"When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power......our country [USA] shall repudiate every principle of its constitution as a Protestant and Republican government, then we may know . . that the end is near."(1)
"The people of the United States have been a favoured people; but when they restrict religious liberty, surrender Protestantism and give countenance to Popery, the measure of their guilt will be full. . . national apostasy will be registered in the books of heaven. The result of this apostasy will be national ruin."(2)
"Most Christians assume that Sunday is the biblically approved day of worship. The Roman Catholic Church protests that it transferred Christian worship from the biblical Sabbath(Saturday) to Sunday, and that to try to argue that the change was made in the bible is both dishonest and a denial of Catholic authority. If Protestantism wants to base its teachings only on the Bible, it should worship on Saturday."(3)
The whole Reformation failed at the Council of Trent due to the Sabbath issue.
"Rome boasts about the fact that she has changed Sabbath into Sunday. She even goes so far as to say that she has done that as a mark of her ecclesiastical authority in religious matters."(4)
Because the Papacy claims the "mark" of ecclesiastical authority(papal infallibility, moving the biblical Sabbath to Sunday) as well as other non-biblical practices(worshipping Mary, purgatory) which are not in accordance with God's word it can be regarded as a false religion. Some feel that the "mark" mentioned in the book of Revelation is a spiritual mark given the Papacy (Vatican) as a sign that the Vatican will lead a one-world false religion during the tribulation.
Those that follow this false, universal one-world religion will be spiritually marked for the following:
"If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,Most people believe that the mark of the beast referred to in Revelation 13:16,17 is a literal mark or tattoo placed on the forehead or right arm or a chip placed in the forehead or right arm.
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day, nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." Revelation 14:9b-11
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." Revelation 19:20
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
However if one refers back to the old testament in Deuteronomy we find that the mark may not be literal but spiritual.
Deuteronomy 11:18 states:
"Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes." KJV and the NIV states "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads."In the old testament use of the hand indicated following through with action "signs upon" and "symbols on" your hands, and use of the phrase "frontlets between your eyes" indicated as is translated in the NIV on your forehead or literally in your mind.
In the old testament Moses directed the Israelites to bind these words for a sign on the hand to remind them to do what God had commanded since the hand was used to implement what was in a man's heart. He directed them to bind the words on their foreheads as a symbol to let his words control their thoughts, minds.
Therefore the placement of the "mark" of the beast in the right hand and on the forehead indicates that it will control the actions and thoughts of unsaved man as indicated by the old testament use of the right hand and forehead. This is why the mark will be so deadly to the unsaved. They will literally become mind controlled by the beast of Revelation.
Revelation 7:3 states:
"Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."Here we note that the servants of God also have a "mark" (a seal in their foreheads). This verse indicates God's love for his children. Since they are "marked" for God, they are separated from the rest of mankind who will suffer the seven trumpet judgements of Revelation chapters 8 and 9.
In Revelation 18:4,5 we also read:
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities."Here we see again that God wishes that His own do not have to suffer the terrible plagues about to befall mankind.
"And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image." Revelation 16:2Are those that are sealed, "marked" for God, like robots?
Far from it! Jesus Christ would have all men accept him as Lord and Savior.
Satan was thrown out of heaven, down to earth because of pride. He wanted to be equal with God. He entered the world to compete with God on the earthly plane by leading men away from the knowledge of truth. Jesus called him the "prince of this world" in John 12:31. He tries to draw men away from worshiping, accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior by using human emotions such as pride, envy, jealousy, guilt etc. to get in the way of man opening his heart to God. The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that he is the "god of this age" who has "blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." God gave men free will to choose in the Garden of Eden.
The seal of God indicates God's approval and acceptance of those who worship him and do his will. i.e. keep his commandments. No one will ever take the seal of God away.
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." John 10:27-30..
Those that are sealed by God will be wholly dedicated to God of their free will. Their thoughts will focus solely on Christ alone and no other out of love for Him who died on the cross to save them from eternal death.
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
"And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
And they sang the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are they works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of the saints." Revelation 15:2,3.
(1) Ellen G. White, Testimonies For The Church, 1889, p. 451.
(2) Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, 1893, p. 225.
(3) Brian S. Neumann, Road to Rome, Amazing Discoveries (DVD)
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