666 and the Mark of the Beast - Page two

Are you ready? Here it is. The little horn will also “think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). What does this mysterious sentence mean? Most have no idea. Notice that little word “change.” The horn will “change” something, then the beast will enforce his mark. Could this change, whatever it is, be connected with the mark? Let’s think about it. Can a change be a mark? Has anyone ever entered your life and changed you so deeply that it can truly be said, “He left his mark?” Imagine a man losing his temper and punching another man in the eye. What would show up around that eye the next day? A mark. What if a vandal entered your home and hit your computer screen with a hammer, changing its surface? The next day, as you surveyed your shattered monitor, you could plainly see where that man had left his terrible mark.

Yet what exactly will the little horn think to change? He shall “think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). Because the Antichrist comes during New Testament times, it is evident that some of God’s “laws” must still exist this side of the Cross. When Jesus died, He put an end to the sacrificial laws of the Old Testament, which pointed forward to His death, and this is why we no longer sacrifice lambs. Those laws are gone. Yet what about the Ten Commandments? Do they still apply to us?

Let’s have a brief Bible study on law and grace. An essential part of “the everlasting gospel” of the first angel’s message is the truth that Christians are “justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28, NKJV). Paul wrote: “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). This mighty New Testament truth became one of the battle cries of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther boldly taught that a person is saved through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, rather than through pilgrimages, idol worship, prayers to Mary, confessions to a priest, or any other human work. Renouncing self and all self-merits, we are to trust completely in the merits and worthiness of Jesus alone. Yet the Roman Church could not accept this. This led to the great divorce.

The Bible urges us to “Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The more we discover who Jesus Christ is, how much He loves us, and how He died on a cruel cross for all of our sins, the more we are drawn to God. We see Him in His true character of love and friendliness. “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). The Bible teaches, “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Jesus said, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Through repentance and faith in the dripping blood of the Lamb, we are forgiven and accepted by God just as if we had never sinned. “All that believe are justified” (Acts 13:39). This is what the Bible calls, “good news.” Jesus has already died for us, paid for our sins, and His free salvation is now offered to us all.

This good news is also powerful news to transform our lives. When a person surrenders fully to Jesus Christ, he is born again. The Holy Spirit enters the life and changes the heart. Peter said, “Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). Believers receive a divine power that begins to work on the inside. Then how should a Christian, saved by grace, relate to God’s law? After describing salvation by grace apart from works in Ephesians 2:8, 9, the same Paul wrote in the same book, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise” (Ephesians 6:1, 2). “Honor thy father and thy mother” is the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12). In the same book, Paul also wrote, “Let him that stole steal no more” (Ephesians 4:28). “Thou shalt not steal” is the eighth commandment (Exodus 20:15).

James also wrote, “He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now, if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law” (James 2:11). Here, James tells Christians to keep the sixth and seventh commandments. Jesus Himself said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marries another, committeth adultery” (Luke 16:17, 18). Thus, Jesus upheld the seventh commandment. Near the end of His earthly life, in touching tones of love, Jesus Christ appealed to His followers, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). These words are actually a quote from the second commandment, which states, “Shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:6). Thus, the New Testament is very clear—Christians who are saved by grace should also love Jesus Christ and keep the Ten Commandments, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Who can truly disagree with that?

What does all of this have to do with 666 and the Mark of the Beast? You are about to find out. First, let me summarize some major points. Just as there are Ten Commandments, even so there are ten fundamental facts in our Bibles about the mark of the beast. These facts do not represent Left Behind fiction, but real truths found in God’s Word:

1. The Mark of the Beast is deceptive, not obvious (Revelation 19:20).

2. The mark will be received on the forehead, which represents the mind, or on the hand, which represents the actions (Revelation 14:9; Deuteronomy 11:18).

3. The three angels reveal a comprehensive message from God before the second coming of Jesus Christ to all the world to help people understand the mark (Revelation 14:6-16).

4. Those who worship Jesus Christ as Creator will not get the mark (Revelation 14:7, 9-11).

5. Those who keep the Ten Commandments will not get the mark (Revelation 14:9, 12).

6. The mark comes from the beast, which represents the Roman Catholic Church.

7. The warning against the mark will be given with a loud voice, thus it must be clear and easy to understand (Revelation 14:9).

8. The mark involves a special sin against God Himself, for those who receive it will drink the wine of His wrath (Revelation 14:9, 10).

9. The mark has something to do with the changing of God’s law (compare Daniel 7:25 with Revelation 13:16).

10. The Mark of the Beast has something to do with the changing of the times and laws of God (Daniel 7:25).

Let’s take a look again at our little-known, golden-clue text, He shall “think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). Now notice that word, “times.” We know the word “laws” has to do with the Ten Commandments, which continue after the Cross. But what about “times”? OK, here we go. We are almost at the bottom line. You are about to discover something you will hardly believe. It’s a truth so shocking it can hardly be written. It shatters all false interpretations, which may sincerely, yet deceptively, hide the real issues. If you pray and humbly study this out, you will know for sure it’s true. Are you ready? There is only one of the Ten Commandments that has to do with “time.” There is only one that has to do with the Creator of heaven and earth. And this single, solitary commandment is the only one of the Ten Commandments that the Roman Catholic Church specifically says it has changed. It is the commandment that says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8)—the commandment that points to Jesus Christ as the Maker of all life.

Before we go any further, I want to share with you a very important thought. 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). This verse tells us that in the final times, God will be giving new light to His people. This especially applies to an increase of knowledge of the book of Daniel, which includes our golden-clue text: He shall “think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). In the final days, God will help His people understand what this changing of “times” is really all about. This doesn’t mean that previous generations of godly Christians who never had this special end-time light are lost. Nor does it mean that believers today who haven’t yet grasped it are doomed. But it does mean that God has new light for this final generation. Thus, we need a certain openness of mind to learn something new. Someone once said, “The purpose of an open mind is to close it on the truth.” So let’s be open, testing everything by Scripture.

God Almighty did not write the ten suggestions, but the Ten Commandments. The fourth says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, . . . For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11).

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Where do we remember? In our foreheads. “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.” With what do we work? With our hands. Thus, the Sabbath commandment deals with both the forehead and the hand. The “seventh day” is specified as “the Sabbath of the Lord.” It is not the Sabbath of the Jews, but of the Lord. “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.” These words are directly quoted in the first angel’s message (see Revelation 14:7). And who is this “Lord” that “made heaven and earth”? As we have already seen, according to the New Testament, it is Jesus Christ. Thus, the Sabbath commandment, in a unique and special sense, reveals Jesus Christ as Lord and as the Maker of all life.

A well-known Roman Catholic catechism declares:

Q. Which is the Sabbath day? A. Saturday is the Sabbath day. Q. 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 (The Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, by Peter Geiermann, 1946, p. 50).

The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday (The Christian Sabbath, p. 29. Printed by The Catholic Mirror, the official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, Baltimore, Md., 1893).

The Pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, change, or interpret even divine laws (Farraris’s Ecclesiastical Dictionary. Article, “The Pope”).

Of course the change [from Sabbath to Sunday] was her act . . . and the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters (Signed by H. F. Thomas, Chancellor for Cardinal Gibbons, in a letter dated, Nov. 11, 1895).

Thus, the Catholic Church claims the pope has power to change God’s law, just as Daniel 7:25 says. This church claims to have changed the Sabbath into Sunday, which is a changing of “times,” just as Daniel 7:25 says will occur. And papal Rome also calls this change a “mark” of her authority, which makes this a perfect fit with Revelation 13!

This issue of Sabbath or Sunday is now the hottest, most intense, and most explosive issue facing the Christian world. An entire book could be written on this subject alone. It is outside the scope of Truth Left Behind to deal with every single argument for or against Sabbath keeping, yet we will address the major issues. Let’s start by looking at ten key Sunday facts found in the New Testament:

666 Mark of the Beast continued - Page three