Revelation Chapter 13a | Table of Contents | Revelation Chapter 13c

Revelation Chapter 13 continued (b)

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beast, we can follow through without fear or prejudice the course that that nation takes as marked out clearly in the prophecy itself. In doing so, let us observe once more that the dragon as the first of the three beasts in the chain of prophecy under consideration, was a relentless persecutor of the church of God. The leopard beast that followed was likewise a persecuting power, destroying the lives of millions of Christians during a period of 1260 years. As we come to the third beast, with two horns like a lamb, it is declared that he “spake as a dragon.” This can only mean that at some time his nature changes from that of a lamb to that of a dragon, that he speaks as a dragon, and that he does the same kind of work as the dragon before him.
      Permit us to say at this juncture that it is with much pain that we contemplate a nation arising so peaceably and devoted to such noble principles of government, taking on the nature of the beasts that preceded it, and in doing so descending to the role of persecutor of God’s people. We have no other choice, however, but to be guided in our study by the divinely inspired outline so plainly given us in the prophecy. Since the United States is the power denoted by the symbol that speaks as a dragon, it follows that it will enact unjust and oppressive laws against the religious belief and practice of its citizens so that it may be justly called a persecuting power.

      Verse 12 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.
      To Exercise Persecuting Power. —Not only does this nation speak as a dragon, but it is declared that he also “exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him.” Looking back a little, we find that the first beast before him is the leopard, a symbol of the papacy. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that a so-called Protestant nation will exercise the persecuting power of the papacy, and thereby become pseudo-Protestant, that is, the “false prophet” mentioned in Revelation 19:20, and explained under the next topic.
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      The exercise of this power takes the form of causing the people in his jurisdiction “to worship the first beast,” the papacy. The Greek word for “worship” used here is a very significant one. It is from the simple verb {Greek- kunevw} kuneo, “I kiss,” compounded with a preposition to indicate that the kiss is directed toward someone— in this case the papacy, or its titular head the pope. It is ordinarily translated “do obeisance to, bow down to,” and is used by the Septuagint in Nebuchadnezzar’s decree to all “people, nations, and languages” to “fall down and worship the golden image” he had set up in the plain of Dura. Daniel 3:4, 5. Such “worship” must mean to submit to the authority and decree of the one to whom obeisance is made. This is the picture given in the prophecy of the “worship” given to the papacy by a so-called Protestant people.

      Verse 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; 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.
      “He Doeth Great Wonders.” —In that part of the prediction which sets forth the work of the two-horned beast we read that “he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” In this specification we have still further proof that the United States is the power represented by the two-horned beast. That we are living in an age of wonders, none will deny. We would refer the reader to our remarks on Daniel 12:4 concerning the wonderful achievements of the present age, and for some illustrations of the leading triumphs of scientific and inventive skill.
      But the prophecy is not fulfilled in the great advancement in knowledge, in discoveries, and in inventions so notable at the present time. For the wonders to which the prophet had reference are evidently wrought for the purpose of deceiving the people, as we read in verse 14: “Deceiveth them that dwell
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on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast.”
      We should now ascertain by what means the miracles in question are wrought, for Revelation 16:13, 14 refers to “the spirits of devils working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world.”
      In predicting events to occur just before His second coming, the Saviour says: “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.” Matthew 24:24. Here again are wonders foretold, wrought for the purpose of deception, so powerful that were it possible even the very elect would be deceived by them.
      Thus we have a prophecy (and there are many others) setting forth the development in the last days of a wonder-working power, manifested to a startling and unprecedented degree to propagate falsehood and error. The “spirits of devils” were to go forth to “the whole world,” but the nation with which this development is especially connected in Revelation 13, is that represented by the two-horned beast, or false prophet. We must therefore conclude that the prophecy calls for such a work as this in America. Do we find anything like it at the present time?
      There is a widespread belief and teaching current among all classes of society, that when a man dies and his body is laid away in the grave, an immortal “spirit” or “soul” within him does not really die, but soars away to its place of reward or punishment. This belief naturally leads one to ask, “If disembodied spirits are alive, why may they not communicate with us?” There are thousands who believe that they can and do, and who claim to have communication with departed friends.
      But the Bible, in the most explicit terms, assures us that the dead are wholly inactive and unconscious until the resurrection; that the dead know not anything (Ecclesiastes 9:5); that every operation of the mind has ceased (Psalm 146:4); that
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every emotion of the heart is suspended (Ecclesiastes 9:6); and that there is neither work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, where they lie (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Whatever intelligence, therefore, comes claiming to be what from the word of God we know he is not. That our dead friends do not return to us is shown in 2 Samuel 12:23, where David says of his dead child, “Now he is dead, . . . I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” Any such intelligence that comes to us cannot be a good angel, for angel’s of God do not lie. Spirits of devils do lie, and this has been their work ever since the first lie about dying was told by their leader in Eden, “Ye shall not surely die,” when the Lord had said plainly to Adam, “Thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 3:4; 2:17.
      Birthplace of Spiritism. —Modern spiritism also answers to the prophecy in that it had its origin in the United States, thus connecting its wonders with the work of the two-horned beast. Beginning in Hydesville, New York, in the family of John D. Fox in the latter part of March, 1848, it spread with incredible rapidity through all the world.
      Much excitement was caused by these supposed revelations, and some rather prominent persons undertook to investigate the “rapping delusion,” as it was commonly called. From that time onward, spiritism has remained a force in the modern world; and it is a force which has steadily grown. It is difficult to determine the number of its adherents, because so many who believe and practice its teachings regard themselves as belonging to no denomination at all; yet on the other hand many retain their membership in a non-spiritist denominational group while nevertheless attempting communication with the dead. It has been estimated that there are 16,000,000 spiritists in North America; and in the world —including those heathen religions in which spiritism plays so prominent a part— doubtless hundreds of millions.
      As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle remarked some years ago: “The lowly manifestations of Hydesville have ripened into
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results which have engaged the finest group of intellects in this country during the last twenty years, and which are destined, in my opinion, to bring about far the greatest development of human experience which the world has ever seen.” [12] “If such a view of Christianity were generally accepted, and if it were enforced by assurance and demonstration from the New Revelation which is, as I believe, coming to us from the other side, then I think we should have a creed which might unite the churches, which might be reconciled to science, which might defy all attacks, and which might carry the Christian faith on for an indefinite period.” [13]
      Teachings of Spiritism. —But the doctrines which spiritists teach are certainly not in harmony with the word of God. As to their attitude toward the Bible, notice the following paragraph:
      “We have no desire to hide the plain fact that there is much in some parts of the Bible which does not amalgamate with our teaching, being, indeed, the admixture of human error which came through the mind of the chosen medium.” [14] “In no case are the books as they now stand the work of their reputed author. They are the compilation of Ezra and his scribes, and do but embody the conceptions and legends of the period. . . . We mention this to avoid at once the necessity of replying to any texts from these book which may be quoted as an argument.” [15]
      As to the relation of spiritists to Christ and His atoning work, observe the following significant remark:
      “They [the spirits] also testify that Jesus Christ has nothing to do with the question of life and death, and they know nothing about the ’mediation of our Saviour Jesus Christ.’” [16]
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      Believers in spiritism have no place, either, for the second advent of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:
      “Jesus Christ is now arranging His plans for the gathering of His people, for the further revelation of the truth, as well as for the purging away of the erroneous beliefs which have accumulated in the past. I have heard something of this from other sources. Is this then the return of Christ? It is the spiritual return. There will be no such physical return as man has dreamed of. This will be the return to His people, by the voice of His messengers speaking to those whose ears are open.” [17]
      Phenomena of Spiritism. —How significant are these words! Centuries ago the seer of Patmos declared that in this country would arise a power that “doeth great wonders,” and, lo, spiritism appears claiming to do these very things.
      Spiritism answers accurately to the prophecy in the exhibition of great signs and wonders. Among its achievements the following may be noted: Various articles have been transported from place to place by spirits. Beautiful music has been produced independent of human agency, with and without the aid of visible instruments. Many well-attested cases of healing have been presented. Persons have been carried through the air by spirits in the presence of spectators. Tables have been suspended in the air with several persons upon them. Spirits also have presented themselves in bodily form and talked with audible voices.
      The power represented in this prophecy is to make “fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” But this as well as other manifestations of its power are for the purpose of deceiving “them that dwell on the earth.” The miracles that are wrought are by “the spirits of devils.” Revelation 16:14. And many are the warnings in the word of God against making contact with evil spirits. In the days of the early church solemn warnings were given to the church
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of God: “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. God’s counsel to His people in these last days is, “When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:19, 20.

      Verse 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 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: 17 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.
      Makes an Image to the Beast. —Closely associated with this working of miracles is the erection of an image to the beast. The prophet thus connects the two in verse 14: “And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; 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 deception accomplished by the working of the miracles prepares the way for compliance with this demand for the formation of an image to the beast.
      To understand what would constitute an image of the papal beast, we must first gain some definite idea of what constitutes the papacy itself. The full development of the beast, or the establishment of papal supremacy, dates from the famous letter of Justinian, which was made effective in A.D. 538, constituting the pope the head of the church and the corrector of heretics. The papacy was a church clothed with civil power— an ecclesiastical body having authority to punish all dissenters with confiscation of goods, imprisonment, torture, and death. What would be an image of the papacy? —Another
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ecclesiastical establishment clothed with civil power, in other words, a union of church and state. How could such an image be formed in the United States? Let the Protestant churches be clothed with power to define and punish heresy, to enforce their dogmas under the pains and penalties of the civil law, and should we not have an exact representation of the papacy during the days of its supremacy?
      To be sure we would. But is such an eventuality possible in a country whose foundation stones are civil and religious liberty, and where every man’s right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” has gone unchallenged throughout the years? Let us examine the evidence.
      Nation Founded on Liberty. —The hand of God wrought with the noble and God-fearing men who laid so well the foundations of the new nation. Said the Hon. Henry D. Estabrook, speaking before the Connecticut Bar Association: “On this great continent, which God had kept hidden in a little world— here, with a new heaven and a new earth, where former things had passed away, the people of many nations, of various needs and creeds, but united in heart and soul and mind for the single purpose, builded an altar to Liberty, the first ever built or that ever could be built, and called it— The Constitution of the United States.” [18]
      This was in the year 1787. The prophet saw the lamblike beast coming up out of the earth about 1798— surely this is no mere coincidence. George Washington, the first President of the United States, in his inaugural address said:
      “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.” [19]
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      In their reply to this notable address the Senate declared: “When we contemplate the coincidence of circumstances, and wonderful combination of causes, which gradually prepared the people of this country for independence; when we contemplate the rise, progress, and termination of the late war, which gave them a name among the nations of the earth; we are, with you, unavoidably led to acknowledge and adore the great Arbiter of the universe, by whom empires rise and fall.” [20]
      Struggle Against Religious Tyranny. —These were not only godly men, but they were wise and farseeing men. When certain religious groups made appeal that “explicit acknowledgment of the true God and Jesus Christ” be made in the Constitution, their request was denied. In writing of this incident, Thomas Jefferson said: “The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination.” [21]
      The House Judiciary Committee, February 18, 1874, in reply to a similar petition, reported: “As this country, the foundation of whose government they were then laying, was to be the home of the oppressed of all nations of the earth, whether Christian or pagan, and in full realization of the dangers which the union between church and state had imposed upon so many nations of the Old World, with great unanimity [they agreed] that it was inexpedient to put anything into the Constitution or frame of government which might be construed to be a reference to any religious creed or doctrine.” [22]
      History attests the fact that these great men who laid the foundation stones upon which the United States was erected looked forward with almost prophetic vision to the dangers to
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personal liberty which some day would confront the country. Their fears were well expressed by Thomas Jefferson: “The spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecution, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis, is while our rulers are honest and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going downhill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.” [23]
      On the Fourth of July, 1788, an address was delivered by Justice James Wilson, in which he pointed out how the enemies of liberty were already working. He said: “The enemies of liberty are artful and insidious. A counterfeit steals her dress, imitates her manner, forges her signature, assumes her name. But the real name of the deceiver is licentiousness. Such is her effrontery, that she will charge liberty to her face with imposture; and she will, with shameless front, insist that herself alone is the genuine character, and that herself alone is entitled to the respect which the genuine character deserves. With the giddy and undiscerning, on whom a deeper impression is made by dauntless impudence than by modest merit, her pretentions are often successful. She receives the honors of liberty, and liberty herself is treated as a traitor and a usurper. Generally, however, this bold impostor acts only a secondary part. Though she alone appear upon the stage, her motions are regulated by dark ambition, who sits concealed
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behind the curtain, and who knows that despotism, his other favorite, can always follow the success of licentiousness. Against these enemies of liberty, who act in concert, though they appear on opposite side, the patriot citizen will keep a watchful guard.” [24]
      Threatened With Ecclesiastical Domination. —Let it be noted that in the panorama of coming events which passed before the prophet John, he witnessed this same amazing change in the nature of the two-horned beast. It eventually began to speak “as a dragon” and to control the worship of its people, “saying to them that dwell upon the earth, that they should make an image to the beast.”
      The beast “which had the wound by a sword, and did live,” is the papacy. This was a church dominating the civil power. In other words, it was a union of church and state, and enforced its religious dogmas by the civil power, under pain of confiscation of goods, imprisonment, and death. An image to this beast would be another ecclesiastical organization clothed with civil power— another union of church and state— to enforce religious dogmas by law.
      Evidence that such an image will be formed is seen in the fact already large and influential organizations, such as the National Reform Association, the International Reform Bureau, the Lord’s Day Alliance of Christ in America, have been formed, by professed Protestants, and for years have been persistently working to the end of establishing and enforcing religious standards by law. Also Roman Catholic societies in the United States, in harmony with their tradition for centuries, are looking to a like end. Ultimately these two forces are destined to join hands in a common effort.
      The avowed object of the National Reform Association is “to secure such an amendment to the Constitution of the United States as will . . . indicate that this is a Christian
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nation, and place all the Christian laws, institutions, and usages of our government on an undeniably legal basis in the fundamental law of the land.” [25]
      Upon the question of making this a “Christian nation,” Bishop Earl Cranston, D. D., of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in an address delivered in Foundry Methodist Church, Washington, D.C., March 13, 1910, made the following observation:
      “Suppose this were to be declared a Christian nation by a Constitutional interpretation to that effect. What would that mean? Which of the two contending definitions of Christianity would the word ’Christian’ indicate? —The Protestant idea, of course, for under our system majorities rule, and the majority of Americans are Protestants. Very well, but suppose that by addition of certain contiguous territory with twelve or more million Roman Catholics, the annexation of a few more islands with half as many more, and the same rate of immigration as now, the majority some years hence should be Roman Catholics, —who doubts for a moment that the reigning Pope would assume control of legislation and government? He would say, with all confidence and consistency, ‘This is a Christian nation. It was so claimed from the beginning and so declared many years ago. A majority defined then what Christianity was, the majority will define now what Christianity now is and is to be.’ That ’majority’ would be the Pope.” [26]
      This association, organized for so-called “National Reform,” has no compunctions about uniting with the papacy to bring about its design to establish a national religion. It declares: “We cordially, gladly, recognize the fact that in the South American Republics, and in France and other European countries, the Roman Catholics are the recognized advocates of national Christianity, and stand opposed to all the
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proposals of secularism. . . . Whenever they are willing to co-operate in resisting the progress of political atheism, will gladly join hands with them. In a world’s conference for the promotion of national Christianity —which ought to be held at no distant day— many countries could be represented only by Roman Catholics.” [27]
      Shall we notice the avowed objective of the other organizations?
      In a History of the International Reform Bureau the society in a self-appraisal declares, “The Reform Bureau is the first ‘Christian lobby’ established at our National Capital to speak to government in behalf of all denominations.” [28]
      On pages 61 and 65 of the foregoing work it is stated that the securing of compulsory Sunday legislation is one of the chief objects of this and other like organizations.
      Speaking before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee against the Supreme Court bill, Professor Theodore Graebner, of Concordia College, St. Louis, made this interesting observation:
      “Some 50 years ago the national Reform Association sought . . . to make all public education Christian and thereby make Jesus Christ the King of the nation. . . . The movement persists to the present day, and is issuing an enormous amount of literature all directed to the end of adopting a Christian amendment.” [29]
      The actual objective of this organization is to force religion upon the people by legal enactment— to secure a Sunday blue law, and to standardize the Christianity of the people.
      From a leaflet published by the Lord’s Day Alliance of the United States we learn that their objective is:
      ” (1) To preserve the Lord’s day [Sunday] for America; (2) to secure an active Alliance in every State not yet organized:
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(3) to induce the general government as far as possible to set the example of Sabbath observance.”
      By all this is meant the securing, as far as possible, of compulsory state and national Sunday legislation— the very means by which the church gained control of the state and by which church and state were united in the fourth and fifth centuries of the Christian Era.
      The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, which is by far the most powerful and representative combination of Protestant churches in the nation, claiming at its beginning to represent eighteen organizations and 50,000,000 communicants, in stating its reasons for existence declared:
      “That the great Christian bodies of our country should stand together. . . [in dealing with] questions like those of marriage and divorce, Sabbath desecration, social evils,” etc. [30]
      In defining how they purpose to deal with Sabbath desecration, the Federal Council declared:
      “That all encroachments upon the claims and the sanctities of the Lord’s day should be stoutly resisted through the press, the Lord’s day associations and alliances, and by such legislation as may be secured to protect and preserve this bulwark of our American Christianity.” [31]
      Thus it will be seen that the securing of the laws for the enforcement of Sunday observance is a prominent feature in all these organizations in their efforts to “Christianize” the nation. In doing this many fail to see that they are repudiating the principles of Christianity, or Protestantism, and of the United States Government, and playing directly into the hand of that power which originated the Sunday sabbath, and gained control of the civil power through Sunday legislation— the papacy.
      This danger was clearly discerned by the lawmakers of the United States more than a century ago. In 1830, certain
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memorials for prohibiting the transportation of the mails and the opening of post offices on Sunday, which had been referred to the Congressional Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, came up for consideration. The committee reported unfavorably to the petition of the memorialists. Its report was adopted, and printed by order of the Senate of the United States, and the committee was discharged from any further consideration of the subject. Of the Constitution it said:
      “The committee look in vain to that instrument for a delegation of power authorizing this body to inquire and determine what part of time, or whether any, has been set apart by the Almighty for religious exercises. . .
      “The Constitution regards the conscience of the Jew as sacred as that of the Christian; and gives no more authority to adopt a measure affecting the conscience of a solitary individual, than that of a whole community. That representative who would violate this principle, would lose his delegated character, and forfeit the confidence of his constituents. If Congress shall declare the first day of the week holy, it will not convince the Jew nor the Sabbatarian. It will dissatisfy both, and consequently convert neither. . . . If a solemn act of legislation shall in one point define the law of God, or point out to the citizen one religious duty, it may with equal propriety proceed to define every part of divine revelation; and enforce every religious obligation, even to the forms and ceremonies of worship, the endowment of the church, and the support of the clergy.
      “The framers of the Constitution recognized the eternal principle that man’s relation with his God is above human legislation, and his rights of conscience inalienable.” [32]
      Seeking to Establish Righteousness by Law. —A thousand pities that the religious leaders in these days are not equally sensitive to the dangers which lurk beneath their program to make the people good by legal enactment of religious dogmas.
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      We are not unmindful of the noble service the Protestant churches have rendered to humanity and to the world by introducing and defending the great principles of Protestantism, by propagating the gospel, and by championing the cause of freedom.
      Let no one think that we wish to reflect in any way upon the character of the men engaged in this enterprise. They are men of the highest moral standing, sincerely solicitous for the welfare of the nation, and honestly trying to check and remove the evils which are rampant in society. That their efforts will in many ways be productive of good, no one can doubt. We wish them all possible success in their work for the promotion of temperance, the elimination of war, the safeguarding of youth, and other like noble purposes. For these things all Christians are bound to work and pray.
      Why then are these good men misled into doing something against which the Bible utters a solemn warning? The reason is that they have turned aside from the counsel of God given them in His word, and are going about to establish righteousness and the kingdom of God in the earth in their own way. They have slighted the prophetic portions of the Bible, by which one may know what stage of the conflict between the kingdom of Christ and that of Satan has been reached in his day, and how he can co-operate with the providence of God for the times in which he is living. They have lost touch with their divine Leader and with the means He is using today to advance His kingdom in the earth. They have a mistaken conception of the kingdom which is to come, and are looking for a kingdom mixed with earthly elements, to be set up by earthly agencies, such as the ballot, legislation, and education.
      Under such circumstances it is not surprising that they should be working at cross-purposes with the providence of God. The mistake of failing to heed and be guided by the instruction of God’s word, is a fatal one. The more zeal a church has when it is off the track and pursing a wrong course, the greater will be the damage which it will do.
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      The apostle Paul points to a time when men have “a form of godliness,” but would deny “the power thereof.”
      We greatly regret to see the Protestant church active in the fulfillment of this prophetic picture. While the power of God is lacking, the outward services of true Christian worship are maintained. With the loss of the power of God the churches are turning more and more to the state to supply what they lack. It is the testimony of all history that just in proportion as any popular and extensive ecclesiastical organization loses the spirit and power of God, it clamors for the support of the civil arm and finally religion becomes a part of the state. Thus it will be in the formation of the image of the beast, for the prophecy declares: “He had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Revelation 13:15.
      Let now an ecclesiastical organization be formed, let the government legalize such an organization and give it power to enforce upon the people the dogmas which the different denominations can all adopt as the basis of union, and what do we have? Exactly what prophecy represents— an image to the papal beast endowed with life by the two-horned beast, to speak and act with power.
      The Mark of the Beast. —The two-horned beast enforces upon its subjects the mark of the first beast. We have now in the prophecy three agents introduced, which we must carefully distinguish from one another to avoid confusion.
      The papal beast is the power designated as “the beast,” “the first beast,” “the beast which had the wound by a sword, and did live,” and “the beast whose deadly wound was healed.” These expressions all refer to the same power, and wherever they occur in this prophecy, they have exclusive reference to the papacy.
      The two-horned beast is the power introduced in Revelation 13:11, and is represented through the remainder of the prophecy by the pronoun “he.” Wherever this pronoun
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occurs, down to the seventeenth verse (with possibly the exception of the sixteenth verse, which perhaps may refer to the image), it refers invariably to the two-horned beast.
      The image of the beast is usually called in the following chapters of Revelation, “the image;” so there is no danger of confusing this with any other agent. The acts ascribed to the image are speaking as a dragon and enforcing the worship of itself under the penalty of death. This is the only enactment which the prophecy mentions as enforced under the death penalty.
      The mark of the beast is enforced by the two-horned beast, either directly or through the image. The penalty attached to a refusal to receive this mark is a forfeiture of all social privileges, a deprivation of the right to buy and sell. The mark is the mark of the papal beast. Against this worship of the beast and his image, and the receiving of his mark, the third angel’s message of Revelation 14:9-12 is a most solemn and thrilling warning.
      This, then, is the issue which according to this prophecy we are soon to be called upon to meet. Human organizations, controlled and inspired by the spirit of the dragon, are to command men to do those acts which are in reality the worshipping of an apostate religious power and the receiving of his mark. If they refuse to do this, they lose the rights of citizenship, and become outlaws in the land. They must do that which constitutes the worship of the image of the beast, or forfeit their lives. On the other hand, God sends forth a message a little before this fearful crisis comes upon the people, as we shall see in remarks on Revelation 14:9-12, declaring that all who do any of these things “shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation.” He who refuses to comply with these demands of earthly powers exposes himself to the severest penalties which human beings can inflict. He who does comply, exposes himself to the most terrible threatenings of divine wrath to be found in the word of God. The question whether
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they will obey God or man is to be decided by the people of the present age under the heaviest pressure, from both sides, that has ever been brought to bear upon any generation.
      The worship of the beast and his image and the receiving of his mark must be something that involves the greatest offense that can be committed against God, to call down so severe a denunciation of wrath against it. This is a work, as has already been shown, which takes place in the last days. As God has given us in His word most abundant evidence to show when we are in the last days, that no one need be overtaken by the day of the Lord as by a thief, so likewise He has given us the evidence whereby we may determine what it means to receive the mark of the beast, that we may avoid the fearful penalty so sure to follow its reception. God does not so trifle with human hopes and human destinies as to pronounce a most fearful doom against a certain sin, and then place it out of our power to understand what that sin is, so that we have no means of guarding against it.
      We therefore now call attention to the important inquiry, What constitutes the mark of the beast? The figure of a mark is borrowed from an ancient custom. Thomas Newton says:
      “It was customary among the ancients for servants to receive the mark of their master, and soldiers of their general, and those who were devoted to any particular deity, of the particular deity to whom they were devoted. These marks were usually impressed on their right hand or on their forehead, and consisted of some hieroglyphic characters, or of the name expressed in vulgar letters, or of the name disguised in numerical letters, according to the fancy of the imposer.” [33]
      Prideaux [34] says that Ptolemy Philopater ordered all the Jews who applied to be enrolled as citizens of Alexandria to have the form of an ivy leaf (the badge of his god, Bacchus) impressed upon them with a hot iron, under pain of death.

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Revelation Chapter 13a | Table of Contents | Revelation Chapter 13c