May 2018           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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The Mark of The Beast. What Is It? Part 5

(Cont'd from page four)

How the Image of the Beast Was Formed

The BEAST of prophecy will soon loom up in Europe! It is to comprise TEN NATIONS (Revelation 17:3, 12), most likely a reunified Germany, at the head of a "United States of Europe" possessing its own nuclear arsenal, along with chemical and biological weapons, and the means to deliver them anywhere in the world. Like a Frankenstein MONSTER which will STAGGER its own builders, a new, ultra-right Germany will eventually emerge, and, in close cooperation with many other Central European nations, form a ten-nation political union.

Notice that the world WORSHIPS this supranational, powerful economic, political, military union: "...and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshiped the dragon [SATAN! Revelation 12:9] which gave power unto the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" (Revelation 13:3, 4).

The beast John saw was a counterfeit Christ-like creation. It APPEARED like Christ! Yet, it spoke like SATAN!

Let's continue: "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 [Rome! And the successive revivals of the so-called "Holy Roman Empire" down through history] before him, and causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed." (Revelation 13:11, 12).

The "deadly wound" was received when Rome fell, in A.D. 476. It was "healed" when Emperor Justinian sent General Belisarius to Carthage, and later to Rome, to overthrow the Ostrogothic king, in A.D. 543. The "little horn" (Daniel 7:8, 20) which had "plucked up three horns by the roots" was the growing universal church, in the person of Justinian, as well as successive "holy" Roman emperors. Three lesser rulers were ejected from Rome over a long period— the Vandals, Ostrogoths (by Justinian and Belisarius), and the Heruli.

Now, notice: "And he [this "lamb-like" beast, which spoke as a dragon, Satan] doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 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. [Rome!] 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" (Revelation 13:11-15).

From the beginning, the Roman Catholic Church was organized along the pattern of the Roman Empire! It was an hierarchy, which, at the absolute pinnacle of power, was worshiped, as if divine. The ancient Roman emperors proclaimed themselves "gods," and were commonly addressed as "divinity," a BLASPHEMOUS assertion attached to some of the most obscenely depraved, demented, degenerate, cruel human beings who have ever lived!

The Roman Catholic Church developed over centuries, and was never a cohesive, unified church under one pope until the time of Constantine, in A.D. 325. There were periods in history where there were two or more popes, each excommunicating each other! Malachi Martin has documented a great deal concerning the Roman Catholic Church not commonly known. (Books written by Malachi Martin include: Rich Church, Poor Church [subtitle] The Catholic Church and its Money; The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church; The Final Conclave.) Another author has documented the incredible chicanery, power politics, and strife that has characterized the succession of prelates of the Roman Catholic Church. One book, In God's Name, An Investigation into the murder of Pope John Paul I, by David A. Yallop, alleges that Pope John Paul I was assassinated. It includes much documentation and thirty-two pages of photographs to substantiate its claim.

History proves that the church which emerges from the dark shroud of the second century (during which there is comparatively little written information available) is in most respects TOTALLY DIFFERENT from the church of the apostles.

Remember, the church Jesus Christ said He would build (Matthew 16:18) was the "assembly" (Greek: ekklesia) of the early apostles, including Paul, who described himself as "one begotten out of due season," Barnabas and others, besides the original eleven, together with Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot. They continued to observe the WEEKLY SABBATH, for which there is absolute, incontrovertible PROOF in the New Testament Scriptures. They continued to observe the ANNUAL SABBATHS, such as Pentecost (the "birthday" of the New Testament Church—Acts 2), the Days of Unleavened Bread (I Corinthians 5) and the Passover (I Corinthians 11). Luke mentions the "fast" (Day of Atonement—Acts 27:9) in about A.D. 55-56, long after the Ascension of Christ.

They observed the Passover exactly as did Christ on the 14th of Nisan, or Abib, the first month of the sacred calendar. But thousands of gentiles were coming into the ranks of the church over the centuries. They were attracted to a church which was increasingly "accommodating," and which easily adapted to various gentile customs and practices.

The story of Simon Magus (the "Magus," from the "Magi," Acts 8) and his rival movement is a subject for a complete book, and cannot be treated here. However, there was a "Simon the Pethor" or the "Pater" (Latin: "father") in Rome who was NOT Simon Peter! There is no connection whatsoever between "Peter" (Greek: Petros: a pebble, or rock) and "Pater" (Latin: "father").

Study the book of Romans carefully! Paul addresses the large church at Rome in the 50s, A.D. Yet, Peter is never mentioned in the book! Peter is not mentioned in the salutation, or in the body of the text, or in the many personal salutations at the close, which include references to more than twenty-seven persons by name! WHY? Because Peter was in Babylon, where there was a colony of Jews. Peter was the apostle to the "circumcision," while Paul was the apostle to the gentiles! (see I Peter 5:13).

By the time the curtain raises over church history in the beginning of the second century, a completely different church begins to emerge. Paul spoke of what was happening to the Thessalonians. He said:

"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 worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (II Thessalonians 2:1-4).

Simon Magus was called "that great power of God," and had the power to produce miracles! It is likely Paul had him in mind when he spoke of a man of sin, a "son of perdition" who exalted himself above "...all that is called God, or that is worshiped." Yet, Paul was writing a prophecy for our time, something that is to occur in the final years prior to Christ's return!

Paul said he was "withholding" (verses 6-11) the emergence of this insidious power within the church. He called it "THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY" [meaning sin, or lawlessness] and said that it "doth already work: only he who restrains it [true meaning] will continue to restrain it, until it arise in the midst." This meant that the man of sin, the individual espousing the MYSTERY religion, would "become evident for who he was" or would "arise in the midst."

Remember, God had warned, through Paul, "Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:30).

By the time of Constantine, there were many struggling, disagreeing factions within the growing universal church. The office of bishop had evolved to "metropolitan" in the case of the major cities, like Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Rome. There were large numbers who insisted the weekly SABBATH should still be kept, that Christ kept it, as did the apostles. Many insisted that the Passover should be observed on the 14th of Nisan. Later, they were called "quartodecimans," a Latin term for "the fourteenth," or those who insisted the Passover should be observed as it had always been; exactly as God had commanded, on the fourteenth of Nisan.

But many new factions had emerged who wished to accommodate the growing numbers of the heathen who were being baptized, and who worshiped the symbols of Baal, of Isis and Osirus, of Chemosh and Milcom; symbols of the sun, and moon, and the seasons.

The famous Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) was called by Constantine to settle many of the factional differences which were causing confusion in the universal church. It lasted forty days, and was attended by three hundred and seventeen bishops, several metropolitans, as well as by Constantine himself. It went down in history as the first attempted ecumenical council, dealing, as it did, with Arianism, Donatism, and other schisms which were causing dissension in the growing universal church.

At a later council, this one in Laodicea, many of the steps taken in Nicaea were broadened. More stringent edicts were issued concerning the weekly Sabbath and the annual holy days, particularly the Passover! Important among its canons were those concerning the observance of Easter; the proscriptions against those who "Judaized" by observing the Passover on the fourteenth, as had Christ Himself, the early apostles, and the Christian church of the first century.

By this time, the observance of the "first day of the week" as "the Lord's Day" was becoming more and more the accepted standard of the church. Though there were thousands scattered throughout the Roman Empire who continued to observe the holy Sabbath day; who continued to observe God's annual Sabbaths—like the quartodecimans—the growing might of the Roman church gradually overwhelmed them. Most disappeared from history. Through the centuries, we find only fragmentary information concerning those who continued to resist the spread of the Baylonish mystery system of religion: the Bogomils, the Petrobrusians, the Arnoldists, the Waldensians, the Vaudois; groups in numerous European nations who clung to the earliest truths expounded by the apostles, refusing to accept Sunday-worship, "Ishtar" (pronounced "Easter"), and the pagan "Saturnalia" celebrated on December 25th, with its symbols of Nimrod and Semiramus; the little tree, the yule log, the holly wreath, mistletoe, round orbs and bulbs symbolizing sex and fecundity.

But the majority went the way of least resistance. Those who were fearful of martyrdom readily "recanted" any further observance of God's Sabbaths and holy days, and accepted the Church-sanctioned customs of Sunday, Christmas, and Easter. The masses of heretofore "unconverted" coming into the mystery religion were pagan. It was but a small step for these heathen sun-worshiping peoples to embrace the mysteries of the Catholic religion, for the trappings of the religion bore strong resemblance to the paganism from whence these new adherents had only so recently emerged.

An outstanding example of this is in Mexico City, where the national museum contains an ancient "baptismal" font (a contradiction in terms, since "baptizo" means "to immerse"), which features, as its pedestal, a huge serpent wound around and around to form the entire stone font. The serpent is in the form of "Quetzalcoatl" (Indian for "winged, flying serpent"), which was the god of the Aztecs and many other Mexican, Central and South American savages. For these illiterate savages to approach a "priest" who would sprinkle them with" holy water" from a font which looked exactly like their serpent god was no major step for them—especially when armed soldiers insisted upon it.

This was nothing more than an adaptation of the same tactics used by the ancient Roman Empire: "In a word, the Roman government was not only wonderfully organized ... everyone was required to join in the worship of the emperor because he stood for the majesty and glory of the dominion ... all were obliged, as good citizens, to join in the official sacrifices to the head of the state, as a god" (Medieval and Modern Times; chapter 1, page 7, emphasis mine).

Eventually, an "image" of the Beast had been created! Now, a great universal CHURCH was emerging. It had the Roman Curia, the "College of Cardinals," like the old Roman "Collegia," and it ruled according to the principal of the ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY OF ONE MAN—a hierarchy ruled from the top down, with NO checks and balances. History is replete with the gross abuses of many such leaders, a subject so vast it could fill a whole set of encyclopedias. This "image" of the old Roman Empire appeared, to ignorant, uninformed people, "Christ-like," like a lamb. But its message was satanic, the voice of the dragon! In place of God's Sabbath day, it substituted the day of the sun god, Sunday. In place of God's Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread came "Lent," [mentioned nowhere in the Bible] and "Easter." In place of the Feast of Trumpets— the official "New Year's Day" of the Israelites, since it fell on the first day of the seventh month, the beginning of the civil year—came "New Years's Day," in the middle of a dead winter. "Hallowe'en," or the evening of "all saints," was adopted, and with it the symbols of Satan's hell, goblins, witches, black cats, Jack-o'-lanterns, bonfires, orgiastic feasts, carousing; the colors of death and darkness, and belief that "Samhain," the "Lord of the Dead" (Druidic beliefs) reassigned the "souls" of the dead on that fateful evening. Gradually, the world's so-called "Christian" populaces began celebrating wholly pagan festivals, as does the great universal church and her protesting daughters today (Revelation 17:5).

God's Sabbaths were forgotten by the massive majority. Those who kept it could easily be IDENTIFIED, for their entire life was filled with difficulties and persecution as a result. Children in school, wage earners searching for jobs—all were (and are) rendered extremely difficult for Sabbath-keepers in a Sunday-observing world.

Continued on page six

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