A tattooed number, a computer
chip under the skin, or something more subtle? It's one of the most
misinterpreted prophecies in all of the Bible - yet it is so important to
correctly understand this subject. But in studying the mark of the beast, we
must address some very sensitive issues, naming names and being specific. This
is not a popular thing today, but we must be firm because God loves His people
and He wants them to know the truth. This message is not ours, but Jesus'. And
with eternal death facing those who receive the mark, it would be a crime to not
help Him deliver this message. This lesson should probably be prefaced with a
warning: "THE DEVIL DOES NOT WANT YOU TO READ AND COMPLETE THIS STUDY GUIDE."
Please read Revelation 13:1-8,
14:9-12, and 16-18, and pray
for the Holy Spirit to grant you an honest and understanding heart before
embarking on this study adventure.
An Urgent Reminder We
learned from Study Guide 2 that a terrible conflict is in progress between God
and the devil. It has raged through the centuries since Lucifer, heaven's most
powerful angel, rebelled against God. With the angels who joined him, he
attempted to overcome God and seize control of the universe. God and the loyal
angels had no choice but to eject Lucifer and his angels from heaven. Lucifer,
who became known as the devil and Satan, was infuriated. His determination to
destroy God and control the universe has grown with every passing year.
Amazingly, he has won the support of the vast majority of earth's people in his
rebellion. The Lord also asks for people's loyalty and support, but He leaves
all free to choose. Soon every person on earth will have aligned with either
Satan or God. The final battle between Satan and God is just ahead, and it is
described in the book of Revelation. This book points out that God has an
emblem, or mark, which will identify His people. Satan also has an emblem, or
mark, that will identify those who support him. As usual, Satan will work
through an earthly power (symbolized in Revelation by a beast) to impose his
mark. This Study Guide will reveal the beast's mark, which every lost person of
the end time will receive. Unless you know what his "mark" is, how will you
avoid receiving it?
1. In order to know what the "mark" is, we must first identify
the beast. How does the Bible describe the beast?Answer: Revelation 13:1-8,
11 identifying characteristics. They are listed below: A. Rises from
sea (verse 1). B. Composite of the four beasts of Daniel chapter 7
(verse 2). C. Dragon gives it power and authority (verse
2). D. Receives a deadly wound (verse 3). E. Deadly wound
healed (verse 3). F. Strong political power (verses 3,
7). G. Strong religious power (verses 3, 8). H. Guilty of
blasphemy (verses 1, 5, 6). I. Wars with and overcomes the saints
(verse 7). J. Rules for 42 months (verse 5). K. Has
mysterious number--666 (verse 18).
beast of Revelation chapter 13 symbolizes the Antichrist.
Do some of these points have a familiar ring?
Certainly! We encountered many of them earlier when we studied about the
Antichrist in Daniel chapter 7. The "beast" of Revelation 13 is simply
another name for the "Antichrist," which we learned from Daniel 7 is the
papacy. Prophecies of Daniel and Revelation often cover the same ground as
prior prophecies, but each time new features are added that help make the
prophecies certain. So expect to learn some new things about the Antichrist from
this Study Guide. Now let's consider, one by one, the 11 points that describe
A. It would rise from the sea (Revelation
13:1). The sea (or water) in prophecy refers to people, or a
populated area (Revelation 17:15).
So the beast, or Antichrist, would arise from amid the established nations of
the then-known world. The papacy, as we all know, arose in western Europe, so it
fits this point.
A Word of
Explanation In harmony with God's command to honor all people (1 Peter 2:17), we pause
here to recognize the papacy for her many good deeds and activities. Her
hospitals, orphanages, care for the poor, homes for unwed mothers, and care for
the aged are appreciated universally. She can honestly be lauded for many
things. But, like all other organizations, she has also made mistakes. God
pinpoints some of her errors in Revelation. The Lord, who blesses and comforts,
must sometimes chasten and correct. Please ask His Spirit to speak to you as you
study this crucial topic.
B. It would be a
composite of the four beasts of Daniel chapter 7 (Revelation
Study the comparison below to see how it all fits
Daniel chapter 7
Revelation chapter 13
Lionlike beast (vs. 4)
"Mouth of a lion" (vs. 2)
Bearlike beast (vs. 5)
"Feet of a bear" (vs. 2)
Leopardlike beast (vs. 6)
"Like unto a leopard" (vs. 2)
Ten-horned beast (vs. 7)
"Having ... ten horns" (vs. 1)
papacy is the Antichrist.
The four beasts of Daniel 7
are depicted as part of Antichrist, or the beast, because the papacy
incorporated pagan beliefs and practices from all four empires. She clothed them
in spiritual garb and spread them to the world as Christian teachings. Here is
one of many supporting statements from history: "In a certain respect, she [the
papacy] has copied her organization from that of the Roman Empire, has preserved
and made fruitful the philosophical intuitions of Socrates, Plato, and
Aristotle, borrowed from both Barbarians and the Byzantine Roman Empire, but
always remains herself, thoroughly digesting all elements drawn from external
sources." 1 This point definitely fits the
C. The beast must receive its power, seat (capital), and
authority from the dragon (Revelation
Herod tried to "devour", or kill, Jesus at birth.
identify the dragon, we go to Revelation chapter 12, where God's end-time church
is pictured as a pure woman. In prophecy, a pure woman represents God's true
people or church (Jeremiah 6:2; Isaiah 51:16). (In Study Guide 23, we will present a
detailed study of God's end-time church of Revelation chapter 12. Study Guide 22
explains Revelation chapters 17 and 18, where fallen churches are symbolized by
a fallen mother and her fallen daughters.) The pure woman is portrayed as
pregnant and about to deliver. The dragon crouches nearby, hoping to "devour"
the baby at birth. However, when the baby is born He evades the dragon, fulfills
His mission, and then ascends to heaven. Obviously the baby is Jesus, whom Herod
tried to destroy by killing all the babies in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). So the dragon represents pagan Rome,
of which Herod was a king. The power behind Herod's plot was, of course, the
12:7-9). Satan acts through various governments to accomplish his ugly
work--in this case, pagan Rome.
Berthier inflicted a deadly wound upon the papacy by taking Pope Pius VI
We will quote just two supportive references
from history, though there are many: (1) "The Roman Church ... pushed itself
into the place of the Roman World-Empire, of which it is the actual
continuation. ...The Pope ... is Caesar's successor." 2 (2)
"The mighty Catholic Church was little more than the Roman Empire baptised. Rome
was transformed as well as converted. The very capital of the old Empire became
the capital of the Christian Empire. The office of Pontifex Maximus was
continued in that of Pope." 3 So this point also fits the
papacy. She received her capital city and power from pagan Rome.
would receive a deadly wound (Revelation
13:3). The deadly wound was inflicted when Napoleon's general,
Alexander Berthier, entered Rome and took Pope Pius VI captive in February of
1798. Napoleon decreed that at the death of the pope, the papacy would be
discontinued. The pope died in France in August of 1799. "Half Europe thought
... that without the Pope the Papacy was dead." 4
this point also fits the papacy.
than 100 nations have state representatives at the Vatican.
E. The deadly wound would be healed, and
the entire world would give homage to the beast (Revelation
13:3). Since its healing, the strength of the papacy has grown and
increased until today she is one of the most powerful religio-political
organizations and influence-centers in the world. Malachi Martin, consummate
Vatican insider and intelligence expert, reveals the following in his
best-selling book The Keys of This Blood5 (page
numbers in parentheses):
ABOUT THE POPE: He is as determined to be world ruler as was
Constantine in his day (49). He is protected by four governments (120). He is
the best-known person of the 20th century (123). He is personal friends with the
leaders of 91 countries (490). People of the world seem to him ready for strong
worldwide moral government with control (160). Sixteen thousand journalists
covered his American visit (490).
ABOUT THE PAPACY: The
American ambassador says the Vatican is unmatched as a "listening post" (120).
The Vatican knows by Saturday what will happen on Monday anywhere in the world
(439). Papal structure is prepared for worldwide rule now
Obviously, the wound is healed and the eyes of the nations are
upon the Vatican, so this point also fits the
Millions of Christians lost their lives during periods of papal persecution.
F. It would become a strong political power (Revelation 12:3, 7). See item
G. It would become a very powerful religious organization (Revelation 13:3, 8). See item
H. It would be guilty of blasphemy (Revelation 13:5, 6). The
papacy is guilty of blasphemy because her priests claim to forgive sins and her
popes claim to be Christ.
I. It would war with and persecute the
13:7). The papacy did persecute and destroy millions of saints during
the Dark Ages.
J. It would reign for 42 months (Revelation
13:5). The papacy reigned for 42 prophetic months, which equals 1,260
years--from A.D. 538-1798.
Points H through J also clearly fit the
papacy. We touched on them only briefly here because they were covered
thoroughly in Study Guide 15, question 8, items E, G, and H.
and U each equal five in Roman numerals.
would have the mysterious number 666 (Revelation
13:18). This verse says, "It is the number of a man," and Revelation 15:2 says
it is "the number of his name." What man do you think of when you think of the
papacy? Naturally, we all think of the pope. What is his official name? Here is
a Catholic quote: "The title of the pope of Rome is "Vicarius Filii Dei"
(English: "Vicar of the Son of God").6 Malachi Martin, in
The Keys of This Blood, uses the same title for the pope on pages 114,
122. A footnote for Revelation 13:18 in
some Douay [Catholic] versions of the Bible says, "The numeral letters of his
name shall make up this number." Notice the chart at right, which shows what
happens when we total up the Roman numeral value of the letters of the
Again, the papacy fits the identification point. The beast with the
"mark" is the papacy. No other power in history could possibly fit these divine
descriptive points. Now that we have positively identified the beast, we can
discover her mark, or symbol of authority. But first, let's look at God's sign
1Andre Retif, The Catholic Spirit,
trans. by Dom Aldhelm Dean, Vol. 88 of The Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of
Catholicism (New York, Hawthorne Books, 1959), p.
85. 2Adolf Harnack, What is Christianity? trans. by
Thomas Bailey Saunders (New York: Putnam, 2nd ed., rev., 1901), p.
270. 3Alexander Clarence Flick, The Rise of the
Mediaeval Church (reprint: New York, Burt Franklin, 1959), pp. 148,
149. 4Joseph Rickaby, "The Modern Papacy," Lectures on
the History of Religion, Lecture 24, (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1910),
p. 1. 5(New York, Simon & Schuster,
1990) 6"Answers to Readers' Questions," Our Sunday
Visitor, Nov. 15, 1914.
2. What is God's mark, or symbol, of
authority? "I gave them my sabbaths, to be a
sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify
them." Ezekiel 20:12. "It is a sign between me and the
children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth." Exodus
31:17.Answer: God is saying in the texts above that He gave us His Sabbath
as a glorious sign of His power to create and His power to sanctify (convert and
save) us. In the Bible, the words seal, sign, mark, and token are used
interchangeably.7 God's sign, the Sabbath, represents His holy
power to rule as Creator and Saviour. Revelation 7:1-3
says it will be written upon the foreheads (minds--Hebrews 10:16) of His people. It will signify that
they are owned by Him and have His character. Hebrews 4:4-10
confirms this by saying that when we enter His rest (receive salvation), we
should keep His seventh-day Sabbath holy as a symbol, or mark, of salvation.
True Sabbathkeeping signifies that a person has surrendered his life to Jesus
Christ and is willing to follow wherever Jesus leads.
Since the symbol,
or mark, of God's authority and power is His holy Sabbath day, it seems likely
that the symbol, or mark, of God's challenger--the beast--might also involve a
holy day. Let's see if it does.
3. What does the papacy say is her symbol, or mark, of
authority?Answer: Notice the following section from a Catholic catechism:
"Question: Have you any other way of proving that the Church has
power to institute festivals of precept?" "Answer: 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."8
So the papacy is
here saying that it changed Sabbath to Sunday and that virtually all churches
accepted the new holy day. Thus, the papacy claims that Sunday as a holy day is
the mark, or symbol, of her power and
8Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal
Catechism [FRS No. 7.], (3rd American ed., rev.: New York, Edward Dunigan
& Bro., 1876), p. 174.
4. Did God predict such a change in Scripture?Answer: Yes! In describing the Antichrist in Daniel 7:25, God said it would "think to change times
A. How has the papacy tried to change God's laws? In
three different ways: In her catechisms she has (1) omitted the second
commandment against veneration of images, and (2) shortened the fourth (Sabbath)
commandment from 94 words to just eight. The Sabbath commandment (Exodus 20:8-11)
clearly specifies Sabbath as the seventh day of the week. As changed by the
papacy, the commandment reads: "Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day."
Written thus, it can refer to any day. And, finally, she (3) divided the tenth
commandment into two commandments.
B. How has the papacy attempted to
change God's times? In two ways: (1) She has changed the time of the Sabbath
from the seventh day to the first day. (2) She has also changed God's "timing"
for the beginning and closing hours of the Sabbath. Instead of counting the
Sabbath day from sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday night as God mandates
she adopted the pagan Roman custom of counting the day from midnight Saturday
night to midnight Sunday night. God predicted these "changes" would be attempted
by the beast, or Antichrist.
Notice the following section from a Catholic
catechism: "Question: Which is the Sabbath day? Answer:
Saturday is the Sabbath day. 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."
Here is another Catholic statement: "The Church is
above the Bible; and this transference of Sabbath observance from Saturday to
Sunday is proof positive of that fact." 10
is saying in these references that its successful change of Sabbath observance
to Sunday worship is proof that its authority is greater, or "above,"
9Peter Geiermann, The Convert's Catechism
of Catholic Doctrine (St. Louis, B. Herder Book Co., 1957 ed.), p.
50. 10The Catholic Record (London, Ontario,
Canada, Sept. 1, 1923).
5. How could anyone dare attempt to change God's holy
day?Answer: We ask the papacy, "Did you really change Sabbath to
Sunday?" She replies, "Yes, we did. It is our symbol, or mark, of authority
and power." We ask, "How could you even think of doing that?" It's a
pertinent question. But the question the papacy officially asks Protestants is
even more pertinent. Please read it carefully:
"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.
Tragically, both Catholicism and Protestantism stand guilty
before the judgment bar of heaven for rejecting God's holy Sabbath--His sacred
sign of identification.
6. What solemn warnings has God given regarding His law and
His sign, or mark?Answer: A. God warns religious leaders against causing people
to stumble by saying that some commandments do not matter (Malachi 2:7-9). For
example, some ministers teach, "It doesn't matter what day you keep holy."
B. God warns people who want their ministers to preach smooth fables
rather than the truth about His law (Isaiah 30:9, 10). C. God warns people about hardening their
hearts against the truth of His law (Zechariah
7:12). D. God warns people who say it would seem "strange" to keep
God's law--like the Sabbath, for example (Hosea 8:12). E. God states that the upheaval,
tragedy, problems, and woes of earth come because people refuse to follow His
law--and have even tried to change it (Isaiah 24:4-6). F. God warns religious leaders
who refuse to preach the prophecies of the end time (Isaiah 29:10, 11). G. God solemnly warns that leaders who
teach there is really no difference between sacred things (such as God's holy
Sabbath) and common things (such as Sunday) will face His indignation (Ezekiel 22:26, 31).
7. Revelation 13:16
says people will receive the mark of the beast in the forehead or in the hand.
What does this mean?Answer: The forehead represents the mind (Hebrews 10:16). A person will be marked in the
forehead by a decision to keep Sunday as a holy day. The hand is a symbol of
9:10). A person will be marked in the hand by working on God's holy Sabbath
or by going along with Sunday laws for practical reasons (job, family, etc.).
The sign, or mark, for either God or the beast will be invisible to people. You
will, in essence, mark yourself by accepting either God's sign or mark, the
Sabbath, or the beast's mark, Sunday. Though invisible to men, God will know who
has which mark (2 Timothy
8. According to Isaiah 58:1, 13, 14, what decisive message does God deliver to His
people in the last days? "Cry aloud, spare
not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression."
"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy
day; and call the sabbath a delight, ... Then shalt thou delight thyself in the
Lord." Isaiah 58:1, 13, 14.Answer: He says, show "my people" that they are (innocently perhaps)
sinning because they are trampling on My holy day, and ask them to quit breaking
My Sabbath so I can bless them. Speak loudly so they will hear
Notice that the third angel of Revelation
14:9-12, who brings the message about the mark of the beast, speaks with a
loud voice also (verse 9). The message is too important to treat as ordinary.
It's a life-or-death issue. Jesus says His sheep, or people, will follow Him
when He calls them. (John 10:16, 27).
9. Do people who worship on Sunday (as a holy day) have the
mark of the beast now?Answer: No! No one will have the mark of the beast until Sunday
worship becomes an issue forced by law. At that time (just ahead), those who
decide to follow the false teachings of the beast and worship on Sunday (the
beast's counterfeit holy day) will receive the mark of the beast.
who follow Jesus and obey His truth will keep His Sabbath day holy and receive
His mark. Those who expect to refuse the beast's mark in the future must step
under Jesus' Sabbath banner now. His power is available to those who obey Him
(Acts 5:32). Without Him,
we can do nothing (John 15:5). With Him, all things are possible (Mark
10. According to the book of Revelation, whom did John
specifically see in God's eternal kingdom?Answer: The answer is threefold and very clear:
who have God's mark, or sign (His Sabbath), in their foreheads (Revelation
7:3). B. Those who refused to identify with the beast or his image and
who refused to have his mark or name in their foreheads (Revelation
15:2). C. The people who--today and for eternity--follow where Jesus
leads, trusting Him fully in everything (Revelation 14:4).
There is no other way.
11. What is Jesus saying to people today? "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall
have the light of life." John 8:12.Answer: What a fantastic promise! If we follow Him, we will not end
up in darkness but will, instead, have glorious truth. Nothing could be more
exciting! Further, following Him and keeping His Sabbath will put God's mark on
our foreheads and protect us from the dreadful plagues (Psalms 91:10) that will fall upon the disobedient
(Revelation chapter 16). It also marks us as ready for translation at Jesus'
second coming. What blessed protection and assurance God has offered
An Urgent Alert You will discover some astounding
information as you study the final three Study Guides of the nine that deal with
the three angels' messages of Revelation
14:6-14. These Study Guides will explain (1) the role of the United States
in earth's final conflict, (2) how churches and religions of the world will be
involved, (3) what world conditions will precipitate earth's final battle, and
(4) Satan's amazing strategy for deceiving billions.
Perhaps you are
wondering what Protestant churches have to say about the papal claim for
changing Sabbath to Sunday. The quotes that appear in the "Your Thought
Questions Answered" section of this lesson will provide the shocking
12. I have now decided to begin keeping His seventh-day
Sabbath (Saturday) as His holy day and follow Him wherever He
Thought Questions 1. What do other
preachers and pastors say about the Sabbath and Sunday? (Exodus 20:8 )
Answer: Here are a host of
comments from churches and other authorities about the
Baptist: "There was and is a commandment to keep holy the
Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. ... It will be said, however,
and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh
to the first day of the week. ... Where can the record of such a transaction be
found? Not in the New Testament--absolutely not. There is no scriptural evidence
of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of
the week." --Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual, in a
paper read before a New York ministers' conference held Nov. 13,
Catholic: "You may read the Bible from Genesis to
Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification
of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day
which we [Catholics] never sanctify." --James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of
Our Fathers, 16th edition, 1880, p. 111.
Church of Christ:
"Finally, we have the testimony of Christ on this subject. In Mark 2:27, he says: 'The Sabbath was made for man,
and not man for the Sabbath.' From this passage it is evident that the Sabbath
was made not merely for the Israelites, as Paley and Hengstenberg would
have us believe, but for man ... that is, for the race. Hence we
conclude that the Sabbath was sanctified from the beginning, and that it was
given to Adam, even in Eden, as one of those primeval institutions that God
ordained for the happiness of all men." --Robert Milligan, Scheme of
Redemption, (St. Louis, The Bethany Press, 1962), p.
Congregationalist: "The Christian Sabbath [Sunday] is not in
the Scriptures, and was not by the primitive church called the Sabbath."
--Dwight's Theology, Vol. 4, p. 401.
(Dies Solis, of the Roman calendar, 'day of the sun', because dedicated
to the sun), the first day of the week, was adopted by the early Christians as a
day of worship. ... No regulations for its observance are laid down in the New
Testament, nor, indeed, is its observance even enjoined." --"Sunday," A
Religious Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, (New York, Funk and Wagnalls, 1883) p.
Lutheran: "The observance of the Lord's day [Sunday] is
founded not on any command of God, but on the authority of the church."
--Augsburg Confession of Faith, quoted in Catholic Sabbath Manual, Part
2, Chapter 1, Section 10.
Methodist: "Take the matter of Sunday.
There are indications in the New Testament as to how the church came to keep the
first day of the week as its day of worship, but there is no passage telling
Christians to keep that day, or to transfer the Jewish Sabbath to that day."
--Harris Franklin Rall, Christian Advocate, July 2, 1942.
Bible Institute: "The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force
ever since. This fourth commandment begins with the word 'remember,' showing
that the Sabbath already existed when God wrote the law on the tables of stone
at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been done away with
when they will admit that the other nine are still binding?" --D. L. Moody,
Weighed and Wanting, p. 47.
therefore, it can be shown that the whole moral law has been repealed, the
Sabbath will stand. ... The teaching of Christ confirms the perpetuity of the
Sabbath." --T. C. Blake, D.D., Theology Condensed, pp. 474,
Pentecostal: "'Why do we worship on Sunday? Doesn't the Bible
teach us that Saturday should be the Lord's Day?' ... Apparently we will have to
seek the answer from some other source than the New Testament." --David A.
Womack, "Is Sunday the Lord's Day?" The Pentecostal Evangel, Aug. 9,
1959, No. 2361, p. 3.
Encyclopedia: "Sunday was a name given by
the heathen to the first day of the week, because it was the day on which they
worshiped the sun, ... the seventh day was blessed and hallowed by God Himself,
and ... He requires His creatures to keep it holy to Him. This commandment is of
universal and perpetual obligation." --Eadie's Biblical Cyclopedia,
1872 ed., p. 561.