The Mark of the Beast

Lesson: 9
Do you know what the mark of the beast is? Could you have it right now? What does the Bible teach about this?
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Jëan Ross: Good evening, friends, and welcome again to "Prophecy Encounter," coming to you live from Sanford, Florida. I'd like to welcome those here in our local audience, and also those joining us across the country and around the world for this very important and exciting Bible study experience. Well, today, we have an important subject that we're going to be looking at in our time together. In the book of Revelation, you read that every person living at the time of Christ's coming will be marked with something, either the seal of God or the mark of the beast. Now, the third angel's message in Revelation chapter 14 warns about the mark of the beast. And so, we need to know what is the mark, what does it mean? And we also need to know, how can we have the seal of God? So today, Pastor Doug will be delving in this very important prophetic subject. We are delighted that he's here leading us in our study together, so join me as we welcome Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Doug Batchelor: Thank you, Pastor Jëan Ross. And again, thank you so much for the incredible welcome we've had here at the Spring Meadows Church. It's been such a delight. Our study today is a very important one. I want to welcome our friends who are watching "Prophecy Encounter," talking about a very important and intense subject called "The Mark of the Beast." And when people hear that, right away all kinds of images come into folks' minds. They wonder, "What is this? Is it a computer chip under the skin? Is it 666 tattooed in the forehead? Is it a special super card that you carry in your purse or your wallet? And what is this mark? Is it something physical, is it something spiritual?" Well, we're going to talk about that.

You know, a few years ago, I remember back in 1969, when they had the Sharon Tate murders. And the infamous name Charles Manson was in the headlines. He was sort of the chieftain of this cult group that, during a 5-week period, they were involved in murdering nine people at four different locations. And the guy's just deranged in my mind. He seemed to be consummate evil. Just before his sentencing, he showed up of all things with a swastika tattooed between his eyes. By the way, they had their hideout in Death Valley of all places, where the cult would gather. And he believed that if he gave himself to the devil, he knew he was going to prison, that he would be protected while in prison. Well, at the time of this broadcast, his health is not very good, but he's over 80 years of age, and none of the other prisoners have really bothered him because they were afraid he was in league with the devil, and that something would happen to them.

You know, the Bible talks about another murderer in the very beginning that got a mark. If you go back in your Bibles to the book of Genesis, you read about Adam and Eve having two children. Their names were Cain and Abel, very different. Abel was a keeper of sheep, Cain was a tiller of the soil. And when it came time for them to worship, they had been taught by their parents how to worship God. God had given it to Adam and Eve that they would sacrifice these lambs or goats, these clean animals, and it would be a sign that God would give His Son. And the blood of these animals was to be a deterrent against sin. It meant it caused death when they sinned, and that God would see the sacrifice and He would forgive them.

Well, Cain didn’t like that plan. He thought it was kind of messy. He said, "Look, you--Abel, you're a shepherd, you can offer an animal. I'm a farmer, I'm going to offer the fruit of the ground." And they both built altars. And Cain put his lamb on the altar and fire--I'm sorry, Abel put his lamb on the altar, and the fire of God came down and consumed it, showing approval. Cain, he put his vegetables and bananas--I don’t know if they had bananas. On his altar, all he got was fruit flies. And it really began to bother him. And Abel appealed him and says, "You need to follow the Lord. You say you're worshipping Jehovah, but you're not doing it the way God said." He said, "It doesn’t matter if we're specific. An offering's an offering. We're worshipping the same God." And the dispute got so intense that Cain flew off the handle, he rose up, and the Bible says he killed his brother. You can read about this. There it tells us in Genesis chapter 4 verse 8, "And Cain talked with Abel his brother; and Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him."

Now, it's interesting when you think about it that there at the beginning of the Bible, you've got these two fathers of the nations, so to speak, these two sons. They both claim to worship the same God. One does it God's way, one does it his own way. One does it by faith, one does it by works. The one who is doing it wrong persecutes and kills the one who is doing it right. Fast forward to Revelation, you have the same scenario. Two great groups worshipping ostensibly the same God, one God's way, one man's way. One by faith, one by works. And the one who is wrong is persecuting the one who is doing it God's way. Now, when Cain did this, the Lord spoke to him, and it says He put a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. The Bible's not clear exactly what that mark was, but there was some distinguishing difference. And Cain knew that as men began to multiply on the earth, he would be flagged as the first murderer, and it would make him infamous, and he feared for his life. And God said, "Don't worry, I will put a mark upon you. And if anything happens to you, punishment will come upon them seven times." And so, there's been a lot of speculation about what that mark was. Was there anything physical there? Have you ever heard someone say, "That's a marked man"? It doesn’t mean someone's put a big check on their forehead, it means there's a distinguishing difference or something that they've done in their life that has marked them. So, it could just be something in their history.

So, with that as a background, let's delve a little more into finding out what this mark is. And by the way, this is something of part two in the presentation we did on the beast and antichrist, and we're hoping you've had that background. First question, who is protected during the seven final plagues that you find in Revelation? This is in Revelation chapter 7, verse 3, "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." There is a group that is protected, and they get a mark in their foreheads.

Now, you may not have caught this earlier, but how many people are marked in Revelation? Everybody. Bible tells us that one group's got the mark of the beast, and another group's got the seal of God. And one's got the Father's name on the forehead. You go to Revelation 17, she's got a paragraph that calls her a harlot in her forehead. What was it that brought down Goliath? A stone. Where? In the forehead. The Word of God, Christ is the rock. That Word of God, Ten Commandments written on stone, in the forehead brings down the devil. Jesus fought the devil in the wilderness, "It is written, it is written, it is written," and the devil fell on his face. And so, Goliath, that story is even a symbol of that. Jezebel, you remember what happened to Jezebel if you know your Bibles? Yeah, she was a wicked pagan queen, persecuted the prophets of God. There was 1,260 year period-- day period when there was a famine in the time of Elijah. She's finally thrown from the window. She's trampled, judged. And when Jehu feels bad, he says to his soldiers, "Go back and bury her. She was a king's daughter." They went back, and all they could find of Jezebel was her forehead and her hands. In the hand and in the forehead. That's interesting, I don’t know what to make of that. Kind of grizzly story, sorry. So, there's a seal that God's people get.

Number two, what is the seal the righteous receive in their foreheads? It says right there in Isaiah 8:16, "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples." So, the law of God is the new covenant. "Thy--it is law He will write in our hearts." And in the heart, when you say the heart, biblically you don’t point here. When you say the heart biblically, you point here. "As a man who thinketh in his heart," okay? So, the law of God is here in the forehead. In the hand is in the actions. He wants His law. Now, everybody that has the mark of the beast has whose spirit? The devil's spirit. Everybody who has the seal of God has whose spirit? Has God's Spirit. So, we already know that, and we showed you where in Ephesians it says, "We are sealed with the Holy Spirit." But there's something deeper in God's law that reveals the seal of God.

Now, let's remind you what has a biblical seal, what does it contain? Well, it's very much like an official seal today, three main components. It's going to have the name of the individual, their official title that gives them authority, and then their territory. You know, it's usually restricted to some place. You can find the seal of God in the middle of God's law in the commandment that is the longest, in the one that begins with the word "Remember”. And it's the only commandment where you find the word "holy." And it's the Sabbath commandment. It talks about our time, giving our time, giving our worship to God. He made an appointment with us. He's so important to us, we will keep that sacred appointment because we love Him, and we want to nurture that relationship.

So, which of the Ten Commandments has that seal, the components of a seal in it? Fourth commandment. Let's look at it, Exodus 20, verse 11, "For in six days the Lord made," that’s His name, the Lord, made, creator. Here's His territory, "The heaven and the earth." Is anything not included in the heaven and the earth? 'Because He's the Lord of all. He is Jehovah, the creator and sustainer of the heavens and the earth. The seal of God is in the middle of the law of God, and that law should be in our hearts and in our minds.

I'm going to make this study real easy for you. People always wonder, you know, "I don’t want to get the mark of the beast. I want to get the seal of God." Very simple. If you are saved through Christ, and you've got the new covenant, and the law of God is in your heart, in your hand, in your head, you will not have the mark of the beast. If you are putting the laws of the beast ahead of the law of God, you will have the mark of the beast. It's not real--a child can understand it. It's simply who do you obey? It says in Romans chapter 6, "Whoever you obey, that’s whose servant you are." So, you know, trying to analyze, and melt down, and break down exactly what is the mark of the beast, it's not complicated. It's who do you worship?

Now, how did the early Protestants identify the beast? We're going to give you a little church history. What is it that distinguishes Protestants from Catholics? Of course, Protestants protested. Martin Luther was the one who nailed--by the way, we're right now in that 500-year anniversary from Martin Luther nailing his protests on the doors of the church in Wittenberg. And one of the things that most Protestants held in common was they were all unitedly agreed of who the antichrist power was identified there in Daniel 7, in 2 Thessalonians, in Revelation 13. And I'm just going to read some quotes now, so put on your seatbelt before I read these to you. I want to make it very clear there are a lot of good, loving Christian people in many different churches. We're not talking about any individuals, we're not even talking about the pope himself. We're talking about the official positions that they hold and the--how they interpret the place of God in the Scriptures, in salvation. So, this is really just an analytical study, but here's what they said.

John Wycliffe, he was called the star of the Reformation, the morning star. He's the one who translated the Bible first into English. I've been to England and seen it there. He said, "We suppose that antichrist, the head of all these evil men, is the pope of Rome." By the way, what church did he belong to? Catholic church. So, here you have a Catholic scholar who is saying it's the pope of Rome. Again, John Huss. He said, "The Pope is the true antichrist, of whom it is written, that he sits in the temple of God among the people where Christ is worshiped." Martin Luther, "This teaching of the supremacy of the pope shows forcefully that the Pope is very antichrist." They didn’t mince words, did they? "Who has exalted himself above, and opposed himself against Christ." Here you've got Calvin, "Daniel and Paul had predicted that antichrist would sit in the temple of God. We affirm him to be the Pope." So, if you've got any Baptist roots or Calvinistic teachings, it's what Calvin believed, it's what Luther believed. Thomas Cranmer, that English--Anglican church you could say, an English scholar, he said, "Whereof it follows that Rome is to be the seat of antichrist, and the pope the very antichrist himself." Pretty strong. I just--you know why I'm reading these things to you? Not to be unkind. I think you never hear Protestants talk about this anymore. They have no knowledge of what the whole thing was about and why. It was a biblical interpretation they thought you could not escape. John Knox, Presbyterian, "Yea, we doubt not to prove the kingdom of the Pope to be the kingdom and power of antichrist."

Roger Williams, America, we have separation of church and state largely because of Roger Williams. Williams had a very important understanding. He said, "The Ten Commandments are on two tables of stone. One is civil in nature, and one is more spiritual in nature." The first four commandments deal with our relationship with God. No government in America should force people how to keep the first four commandments. You don’t want the government telling you what God to worship, or when to worship him, or what he looks like, right? He said, "But no government can neglect the last six commandments," respect of property, respect of marriage, respect of parents. And that was a very balanced approach. Here's what he said. "Pastor Williams spoke of the Pope as 'the pretended Vicar of Christ on earth, who sits as God over the Temple of God, exalting himself not only above all that is called God, but over all the souls and consciences of his vassals, yea over the Spirit of Christ.'" John Wesley said, "He it is that exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, claiming the highest power and the highest honor, claiming the prerogatives that belong to God alone."

If you read the Westminster Confession, and many Protestants subscribed to this, there you used to be able to read, "There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the pope of Rome in any sense be the head thereof; but is that antichrist." I mean, this is--this is history. At least you owe it to yourself to know what they believed. "That man of sin, the son of perdition that exalts himself in the church against Christ, against all that is called God," in the book "All Roads Lead to Rome." "A Great Cloud of Witnesses," listen to these names, "Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Cranmer." In the seventh century Bunyan, you've read "Pilgrim's Progress," this was the view of the author of "Pilgrim's Progress." The translators of the King James Bible uniformly believed this. The men who published the Westminster and Baptist Confessions, I just read you one of those. Isaac Newton, you ever heard that name? He's also quite a Bible scholar. John Wesley, Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, and more recently Spurgeon, the prince of preachers. Bishop J.C. Ryle and Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, these men among countless others all saw the office of the papacy as antichrist. They said, "If you're going to read the Bible and study prophecy, it's inescapable."

But you know, it is certainly not politically correct to say that, is it? Especially when you got a pope now who's so nice. He seems like such a nice, humble man. And he seems to be just--you know, he's putting off a lot of the fanfare and the wealth of previous popes, and he's apologizing for past history. And so, it's not very politically correct, but at least you should know this was a position of Protestants for 500 years, 450. You don’t hear much about it in the last 50 years or so.

So, what is the mysterious number that identifies the beast? This number is, you all know it, 666. And I think I told you it's interesting that in Daniel chapter 3, when Nebuchadnezzar makes an image that is 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide. Leslie Hearting, a scholar who taught at Andrews University, said that the Jews, if they did not tell you the width, it would be the same as the depth, which means that this was 60 by 6 by 6. Isn't that interesting there? And those who do not worship this image would be killed. That was all with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Six-six-six is an interesting number. Here's a picture of a Florida State Trooper, 666 on his license plate. What does that mean? See, you all laugh. Everyone knows there's something about that number. I was getting change at a store one time, and I forget what I bought, but it came back and my change was--all the things I bought came up to $6.66. And the cashier, the gal said, "Ooo, look at that, 666." And I said, "Yeah, look at that." I said, "Do you know what it means?" She says, "No, but it's bad. That’s all I know." And everyone kind of knows it. They don’t know what it means. Well, you know, it is an interesting number. For one thing, do you know if you take the first six Roman numerals, you know, the Roman numerals, you had-- you had an I, a one rather. And a V was five, and X was ten. And you add up the first 6 Roman numerals, comes up to 666, which I think is interesting. If you have 365 degrees in a circle, like a roulette wheel, not that that’s the best illustration, if you add 1 plus 2 plus 3 plus 4 and get up to 36, it adds up to 666. It's a very interesting mathematical number.

When I was doing mission work in New Mexico years ago, there in the Indian Reservation, there was a highway called Highway 666. And everybody kept stealing--all these Satanists would steal the highway signs, thought it's pretty cool. And they call it the Highway of Death because there was an unusual number of traffic-- fatal traffic accidents on that highway. And people said it's because it's the devil's highway, but really had nothing to do with that. It was a highway just off the reservation, where the Native Americans could finally buy alcohol, and so there were a lot of fatalities because of that. They changed the highway number finally, did you know? I forget what it is, 247 or something now.

Anyway, so what does that number mean? If you read in the document Prompta Bibliotheca, according to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, this is a veritable encyclopedia of religious knowledge, and will remain a precious mine of information. This book is quoted frequently as authoritative Catholic source. Here's what it says. "Under the heading PAPA, Vicarius Filii Dei appears as the title of the Pope." That is one of the official titles of the pope. Now, I want you to notice those Latin words because it's going to add up to something in a minute. Someone wrote in the Sunday Visitor years ago, "What are the pope--letters on the pope's crown?" I need to hasten to add popes have many different crowns that they wear. But definitely there was one that the pope wore during this time on a special occasion, and they saw a placard, and they said, "What are the letters? What does that mean?" The letters on the pope's crown are these, Vicarius Filii Dei, which is Latin for Vicar of the Son of God, representative of the Son of God. Jesus said, "The Holy Spirit is my representative." When you add those words up, how many of you remember your Roman numerals from school? And the V is 5. Every now and then, you'll still see something where they're using the old Latin numerals. Those letters had a numerical value, not all of them, but some of them had numerical value. That title, when you very simply add up very real value of those numbers, Vicarius adds up to 112, Filii adds up to 53, and Dei is 501. And you add those up and that comes to 666.

Now, you know, above the head of the high priest, he had a placard. The placard said "Holiness to the Lord." It's like I told you the word "holy" is in the Sabbath commandment. Holy is the seal of God, Holy Spirit. When Jesus died, above His head it said "King of the Jews." And here, at least on some occasions, the pope used to wear a crown that said "Vicarius Filii Dei," the representative of God. Now again, I want to make sure and be fair. Here's just--this is just Pope Benedict a few years ago. He almost never appeared with the same crown on. He liked to change clothes. He was a little more flamboyant than Pope Francis. And he had, you know, the purple shoes and all these different--his wardrobe was a lot more elaborate. And different countries and people give popes different crowns. Now, the third crown that you see him wearing there on the right, most of the papal crowns used to have three crowns, and that meant because he was king of heaven, king of earth, and king of purgatory. The triple-tiered crown only the pope was allowed to wear back then. Some of those ancient crowns did have that placard on it that had the official title.

But if you still don’t believe that, maybe you'll believe the book by John Paul II called "On the Threshold of Hope." "The leader of the Catholic Church," and this is page 3, "is defined by the faith as the Vicar of Jesus Christ, and is accepted by believers as such. The pope is considered to be the man on earth who represents the Son of God, who takes the place of the second person of the omnipotent God of the Trinity." Takes the place of. And he is the vicar for the Son of God, and that’s what Vicarius Filii Dei represents. Throughout Revelation, the number seven represents perfection or completeness. You see Revelation over and over again 777, you always find 7 sevens.

But then all of a sudden, there's a 666. It is a number of man. What day of the week was man created? Sixth day. And, but when did God finish his work? The seventh day because He added one more day for worship, right? If it was important to Him, it should be important to us. He wants that day for our love relationship. The number 6 represents imperfection. It was the basis for the Babylonian system of calculation. And they used to go 36 by 36. And as I said, you add that up and you get to 666. A triple six therefore symbolizes the union of error, the union of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet.

Now, if you go to a public event and the seats are numbered, and you happened to sit down in seat 666, does that mean anything? One of our officers of "Amazing Facts," he's actually here this week. I won't point him out, but he just bought a new car, and I was so happy because his old car was a Subaru, and his license plate said 666. It just never looked good when people drove by and they saw that parked in front of "Amazing Facts." But it doesn’t mean anything, right? The number is just a number. It's what does the number stand for. It is the number of a man, it's the office of a man. It is a person who has a very high political and religious authority.

So, what is the beast's mark of authority? Now, we're getting more specifically into the mark. We've learned about the seal of God. It's in the law, it's the Holy Spirit. And in particular, the Sabbath represents that. What's the mark’s--the beast's mark of authority? Now, I'm going to read to you from the Catholic catechism. Catechism uses question and answer method. And when you're--this is written by the Catholic church when you're teaching. Question, which day is the Sabbath day? Answer, Saturday is the Sabbath day. Which begs the next question, why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Answer, we observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.

If you want to know what happened, it wasn’t done by Jesus, it wasn’t done by the apostles. It happened hundreds of years later. It happened gradually. Part of the reason was because when the Romans began to fight against the Jews and they conquered Israel again, destroyed the city, the Jews became--they fell out of favor in Rome, and they associated Christianity with Judaism. Well, the Christians wanted to distance themselves from the Jews. And following the conversion of Constantine, they said, "Look, why don’t we just keep the day the pagans are keeping? The first day, the day of the sun." Because that was all about sun worship. And it's the day of the resurrection. And the church leaders begin to argue it, but there was not Scripture for it. It was a manmade law. And Jesus said, "Why do you keep the traditions of men and put the commandment of God aside?" So, in the last days, God is calling people back to the Word, not just on the subject of the Sabbath truth, but a number of areas. Let me finish this quote here. It says, "Have you any other way--" Question, "Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?" And the answer is yes, "Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her." Not all, but many. "She could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week for Saturday, the seventh day of the week, an observance for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority."

Right in the Catholic Catechism, they will freely admit, "This is not Bible-based. We did it by a sense of our own authority." And they claim that what the church says and what the pope says is more valuable than what Jesus said, what God spoke from the mountain, what the Lord wrote with His finger. I respectfully disagree. This is an issue. Bottom line in the last days is, who do you worship? Who do you obey? What is it that the second beast of Revelation 13 forces all to receive? "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, that no man might buy or sell unless he has that." What does that mean? If you got your Bibles, I want to look up a few verses with you very quickly. Go to Exodus chapter 9. No, sorry, Exodus 13, verse 9. And after they escaped Egypt and the Passover took place, it says, "And it will be assigned to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes." Would you agree that'd be the forehead? "That the Lord's law may be in your mouth, for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt."

So, when it says memorial on your hand, between your eyes, is he talking literal, or is it--it's a symbol? Symbolically. God didn’t want them to tie the law to their hand. Not done yet, go to Deuteronomy chapter 6. Let's see verse 8. He's talking about the Ten Commandments in chapter 5. Okay, you can look at that yourself. You get to chapter 6, He says these words, "That I command you shall be in your heart. You shall bind them as the sign on your hand and they shall be frontlets between your eyes." Now, if He says these words, "That I command you shall be in your heart," would you agree that that’s a symbol? Does God expect us to inject somehow the Ten Commandments literally into our chest? No, and so, when He says "They shall be between your eyes, they shall be bound on your hand," He also says, "Have it on your doorposts." He's saying, "When you rise up, when you--" In other words, surround your life with the Word of God.

Let me give you one more. You can read in Deuteronomy, is it chapter 11, verse 18? Yeah, "Therefore, lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they'll be frontlets between your eyes." So, we learned earlier that the key to understanding Revelation is look at the Old Testament. So, when it talks about in the hand and in the forehead, are you waiting for anybody in the last days to line you up and with a rubber stamp go--everybody's going to get mark of the beast. Or to have you go to a tattoo parlor. There's probably enough tattoo parlors in North America to mark everybody. I know when I was growing up, there weren't nearly as many. Is that just me, or has it kind of taken off? And then all the tattoo parlors are going to give you a 666 on your hand or your forehead, or it's a computer chip under the--it's none of that. What does that mean? It's something about in the hand, in the forehead, in the actions, in the thoughts.

So, with that in mind, does anybody have the mark of the beast now? No. When does it become an issue? Says there's going to be a law that’s made that no man can buy or sell. Now, don't misunderstand, it is an issue now that you keep His commandments, but people aren't technically receiving the mark until it's presented and they're being compelled, and you can't buy or sell. And if you choose to go with the beast instead of the law of God, that is a terribly dreadful decision to make because the most fearful curse in the Bible falls on those who receive the mark. The seven last plagues fall on those who receive the mark of the beast. So, it's a serious subject. It says, "No one can buy or sell except he that has the mark with the name of the beast or the number of his name in their hand or in their forehead." And it says, "He causes all," go to Revelation 13, verse 12, "he causes all the earth and them the dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed."

Now, turn in Revelation chapter 13 for just a moment. I want you to notice something. If you look in Revelation 13, we've learned when we talk about the mark of the beast that there's not just one beast in Revelation 13, right? If you look in Revelation 13:1, "I stood on the sand of the sea. I saw a beast up rise out of the sea, seven heads, ten horns, on these ten horns ten crowns on his heads, name of blasphemy." That first beast, it was the Roman power, later morphed into a religious political power better known as the Roman Catholic church. But then there's another beast. Go to verse 11. Revelation 13:11, "Then I saw another beast coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb." Is a lamb good or bad in the Bible? Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. "But he speaks like a dragon." A dragon good or bad? Here you got a power that starts out good, but turns bad. Starts out like a lamb with two horns.

This is United States, rises up into power right about the same time, the other beast receives a deadly wound. You have those two horns representing we got a government without a king, we got a church without a pope. There was freedom of religion, civil freedom, starts out like a lamb, but ends up legislating later like a dragon. And causing the world through a unity, and it's really-- America, do you know America is the--it's the beachhead for Protestant missions around the world. More Protestant money for mission work comes from North America than anywhere else in the world. Rome and Europe, Catholicism is the beachhead for the orthodox churches because you not only have the Roman Catholic church, you got the Greek Orthodox, you got the Coptic church, you've got the Russian Orthodox church. But no one will contest that the Roman Catholic is by far the strongest.

And you'll notice that Pope Francis has been very active lately in developing and promoting unity among the churches. Have you seen that? Bible foretold that this would all happen. There'd be a coming together. And this last year has been unprecedented. The Pope Francis came, he was received with more notoriety and news coverage than anybody in history. He went to Philadelphia, where we had our constitution. Went to 9/11, where we were attacked by terrorists. He went to the United Nations and the world leaders gathered to hear--to be addressed by a pastor. No, he's much more than that. Went to the White House, addressed people on the Capital Mall. I mean, it was--nothing like it in history.

What's amazing is America was founded by Protestants fleeing the persecution of Rome. Things have changed. You know the Washing Monument? It was really something to see the pope there with the Washington Monument in the background. When we were building the Washington Monument, the Roman Catholic church, the pope sent a gift of a marble stone for us to put in the monument. You know what the American leaders did back then? They dumped it in the Potomac River, they said, "We don’t want anything from the beast." Check your history. Things have changed. And some have wondered, "What is going to accelerate this union, where the second beast tells the world they need to recognize the authority of the first beast?" You know, in October of this year, the pope is slated to sign a document of unity with the Lutherans. The Lutherans were the one who were the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. And so many Christian leaders I can name right now have gone to the Vatican, Pentecostal, Methodists, just about every denomination you could think of. And all it would take is some kind of major threat from another religion like Islam to be used as an excuse for confederacy. And you know, when people are afraid, they're willing to sacrifice their freedoms for fear. If people--if there's some kind of major natural disaster, financial disaster, terrorist attack, and people suddenly turn to God out of fear.

I'll never forget right after 9/11, when people saw those apocalyptic images of the buildings imploding in New York City. By the way, "Amazing Facts" was in New York just before that. We did something called "Net New York, Millennium of Prophecy." We went to the World Trade Center with our evangelists. We prayed over the city twice. And so, it really--when we saw those buildings coming down, we go, "Wow!" Our church was packed the next Sabbath. You couldn't fit another person in there. People who were kind of nominal, they become very religious when they think the world's ending, right? You'd be surprised how quickly things can change. And I think we're going to see very sudden change in the near future. All right, I got a lot more to say, and I'm running out of time.

So, the whole world is encouraged to worship the beast whose deadly wound was healed. It was wounded in 1798, but under the Lateran Treaty, Mussolini allowed the Vatican to be an independent country again in 1928 and '29, and they now have ambassadors from around the world, smallest country in the world. And obviously has international clout because they have religious power there. "Telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword, and yet lived." Even though they were wounded by the Word of God during the Protestant Reformation, the sword is the Word of God, somehow has revived. You know why? Because Protestants don’t know the Word anymore. And I even think it's interesting that you just look at the architecture. Here you've got the Capital and the Supreme Court and you got the Vatican, making an image to the beast. Now, this is just trivial, but I think it's kind of interesting. You know where the largest obelisk in the world is? Washington DC. You know where else there's an obelisk? An Egyptian--it's in the mid front of the Vatican. We've got one in front of our Capital. You just marvel, it's almost like we're copying Roman architecture.

Is the mark of the beast or the seal of God a visible mark? Now, I think we've probably made this clear. What does "in the hand" mean? In the actions, in the head, in the thoughts. Here are some verses. Hebrews 10:16, "Saith the Lord, I will put my law in their hearts, and write them in their minds." It goes on to say in Ecclesiastes 9, verse 10, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might." That's symbolic. The hand means your actions, right? And you can read again in Isaiah 59:6, "Their works are works of iniquity, the act of violence is in their hands." You don’t have the word "violence" in your hands. It's something--it represents the actions. So, when someone receives the mark of the beast in the forehead, it's talking about in their worship. Maybe they're sincere, but they'll be worshipping the laws of the beast instead of the laws of God. And maybe some won't agree, but they'll do it. It's in their actions. It's not in their heart, but they're still going to follow it out of fear. It says, "It'll be a sign for you upon your hand and as a memorial between your eyes that the Lord's law might be in your hearts." And Christ said, "I'll put My law in their mind and write them in their hearts." And so, this is all symbolic.

So, when people are talking about the tattoo, and the computer chip, and the smart card, and the barcode--and I remember years ago, there was a big computer in Brussels, they called it the Beast. This was a long time ago because it took a whole city block. And they said, "That's the beast." They got a computer in Brussels. Well, do you know now all the technology that they had on that city block in Brussels will fit in your smartphone? So, you might have the beast in your pocket right now. Says the beast has a mark that represents its power and authority. Does God also have a sign of His power and authority? He does, praise the Lord. Look in Ezekiel 20, verse 12, "I gave them My Sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that does sanctify them." The Sabbath is a sign. Ezekiel 20, verse 20, similar verse. He says, "Hallow My Sabbaths; and they'll be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God." It's a sign.

There's something different about the Sabbath commandment. God says so, amen? It's a symbol of who you worship. As I mentioned before, it's easier to give a person your money than to give them your time. God says, "Do you really worship Me? It's not a donation, I want your life because time is the stuff life is made of. I want your love." You don’t have a love relationship unless you spend time with somebody, amen? "Verily My Sabbaths you will keep; for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations." It's not just for one religious group of people, this is for everybody. "Throughout your generations, it is a sign that you might know that I am the Lord that does sanctify you."

Now, do we still need the Sabbath to prove that He can create and recreate? Do we still need sanctification? Whenever we're praying for holiness and forgiveness, a Sabbath is a sign that God, if He can sanctify a day, He can sanctify us. If He can create a world, He can recreate us. Every Sabbath is a memorial. You realize we wouldn’t have problems with evolution if people had been keeping the Sabbath because it reminds us every week of the Creator.

What did the antichrist power attempt to change? Daniel 7:25, "He will think to change times and laws." There's only one commandment that you can point to that is both a time and a law. Now here--we quoted this to you the other day, "The pope claims he has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to--" And by the way, this is their writings, not mine. "The pope has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ." I respectfully disagree. And then they freely admit, it says here, "Of course the Catholic church claims that the change was her act. And her act is a mark." This is a letter, October 28, 1895 from C.F. Thomas, who served under Cardinal Gibbons. And they admit, "Yeah, we changed the Sabbath." And they said, "This is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters."

Now, I don’t know if you notice, on the right there's a copy of the Ten Commandments I took in front of a Catholic church. You'll notice that the second commandment is just not there. And they divide the tenth commandment in two. They took out the commandment about idolatry. They make the Sabbath the third commandment. It says, "The holy Sabbath day was changed from Saturday to Sunday, not from any directions noted in the Scripture, but from the church's sense of its own power." Notice this quote, "People who think the Scriptures should be the sole authority should logically become Seventh-day Adventists and keep Saturday holy." That's from Saint Catherine's Catholic Church, May 21, 1995. Thank you very much for that endorsement. And we didn’t write that. But they're right, they said, "Look, if you're going to go by the Bible, you should logically be Seventh-day Adventists. And they're kind of making fun of most Christians that don’t really go by the Ten Commandments. They're following a tradition. Peter and the apostles, they said, "We ought to obey God," Acts 5:29, "rather than men." This is all about who is your God. You are the servants of the one you obey.

Sabbath's all about worship. The big issue in the last days is worship. They're being told to worship the beast or worship Jehovah. The Bible's pretty clear about how He has specified we should worship, and He illustrates that in the Ten Commandments. And there's other things that have been changed. The Catholic church does not take the Bible literally as Protestants used to. Pope Francis said, and this is Time Magazine, that he says, "Evolution is real and it supports--" He supports the Big Bang. That's right. "Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation." Well, Jesus said, "If you don’t believe Moses, you don’t believe Me." It is inconsistent. God is pretty clear that He created things. You know, then people ask the Catholic church, "If you believe in evolution, at what point did man become a soul that was worth saving and not an animal?" They can't really give you a specific answer. When we're--when did we stop, like, dragging our knuckles and suddenly become redeemable? When did, you know, thumping your wife over the head with a club become a sin because you knew it was wrong? I mean, it's just--you just can't get there believing that the Bible is not real. "Because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve." He said there's no problem just because you evolve. You can still believe in evolution and you can still be a Christian. I respectfully disagree.

And then in the Catholic encyclopedia, this is the 1991 version, it says, "We should not interpret Genesis literally." All the way from Genesis chapter 11 backwards of Tower Babel, they don’t take it literally. They say it's all--these are symbolic stories. Well, no wonder you're going to have problems with the Sabbath if you don’t believe that God blessed, and rested, and set aside that day, amen? Number 12, what was God's criticism of His ancient priests or pastors? He said, "You've caused many to stumble at the law. You've not kept My ways, but you've been partial in the law." They keep some of it, but they're partial. Malachi chapter 2.

How did God's ancient leaders regard the great things of His law? It says, "Thou has forgotten the law of thy God." They had it, but they forgot it. And again, he says, "I've written to them the great things in My law, but they were counted as a strange thing." And so, I share these things with others, and they say, "How come everybody doesn’t know this, Brother Doug?" Should that be our criteria? Are we to wait until everybody in the church believes the Sabbath truth before you accept it? Or did Jesus say, "Don't follow a multitude to do evil." Actually, Moses said that. "Do not follow a multitude." Jesus said, "Broad is the way that leads to destruction. Many there be that go in that way." And you know what the religious leaders said? "If he was--" speaking of Christ, they said, "If He's really the Messiah, then how come the other religious leaders don’t accept Him?" That very argument was used. Well, if Pastor Doug, if what you're saying is true, then everybody will agree with you. Jesus said, "Woe unto you when all men speak well of you, for so they did of the false prophets."

I don’t know if some of you noticed coming in to church today, but we've got some people that aren't speaking very well of us right out on the sidewalk. I came in, I said, "Praise the Lord, I'm making the devil mad." [congregation laughing] Because if you're--if everybody speaks well of you-- [congregation applauding] If everybody likes you, you're probably not telling it straight. They didn’t accept Jesus. The religious leader said, "He's wrong." It's going to be that way at the end too. So, don’t wait until everybody says, "Yeah." You're going to have to read the Bible for yourself, friends. Everybody's going to have to have their own relationship with Jesus. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." And his commandments are not burdensome."

You know, if we love the Lord, we want to follow His law. Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." This whole message, this whole series that we're having-- and we're not done yet. We have one of the most important programs, it's coming tonight, where we're going to be talking about the Judgment Day, we're going to be talking about Hell, we're going to be talking about Heaven. Going to end on a positive note. Going to be talking about what's going to happen with the dead and the phases of judgment. It's a very important, encouraging program. We're hoping that you'll be part of that. But the whole reason we do this series is so you can have an encounter with Jesus. Prophecy is designed to be redemptive so that you might know Christ. Jesus said, "When these things come to pass, then you'll know that I am He." It's all about realizing that He is the one.

What specific rebuke did God give to religious leaders regarding His holy Sabbath? You can read in Ezekiel 22, verse 8, "Thou hast despised My holy things, and hast profaned My Sabbaths. Her priests have violated My laws, and have profaned My holy things." Not just priests, it's pastors. "They have put no difference between the holy and the profane. And they've hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them." Profane means you take something holy and you disregard it. You know, it's interesting when I read--and I've got good Christian friends, a number of religious leaders that you've seen on TV, I know them, they know me. They're very respectful. They respect that I tell them where I stand. We love each other, there's things we agree on. And I don’t question their love for God, but they know that, you know, if we talk to them--when I talk to them about these things, they know where I stand. I'm not questioning that they love the Lord, but some of them, they're just hiding their eyes. I understand, a good friend of mine, close with Billy Graham, studied the Sabbath truth. And Billy Graham said, and I believe this, he said, "I know I see this in the Bible, but you realize that would devastate our ministry with other churches if I come out and I take a stand for this." So, a lot of people see it. You can't argue it. I've had pastors say, "Pastor Doug, I believe it, but I will lose my job if I come out and I say that."

How do you argue with the Ten Commandments? You cannot please God and man. And you know, the apostles, when they took a stand for Jesus, they got kicked out of their church. And it was hard, it broke their hearts. They got thrown out of the temple. They got whipped. "Seeing vanity and divining lies unto them, saying, 'Thus saith the Lord,' when the Lord has not spoken." There's a lot of manufactured interpretations that are being given. What specific sin does God command His leaders to denounce? "Cry aloud, spare not. Lift up your voice like a trumpet. Show My people their transgression." I'm not your enemy because I tell you the truth. I'm doing it to be redemptive. We want people to be saved, but to be saved, they need to know about what their sin is because Jesus then saves us from our sin.

What is sin? It's breaking the law. And if God's people are united in disobeying God, someone needs to say something. They need to hear it. And people who are honest in heart will say, "The Spirit is testifying with me and with the Word. That’s true, and I want to follow." We got to cry aloud and speak up. He says, "If you will turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord honorable, and she'll honor him, then you will delight yourself in the Lord." And He goes on and He says, "I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth because the mouth of the Lord has spoken it." God says He's giving it to us to be a blessing. And He wants you to have that blessing.

When you decide to accept Jesus and to fully follow Him, what happens? Christ said, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you will find rest unto your souls." The Lord wants us to have that rest.

Who is going to enjoy the rest in Heaven? You read about it in Revelation chapter 15. We like to start and end with Revelation. It said, "I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire. And those who have victory over the beast, and over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God." And there they are in Heaven. They are redeemed, they are saved. They've got that rest, and they've got that peace because they have accepted the truth, they have the seal of God, and they have turned from the mark of the beast.

Now, when you take a stand for truth, friends, you might experience some struggles. And Jesus never said, "Follow Me and it's going to be easy." He said, "If you love Me, you need to take up your cross and follow Me." But the promise is that that’s the only way you're going to have peace and rest. If you seek to save your life and live for yourself, you'll lose it. But if you want to find your life, you need to say no to self and yes to Jesus. And then you have the abundant life. He said, "I've come that I might give you life more abundantly." And so, when you learn things like this about the beast, and the mark of the beast, and the Sabbath truth, does it trouble you? Well, it may right now, but ultimately, why does God want you to know these things? Is the Sabbath cursed or blessed? He wants to bless you. Some of you have never experienced that blessing.

There's people I know that are watching right now, you've heard these things for years. You know it's true, you know it's in the Bible, and one of these days, you plan on doing it. But, "Oh, Pastor Doug, if I do it now, you know, something--well, I'll get kicked out of my church. Or if I take a stand for this now, my family--we've been in this--they're going to denounce me." I know people that, when they took a stand for the truth, their family said, "Don't ever talk to us again." "I'm going to lose my job." Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to lose their job and their lives. Jesus said, "It's not me and something else." He said, "If you're going to love Me, you must love Me more." Father, mother, husband, wife, houses, land, everything, He needs first place in your life. And when you put Him first, He gives you everything else. Jesus goes on and he says, "No man that has forsaken father, mother, husbands, wives, houses, lands for My sake and the gospel, he'll receive a hundredfold more in this life." You may have persecution, but He gives you a hundredfold more, and eternal life in the world to come. There's going to be trials, there'll be crosses. Life is tough, but it's a lot tougher to be lost. It's a lot tougher to not have God walking with you because you're rejecting Him, to have no peace about your future. And so, we share all these things, but it's all about--it's not just about one commandment, it's all about one heart, surrendering your hearts to God.

Have you said, "Lord, I want You to be first in my life. I'm willing to say yes to You 100%"? Jesus said, "I'm not going 50/50, you and the world, 50% world, 50% me." He said, "You're either with Me or against Me." How much did Jesus give to show you that He loves you? Did He give 50%? He give 85%? Or did He pour out all of His life and all of His blood to show His love for you? And He said, "Look, I've shown you 100% I love you." God emptied Heaven when He sent His Son.

You know, there's nothing like giving a child. I remember standing by a casket of a family, the 13-year-old boy had an aneurism, died in the shower. And I did the service. And the family came by the casket, and the mother got ahold of the casket, and they had to pry her hands off because she's just crying, and she kept saying over and over, "We loved you so. We loved you so. We loved you so much." It was agonizing. You know, the whole casket was shaking, and they're wrestling her away. She didn’t want to let go of her son, and it broke my heart because we've lost a son. And then, whenever I read that verse in the Bible in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world." Do you think He loves His Son less than you love your children? He must really love you for Him to offer His Son that you might be saved. And He says, "Now, I'm doing it because I want you in Heaven. I've shown you I love you, I've shown you My Word. Now, if you love Me, keep My commandments. If you love Me, follow Me. Don't worry about what might happen tomorrow, that takes faith." You know, how many miracles God is waiting to do for people when they will step out in faith? You give Him a chance to do miracles for you, amen? And He will bless you. And that's my appeal for those that are watching and those that are here is to put Jesus first. You ought to obey God rather than men. But we can't do it without His help. So, shall we ask Him?

Let's pray together. Father in heaven, we're so thankful for these messages and the warnings that You give us in Your Word. You do it because You love us and You want to save us. I pray that we will all respond positively in our hearts and say yes to Jesus. Seal us with Your Holy Spirit, Lord. Write Your law within our hearts. Help us to find rest in Jesus. We thank You and pray this in His name, amen. God bless you, friends, we look forward to seeing you tune in or come here for our last program talking about the great judgment day.

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