Seal of God or Mark of Apostasy
Lesson 35

The message of the third angel of Revelation 14 is a life-or-death message. To those who accept the warning against receiving the mark of the beast, it is a message of life; not just pertaining to this present life, but to eternal life. To those who fail to receive the warning, it is a message of death. How a person responds to this message determines where he will spend eternity. If, however, we are to receive benefit by the message that is given, we must understand what “the mark” is.

1. Against what does the third angel of Revelation 14 warn?

Revelation 14:9–10
Revelation 14:9–10

Note: We know that the beast referred to is the first beast brought to view in Revelation 13, the one described as a lepoard-like beast, because, it was the first beast to which the image was made. See Revelation 13:14.

2. With whose voice does the power enforcing this mark speak?

Revelation 13:11, 16; 12:9
Revelation 13:11, 16; 12:9

3. What punishment is ordered for those who do not accept this mark of apostasy?

Revelation 13:15–17
Revelation 13:15–17

4. Who receive the wrath of God?

Revelation 1:18
Revelation 1:18

5. What is unrighteousness?

1 John 5:17
1 John 5:17

6. What is the only Bible definition of sin?

1 John 3:4
1 John 3:4

This beast was to:

1. Have power over 1,000 years. See Revelation 13:5.

2. Be a persecuting power. See Revelation 13:7.

3. Receive it s seat and authority from Pagan Rome. See Revelation 13:2.

4. Have authority over all the earth. See Revelation 13:7.

Note: In applying these identifying characteristics, it is apparent that only one power can fill all of them, and that is the Roman Catholic Church.

7. How many will worship the beast?

Revelation 13:8
Revelation 13:8

In identifying this mark there are several points that become quite clear.

1. The mark of the beast must be distinctively characteristic of the Papacy and must identify someone as being in harmony with her.

2. This mark must involve an outward act, easily identifiable to those who accept her authority.

3. If, as we have seen, Protestantism is to agree with the papal power in this matter, it must be some doctrine or identifying mark of the Catholic Church that the Protestant churches agree to.

8. What characterizes those who refuse this mark of apostasy?

Revelation 14:12
Revelation 14:12

Note: If obedience to God’s commandments is characteristic of those who do not go along with the rest of the world in receiving this mark, then there must be something about the “mark” that causes men to break God’s law.

9. What is on the forehead of those who refuse the mark?

Revelation 14:1
Revelation 14:1

Note: The faithful few who have remained loyal to God are represented as having His name in their foreheads. The word “mark” (see Revelation 14:9) comes from the same Greek word as “character. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

10. What else is this mark in the forehead called?

Revelation 7:2–4
Revelation 7:2–4

11. What sign has God given which reveals His people’s loyalty to Him?

Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:11–12
Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:11–12

Note: A seal may be used to authenticate a signature and it attests to the genuineness of the article (Proves that the signature is really the signature of the person whose name is signed.) The seal must contain three things: 1.) The name of the person whose authority is applied. 2.) his official title of authority, and thus, his right to have jurisdiction in the area. 3.) The extent of his dominion and jurisdictional The seal of the President of the Unites States would be an example. The seal states his name, the fact that he is the President, and that it is of the United States that he is President. In God’s law, only in the Sabbath commandment do we find the three elements of a seal: 1. His name—God; 2. His title—Creator. 3. His area of rule—the heavens and the earth.

12. What distinguishes God from all false gods?

Psalm 96:5; Isaiah 45:18
Psalm 96:5; Isaiah 45:18

Note: God’s power to create sets Him apart from all false gods, and the Sabbath is the sign of His creatorship. We may then know with certainty that any false religion will seek to replace the Sabbath with another day as a sign or mark of its own authority. If the Sabbath were not a point of controversy, it would stand alone unchallenged as the sign of God’s authority and right to man’s worship. But, has the Catholic Church attempted to change the Sabbath of the fourth commandment as a sign of its power? Yes it has, as shown in the writings of the Church itself.

“This observance of the Sabbath*—in which, after all, the only Protestant worship consists—not only has no foundation in the Bible, but it is in flagrant contradiction with its letter, which commands rest on the Sabbath, which is Saturday.

“It was the Catholic Church which, by the authority of Jesus Christ, has transferred this rest to the Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord. Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the Church.” Plain Talk About Protestantism of Today, 213, by Monsignor Segur, Thomas B. Noonan & Co., Boston, 1868

*By “the Sabbath”, Monsignor Segur obviously means Sunday. He is therefore using the term in the popular but not the biblical sense.

“Question: Which is the Sabbath day?

“Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath.

“Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

“Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, 50, by Peter Geiermann, London, 1934; Sanctioned by the Vatican, January 25, 1910

“What Bible authority is there for changing the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week? Who gave the Pope authority to change a command of God? If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observing the Saturday with the Jew. . . . Is it not strange that those who make the Bible their only teacher should inconsistently follow in this matter the tradition of the Church?” The Question Box Answers, 179, by Bertrand L. Conway, with a preface by Cardinal Gibbons; The Paulist Press, New York, 1923

13. How does Jesus view worship that follows tradition instead of God’s commandments?

Mark 7:7, 9
Mark 7:7, 9

Note: The name “Protestant” is the result of the protest of the princes at the Diet of Spires in Germany in 1529. This protest against the abuse of power and corruptions within the Catholic Church was to be the keynote of the Reformation. When the Catholic Church claimed tradition as equal to, or greater than the Scriptures in support of its teaching, Protestantism claimed the basis for its faith to be the Bible and the Bible only, rejecting tradition as a rule of faith.

Contrary to this historic position, however, we see, beginning in chapter 13, and continuing through the rest of the Revelation, a picture of co-operative effort between Protestantism and Catholicism. In order for this spirit of co-operation to exist and for Protestantism to form an image to the papal power, Protestantism must relinquish its position of standing on the platform of the Scriptures only, and accept tradition as a part of its basis of faith.

14. What is the reward of those who refuse to accept the mark?

Revelation 15:2-3
Revelation 15:2-3

Note: While the keeping of a particular day may not seem to be a significant point to many, it is in that issue that we reveal where our loyalty lies. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

It is because many have broken the fourth commandment ignorantly, while believing that they were worshipping Him, that God in love sends these three angels with their messages of warning. The message of the first angel, with its emphasis on worshipping God as the Creator, is a call back to Sabbath-keeping. It is the rejection of this message that leads men to a fallen condition, as announced by the second angel. As men reject the truth, they are led by a spirit that they interpret as being religious zeal, to force all to accept the false sabbath, the sign of the authority of the papal church. When this resort to force takes place, those who accept the authority of man above that of God will receive the mark of the beast.

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