Answer : ____________________
NOTE: Those who receive God's seal in their foreheads will be protected during the plagues (Psalms 91:7-11).
NOTE: God's seal is found in His law. A seal is what makes a document official, and it normally contains three characteristics: Name, Office, and Territory. An example would be "Cyrus king of Persia" in Ezra 1:1.
NOTE: The fourth commandment is the only one that contains all three elements of a seal: (1) "The Lord"--His name, (2) "made"--His office as Creator, (3) "heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is"--His territory.
NOTE: God clearly states that He gave the Sabbath as a sign of His power to create and sanctify. It is His seal, or mark of authority. The words "seal," "sign," "mark," and "token" are used interchangeably throughout the Bible (compare Genesis 17:11 with Romans 4:11 and Revelation 7:3 with Ezekiel 9:4).
NOTE: We identified the first beast of Revelation 13 in Lesson 13. What is its mark of power and authority? The best way to discover its mark of authority is to ask the papacy directly. Notice the following section from a Catholic catechism:
"Q. Which is the Sabbath day?
"A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.
"Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
"A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."1
Here is another statement from a catechism:
"Q. Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
"A. 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."2
So the papacy is saying that its mark of power and authority is making Sunday a holy day--a change that virtually the entire Christian world accepts. (See supplement entitled "What Important Question Does the Papacy Ask Protestants?")
1Peter Geiermann, The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1957 edition), p 50.
2Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, third American edition, revised, n.d.), p. 174.
NOTE: Neither the mark of the beast nor the seal of God is outwardly visible. The forehead represents the mind, and the hand is a symbol of work. "On the hand" and "between the eyes" are consistent symbols in Scripture for a person's thoughts and actions (Exodus 13:16; Deuteronomy 6:8; 11:18).
A person will receive the mark of the beast in his forehead by choosing to believe that Sunday is a holy day in spite of Bible truth. A person will be marked in the right hand by working on God's Sabbath or by outwardly keeping Sunday laws for convenient reasons--such as a job, family, etc. Although the sign is invisible to men, God will know who has which mark (2 Timothy 2:19). In a sense, each person will mark himself. If I respect and regard God's holy Sabbath, He will mark me as His own. If I regard the beast's false Sabbath, He will mark me as belonging to the beast.
NOTE: No person has the mark now. When it becomes a forced issue, only those who have received the mark of the beast will be able to buy or sell. At that time, people who keep God's holy Sabbath will do so at the risk of their lives (Revelation 13:15), and those who choose to profane His holy day and officially cast their votes by placing the laws of men above the Law of God will be marked as belonging to Antichrist. All who are loyal to Jesus and His holy day will receive Jesus' glorious seal, thus making them His forever. Those who try to remain neutral will be counted for Antichrist (Matthew 12:30).
NOTE: Daniel 7 reveals an Old Testament description of the Antichrist power. It clearly predicts that the beast would attempt to change both God's laws and times. The papacy has tried to change God's laws by: (1) omitting the second commandment against veneration of images, (2) shortening the fourth commandment from 94 words to just eight in order to avoid mentioning which day is the Sabbath, and (3) dividing the tenth commandment into two commandments. The papacy attempted to change God's times by: (1) teaching people to recognize the first day of the week as the Sabbath instead of the seventh day, and (2) adopting the pagan Roman practice of beginning each day at midnight instead of sundown. God's timing for the Sabbath is from sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday night (Leviticus 23:32). No mortal should ever dare to tamper with God's sacred law or times (Matthew 5:18).
NOTE: God is still hurt when His pastors are partial to eight or nine commandments and cause many to stumble over His command to keep the Sabbath holy. Virtually all churches admit in their official writings that there is no Scripture support for Sunday sacredness. Tragically, both Protestantism and Catholicism stand guilty before the judgment bar of God for throwing out the Bible Sabbath! God Himself gave the Sabbath as a sign, or mark, of His power to create and His power to sanctify and save (Exodus 31:17; Ezekiel 20:12). Dare any man tamper with this sacred sign, which represents the great God of heaven and all that He stands for?
NOTE: Times have not changed. God has placed the Sabbath, His great sign, in the middle of His law and begins that commandment with the word "remember." Yet many people today feel that keeping His seventh-day Sabbath is a strange thing.
NOTE: God pointedly rebukes religious leaders who say that the Sabbath doesn't matter and who claim "Thus saith the Lord" when it is not true.
NOTE: God charges spiritual leaders to call Sabbath-breaking a sin and to insist that His people keep His Sabbath day holy. As with the disciples of old, our only safety is in obeying God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
NOTE: Glorious rest and peace enter your heart at conversion. The Sabbath, which means "rest," is a symbol of the rest and peace that comes from the new birth (Hebrews 4:1-10). Those who are truly born again will keep the Sabbath as a blessed sign of that rest (notice verses 4, 9, 10). There is no joy like the joy that comes to a converted person who keeps God's Sabbath holy.
What Important Question Does the Papacy Ask Protestants?Protestants have repeatedly asked the papacy, "How could you dare to change God's law?" But the question posed to Protestants by the Catholic church is even more penetrating.
Here it is officially: "You will tell me that Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath, but that the Christian Sabbath has been changed to Sunday. Changed! but by whom? Who has authority to change an express commandment of Almighty God? When God has spoken and said, Thou shalt keep holy the seventh day, who shall dare to say, Nay, thou mayest work and do all manner of worldly business on the seventh day but thou shalt keep holy the first day in its stead?
This is a most important question, which I know not how you can answer. You are a Protestant, and you profess to go by the Bible and the Bible only and yet in so important a matter as the observance of one day in seven as a holy day, you go against the plain letter of the Bible, and put another day in the place of that day which the Bible has commanded. The command to keep holy the seventh day is one of the ten commandments you believe that the other nine are still binding who gave you authority to tamper with the fourth? If you are consistent with your own principles, if you really follow the Bible and the Bible only, you ought to be able to produce some portion of the New Testament in which this fourth commandment is expressly altered."11Library of Christian Doctrine: Why Don't You Keep Holy the Sabbath-Day? (London: Burns and Oates, Ltd.), pp. 3, 4.