3. The Mark of the Beast

0810152

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

The third angel is identified for us in the statement of Early Writings:

I then saw the third angel. Said my accompanying angel, “Fearful is his work. Awful is his mission. He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner. These things should engross the whole mind, the whole attention.” {EW 118.1}

In the harvest time he is the angel that is doing this work. He is one of the reapers. In Ezekiel 9 we have another rendition of the same work of the angel that is sealing, or binding the bundles.

Ezekiel 9:3 And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which [had] the writer’s inkhorn by his side; 4 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

This is the Old Testament rendition of the destruction of the wicked churches in the terms of Jerusalem, and there are these men with slaughter weapons in their hand. Before the slaughter takes places there is a man with a writer’s inkhorn by his side who is to go and set a mark upon the men that sigh and that cry for the abominations that are done in Jerusalem. Later on, as he instructs these men with slaughter weapons, he says, Don’t come near these people that are marked.

This is also identified, now just before the slaughter, in Revelation 7:

Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

Can you see the parallel? The Ezekiel 9 angel with the writer’s inkhorn by his side is to mark them in their foreheads, so that when the slaughter takes place they will be protected. Here it is exactly. We have an enlargement of this in Testimonies to Ministers. She is talking here about these terrible strifes that these winds are about to let loose:

These winds are under control until God gives the word to let them go. There is the safety of God’s church. The angels of God do His bidding, holding back the winds of the earth, that the winds should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree, until the servants of God should be sealed in their foreheads. The mighty angel is seen ascending from the east (or sunrising). This mightiest of angels has in his hand the seal of the living God, or of Him who alone can give life, who can inscribe upon the foreheads the mark or inscription, to whom shall be granted immortality, eternal life. It is the voice of this highest angel that had authority to command the four angels to keep in check the four winds until this work was performed, and until he should give the summons to let them loose. {TM 444.3}

This sealing of the servants of God is the same that was shown to Ezekiel in vision. {TM 445.2}

We saw it in comparison, and here it is verified under inspiration as well. The work of the third angel is to seal, or bind in bundles. That is the story here. He is there to mark, or seal, in their foreheads the people who are the wheat.

In this study of the third angel’s message we must focus on the understanding of the sealing, because he is the one who seals in the forehead. Let us recall his message in Revelation 14 and actually identify that he is directly concerned with the terrible warning of the slaughter that is to follow him.

Revelation 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

This angel is vividly involved in giving the message that is to warn the people of the destruction, of the fire that is to burn up the tares.

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

He identifies those and seals them so that they will not be destroyed by the slaughter weapons. Those whom He seals gain the victory over the mark of the beast. That’s what it says here, 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. His message is the sealing message that separates those who have the mark of the beast from those who have the seal of God. The experience of the people that heed his message is the experience of those who will stand on that sea of glass, and who have gained the victory at the end.

Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, [and] over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

Here they are; they have gained the victory over that which the third angel had warned the world that they must get the victory over. What that actually means is to get the victory over the whole world. The whole world is brought under the control of the mark of the beast – he causes the whole world to receive the mark.

1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

These people have gained the victory over the mark of the beast, over the beast and over his image. The whole world has been brought under their umbrella and these people have got the victory over the world, because the whole world is following after the beast and his image.

Those that overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, will be the favored ones who shall receive the seal of the living God. {TM 445.1}

They have overcome the world. The world, the flesh, and the devil, it’s all part of the experience.

Those whose hands are not clean, whose hearts are not pure, will not have the seal of the living God. Those who are planning sin and acting it will be passed by. Only those who, in their attitude before God, are filling the position of those who are repenting and confessing their sins in the great anti-typical day of atonement, will be recognized and marked as worthy of God’s protection. {TM 445.1}

This is the third angel’s impact upon the people who listen to him. They will overcome the world, they will overcome the flesh, the devil, and they will have pure hearts. They will not be planning sin; they will not be involving themselves in the ways of indulgence of the world.

The seal of God is an activity of working with God that is in direct contradiction to what the world is doing, who are being marked by the beast. The authority of the beast, of the papacy, needs to be resisted.

This is the test that the people of God must have before they are sealed. All who proved their loyalty to God by observing His law, and refusing to accept a spurious sabbath, will rank under the banner of the Lord God Jehovah, and will receive the seal of the living God. Those who yield the truth of heavenly origin and accept the Sunday sabbath, will receive the mark of the beast. {7BC 976.3}

This is a comprehensive concept which is being expressed here. All who proved their loyalty to God by observing His law: that is the issue, in contrast to those who yield the truth of heavenly origin and receive the mark of the beast, which is to accept the Sunday. They yield the truth of heavenly origin. This is the real concern. It’s not just a Sabbath/Sunday question merely as of days. It is the loyalty to God that is at stake, the observing of His law and the refusal to accept anything spurious to that. The Sabbath and Sunday question is connected with that principle.

The image of the beast causes all to receive the mark:

Revelation 13:16 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.

He causeth” – these two little words are often just read over, and as a result people do not go into the depth of what the actual engagement is. The engagement is that the professed people of God are being worked upon (or subtly caused) to become disloyal to God. Only those who will not permit this “causing” upon their life to affect them, but who resist this “causing” and remain loyal to God, will reject the mark of the beast.

We need to understand the ropes of this experience, rather than just announcing that the mark of the beast is Sunday, and that the seal of God is the Sabbath. That in itself isn’t actually going to assist us.

What are you doing, brethren, in the great work of preparation? Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads. When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity. {5T 216.1}

Now is the time to prepare. The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God–candidates for heaven. {5T 216.2}

But those are resisting this work, the power of the worldly mold finally takes them right away from this sanctification experience of apprenticeship with Christ, and the infiltration of the papacy takes them over, it’s the “spirit” of the papacy that grabs people and takes them down until finally they will receive the mark because they are molded.

What is the detail of the exercise of the third angel’s message regarding the mark of the beast?

God is going to bring around a condition of things where the good men and the men in authority will have an opportunity to know what is truth indeed. And because a people will not bow the knee to the image, and receive the mark of the beast in the hand or the forehead, but will stand to the truth because it is truth, there will be oppression, and an attempt to compel the conscience; but those who have known the truth will be afraid to yield to the powers of darkness. God has a people who will not receive the mark of the beast in their right hand or in their forehead. {7BC 976.10}

In the right hand or in the forehand. This whole exercise has to do with our affections either for the world or for God. The affections to God are identified by true Sabbath-keeping.

In considering the contest between the seal of God and the mark of the beast we recall the entirety of our past studies as we looked in the first angel’s message into the apprenticeship to Christ. Those who would not enter into such an apprenticeship but who were rejecters of it and of the first angel’s message, consequently fell under the power of a worldly mold. We recall the study of the infiltration of the papacy. Indeed the whole world is infiltrated with the influence of the papacy and therefore molds the people after its own similitude. As we read in Revelation 13, he causes the world to receive the mark. It’s an infiltration, it’s a molding.

Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads. When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity. {5T 216.1}

The whole issue is one of embracing one or the other of the two influences that are upon the people of this planet. One is the truth, receiving the truth and obeying and purifying our souls by it, as in the apprenticeship; they will receive the heavenly mold and prepare for the seal of God in their foreheads. In contrast to that, those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. What is the living exercise of the third angel’s message in regards to this?

Trial and persecution will come to all who, in obedience to the Word of God, refuse to worship this false sabbath. Force is the last resort of every false religion. At first it tries attraction, as the king of Babylon tried the power of music and outward show. If these attractions, invented by men inspired by Satan, failed to make men worship the image, the hungry flames of the furnace were ready to consume them. So it will be now. The papacy has exercised her power to compel men to obey her, and she will continue to do so. We need the same spirit that was manifested by God’s servants in the conflict with paganism. {7BC 976.9}

Here we see that the conflict is one of either being captivated by the attractions of the world, the music, the outward show, etc., and having the affections drawn to finally submit to the receiving of the mark of the beast, or having our affections drawn, under the first angel’s message, to God. There is a contest for the affections either to God or to the beast. The involvement of the things we have studied that lead to the third angel’s message, the effect of God taking us into apprenticeship with Him, is expressed here:

Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you.

God is sanctifying those who are His children. There is a secret, a beautiful sign, an idenfitication that we belong to Him. The sign is the Sabbath. It is a sign that we are being sanctified, that God is warming our lives toward Him. This sign is none other than the seal of God, because we read the words sign and seal being interchanged in the book of Romans:

Romans 4:11 And he [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which [he had yet] being uncircumcised:

Circumcision was a sign, and it was the seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had. The Sabbath is a sign, or a seal of the righteousness that God is sanctifying us into.

This is repeated in Deuteronomy. We can now really appreciate what is involved in this third angel’s message, along with the two angels that we have already studied beforehand.

Deuteronomy 5:15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and [that] the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

It is the intervening power and love of God that redeems us from slavery, it redeemed the children of Israel from Egyptian slavery, and us from the slavery of sin. Because He has been so wonderfully kind and loving to us, sacrificing Jesus Christ to redeem us, it is a strong, stretched out arm by which He saves us, and because of this the Sabbath was given us.

Once more this affectionate bond in regards to the Sabbath and in regards to God’s wonderful dealings with His people is expressed:

Ezekiel 11:17 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. 18 And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. 19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

In the precious work of the gospel of Jesus Christ He gives us a heart, one heart for Him, not double-mindedness, and He takes away our stony heart for the purpose that we may walk in His statutes and keep His ordinances and do them. Among these statutes is the sign of all that, the Sabbath. He wants to have us as His people, and we may have Him as our God. It is an affectionate bonding.

Therefore as we embrace the first angel’s message, the heart is inscribed by the law, and it is sealed, in contrast to the affections of the world. There is a distinct barrier between the people who have been sealed, whose affections have been drawn to God and away from the world and the captivity of Egypt, and the people of the world. They will be completely opposite to the people who are bound in their affections to the world.

There is an appeal to the hearts of the people who read the Bible. Direct reference is here made to those who have been raised with Christ through the beautiful gospel:

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Can you see the deep intimacy that is here expressed? We are in God with Christ. Therefore our mind is focused on things that are above, our affections are on things above, not on things on the earth. Those people who have truly become wrapped up with God in Jesus Christ are sealed with the Sabbath as the sign of that affectionate bond, while those whose hearts are double-minded will be seduced into the ways of the world.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.

Remember in Ezekiel 11 it says that He will give them one heart. Here are a people who have double hearts. God wants them to purify their hearts to become single-minded towards God.

James 1:8 A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.

These people are unstable, they cannot be depended on, they are not sealed, they will flip-flop. A sealed person is somebody that will not fall to the other side, he is sealed. The scripture of 1 Timothy 4 reveals the facts that a person who is double-minded is not stable, he is a person who will be seduced:

1 Timothy 4:1 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;

They will be seduced because their hearts are still affectionately bound to some of the things in the world. These things that they are attracted by are very vividly expressed here under the messages of the angels.

Babylon is here addressed in Revelation 18. She was already addressed in the second angel’s message, Babylon is fallen, is fallen. But notice what has now happened:

Revelation 18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

Indeed, there are some delicacies of appetite, some areas of affectionate, appetizing involvement. The whole world is caught up in it and attracted by it, and all who are not decidedly for God will be drawn in by their double-mindedness, they will be seduced.

As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren. When Sabbathkeepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them. {GC 608.2}

They have become seduced. They have been involved in the three angels’ messages, however they were double-minded. Because they are partaking of the spirit of the world and its attractions, they come to view matters in nearly the same light. By that preparation they will ultimately flock over to the mark of the beast, which is the opposite of affectionate loyalty to God, which is signified by Sabbath-keeping.

The test is the Sabbath versus the Sunday, whether they will be loyal to the Sabbath or break the Sabbath so that they can be faithful to their allegiance to the world. Sunday is the mark of the beast’s authority, of the beast’s control. The Sabbath is that of God’s authority and of His control. When we studied the Elijah message, we saw that the people were called upon to make a decision:

1 Kings 18:21 How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD [be] God, follow him: but if Baal, [then] follow him

It is the exact same issue in the work of the third angel’s message. There is a call to the people to make their decision as to which side they are going to take. Those who are molded by the world will take Sunday. Those who are totally devoted to the truth in their affectionate bond with God will have the Sabbath as the mark of identity, the sign of their loyalty.

Amen.

Posted on August 28, 2009, in 3rd Angels Message, Revelation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. time to wake up god people…….

  1. Pingback: 3. La Marque de la Bête | Sermons du Sabbat

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