666 and the Mark of the Beast - Page three

1. Jesus Christ rose on Sunday, “the first day of the week” (Mark 16:9).

2. The New Testament refers to “the first day of the week” eight times (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19; 1 Corinthians 16:1; Acts 20:7).

3. Five of these references are about the Resurrection (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1).

4. One Sunday text refers to a fearful gathering of the disciples on that day before they knew Jesus was alive (John 20:19).

5. One Sunday text refers to a special collection of money on that day in the city of Corinth for a group of poor believers in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-3; Romans 15:25, 26).

6. And one Sunday text refers to a solitary instance in Troas where believers gathered late one Saturday night as a farewell to Paul (Acts 20:6-13).

7. None of these references even remotely suggest that Sunday is now holy or that it has been set aside in honour of the Resurrection.

8. Jesus Christ never said a word about Sunday in any of His teachings.

9. Jesus Christ gave His church authority to teach only what He taught (Matthew 28:19), which forbids any emphasis on Sunday keeping.

10. The New Testament is as silent as a cemetery about any change from Sabbath to Sunday.

By way of contrast, here are ten key Sabbath facts found in your own Bible:

1. Jesus Christ kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16).

2. Jesus taught much about the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-14).

3. Jesus said He is “Lord of the Sabbath,” thus revealing that it is His own special day in honour of the fact that He is the Creator of all life (Mark 2:28; Matthew 12:8).

4. Jesus often healed people on the Sabbath, revealing His love and power (Matthew 12:9-13).

5. Jesus freed the Sabbath from the burdensome traditions of the Pharisees (Luke 13:10-17).

6. The Sabbath was kept by Christ’s disciples after the Cross (Luke 23:46, 54-56).

7. The Sabbath was kept in the book of Acts by both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 13:42-44; 16:13; 17:1-4; 18:4).

8. The entire book of Revelation was given on the Lord’s,” day which is the Sabbath day (Revelation 1:10; Exodus 20:10; Isaiah 58:13; Matthew 12:8).

9. The Sabbath is not just for Jews, but is also for Gentiles (Isaiah 56:1-8).

10. The Sabbath will be kept in the new earth by all the saved (Isaiah 66:22, 23).

In the next few paragraphs I am going to get very specific about certain arguments which I have heard against this “new light” about keeping the Sabbath. Some of this may seem a bit technical, yet it is necessary to cover this subject thoroughly. As I go through these arguments, it is not my purpose to attack other Christians. Yet in the interest of truth, we must carefully study the Word of God. We need to look at this topic from every possible angle.

I have spoken about this hot subject in cities across America, and in my many discussions with Christians, I have discovered that, just as there was a Roman Catholic counter Reformation, so there are two major counter texts now being used against Sabbath keeping. The first is Romans 14:5, 6 where Paul talks about eating or not eating certain things, and esteeming or not esteeming certain days. Many people apply this to the Sabbath, but this is a mistake. When we carefully compare Romans 14 with 1 Corinthians 8, we learn that Paul was referring to eating or not eating food sacrificed to idols on certain pagan feast days. He may also have been thinking about certain Jewish feasts or fast days (see Luke 18:12). The very first verse of Romans 14 tells us that this chapter is dealing with “doubtful disputations” (KJV) or “disputes over doubtful things” (NKJV). Thus, Romans 14 is not a discussion of the Ten Commandments, which are not “doubtful,” but exceedingly clear, “written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18). In any case, Romans 14 says nothing about the Sabbath.

The second major counter text now being used against the Sabbath is Colossians 2:16. But when we look at its context, we discover something that is often overlooked. Jesus Christ, “blott[ed] out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us . . . nailing it to his cross” (2:14). The “handwriting of ordinances” was not the Ten Commandments, which were not written by any human hand, but with the finger of God (Exodus 31:18). It was the ceremonial law that was written with the hand of Moses (Deuteronomy 31:24-26). It was this “handwriting of ordinances” that was nailed to the cross. Paul continued, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come” (Colossians 2:16, 17). People sometimes apply those “sabbath days” in verse 16 to the Creation Sabbath of the Ten Commandments, yet again this is a mistake. Paul is referring to the meat offerings, drink offerings, and the yearly sabbaths of the ceremonial law (Leviticus 23:24, 27, 32, 37-39), not the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. The yearly ceremonial sabbaths (Passover, Day of Atonement, etc.) were shadows pointing forward to Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 10:1). The Creation Sabbath is not a shadow, for it points back to the beginning of the world (Exodus 20:11)! Along with the other nine commandments, it was definitely not nailed to the cross (Revelation 11:19; 12:17; 14:12).

Some say, “We keep Sunday because we are under the new covenant.” Yet it is impossible for Sunday to be part of the new covenant because Sunday came after Jesus Christ died! Yet it was His death that “confirmed” the covenant. Paul said that after a covenant is confirmed by death, “no man disannulleth or addeth thereto” (Galatians 3:15). Some say, “Sabbath keeping is legalism,” yet they would not say this about such commands as “honor your father and mother” or “Do not commit adultery” or “Do not steal.” So why make that charge against Sabbath keeping? Besides, this is the only commandment of the ten in which God specifically said, “Remember”! Should we forget the only one God said not to? Some are too willing to abolish the whole ten-commandment law just to get around the fourth one. Yet this is very strange, especially at a time when Christians everywhere would like to see the Ten Commandments hanging once again on the walls of our public schools!

Others say, “If Christians are supposed to keep the Sabbath, why are all of the other Ten Commandments carried over into the New Testament, except the fourth?” Yet the fourth is in the New Testament! The Bible says that after Jesus died, His followers “rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). There it is. The “commandment” was still there after the Cross, and Luke wrote this about twenty-eight years after the Resurrection!

Still others object, “But we are not under the law; we are under grace!” quoting Romans 6:14. This is true, yet people fail to read the very next verse. Paul continued: “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (6:15)! What is sin? “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Simply put the pieces together. Even though we are under grace, this does not mean we are free to break any one of the Ten Commandments. If we may disregard the fourth commandment, why can we not also disregard the other nine?

The most common argument is, “We keep Sunday in honour of the Resurrection.” But the Bible nowhere supports this. The truth is, baptism commemorates the death, burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:4). Besides, how could the Resurrection change one of the Ten Commandments? Shall we use the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Sunday as a reason to break the law of God, which says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8)? Paul asked, “Is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid” (Galatians 2:17). It’s true that Paul taught that we are not saved or justified by the law, but by the grace of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:28). This is a Protestant principle. But then Paul asked, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).

The Catholic Council of Trent said tradition is equal with Scripture. Yet Protestants responded, “No way! The Bible is above tradition!” This is another major Protestant principle. Dear friend, Sunday is only a tradition of men. Shall we follow the Bible or tradition?

Others ask, “Then why didn’t the Reformers keep the Sabbath?” The reason is simple. They were just coming out of the midnight blackness of the Dark Ages, and they could handle only so much light. Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). Yet we live in the final days. The Bible says, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). Knowledge is increasing, and fuller light now shines. This especially applies to our golden-clue text: He shall “think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). This is no minor matter, for we are talking about one of the Ten Commandments that the Almighty God wrote with His own all-powerful finger on two tables of stone (Exodus 31:18). Have you ever heard anyone say, “We can change this or that because it is not written in stone?” Friend, stone is stone, and rock is rock. There is simply no use in beating our heads against this truth. God’s law has not changed! Read Matthew 5:17-19.

Did you hear about the high-tech hackers who illegally emailed their way into Microsoft’s internal corporate network in November 2000? Microsoft’s public relations spinners insisted that the intruders viewed or altered any of Microsoft’s source code, yet Bill Gates was very concerned that his enemies “could have built secret ‘back doors’ into future programs, ensuring access to computers worldwide” (Newsweek, Nov. 6, 2000, p. 8). This was an attack on the source code of the world’s largest software maker. The Bible also describes an illegal attack upon the “source code” of the great King of the universe. The little horn has “[changed] times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). It has hacked its way into the very heart of the Ten Commandments, the foundation of God’s government in heaven and earth. It has altered the Bible Sabbath of Jesus Christ from Saturday to Sunday, and now it claims that Sunday is a mark of its authority as the true church. Thus, Rome admits what prophecy predicts. The pieces fit together too perfectly for us to doubt. According to the Bible and the Roman Church itself, their ability to change the Sabbath to Sunday is the Mark of the Beast.

This teaching is often attributed as being exclusive to a Church known as Seventh day Adventists but there are in fact many Churches that teach this truth. Am I saying that the mark of the beast is Sunday worship? Not exactly. The mark of the beast is precisely what the beast says it is. They say their mark was their ability to change the law of God and have most of the Protestant world follow her. It is also about worshipping on a day commanded by man in place of worshipping on the day Commanded by God. And it is also about keeping man made traditions in place of God’s Commandments. Jesus was very clear that we are not to keep the traditions of men in place of the Commandments of God. See Mark 7:6-9.

I want to clarify something of the utmost importance. No one has this mark right now. Most Christians have never really studied this subject before. There are true Christians in all churches, including the Roman Catholic Church. Yes, God has sincere people everywhere. Yet one of these days, according to the book of Revelation, this mark of Rome’s authority will be enforced by law around the world. Then, after people’s minds have been enlightened, the final time of choice will come.

The Bible says, “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” (Revelation 13:16, 17). Thus, this mark of Rome’s authority is destined to be enforced by law. This may shock you, but Sunday laws have been enforced in various degrees for 1,800 years. The first Sunday law was enforced by the Roman emperor Constantine on March 7, 321 A.D. His famous edict declared, “On the venerable day of the sun [Sunday] let the magistrates and people residing in the cities rest, and let all workshops be closed” (Schaff’s translation, History of the Christian Church,  vol. iii, p. 75. See also the Code of Justinian, Book 3, Title 12, Law 3).

Why did Constantine pass this Sunday law? The reasons are both fascinating and relevant for us today. In the fourth century, the Roman Empire was disintegrating. Morality was at an all-time low. Yet religion was far from dead. Constantine himself was a dedicated sun-worshiper, as were the majority of his subjects. In fact, the very name “Sunday” stems from pagan sun worship. By this time, a growing number of Christians were following the Catholic Church’s example of giving up the Sabbath and keeping Sunday in honour of the Resurrection. Constantine had already seen the moral strength of Christianity as revealed in the courage of its martyrs, and this gave him an idea. He thought to himself, “Why not unite the Christians and the pagans together through their mutual respect for Sunday?” That’s why he passed his famous Sunday law hoping to bring unity into his empire, thus saving it from ruin. His plan failed, and Rome still went down.

Constantine’s Sunday law “was his mode of harmonizing the Christian and Pagan elements of the empire under one common institution” (A. P. Stanley, Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church, p. 227. 1861). But he went further than this. He not only claimed to become a Christian himself, but he also favoured the Roman Catholic Church. Through Constantine’s influence, the Catholic Church’s political power grew strong. A union between the Catholic Church and Constantine’s state developed. Yet Constantine really remained a pagan at heart. “His coins bore on the one side the letters of the name of Christ; on the other the figures of the Sun-god” (Ibid.) Thus, Constantine contributed to the uniting of the Roman Catholic Church with the Roman state and to the forming of the beast, and it happened through the enforcement of Sunday.

666 Mark of the Beast continued - Page four