MARK OF THE BEAST

QUOTATIONS FROM WATCHMAN, WHAT OF THE NIGHT?

Added February 2, 2013

(Cf. THIRD ANGEL'S MESSAGE)

From WWN6(95) - Exegesis of Revelation, Part 2, The Beast and the False Prophet, pp. 2-4:

The section of the prophecy of Revelation 13 which describes the first beast, can be divided in two parts: 1) A symbolic description of the beast itself and a brief overview of its history (vs. 1-4); and 2) What it was to do in the time period allotted (vs. 5-7). . . .

As the description and comment on the first beast is concluded, there is found a clause that will be repeated several times in the ensuing revelation - them "that dwell on the earth." (13:8, 12, 14-2x; 14:6; 17:2) Since the warning in Chapter 12, was to the "inhabiters" (v. 12) of the earth, and since the second beast comes "up out of the earth" (13:11), is this phraseology to be restricted to the area prophetically designated the earth? Or is to be given the concept which we give to earth - the whole planet? The answer to this question will even affect the understanding of Revelation 14:6. Should the text read as in the KJV - "unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." Or, should the conjunctive, kai, be given its alternate meaning with the text reading, "unto them that dwell on the earth, also to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." In other words, was "the everlasting gospel" to be first proclaimed to the dwellers of the prophetic "earth" and then to every nation worldwide. This is historically what happened. Does this fact, therefore, help us to read aright as prophetic language - "them that dwell on the earth."

In the Greek New Testament text of the United Bible Societies different Greek words are used in the various verses in Revelation 12, 13, 14, and 17 for the word, "dwell" in the clause, "that dwell on the earth." Only in Chapter 13, is the Greek word the same for "dwell" in verses 8 and 14. However, in the Received Text (Textus Receptus), the same word for "dwell" (katoikeo) is used consistently in Rev. 12:12; 13:8, 14; 14:6; and 17:2. If this is then to be interpreted prophetically, it adds a different dimension to the understanding of where the final events will be focused. Those "that dwell on the earth" will "worship him (the beast)" (13:8). They will be deceived into making an image to the beast (13:14). They will become intoxicated with the wine of the harlot (17:2). (Italicized emphasis added.)

It would also appear when the "whole" earth is meant rather than its use as a prophetic symbol, the word, "dwell" is not used, but rather holos, meaning entire, is associated with the word, "earth." See 13:3.

In the connecting verses between the two "beasts" of Revelation 13, there is both warning and admonition. "All that dwell on the earth shall worship the first beast" with but one exception, those whose names are "written in the book of life of the Lamb" do not do so (13:8). Recognizing that the first beast represents the Papacy, then one criterion which determines where our names are placed is our attitude toward Roman Catholicism. This includes much more than mere Sunday observance. The doctrine of the Trinity - basic in Romanism, the Eucharist, and other issues enter the picture. Little wonder then that the admonition follows - "If any man have an ear, let him hear." (13:9) (Italicized emphasis added.)

In Rev. 13:10 an unique comment is made - "Here is the patience and faith of the saints." It is found again in Revelation 14:12, and only in these two texts in Revelation. Do these serve as "brackets" for the revelation that is given between? If so, then this call to observe the steadfastness of "the saints" is associated with the activities of the second beast of chapter 13 and the giving of the Three Angels' Messages.

The second beast came "up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon." (13:11) Two things of importance need to be noted. The prophetic symbolism does not connect this beast with the other beasts - there is no common denominator, the multiple heads or horns which mark the other beast symbols are missing. Only two horns are noted. No prophetic or literal time factors are associated with this second beast. He doesn't speak as "the dragon," but simply "as a dragon."" His two horns are like the horns of a lamb." The symbolism combines the two representations which in Chapter 12 are pictured as in deadly conflict, the dragon and the Lamb.

This beast "exerciseth all the power (authority - exousia) of the first beast." Is this saying that its authority is derived from the same source as the first beast, or is it stating that its controlling influence is as extensive as was that of the first beast, or both? The evident time of prophetic emphasis for the second beast is after the deadly wound of the first beast "was healed." (v. 12) Is it then, that we are to consider the exercise of, and source for its authority? If so, the activities of this beast, as described in Chapter 13, would not find fulfillment until after 1929, when the deadly wound began to be healed. But when was it "healed"?

One of the wonders which this beast performs is to make "fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men." (v. 13) This beast is defined as "the false prophet." (19:20) The allusion to fire coming down from heaven, being done by a prophet, calls to mind, Elijah who is to come before "the great and dreadful day of the Lord." (Mal. 4:5) This is telling us two things: 1) In the final confrontation, there will be a reversal of evidence. The false and deceptive will produce what will appear to be genuine evidence of Divine manifestation. And 2) This second beast is a religious power seeking to fulfill the role of Elijah.

In determining the identity of this "beast power," we have given it two identifications, the United States and Apostate Protestantism. In the transitional verses from the first beast to the second, is found the dictum - "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity." This is interpreted as having been fulfilled in taking the Pope captive, and by declaring the government of the Papacy at an end in 1798, thus concluding the 1260 prophetic days. It was at this time, as the Papacy ceased its domination over "the kings of the earth," that the United States came into existence as a nation - "coming up out of the earth." However, to so interpret, excludes the identification as Protestantism, because Protestantism arose in the area prophetically identified as "the sea," and over two hundreds years before the downfall of the Pope. We can respond that it is Apostate Protestantism that is being identified since the symbol is termed, "the false prophet." If this be so, then one must ask, "When did Protestantism become apostate?" To this, we have responded that this state resulted from the rejection of the First Angel's Message. And textually the First Angel's Message is placed in the setting of this prophetic revelation to John, with the Second Angel proclaiming the fall of Babylon, of which the "false prophet" is one part. (Rev. 16:13, 19)

In recognizing this "beast" as a religious power we must also recognize two other factors of prophecy. 1) As noted above, the prophetic emphasis in Revelation 13 is on the activities of the "false prophet" after the "deadly wound was healed." This extends the time element for the main thrust of "apostate" Protestantism well over 100 years from the above date (1844) set for its inception. 2) This religious force causes the "image" to be formed. (13:14) The "image" to the first beast would be religio-political even as the Papacy was and is. It must also be understood, that this "religious" power says to those "that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast." This clearly indicates that the political power through which the "image" will be formed is democratic, the electorate is asked to grant the authority. But the "life" of this image is given to it by the "false prophet." (13:15)

Penalties for failure to come into line are twofold: 1) The "false prophet" initiates economic sanctions (13:16-17). 2) The created "image" of the union of church and state - issues the death decree (13:15).

The final verse of Revelation 13 - verse 18 - demands careful exegesis. It can be noted as both a literal fact, and it can convey spiritual import. Use of this verse has been made by Adventist evangelists by identifying the Pope with title - VICARIVS FILI DEI - which in the Latin equals - 666. A publication recently came to this desk which claimed that this title "has long been a forgery of Adventist publishing and is thoroughly fraudulent." Documentation was given for this charge from a work by Gilbert M. Valentine, The Shaping of Adventism, published by Andrews University. Evidently someone has not done their homework, and this would include George R. Knight, who chaired Valentine's original research. It is the Catholic Church itself which admits that "the title of the Pope of Rome is Vicarious Filii Dei. This is inscribed on his mitre; and if you take the letters of his title which represent Latin numerals (printed large) and add them together they come to 666."

A spiritual truth is also hidden in this number and "wisdom." The Greek text reads - "For a number of man, it is" - no article, and the word for man is anthropos. Six is one shy of seven, which is a Biblical perfect number, but it is a combination of three sixes, three being another perfect number. Thus the number 666 could be interpreted as perfected imperfection. This even carries overtones of "six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work." Man in the worship of the works of his hands - Cain worship - and self glorification, cannot "Fear God and give glory to Him ... and worship Him who made ..." providing for man, the seventh day of rest, which is the essence of the First Angel's Message. (14:6-7) The Third Angel's Message also addresses this issue. "If any man worship the beast," but the "beast" is man in the height of his imperfection and rebellion against God.

This full picture justifies Thayer's definition of "the Wicked" one, "the man of sin," as "he in whom all iniquity has as it were fixed its abode" (II Thess. 2:8.) (See Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 48, art. anomos) This is the one which the "false prophet" leads those who dwell on the earth to worship. (Italicized emphasis added.)

From WWN7(95) - Exegesis of Revelation, Part 3, The 144,000 and the Three Angels, pp. 3-4:

The third angel joins the other two. However, in John's recording of this message, he places it in the present tense - "If any man is worshiping (proskunei) the beast and his image, and is receiving (lambanei) a mark ...." (14:9) This message, therefore, except in a warning of what will be, cannot be "present truth" until the "mark" is in place, and the proclamation to worship is made. It needs to be kept in mind that the cause to worship this beast is contingent on the fact that "the deadly wound was healed." (13:12)

When we consider the "wisdom" and "understanding" given to John in the previous chapter (13:18), we discover that the basic element in this warning is against the worship of man for the "beast" is a man! The third angel joins his voice in warning that the rejection of the everlasting gospel's imperatives - "Fear God, and give glory to Him ... and worship Him who made" - and in its place, worshiping man in whatever form that may take, brings "the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture." (14:10)

In the final confrontation when all that dwell on the face of the earth bow in worship to the beast that had a deadly wound and "was healed," there will be a "remnant of Israel" who, as the Three Worthies before them, refuse to bow to the image - they will keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (14:12) It will be a trying ordeal for it will reveal the "endurance" (patience - KJV) of the saints. "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (Matt. 24:13) (Bold emphasis added.)

From WWN1(87) - :

The first "beast" of Revelation 13 is likewise both political and ecclesiastical. It is given a "seat," "power," and "great authority" by the dragon - the Devil and Satan. (13:2; 12:9) The Devil boasted to Christ that the kingdoms (governments) of this world belonged to him, and "to whomsoever he would give them." (Luke 4:6) But this beast is also ecclesiastical - worship is involved. (13:4)

The second "beast" of Revelation 13 is likewise both political and ecclesiastical. It exercises all the power of the first beast whose power was derived from the dragon. (13:12, 2) It has ecclesiastical overtones - it "causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast., whose deadly wound was healed." (13:12) But its horns of power are separated - "two horns like a lamb." This power arising out of "the earth" rather than "the sea" has been accurately identified with the American nation. From the United States is to come the suggestion of the formation of the "image to the beast." (13:14)

In the formation of this image which will demand obeisance to the beast through a mark, name, or number is a vital principle interlocked with the Third Angel's Message. The message is - "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark ..." (14:9) This is clearly defined by the "wisdom" of God. Those who accept God's wisdom have "understanding." The text says - "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man." (13:18) The worship of the beast in principle is the worship of man. The image to the beast in principle is the setting up of an organization in which man appropriates to himself that which belongs to God alone, and causes the adherents to that organization to give their allegiance under threat of excommunication. (Bold emphasis added.)

From WWN4(87) - The Jewish Equation -- Part I:

A Look at Revelation

The book of Revelation naturally divides itself into two sections: Chapters 1-11 & 12-22. The final section contains two predominant symbols - two women and two cities - with the other symbols either as war with, or in alliance with these two women or cities.

As the final section of the prophecy opens, the power operating behind the symbols of the book of Daniel is revealed - the dragon, that old serpent, the devil or Satan. However, because of the victory of the Cross, he is pictured as defeated, and a time limit set upon his activities. He is "cast down" (12:10) and he knows he has "but a short time." (12:12)

Satan is also pictured as operating behind a facade. He gives "his power, and his seat, and great authority" to the beast, one of whose heads is "wounded to death." (13:2-3) He has his prophet, "a false Elijah," who though lamb-like speaks as a "dragon." (Comp. 13:14 with 19:20; note 13:11,13) It is this false prophet who suggests "to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had a wound by a sword and did live." (13:14)

God's response to all "of this behind-the scenes activity of Satan is a message of warning that if- anyone worships .the beast and his image shall suffer the wrath of God which is poured out in the Seven Last Plagues (14: 9-10, 15:1

During the portrayal of the Seven Last Plagues to John, he is shown the second woman - "the great whore that sitteth upon many waters." (17: 1) The woman, Babylon, (17:5,18) had been seen sitting on the River Euphrates which was dried up under the sixth plague (16:12) But when one of the angels of the plagues reveals in symbolic detail this whore, she is riding upon a scarlet colored beast. (17:3)

This beast is defined as one that "was, and is not, and yet is," and though being "the eighth" is "of the seven." (17:8,11) He is the source of the seven heads. In John's day, five had fallen - Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. One was - Rome. Daniel noted it consistently as being in two phases - pagan and papal. One was yet to come - the 2nd beast of Rev. 13, or the false prophet. (See 17:10)

The beast of Rev. 17 carrying the whore is the "yet is" phase of Satan. And it is in this connection that Revelation 17 touches Daniel 11:45. (Bold and italicized emphasis added.)

From WWN5(87) - The Jewish Equation -- Part 2:

The Seven Last Plagues

There is a principle to the interpretation of the revelations given in the Seven Last Plagues chapter which is frequently overlooked. All the plagues, save one, constitutes God's response to what man has done in probationary time. (The one exception is the third plague which is a repeat of, "blood" due to the death decree against the"saints". See comment, Great Controversy, p. 628) This principle of understanding Revelation 16 is easily seen by noting the first plague. (16:2) The "grievous sore" falls on those who "had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image." When was this mark received, and when was this worship begun? Before or after the close of probation? The answer is simple - prior to the close of probation. Using this same principle for the sixth plague, we find the plague itself falls "upon the great river Euphrates." (16:12) Its results carry over into the seventh plague "great Babylon comes into remembrance before God." (16:19) But what causes God to pour out this plague? The answer is that the triumvirate of evil - the dragon, beast (Rev. 13), and the false prophet (2nd beast of Rev.13) - gather the rulers of earth to Har-Magedon.

Lest there be a misunderstanding, let it be clearly understood that all the Seven Last Plagues come after the close of human probation. However, the explanation as to why the plague is poured out is distinctly separate from the plague itself. This needs to be understood and distinguished in the study of Revelation 16. Thus Revelation 16:13-16 will be fulfilled prior to the close of probation. (See use made of Rev. 16:13-14 in Great Controversy, pp. 561-562)

While the sixth plague is poured out on what is termed "the great river Euphrates," the "spirits of devils" had gathered the leadership of earth with their forces to a place with a Hebrew designation. Herein is a factor of the Jewish equation. God's wrath reveals how He views this development. To Him it is what He has always revealed it to be - Babylon, the epitome of rebellion. Thus the symbolism of "the great river Euphrates," and the fact that the "whore" is carried by the beast that "was, and is not, and yet is" who makes war with the Lamb. (Rev.17:14) But the spirits of devils do not gather their devotees to the river Euphrates, but rather to a place called in the Hebrew, Har-Magedon. . . .

Har-Magedon

In the Hebrew language - har - means, mountain. This rules out "Megiddo" for it is a valley. (Zech. 12:11) However, there is a mountain named in the Old Testament which meets linguistic requirements. It is called, har-mo'ed - Mount of the Congregation. It is described as being "in the sides of the north" or Mt. Zion "the city of the great King." (See Isa. 14:13; Ps. 48:2) By noting the objectives of Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12-14, it is he who plans to "sit upon the mount of the congregation" - har-mo'ed. To this end, the spirits of devils gather the nations of the earth. Daniel simply states - "He shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain." (11:45) To John it revealed that "the spirits of devils" coming from the dragon, beast and false prophet gather the nations to the mount of the congregation. But the prophetic message behind this symbolism is that literal Jerusalem is to be made "an holy city" from man's view-point, while God's view-point the deception is in reality, Babylon the Great. The significance to us is that when this occurs, the prophecy states - "And at that time shall Michael stand up." (Dan. 12:1) "But the true leader of all of this rebellion is Satan clothed as an angel of light. Men will be deceived and will exalt him to the place of God, and deify him. But Omnipotence will interpose, and to the apostate churches that unite in exaltation of Satan, the sentence will go forth, 'Therefore shall her plagues come in one day...'" (TM, p. 62) How near are we to the fulfillment of this Divine edict? (Bold and italicized emphasis added.)