June 2017           "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?

A Complete Booklet by Garner Ted Armstrong

Page One of Six

God says a BEAST, having two horns like a lamb, yet speaking as a "dragon,"will "cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a MARK in their right hand, or in their foreheads..." (Revelation 13:11-16).

No man refusing that MARK will be able to buy or sell. God says the horrible LAST PLAGUES are going to fall upon those who have the mark of the BEAST. What is it? Do you have it? Could it be forced upon you? Could the mark of the beast be somehow secretly placed upon you; tattooed, implanted under your skin in the form of a micro chip, or secretly put into your wallet or purse in the form of some plastic credit card or identification card? You need to KNOW what is the MARK OF THE BEAST!

Millions are deeply concerned. Millions have heard about the dreaded "Mark of the Beast," and its number, 666. There are many theories. Some allege that the number 666 is on the papal crown. Some allege the number will be put inside your skin, inserted by means of a microchip on your forehead. Many believe it has something to do with a new form of money, or the coming "cashless society," wherein debit and credit cards (which some allege will contain the number 666) will replace cash.

The Bible contains stern warnings about those who receive the mysterious Mark of the Beast. It was the apostle John who received the visions from Christ about the Mark of the Beast. He wrote,

"And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
"...there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image" (Revelation 16:1, 2).

Notice it is not only those who receive the MARK of the Beast, but also those who "worship his image" who will come under God's wrath.

What IS the "image of the beast"? How can you recognize it? What IS the Mark of the Beast? How can you insure you do not receive it, that you do not come under God's wrath?

Religious Deception and Babylonish Confusion

Weird, ridiculous theories about the meaning of the Mark of the Beast are legion. To some, this mysterious mark involves major department store credit cards. Religious publications cite various "proofs" involving the presence of the number 666 found in credit cards issued by some of the large chain stores. To them, this credit card represents the Mark of the Beast.

To others, their social security number is a means of the government to keep track of them; it seems to be the harbinger of the Mark of the Beast, and many have begun wondering if it is not the first step toward a national identity card, by which a "big brother" nationalistic government can spy on all of us; keep track of everything we do, where we go, what we buy, to which church we belong, and know everything about our individual, private lives. This paranoid fear of surveillance convinces many that various forms of personal identification, such as drivers licenses, social security cards, credit cards and the like are the Mark of the Beast.

I have seen articles alleging that the black stripes which appear on practically any item you purchase is the Mark of the Beast. Many have been convinced that these striations on their packages are threatening to them. Actually, each bar represents a letter, or a number, like a code. The laser scanner instantly reads the code, and displays it on a small screen attached to the electronic cash register. The purchaser may then watch an electronic display as each item, such as a can of string beans, accompanied by the price, appears. A computer is automatically reducing the inventory in the store by one can of beans, thus saving the old-fashioned method of painstakingly counting all the cans remaining on the shelf, and at the same time computing the sales for the day. Such modern methods have greatly reduced man-hours of labor; helped us get through the check stands much faster, and are far more accurate than human fingers on a cash register.

This modern, much simpler and faster development in computer-age technology is in no way threatening to anyone. Yet, some people who tend toward paranoia are fair game for religious hucksters who like to play upon people's fears. Some paranoids believe super computers are watching them, somehow; believe black helicopters are spying on them, and believe they must be constantly alert, lest some government agency sneakily label them with the Mark of the Beast. All this is so much applesauce, of course, but the hucksters of fear continue to shrilly warn about alleged government surveillance and spying.

It is time you swept away all this Babylon of confusion, and looked directly into the Word of God to see what really IS the mysterious Mark of the Beast, and what it is NOT!

Who, What, is the BEAST?

Obviously, before one can understand what is the Mark of the Beast, one must understand who or what is the beast!

Bible scholars are virtually one hundred percent agreed that the symbolism of the great image seen by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2) represents the four world-ruling empires from the time of ancient Babylon to Persia, Greco/Macedonia, and finally Rome.

Most biblical commentaries expound this view; even a well-known layman's Bible handbook, Halley's, reconfirms it (see Halley's Bible Handbook, p. 342). The head of gold represented ancient Babylon. The breast and arms of silver represented Persia, and the belly and thighs of brass represented Alexander's Greco/Macedonian kingdom. The legs of iron and feet and toes "part of iron and part of miry clay" represented the Roman Empire throughout it's duration, including a yet future, end-time 10-nation combine which will coalesce in the same region, and which will fight Christ at His coming (Revelation 17:12-14).

Notice especially verse 44: "And in the days of these kings [the kings represented by the ten toes] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed:
and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever" (Daniel 2:44).

In the vision, Nebuchadnezzar saw a stone seemingly dislodged miraculously, without the intervention of workman's tools, or human hands. Like a plunging meteorite, it seemed to hurtle down from heaven and smash the towering image of gold, silver, brass, iron and miry clay on the feet! In the dream, the entire image toppled to the ground, and seemed to become "like the chaff of the summer threshing floor; and the wind carried them away..." (Daniel 2:35).

Then, the stone which had smote the image on the ten toes, (representing the end-time ten governments which are to arise within the confines of the ancient Roman Empire) seemed to become a great mountain which filled the whole earth!

Thus, in this one brief chapter, we see a prophecy which predicts the entire span of human history from Nebuchadnezzar until the Second Coming of Christ!

The Bible uses the expression "beast" advisedly, since the Gentile leaders of the world-ruling governments were possessed of minds like wild, predatory animals. Nebudchadnezzar's seven years of insanity (Daniel 4) is symbolic of the insane bestiality of such human leaders as those of the four successive world-ruling kingdoms, and, in our time, such men as Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and others.

It is very clear that the first beast of Revelation 13 is the same kingdom as the fourth beast of Daniel 7.

Notice it: "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" (Revelation 13:1, 2).

The beast is a symbol of a great super government. That the beast rose up out of the sea indicates it derived its power from masses of people. The seven heads are seven revivals or stages of this beast power, and the ten horns are symbols of individual governments, each presided over by a king, or absolute ruler, symbolized by the "crowns." That the label on each of these seven successive governments was the "name of blasphemy" indicates its amalgamation with a spiritual power, which is called, in Revelation 17, "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."

That the beast was "like unto a leopard," meaning that the main part of its body appeared to be like a leopard, is symbolic of the empire of Alexander the Great, as proved by the historical fulfillment of both the second and the seventh chapters of Daniel, which detail the four successive world-ruling empires of history. The feet, "as of a bear," indicate the ancient Persian Empire under Cyrus.

The mouth, "as the mouth of a lion," indicates the ancient Roman Empire. The "dragon" is obvious reference to Satan the devil. Notice:

"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world..." (Revelation 12:9).

Therefore, this end-time BEAST POWER is the final, end-time resurrection of the same old system which was to reemerge many times down through history, until its final emergence just before the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord, and the Second Coming of Christ.

Notice it is Satan who gives power unto the Beast (Revelation 13:4). The Beast sometimes refers to the human leader; the super-dictator who will rule over ten kings:

"And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Revelation 19:19, 20).

Sometimes, the term "Beast" refers to the entire ten-nation combine, together with its human leaders.

Now, we know that the "Beast" is a ten-nation combine which will form together prior to the Second Coming of Christ, and which will be the greatest economic and military power the world has ever seen up to that time. This ten-nation combine is the final "resurrection" of the Roman Empire, this time armed with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons; a huge military power which will actually attempt to FIGHT CHRIST at His coming!

"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.
"These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
"These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 17:12-14).

The Beast is a ten-nation POLITICAL power, but it is "ridden" or ruled over by a great ECCLESIASTICAL power!

This great political, military and ecclesiastical power will have a SIGN; an identifying label, a MARK, which it will seek to impose on all who will submit to its will. It will not be a "secret" sign, or mark, but an obvious, outward, easily recognized sign, which the whole system wears just like a LABEL! The "little horn" of Daniel 7:8, which "has a mouth speaking great things," and which will "think to change TIMES and LAWS" is a symbol of the spokesmen of this evil mystery religion, who, down through the centuries, have done just that! They have CHANGED God's laws; abolished His divinely-appointed Sabbaths and annual holy days.

This great false church has adopted the labels associated with SUN worship; has CHANGED God's weekly Sabbaths for SUNDAY, the day of the sun, and foisted upon millions of unsuspecting believers the PAGAN holidays of Ishtar (Easter) and the "Saturnalia" (Christmas). For centuries, countless THOUSANDS were brutally martyred; tortured, burnt alive, killed in the most horrifying ways, for REFUSING to accept the Mark of the Beast, and clinging, instead, to God's holy Sabbath, and His annual holy days.

For many centuries, those who continued to observe God's Passover on the fourteenth of Abib, or Nisan, the first month of the sacred year, were labeled "fourteenthers" or "quartodecimans," and relentlessly hunted down and slain! This had to do with TIMES and LAWS! The TIME for observing "communion", or the Lord's Supper, as it came to be called (I Corinthians 11:20), was on the annual commemoration of Christ's own last supper! It was to be observed on the 14th day of the first month according to the Jewish Sacred Calendar. But the apostate church issued a decree that Christians should not be found "Judaizing" by keeping God's holy Passover exactly as Jesus had, but should substitute pagan EASTER (spelled "Ishtar" with a silent "h") instead! Easter is celebrated amid symbols of sex and fertility; rabbits and eggs, and is known to be of wholly PAGAN ORIGINS!

Thus, by DECREE, backed up by force of arms, the now paganized, apostate church ENFORCED the changing of "times and laws" on those who, fearful of their very lives, would submit! The Bible shows that the identifying SIGN of the Beast and the Image of the Beast is something which has been around for MANY CENTURIES! It is something which has already caused the death of countless THOUSANDS who refused to accept it! It is NOT, therefore, something which is of modern invention, such as computer chips or credit cards!

What Is the Image of the Beast?

Remember, it is not only those who receive the Mark of the Beast who will suffer God's wrath in the Day of the Lord, but also those who "worship his image." Notice the proof:

"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."

(So, it is not only those who refuse the Mark of the Beast; it is also those who refuse to worship its `image,' or its ecclesiastical counterpart!)  Let's continue:
"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.
"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six" (Revelation 13:15-18).

Therefore, it is NOT ONLY those who refuse to receive the MARK of the Beast who will be martyred, but also those who refuse to worship the IMAGE of the Beast; those who refuse to receive the NAME of the Beast, and those who refuse to receive the NUMBER OF HIS NAME, which is 666.

Six is the number of man.
Three is a number connoting ultimate finality. Thus, 666, or three 6s connotes utter carnality; that which is of MAN, and not of God.
Seven is God's number which means completion; perfection. Therefore, God designed the weekly cycle around SEVEN days, not six, or eight or thirteen. The weekly cycle is not observable by any astronomical phenomena. We can observe the day and night by the rotation of the earth; the month by the moon, and the year by the journey of the earth with its moon around the sun. But the SABBATH day; the seventh day of creation, has always been handed down from generation to generation from God's righteous patriarchs to the prophets, to the apostles, to God's people from age to age. There is significance in God's use of certain numbers.

Now, just what IS the "image of the Beast"?

As we read in Revelation 13, it has two horns "like a lamb," yet "speaks as a "dragon," influenced by Satan himself. Therefore, this beast masquerades as if it is of Christ, yet is of Satan! Your Bible plainly warns against counterfeits! Jesus Himself said:

"Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ: and shall deceive MANY ... and MANY false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold..." (Matthew 24:4-12).

Paul wrote:

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ, and no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angelof light.
"Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (II Corinthians 11: 13-15).

The first of the famed "four horsemen of the Apocalypse" represents false Christs and false prophets. John wrote;

"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
"And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer" (Revelation 6:1,2).

Never is Christ depicted as carrying a bow. Some have made the mistake of falsely assuming the first horseman is picturing Christ because of the white horse. But the sequence of events depicted by the four horsemen of Revelation 6 is unmistakable when compared to Christ's prophecy of Matthew 24.

This second beast of Revelation 13 which has two horns "like a Lamb" and yet speaks "as a dragon," with the forked tongue of Satan, is nothing more than a great false religious system, called "Babylon the great," under the power of the false prophet of biblical prophecy.

Obviously, this second beast is able to CAUSE WORSHIP! It is therefore a political and religious system! It encourages state worship! It points to the great economic, industrial and MILITARY power of the first beast! It urges loyalty, servitude, cooperation, and worship upon all of its followers toward this great ten-nation combine.

The false prophet is imbued with satanic power so that

"...he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on 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 the sword [reference to the collapse of Rome in 476 until its restoration under General Belisarias in 554] and did live.
"And he [this great false prophet] 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)

Hideous chapters of history detail the murder of countless millions down through centuries as the Babylonish "mystery" religion was IMPOSED upon many nations by sword and spear. Millions were burnt, skinned alive, impaled, placed on the rack, and tortured to death because they refused to "recant" their religion and embrace the growing power of the image of the beast; to accept its decrees about "times" which were called "sacred," no matter what the Bible said.

The great false church has been constructed based upon the same old politico/military system of the ancient Roman Empire! It includes the old Roman Collegia, found in the "College of Cardinals," and rules over great and lesser "dioceses," the Roman term applied to political regions under Roman rulers.

Just how filthy, how abominable, this growing political/religious system became is partially illustrated by the life of only one of the many corrupt popes — Leo X, who reigned when Luther began the Reformation. Leo was made an Archbishop at age 8! He was appointed a Cardinal at age 13; was appointed to 27 different church offices.

Halley's Bible Handbook says, his appointment to these many offices "...meant vast income before he was 13. Was taught to regard ecclesiastical office purely as a source of revenue [this sounds painfully familiar to me, for I have known many who have been imbued with the same covetous spirit]. Bargained for the papal chair. Sold church honors. All ecclesiastical offices were for sale, and many new ones were created.
He appointed Cardinals as young as seven. He was in endless negotiations with kings and princes, jockeying for secular power, utterly indifferent to the religious welfare of the church. He maintained the most luxurious and licentious court in Europe. His cardinals vied with kings and princes in gorgeous palaces and voluptuous entertainment, attended by trains of servants. Yet, this voluptuary reaffirmed the Unam Sanctam, in which it is declared that every human being must be subject to the Roman Pontiff for salvation [where have you heard this theory before?]. He issued indulgences for stipulated fees, and declared burning of heretics a `divine appointment.'" (ibid. p. 780).

No wonder God describes such a system thus:

"...for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth (Revelation 18:23, 24).

Thus, God's Word shows that a great ecclesiastical GOVERNMENT would emerge, which would hold sway over kings and emperors; which would be a STATE, just like any other state, sending ambassadors to all nations, and receiving ambassadors from them; a politico-religious system which would be patterned exactly like ancient Imperial Rome; thus an IMAGE of the Beast!

This monstrous system is depicted by the famed "little horn" of Daniel 7:8, which "had a mouth speaking great things," and which would "think to change times and laws." The heads of this great church have done exactly that! They have decreed that, unless one wholly submits to ONE HUMAN LEADER, who takes the blasphemous title of "holy father," one cannot be saved! But God's people know the TRUTH about the church; that the CHURCH CANNOT SAVE you; that the church is a group of quot;called-out ones" who are an instrument in God's hands for accomplishing His Work. They know that we are to call NO MAN "Father," in a religious sense, and that the CHURCH is not an object of worship! They know that NO MAN can have power over their salvation! But the "image of the beast," or the great false church which rules over many nations claims the power to not only "excommunicate" any individual member, thus allegedly consigning them to burn forever in their version of hell fire, but also claims the power of "interdiction," whereby the head of that ecclesiastical government can place an entire nation outside of the "universal church," thus claiming that ALL citizens of the whole nation are going to burn in hell fire!

One can imagine the power wielded by such a system. If, for instance, a king or president were to anger the ecclesiastical head, he could place the entire offending nation under interdiction. It would be only a short time until, desperately fearful of burning in hell, the entire population rose up and deposed their king or president in order to get back in the good graces of the ecclesiastical ruler!

Continued on page two

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