And the mysterious Mark of the Beast!
What are they symbols of?
The image above is a picture of a picture that has been digitally expanded into a mirror image of itself. This was done as a cover design for the hard copies of the older booklet. The idea with the expanded picture is to promote the theme of the booklet and its title. The information within, since first written has been updated, reduced and re-edited by the author, now to be used on TCOGMSO. No hard copies are available at this time, as this is designed for internet use only but can be freely downloaded. I hope you enjoy and benefit from your study into---
“THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST”.
Another persecution and then martyrdom of saints is coming soon, to be brought on by this Image of the beast. Humanity needs to know what to look for & avoid, by being able to recognizing and identifying the beasts, the mark, and this Image of the beast! These are all explained and revealed in your Bible.
So the main focus of this booklet will be on this “Image of the beast” and what it symbolizes, where & what it is today, and this Mark, because we are fast approaching the time when this is going to come on the world as something forced on humanity as has been done before, and catch the majority totally off guard! For that reason, we will see many scriptural quotes, fully printed out when necessary, to make the intended point, BUT—it is still the desire and recommendation, that you look them up and read them from your own bible!
(Scriptural content when not shown will be from the New King James Version of the bible, Thomas Nelson ©.)
The 13th chapter of the book of Revelation actually reveals a prophecy that is to us, both history and coming future events, hidden in symbolism and spanning a time frame of over two thousand years! This will be brought out as we go through this information about the Biblical “Beast” and the Image of the beast. After this prelude, the rest of the booklet will be in two separate parts, though interconnected by the entire contents. Part two will be much longer with much more content. It is the hope of the author that you find this both interesting and helpful reading, to be able to recognize what the Image of the beast is, and what the Mark of the beast is! The bible uses symbolism throughout Old and New Testaments and always interprets its own symbolism, something to keep in mind while reading through this material. The answer to what these symbols represent is explained by the use of scriptures found elsewhere in the bible.
Given in the book of Revelation are many prophecies that relate to events that were to begin to occur very shortly after they were revealed to the aged Apostle John! Some fulfillment of prophecy though, as we will see, was already happening when John was given these visions of Revelation, some of which is very similar and relate to visions given to Daniel, of the Old Testament period. They would continue through time until culminating in the return of Jesus Christ and His intervention into world affairs, centuries later! Some of them deal specifically with the “Day of the Lord” and others lead up to it! The scripture given below is yet future, during the time that God is beginning to pour out His wrath on all mankind and it deals with those who worship this image of the beast and receive its mark, possibly in your lifetime!
Rev 16:2 “So the first (Angel) went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.”
Is it possible that millions of people unsuspectingly already do carry around this mark, both here in the United States, as well as all around the world! Is it possible also the image of the beast is being worshipped today by those same millions? Who would choose to worship this image of the beast? Those who do not know they are!
This is not the first place this Image of the beast is mentioned in scripture, as it is spoken of many times in this last book of the Bible, as we will see. No one in their right mind would want this sort of thing to happen to them or their loved ones that is described above, so we should want to know what to avoid! This booklet is written specifically for that purpose and will help you know what to look for, and guard against getting involved with, right now and in the near future!
As surprising as it may seem, many will WORSHIP this “image” voluntarily BECAUSE they already do, not knowing what it is!
So, we need to know what these beasts are, as well as what the image of the beast is, so as not to be among those who are deceived into worshipping it and taking the mark! We can know what this image is, if we study and will believe the Word of God in our Bibles, and what it reveals for us, along with historical facts! But even doing that, we must be very diligent in our efforts to get at the truth and not just believe everything that is written on this subject, because there are confusing statements and beliefs about this “IMAGE”, and, depending on what translations of the bible you read from, the Bible itself, mistranslated, could also confuse you! Also the word “image” can have more than one Biblical meaning, as we will see. Given below are some examples of what I have just stated about Bible translations.
Rev 13:14-15, from the Living bible says this: 14--- “And he ordered the people of the world to make a great statue of the first Creature, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life.
15 He was permitted to give breath to this statue and even make it speak!”---
Many other translations use this same explanation in the wording, mistranslating the word “image” to mean a statue of some kind. Some of these translations are the James Moffatt translation of the bible, J.B. Phillips modern English, and a bible produced for students called “God’s Word for students” and there are others!
On top of that, to further confuse those that do try to find the truth about what this image is, many study Bibles that have commentaries, -and just commentaries by themselves-, are also deceptive by referring to this image as a statue of some kind, simply because their author’s minds have never been open to understand it any other way! But is that really what GOD wants us to learn from these scriptures that mention the image of the beast?
Are we to be looking for some authoritative religious figure to come on the scene that will make some “statue” to supernaturally speak and be worshipped?
Does the word “Image” in this context have to mean a statue? That would be Idolatry pure and simple, if you believe in keeping the Commandments of God as scripture commands, then that would be very easy to recognize by most who read their Bibles, would it not?
Satan the devil is a very clever spirit being that does deceive the whole world, Rev 12:9, and is in fact the god of this world! (II Cor. 4:4.) He uses every method of deception there is to continue to keep the majority blind to the truth. He even has his own ministers that pose as ministers of righteousness, and we can see that, quoted below, in 2 Cor 11:13-15 ( From the RSV)
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
Jesus Christ himself foretold of this in Matt 24:23-25, where we see this written: 23 "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. 24 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 "See, I have told you beforehand.”
The Bible is, as some refer to it, a “coded” book, that is, it is written in various parables from Christ, with many symbols and visions both Old and New testaments, so that the general public will not understand. (Mark 4:11-12) But the Bible always interprets its own symbols, and in fact we are told by scripture itself, in 2 Pet 1:20-21 “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
What we see in the book of Revelation is Prophecy, and much of it yet to be fulfilled, especially concerning this “Image of the beast” and the mark of the beast, in this 21st century! But before we get to far into explaining this IMAGE, let us go back and quickly see a little bit about the two beasts of Rev.13, and then we will devote more time to this “image of the beast” and its mark!
Much has been said and written on the subject of the beast of Revelation or the coming beast power and prophecy concerning it, for many years now. Several different church organizations have written articles and booklets of late, and some secular writers have even written books that somehow relate to the subject. God’s true church, now for the past 80 years or more, has been revealing much truth related to the subject of prophecy, audibly proclaiming it over the air waves and giving it away in written form to whomever would request it. Radio, then television was utilized during all these years, now also on the internet, via various members, still offering this information free of charge!
Herbert W. Armstrong was inspired to set us this standard in Gods church, for those who would willingly follow! He, as a 20th century Prophet and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, first began to understand, and proclaim this “Beast power,” its revivals and that one in the form of a dictator was about to appear, way back in the 1930’s! Mussolini was already on the scene, at that time, and he had made the claim that he had restored (revived) the Holy Roman Empire! Then Hitler allied with him, rose to power in Germany as a dictator and the world was launched into W.W.II! It has been revealed since the war and through historical documents lately made public, Hitler’s aim was to conquer America and Britain, and rule the world! Though he did not succeed, there is yet to come one last revival that will fulfill these prophesies that the Church of God has been proclaiming!
Herbert Armstrong, after the war was over, and seeing that most of this prophecy still pertained to the future, later wrote much about the beast power to come, how it would affect those living in the end time era, and that there would possibly be a nuclear Holocaust, or perhaps a W.W.III—possibly brought on by this beast power, that would kill millions in America and Britain and enslave the rest, just before the return of Jesus Christ to establishing of the Kingdom of God on this earth! He based his findings on both old and New Testament prophecy, that God had opened his mind to understand! We cannot read into Scripture times and dates and perhaps even certain personalities that will fulfill prophecy, which is God’s prerogative to reveal. The Church of God today, still proclaims this message of truth to the world and time is rapidly running out it seems!
Jesus made statements, as well as other passages of scripture do, foretelling this time as the time of increasing sorrows that lead into the great tribulation. Matt. 24:21&22 and Jer.30:7, as well as Daniel 12:1, show this as a time of trouble so great that unless God intervened, sending Jesus back, all humanity would be destroyed! Even though this is coming on the whole world, the brunt of this trouble seems to come on Jacob, (Jer.30:7) whose name was changed to Israel and their descendants! There is also Prophecy in the book of Ezekiel, that pertains to this end time as well, that deals directly with modern day Israel! (For more on this subject see the booklet titled “America & Britain in Prophecy” written by the late Raymond F. McNair.)
Because of the statements made above, dealing with the wealth of information involving the first beast, some can easily be obtained from many other sources, we will not go into a great deal of scripture and explanation, dealing with the first beast, limiting space to only a few scriptures of prophecy and comment, including some quotes from some of H.W. Armstrong’s writings, so we can move on to the 2nd beast and then to the Image and mark of the beast and their explanations.
This beast (Rev.13:1) is clearly identified by scripture and history as the Roman Empire, which was already on the scene when Christ was born! By going back to some of Daniels prophecies on this subject, one can quickly see that God revealed to Daniel four great beasts and the interpretation of what these beasts symbolize! (Chapter seven) By comparing these prophecies with others and historical record, and the afore mentioned written material, it is easy to come to the right conclusion that the 4th beast Daniel saw in vision, and the first beast of Rev.13 are symbols of the Roman Empire! One thing that we need to keep uppermost in mind is that this book of Revelation, given to John by Christ, was to span over 2000 years of time!
The prophecies contained within this book of Revelation were to add understanding to other prophecy, details of fulfillment of those, coming all the way down and including the very end time! Much of these prophecies are yet future, but some of Daniels prophecy pertaining to what developed into this subject had already been fulfilled, or were already taking shape in preparation for future events, during Christ’s time. This book of Revelation is to REVEAL prophecy, (Ch.1.V.1) not to make other parts of the Bible irrelevant or render them untruthful.
The emperors that ruled for the first few hundred years in the Roman Empire considered themselves to be gods and people had to pay homage to them as such, and also submit to the rule, or government, (The “beast”) of the Roman Empire or suffer the consequences! All of this is easily determined by a simple study of that history and this all coincides with what is recorded in the book of Revelation 13 and the verses dealing with the first beast recorded there. We also learn by these same few verses that those who worship this beast are actually worshipping Satan the devil, the “dragon”, who gives this beast authority and deceives the whole world! (Rev. 12:9) This system was not a Godly system at all, but of the Devil and Satan through man! It was also used by Satan the Devil to try and destroy the Christ Child! (Matt.2:16 & Rev.12:4)
Another thing we see in these verses of Rev.13 is that one of the “heads” of this beast receives a mortal, or deadly wound! Here are quotes from a booklet produced in 1960 by Herbert W. Armstrong, Titled “WHO is the Beast?” “The deadly wound, then, was the one administered to the Roman Empire, when in its last decaying stages, the barbarians overran it, ending its government in A.D. 476.” And another quote: “But when the seventh head of this great beast received its deadly wound in A.D.476, was that the end? No, the prophecy says “his deadly wound was healed…and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”
And, as history reveals, the symbolic “wound” being healed, was done by Justinian. Here again is another quote from the booklet mentioned above:
“In A.D. 554, Justinian, Emperor of the east, from Constantinople, set up his government through an Imperial Legate at Ravenna, Italy, and brought about what is known in history as the “Imperial Restoration” of the Empire.”
Mr. Armstrong states that the beast was to “continue forty two months” and that period is calculated in different ways, depending on the context of where it is being used. One is a day representing a year, as given in scripture, (Ezek.4:4-6, Num. 14:34) which amounts to 1260 years, and that from 554 to 1814 the duration of the healed beast was exactly 1260 years! Also we need to keep in mind that many prophecies in the Bible are dual, having a former and a later fulfillment! This one, “forty two months” can apply both to the 1260 years and the last 3 & ½ years of the two witnesses, or 1260 literal days! (See Rev.11:2) Many other historical statements and prophecies could be gone into here, dealing with this first beast which we have established as the Roman Empire, but we will go on now to the 2nd beast of Rev. 13, and then on to the IMAGE of the BEAST and the mark! The first beast will also come into play from time to time as we continue.
We need desperately to be able to recognize these Biblical symbols, as they will undoubtedly affect every human alive, in the very near future! There is to be one last revival of this prophetic beast and that is just ahead of us, very possibly in your future! So we come now to the second beast and what part it plays or symbolizes, mentioned in Rev.13!
Rev 13:11 “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.”
Here, unlike the first beast, this one rises out of the earth. The first one rose out of the sea, which shows it to be synonymous with Daniel’s fourth beast and became a world ruling empire! (See Dan 7:2-3, 7)
(As we have already brought out, this symbolized the Roman Empire and it’s various stages down through time. This truth began to be revealed in the early 20th century, and in the very near future it will again come on the scene one last time and possibly as the “Holy Roman Empire”—but more on this later.)
So, this second beast that rises out of the earth, what is it a symbol of? Remembering the first beast represents a world ruling government in the form of an Empire that spans hundreds of years with many human leaders, its consecutive Emperors or later dictators! There are several things about this 2nd beast that are similar—but different! First, we need to take note of the fact that it rise’s out of the earth! When God created man, he was brought forth out of the earth; Gen 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
Man came from the dust of the earth to rule with God’s Government! The second beast rise’s out of the earth in the form of a man claiming to be God ordained, not a world ruling empire, but it also represents an office that would continue through time that would successively be held by a man who appears like or claims to be a lamb, especially in our time today and the very near future. This man brings about and dominates a system “like” the first beast! Now, who in scripture is referred to as a lamb? This will begin to give us some clue as to what this is talking about.
We must remember that the Bible explains its own symbolism!
Christ our savior is the Lamb of God!
We see that in several instances. John the Baptist mentioned it, (John 1:29) we can also see by reading the 5th chapter of Revelation that Christ is being talked about as the Lamb of God. And in Rev.13:8 we see it again, so it should be obvious that the “lamb” in Rev.13:11 is referring to one who tries to appear like or claims to be in place of Christ the Lamb of God, but yet speaks like a dragon! Would Christ ever speak like a dragon, the symbol of the devil who is deceiving people? Would Christ inspire through the Holy Spirit one of His true servants to do so? Again, who is the dragon? Rev 12:9 “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
We know that Christ would never speak like the Devil, using deceptive methods to deceive the world! He spoke for God when He walked the earth and even told those Jews in His time that they were of “their father the devil” because they lied and rejected God and His Son in order to continue right on with their doctrines, commandments and traditions of men. (Mark 7:6-8) So this is a counterfeit, or false christ, that scripture tells us about in many different places! Daniels prophecy (chapter 7) refers to this counterfeit, as the “horn” that had eyes like a man, who spoke “pompous words”! This same prophecy reveals this “horn” that speaks pompous words was persecuting the Saints! (Dan.7:20-21) This same individual crops up in several places and is called different things, but the office is the same—that of the second beast. This has some history and has already had some fulfilment in the past and will again in the near future! We can also see that Christ himself will destroy the end time individual, called the MAN OF SIN (2Thes.2:1-4) the false prophet (Rev.19:20) that will perform Lying signs and wonders (2Thes. 2:9 & Rev.13:13) is the one who holds the office labeled the 2nd beast at Christ’s 2nd coming! We further see, by reading Rev. 13:12 that this second beast uses the same authority as the first beast, which comes from the devil! (Rev.13:4)
(The Roman Empire was a great warring and conquering empire, and had the strength of iron According to Daniels prophesies, so that none could stand against it, because Satan the Devil, the god of this world, was the unseen power behind it and each of its revivals! It will again dominate most of the world, headed by an individual that will bring about its last revival and the book of Revelation refers to it as the Beast!)
So now we can see that those who worship this 1st or “empirical” beast or the Roman Empire with its governmental system are actually worshipping Satan the Devil and his system! Remember, we already saw that Satan is the god of this world! (II Cor. 4:4) Now, something else about the second beast is, as we have already seen a little bit by Daniels prophecy, this can and is referring to a man that heads up a false religious system and is not the world ruling Roman Empire, but he will align himself with the beast at the end once again! This shows us that there will be A MAN (or the office of a man) on the scene right before Christ’s return that uses power and authority that causes a great falling away from the truth of God, by his religious system! We can see some more of what else this man is going to do and where that power comes from, starting to develop during the time of the early COG! Notice these next verses from 2Thess.2: V.9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
And now notice further about this same individual that we have just read about that the 2nd beast symbolizes! Rev 13:13 “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” And again, notice this passage in Rev 19:20 “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet (clearly one individual) who worked signs in his (The first beasts) presence, by which he (2nd beast) deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
We must keep in mind that the first beast, as we have seen and has been well documented by others, symbolized a world ruling empire, the Roman empire, headed by many different emperors, spanning over 2000 years with its revivals, and was on the scene in Christ’s time! This is the first beast that Rev.13 mentions that had the deadly wound but was healed. (Or restored) It should not be difficult then, for us to grasp that the 2nd beast of that chapter may also have been around for hundreds of years, with successive individuals playing that role and filling that office which it represents. If you notice the passage above reveals something about the Image that is worshipped. Scripture say’s it is HIS image. So is it a statue of a man—or is it something else?
So, this now brings us to this IMAGE OF THE BEAST!
BUT, let’s not forget what we have seen to this point, that the first beast represents the Roman Empire and its revivals. The authority of it comes from Satan the devil and passes on to the second beast, who, as we have seen, symbolizes another office or system that a man holds, -not the empirical system of the Roman empire,- but another one—an ecclesiastical system who also draws on Satan’s power and uses it to deceive the whole world; even causes them to receive his mark and worship the Image of the beast! The use of the word “worshiped” certainly indicates some kind of a religious system!
The second beast, the man of sin, the great false prophet, and the one in Daniels prophecy speaking “pompous words” and changing times and Laws are all of the same office and system that has produced this “IMAGE” of the beast as it moved on through time!
They all have some connection to this 2nd beast and its office! That is why scripture say it is HIS Image. It is the “office” of this 2nd beast that is able to bring into being—this Image of the beast, through course of time, as we will see. Also, we need to keep in mind that these “beasts” are only symbols of something else, as we have already seen! This will be explained with more detail as we get into part two of The image of the beast! There will be some further explanation of both of these beasts as they connect up to what we are now going to see as the Image of the beast! The reader must remember -or at least check the scriptures- that tells us this message will go forth before Christ establishes the soon coming Kingdom of God here on this earth, which He will do! Notice it from the Revised Standard Version, as the 3rd Angels message: Rev 14:9-11
V.9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If any one worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,
10 he also shall drink the wine of God's wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
11 And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name." (RSV)
To fully understand this “image of the beast”, we need to go back now and fill in some other details that are connected and get some more historical and scriptural background that relates to the second beast and this image of the beast. Remember, it was the 2nd beast that caused the image to be formed and those that dwell on the earth are to worship it, receive its mark or be killed! Much of this prophecy is still future, but as surprising as it may seem, the Image of the beast has already been around, being worshipped, for hundreds of years and by millions of people as we are about to see!
The 2nd beast also caused people to receive this mark! Even though it is the mark of the beast, scripture tells us it is the mark or number of his name, and of a man! (Read Rev.13:17&18) This mark, then, may or may not pertain as strongly, in our immediate future, to the first beast as it does the 2nd one and what is just ahead, in the near future when we examine the wording carefully! This is something to consider, as we proceed! However, we do not want to confuse the fact there are many times dual applications of prophecy in scripture and this could certainly be one of them. What we see applying to the first beast also transfers over to the 2nd beast, such as to where they get their power and authority from and the fact that this image, even though brought into being by the second beast, is an image of the first, so this is something else to keep in mind as we go along.
To get a good understanding of approximately when this 2nd beast began to come on the scene and the “man” or office it could symbolize, we need to go back to the Apostolic Christian era of time and come back up through time from there, to the present. On the way, we will also learn about what the image of the beast is and approximately when it came into being as well as when this “2nd beast” began to come on the scene! But keep in mind that the beast itself, the first beast, is what was first worshiped and that was the Roman Empire with its empirical king’s “Caesars” and their governmental structure. That includes a man at the top and others with power to rule under him, in their empire or realm of authority!
As most bible students know, Satan the devil tried to destroy Christ as a child through king Herod, as mentioned earlier, then again by temptation, just as he was about to begin His ministry. When Satan realized he could not succeed in destroying Christ, even by death of crucifixion, he then set out to destroy the Church Christ was beginning to build by persecuting and deceiving those in the church. Much of this is revealed throughout the New Testament, and in the 12th chapter of the book of Revelation. But Christ had already warned His disciples of coming persecutions and deceptions and they remained strong and united, the church continuing to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ!
So, Satan came up with an old strategy that he had used successfully already with the Roman Empire! He began to apply this old Military strategy of divide and conquer, attacking with persecution to try and destroy the Church of God. To divide and conquer inside the church, to destroy it by internal corruption, keeping it small and at the same time build a large church of his own, as a clever counterfeit, that would grow rich and powerful, to claim it was the church of god with Christ already returned and leading it in the body of a man! We can see from scripture and historical record, looking back on these things—that is exactly what Satan has been able to accomplish! But it took a number of years to accomplish, and the deception to be put in place, as we will see. But even in the book of Acts, it becomes apparent that the True Church of God became scattered early on by persecutions. (2Pet.3:18)
The IMAGE of the BEAST, which is this counterfeit church of Satan the devil, (more about this later) began to be formed almost immediately after Christ returned to heaven and His True church began to grow, but it was not named this until many years had gone by and much had developed! We must remember that what John is seeing is prophecy that would span two thousand years of time! Also remember, we have already established that Satan is the god of this world we are now living in, and he is the “prince of the power of the air”-able to influence the unsuspecting minds of human beings! (See Eph. 2:1-3)
We have also already established that Satan was that ancient dragon, the deceiver of the whole world and that deception began with mother Eve!
How has Satan been able to keep an unsuspecting world deceived all this time, especially with so much of it “Christianity”? By creating a counterfeit church that gradually filled with paganism and claim it is true Christianity, and having his own ministers. (2 Cor.11:13-15) Satan has, leading up to and through this 2nd beast, deceived those who dwelt on the earth by creating the image of the beast! The majority of the world, even “Christianity” today, has already been worshipping this image for hundreds of years, not knowing what it is!
Why? Because, for the most part, those doing so are deceived! And that is the main reason for this booklet, to help to open the eyes of those who have been blinded to this truth, never really knowing the truth of the Bible about these things. The book of Revelation has a lot of symbolism in it and was not to be understood, as some of Daniels prophecy was also closed and sealed until the time of the end. Revelation is now being unveiled and has been for several decades, by the Holy Spirit and through the true Church of God. (Eph.3:10) Remember the terrible trouble revealed earlier, that is to come on those who worship the Image of the beast, and receive its mark? Let us go back now, to the early Church found in scripture and begin to piece this together, and bring it forward in time, because this has taken Satan several hundred years to accomplish, with the most horrendous time of suffering still in the future! But there are pieces of the “puzzle” scattered through history that helps us see this and put it all together, with the help of God’s Word, His true servants that are led by the Holy Spirit, and history that confirms much of what we see today! God will not allow these things to happen until the world receives a warning and these “mysteries” are revealed! (See Amos 3:7 –Matt.24:14 and Eph.3:9-11)
Let’s begin here again, quoting from the 20th century Apostle of Jesus Christ, Herbert W. Armstrong, who died on Jan.16, 1986. The following quotes are from his last book written, called “Mystery of the Ages” copyright 1985. (M.o.A, pg.51) “it seems incredible that a being like Satan not only could have deceived the whole world, but also “Christianity”—the very religion bearing Christ’s name and supposed to be his true religion. Yet, paradoxically, Satan did! He did it through his great false church, started A.D. 33 by Simon the Sorcerer, described in the 8th chapter of the book of Acts”—.( Now from page 52: )
“ Simon had bewitched the people of that country, and they had followed him as their leader in the Babylonian mystery religion “from the least to the greatest, saying this man is the great power of God” (Acts8:10)
You can read of this incident in scripture and find that this “Simon” actually was baptized by Phillip, followed him a short time, but then tried to buy Gods Holy Spirit to use for his own selfish purposes, and was severely rebuked by Simon Peter for it! MR. Armstrong goes on to say that: “Simon proclaimed himself a Christian apostle”--- This takes extensive historical study that reveals the pagan Babylonian mystery religion of the ancients subtly developed into what is now known as “Christianity.” Simon wanted to turn this pagan religion into a universal religion. Quoting again from the bottom of page 52:
“Simon, the “Pater” (Peter) of his counterfeit religion, did not accomplish this in his lifetime. But succeeding leaders, with headquarters moved to Rome, did, later gain control over the Roman Empire and its medieval successor, called “the Holy Roman Empire.” This empire is in the process of again being resurrected in Europe now!” (Top of pg. 53)
So, was Mr. Armstrong correct, in saying that this was the beginning of what came to be the great false church or, what is known today as the “Roman Catholic church”? Let’s look just briefly at a statement made by Christ to His Apostles, that will help us better understand the above statements and others to come, as we move on through the history of events. Matt 24:4-5 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.”
Christ was speaking directly to His disciples when He said this. They had asked Him what to look for, and He told them not to be deceived! Then the first thing He mentions deals with False Religion! People, who would come and profess Christ as the true Messiah but would not obey Him or teach His message of the coming kingdom of God. They would pervert the Gospel and twist the word of God to suite themselves! This clearly reveals that the things that were to come could be clever enough to even affect the disciples, in their time! So it did begin to happen in that time frame, just as Mr. Armstrong spoke of, the Bible and history reveals that to be the truth! Many today claim that the Catholic Church is “the Harlot of Rev. 17,” or has some connection to the antichrist, so can this also be true?
Could it be, that this image of the beast is the great false church, the “Harlot” of Rev.17, and Satan’s counterfeit church? Was this brought in by men who would later create the office of the 2nd beast yet is not known to the world at large? Is there another passage, given by Christ also, that reveals a great false religious movement beginning to occur very soon after the founding of the TRUE CHURCH, as HWA indicated? Note in Rev.6:1-2, the first seal opened by Christ, which reveals the very same thing that Christ was speaking of in Matt.24:4&5, quoted above. This would begin to happen in the Apostles time! A deception to begin in their lifetimes that would become great and deceive the majority of mankind down through the ages! This rider on this white horse goes out to conquer, and it has conquered the world’s religious systems, known today as “Christianity” by massive deceptions, using the Babylonian mystery religion which was beginning to re-emerge as “Christianity”. After all, when you read about the harlot of Rev.17, you will see very quickly that she is shrouded in mystery! The world truly is deceived on these matters! Satan the devil has truly deceived the whole world, as scripture reveals! He is very happy that the world, for the most part, does not yet recognize his counterfeit church, with its harlot daughters and false ministers spread all around the world!
Let’s continue to gather more facts, going now to some more scriptures to see what they reveal! Also, please keep in mind that the dates given for the writing times of books of the bible are only approximate in some cases, but are given to help establish a general time frame, to help the reader get a better picture of how this all has unfolded down through time!
I direct you now to the book of Galatians, chapter one, and the approximate time of it’s writing by the Apostle Paul was somewhere in the vicinity of 49 to 50 A.D., only some twenty years or less, after Christ sent the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, 31A.D.! Here we see clear evidence that what Herbert Armstrong wrote was truly already beginning to occur! Let’s continue on now, for more facts from scripture! Here Paul is revealing some were already distorting the Gospel; Gal 1:6-7 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, (Not the true gospel of Christ about the kingdom, but about Him and His person!) 7 which is not another, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
Very soon afterward, (Approximately 55 or 56 A.D.) when writing to the Corinthians, Paul was equally concerned that they were hearing falsehoods that they might accept! Notice it here in this passage. 2 Cor.11:1-4 Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly-- and indeed you do bear with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-- you may well put up with it!
(Some were “putting up” with it and it led them astray just as is happening in our time in “Christianity” and even in Gods true Church! Many are putting up with wrong things, coming from there “spiritual” leaders and some in the ministry that are leading them astray! A massive Apostasy occurred in the last decade of the 20th century, aimed at destroying the work of the true Church of God by Satan the devil!)
It is in this same chapter, verses 13-15, the Apostle Paul makes clear that Satan is already at work with His own ministers, and is counterfeiting himself as an angel of light! Another epistle of Paul, II Thessalonians chapter two mentioned earlier, Paul indicates the possibility of these things taking shape even earlier! This was written very soon after Galatians, about 51 A.D., or so. We can learn from these accounts that Paul was already aware of individuals that would speak and proclaim by word or letter as if it were from one of the true Apostles, that Christ had already returned, and he was warning them not to be deceived by these counterfeits because the time was not yet, but still future! The things he mentions that were to come, coincides with the later Prophecy, given to John in the book of Rev.13 concerning the second beast and the false prophet! But notice what he reveals to us in verse 5: “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things”?
Here is indication that Paul had told them about these things much early than the writing of the epistle, when he was still there with them, left and then later sent the letter to them. We are not given the details here, but we can determine that Paul was already well aware of individuals, quite possibly those false ministers mentioned in Corinthians, that might have already began to preach that the LAW was DONE AWAY, accepting Christ was all that mattered, the Ten Commandments no longer had to be obeyed, that Christ had returned in the office of some man and that the Kingdom was “set up in the hearts of men” and so on, the same things that much of modern “Christianity” teaches today! (Although it took these false doctrines many decades to finally come to its full force under Constantine, who declared himself to be a Christian.)
Notice these next verses, also from 2Thess.2: 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.” (Could the one who was “restraining” have been the apostle Paul himself?)
By reading the rest of the verses in your bible, you will see clearly that, even though lawlessness (the breaking of Gods Law) was already at work in that time, Paul understood and taught that there would be an end time fulfillment of these things and that Christ Himself would destroy the last lawless one, at His return! That is the very same individuals office and system, being spoken of as the 2nd beast, the great false prophet who performs signs and “lying wonders” in the presence of the first beast, the Roman empire!
The symbolism of the one in Daniels prophecy, the little horn speaking “pompous” words, the second beast of Rev.13:11, the false prophet of Rev.19:20, the man of sin and the “lawless one” in IIThess.2, and what gradually developed into the Papacy hundreds of years ago, are all actually SYMBOLISM that point to the same office! It is referring to men that will continue to occupy that office down through time! It is a LAWLESS system of lies and deceit that deceives the majority of the “Christian” world today! A system that Honors pagan practices and holidays that have come down to us from the ancient Babylonian Mystery Religion, but through what is here in Revelation referred to as the “Image of the beast” or, known today as the Roman Catholic Church, also seen in scripture as the “Harlot of Rev.17”!! The head of that church, the papacy, began to rule over even the emperors of the Roman Empire, during that 1260 years mentioned earlier! Notice this quote, again from the booklet “Who is the beast”-1960, page 19&20.
“We read in history that the popes were accepted as the “Vicars of Christ,” which means “in place of Christ.”— (and now from page 20:) “For the entire 1260 years, the emperors accepted the popes as such, ruling the nations with a “rod of iron” as Christ is to do when He really comes. Consequently they acknowledged the supreme religious power of the popes. The Church was organized as a Government in addition to actually ruling over the vast civil kingdom called the Holy Roman Empire.” (An actual “image” of the roman governmental structure with its emperor, as we will see.)
The first beast was found to be symbolism for the Roman Empire itself, which will again come on the scene in the very near future, in its final resurrection, possibly as a “United states of Europe” and it now may be in its final forming stages in the European Union! This final resurrection will be headed by Germany as its most powerful force. Mr. H. W. Armstrong prophesied back when they were building the dividing wall between East and West Germany, that it would not last! HE was proclaiming loud and clear, that the wall would be torn down, and they would again be re-united! His prophecy began to be fulfilled in 1989, with the destruction of the Berlin wall, and their unity has been growing stronger ever since that time in preparation for their final role! Many countries are now a part of that union. The symbolism of the second beast and the image of the beast may not have come on the scene fully, until the restoration of the Roman Empire by Justinian in 554, as shown above, but was definitely gaining power and influence, and the image was forming much earlier, with its head being put firmly in place, as we have seen.
The Apostle Paul was given the wisdom, as well as Peter and John, that this was going to occur because Christ had told them that it would, and now, the scripture that they wrote, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, reveals that they were actual witnesses to some of it happening!! Notice what Paul told the Elders of the Church, what we would call “the ministry” today and this was a prophecy to them and the church today to be on guard against! Acts 20:28-31 "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 "Also from among yourselves (Within the ministry of Gods own true church!) men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 "Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”
This must have been painful for Paul to see many of those individuals would fall away or be tempted to make perverse claims to gain a following within the COG realm. This has actually happened several times in the past, in Gods church as he stated! Do we see that happening all over again, within the ministries of the Churches of God groups today?
Yes, we do!!! And there should be no doubt about it!
But remember, they would be speaking some perverse things, not total truth, lies mixed with truth, to deceive—the same method the devil uses! The True Church has now become scattered, having members throughout many groups that claim Church of God status! Many truths are being watered down by those who have been known as long time ministers. But some few at least, are still striving to hold fast to God’s truth, focus on holding to top down government as Scripture indicates, using “multitude of counsel” and trying to stay together as they continuing to grow in grace, knowledge and love, still preaching the truths that were once for all delivered, (See Jude 3 & Rev.3:11) while also caring for the flock.(John 21:15-17)
The True Church of God, which is the spiritual organism—potential bride of Christ—continues to preach the same gospel that Christ and the Apostles proclaimed! Although a smaller flock now and scattered, being much less unified with differing organizations, some few are still trying to go through the open doors that Christ promised to those with the zeal to work and cry out the prophetic warnings. Jesus Christ, the Head of that body though now functioning without human Apostle, said His church would never die. However, other groups have now sprung up, led by men not staying totally on track with scripture, doctrines and the same calendar for Holy Days, who have set themselves up to be leaders, causing even more confusion and scattering the flock further! Some of those have made wild and most unbelievable claims to offices they think they should fit into, but have no qualifications or fruits for doing so, just like Simon Magus! But we must remember the true COG is NOT the great false church—or image of the beast—this is just an example of how careful true converts must be to keep from getting sucked into going down a wrong path and then drawn back into the world and its false religions. Satan has attacked true Christians from within the COG realm many times in the past, (See 3 Jn 1:9-11) just as he did a couple of decades ago.
Among some few ministers and groups today, there is a detectable spirit of animosity and false-witnessing toward other brethren not in their group. This is simply to hold onto their following and most of these ministers either exhibit the more liberal and lukewarm approach to most of what was restored through HWA or they have become staunch dictators of what assumed he taught. Many points of obedience to Scriptural commands are being watered down and interpreted by some of these leaders to mean something a little different than even Scriptural wording presents. This cannot be coming from Gods Holy Spirit, but could be from “another” Spirit that the Apostle John warned us to “test” or watch for, to see if it is from God or not! (1 John 4:1) Go back and re-read what was given above from 3 John, and try to understand the application of that to what is going on in many Churches of God groups today! There is a different Spirit in the COG realm today because we have moved into Laodicea, the last era of the COG. Some in the COG today will undoubtedly be cast out and end up in the great tribulation for failure to repent. Of those may be some that will take the mark of the beast hoping to save their physical lives. Some may even lead in that direction who were thought to have been true ministers.
John warned about the Antichrist’s, as we see in this passage: I Jn 2:18 “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.” So when it comes time for the prophecy in Revelation 13, the symbols of these beasts and the image of the beast, much of what would develop into these; the 2nd beast and the image, were well under way and now are solidly established, being allowed to form freely under the guise of “Christianity” by the power of the Roman Empire of that day and time! That led to the forming of the office of the second beast and the image of the beast.
Rev 13:15 “He (second beast) was granted power (By whom? Satan and the first beast!) to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak (To make it a viable entity with a head, voice and power.) and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”
The “universal church,” allied with Constantine and made a state religion, years later becoming the Catholic Church, was to have power and influence, a “say or voice,” in the workings of the Roman Empire and it’s civil government from that time forward. This the woman who would actually come to ride the back of the beast, steering it in certain directions of action on the world scene! Notice this scripture: Rev 17:3-4 “So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.”
This “woman” in the passage above, is a great false church of wealth, a counterfeit of the true Church of God! Rev.12 gives some insight into this by explaining some things about the true Church and refers to her as a “woman” also. But, before going further, we should establish, by definition, what an image is, and how the bible uses the words to express this, because there are different meanings, even in the Bible, for this word “image.” If we notice below, from Strongs Greek and Hebrew dictionary, the word is given, that the word “image” gets its meaning from and it gives us some of the various meanings or usages in scripture. 1503 eiko (i'-ko); apparently a primary verb [perhaps akin to 1502 through the idea of faintness as a copy]; to resemble: KJV-- be like.” 1504 eikon (i-kone'); from 1503; a likeness, i.e. (literally) statue, profile, or (figuratively) representation, resemblance: KJV-- image.
We see that one possible explanation is statue, given above, which does occur sometimes in scripture, but we must consider that as the “literal” meaning, as seen above. But what we are dealing with here in these scriptures is not literal, but figuratively, in symbolism of something else, as also in Daniel’s “visions” of certain Prophecy! That being the case, a copy or resemblance, a representation of something or likeness, as a mirror IMAGE like the cover of this booklet portrays, is most likely what is intended here! Also we see in scripture that Christ Himself is referred to as the Image of God the Father!
One passage says “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” Another one: Col 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (See also Heb.1:3) Christ was not any “statue”, but fully flesh and blood man, in the “likeness” of God! (See also Gen. 1:26 & 27)
We can also use the analogy, that to worship the “Image of God” Christ as our savior is the same as worshiping God the Father, because they are one in mind focus and purpose, or goal. However, we are told nowhere in Scripture that Christ ever intended for the COG He was building, was to be worshipped while in the flesh. Thus when the world worships the Image of the beast, it is the same as worship of the beast itself and Satan, because it is set up to be an image of the first beast who gets power and authority from the devil. This is then sinful idolatry, worship of Satan and his system!
Once again, let us see a quote from the 20th century Apostle H.W.A. and his booklet titled “who is the beast” which was written 50 years ago. In it, he reveals a little about the image of the beast, and how it has affected human church government. “Where, then did human church government derive its present form? “The first pope, in the real sense of the word, was Leo I (440-461 A. D.),” says the Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, VOL. 7, page 629. To him the form of GOVERNMENT of the Roman Empire was the most marvelous thing on earth. It became an obsession. He applied its principle to the CHURCH, organized the church into a GOVERNMENT, forming the PAPACY.” ---- “This CHURCH GOVERNMENT or ORGANIZATION is the IMAGE OF THE BEAST! Says Myers’ Ancient History: “During the reign of Leo I, the church set up, within the Roman Empire, an ecclesiastical STATE (government) which, in its constitution and its administrative system, was shaping itself upon the imperial MODEL”. (Quotes taken from page 23 & 24)
The true Church of God has the desire to warn the world about these things and to tell you the truth, drawing on Gods Holy Spirit and crying out to him for understanding, just as the Old Testament Prophets did! It is also the True Church of God that is used to reveal these mysteries, as the Apostle Paul wrote in Eph.3;9-11. So, can we see now, that both scripture and history together show us what and where this image of the beast is? Mr. Armstrong, inspired by Gods Holy spirit to understand this, went on to reveal: “This IMAGE—(which was) man designed and (a) man ruled church government—compelled people to WORSHIP THE CHURCH!”
This is how the 2nd beast, symbolizing the papacy, was able to bring this “image” power and influence and cause those who dwell on the earth to worship it! This should also give us understanding of how he was able to make this “image” both speak and cause those who would not worship it, to be killed, as the scripture says he was able to do! He had the power and influence over the Roman Empire! He or the church itself did not kill people, but caused them to be killed! The Roman civil Government carried out the “dirty deeds” for them! This is also the time frame when the Woman began to ride the beast! (Rev.17:3) these things are all history—but some today are saying that this is yet future and it will not come about as they foretell because much of it has already came.
Below is given another quote from HALLEY’S BIBLE HANDBOOK, page 770, which goes right along with what we are seeing here;
“Leo I (A.D. 440-461), called by some historians the First Pope. The misfortunes of the Empire were his opportunity. The East was rent with controversies. The West, under weak Emperors, was breaking up before the barbarians. Leo was the one strong man of the hour. He claimed that he was, by divine appointment, Primate of all Bishops; and (A.D. 445), he obtained from Emperor Valentinian III Imperial Recognition for his claim.” Just as Mr. Armstrong in his writings, has stated that the stage was being set early on, here in Halley’s is more evidence of that truth! Quoted from the same page as the above quote, just previous to what is recorded about Leo I, this statement is made: “—Augustine wrote his monumental work, “The City of God,” in which he envisioned a Universal Christian Empire. This book had vast influence in molding opinion favorable to a Universal Church Hierarchy under one Head. This promoted Rome’s claim for Lordship. Thus the Church was changing its nature, making itself over into the IMAGE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.” (Emphasis added)
If one wants to take the time to research into this far more deeply than has been done here, there is an abundance of material to gain knowledge from on this subject. For example the last book quoted from, Halley’s handbook, writings on that church history are lists including names, dealing with early Roman Bishops going all the way back to 67 A.D.! This is during the lifetimes of some of the original Apostles of Christ!! This information is very supportive of what some prophecy recorded in scripture say, what we have revealed here in this booklet as well as the writings of H.W.A. and others! There is also another popular book out today, © 1994 written by David Hunt which is called, “A Woman rides the Beast” and can be found in most book stores. It also reveals much about the Roman Catholic Church, down through the ages, and its connection to the Harlot of Revelation 17, which we have already revealed here as also being the image of the beast!
Given below is a quote from David Hunt’s “A Woman rides the Beast,” Page 94 & 95.
“Rome had been the capital of the empire before Constantine moved his palace to the East, and it continued to be regarded as the capital of the western half of the empire. With the Emperor Constantine installed in the city of Constantinople (Istanbul today), the Pope developed near absolute Power, not only as the head of the church but as the emperor of the West. When the empire later fell, it was the papacy which gave the fragmented remains its continuity. Thomas Hobbes would say, “The papacy is no other than the ghost of the deceased Roman empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof”.
Now, as was stated earlier, many of the world’s “Christians” are already worshipping the image of the beast and do not know it! Many today already carry the mark of the beast around in their right hand and in their foreheads and do not know that either!
The cleverness and subtlety of Satan the devil truly has deceived the whole world into believing that it worships God and Jesus Christ, by sticking to much of the pagan doctrines and practices of the image of the beast, now the Catholic Church. So unwittingly, most of the world of “Christianity”, even after the Protestant Reformation, continues to adhere to the doctrines and teachings of Pagan Rome and the Babylonian Mystery Religion! These things were inculcated into the unsuspecting minds of mankind, by the image of the beast, from one generation to another, down through the pages of time to us today! When the protestant reformation took place around 1585, and other protestant churches began springing up, that was the end of 1260 years of persecution that started with Constantine in 325 A.D.! After 1585, the Roman Catholic Church then became the “Mother of Harlots” because even though the other churches that formed were in protest to her, they still clung to the majority of all of her false teachings, thus becoming Harlot daughters! Here is a quote from another servant of God, found in the free booklet “Revelation the mystery unveiled,” pg. 34&35, © 2003 from the Living church of God. “In verse 6, (Rev.12) we read of the woman having to flee into the wilderness to be protected during a period of 1260 “days”—1,260 literal years. –-“Indeed in the early fourth century AD, after the Roman emperor Constantine allied with the bishop of Rome, the true church had to flee to remote areas. Historically, a 1,260 - year period can be traced from after the Council of Nicea in 325AD, down to about 1585,”---
Given below are some quotes from G.M. Bowers, and his book, entitled the “Faith and doctrines of the early church” copyright 1978, from page 65. These quotes show us that along with the formation of this image of the beast, this “mark” was developing. To maintain its power and grip on those now being deceived, this forced worship would also begin to be put in place. This also fits with the aspect of the changing of times and Laws, seen in Daniels prophecy.
A.D. 321—First edict, by Constantine, concerning “Sunday” observance.— ( changing worship from the Sabbath to Sunday, a mark & violation of the 4th Commandment)
A.D. 325—Nicene Creed adopted. Easter decreed to be the first Sunday after Passover and enjoined on all Christians.— (A mark & pagan celebration.)
A.D. 336—Roman Church officially switched from Sabbath to Sunday.- ( strengthening its “mark” of breaking the 4th Commandment.)
A.D. 354—Observance of Christmas ordered on December 25 by Bishop Liberius— (another part of its “mark” and another pagan celebration as the list goes on!)
So, what is that mark?
The book quoted from above continues to list numerous things, with times and dates of things that the Image of the beast, the Catholic church, has changed and forced on people down through time, coming down to the 20th century and a very unsuspecting world today! (This “mark” is a mark of disobedience to God, or Lawlessness symbolically in the mind (forehead) and the hand that does work on the true Sabbath according to the regulations of this religion!)
Now, as was brought out before, it is imperative for us to be able to recognize this image of the beast for what it is and not worship it or receive this mark! Going again to scripture, we read in Rev.19:20-21 good reason not to worship this image of the beast, or great false church, the woman who rides the beast and not to take the “mark of the beast”-which could be referring to the second beast as well as the first because the papacy claims to be in place of Christ and the Catholic church has the papacy as its head!
The previous Pope, who was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, has also stated the claim that the Catholic Church is the MOTHER of all these other churches! Remember, that it is in the context of scripture, talking about the 2nd beast when this Image and mark is mentioned! Scripture goes on to say: “it is the number of a man” or the “name of the beast” (1st or the 2nd ) or the “number of his name”! He is the “ROMAN” Catholic Pope- the head of “his ROMAN” Catholic Church! To worship the image of the beast is the same as worship of the beast itself, the “ROMAN” Empire, with its emperors and dictators, because it is designed to be the image of that system! It is Idolatry pure and simple, and should be avoided in every possible way! Another “Caesar” like figure is going to appear on the scene soon that will make possible this mark to be forced on people and the whole world will be astonished by things soon to come! Here is another quote from the booklet “Revelation the mystery unveiled,” written by the late John Ogwyn.
“The number of the beast, 666, is derived from numeric values anciently assigned to letters of the alphabet, in lieu of separate numerals as we commonly use today. Hebrew, Greek and Latin all used such systems, so all names in those languages had a numerical value. See our booklet on the Beast of Revelation for further information on the mark of the beast, and the detailed proof that the Roman system is branded by the number 666—the number of a name.”
At the return of Christ, we find this; Rev 19:20-21 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.”
To take the mark, or worship the image of the beast, is to lose out on salvation and the opportunity to be in the family of God! To avoid it and obey God, gives one the possibility to even rule with Christ, (depending on Godly character development) and be in the first resurrection! We see that by this next passage of scripture. Rev 20:4 “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
Here is another quote from the writings of H.W.A., dating all the way back to 1952, dealing with this subject of those already martyred, and the ones of the future martyrdom! This booklet, written nearly 65 years ago, Proves that the church of God has been warning the world of these things for decades and yet so few are really listening! Are you?
“Do you see what this plainly reveals? Those martyrs, over a thousand years ago, were killed because they would not worship the church, conform to its idolatry and pagan beliefs and customs, or worship the so-called “Holy Roman Empire”—and because they refused to receive the mark of the beast!
This means the mark of the beast is something that was forced on people, on pain of being killed, more than a thousand years ago! The mark of the beast was in full existence and enforcement over a thousand years ago!” (Emphasis in bold added.)
It is for the sake of these dear saints alive today—and the dead in Christ—that Jesus Christ intervenes and cuts the time short to save what is left of humanity from total annihilation! Here is what He says in scripture: Matt 24:21-22 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. (No other time in human history has been like what is just ahead, perhaps to come on this very generation!) 22 "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; (Alive) but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.”
If God did not send Christ to intervene in time and cut those days short, the saints that have kept the faith, the dead in Christ, could still be resurrected and made spirit, but there would be no humanity left alive from that point on until the judgment, when everyone else who has already died will be resurrected. There would be no one in the thousand year period for Christ and the saints to teach, train and prepare for the family of God, perhaps cheating billions out of that opportunity! That is why it was so important for the one in the power and Spirit of Elijah to come and restore these truths to the Church of God! (Mala.4:5-6 & Matt. 17:11) That work of God will continue now through those zealously faithful until the church is taken to a place of safety; the two witnesses work for 3 & 1/2 years, then Christ returnsto cut short those destructive days!
The union in marriage of Christ and His bride would be symbolically “childless” for the thousand years, if humanity was allowed to all killed! But as we see above, and in this passage, (Rev.7:9-17) many will not take this mark or worship this Image of the beast, and will live over into that time. Thanks be to our Loving and wonderful God and Father above, sending His true servants to warn and make us aware, and then last of all, His Glorious Son to intervene and cut those days short!
Every indication seems to point to these humans to be the very first to become Spirit during the millennium and would thus become “children” of Christ and His bride, once made Spirit. Notice this quote from the booklet “Never before understood”—© 1981by Herbert Armstrong, pg.24 & 25.
“God has called, first, His Church! The Church is His Body! The Church, resurrected at Christ’s coming, shall be MARRIED to Christ the Son. We become the children of God. After our marriage to Christ—a spiritual marriage of spiritually immortal Persons—we shall beget children into this DIVINE Family!”
We do not know the exact timing of these events, or specifically how they will play out, but there are other prophecies of scripture in the Old Testament, that connect to this time frame as well. They seem to reveal these to be living human beings, Not made Spirit or participants of the first resurrection as first-fruits, but survivors of the great tribulation, which would also include the remnant of Israel. They will have the opportunity to serve in the flesh, under the Living Jesus Christ and His Bride now made spirit! Some that are alive today that may repent only during the tribulation will know and remember that God has loved these Philadelphian spirited servants of God, even bowing before them now as Spirit beings! (Rev.3:9)
Christ Himself mentioned in Matt.24:21-25, that the tribulation was a time of trouble greater than the world has ever known, and some of the elect could be deceived! Sadly, some undoubtedly will be. But it is not the purpose of this booklet to go into the great tribulation or its survivors and their function in any length or detail. I know there is some difference of opinion on this subject. But we do want to go a little further into the mark of the beast, because that mark will be forced on people in the great tribulation! Let it be stated here, as has already been shown, that this “mark” is clearly a mark of disobedience to God and His ways and is the breaking of the Ten Commandments, not keeping His statutes, (annual Holy Days) as revealed in scripture. The mark of the beast is false worship of any kind that the beast and image of the beast gives sanction too.
Now, what exactly does that mean?
Well, we can easily find in scripture that God Himself has a mark or “Sign” for the righteous and obedient. This Identifies them as His people, and He as their God! And there are several ways to identify Gods people today, but let us go back to the Old Testament and make this point. Exo.31:13 "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: 'Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”
Here God says His Sabbaths, which includes the annual Sabbaths, as well as the weekly Sabbath. They should be kept and they are a sign, or an identifying mark revealing who are His people.
V.17 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.'"
So the true Sabbath is a sign of identification or mark of Gods people. What else is a mark or sign of Gods faithful people? The Ten Commandments were also a “Mark” or sign, and notice in the last verse below, where they were to be stamped! Deut.6:1 "Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you,--- 2 "that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.--- 7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” So here again we see this symbolism of what is in the mind and what the hand finds to do and when.
These commands given by God were to be symbolic of what one does and how one thinks in Israel. They were to be a sign that would identify them as a people that would not put their “right hand” to work on the Sabbaths of God and that Gods Ten Commandment Law would be stamped into their hearts and minds forever! “As frontlets between your eyes” But Israel went back into captivity because they failed to keep these Sabbaths and live by these commands! The modern day Israelites will have the same fate because of rebelliousness, idolatry and immorality.
Read Ezek 20:11-12, 20— they did not obey those commands and so this is what happened to them: V.21 "Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, (Holy Days) and were not careful to observe My judgments, 'which, if a man does, he shall live by them'; but they profaned My Sabbaths. (including the weekly Sabbath) Then I said I would pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them----(the finality of this is yet future) V.25 "Therefore I also gave them up to statutes (today’s holidays) that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live;”--
(This would apply to many of the pagan and ritualistic things the world keeps today that does not lead to eternal life! This is by choice and deception, under the influence of Satan the devil, and God let them make it. He will not force His way on us, we must choose it!)
God allowed Israel to go into captivity for their sins and disobedience, just as He is going to let the United States of America be taken over for its sinful nature and for ignoring His Laws and statutes. There is coming a great and terrible time of war and tribulation on this country in the very near future, when the mark of the beast will again be forced on mankind! Let’s look at one more passage here before moving on with this subject. This passage is only a part of a prophecy that has future implications, but notice here the use of a “Mark” for the righteous. Ezek 9:4 and the LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it." God will protect those that are obedient and who sigh and cry out to Him over the sinful and abominable practices going on in our society, some of which is done and approved of by this great false church and its harlot daughters. Remember, Satan is a great counterfeiter of all that is good, and his counterfeit becomes evil. The devil is very clever and he has found ways to counterfeit almost everything that is Christian and good, by something that on the surface looks Christian and right, but is actually evil in disguise! That is the same with this Mark of the beast. It will be an appearance of a mark of “Christianity” and true religion, but will actually be a mark of evil, death and destruction. Those that take that mark, when the tribulation and day of the Lord comes, will be doomed to receive the plagues of God and they will all die!
It is the practice of disobedience to God and His ways and the breaking of the Ten Commandments, as previously stated! It is the keeping of pagan practices and Idol worship, worship of beings not divine, such as Mary, the Mother of Christ, or so called “Saints”! The giving credence to a day for worship that God has not santified for that purpose, then twisting Scriptures to say He has. Weekly Sunday observance, the worship of a Trinitarian god, Christmas, Easter, Halloween and Valentine’s day, are all days that identify a person as an adherent to this great false or counterfeit church and religious system that the Bible refers to as the “IMAGE of the BEAST”—the Harlot of Rev. 17, which is the woman who rides the beast called The Roman Empire! To practice her ways is to carry her mark, which is also the mark of the 2nd beast, the Papacy, is a sign of false worship; worship of the ways of the Image of the beast!!
By now, we should be able to see clearly who this second beast represents and what the symbolism for the Image of the beast is, and the reasons to avoid her and its mark like the plague, because she is and has truly been a plague on mankind for nearly two millennia! We should now be able to understand that when the scripture, Rev.12:9 say’s that Satan the devil has deceived the whole world, surely then, THIS IS HOW HE DID IT!
This is Satan the devils counterfeit for true religion that has deceived the whole world! Those who worship her will also receive the plagues that are poured out, in the day of the Lord! BUT, she herself will eventually be ravished and burned with fire! (Rev.17:16-18) God will not let her continue and her days are numbered! The True Church of God down through time, those that will be in that first resurrection have not ever yielded to the image of the beast or its pagan practices, lies of the immortality of the soul going to heaven or hell at death and that is why the saints of God for hundreds of years in the past, have been persecuted and some martyred! The true Church of God is a Spiritual organism that is made up of those who have the spirit of God dwelling in them, being led by that Holy Spirit of God! (Rom.8:14 & Gal.5:18) They should be found working in peaceful unity to proclaim the true gospel, while submissive to and acting under the loving governmental structure given by God. However, that is not happening at this time by the majority who claim to be the COG!
True Christians, as the Bible makes clear, are those who obey God by continuing to practice and follow the ways of God! The True Church of God continues to obey the commission given to it to proclaim the true gospel to the world as a witness, to reveal yet future prophetic events as they unfold. That is what the TRUE Church of God (those remaining zealous, even in Laodicea) is all about, and wants to reach as many people as God will allow with His truth, so they use every avenue available without excuses. Matt.24:14 & 28:18-20. The very act of this kind of zeal and holding fast to biblical Truth’s that are even now, still being revealed through Scripture, proves where Gods true Church is today. Those that are to receive salvation will have their hearts in the work of getting the gospel message of Christ’s coming kingdom to the world, and warning the world of disastrous things to come. Christ said that doing these things would prove to be salvation for those laying down their lives to do it! Mark 8:35 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.” This takes dedication, zeal and perseverance! (See also ch.10:29 & 30)
To quickly summarize what has been given here is this: The first beast was found to be the Roman Empire, with its Emperors and its government that was already on the scene at the Birth of Christ, and has several stages down through time until the return of Christ, as many prophecies reveal, along with history! We are waiting for that last revival, very soon to come, which will bring on another “martyrdom” of Christians, through the time frame that is called the “great tribulation”! (Rev 6:9-11 -This is near future)
The 2nd beast was found to be the Papacy and its successors, who patterned themselves after the Emperors of the Roman Empire, so that they were to be worshipped as “gods,” setting themselves above all “that is called God, or that is worshiped”! (The pope takes upon himself the position or title of “holy father” and sometimes even more blasphemous as “most holy father” fulfilling those proclamations this would be done. This should give us understanding why the term the “2nd Beast” is used, because every pope has set himself up to be worshipped, just as the emperors did! Those men, who brought the Papacy into being, proclaiming themselves to be Popes, “Vicars of Christ”, also are the ones responsible for the “Image of the Beast” the Roman Catholic Church, to be formed. They are also the ones who, by the power and influence of Satan the devil, through the first beast that they patterned themselves after, also were able to cause that church to have the power and ability to “both speak” and have those killed who would not worship it! Those who did not receive its “mark” or brand of religion were tortured until they did or died!
They (the Papacy) not only set themselves up like the Roman emperors, (the first beast) which they literally ruled over through course of time, but they patterned the governmental structure of their church like that of the Roman Empires government, thus becoming the “Image of the beast” and caused all to worship it, to receive its mark of blatant disobedience to God! The civil government of the Roman Empire martyred true saints that would not worship the second beast and its church, the IMAGE of the beast, for that 1260 years!
There will again be another martyrdom! Shown above, the forcing of the worship of the image of the beast, which is symbolic language for the Catholic church today! The receiving of a mark, which has been done already in the past, (see Foxes book of martyrs also, which gives details of those martyrs.) by this great false church which is the image of the beast, known to this world as the Roman Catholic Church!
We, in America and Britain, are now being prepared, as nations for our soon coming demise, by all the things that are weakening these countries. God is allowing many disastrous things to befall these countries to weaken us, to the point of being conquered, eventually becoming captives, because of our constant sinful nature and national sins growing worse with each passing year! America will soon no longer be a superpower! Terrorists attacks on 9/11 were only another step in the beginning and now there is constant threat of Terrorist activity, possibly even nuclear in nature is yet to come! America is once again sticking its head in the sand under the present president and allowing Iran and other Muslim extremists to walk all over us. They will acquire or may already have nuclear capability. It is unimaginable the disasters that will spring from that. God is removing His protective hand from these Israelite descended countries because we have turned further and further away from Him.
But God may choose to continue to pummel us all with disastrous weather related events, Hurricanes and tornadoes, tsunamis, flooding and drought, earthquakes and wildfires, sickness and disease epidemics, crop failures and famine, along with random terrorist attacks and riots in our streets until we are so beaten down that America cannot resist if and when an all-out attack comes! (See the article “Increasing Sorrows” for more) We are going to experience these disease epidemics, famine and much death in this country, because we are such a sinful nation. (Zech.13:8-9) However God chooses for it come; it is sure to come and there is no turning it back. It is too late and the sins of the nation have grown too great! The wheels are already turning for more disasters. God is allowing the stage to be set for it right now! Only you as an individual, can hopefully escape and only after some serious repentance and turning back to God, if you have not already done so.
Humanity cannot follow the pagan practices of this world and ignore the Commandments, expecting to live on in rebellion! May God help us to get our eyes opened to what His Word says, -even all that have been called- but may have become lukewarm, let us be doing what we were told to do by our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, given directly below!
Luke 21:36 (RSV) But watch at all times, praying that you may have (Spiritual?) strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man."
Some will be protected from the soon coming great tribulation! Zeph 2:3 Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD'S anger. (Rev.12:14)
Those that make up that one True Church of God body, being of the same righteous mindedness, holding fast and keeping the faith, will be gathered together OUT of the groups they are in, and taken into a place of protection. They will no longer have to worry about the Image of the beast and that dreaded mark, nor the most trying of times ever to come being forced on humanity through the tribulation period and the day of the Lord. The choice is ours to make now, while we still have the freedom to make it! This nation is not going to repent, because these prophecies of your bible are sure. But you and I personally and individually can and it is the hope of the True church of God, that has for the last 85 years given warnings and printed truths that have been given away free of charge for your personal benefit, so that you CAN learn and make the right choice!
The Church of God is a Spiritual organism, scattered by apostasy and lukewarm compromises, having members in different groups striving not to forsake the assembling together and to have a place to keep the feasts of the Lord. Some of these members have become castaways, driven to where they now are, (This author included) by harsh, unforgiving and unloving men who claim to be Christian! Some are being persecuted to one degree or another, by the ministry, while still struggling to “hold fast” to truths of the Bible and do or at least support the Work. HOWEVER, the world scene is different; even now we are seeing senseless and brutal killings and beheadings of individuals who claim “Christianity” and others who simply do not follow a certain “brand” of Islam. These people want to attack all other religions and have vowed to exterminate those who will not conform—but this is not the “Beast” or the image of the beast, which is yet to come on the scene even more powerfully. The king of the north and king of the south have both yet to fully emerge. All true Christians will need to have love and respect for one another if they are to be together in a place of safety. If remaining lukewarm, lacking zeal and unrepentant, then when the IMAGE of the Beast exerts herself for the last time and the tribulation begins, which may not be that far away, it will be too late to become a first fruit without serious repentance and martyrdom. (Rev.6:11-last part) May God be with you and open your minds to see the truth and act accordingly!
(Editor for TCOGMSO)
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