Doug Batchelor - The Mark of the Beast
Our study, today, is a very important one. I want to welcome our friends who are watching Prophecy Encounter - talking about a very important and intense subject called the mark of the beast. And when people hear that, right away all kinds of images come into folks' minds. They wonder, what is this? Is this a computer chip under the skin? Is it 6-6-6 tattooed in the forehead? Is it a special super card that you carry in your purse or your wallet? And what is this mark? Is it something physical, is it something spiritual? Well, we're going to talk about that.
First question: who is protected during the seven final plagues that you find in Revelation? This is in Revelation chapter 7 - it says there, "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." There is a group that is protected and they get a mark in their foreheads. You may not have caught this earlier but, how many people are marked in Revelation? Everybody.
The Bible tells us that one group's got the mark of the beast and another group's got the seal of God. One's got the Father's name in the forehead - you go to Revelation 17, she's got a paragraph that calls her a harlot in her forehead. What was it that brought down Goliath? A stone. Where? In the forehead. The Word of God - Christ is the rock - that Word of God - Ten Commandments written on stone - in the forehead - brings down the devil - Jesus fought the devil in the wilderness, 'It is written. It is written. It is written.' And the devil fell on his face. And so, Goliath, that story is even a symbol of that.
What is the seal the righteous receive in their foreheads? It says right there in Isaiah 8:16, "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples." So the law of God is the new covenant. Thy - 'His law He will write in our hearts.' And in the heart, when you say, 'the heart' biblically, you don't point here. When you say 'the heart' biblically, you point here. 'As a man thinketh, in his heart' - okay? So the law of God is here in the forehead, in the hand is in the actions.
And he wants His law - now everybody that has the mark of the beast has whose spirit? The devil's spirit. Everybody who has the seal of God has whose spirit? Has God's spirit. So we already know that, and we showed you where, in Ephesians, it says we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. But there's something deeper in God's law that reveals the seal of God.
Now, let's remind you what has a biblical seal? What does it contain? It's very much like an official seal today - three main components. It's going to have the name of the individual, their official title that gives them authority, and then their territory - you know, it's usually restricted to some place. You can find the seal of God in the middle of God's law, in the commandment that is the longest, and the one that begins with the word 'Remember', and it's the only commandment where you find the word 'holy', and it's the Sabbath commandment. It talks about our time - giving our time - giving our worship to God. He made an appointment with us. He's so important to us, we will keep that sacred appointment because we love Him and we want to nurture that relationship.
So which of the Ten Commandments has that seal - the components of a seal in it? Fourth commandment. Let's look at it - Exodus 20, verse 11, "For in six days the Lord made" - that's His name, the Lord - "made" - Creator - here's His territory - the heaven and the earth. Is anything not included in the heaven and the earth? Because He's the Lord of all. He is Jehovah, the creator and sustainer of the heavens and the earth. The seal of God is in the middle of the law of God and that law should be in our hearts and in our minds.
I'm going to make this study real easy for you. Who do you obey? It says, in Romans chapter 6, whoever you obey, that's whose servant you are. So, trying to analyze and melt down and break down exactly what is the mark of the beast? It's not complicated. It's who do you worship? Now, how did the early Protestants identify the beast? We're going to give you a little church history. What is it that distinguishes Protestants from Catholics? Of course, Protestants protested. Martin Luther was the one who nailed - by the way, we're, right now, in that 500-year anniversary for Martin Luther nailing his protests on the doors of the church in Wittenberg and one of the things that most Protestants held in common was they were all unitedly agreed of who the antichrist power was identified there in Daniel 7, in 2 Thessalonians, in Revelation 13 - and I'm just going to read some quotes now, so put on your seat belt.
Before I read these to you, I want to make it very clear there are a lot of good, loving, Christian people in many different churches. We're not talking about any individuals, we're talking about the official positions that they hold and the - how they interpret the place of God in the scriptures in salvation. So this is really just an analytical study, but here's what they said. John Wycliffe, he was called the star of the Reformation - the morning star. He's the one who translated the Bible first into English. I've been to England and seen it there. He said, "We suppose that antichrist, the head of all these evil men, is the Pope of Rome." By the way, what church did he belong to? Catholic church.
So here you have a Catholic scholar who is saying it's the Pope of Rome. Again, John Huss, he said, "The Pope is the true antichrist of whom it is written that he sits in the temple of God, among the people where Christ is worshiped." Martin Luther, "This teaching [of the supremacy of the Pope] shows forcefully that the Pope is the very antichrist." - they didn't mince words, did they? - "who has exalted himself above, and opposed himself against Christ."
Here you've got Calvin, "Daniel and Paul had predicted that antichrist would sit in the temple of God...we affirm him to be the Pope." So if you've got any Baptist roots or Calvinistic teachings - it's what Calvin believed, it's what Luther believed - John Knox - Presbyterian, "Yea, we doubt not to prove the kingdom of the Pope to be the kingdom and power of antichrist." Roger Williams - in America we have separation of church and state largely because of Roger Williams. Williams had a very important understanding. He said, 'The Ten Commandments are on two tables of stone. One is civil in nature and one is more spiritual in nature.' The first four commandments deal with our relationship with God. No government in America should force people how to keep the first four commandments. You don't want the government telling you what God to worship or when to worship Him or what He looks like, right? He said, 'But no government can neglect the last six commandments: respect of property, respect of marriage, respect of parents - and that was a very balanced approach.
Here's what he said: 'Pastor Williams spoke of the Pope as the pretended vicar of Christ on earth who sits as God over the temple of God, exalting himself not only above all that is called God but over all the souls and consciences of all his vassals, yea over the spirit of Christ.' It says John Wesley said, "He it is...that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped...claiming the highest power and highest honor...claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone."
If you read the Westminster confession - many Protestants ascribe to this - there - you used to be able to read, "There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof: but is that antichrist." I mean, this is - this is history. At least you owe it to yourself to know what they believe - "That man of sin and son of perdition that exalteth himself in the church against Christ and all that is called God."
In the book All Roads Lead to Rome - "a great cloud of witnesses:" - listen to these names - "Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Cranmer; in the seventh century, Bunyan." - you've read Pilgrim's Progress, this was the view of the author of Pilgrim's Progress - "The translators of the King James Bible" - uniformly believed this - "and the men who published the Westminster and Baptist confessions of faith:" - I just read you one of those - "Isaac Newton" - you ever heard that name? He was also quite a Bible scholar - "John Wesley, Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards; and more recently, Spurgeon." - the prince of preachers - "Bishop J.C. Ryle and Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones; these men among countless others, all saw the office of the papacy as the antichrist." They said, 'If you're going to read the Bible and study prophecy, it's inescapable.'
But, you know, it is certainly not politically correct to say that, is it? Especially when you've got a Pope, now, who's so nice. He seems like such a nice, humble man and he seems to be just, you know, he's putting off a lot of the fanfare and wealth of previous Popes and he's apologizing for past history and so it's not very politically correct, but at least you should know this was the position of Protestants for five hundred years - four hundred fifty. You don't hear much about it in the last fifty years or so.
So what is the mysterious number that identifies the beast? This number is - you all know it - 6-6-6. Here's a picture of a Florida state trooper - 6-6-6 on his license plate what does that mean? See, you all laugh. Everyone knows there's something about that number. I was getting change at a store one time and, I forget what I bought, but it came back and my change was - all the things I bought came up to $6.66 - and the cashier - the gal - said, 'Ooh, look at that, 6-6-6.' And I said, 'Yeah, look at that.' I said, 'You know what it means?' She said, 'No, but it's bad.' And everyone kind of knows that. They don't know what it means. Well, you know, it is an interesting number.
If you read in the document, Prompta Bibliotheca, according to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia - this is a veritable encyclopedia of religious knowledge and will remain a precious mine of information. This book is quoted frequently as an authoritative Catholic source. Here's what it says: under the heading 'Papa Vicarius Filii Dei appears as the title for the Pope.' That is one of the official titles of the Pope. Now, I want you to notice those Latin words. "the letters on the Pope's crown are these: Vicarius Filii Dei: which is Latin for 'Vicar of the son of God.'" - representative of the son of God - Jesus said, 'The Holy Spirit is My representative.'
When you add those words up - how many of you remember your Roman numerals from school? And the V is? Five. Five. Every now and then you'll still see something where they're using the old Latin numerals. The letters had numerical value - not all of them, but some of them had numerical value. That title, when you very simply add up the very real value of those numbers, Vicarius adds up to 112, Filii adds up to 53, and Dei is 501. And you add those up and that comes to 666.
Now, you know, above the head of the high priest, he had a placard. The placard said, 'Holiness to the Lord'. It's like I told you, the word 'Holy’ is in the Sabbath commandment. Holy is the seal of God - Holy Spirit. When Jesus died, above His head it said, 'King of the Jews'. And here, at least on some occasions, the Pope used to wear a crown that said, 'Vicarius Filii Dei' - 'I am the representative of God'.
Now, again, I want to make sure and be fair. Here's just - this is just Pope benedict a few years ago. He almost never appeared with the same crown on. He liked to change clothes. He was a little more flamboyant than Pope Francis. Now, the third crown that you see him wearing there, on the right, most of the papal crowns used to have three crowns, and that meant because he was king of heaven, king of earth, and king of purgatory. The triple-tiered crown - only the Pope was allowed to wear back then. Some of those ancient crowns did have that placard on it that had the official title.
But, if you still don't believe that, maybe you'll believe the book by John Paul II, called “Crossing the Threshold of Hope.” “The Leader of the Catholic Church” - and this is page 3 - "is defined by the faith as the vicar of Jesus Christ (and is accepted as such by believers). The Pope is considered the man on earth who represents the Son of God, who takes the place of the second person of the omnipotent God of the Trinity." Takes the place of - and he's the vicar for the Son of God. That's what Vicarius Filii Dei represents.
So what is the beast's mark of authority? Now we're getting more specifically into the mark. We've learned about the seal of God is in the law - it's the Holy Spirit. And, in particular, the Sabbath represents that. Now I'm going to read to you from the Catholic Catechism. Catechism uses question and answer method. And, when you're - this is written by the Catholic church - when you're teaching.
Question: Which day is the Sabbath day? Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day - which begs the next question: why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.
If you want to know what happened, it wasn't done by Jesus; it wasn't done by the apostles; it happened hundreds of years later. It happened gradually. Part of the reason was because, when the Romans began to fight against the Jews and they conquered Israel again - they destroyed the city - the Jews became - they fell out of favor in Rome and they associated Christianity with Judaism. Well, the Christians wanted to distance themselves from the Jews and, following the conversion of Constantine, they said, 'Look, why don't we just keep the day the pagans are keeping? The first day - the day of the sun' - because that was all about sun worship - and it's the day of the resurrection. And the church leaders began to argue it, but there was no scripture for it. It was a man-made law and Jesus said, 'Why do you keep the traditions of men and put the commandment of God aside?’
So in the last days God is calling people back to the Word - not just on the subject of the Sabbath truth, but a number of areas. Let me finish this quote here, it says, have you any other way - question - have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept? And the answer is, yes, had she not such power she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her - not all, but many - she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week for Saturday the seventh day of the week - for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no scriptural authority.
Right in the Catholic catechism they will freely admit this is not Bible-based. We did it by a sense of our own authority. And they claim that what the church says and what the Pope says is more valuable than what Jesus said - what God spoke from the mountain; what the Lord wrote with His finger - I respectfully disagree. This is an issue.
Bottom line in the last days is who do you worship? Who do you obey? Is the mark of the beast or the seal of God a visible mark? Now I think we've probably made this clear. What does 'In the hand' mean? In the actions. In the head, in the thoughts. Here are some verses: Hebrews 10:16, "Saith the Lord, 'I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.'" It goes on to say, in Ecclesiastes 9, verse 10, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might."
That's symbolic. Your hand means your actions, right? And you can read, again, in Isaiah 59:6, "Their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands." You don't have the word 'violence' in your hands, it's something that represents the actions.
So, when someone receives the mark of the beast in the forehead, it's talking about in their worship. Maybe they're sincere, but they'll be worshiping the laws of the beast instead of the laws of God. And maybe some won't agree, but they'll do it. It's in their actions - it's not in their heart, but they're still going to follow it out of fear.
So, it says the beast has a mark to represent its power and authority. Does God also have a sign of His power and authority? Yes. He does, praise the Lord. Look in Ezekiel 20, verse 12. "I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that does sanctify them." Ezekiel 20, verse 20 - similar verse - He says, "Hallow My Sabbaths: and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God." It's a sign. There's something different about the Sabbath commandment. God says so, amen? It's a symbol of who you worship.
As I mentioned before, it's easier to give a person your money than to give them your time. God says, 'Do you really worship Me? It's not a donation, I want your life, because time is the stuff life is made of. I want your love. You don't have a love relationship unless you spend time with somebody. Amen? "Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations: that ye might know that I am the Lord that doeth sanctify you."
Now, do we still need the Sabbath to prove that He can create and recreate? Do we still need sanctification? Amen. Whenever we're praying for holiness and forgiveness, the Sabbath is a sign that God, if He can sanctify a day, He can sanctify us.
What did the antichrist power attempt to change? Daniel 7:25, "He will think to change times and laws." There's only one commandment that you can point to that is both a time and a law.
Now here - we quoted this to you the other day. "The Pope has power to change times to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ." I respectfully disagree. And then they freely admit - it says here - "of course the Catholic church claims that the change was her act...and the act is a mark" - this is a letter, October 28, 1895, from C.F. Thomas, who served under Cardinal Gibbons. And they admit, 'Yeah, we changed the Sabbath.' And they say, "This is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters."
Now, I don't know if you noticed, on the right there's a copy of the Ten Commandments I took in front of a Catholic church. You'll notice that the second commandment is just not there - and they divide the tenth commandment in two. They took out the commandment about idolatry. They make the Sabbath a third commandment. It says, "The holy Sabbath day was changed from Saturday to Sunday...not from any directions noted in the scriptures. But from the church's sense of its own power..." - notice this quote - "People who think the scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become Seventh-day Adventists and keep Saturday holy." That's from St. Catherine's Catholic church, May 21, 1995 - thank you very much for that endorsement.
We didn't write that, but they're right. They say, 'Look, if you're going to go by the Bible, you should logically be Seventh-day Adventists.' They're kind of making fun of most Christians that don't really go by the Ten Commandments. They're following a tradition. Peter and the apostles, they said, "We ought to obey God" - acts 5:29 - "rather than men." this is all about 'Who is your God?' You are the servants of the one you obey.
Sabbath is all about worship. The big issue in the last days is worship. They're being told to worship the beast or worship Jehovah. The Bible's pretty clear about how He has specified we should worship. And He illustrates that in the Ten Commandments. Amen.
When you decide to accept Jesus and to fully follow Him, what happens? Christ said, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." The Lord wants us to have that rest.
Who is going to enjoy the rest in heaven? You read about it in Revelation chapter 15 - we like to start and end with Revelation - it said, "I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire. And those who have the victory over the beast, over his image, and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God."
And there they are, in Heaven, they are redeemed. They are saved. They've got that rest and they've got that peace, because they have accepted the truth. They have the seal of God and they have turned from the mark of the beast.
Now, when you take a stand for truth, friends, you might experience some struggles - and Jesus never said, 'Follow Me and it's going to be easy.' He said, 'If you love Me, you need to take up your cross and follow Me.' but the promise is that that's the only way you're going to have peace and rest. If you seek to save your life and live for yourself, you'll lose it, but if you want to find your life, you need to say 'No' to self and 'Yes' to Jesus and then you have the abundant life. He said, 'I've come that I might give you life more abundantly.
And so, when you learn things like this about the beast and the mark of the beast and the Sabbath truth, does it trouble you? Well, it may right now but, ultimately, why does God want you to know these things? Is the Sabbath cursed or blessed? Blessed. He wants to bless you. Some of you have never experienced that blessing.
There are people I know that are watching right now. You've heard these things for years. You know it's true. You know it's in the Bible. And one of these days you plan on doing it but, 'Oh, Pastor Doug, if I do it now, you know, I'll get kicked out of my church.' Or 'If I take a stand for this now, my family - we've been in this - they're going to denounce me.' I know people that when they took a stand for the truth, their family said, 'Don't ever talk to us again.' 'I'm going to lose my job.' Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to lose their job and their lives.
Jesus said, 'It's not Me and something else,' He said, 'If you're going to love Me, you must love Me more - father, mother, husband, wife, houses, lands, everything.' He needs first place in your life. Amen. And when you put Him first, He gives you everything else. Jesus goes on and He says, 'No man that has forsaken father, mother, husbands, wives, houses, lands, for My sake and the gospel, he'll receive a hundred-fold more in this life.' Amen.
You may have persecution, but He gives you a hundred-fold more - and eternal life in the world to come. There's going to be trials. There'll be crosses - life is tough, but it's a lot tougher to be lost. It's a lot tougher to not have God walking with you because you're rejecting Him - to have no peace about your future.
And so, we share all these things - it's all about - it's not just about one commandment, it's all about one heart - surrendering your hearts to God. Have you said, 'Lord, I want You to be first in my life. I'm willing to say 'Yes' to You one hundred percent.' Jesus said, 'I'm not going 50/50 - you and the world - 50 percent world/50 percent Me' - He said, 'You're either with Me or against Me.'