them. They were heavenly previews of things that would happen later on earth.
Revelation 6:9-11 contains a description of the fifth seal, which is the great tribulation and future martyrdom of saints. Upon the opening of the fifth seal (vs. 9), John “saw under [at the base of] the altar the souls of them that were slain.”
Here is John’s description of the fifth seal: “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (vs. 9-11).
Some cite these verses to validate both the pagan immortal soul doctrine and the belief that the saved go to heaven (which is not true)—and thereby miss the whole point of what Christ is revealing.
This description is not literal, but rather is symbolic, as is much of Revelation. No one believes that the four horses that precede it in context are literal horses. They are obviously symbolic and part of a vision. So are the souls under the altar.
The fifth seal portrays the martyrdom of true saints (along with vast numbers from national Israel and Judah). This occurs during the tribulation. The context develops with the already-martyred souls asking God a question: “How long, O Lord…” Verse 11 is a symbolic instruction to these martyrs of the Middle Ages to await this latter martyrdom of the end time.
In the vision, John was shown the future. A long period of martyrdom, at the hands of the great false “woman” church, who was “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17:6), will have already taken place. (Revelation 12 briefly describes God’s true Church through the last 2,000 years.) There, this period is described as “a thousand two hundred and three score (1,260) days”—or 1,260 years, from A.D. 325 to A.D. 1585.
Revelation 12:6 describes how the Church had to flee “into the wilderness” to escape persecution. Accounts from history indicate that more than 50 million human beings were killed during this time because of their unwillingness to compromise beliefs that were contrary to the Roman church. (Most of these were not true Christians striving to hold to all of God’s doctrines, but were “protestors” holding to some few areas where they disagreed with Rome.)
Again, a later martyrdom (the great tribulation) is yet to happen in our time. The “souls” who were already “slain” were previously martyred true Christians from past ages. These earlier martyrs were told to “rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (vs. 11).
The great tribulation is not God’s wrath. The wrath of God is the seven last plagues, described extensively in parts of the book of Revelation. The great tribulation is Satan’s wrath on God’s true servants—and on the modern descendants of ancient Israel and Judah. This wrath will be perpetrated by a final empire of ten kings in Europe, united under one powerful leader—and done at the behest of Satan’s universal false church. Matthew 24:22 shows that God will have to cut “short” this persecution “for the elects’ sake.”
The “souls under the altar” are now awaiting God’s punishment of—His “vengeance” on—the great governmental power that persecuted them. God said that He would “avenge [their] blood” through the seven last plagues on those who carry the mark of the beast. God will pour His vengeance on this false Babylonish murderous woman and her daughter churches of Revelation 17. But this cannot take place until the second great and final martyrdom is past.
Elect Must Remain Fervent, Vigilant
Many of God’s true people in the end time have partially drifted away from God. They have not remained as close to Him as they should have. They have not zealously sought and obeyed God on a daily basis. This has allowed many to be deceived, and to fall into various false doctrines and wrong practices. This has been the pattern of history when false ministers capture the leadership of the flock. Only the tribulation will awaken these brethren—and even then only about half (Matt. 25:1-12)!
These “lukewarm” Christians will have to suffer this final martyrdom (Rev. 3:14-22). The faithful Christians who were previously killed must continue to “rest” (remain “asleep” in their graves–Eph. 5:14; I Cor. 11:30; 15:51) until others join them through this final martyrdom.
During the tribulation, there will be extraordinary worldwide deception, unlike any time in world history. Christ was very specific about this in Matthew 24: “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity [lawlessness, worldwide] shall abound, the love [obedience to human laws and God’s Law–Rom. 13:10; I John 5:3] of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved…For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be…For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders [the false prophet of Revelation 16:13 and 19:20—the woman and two-horned beast of Revelation 13:11-13—will lead in this]; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (vs. 10-13, 21, 24).
This is a very direct prophecy about tremendous deception that seduces “many” at the end of the age, before Christ’s Coming (Matt. 24:3). The elect must remain on guard—and remember to practice Luke 21:36, among many other scriptures—daily!
At His Return, Christ will bring with Him the individual rewards of all His servants. They will have qualified for great glory: “For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works” (Matt. 16:27).
Make no mistake. Your works in this life, your obedience to God’s plain commands, have a direct bearing on your reward in the next life!
Satan’s Wrath on Modern Israelite Descendants
Let’s now take a moment to compare two critically important scriptures that shed much light on the tribulation. Doing this will give us a precise picture of who else receives the brunt of Satan’s wrath during this time. We have seen that lukewarm Christians will be martyred—but far more than these will endure this terrible time of trial.
First notice Matthew 24:21: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” This verse plainly establishes the tribulation as the single worst time in all world history. Take this verse for exactly what it says.
Now let’s examine a second scripture that relates to this one. It is longer and more extensive, and is found in Jeremiah 30. The last phrase of this chapter is “in the latter days you shall consider it.” Now what does this chapter contain that we must “consider” in these final days?
Verse 3 establishes to whom God is speaking—Israel and Judah. Verse 2 was instruction to Jeremiah to record in a book all that God had told him. Now notice: “And these are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus says the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask you now, and see whether a man does travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (vs. 4-7).
This is a shocking description of punishment foretold to come on Israel and Judah. Terrible fear and horror accompany this punishment.
But focus for a moment on two phrases in verse 7 describing this time. The first is “that day is great, so that none is like it.” This is almost identical to Matthew 24:21. They cannot be speaking of two separate times, because it is impossible to have two periods in history that are both described as the worst of all time. These two scriptures have to be speaking of the same time. And remember, these verses both depict events in the “end of the age” and the “latter days.”
Now notice the second phrase: “it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble.” This phrase unlocks vital meaning and explains who else suffers Satan’s wrath in this time of great anguish and misery. It also adds more to what this book’s previous chapter revealed.
Understand that the Old Testament patriarch Israel was originally named Jacob (Gen. 32:28). Prophecies referencing either name describe the same peoples.
Many Old Testament prophecies describe the scope and severity of national punishment that God plans for these peoples. Their modern lands will be destroyed by the beast, and many millions will be taken into captivity at his hands. Again, we saw this.
The great tribulation will be a time of terrible suffering for both physical Israel and the less vigilant, lukewarm “remnant” of spiritual Israel, the Church. But numerous verses in Revelation show that it will be a time of general prosperity for many non-Israelitish nations—when the beast’s merchants bring much “buying and selling.” These nations will be punished during the time of God’s wrath.
The Mark—Past and Future!
The true Christian’s initial reward involves rulership, lasting 1,000 years. But the test has been the same for those of previous ages. Those who hold fast their convictions, in the face of impending martyrdom, when this test comes again, will be victorious even in death—but they will truly be “gold tried in the fire” (Rev. 3:18).
Here is what God says awaits those who have been faithful unto death. Read each word carefully: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4).
This is an astonishing verse. Did you notice that all those killed for holding to the truth of God also refused to receive the mark? In other words, those of all previous eras were required to withstand the enforcement of the mark as well. But, because they would not yield to pagan beliefs, festivals, customs, rank idolatry and worship of the Holy Roman Empire—and the Revelation 17 “woman” church—they were killed. The mark of the beast was first enforced well over 1,000 years ago. And, though it is not yet being enforced, for the plagues to fall on those who have it, and for those who refuse it to be forced into martyrdom—it must be enforced once again!
Christians of previous times were killed because they refused the mark of the beast and the worship of its image. They “obeyed God rather than man” (Acts 5:29)—they obeyed the government of God rather than the Roman government guided by the woman riding it. They did not resist punishment, but willingly yielded to their punishment—torture and death! These future rulers proved themselves faithful to God and have qualified to reign with Jesus Christ when He comes, bringing “His reward with Him.”
Also in Matthew 24, Christ foretold that the “gospel of the kingdom” would be preached to all nations “and then shall the end come” (vs. 14). In John 9:4, He warned His disciples that “the night comes, when no man can work.”
Soon, deep spiritual darkness will descend on the whole world. The time for announcing the coming of the kingdom of God will come to an end. Final opportunity to seek God and escape what lies ahead will be gone. It is our responsibility to preach—and warn—before it is too late.
Notice: “When I say unto the wicked, You shall surely die; and you give him not warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand” (Ezek. 3:18).
We are doing our part in warning all who will listen now. Soon, you will have to choose who and what you will obey. Will you obey God or will you obey the final revival of the Holy Roman Empire, governed by the great false “woman” church leading recognized, traditional “Christianity”?
But the Bible reveals that there will be three final warnings to the rebellious nations under the woman and beast’s deception. This will occur through three separate angelic messengers, referenced earlier. Again, these are found in Revelation 14.
The third message declares this: “If any man worship the beast [again, the final end-time revival of the Roman Empire] and his image, and receive his mark …the same shall drink of the wine of the WRATH OF GOD…He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…in the presence of the Lamb” (vs. 9-10).
True Christians “Marked” by Obedience
We have not yet identified the exact nature of the mark. But we will see that it has something to do with obedience—whether we will obey “God or man” (Acts 5:29).
As we have seen, two churches are described in the New Testament. The true Church that Jesus built (Matt. 16:18) is the bride of Christ, forsaking involvements with this world and its customs in order to be pure when He comes to marry her.
Throughout the New Testament are warnings that false teachers would creep in (Jude 3-4; II Thes. 2:3-11; II Cor. 11:13-14) and gain control of the church organization, forcing faithful Christians to flee from their original congregations to continue to obey God. God’s true people were foretold to remain a “little flock” (Luke 12:32), often scattered, never having political power in this world.
Despite continual persecution—even during periods of great martyrdom—by the large popular churches that have continually sought to destroy it, a determined remnant has always remained throughout the last nearly 2,000 years.
The world has kept little track of this small, scattered Church, but Christ promised that He would never leave or forsake it, and that “the gates of hell [the grave] shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Though it has periodically been forced to flee for its life (Acts 8:1; Dan. 12:7), Christ has faithfully kept His promise to remain with it, empowering and strengthening it through His Spirit. His true Church is loyal and obedient to His government structure, and no other!
Immediately after the third angel’s warning in Revelation 14:9-10, verse 12 contains a description of God’s servants who will not take the mark. Remember, there are only two categories of people—those who take the mark and those who do not.
God declares, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (vs. 12).
In a disobedient world that has followed a system in rebellion against God, there are relatively few commandment-keepers. God’s little Church has always been willing—and determined—to obey Him.
This verse explains that only the “faith of Jesus” (not merely faith in Jesus) gives them the strength to resist receiving the mark. Shallow human faith will be of no value in avoiding the mark!
When Jesus was approached by a young man seeking salvation, He was asked, “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16). Christ answered, “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments” (vs. 17).
It has always been this plain for all who would serve God! The commandments of God must be kept.
Regarding obedience to His Law, God has always had but one standard: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if you commit no adultery, yet if you kill, you are become a transgressor of the law” (Jms. 2:10-11).
Christians keep all the laws of God. They make no exceptions!
Disobedience is the Mark
The above scriptures reveal that God’s people refuse the mark, keep His commandments and obey His government. Those of the world receive the mark, obey something else, and thereby disobey God and reject His rule over them.
Now here is a description of those who have triumphed over Satan’s mark: “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast , and over his image , and over his mark , and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Your ways, You King of saints” (Rev. 15:2-3).
God likens those who have achieved victory to those who escaped Egypt and Pharaoh’s rule. Under Moses’ leadership, Israel escaped the plagues that fell on Egypt, which was a forerunner and type of the plagues to fall on those who have received the mark. Paul spoke of how Old Testament examples “are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (I Cor. 10:11).
God’s saints are shown to “sing the song of Moses” standing on a sea of glass (before God), just as Israel stood on the shore of the Red Sea having been delivered from oppression in Egypt. They sing Moses’ song because Moses reflects God’s commandments. They sing the song of the Lamb (Christ) because, through faith (“of Christ”), they have conquered sin, and received salvation.
Now back to Revelation 12 and key events happening to the Church at the very end.
Satan is angry, and directs his wrath against God’s people. But this is contrasted to great joy in heaven because of God’s final victory through His servants. Notice: “Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time” (vs. 12). The last phrase reveals why the devil is angry.
Verses 13-16 explain that a very select few of God’s completely faithful servants will be protected in the Church’s “place” for three and a half years (also see Rev. 3:10-11). But those who are less vigilant, less convicted and lukewarm, and who have accepted certain doctrines of the Revelation 17 “woman,” while remaining generally faithful in keeping the commandments, will not be protected.
Here is what Satan does to this lukewarm group next. Read it carefully, for it is further proof that God’s people keep the commandments, and is proof that they suffer Satan’s wrath as a result.
Continue with the final verse of the chapter: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman [God’s true Church], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (vs. 17).
Christians are commandment-keepers, and the testimony of Jesus Christ is God’s Word—the Bible. The “testimony of Jesus Christ” is also referred to as the “spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). God’s servants understand the basic framework of His overall prophetic timetable and plan. They are not confused about “what happens next,” once certain prophecies begin to take place.
However, just as God knows His servants, and they are marked by obedience to Him, so Satan knows his servants, and marks them as his own, so that they may be protected from his wrath—the tribulation!
Understand this in the following way: Satan marks his servants and protects them from his wrath, while persecuting and martyring those who will not take his mark. On the other hand, God protects His most faithful servants (Rev. 3:10-11; 12:13-16), because they will not take the mark, or in any manner compromise His way, but pours His wrath on those who do take Satan’s mark. (But even those who are lukewarm can, through death, triumph over the mark in the tribulation and receive salvation.)
Get this picture absolutely clear in your mind!
Those Who Receive Plagues Made Plain!
There are other plain New Testament scriptures that tell us exactly why God pours out His wrath on certain people. We will examine them shortly.
We must first examine what God says sin is, for His plagues will be poured on a sinning humanity. Once we understand how God defines sin, we can better understand how Satan marks all those who are his servants.
Here is sin, defined by God: “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4).
In plain words, just as the faithful are commandment-keepers, those who sin are commandment-breakers.
Now let’s examine for specific understanding about exactly what brings the wrath of God. Here is what Paul wrote: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of god comes on the children of disobedience” (Col. 3:5-6).
There it is! God pours out His wrath on those who DISOBEY Him! There is no misunderstanding the plain meaning of this verse.
But let’s consider another: “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness…filthiness…For this you know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom…Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of god upon the children of disobedience” (Eph. 5:3-6).
Once again, this is most plain regarding why, and upon whom, God pours out His wrath! And the next verse shows what Christians are instructed not to do with those who practice what Paul describes: “Be not you therefore partakers with them” (vs. 7).
Those who “partake” of this conduct, or who fraternize “with them” (the world and its ways), will partake of God’s plagues on a rebellious mankind.
The prophet Zephaniah speaks most bluntly of this terrible day when God’s wrath is poured out. Notice: “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hastens greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord : and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung” (1:14-17).
Let’s now summarize what we have read.
The mark of the beast is commandment-breaking, and he that breaks one breaks them all. The mark is that of the Roman Empire—the beast—not the woman who rides it. The false woman church “caused” the masses to receive the mark through deception. The human government through which Satan deceives the world, the Roman Empire, receives its power, its seat and authority from him. Holding a job and engaging in commerce—buying or selling—is impossible for those without the mark. Martyrdoms, past and future, occur because some refuse the mark, and keep the commandments of God instead. So, the mark is something the apostate church enforces, which is directly contrary to God’s Law, and has a direct relationship to earning a living—holding a job.
What Mark Would Satan Choose?
Since Satan has “deceived the whole world” (Rev. 12:9; 20:3), how has he accomplished this? On what point has he seized, which he can most naturally replace with a counterfeit. What command would Satan most easily change, and then expect carnal human reasoning to conclude is merely an innocent adjustment?
Now understand. The carnal mind is “enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7). Human beings are most agreeable to sin in all of its forms. People are perfectly willing to break every one of God’s commandments. Whether idolatry, stealing, adultery, murder, dishonoring of parents, coveting or lying, people willingly—and eagerly—do these things. And, of course, Satan has certainly led people into all of these practices.
But none of these represent, in any particular way, a test that directly connects to how one might earn a living or hold a job—to whether or how one could or could not “buy and sell.” And Satan must select a commandment, which affects this ability of those who will not compromise God’s Law.
There is only one commandment that Satan would see as a candidate for such a test. It is a commandment that God has always said is a sign between Him and His people.
We should now ask, “What is a mark, brand or sign?” What do these terms signify—what do they mean?
In practical application, ranchers brand their cattle to signify ownership. In many cases, retailers hang up a sign above their establishment to show whose hardware store, restaurant or shop it is. In Genesis 4:15, after he killed Abel, Cain received a “mark,” signifying that he had sinned. This was also a kind of brand or sign telling those who met Cain who and what he was. The famous novel The Scarlet Letter is the story of a woman who committed adultery and had to wear a large “A” on the front of her clothing to signify what she had done.
It is no different with a church. God does not force anyone to obey Him. But Satan, through his church, does force his brand on his people in the same way that ranchers force their brand on cattle.
Now what is the sign that God says identifies His people? What point of obedience tells God that we are His people?
Recalling God’s Sign
Recall how, in Genesis 2, immediately after God had made man, He finished the week with one final creation: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 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” (vs. 1-3).
Also recall that, from creation, God established, blessed and sanctified (set apart) the seventh day of the week as a day of rest. He never established any other day—and confirmed that this was His Law “forever.” He told ancient Israel to “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy…the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God” (Ex. 20:8-9).
We also saw that, after a few generations in Egypt, God’s people, the ancient Israelites, lost all knowledge of His Law. God had to teach it to them again. After freeing them from slavery, the first great Law that He gave them was the command to keep the Sabbath.
Again, the Sabbath originated before the Old Covenant was established. The Ten Commandments were not given as part of the Old Covenant. They had been in force since creation.
Then, in Exodus 31:12-17, we learned that God made a special covenant with Israel regarding His Sabbath: “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying…Verily My sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the Lord that does sanctify [set apart] you. You shall keep the sabbath…the seventh [day] is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord… Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath…for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel FOREVER: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested…”
Remember, the Sabbath “sanctifies” those who keep it. They are set apart as belonging to—as being owned by—God. I repeat for emphasis: Christians are told that “you are bought with a price; be not you the servants of men” (I Cor. 7:23) and “you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God…” (I Cor. 6:20).
Those who observe the Sabbath are signified as God’s people—and that He owns them. They are also publicly identified as people who keep the commandments. Civil laws require people to keep several of the other commandments (against stealing, murder, lying [perjury], etc.), so obedience to most or all of the other commandments, which the world at least generally acknowledges in one form or another, does not identify one as a commandment-keeper!
We saw the Sabbath does this! It is an automatic sign that people are of God, that they belong to God, since no one would think or choose to keep this command without it having been divinely revealed.
Recall that God established the Sabbath as a “perpetual covenant” to be kept “throughout your generations”—and “forever.” This command is ironclad—for all time. This day was to be observed forever! Doing so kept people in contact with the true God. It was the means God intended His people never lose sight of who was their God—and that they were His people! And again, if all peoples and nations kept the Sabbath, as Israel was commanded to do, no one would have ever fallen into idolatry and the worship of other gods—which has happened to all nations who have not kept it.
We must ask again: Which commandment would Satan choose to throw out? Which commandment would he most hate—and why? Which commandment signifies that those who obey it do not belong to him?
The only commandment signifying (from which comes sign) that one belongs to God—and the only commandment that directly points to the true God of creation, thus displacing Satan, is the SABBATH!
The devil most hates the Fourth Commandment! There is no way to get around whether one does or does not literally observe the seventh day as the Sabbath. You either do or you don’t! God and Satan know what is at stake on this point. And the world as a whole can readily see whether one keeps the Sabbath or not.
Where “Sunday Keeping” Came From
Even though God commanded that the Sabbath be kept forever, we saw that the churches of the world replaced it with the popular tradition of Sunday-keeping. By now it is obvious that this practice did not come from God or His Church. But let’s see more.
Many have assumed the unscriptural tradition that Christ was resurrected from the tomb on Sunday. If Sunday can be established as the day that Christ was resurrected, it can be a means of injecting the pagan Easter festival and celebration, with its Sunday sunrise services, into Christianity.
Many pagan festivals, including Christmas (Saturnalia), Easter (the festival of Ishtar) and worship on the day of the Sun, were observed throughout the Roman Empire long before Christ. The apostate church (the “woman”) simply adopted them into practice, and enforced them on all citizens in the empire through the civil government. Actually, the first one to enforce Sunday worship was not a Pope or a church, but was Constantine, the Roman emperor.
Here is what happened next. At the Council of Laodicea, in A.D. 363, the following decree was passed: “Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, resting rather on Sunday. But, if any be found to be Judaizing, let them be declared anathema from Christ.”
Understand what this decree meant. When one was branded “anathema” (accursed or heretic) by the church, he was arrested by the state, tortured and, unless he recanted, this continued until death. This was enforced so strictly that people were required to rest on Sunday, and work on Saturday, in order to engage in business or hold a job. This enforcement governed their “buying and selling.”
The “Little Horn”
Daniel 7 introduces and speaks of something called “the little horn.” Verse 25 there sheds important light on what happened in the Roman Empire. Here is what Daniel wrote: “And he [the little horn, the same as the false “woman” church] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High”—now get this next point and do not misunderstand—“and think to change times and laws.”
This is a remarkable statement about how the great false “woman” church sought to alter God’s law as it had to do with time. The single most obvious way has been to change the time of God’s Sabbath to the pagan sun’s day (the day long set apart by men for worship of the sun), thus altering the fourth great law of God! (More and more people today speak of Sunday as their “sabbath.”)
HOW PLAIN has been the work of this church in its efforts to “wear out the saints”!—and to speak against “the most High”!
Is it any wonder that God will pour out His wrath without mercy on any who would dare to do these things to His Word and to His people?
God has never authorized His Church or mankind to keep the pagan Sun’s day. Nor did He ever command or allow His people to keep numerous other pagan festivals and days of worship—and has always explicitly commanded against them!
What You Obey
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, explained that people are the servants of whatever and whoever they obey: “Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (6:16).
People either serve and obey God, and are given eternal life—or they serve and obey sin and the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4), Satan, and earn eternal death (Rom. 6:23)!
In the Old Testament, Sabbath-breaking was punishable by death (Ex. 31:14 and 15). II Corinthians 3:7-8 describes the Old Testament administration of a civil death penalty, which is no longer applicable, because God is now building the nation of spiritual Israel (Rom. 2:28-29; 8:9; 11:24-26; Gal. 3:29; Eph. 2:11-13, 19; I Pet. 2:5, 9).
The Sabbath was to be kept perpetually, throughout the generations of Israel. There are still generations of Israel today—and there is spiritual Israel, which keeps the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Take heed whether and how you will obey God. For “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:28-29).
This is most serious!
In plain terms, the mark of the beast is Sunday-keeping and the keeping of pagan festivals—in place of God’s weekly and annual Sabbaths!
Towering—truly colossal!—prophecies, concerning the most terrible calamities to ever strike the earth, are now unfolding. You have seen them explained in clear and plain detail. A spiritually darkened, blind and deceived world rushes headlong toward disaster, now just ahead. They do not suspect that God’s wrath, poured out in full fury, and undiluted with mercy, will soon fall on a sin-ravaged humanity that God has marked to receive it.
These prophecies are certain—they are sure. They will happen!
Will you be deceived when they come to pass? Will you be seduced by miracles and lying wonders? Will you take the mark of the beast? Will you worship the beast and his image? Will you follow the masses and ignore God?
Or will you obey God, watch and pray always—and ESCAPE?
How the Mark is Made
The issue of the mark of the Beast being received on the hand and forehead is no different from most of the examples found throughout the book of Revelation. It is symbolic. The right hand represents labor or work, what one does. The forehead symbolizes the human mind or intellect, what one believes. God wants us to understand that it is what we BELIEVE and what we DO that reveals who we have chosen to obey in regards to Sabbath- or Sunday-keeping.
The Roman church forced people to take Rome’s mark of Sunday observance. This was the day that the entire Roman Empire kept. The penalty for disobeying this order was death! The facts of history are unmistakable—at least 50 million people were killed.
The Sabbath command is the only commandment that would clearly identify those who have either taken the mark of the Beast or the sign of God. The Fourth Commandment is the only one that the world does not accept in its mind and then obey (working, or resting with the hand).
But did you realize that God’s sign is also directly tied to the hand and forehead? It is seen to also distinguish His people from the rest of the world. Notice this passage about one of God’s annual Sabbaths: “…it shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the Lord’s L aw may be in your mouth” (Ex. 13:9).
Also take note of the following verses in Deuteronomy about God’s identifying sign: “Now these are the commandments…And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: And you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes” (6:1, 6-8).
“Therefore shall you lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes” (11:18). Also read Proverbs 7:2-3 and Revelation 7:3-4; 14:1.
This is proof from your Bible that God, in His own way, marks His servants who keep His weekly or annual Sabbaths. God’s truth on this matter is unmistakably clear. To the open-minded reader, there should be no room for doubt.
During the Middle Ages, the Roman church did in fact cause all those in the “Holy Roman Empire” to take the mark. The impact of this doctrine was not limited to church members forced to observe Sunday instead of the Sabbath. Sunday-keeping had become even at that time so widespread that it caused the entire Western world—despite religious background or affiliation—to accept Sunday as opposed to Saturday as the weekly day of rest. This is now a near-universal practice in the West, with certain religions such as Judaism, Islam and a few Christian denominations the only exceptions. The few that God has called out of this world to be placed in His true Church would also be an exception to the vast majority who worship on Sunday.
Every nation on earth is deceived by the false religious system that calls itself Christianity while following pagan practices. God gives a strong warning in Revelation to those who wish to be protected from the times to come: “Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues” (18:4).
Is the Roman church still enforcing this mark?Although it does not currently hold the power to force this mark on everyone, a United States of Europe is coming. It will be a union of ten nations that will be a combination of state and religion—the Holy Roman Church will again ride “the Beast.”
Will you choose the mark of the Beast, or will you obey God and take His identifying sign?