The Mark in Prophecy
Traduccion en Español
I – Introduction
he following is an adaptation of a talk I gave recently on the CSDA understanding of the Mark of The Beast. I have attempted to make it as short as possible, while at the same time capturing the important elements that have shaped our understanding.
The primary focus of this article is to explain the difference that we have with mainstream Adventism regarding what this final mark truly is. Most Adventist groups believe that the Mark of The Beast will consist of a law created at the request of an apostate Church in combination with civil government. In this, they are correct, however they claim that this will have the specific form of a “Sunday Law.” This law, traditional wisdom declares, will force human beings to choose between obedience to the true, Biblical Sabbath, and the Sabbath of the papacy: Sunday.
For this belief, Adventists have much support from the writings of Ellen White. So conclusive does this evidence appear to be on the surface, in fact, that those who dispute it are considered to be infidels from Adventism, and to disbelieve the inspiration of one whom we all consider to be a latter-day prophet.
It is not, however, the case that a belief in the validity of Ellen White’s writings necessarily leads to an acceptance of the way in which she believed certain prophecies would be fulfilled. While this may seem like a strange concept at first, the Bible actually contains strong precedent for this idea, and we will examine this key concept before moving on to anything else.
II – Conditional Prophecy
The Bible gives us these instructions when testing the claims of a prophet: “When a prophet speaketh in the name of Yahweh, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Yahweh hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deu 18:22) This seems clear enough. And there is further instruction, because not every prophet that seems to give an accurate prediction is necessarily sent by Heaven either.
“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them,’ thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams; for Yahweh your Almighty proveth you, to know whether ye love Yahweh your Almighty with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deu 13:1-3)
This is not, however, a comprehensive “test.” In other words, there is more to it than that – one more factor to take into account. Consider that the prophet Jonah had his activities recorded in the Scriptures, and that he was a genuine messenger for Yahweh is declared by the separate witness of the Book of 2 Kings: “[Jeroboam, son of Joash] restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of Yahweh, Elohim of Israel, which He spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher.” (2 Kings 14:25)
But now this Jonah gave a prediction that did not come to pass in the way he predicted, and the reason for this is that last factor, that being conditional prophecy. The record stands as such: “So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of Yahweh. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.’” (Jonah 3:3, 4)
We note that no explicit conditions were given, yet the following is said next: “So the people of Nineveh believed Elohim, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. And Elohim saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and Elohim repented of the evil that He had said that He would do unto them; and He did it not.” (verses 5, 10)
Clearly, the reason why Yahweh did not do what He had declared was because the people repented. They accepted the guilt of their current condition, and the put away their idols and wickedness. History records a time when the people of Nineveh became monotheistic practically overnight, and the secular world does not have any explanation as to why this should be… yet the record of it is preserved for us in Sacred Writ.
This is not the only example of conditional prophecy in the Bible. Ezekiel, another confirmed prophet of Yahweh says this of Israel: “Thus saith Adonai Yahweh, ‘In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. […] Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, […] In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army; and thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.
“‘Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith Adonai Yahweh. And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am Yahweh.’” (Ezek 36:33, 38:2, 14 – 16; 39:4 – 6)
Clearly, there was never a time when Israel was cleansed from all its iniquities, nor a time when Israel dwelled safely after this prophecy was given. Some have said, therefore, that this will happen some time in the future, and to an extent they are correct. However, it does not happen for the actual, earthly Israel, but for the city of New Jerusalem, the home of all the Redeemed, and it happens in a setting quite different than that which was foreseen by Ezekiel.
We read, “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, ‘Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God.’ And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” (Revelation 19:17, 20:7 – 9)
This is just a short excerpt, but the parallels are numerous and precise. The prophecy in Ezekiel is actually fulfilled at the very time of Heaven’s triumph, and even the same names are used for the enemies of the holy people: Gog and Magog. There are several other easily cited examples as well, but these two suffice to demonstrate the overall idea.
The principle, therefore, is clearly this: when the course of a people change, the nature of the prophecies associated with that people must of necessity change as well. It does not make the prophet a false one; rather it confirms that the human agent is not speaking from his (or her) own wisdom, because the manner of the prediction’s fulfillment may take place in a way completely unimaginable from the current perspective.
This is exactly what has happened in regard to Ellen White’s statements about a Sunday Law, and I will explain how and why this has come to pass.
III – The Progression of Churches
The next thing we must establish is the direction from which the Mark of the Beast will come. Adventists believe that a coalition of Sundaykeeping Churches, following the example of papal Rome, will attempt to make Sunday the official day of worship for Christendom. Further, they will use the courts and legislature of the United States to actually make it illegal to keep the true Sabbath holy and to work on the first day of the week.
We have this in common: Both CSDAs and other forms of Adventism acknowledge that the organization that unites with the United States civil government will be a form of apostate Christianity, fallen from spiritual purity. To quote from Ellen White, “The ‘image to the beast’ represents that form of apostate Protestantism which will be developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas.” [The Great Controversy, p. 445]
More generally, “Whenever the church has obtained secular power, she has employed it to punish dissent from her doctrines. Protestant churches that have followed in the steps of Rome by forming alliance with worldly powers have manifested a similar desire to restrict liberty of conscience.” [The Great Controversy, p. 443] These are but two quotes, but they give the general tenor: the Church which forms the image to the beast, thus enforcing the Mark, must once have had the truth, and it then in the last days turns and, because of apostasy from that truth, seeks the aid of civil government to enforce its will.
In these last days, there is only one Church remaining that is “current” in terms of the reformation process, the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Yet prophecy declares that it will not be this Church itself that endures to the end! In fact, it will be a Church that comes out of this denomination that will constitute the famed 144,000 who endure the time of trouble. All previous stages of reform will have come short, and turned to the world for help, thus sealing its own doom.
How can we be sure of this? The Bible tells us, and in the very words of Christ. We read, “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said unto them, ‘Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you.’ And they went their way.
“Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, ‘Why stand ye here all the day idle?’ They say unto him, ‘Because no man hath hired us.’ He saith unto them, ‘Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.’
“So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, ‘Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.’” (Matthew 20:1-8)
That this is a prophetic parable should be obvious, and of all people, Adventists should have the most insight into portraying it thus, for Ellen White herself gives us a starting place. She says, “The Jews had been first called into the Lord’s vineyard, and because of this they were proud and self-righteous. Their long years of service they regarded as entitling them to receive a larger reward than others. Nothing was more exasperating to them than an intimation that the Gentiles were to be admitted to equal privileges with themselves in the things of God.” [Christ’s Object Lessons, page 400]
This is clearly a reference to the Matthew 20 parable, since it deals with the vineyard, equal pay, and those who are “called into” the service of tending to the people Yahweh summons to His kingdom. And we note that in order for a new set of workers to be called, it means (in this application) that the previous workers have ceased. Now, the individuals themselves who labored faithfully will be worthy of their reward in the judgment, to be sure… but it is clear that the system to which they belonged only endured for a time.
Paul, for example, said, “And so all Israel shall be saved,” (Romans 11:26) referring to the individuals, all the while helping people to come out from the system of earthly Judaism. The apostles made a distinction between the people and the religious tradition (as must we) therefore we can at once love the individual while denouncing the falsehoods to which he or she may cling.
So then, if the Jewish Church came first, but fell when they crucified Christ, we find the next workers to be called, at the third hour, were the apostles themselves. But, as early Church history tells us, their organization also united with the first beast (Rome) and became the Roman Catholic Church. At that point, the Reformation churches sprang forward to take up the mantle, and moved prophecy forward. We note that in each of these ages, precious promises were given to the Church. Yet, at every fall, the conditions for these predictions were not met, and so the promises passed on to the successors.
We must be clear on this, however. When Christ said that the gates of Hell would never prevail against His Church, (Mat 16:18) He spoke the truth. Nevertheless, while it is the same Church, the same faithful body, which continues down through the ages, we find that the name, and the keepers of the vineyard may indeed change. (Mat 21:40-43)
The Reformation Churches came over to the new world, but even they did not endure to the end. No, they joined themselves to the second beast, and formed a union which persecuted those who were coming to an understanding of the validity of the Sabbath commandment. Books such as The American State Papers Bearing on Sunday Legislation outline the persecution suffered by Sabbathkeepers in the 1800s at the hands of those who wanted to preserve the United States as “a Christian country.” But Christ is not honored when the tools of His enemy are employed (nominally) in His service!
From the fallen reformation Churches, those who either joined to the state or remained under the papacy’s shadow (keeping to Sunday as the day of worship), the Seventh-day Adventist Church was called. There are now, of course, various Sabbath-keeping denominations, but the Adventists in particular grew out of the previous age, and thus became the heir to the reformers’ work. We find, therefore, that the progress of the parable in Matthew 20 was fulfilled after this manner:
But if the parable is to be fulfilled to the letter, we find that indeed there is one more calling-out to go. How can this be? Does the Seventh-day Adventist Church join to the world? How can it do so, when it has been warned so often about falling in this manner? And what will this do (based on the principle of conditional prophecy) to the “Sunday Law” Adventism is expecting?
We will discover this as we fill out the table completely. But as we do this, let the reader take note that although both the Jewish and Apostolic Churches joined to “Rome,” there was a difference in the nature of the state to which they wed themselves. The first Rome, to which the Jews bowed the knee, was pagan in nature. When the Apostolic Church joined to Rome, it was taking on a religious character more in line (outwardly) with Christianity. In fact, this union produced the papacy, and the Roman Catholic Church. If there is to be an “image” to this first beast’s activities in the New World, we would expect to see a similar kind of operation happening in the United States government.
Indeed we do, and it shows exactly why the Mark of the Beast has to do with the Sabbath (all Adventists are correct about that part), but not with a literal “Sunday.” This is the part that was subject to condition, and changed due to recent events.
IV – The Three Sabbaths
How many Sabbaths are there? In the eyes of the Most High, only one, and any other “day of rest” that men claim came from Him are counterfeit, for He said to us clearly, “I am Yahweh, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6) There have been interesting theories advanced as to why most Christians keep Sunday instead of the “Jewish” Sabbath, but they all fall far short of Biblical validity. The Messiah Himself said He did not come to do away with the least aspect of the Law, or the commandments in the Law, and indeed the only “change in the law” is mentioned in the Book of Hebrews, and has to do with the Sacrifice of Christ sufficing to take away the actual sacrificing of animals. (Hebrews 7:12)
In any event, this was known to be a temporary ordinance, as prophecy tells us plainly that it was to be “taken away” by the Messiah when He should appear. (Daniel 9:27) While some forms of modern Christianity insist that the individual here is actually anti-Christ (!) this was not the understanding of the early Church, and it is not the understanding of Adventists. For example, the historian Eusebius writes, “This evidence I have put forward as proof that in the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ another prophecy was fulfilled. It is perfectly clear that in Daniel Scripture specifies the exact number of weeks till the rule of Christ – I have dealt with the subject elsewhere – and prophesies that after the completion of these weeks the anointing of Jews will be brought to an end.” [The History of The Church, Eusebius, Translated by G. A. Williamson, 1965, Penguin Books, pp. 19, 20]
It is obvious from a reading of Daniel that the only “weeks” that could possibly be meant are those found in Daniel 9:25-27, and reveals without room for controversy that this prediction was understood to be the Savior Himself. It also provides yet another witness testifying to the validity that in prophecy, a day represents a year, a staple teaching of Adventism based on what the Bible reveals.
So then we read that Christ ended the Sacrificial ordinances, but there is no mention anywhere of a change in the laws, except that the first beast would “think” or “attempt” to do so as recorded in Daniel 7:25, which is precisely what Rome did in regard to the Sabbath.
From man’s standpoint, however, the Sunday is “another” Sabbath. It may not be valid, but it IS so labeled by the Catholics and various other Sunday-keeping groups. It is, in their words, the new “Lord’s Day,” and as those in the United States called it while throwing true Sabbath-keepers in prison, “the Christian Sabbath.” This makes two.
But there is one more. There is a third Sabbath, and it is mentioned in the Scriptures. The first Sabbath, the only one with continuing validity, is that seventh day which was blessed and instituted in Eden (Gen 2:3), being ratified on Sinai by the covenant with Israel. (Exo 20:8-11) The second is the counterfeit Sabbath produced when the enemy of Heaven attempts to change “times and laws.” (Daniel 7:25) But there is a third as well, and we read of it in the book of Hebrews.
“For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, ‘And God did rest the seventh day from all His works.’ And in this place again, ‘If they shall enter into my rest.’ Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, ‘To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.’ For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest [literally, a “Sabbath-keeping”] to the people of God.
“For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Hebrews 4:4-11)
Remember, this letter was addressed to the Hebrews, and it speaks of “another” Sabbath that has to do with a spiritual rest to which the physical rest only pointed. Why would this epistle tell those who were already keeping the 7th day holy that there remained yet “another” day into which they were to enter?
The answer becomes clear when Paul explains in that second paragraph above. To enter into true “Sabbath” means to cease from your own works. It does not mean one stays at home and does nothing, for the Bible also tells us, “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Timothy 3:10) This is a quietness of heart, a peace in the soul, and the true Sabbath about which the seventh (literal) day was to instruct us.
This does not, of course, do away with the importance of the literal day! Christ taught that to be angry with your brother made one guilty of murder in the spiritual sense, (Matthew 5:21, 22) but physical murder is still a sin. So it is with every other commandment for, likewise, one may keep the letter of the Sabbath, but still be guilty of violating it if there is no peace, no rest in the protection of Christ and Christ alone.
We recall that the Pharisees were Sabbath-keepers outwardly, but they were not keepers of the true Sabbath, for on the very seventh day they were plotting the death of the Lord of the Sabbath. (Matthew 12:10-14, Mark 2:28)
We can construct a chart of the three Sabbaths in this way, and it becomes plain:
Though the Seventh Day was originally created to be a blessing by the Almighty, the spirit gradually changed from holy to unholy, and by the time of the Pharisees, it was mostly an outward form that held no instructive value for the inner man. Only those who keep the commandments “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) are truly being faithful to the divine ordinance, and only they receive the blessing that was intended for mankind from the day of the instruction’s inception. (Deu 5:29)
To employ the spirit of the papacy to enforce one’s beliefs, even if it is about so serious a matter as the commandments of God, is like going to Egypt for horses, to rely on the arm of flesh and strengthen one’s ties to an earthly kingdom. (Deu 17:16, 2Ch 32:8, John 18:36) These things were forbidden by the Scriptures, and certainly have no place in the religion of Christ.
If the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to return to our topic, has gone to the world, to the very second beast of Revelation, to protect itself, to preserve even what they believe are “pure doctrines” from corruption and confusion, they have failed to enter into the rest Christ has provided, and like the Pharisees who nailed the Messiah to the Cross, they are recorded in the books of Heaven as those who have violated the sacred blessing of the Sabbath.
Have they done this? Yes, they have.
V – The Name “Seventh Day Adventist”
In the year 1981, for what appeared to be good intentions to the eyes of flesh, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists obtained a Trademark with the United States government for the name “Seventh-day Adventist,” the acronym “S.D.A.” and related titles. The trademark gives them power, from a human point of view, over literature, studies, meetings, Bibles and, most significantly, religions observances. This is the very language of the document, which may be seen here:
In writing of the Mark of the Beast, Ellen White tells us that the law formed by an apostate Protestant Church and the United States civil government, will give that ecclesiastical organization power over religious observances. In speaking specifically of the Sunday Law, she wrote, “Let the principle once be established in the United States that the church may employ or control the power of the state; that religious observances may be enforced by secular laws; in short, that the authority of church and state is to dominate the conscience, and the triumph of Rome in this country is assured.” [The Great Controversy, page 581]
The triumph of “Rome” in the New World? This is an image to that first beast! And if it is “once” done, as it has been in 1981, then the image has indeed been formed… and the second beast does indeed give worship to the first. The parallels are far too clear to be ignored.
“But,” some protest, “the Mark was supposed to be about the Sabbath/Sunday issue, not about some name. And what is the big deal about the name SDA anyway? If you don’t like what the Conference is doing, why don’t you just change your name and call yourselves something else?”
To take the last question first, we cannot simply change the name we believe God gave us. He has given us no instruction that we are to take another name, and every instruction that we are to preserve the name “Seventh-day Adventist” regardless of circumstances.
He tells us through His messenger, “We are Seventh-day Adventists. Are we ashamed of our name? We answer, ‘No, no! We are not. It is the name the Lord has given us. It points out the truth that is to be the test of the churches.’” [Selected Messages, Book 2, 384]
“As to the name Seventh-day Adventists: I was shown in regard to the remnant people of God taking a name. . . . No name which we can take will be appropriate but that which accords with our profession and expresses our faith and marks us a peculiar people. The name Seventh-day Adventist is a standing rebuke to the Protestant world. . . . The name Seventh-day Adventist carries the true features of our faith in front, and will convict the inquiring mind.” [The Early Years Volume 1, p.438]
“A company was presented before me under the name of Seventh-day Adventists, who were advising that the banner or sign which makes us a distinctive people should not be held out so strikingly; for they claimed it was not the best policy in securing success to our institutions. This distinctive banner is to be borne through the world to the close of probation.” [Selected Messages 2, p. 385]
“No name which we can take will be appropriate but that which accords with our profession, and expresses our faith, and marks us as a peculiar people. The name, Seventh-day Adventist, is a standing rebuke to the Protestant world. Here is the line of distinction between the worshipers of God, and those who worship the beast, and receive his mark.” [Spiritual Gifts, Volume 4B, page 54,55]
Now, and again, much of this had to do with the 7th day Sabbath, yet if the spirit of the Sabbath be violated by a people, not only will the specifics of those prophecies associated with those people be altered in its fulfillment, but they will be found guilty of sin just as surely as the man who never slays his neighbor, but hates him in his heart. The name Seventh Day Adventist tells the world who we are; it is a banner of testimony, the keeping of which we are given no permission to alter.
Is it idolatry to keep the name even if the law tells us not to? No indeed! We would be bowing to the validity of the state in controlling our religious convictions, and that would be idolatry.
Regarding the first part of that question, that the Mark of the Beast is supposed to be a Sunday Law, it should already be apparent that if Seventh-day Adventists, who were to be the great heralds of the Sabbath truth fell, then there will be many who would not bow to a Sunday Law, yet who were not truly keeping the Sabbath in spirit and in truth. A Sunday Law of itself, then, would not test the Churches. Furthermore, this is a little-known fact in Adventism, but the first edition of The Great Controversy, in which Ellen White recorded what she actually saw of the last days, did not contain the word “Sunday” at all!
It spoke of the papal Sabbath, and the expression “first day” was used to underscore what she believed it would be, but just as Daniel fainted before he could take the knowledge that Judaism would some day fall, (Dan 8:18) so Ellen White was not permitted to see that her own Church would do the VERY thing that she predicted would form the Image of the Beast: “But in the very act of enforcing a religious duty by secular power, the churches would themselves form an image to the beast; hence the enforcement of Sundaykeeping in the United States would be an enforcement of the worship of the beast and his image.” [The Great Controversy, p. 449]
I have underlined the word “an” to demonstrate that this was not the only way in which the worship of the beast and his image could be enforced. Adventist pioneer Uriah Smith, whose work was endorsed by Mrs. White, also allowed for the possibility of an alternate law, saying, “An ecclesiastical organization composed of different sects in the land, in coalition with Roman Catholicism, by the promulgation and enforcement of a civil Sunday-sabbath law, would fulfill what the prophecy sets forth in reference to the image and the mark of the beast. These movements, or their exact equivalent, are called for by the prophecy.” [Daniel and The Revelation, page 617]
Understanding the three Sabbaths, and seeing how prophecy changes in relation to the course of the recipient people, it should easily be seen that the Trademark Law is an “exact equivalent” of the Sunday Law which, after the fall of Conference Adventism, would no longer be apt to test the hearts of Christians. Furthermore, Ellen White wrote that she wrote what she did of Sunday in response to “the very time in which we live,” [Evangelism, page 233] that is, the 1800s in which a Sunday Law (the Blair Sunday Rest Bill) was indeed imminent.
Again, she wrote, “The Sunday law issue, now becoming prominent because of the Blair Sunday bill was discussed.” [The Lonely Years Volume 3: 1876-1891, page 376] Let the reader note carefully the year in which she said the Sunday Law was “now” prominent. These are issues about which Adventists have not studied as deeply as they should. A careful reading will reveal plainly that Ellen White expected that very law to either pass, or see a rapid resurgence, and thus overspread the earth.
Not only was that law overturned, but other places in the world began to incorporate Sunday Laws before the United States! According to these writings, the Mark of the Beast was to begin to see its enforcement in the United States, and then spread to other parts of the world… this is now impossible, therefore we must conclude that the prophecy changed. We see from the teaching on the true Sabbath why it changed: because the General Conference went to civil powers for its protection, throwing off Christ and, as Mrs. White said of the Jewish Church who did the same thing, “unchurched itself.” [Manuscript Releases Volume Twelve, page 388, paragraph 1]
Knowing what we do of the union between the SDA Church and the United States Civil government, none of which are explicitly evil on their own, but which have become terrible in their unity, we find we can expand on a previous diagram thus:
We note that there is a parallel. The first union between Protestantism was about the “letter” of the Sabbath, the Sunday itself. Similarly, the Jews joined themselves to the Roman government for civil/political considerations. (John 18:14) It was to “keep the peace” in their religious institution. Similarly, this second union between a Protestant body and the U.S. civil powers is about the “spirit” of a law, just as the union of the Apostolic Church with Pagan Rome produced the papacy, a spiritual “head” of a world power.
We may now also state with conviction that once a Church as an organization joins itself to the world, committing what is described as “fornication” with the kings of the earth, it is no longer pure. Christ is returning for a people who are pure, and who were never married to another power. The members of this company are called “virgins” in prophetic parable, (Revelation 14:4) the Church is called a “chaste Virgin” in the Epistles, (2Cor 11:2) and we know for a certainty that Christ, as a High Priest, can never marry either a divorcee or a widow. (Lev 21:14)
There must be a Church “in her virginity,” in order to be suitable for Christ, (Lev 21:13) and this can only be accomplished by that group of people belonging to an organization who has never once been united with state powers, for these are called “the kings of the earth” in the Scriptures. (Revelation 18:3)
VI – The Mark Appears
Let us review what has happened and complete the diagram above:
It should be apparent by now that the Trademark Law enacted between the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and that world power which they acknowledge to be the second beast of Revelation fulfils every particular of the Image to the (first) beast. That it is a Sabbath issue is well attested in the teachings of Adventism:
“A union of church and state means a recognition of a spurious sabbath, and a failure to respect the conscientious observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.” [Manuscript Releases Volume Twelve, page 218] Again, we should be clear that Ellen White DID believe in a Sunday Law’s approach, just as surely as Jonah warned the Ninevites of impending doom. The principle, however, is sound in either case, and just as valid today as it was in the days of Ezekiel’s prophecy regarding Gog and Magog. The course of the people having changed, the predictions are fulfilled in a spiritual, rather than physical, manner.
Other Adventists have written on this matter of the true, spiritual Sabbath as well: “I need not undertake to give a definition in detail of what the image of the beast is; we all know well that it is the church power using the government, the civil power, for church purposes . . . And of all Christians, Seventh-day Adventists cannot do it. The very keeping of the Sabbath forbids it.” [General Conference Bulletin, page 28, 1895 – emphases mine] This also appears in the 1896 First Quarter Sabbath School lesson, so it is not an unknown principle by any means.
Similarly, it began in the United States, and will spread over all the world, for U.S. Trademark patents are indeed globally accepted. It is a mark without which Adventists may neither “buy” or “sell” (i.e., trade) in Gospel literature or studies, and it is verily an attempt to control religious observances by means of human might. The Bible and Ellen White have a great deal to say about such an evil.
“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.” (1Cor 6:1-6)
“To punish those who were supposed to be evildoers, the church has had recourse to the civil power. Those who differed from the established doctrines have been imprisoned, put to torture and death, at the instigation of men who claimed to be acting under the sanction of Christ. But it is the spirit of Satan, not the Spirit of Christ, that inspires such acts. This is Satan’s own method of bringing the world under his dominion.” [Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 74]
“The world and unconverted church members are in sympathy. Some when God reproves them for wanting their own way, make the world their confidence, and bring church matters before the world for decision. Then there is collision and strife, and Christ is crucified afresh, and put to open shame. Those church members who appeal to the courts of the world show that they have chosen the world as their judge, and their names are registered in heaven as one with unbelievers. How eagerly the world seizes the statements of those who betray sacred trusts!” [Selected Messages Book 3, page 302, paragraph 3 – emphasis mine]
The quotations from Ellen White and other Adventist writers are truly too numerous to mention in an article of reasonable length, but the idea should be well apparent, and the apostasy of the General Conference in their actions related to this matter should be open for all to see. Let the man and woman with spiritual eyes marvel at the darkness which has crept over the minds of those who now say, “We are the true people! Come out from all those other Church/state unions and into the true Bride.” But of all the people whom the Messiah rebuked when He was on earth, He had the least patience of all for the hypocrites.
Can the SDA Church someday become Babylonian in its practices? Indeed, can it have happened already? Some say it cannot, but Ellen White warned that it very well could, and now it has: “We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage for every unclean and hateful bird; and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?” [Manuscript Releases Volume Twenty-one, page 380]
This is the very language of Revelation 18, in which the final calling-out is described! There can be no mistake, therefore that this took place, and that there is one last set of workers in the Vineyard at the eleventh hour: the 144,000, the Creation Seventh Day Adventist Church.
The Mark of The Beast is even now on the horizon. What was once a Sunday Law in the 1800s, forcing men to choose between the letters of the true and Papal Sabbath, has now come to us as a lawsuit about the name that defines us as Yahweh’s distinctive people. The Trademark forces us to choose: will we remain a part of a system that has thrown off Yahweh’s true Sabbath? This may be either the letter (Sunday) or the spirit (a spurious Sabbath kept by an ecclesiastical body that is joined to the state). Scripture tells us that when the leaders of a people fall, every member is responsible, and must repent and come out of the organization. (Isaiah 9:16, Acts 2:36-40)
The course of Seventh-day Adventism has changed in a most startling manner, yet the people remain largely uneducated as to what their leaders have done to them. Yet, there is a true Church left on the earth, and she is a Virgin, for she has never known the union with the world, but waits for her Husband from on High. There are a people who “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth,” (Rev 14:4) who understand what conditional prophecy is, who know when a religious body has fallen under the power of Satan, and who would rather die than violate a commandment of our Creator in either the letter or the spirit.
The warning has been given: “What astonishing deception and fearful blindness had, like a dark cloud, covered Israel! This blindness and apostasy had not closed about them suddenly; it had come upon them gradually as they had not heeded the word of reproof and warning which the Lord had sent to them because of their pride and their sins. And now, in this fearful crisis, in the presence of the idolatrous priests and the apostate king, they remained neutral. If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God.” [Testimonies for the Church Volume Three, page 280-281]
The invitation is now open, for the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come,” (Rev 22:17) The way is clear to the City of Refuge, and the last message to call a people into the truth is heard: “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.’ And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.’” (Revelation 18:1-4)