Third Angel's Message
What is the Mark of the Beast?
A WARNING AGAINST FALSE WORSHIP
Notice how these messages fit together into a threefold message, "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice." Rev. 14:9, first clause. Their apostasy from the true worship of God is then described, "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand." (Same verse, last part.)
What is to be the fate of those who, instead of worshiping God in truth and as the Creator, engage in this false worship? "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; and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." Rev. 14:10,11. (See Isaiah 33:13; 34:1-10; Hebrews 12:29.)
How are those described who heed this warning? "Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:12
WHO IS THE BEAST POWER?
What description is given of the beast against whose worship this closing warning message is given? "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion; and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." Rev. 13:1,2.
In this composite beast from the sea are combined the symbols of the seventh chapter of Daniel, representing Rome, Greece, Medo-Persia, and Babylon. Its blasphemous words, its persecution of the saints, and its allotted time of 42 months - or 1260 years, (verses 5-7) show that his beast, under one of its seven-headed manifestations, is identical with the little horn of the vision of Daniel 7, modern Babylon, the Papal system of worship.
The worship of the beast is the rendering of that homage to the Papacy which is due to God alone. The system of religion enforced by the Papacy contains the deceptions and paganism of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, indicated by the beast's composite character (verse 2), disguised under the forms and names of Christianity.
The Pagan Roman Ponitfex Maximus was continued in the office of the pope, who is the head of the Roman priesthood. In pomp and pride he claims to be the representative of the meek and lowly Jesus. But this scripture in Revelation shows that the pope's power and his seat and his great authority do not come from Christ as they claim.
What challenge is made by those who worship the beast? "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" Rev. 13:4
Whose sovereignty is thus challenged? "Forasmuch as there is none like unto Thee, O Lord; Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might." Jeremiah 10:6. (See Psalms 71:19; 86:8, 89:6,8.)
What specifications of the "man of sin" are thus met? "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4.
What did Babylon give the nations to drink? "She made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Revelation 14:8, last part.
What are those to drink who accept the teachings of Babylon, and thus render homage to the beast? "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation." Verse 10, first part.
The cup of the Lord, which contains the new covenant in the blood of Christ, and the cup of the wine of the wrath of Babylon are both offered to the world. To drink of the former, that is, to accept the true gospel, is to receive everlasting life; but to drink of the wine of Babylon, that is, to accept the false gospel taught by the Papacy and her apostate Protestant daughters (evangelicals) , will result in drinking of the wine of the wrath of God from the cup of His indignation. The true gospel means everlasting life; the false gospel, everlasting death.
FALSE WORSHIP ENFORCED
Under what threatened penalty is the worship of the image of the beast enforced? "And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause [decree] that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." Rev. 13:15
What universal boycott is to be employed, in an attempt to compel all to receive the mark of the beast? "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; 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." Verses 16, 17.
SATAN, OR GOD? Make your choice.
Who is the real power operating through the beast? "The dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." Rev. 13:2
Who is the dragon? "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world." Rev. 12:9.
How did the devil seek to induce Jesus to worship him? "And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine." Luke 4:5-7
How did Jesus show His loyalty to God? "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind Me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only that thou serve." Verse 8.
The threefold message of Revelation 14:6-12 is proclaimed in connection with the closing scenes of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Lucifer has sought to put himself in the place of God (Isaiah 14:12-14), and to secure to himself the worship which is due God alone. The final test comes over the commandments of God. Those who acknowledge the supremacy of the beast by yielding obedience to the law of God as changed and enforced by the Papacy, when the real issue has been clearly defined, will, in so doing, worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark. Such will have taken the side of Satan in his rebellion against God's authority.
How many will yield to the demand to worship the beast? "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Rev. 13:8.
In the judgment-hour message, whom are all called upon to fear, glorify, and worship? "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come; and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Rev. 14:7.
Who will sing the victor's song on the sea of glass? "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. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord god Almighty; just and true are They ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy; for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for They judgments are made manifest." Rev. 15:2-4.