Are You Being Marked by the Beast?

By John Thiel, mp3

Scripture reading: 1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 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?

Many people believe that when the mark of the beast of Revelation 13 is applied, that is when we are going to be tested by the mark of the beast. But are you being marked by the beast now?

All of us who have been living ever since 1844 have been tested, and are being tested, by the mark of the beast, whether that mark has been enforced or not. We want to examine closely whether we are being marked by the beast or not.

1 John 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Who overcometh the world? He that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God. This is an interesting statement that is poorly understood as to what it means to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

In the book of Acts we see how Paul and Silas were brought into the presence of their jailor, and then he brought them out and asked them this question,

Acts 16:30 …Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

This scripture is quoted frequently in modern Christianity today, and they say that all you need to do to be saved is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. On face value that is just exactly what we may conclude. “I just have to believe.” And the apostle John says himself that we will have victory over the world if we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. But what did the Holy Spirit mean in communicating this by inspiration through these writers?

Christians acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, but what does this acknowledgment is meant to encompass for us to be saved and to gain the victory over the world? To get a correct understanding of what it means to believe in the Son of God so that we may be saved and may overcome the world, we want to study the life of Jesus. The principle that we need to believe in Jesus, is expressed by Jesus Himself:

John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

What do you see in these words of Christ? He says here that the Son of God can do nothing of Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. What is here revealed in regards to Jesus? Is it not that He is completely humble and dependent and submissive?

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

As we look upon Jesus to believe in Him, we see that there is an attitude that we believe in, and it is an attitude that Jesus lives, an attitude of “I can of mine own self do nothing.” If I make any judgment, I can only know that this judgment that I make is the judgment that is not My own, the judgment that is given to Me of the Father. How is this exemplified in the life of Christ? Is this true when we look at Him and we see Him surrendering His personal comfort and honour? He relinquished heaven, gave up heaven to do what the Father wanted Him to do. He surrendered all the way along and took on the path of the cross – self-sacrifice.

First of all, just concentrating on His leaving heaven in the first place, this is just something profound. Secondly, when He was living on the earth He resigned all the glory of man. He gave it all up. He was obedient even unto the death of the cross. And at Gethsemane and the cross, what did He say? “Not my will, but thine be done.” When He was crying, Let this cup pass from Me, He was suffering excruciating experiences and surrendered Himself to these experiences if only that was the will of God that He go through with that. Are you picking up what it means to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved?

If you and I believe in Him unto salvation, what will we do? Will we do anything different to what Jesus did? The apostle John makes that very plain.

1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

The apostle John is saying, If you say you believe in Jesus, then walk the talk. If you abide in Him and believe in Him, then you must walk as Jesus walked, in total submission.

Therefore we are asking ourselves the question, Do I believe in Jesus enough to walk in the same principles that He walked in, to do the will of God like Jesus did it, even if it means I will lose? Didn’t Jesus lose everything on this earth? Even His friends who denied Him. Jesus draws our attention to this reality. Can we see that when it says “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” it is more than just believing that He existed? It is believing in Him, doing the things that He did.

Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. What does Jesus say here? If you will save your life, you shall lose it; but if you will lose your life for My sake and the gospel’s, you will save it. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved – that’s what is meant. That is why Jesus says, If you believe in Me, then you follow Me and take up your cross in following Me. Here we see the connection for us to overcome the world. If you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul, what profit is that to you? So in following Jesus we are to not gain this world.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

We do whatever He says, just as Jesus did. And what does the one who is born of God?

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.

What is that? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; then you will have a faith that will have the victory over the world.

1 John 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

You see then that it is all bound together by reading widely in the Scriptures, by the expressions that are made under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so that we understand what the Spirit means when He says, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. You will be saved by overcoming the world, because you are following Christ.

In the days of the early church, of the apostles and those early believers, what did this mean to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? It meant that their loyalty to the lifestyle of Jesus was contrary to the pagan society in which they were living. As a consequence of that, it says that the apostles were “appointed to death.” That is what happened to the apostles. All those twelve apostles ended up as martyrs. Why? Because they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; and anybody that believed in the Lord Jesus Christ would not succumb to the expectations of the world in which they were living. They were living in a pagan-governed world and they would not submit to that lifestyle.

Overcoming the World

What is it for us to be living today and to overcome the world? We now come to Revelation chapter 13, because we are living in the time of this scripture ever since the beast received the deadly wound, when in 1798 the pope was taken prisoner under the French rule. You have here this description of the beast, which is the papacy:

Revelation 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

Can you see an interesting connection here? Who wondered after the beast? The whole world wondered after the beast as his deadly wound was healed. The papacy was restored again a short time after he was taken into captivity. A new pope was elected, and the papacy was restored again. And we have been watching over the years the papal religion continue. And the whole world is affected by it.

Revelation 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 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.

There is now a description of another world power, which we of course identify as the United States of America. They came into power after 1798 as a nation. And what do the U.S.A. do on a slow step-by-step process in front of the world? They begin to participate in papal beliefs. They exercise the power of the first beast before him and cause “the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.”

Let us remember that the deadly wound was healed not long after 1798. The new pope was elected in 1800; and gradually the power of the papacy was being established more and more under the support of the protestant world. They did what the papacy did, slowly but surely. And this has been the experience of God’s people ever since 1844.

Then we are shown what the final onslaught will be. First he causes the whole world to wander after the beast, and then it says:

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.

The question we are trying to answer is, Are we being marked by the beast now? This announcement of Revelation is something that took place over a long period of time. Ever since 1844 this transaction was taking place, and the people were growing up in a world that was being influenced by the papacy and the apostate Protestantism of the U.S.A. This has been going on ever since 1844. Do you understand the language?

Revelation 13:16 And he causeth all,

That is an interesting and important understanding. This is not an arbitrary statement of government. It says that “he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.” And as he does this, he also causeth “that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark.” This is important language. We need to understand what the world is doing around us, so that we will understand that if I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ I will be victorious over the world, which is being caused to receive a mark, which is being caused not to be able to buy or sell unless they have the mark. It is a cause. Many people read this to mean that there will be laws saying, You must have the mark of the beast, you must have Sunday, you must have all this. This is the way it’s understood, but they miss the word “cause.” And that is why we are studying this, to examine carefully what I am being caused to do to receive the mark.

Has the papacy and apostate Protestantism really produced such a state of affairs that people will be caused to submit to its influences? Here is the all-embracing terminology of both apostate Protestantism and papal powers:

Revelation 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

Why? Because the whole world,

Revelation 18:3 …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.

That is interesting. Can you see the “cause” here? As the papacy and apostate Protestantism bring their teachings and their ideas into the world, the nations and the kings and the merchants of the earth are being caused to participate. They are drinking of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. They are absorbing her false ideas and teachings into their lifestyle, so that “the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” What does that mean? Where do the merchants of the world get their greatest amount of income from? There comes Christmas, Easter, the week-ends (that have to do with Sunday-keeping), the holidays, and things like that. There are so many delicacies that are being put out by the churches that the merchants of the world make money upon. There is also Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day. These are all the delicacies that come from a so-called religious mentality. “We should be thankful to our mothers, we should be thankful to our fathers.” “Oh, we should be admiring each other as husband and wife,” etc. These are all the delicacies that he causeth the whole world to absorb and accept.

Christmas… why? That is a pagan date connected with Christianity; but it is a delicacy that people will spend money on to keep that day as a special time. And if you do not participate in this, if you were to expose yourself to the people around you and say, Rubbish, it’s all pagan stuff; how would they regard you? “Oh, come on!” They will start to reason with you. Can you see how the world is causing you to think in a certain way? He will cause them.

Examine carefully the economic and social lifestyle of today worldwide. You have heard a coming in of a new world order. That was way back in 1991, when Irak was fighting against Kuweit, and George Bush Sr. said, “Now, we can see a new world order coming into view.” And this new world order was being conducted through war and economic manipulation. The beast is causing the world.

They actually say very blatantly that the whole world is brought into submission to this new world order, because if the nations do not participate in it they won’t be able to buy or sell; they will be dependent upon the world’s economic program. This is what you see in the world around you right now very vividly. The nations are trading with each other because it is a new world order, and they are no longer living to themselves, they are living under a governmental influence of the whole world. And if you don’t play the game, as a nation, you receive embargos. This is no different to the embargo of Revelation 13 where you won’t be able to buy or sell unless you receive the mark. But you can see that this is all caused by these transactions. And what will the believer in Jesus Christ experience in all this transaction?

A Time of Test

Everyone’s principles will be put to the test. {5T 601.3}

Principles which we once held will be put to the test. In the First and the Second World War principles were being put to the test; and who was behind those wars? The papacy blessed Hitler’s army. You just need to go through some of the history of the past and realise how the papacy was behind all this, causing things to happen. So in the First and the Second World War, the principles of God’s people were put to the test. And what happened to so many professed Seventh-day Adventists? They went to war. They didn’t stand true to the original principles. Step by step the world and God’s professed people were being tested and were being marked by the choices that they made, by the beast.

As the politicians were brought to submit to the new world order the different nations and countries were brought under a global money market. And as individuals are situated in regards to the global expectations of the market, if individuals do not harmonise with this global “causing” effect upon our monetary expenditures, you will experience a stranglehold upon you to its final conclusion. If you carefully examine the way that we spend money today, and you say, No, I’m not going to spend this money there, I’m going to spend my money in God’s way; straight away you will find difficulties, and what will be the final difficulty? You will not be able to buy nor sell unless you receive the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. It doesn’t matter which one. The cause will be that you will experience a stranglehold upon you. Even now (and ever since the time of the awakening of the Advent message) individuals are being tested financially. They are being caused to have pressure upon them whether they will obey God or whether they will submit to the pressure of the world’s expectations.

For instance, there are certain expenses that are made to appear as necessary, but if you look at them from God’s viewpoint, you realise, That wasn’t really necessary. But it is being made necessary because of the expectations of the world around you. Like for instance, you want to spend your money for God’s kingdom, you don’t want to spend your money for that which is not bread, but there are expectations around us that are engendered by the economic market, by the delicacies of the papacy and apostate Protestantism, so that it is expected that you spend that money. So you cut yourself short of that which is real bread; we find ourselves spending money, and afterwards we think, What did I buy that for? What did I spend money on this or that for? But it is made to appear as though I need to spend that money. The world is being conditioned.

Think carefully what you and I spend our money on in terms of what the world expects us to spend it on. Christmas time, big money expense; Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Easter time, there are so many things that the world is captivating the affections of the people to go and buy. It is made to look as necessary.

Secondly, it will come to the point where Sabbath work is necessary. That is the way it will be caused. Then, after we have had those pressures to meet, with the whole way the world is geared monetarily to keep on floating, there comes a point in time when I have to pay this, and that, and the other thing, and I have nothing left for the Lord – tithes and offerings… Oh, that’s tight now. You can see how the world is something that we have to overcome by believing in Jesus.

Preparation

We expect to be loyal to God when the Sunday laws are enforced, when we know that Sunday is the mark of the beast; when that becomes enforced we expect then to reject the mark of the beast. But read carefully this statement:

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. {5T 216.1}

In Sr. White’s time already they were preparing for the mark of the beast by letting the moulding of the world be received in their life. They were preparing for the mark of the beast. As we saw, every person’s principles will be tested. They were being tested even in Sr. White’s time; they were being moulded by the world.

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. {Ibid.}

Even the people who lived in Sr. White’s time and who were being moulded by the world, were preparing to receive the mark; but they died. Tell me, if they were to be resurrected, would they receive the mark of the beast at the end? Absolutely, because they were already moulded to receive it. But then there are those who were distrustful of self. That is what we were reading about Jesus. He was not going to do what He wanted, but what the Father wanted. Those who are distrustful of self, who carry the cross, who believe in Jesus, 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. {Ibid.}

As they were doing it in Sr. White’s time, what were they doing? They were obeying the truth to receive the heavenly mould, preparing to receive the seal of God. So if they died along the way but they had been preparing to receive the seal of God, if they were resurrected would they have the seal of God? You can see, all this is not just sort of cut-and-dried events. This is a causing, a development of moulding, so that people come to the point where they wouldn’t change even if they had opportunity, because they have been moulded that way. This is the question, Are we being marked by the beast before the mark of the beast is finally applied? Are the marks of the world upon us, so that when the test comes we will naturally fall into that?

The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. {5T 81.1}

Urged – that is a bit different to commanded. It will be urged.

Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. {Ibid.}

Because that is what they are using to cause the world – the customs. This story that we see here coming together is something that we need to be well versed in, so that we will pass the test later on by passing the test now. If I don’t pass the test now, will I pass it then? The fact is no. In the moulding and the development towards the mark of the beast, I need to already get the victory over the world, so that I will have the victory over the beast and its image when it is finally enforced.

The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. {Ibid.}

Now comes an interesting experience that takes place. The gold that is in the church because it is doing what God wants it to do, is mingled together with the dross during the time of the development of the mark of the beast. But when the mark of the beast is enforced,

In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness. {Ibid.}

Do you recognise that the gold in the Adventist church was mingled with the dross? A lot of people who were that gold, under the three angels’ messages, have died since the time of Sr. White. But if they were alive they would be separated from the dross. And that day of the special resurrection is coming when those faithful ones who have been moulded after God’s seal will stand there as sealed among the 144,000, as gold separate from those that were the dross.

The question to be answered thoroughly by us now is, Do we pass the test of losing economic stability for the sake of obeying God now, so that the stability that the world wants to put upon us we reject? Because it is this causing that will mark us at the end. Does it mean that when it comes to keeping the Sabbath, returning my tithe, doing God’s will when He calls you to, that you will do it without any falter in these situations? You know, the economic pressure is, Oh, I can’t afford that; look, I need this, I need that, I need the other thing. So Sabbath-keeping is slowly being undermined in the minds of God’s people for many different reasons. And when the test of the Sabbath comes, well, we alter a little bit here and there. To do what God calls me to do without faltering means I have to learn to do that beforehand. Here we have an indication of how I will stand in the final test – it is by the way that I am doing this in the little tests that are moulding the world and causing the world to come to that final test.

There is a prospect before us of a continued struggle, at the risk of imprisonment, loss of property, and even of life itself, to defend the law of God, which is made void by the laws of men. In this situation worldly policy will urge an outward compliance with the laws of the land, for the sake of peace and harmony. {5T 712.3}

See how it happens? It is caused.

And there are some who will even urge such a course from the Scripture: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. . . . The powers that be are ordained of God.” {Ibid.}

Did you know that this is what the Seventh-day Adventists in the First World War pointed out to those who would not go to war? That was exactly what they said. So here is a forecast of the tests that come whether we will succumb to the pressure or whether we will stand firm as believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some who will urge even the Scriptures upon us to cause us to be moulded according to the worldly policy.

Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Master’s will, they understood every point of our faith, {5T 213.2}

But what was the problem?

…they had not corresponding works. These who were so familiar with prophecy and the treasures of divine wisdom should have acted their faith. They should have commanded their households after them, that by a well-ordered family they might present to the world the influence of the truth upon the human heart. {Ibid.}

By their lack of devotion and piety, and their failure to reach a high religious standard, they make other souls contented with their position. Men of finite judgment cannot see that in patterning after these men who have so often opened to them the treasures of God’s word, they will surely endanger their souls. {5T 213.3}

We have been in the sealing of God’s people ever since 1848, under the third angel’s message, and ever since that time people were being moulded by the word of God or by the beast and its image. Before each one of us stand in living reality the words 1 John 5. To believe in Jesus, to believe that He is the Son of God, we will overcome the world. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. To overcome the world today means to overcome the beast, its image, its mark, today, and ever since that was being caused. And here are the people who have done it:

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.

They have got the victory over the world as the world was being caused by the beast and its image to receive the mark. They got the victory progressively.

The world is against us, the popular churches are against us, the laws of the land will soon be against us. If there was ever a time when the people of God should press together, it is now. God has committed to us the special truths for this time to make known to the world. The last message of mercy is now going forth. {5T 236.3}

Notice that was present tense in Sr. White’s time. That was back in the 1890s when she wrote that. And we are expecting it to be now? Now it’s nearly too late.

We are dealing with men and women who are judgment bound. How careful should we be in every word and act to follow closely the Pattern, {Ibid.}

To walk as He walked, and follow closely the Pattern,

…that our example may lead men to Christ. With what care should we seek so to present the truth that others by beholding its beauty and simplicity may be led to receive it. If our characters testify of its sanctifying power, we shall be a continual light to others–living epistles, known and read of all men. We cannot afford now to give place to Satan by cherishing disunion, discord, and strife. {Ibid.}

As I was reading this, the picture of talking to one of the men in this company that I visit came to my mind. There is a man there that used to be an alcoholic and who has gotten the victory over his alcohol. He has come away from his past addictions. And he was talking to us there and saying, Oh, Christmas is coming, I dread it! I hate it. I’m scared of it. Because he and his family were expected to partake of Christmas. But in his family they drink, they have their alcohol together with all the other festivities; and to him that was extremely excruciating. Afterwards I talked with him and said, You know, don’t be afraid to deny what the expectations of your family are. As Christians we don’t partake of this festivity. He looked at me, Hmm… But he has a challenge. Can you see how people are drawn into expectations? so that even if they wanted to get out of those expectations, it is excruciating.

For you and me, we are to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; and what are we to do according to Revelation 18:4? The only safety for us today is to join together, to press together and to be followers of Jesus Christ, and like Him to deny ourselves. And by our example, by our Christian conduct, and by our words, what are we to cry?

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

To stand firmly on all the principles of reform, even if it puts us back from being able to be progressive in the society. This is the reason why God’s people are a poor and afflicted people in this time of earth’s history. They can’t participate in things that bring them wealth. It’s very rare.

2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. You will come out from among them; you will not be moulded by the world to receive its final demand. You will not be marked by the beast. We will be sons and daughters of God.

May God help us to be practically engaged in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

Amen.

0821067

Posted on February 23, 2017, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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