The mark of the beast and the Seal of God 

List of Studies

1. Introduction

The study: ‘Daniel 7 and Revelation 13’ focuses on two prophetic beasts: the fourth beast of Daniel 7 and the first beast of Revelation 13.  In that study these beasts are identified as the power that continues today as the Papacy. 

Here we address the second beast of Revelation 13, the Seal of God, and the mark of the beast.

2. The second beast of Revelation 13

Re 13:11-17  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. 

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. 

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. 

2.1 Identifying the second beast of Revelation 13 

The book of Daniel was sealed until the end time (Da 8:17;12:4), and consequently its companion book, Revelation, could not be understood fully until the end time. Therefore the second prophetic beast of Revelation 13 arises at the end time.

The beast arises out of the earth (v11), signifying a new nation arising in a new geographical region. In the end time period, the only new nation that has arison in a new geographical region is the United States of America, which, with the declaration of independence, became a nation on 4th July 1776.

From its beginning, America was a haven for God’s true church escaping the flood of persecution (Re 12:16). 

These principles are represented by the beast's two lamb-like horns, which also represent America’s original lamb-like nature - it has been a haven for the world's oppressed.

Summary of  features:

- has two horns like a lamb

- speaks as a dragon

- exercises all the power of the first beast

- causes the world to worship the first beast

- does great signs and wonders 

- deceives the world by miracles into making an image of the first beast

- gives life to the image of the first beast, causing it to kill those who would not worship the image

- causes all to receive a mark in the right hand or the forehead, that none may buy or sell unless they have the mark 

The forehead. In study: ‘The three angels’ messages: God’s final plea and warning’,2.2, we see a woman with ‘Mystery Babylon, written on her forehead, signifying Babylon’s power to deceive by influencing reasoning (the reasoning centre of the brain is behind the forehead).

However, God made the human reasoning centre to be independent - thus we are free to choose either the Seal of God or the mark of the beast. 

2.2 What the second beast, America, does today

Despite its original benign nature, today America has come to ‘speak as a dragon’, exercising its power (both military and economic) over the whole world.  The dragon is Satan (Re 12:9); thus America speaks with the voice of Satan, and uses Satan’s methods, i.e. lies (false doctrine) and force, to subjugate all who refuse to bend to her will.  

America’s ‘horns’ now represent oppression in every sphere, but especially in the religious sphere (Satan's focus of attention) - religion and morality are becoming increasingly controlled by the state.

A nation speaks by its legislation.  Such is America’s power that it is able to use its legislation to sway the whole world in Papal Rome’s direction.  In so doing, America 'exercises all the power of the first beast'.

America, by means of wonders, deceives the world into making an image (v14)  to the first beast of Revelation 13 (the power which continues today as Papal Rome), and gives the image life (v15). 

The image of a religious body is identified by its adoption of the principal doctrines of the original - thus the image of Papal Rome espouses Rome’s main doctrines.

The image, having life, will be an active agent in Satan's plan.  Within America, a powerful religious system that promotes Papal Rome will wield such influence that the American legislature will bow to its will.  

This power is already at work - America’s legislation is becoming intrusive, oppressive, and pro-Catholic (at the time of writing the supreme court of the USA [Scotus] is weighted heavily towards Roman Catholicism). 

This power can only be apostate Protestantism, which extends throughout the world, and which has returned to Rome, espousing her doctrines (see study: ‘Daniel 8, part 2’,4). 

Apostate Protestantism

Apostate Protestantism in America today, along with the world, reveres the Papacy as the saviour of the whole world. The Pope has even addressed Congress (on 24th Sept 2015). 

Apostate Protestantism (in America) is the driving force by which America will cause the whole world to worship the image of the beast.  Its influence will propagate through all the worldwide Protestant movements that espouse the same Papal errors. 

The false prophet.  Because of its adoption of Papal errors, apostate Protestantism is the false prophet of Re 16:13, and worldwide apostate Protestantism is the image of the beast.

The false prophet is also discussed in study: ‘The end time: overview’,4.2.

Church and state. To understand the intrinsic nature of the image, we need only to look to the history of the Papacy, which at its height controlled both church and state - this was the essence of its great power.  That power was lost in 1798 when the Papacy received its apparent deadly wound (see study: ‘Confirming the identity of the beast’,3.2). 

Apparent deadly wound healed. To heal the wound, the Papacy's great power must be restored, first in America. Today in America we see the false prophet (apostate Protestantism) agitating loudly for the unity of church and state - when this is accomplished, the image of the beast will have restored the full power of the first beast of Revelation 13.

This will precipitate (in the last moments of history just prior to the second advent of Christ), the enforcing of the doctrines of the Papacy - which is a return to the situation that prevailed in the medieval Christian world.

However, by means of doctrines held by other religions in common with the Papacy, the end time restoration of the Papacy’s power will embrace the whole world.  The scene will then be set for the final test upon mankind: the mark of the beast / the Seal of God choice.

2.3. The sealing of believers

No-one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless they are sealed for redemption. In Scripture two seals are mentioned:

Seal of repentance. First, we see in Ep 4:30 that the believer, upon repentance, is sealed by the Holy Spirit.  This seal has been applied throughout the history of this sinful world.

However, The seal applied upon repentance can be repudiated by denial of faith (then re-applied should there be further repentance).

End time seal. The end time Seal is applied only at the close of the time of the end.  Once applied it cannot be repudiated, it is irrevocable.  

Furthermore, the end-time seal consists of one of two possibilities: sealed for eternal life (the Seal of God), or sealed for eternal death (the mark of the beast) - see section 7.

It is vital therefore, that we identify and understand the end time Seal of God, as follows.

3. Identifying the Seal of God

Re 7:2,3  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. 

Here we see angels holding back the tide of evil until God’s people are identified and sealed in the forehead, indicating reasoned assent - as we see in section 2, the reasoning centre of the brain is in the frontal lobe behind the forehead.  

A unique seal. The Seal of God must be something that is unique to God, and it must be readily identifiable. 

In the study: ‘The Sabbath’ we address something that fits these requirements exactly: the seventh day Sabbath of the Lord, which God Himself placed at the heart of His moral Law as the Fourth Commandment.  

3.1 The seventh day Sabbath of the Lord

The attributes of the Sabbath of the Lord are addressed in study: ‘The Sabbath’.  In context here, they are listed as follows:

The Sabbath is a sign of God’s perpetual saving Covenant (Ex 31:16), and is thus a sign that His redeemed belong to Him. 

The seventh day Sabbath is God’s unique sign that He is the One True Almighty God - no other (supposed) deity takes the seventh day as their holy day.

Those who acknowledge and practise the seventh day Sabbath demonstrate their allegiance to the One True God and are sealed by Him as His faithful commandment-keeping people, both now, and in the final test to come. 

Acknowledging the seventh day Sabbath, by itself, is not sufficient - many do acknowledge it, but for expediency, practice otherwise.

3.2 The true Lord's Day

Those who observe the seventh day Sabbath are observing the true Lord’s day.

Mk 2:27,28  And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 

28  Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. 

Christ is Lord of the Sabbath, thus the Lord’s day must be the Sabbath day.  

NB. Christ declared this before the Cross (i.e. before the point at which many claim the Ten Commandments were abolished).  Thus the Sabbath of which Christ is self-declared Lord is the seventh day Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment.

Furthermore, Scripture tells us that Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (He 13:8), and that God never changes (Mal 3:6).  Therefore Christ today is Lord of the seventh day Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment.  

Thus all who confess the Lordship of Christ must acknowledge the day of which He is Lord: the seventh day Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment. 

3.3 Conclusion - the Seal of God

It is abundantly clear in Scripture that the seventh day Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment is the means by which God identifies Himself to mankind, and the means by which all who wish to do so may declare their allegiance to Him.  

The seventh day Sabbath is God’s unique sign which He has never changed, and of which Christ is Lord today, and which is still binding upon all.

All who acknowledge and practise the seventh day Sabbath will, when the imminent final test is enacted, be sealed by God as His true commandment-keeping people.  

Observance of the Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment therefore constitutes the end-time Seal of God.

4. Identifying the mark of the beast

As we have seen, the Seal of God is adherence to His true seventh day Sabbath, which is an acknowledgement that God is Lord and Saviour   It follows then, that Satan, to achieve his aim of usurping God’s position, must counterfeit God’s seal.  

Thus Satan’s seal (the mark of the beast) must be adherence to a counterfeit sabbath, for which there can be no justification in Scripture.  

The day of worship set up in opposition to the seventh day Sabbath is the First-day ‘sabbath’, the so called Lord’s day: Sunday, which indeed is not supported in Scripture (discussed in section 4.2). 

Sunday is the natural day for Satan to choose because the ancient sun gods (e.g. the Egyptian ‘Ra’; the Greek ‘Helios’ and ‘Apollo’; the Roman ‘Sol’) were the main counterfeit to the One True God - the sun gods were ascribed the attributes that belong only to Almighty God.

4.1 Sunday worship

It is important to understand that in Scripture the first day of the week (Sunday), as the weekly day of worship, is never sanctified, never commanded, and never blessed.

Sunday worship began to be adopted about the end of the 1st century AD, when Christians, because of Roman persecutions and sanctions against the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, wanted to differentiate between themselves and the Jews (who continued to observe the seventh day Sabbath). 

By decree of the Roman emperor Constantine issued on 7th March 321 AD Sunday worship was given secular authority.  Thus it is jointly an institution of the world and the church.

Sunday was chosen because it offered those who worshipped the various sun deities on the ‘venerable day of the sun’ an entry into (nominal) Christianity, thereby bringing pagan doctrines into the church.  

Thus Sunday sacredness is an invention of the apostate early church, promoted by the increasingly powerful Bishops of Rome, who, in 538 AD by decree of the Roman emperor Justinian, effectively became the Papacy (see study: 'Confirming the identity of the beast',3.2).

4.2 Sunday sacredness and the Papacy

Note. When discussing the Papacy we address the system, not individual Roman Catholics, who are often very devout (although misled). 

The Papacy confirms that Sunday sacredness is her doing (see Catholic statements on Sabbath/Sunday), claiming it as her MARK of authority:

In: Letter from C.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons, 28th October 1895.

“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act…And the act is a MARK of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters.”

See further statements on the Papacy's claimed MARK of authority.

The above quotations indicate how blatantly Rome has placed her own authority above that of God's.

Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit will guide into all truth (Jn 16:13), yet He never teaches that the seventh day Sabbath has been changed.  Surely such an important change would be taught clearly and unmistakably - yet there is not a single text of scripture in support of Sunday sacredness.

It is abundantly clear that Papal Rome (the end time manifestation of the power behind the first beast of Revelation 13: the dragon, i.e. Satan, Re 13:4; 20:2) regards Sunday sacredness as the MARK of her authority.  Thus Sunday observance, when it is willfully preferred above the seventh day Sabbath of the Lord, constitutes the mark of the beast.

4.3 Implementing the mark of the beast

The Papacy has stated that she intends to enforce her doctrines and diktats by law. The Papal encyclicals ‘Dies Domini’ (1998) sections 64-67, ‘Laudato Si’ (2015) section 237, and ‘Laudate Deum’ (2023) section 35, all advocate using legislation to force compliance with Papal diktats.  

Those who will comply with such legislation will accept the mark of the beast.  As we have seen, those who will refuse to comply with Sunday legislation, preferring to remain true to God, will be denied the necessities of life.  In some cases, they will be put to death. 

At the time of writing, a Sunday law has not yet been enacted, though around the world Sunday legislation is increasingly being agitated by, for instance the European Sunday Alliance and KeepSundayHoly.  However, in keeping with prophecy this is especially so in America.  When America does enact such legislation it will be speaking wholly as a dragon (i.e. as Satan) - see section 2.1.

At this moment, we do not know the exact form of the Sunday legislation, but the author believes that every person will be required to assent actively to Sunday sacredness - refusal to assent will be regarded as a heinous crime against the common good.

The term ‘accepting’ is used because all who will have the mark of the beast imposed will have made a conscious decision to refuse the Seal of God - God’s justice demands that this will be so .

As we have seen (Re 13:16), the mark of the beast is applied in the right hand (indicating practical acceptance) or in the forehead (indicating intellectual assent).

In Re 13:16 the Greek word translated ‘or’ (Strong’s G2228) is a disjunctive particle, indicating ‘either or’. Thus those who may not assent to the Sunday law, but for expediency will comply with it, will receive the mark of the beast the same as those who do assent to it.

4.4 Summary - Sunday sacredness and the mark of the beast

The Roman Catholic Church claims to be above the Bible, and that changing the seventh day Sabbath of the Lord by substituting the first day of the week (Sunday) as the new ‘Christian’ sabbath, is the mark of her authority. 

Sunday sacredness is the counterfeit to the seventh day Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment, set up by Satan through His agents, who together comprise end time false religion.  All who knowingly accept Sunday sacredness set themselves in opposition to God.

In conclusion, we have identified the mark of the beast as adherence to Sunday sacredness, for which there is no scriptural authority.  

In the very near future a test, a Sunday law, will be universally applied, when all will have to choose between the Seal of God and the mark of the beast.     

We have only a short time to establish Scripture truth in the heart.  This will be the only defense against Sunday legislation.

We must resolve now to remain true to God, come what may.

5. Final unity in Apostasy

The studies in Daniel and Revelation identify the end time antichrist power (the beast) as the Papacy, and we see here in section 2 that the United States of America will exercise power on behalf of the Papacy to cause all (except for God’s faithful) to receive the mark of the beast.  This will require all the world to be united in apostasy, which Revelation confirms will happen:

Re 17:12,13  And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 

13  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. 

When these words were written the Papacy and the present powers of the world had not emerged.  Today, in this remaining brief moment of history at the very end of time (represented by one hour), we see the whole world (represented by ten kings) having one mind, uniting under the Papacy to form a one-world unity on points they hold in common, setting the scene for the very final events. 

Additionally, in Da 11:27 we see the mischievous end time apostate powers 'sitting at one table' and lying (see also study: 'The end of human probation',2.2).

6. Mankind’s final choice - true or false worship

When the final test (a Sunday law, see section 4.3) is brought upon the whole world the choice will be simple: worship the Lord by adhering to His seventh day Sabbath, and thereby receive the seal of God.  

Alternatively: worship Satan (in the guise of the Papacy) by adhering to his false sabbath (which is the first day of the week, Sunday), and thereby receive the mark of the beast.  

We saw in Re 13:17 that those who will refuse the mark of the beast will not be able to buy or sell (see section 2.3), and will thus be denied the necessities of life.  However the faithful are promised that their bread and their water are sure (Is 33:15,16).  Those who are called to martyrdom will be strengthened.  Thus none need fear. 

Keeping the seventh day Sabbath is a declaration of Love for, and allegiance to, God. On the other hand, willfully setting aside the seventh day Sabbath in favour of First-day (Sunday) sacredness is a declaration of love for, and allegiance to, the world, which we are warned against (1Jn 2:15).

All must choose between Christ and the world - there is no middle ground.  All must choose between Christ and the world - there is no middle ground. We are the servants of whom we choose to obey, either of sin (death) or of righteousness (life) - Ro 6:16.

The Lord, as He did in the time of Moses, urges all to choose Him, thereby choosing life (see De 30:19).

7. The Seal / mark irrevocable

The application of the Seal of God / mark of the beast is the outcome of God’s final atoning work in the Heavenly Sanctuary (see study: ‘The cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary’).  At the close of this work, probation for the whole human race is ended (see study: ‘The end of human probation’). 

At that point, Christ makes the fearful declaration:

Re 22:11  He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still 

Thus the Seal / mark at the close of probation is irrevocable.  This is in contrast to the Seal applied by the Holy Spirit (Ep 4:30), which can be revoked should a repentant sinner later repudiate their faith.

Until the close of probation, the Seal of God / mark of the beast is not applied. Up to the close of probation Christ still calls sinners to repentance.  After that point Christ no longer calls the unrepentant - the fate of all, both repentant and unrepentant, is sealed.

8. Overall summary

For those living in these last days, there is no more important concern than the mark of the beast / Seal of God choice.

We have seen how Satan, through his agency the antichrist (The Papacy restored to its former power), at the very end will impose its will upon the whole world.  Those who submit to the corrupt doctrines of Papal Rome will receive the mark of the beast.  Those who resist will receive the Seal of God.

We have seen that God’s sign of His saving Covenant, His seal, is the seventh day Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment.  Satan’s counterfeit seal or mark must therefore be a counterfeit Sabbath, which will negate God’s Covenant of Grace.  The only day regarded as a sabbath, but for which there is no Scriptural authority, is Sunday, the first day of the week - the sacredness of which the Papacy acknowledges as her own invention.

Thus the mark of the beast / Seal of God issue is one of worship and obedience.  Adhering to the Seventh day Sabbath is a sign of the worship of, and love for, the One true God.  On the other hand, adhering to Sunday sacredness is a sign of the worship of, and love for, the god of this world.

None who knowingly and willfully disregard the Fourth Commandment of God, and thereby break His holy Law, can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Given that the Lord has provided ample warning in His Word, none who choose the mark of the beast (when the final test is enacted) will have any excuse; it is obey and live - disobey and perish.

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