Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly
as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, "the
mystery of iniquity" carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work.
Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the
Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained
for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism.
But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces
of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles
for the pomp and the pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of
the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions.
The nominal conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth
century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, cloaked with a form of
righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly
progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror.
Her spirit controlled the church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions
were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers
Romanists have persisted in bringing against Protestants the charge
of heresy and willful separation from the true church. But these accusations
apply rather to themselves. They are the ones who laid down the banner
of Christ and departed from "the faith which was once delivered unto the
saints." Jude 3.
Thessalonians 2:4. He had dared
to change the only precept of the divine law that unmistakably points all
mankind to the true and living God. In the fourth commandment, God is revealed
as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and is thereby distinguished
from all false gods. It was as a memorial of the work of Creation that
the seventh day was sanctified as a rest day for man. It was designed to
keep the living God ever before the minds of men as the source of being
and the object of reverence and worship. Satan strives to turn men from
their allegiance to God, and from rendering obedience to His law; therefore
he directs his efforts especially against that commandment which points
to God as the Creator.
Protestants now urge that the resurrection of Christ on Sunday made
it the Christian Sabbath. But Scripture evidence is lacking. No such honor
was given to the day by Christ or His apostles.
From Pagan to Papal Rome
IN the sixth century the Papacy had become firmly established. Its seat
of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared
to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to the
Papacy. The dragon had given to the beast "his power, and his seat, and
great authority." Revelation 13:2. And now began the 1260 years of papal
oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Daniel
7:25; Revelation 13:5-7.
Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and
accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or to wear away their lives in
dungeons or suffer death by the rack, the fagot, or the headsman's ax.
Now were fulfilled the words of Jesus: "Ye shall be betrayed both by parents,
and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause
to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake."
Luke 21:16-17. Persecution opened upon the faithful with greater fury than
ever before, and the world became a vast battlefield. For hundreds of years
the church of Christ found refuge in seclusion and obscurity. Thus says
the prophet: "The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place
prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred
and three-score days." Revelation 12:6.
The Dark Ages Begin
THE accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the
Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred
from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting
in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the
people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated
authority. They were taught that the pope was their earthly mediator and
that none could approach God except through him; and, further, that he
stood in the place of God to them and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed.
A deviation from his requirements was sufficient cause for the severest
punishment to be visited upon the bodies and souls of the offenders. Thus
the minds of the people were turned away from God to fallible, erring,
and cruel men, nay, more, to the prince of darkness himself, who exercised
his power through them. Sin was disguised in a garb of sanctity. When the
Scriptures are suppressed, and man comes to regard himself as supreme,
we need look only for fraud, deception, and debasing iniquity. With the
elevation of human laws and traditions was manifest the corruption that
ever results from setting aside the law of God.
Days of Peril
THOSE were days
of peril for the church of Christ. The gospel was lost sight of, but
the forms of religion were multiplied, and the people were burdened with
rigorous exactions. They were taught not only to look to the pope as their
mediator, but to trust to works of their own to atone for sin. Long pilgrimages,
acts of penance, the worship of relics, the erection of churches, shrines,
and altars, the payment of large sums to the church--these and many similar
acts were enjoined to appease the wrath of God or to secure His favor;
as if God were like men, to be angered at trifles, or pacified by gifts
or acts of penance!
The darkness seemed to grow more dense. Image worship became more general.
Candles were burned before images, and prayers were offered to them. The
most absurd and superstitious customs prevailed. The minds of men were
so completely controlled by superstition that reason itself seemed to have
lost its sway. While priests and bishops were themselves pleasure-loving,
sensual, and corrupt, it could only be expected that the people who looked
to them for guidance would be sunken in ignorance and vice.
The Haughty Pontiff
ANOTHER step in papal assumption was taken, when, in the eleventh century,
Pope Gregory VII proclaimed the perfection of the Roman Church. Among the
propositions which he put forth was one declaring that the church had never
erred, nor would it ever err, according to the Scriptures. But the Scripture
proofs did not accompany the assertion. The proud pontiff also claimed
the power to depose emperors, and declared that no sentence which he pronounced
could be reversed by anyone, but that it was his prerogative to reverse
the decisions of all others.
How striking the contrast between the overbearing pride of this haughty
pontiff and the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who represents Himself
as pleading at the door of the heart for admittance, that He may come in
to bring pardon and peace, and who taught His disciples: "Whosoever will
be chief among you, let him be your servant" Matthew 20:27.
The Darkness Deepens
THE advancing centuries witnessed a constant increase of error in the doctrines
put forth from Rome. Even before the establishment of the Papacy the teachings
of heathen philosophers had received attention and exerted an influence
in the church. Many who professed conversion still clung to the tenets
of their pagan philosophy, and not only continued its study themselves,
but urged it upon others as a means of extending their influence among
the heathen. Serious errors were thus introduced into the Christian faith.
Prominent among these was the belief in man's natural immortality and his
consciousness in death. This doctrine laid the foundation upon which Rome
established the invocation of saints and the adoration of the Virgin Mary.
From it sprang also the heresy of eternal torment for the finally impenitent,
which was early incorporated into the papal faith.
Then the way was prepared for the introduction of still another invention
of paganism, which Rome named purgatory, and employed to terrify the credulous
and superstitious multitudes. By this heresy is affirmed the existence
of a place of torment, in which the souls of such as have not merited eternal
damnation are to suffer punishment for their sins, and from which, when
freed from impurity, they are admitted to heaven.
The Financial Angle
STILL another fabrication was needed to enable Rome to profit by the fears
and the vices of her adherents. This was supplied by the doctrine of indulgences.
Full remission of sins, past, pres<->ent, and future, and release from
all the pains and penalties incurred, were promised to all who would enlist
in the pontiff's wars to extend his temporal dominion, to punish his enemies,
or to exterminate those who dared deny his spiritual supremacy. The people
were also taught that by the payment of money to the church they might
free themselves from sin, and also release the souls of their deceased
friends who were confined in the tormenting flames. By such means did Rome
fill her coffers and sustain the magnificence, luxury, and vice of the
pretended representatives of Him who had not where to lay His head.
The Creator Created
THE scriptural ordinance of the Lord's Supper had been supplanted by the
idolatrous sacrifice of the Mass. Papal priests pretended, by their senseless
mummery, to convert the simple bread and wine into the actual "body and
blood of Christ."--Cardinal Wiseman, "The Real Presence of the Body and
Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist, Proved From Scripture,"
lecture 8, sec. 3, par. 26. With blasphemous presumption, they openly claimed
the power of creating God, the Creator of all things. Christians were required,
on pain of death, to avow their faith in this horrible, Heaven-insulting
heresy. Multitudes who refused were given to the flames.
Millions of Martyrs
IN the thirteenth century was established that most terrible of all the
engines of the Papacy-- the
Inquisition. The prince of darkness wrought with the leaders of the
papal hierarchy. In their secret councils Satan and his angels controlled
the minds of evil men, while unseen in the midst stood an angel of God,
taking the fearful record of their iniquitous decrees and writing the history
of deeds too horrible to appear to human eyes. The mangled forms of millions
of martyrs cried to God for vengeance upon that apostate power.
POPERY had become the world's despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees
of the Roman pontiff. The destinies of men, both for time and for eternity,
seemed under his control. For hundreds of years the doctrines of Rome had
been extensively and implicitly received, its rites reverently performed,
its festivals generally observed. Its clergy were honored and liberally
sustained. Never since has the Roman Church attained to greater dignity,
magnificence, or power.
BUT "the noon of the Papacy was the midnight of the world."--J. A. Wylie,
The History of Protestantism, b. 1, ch. 4. The Holy Scriptures were
almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests. Like the Pharisees
of old, the papal leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins.
God's law, the standard of righteousness, having been removed, they exercised
power without limit, and practiced vice without restraint. Fraud, avarice,
and profligacy prevailed. Men shrank from no crime by which they could
gain wealth or position. The palaces of popes and prelates were scenes
of the vilest debauchery. Some of the reigning pontiffs were guilty of
crimes so revolting that secular rulers endeavored to depose these dignitaries
of the church as monsters too vile to be tolerated. For centuries Europe
had made no progress in learning, arts, or civilization. A moral and intellectual
paralysis had fallen upon Christendom.
THE lack of the knowledge of the Word of God allowed the Papacy to rule
the world during the Dark Ages. Toward the end of that age, as an understanding
of God's Word began to unfold, men began to protest the errors prevalent
during that time. Those Protestant Reformers threw off the shackles of
error and superstition, and began to let the light of God's Word shine.
These men received the title of Protestants, because, as they understood
the truth of God's Word they saw that they must protest and oppose the
error of Catholicism if they would be true to God. Once again in the history
of this planet the knowledge of God's Word had been forgotten. Compare
the Reformers' understanding of the Papacy with the beliefs of this modern
MARTIN Luther said, "I know that the pope is the Antichrist, and
that his see is that of Satan himself. The Papacy is the general chase,
by command of the Roman pontiff, for the purpose of running down and destroying
Charles Spurgeon said, "We must warn with judicious boldness those
who incline towards the errors of Rome; we must tell them of the black
doings of Popery."
John Knox said the pope was "the very antichrist."
John Wesley said of the Papacy, "He is in an emphatical sense, the
Man of Sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure."
John Calvin said, "We call the Roman pontiff Antichrist."
Protestants Forget Past
TODAY the descendants of those faithful martyrs have forgotten why they
call themselves Protestants. Consider the following.
"It is time for Protestants to go to the shepherd (the pope) and
say, `What do we have to do to come home?'" Dr. Robert Schuller, Los
Angeles Herald Examiner, Sept. 19, 1987.
"Heads of American Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches who were
meeting with Pope John Paul II on Friday hailed their first broadly representative
discussion as a landmark on the road to greater unity. . . . The Rev. Donald
Jones, a United Methodist and chairman of the University of South Carolina
religious studies department, termed it, `the most important ecumenical
meeting of the century.' . . . The Rev. Paul A. Crow Jr., of Indianapolis,
ecumenical officer of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), called
it a `new day in ecumenism' opening a future in which God `is drawing us
together.'" The Montgomery Advertiser, Sept. 12, 1987.
"If Catholicism is to become more Catholic in the future, which is
what I expect under the present pope, then theological differences will
become sharper, but our alliances with Catholics against the secular culture
can become deeper. I, for one, am ready for the trade-off." David Wells,
Eternity Magazine, Sept. 1987.
"Protestant and Catholic charismatic teaching on the Christian life
is to all intents and purposes identical. Is this not significant for the
Christian future?" J.I. Packer, Christianity Today, June 22,
Protestantism has forgotten her roots. She was ordained to resist
and denounce the errors of Rome. Now she is willing to embrace them. Now
as the entire world is on the verge of Rome's final assault, the former
enemies are forming alliances. The Protestant world has forgotten they
are involved in an eternal battle, and because of their willing neglect
of knowledge, they are destined to be destroyed.
Law and Order the Real Issue
FROM the very beginning of the great controversy in heaven it has been
Satan's purpose to overthrow the law of God. To deceive men, and thus lead
them to transgress God's law, is the object which he has steadfastly pursued.
Whether it be accomplished by casting aside the law altogether, or by rejecting
one of its precepts, the result will be ultimately the same. He that offends
"in one point," manifests contempt for the whole law; his influence and
example are on the side of transgression; he becomes "guilty of all." James
In seeking to cast contempt upon the divine statutes, Satan has perverted
the doctrines of the Bible, and errors have thus become incorporated into
the faith of thousands who profess to believe the Scriptures. The last
great conflict between truth and error is but the final struggle of the
long-standing controversy concerning the law of God. Upon this battle we
are now entering--a battle between the laws of men and the precepts of
Jehovah, between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and
Infidelity prevails to an alarming extent, not in the world merely,
but in the church. Many have come to deny doctrines which are the very
pillars of the Christian faith. The great facts of Creation as presented
by the inspired writers, the Fall of man, the atonement, and the perpetuity
of the law of God, are practically rejected, either wholly or in part,
by a large share of the professedly Christian world. Many ministers are
teaching their people, and many professors and teachers are instructing
their students, that the law of God has been changed or abrogated; and
those who regard its requirements as still valid, to be literally obeyed,
are thought to be deserving only of ridicule or contempt.
IN rejecting the truth, men reject its Author. In trampling upon the law
of God, they deny the authority of the Lawgiver. It is as easy to make
an idol of false doctrines and theories as to fashion an idol of wood or
stone. By misrepresenting the attributes of God, Satan leads men to conceive
of Him in a false character. With many, a philosophical idol is enthroned
in the place of Jehovah; while the living God, as He is revealed in His
Word, in Christ, and in the works of creation, is worshiped by but few.
Thousands deify nature while they deny the God of nature. Though in a different
form, idolatry exists in the Christian world today as verily as it existed
among ancient Israel in the days of Elijah. The god of many professedly
wise men, of philosophers, poets, politicians, journalists--the god of
polished fashionable circles, of many colleges and universities, even of
some theological institutions--is little better than Baal, the sun-god
No error accepted by the Christian world strikes more boldly against
the authority of Heaven, none is more directly opposed to the dictates
of reason, none is more pernicious in its results, than the modern doctrine,
so rapidly gaining ground, that God's law is no longer binding upon men.
Suppose that prominent ministers were publicly to teach that the statutes
which govern their land and protect the rights of its citizens were not
obligatory--that they restricted the liberties of the people, and therefore
ought not to be obeyed; how long would such men be tolerated in the pulpit?
But is it a graver offense to disregard the laws of states and nations
than to trample upon those divine precepts which are the foundation of
Sin No Longer Sinful
WHEREVER the divine precepts are rejected, sin ceases to appear sinful
or righteousness desirable. Those who refuse to submit to the government
of God are wholly unfitted to govern themselves. Through their pernicious
teachings the spirit of insubordination is implanted in the hearts of children
and youth, who are naturally impatient of control; and a lawless, licentious
state of society results. While scoffing at the credulity of those who
obey the requirements of God, the multitudes eagerly accept the delusions
of Satan. They give the rein to lust and practice the sins which have called
down judgments upon the heathen.
Society in Disarray
ALREADY the doctrine that men are released from obedience to God's requirements
has weakened the force of moral obligation and opened the floodgates of
iniquity upon the world. Lawlessness, dissipation, and corruption are sweeping
in upon us like an overwhelming tide. In the family, Satan is at work.
His banner waves, even in professedly Christian households. There is envy,
evil surmising, hypocrisy, estrangement, emulation, strife, betrayal of
sacred trusts, indulgence of lust. The whole system of religious principles
and doctrines, which should form the foundation and framework of social
life, seems to be a tottering mass, ready to fall to ruin.
The vilest of criminals, when thrown into prison for their offenses,
are often made the recipients of gifts and attentions as if they had attained
an enviable distinction. Great publicity is given to their character and
crimes. The press publishes the revolting details of vice, thus initiating
others into the practice of fraud, robbery, and murder; and Satan exults
in the success of his hellish schemes. The infatuation of vice, the wanton
taking of life, the terrible increase of intemperance and iniquity of every
order and degree, should arouse all who fear God, to inquire what can be
done to stay the tide of evil.
Scriptures Now Rejected
THE iniquity and spiritual darkness that prevailed under the supremacy
of Rome were the inevitable result of her suppression of the Scriptures;
but where is to be found the cause of the widespread infidelity, the rejection
of the law of God, and the consequent corruption, under the full blaze
of gospel light in an age of religious freedom? Now that Satan can no longer
keep the world under his control by withholding the Scriptures, he resorts
to other means to accomplish the same object. To destroy faith in the Bible
serves his purpose as well as to destroy the Bible itself. By introducing
the belief that God's law is not binding, he has effectually leads men
to transgress as if they were wholly ignorant of its precepts. And now--as
in former ages, he has worked through the church to further his designs.
The religious organizations of the day have refused to listen to unpopular
truths plainly brought to view in the Scriptures, and in combating them
they have adopted interpretations and taken positions which have sown broadcast
the seeds of skepticism.
Clinging to the papal error of natural immortality and man's consciousness
in death, they have rejected the only defense against the delusions of
Spiritualism. The doctrine of eternal torment has led many to disbelieve
the Bible. And as the claims of the fourth commandment are urged upon the
people, it is found that the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath is enjoined;
and as the only way to free themselves from a duty which they are unwilling
to perform, many popular teachers declare that the law of God is no longer
binding. Thus they cast away the law and the Sabbath together. As the work
of Sabbath reform extends, this rejection of the divine law to avoid the
claims of the fourth commandment will become well-nigh universal.
The Dark Ages Repeated
SATAN'S policy in this final conflict with God's people is the same that
he employed in the opening of the great controversy in heaven. He professed
to be seeking to promote the stability of the divine government, while
secretly bending every effort to secure its overthrow. And the very work
which he was thus endeavoring to accomplish he charged upon the loyal angels.
The same policy of deception has marked the history of the Roman Church.
It has professed to act as the vicegerent of Heaven, while seeking to exalt
itself above God and to change His law. Under the rule of Rome, those who
suffered death for their fidelity to the gospel were denounced as evildoers;
they were declared to be in league with Satan; and every possible means
was employed to cover them with reproach, to cause them to appear in the
eyes of the people and even to themselves as the vilest of criminals. So
it will be now. While Satan seeks to destroy those who honor God's law,
he will cause them to be accused as lawbreakers, as men who are dishonoring
God and bringing judgments upon the world.
Compulsion by Cruelty
GOD never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan's
constant resort--to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce--is
compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience
and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this goal, he works through
both religious and secular authorities, moving them to the enforcement
of human laws in defiance of the law of God.
Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law
and order, as breaking down the moral restraints of society, causing anarchy
and corruption, and calling down the judgments of God upon the earth. Their
conscientious scruples will be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and
contempt of authority. They will be accused of disaffection toward the
government. Ministers who deny the obligation of the divine law will present
from the pulpit the duty of yielding obedience to the civil authorities
as ordained of God. In legislative halls and courts of justice, commandment
keepers will be misrepresented and condemned. A false coloring will be
given to their words; the worst construction will be put upon their motives.
Light Exchanged for Darkness
AS the Protestant churches reject the clear, scriptural arguments in defense
of God's law, they will long to silence those whose faith they cannot overthrow
by the Bible. Though they blind their own eyes to the fact, they are now
adopting a course which will lead to the persecution of those who conscientiously
refuse to do what the rest of the Christian world are doing, and acknowledge
the claims of the papal sabbath.
Liberty of Conscience Denied
THE dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel
all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied
by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice
and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators,
in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a
law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost
so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict
we shall see exemplified the prophet's words: "The dragon was wroth with
the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep
the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Revelation
In contrast to those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith
of Jesus, the third angel points to another class, against whose errors
a solemn and fearful warning is uttered: "If any man worship the beast
and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the
same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." Revelation 14:9-10.
A correct interpretation of the symbols employed is necessary to an understanding
of this message. What is represented by the beast, the image, the mark?
Intepretting the Symbols
THE line of prophecy in which these symbols are found begins with Revelation
12, with the dragon that sought to destroy Christ at His birth. The dragon
is said to be Satan (Revelation 12:9); he it was that moved upon Herod
to put the Saviour to death. But the chief agent of Satan in making war
upon Christ and His people during the first centuries of the Christian
Era was the Roman Empire, in which paganism was the prevailing religion.
Thus while the dragon, primarily, represents Satan, it is, in a secondary
sense, a symbol of pagan Rome.
The Leopardlike Beast
IN chapter 13 (verses 1-10) is described another beast, "like unto a leopard,"
to which the dragon--Satan and pagan Rome--gave "his power, and his seat,
and great authority." This leopardlike beast, as most Protestants have
believed, represents the Papacy, which succeeded to the power and seat
and authority once held by the ancient Roman Empire. Of the leopardlike
beast it is declared: "There was given unto him a mouth speaking great
things and blasphemies. . . . And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against
God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in
heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome
them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations."
This prophecy, which is nearly identical with the description of the little
horn of Daniel 7, unquestionably points to the Papacy.
"Power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." And, says
the prophet, "I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death." And
again: "He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword."
Revelation 13:10. The forty and two months are the same as the "time and
times and the dividing of time," three years and a half, or 1260 days,
of Daniel 7--the time during which the papal power was to oppress God's
people. This period began with the supremacy of the Papacy, A.D. 538, and
terminated in 1798. At that time the pope was made captive by the French
army, the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was
fulfilled, "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity."Rev.
America in Prophecy AT this point another symbol is introduced.
Says the prophet: "I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and
he had two horns like a lamb." Verse 11. Both the appearance of this beast
and the manner of its rise indicate that the nation which it represents
is unlike those presented under the preceding symbols. The great kingdoms
that have ruled the world were presented to the prophet Daniel as beasts
of prey, rising when "the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great
sea." Daniel 7:2. In Revelation 17 an angel explained that waters represent
"peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." Revelation 17:15.
Winds are a symbol of strife. The four winds of heaven striving upon the
great sea represent the terrible scenes of conquest and revolution by which
kingdoms have attained to power.
Out of the Earth
BUT the beast with lamblike horns was seen "coming up out of the earth."Rev.
13:11. Instead of overthrowing other powers to establish itself, the nation
thus represented must arise in territory previously unoccupied and grow
up gradually and peacefully. It could not, then, arise among the crowded
and struggling nationalities of the Old World--that turbulent sea of "peoples,
and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." It must be sought in the Western
What nation of the New World was in 1798 rising into power, giving promise
of strength and greatness, and attracting the attention of the world? The
application of the symbol admits of no question. One nation, and only one,
meets the specifications of this prophecy; it points unmistakably to the
United States of America. Again and again the thought, almost the exact
words, of the sacred writer has been unconsciously employed by the orator
and the historian in describing the rise and growth of this nation. A prominent
writer, describing the rise of the United States, speaks of "the mystery
of her coming forth from vacancy," and says: "Like a 'silent seed' we grew
into empire."-G. A. Townsend, The New World Compared With the Old,
page 462. A European journal in 1850 spoke of the United States as a wonderful
empire, which was "emerging," and "amid the silence of the earth daily
adding to its power and pride." --The Dublin Nation.
The "two horns like a lamb" well represent the character of our own
government, as expressed in its two fundamental principles--Republicanism
and Protestantism. These principles are the secret of our power and prosperity
as a nation. Those who first found an asylum on the shores of America,
rejoiced that they had reached a country free from the arrogant claims
of popery and the tyranny of kingly rule. They determined to establish
a government upon the broad foundation of civil and religious liberty.
Speaks Like the Dragon
BUT the beast with lamblike horns "spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth
all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and
them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound
was healed; . . . saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should
make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live."
The lamblike horns and dragon voice of the symbol point to a striking
contradiction between the professions and the practice of the nation
thus represented. The "speaking" of the nation is the action of its legislative
and judicial authorities. By such action it will give the lie to those
liberal and peaceful principles which it has put forth as the foundation
of its policy. The prediction that it will speak "as a dragon" and exercise
"all the power of the first beast" plainly foretells a development of the
spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations
represented by the dragon and the leopardlike beast. And the statement
that the beast with two horns "causeth the earth and them which dwell therein
to worship the first beast" indicates that the authority of this nation
is to be exercised in enforcing some observance which shall be an act of
homage to the Papacy.
Such action would be directly contrary to the principles of this government,
to the genius of its free institutions, to the direct and solemn avowals
of the Declaration of Independence, and to the Constitution. The founders
of the nation wisely sought to guard against the employment of secular
power on the part of the church, with its inevitable result--intolerance
and persecution. The Constitution provides that "Congress shall make no
law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof," and that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification
to any office of public trust under the United States." Only in flagrant
violation of these safeguards to the nation's liberty,
can any religious observance be enforced by civil authority. But the inconsistency
of such action is no greater than is represented in the symbol. It is the
beast with lamblike horns in profession pure, gentle, and harmless--that
speaks as a dragon.
The Image to the Beast
SAYING to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image
to the beast." Here is clearly presented a form of government in which
the legislative power rests with the people, a most striking evidence that
the United States is the nation denoted in the prophecy.
But what is the "image to the beast"? And how is it to be formed? The
image is made by the two-horned beast, and is an image to the beast. It
is also called an image of the beast. Therefore, to learn what the image
is like and how it is to be formed we must study the characteristics of
the beast itself--the Papacy.
Union of Church and State
WHEN the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity
of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit
and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people,
she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the Papacy,
a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further
her own ends, especially for the punishment of "heresy." In order for the
United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so
control the civil government that the authority of the state will also
be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends.
It was apostasy that led the early church to seek the aid of the civil
government, and this prepared the way for the development of the Papacy--the
beast. So apostasy in the church will prepare the way for the image
to the beast.
THE Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord there will exist
a state of religious declension similar to that in the first centuries.
"In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of
their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to
parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers,
false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof." 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall
depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of
devils." 1 Timothy 4:1. When this state of ungodliness shall be reached,
the same results will follow as in the first centuries.
Formation of the Image
WHEN the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points
of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to
enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant
America will have formed an
image of the Roman hierarchy , and the infliction of civil penalties
upon dissenters will inevitably result.
The Mark of the Beast
THE beast with two horns "causeth [commands] 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." Revelation
13:16-17. The third angel's warning is: "If any man worship the beast and
his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same
shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." "The beast" mentioned in
this message, whose worship is enforced by the two-horned beast, is the
first, or leopardlike beast of Revelation 13--the Papacy. The "image to
the beast" represents that form of apostate Protestantism which will be
developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil
power for the enforcement of their dogmas.
AFTER the warning against the worship of the beast and his image the prophecy
declares: "Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith
of Jesus."Rev. 14:12 Since those who keep God's commandments are thus placed
in contrast with those that worship the beast and his image and receive
his mark, it follows that the keeping of God's law, on the one hand, and
its violation, on the other, will make the distinction between the worshipers
of God and the worshipers of the beast.
The Beast's Character THE special characteristic of the beast, and
therefore of his image, is the breaking of God's commandments. Says Daniel,
of the little horn, the Papacy: "He shall think to change times and the
law." Daniel 7:25, RV. And Paul styled the same power the "man of sin,"
who was to exalt himself above God. One prophecy is a complement of the
other. Only by changing God's law could the Papacy exalt itself above God;
whoever should understandingly keep the law as thus changed would be giving
supreme honor to that power by which the change was made. Such an act of
obedience to papal laws would be a mark of allegiance to the pope in the
place of God.
An intentional, deliberate change is presented: "He shall think to change
the times and the law." The change in the fourth commandment exactly fulfills
the prophecy. For this the only authority claimed is that of the church.
Here the papal power openly sets itself above God.
WHILE the worshipers of God will be especially distinguished by their regard
for the fourth commandment--since this is the sign of His creative power
and the witness to His claim upon man's reverence and homage--the worshipers
of the beast will be distinguished by their efforts to tear down the Creator's
memorial, to exalt the institution of Rome. It was in behalf of the Sunday
that popery first asserted its arrogant
claims; and its first resort to the power of the state was to compel
the observance of Sunday as "the Lord's day." But the Bible points to the
seventh day, and not to the first, as the Lord's day. Said Christ: "The
Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." The fourth commandment declares:
"The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord." And by the prophet Isaiah
the Lord designates it: "My holy day." Mark 2:28; Isaiah 58:13.
Roman Catholics acknowledge that the change of the Sabbath was made
by their church, and declare that Protestants by observing the Sunday are
recognizing her power.
As the sign of the authority of the Catholic Church, papist writers
cite "the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants
allow of; . . . because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the church's
power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin."--Henry Tuberville,
An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, page 58. What then is
the change of the Sabbath, but the sign, or mark, of the authority of the
Roman Church--"the mark of the beast"?
Rejecting the Bible
THE Roman Church has not relinquished her claim to supremacy; and
when the world and the Protestant churches accept a sabbath of her creating,
while they reject the Bible Sabbath, they virtually admit this assumption.
They may claim the authority of tradition and of the Fathers for the change;
but in so doing they ignore the very principle which separates them from
Rome--that "the Bible, and the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants."
The papist can see that they are deceiving themselves, willingly closing
their eyes to the facts in the case. As the movement for Sunday enforcement
gains favor, the papist rejoices, feeling assured that it will eventually
bring the whole Protestant world under the banner of Rome.
The Worship of the Beast
BUT Christians of past generations observed the Sunday, supposing that
in so doing they were keeping the Bible Sabbath; and there are now true
Christians in every church, not excepting the Roman Catholic communion,
who honestly believe that Sunday is the Sabbath of divine appointment.
God accepts their sincerity of purpose and their integrity before Him.
But when Sunday observance shall be enforced by law, and the world shall
be enlightened concerning the obligation of the true Sabbath, then whoever
shall transgress the command of God, to obey a precept which has no higher
authority than that of Rome, will thereby honor popery above God.
He is paying homage to Rome and to the power which enforces the
institution ordained by Rome. He is worshiping the beast and his image.
As men then reject the institution which God has declared to be the sign
of His authority, and honor in its stead that which Rome has chosen as
the token of her supremacy, they will thereby accept the sign of allegiance
to Rome--"the mark of the beast." And it is not until the issue is thus
plainly set before the people, and they are brought to choose between the
commandments of God and the commandments of men, that those who continue
in transgression will receive "the mark of the beast."
The Fearful Threatening
THE most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in
the third angel's message. That must be a terrible sin which calls down
the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. Men are not to be left in darkness
concerning this important matter; the warning against this sin is to be
given to the world before the visitation of God's judgments, that all may
know why they are to be inflicted, and have opportunity to escape them.
It is represented in the prophecy as being proclaimed with a loud voice,
by an angel flying in the midst of heaven; and it will command the attention
of the world.
Two Classes Develop
IN the issue of the contest all Christendom will be divided into two great
classes--those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus,
and those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark. Although
church and state will unite their power to compel "all, both small and
great, rich and poor, free and bond" (Revelation 13:16), to receive "the
mark of the beast," yet the people of God will not receive it. The prophet
of Patmos beholds "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 singing the song of Moses
and the Lamb. Revelation 15:2-3.
The Two Great Errors
THROUGH the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness,
Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays
the foundation of Spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with
Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching
their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of Spiritualism; they will
reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the
influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps
of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.
The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly
is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves
and are ready to join with them, and Satan determines to unite them in
one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of
Spiritualism. Papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true
church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants,
having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants,
and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power,
and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of
the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium.
Satan Commandeers the New World Order
THROUGH Spiritualism, Satan appears as a benefactor of the race, healing
the diseases of the people, and professing to present a new and more exalted
system of religious faith; but at the same time he works as a destroyer.
His temptations are leading multitudes to ruin. Intemperance dethrones
reason; sensual indulgence, strife, and bloodshed follow. Satan delights
in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into
eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite
the nations to war against one another, for he can thus divert the minds
of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.
Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared
souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he
uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he
was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses,
children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment.
It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power
of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law
of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would--He
will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care
from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others
to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard.
He will favor and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and
he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God
who is afflicting them.
While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can
heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous
cities are reduced to ruin and desolation.
AND then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God
are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of
Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God's
commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared
that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that
this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance
shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the
fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers
of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal
prosperity. The miracle-working power manifested through Spiritualism will
exert its influence against those who choose to obey God rather than men.
Communications from the spirits will declare that God has sent them to
convince the rejecters of Sunday of their error, affirming that the laws
of the land should be obeyed as the law of God. They will lament the great
wickedness in the world and second the testimony of religious teachers
that the degraded state of morals is caused by the desecration of Sunday.
Great will be the indignation excited against all who refuse to accept
Satan Personates Christ
AS the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will
personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Saviour's
advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make
it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan
will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness,
resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation.
Revelation 1:13-15. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything
that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the
air: "Christ has come! Christ has come!" The people prostrate themselves
in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing
upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth.
His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate
tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the
Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his
assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday,
and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed.
He declares that those who persist in keeping holy the seventh day are
blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with
light and truth. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion. Like
the Samaritans who were deceived by Simon Magus, the multitudes, from the
least to the greatest, give heed to these sorceries, saying: This is "the
great power of God." Acts 8:10.
Detecting the Deceiver
BUT the people of God will not be misled. The teachings of this false christ
are not in accordance with the Scriptures. His blessing is pronounced upon
the worshipers of the beast and his image, the very class upon whom the
Bible declares that God's unmingled wrath shall be poured out.
And, furthermore, Satan is not permitted to counterfeit the manner of
Christ's advent. The Saviour has warned His people against deception upon
this point, and has clearly foretold the manner of His second coming. "There
shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs
and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the
very elect. . . . Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in
the desert; go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe
it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto
the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:24-27,
31; 25:31; Revelation 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. This coming there is
no possibility of counterfeiting. It will be universally known--witnessed
by the whole world.
The Bible Only
ONLY those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have
received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion
that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect
the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come. By the
sifting of temptation the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people
of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield
to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to
the Bible and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from
obtaining a preparation to stand in that day. He will so arrange affairs
as to hedge up their way, entangle them with earthly treasures, cause them
to carry a heavy, wearisome burden, that their hearts may be overcharged
with the cares of this life and the day of trial may come upon them as
What to Do Now
AT this point let us change our focus from past history, and the crisis
that lies just ahead, and consider the heart of the matter.
You can be God's child just now--this very minute--if you will. God
has already done all that a God can do, until you accept what He has done.
God loved you so much "that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
HAVE you received that gift? All who receive Him are given power to be
God's children. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12.
You belong to God. He made you. So you are also His by creation.
He redeemed you. So you are His by redemption. But He will not take
you by force; you must choose to be His; you must acknowledge His rights,
and your relationship. When you yield to Him, then you are His. See Romans
6:16. Just the minute that you surrender your life to His guidance, that
minute He takes control. Then it is a minute-by-minute walk with God. Led
by Him, you are His child. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
they are the sons of God." Romans 8:14.
Do you know that sin is the transgression of God's law? "Whosoever
commiteth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression
of the law." 1 John 3:4. See also Romans 5:13 and 7:7.
Do you know that the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord?
"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested
on the seventh day from all the work which he had made. And God blessed
the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from
all his work which God created and made." Genesis 2:2-3. See also Exodus
The New Birth
WITH an earthly friend we make connection with a look or a touch. With
Jesus we make union with our thoughts. You believe God's Word. You believe
with the heart. See Romans 10:10. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and
hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17. Then the faith of Jesus comes
by studying God's Word. See Revelation 14:12. We must study to show ourselves
approved unto God, and then obey present truth. See 2 Timothy 2:15. Then
that word (in your heart) begins the new life. which is the "new birth."
See 1 Peter 1:23. Then, keep drinking the milk of the Word, and so, "grow."
See 1 Peter 2:2. Do not wait for some feeling. Take God at His Word,
no matter how you feel.
BY loving obedience to God's commandments our love for Him is expressed.
"And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that
saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the
truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love
of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." 1 John 2:3-5. Whatever
you want, ask God for it, then thank God for it. Now it is yours. See Mark
11:24. Of course you must ask according to God's will. See 1 John 5:14-15.
God says, "I will cleanse you." "I will give you a new heart." "I will
put my Spirit in you." Ezekiel 36:25-27. Ask Him to do it. Thank Him
that it is done, because He promised. Confess your sins to Him. Ask Him
to forgive them. Thank Him that He has done it. 1 John 1:9; Matthew 7:7,
11; Philippians 4:6, 19. The Bible is full of promises; all yours, regarding
this simple plan.
Walk With Christ
DOES God want you, dear reader, to be His child? The answer is, Yes, Yes,
Yes! Now the question is, Do you, dear reader, want to be God's child?
If your answer is Yes, then by the authority of God's Word, you are a child
of God. Put your hand into His and stay with Him. "Thou wilt keep him
in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in
thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting
strength." Isaiah 26:3-4.