Lesson 26 – The Mark of the Beast and the Mystery Number 666
The heart of God is filled with love for this planet. A loving God sent His Son to redeem us. A loving, compassionate God reaches out to us in daily concern. A loving God is coming again for us. He will put an end to sickness, disease, sorrow, hunger, pain, and death.
God’s love is revealed in gentle pleading to our heart. It is also revealed in solemn warnings.
The most solemn warning ever given to humanity is found in Revelation 13. A crucial test is coming. The conflict will revolve around true and false worship. The central issue is the law of God.
The book of Revelation reveals the plans of God and unmasks the delusions of the enemy. Every person has a choice. Our eternal destiny hinges upon the choice we make. Today’s lesson will focus upon the final issue in the great controversy between good and evil.
1. What message of urgent warning does the angel of Revelation give? Revelation 14:9-11
Answer: If any man worship the beast…the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.
2. As the crisis approaches, what penalties will eventually be issued upon those who do not receive the mark of the beast? Revelation 13:15-17
Answer: As many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
A great crisis is approaching in which everyone will be coerced, through an economic boycott or under threat of death, to receive the mark of the beast. Those who yield to these pressures, both religious and economic, will do so with the clear understanding that they are violating the commandments of God.
3. What will eventually happen to those who receive the mark of the beast? Revelation 15:1; 16:1, 2
Answer: There fell…a sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast.
4. What is God’s sign called that stands in opposition to Satan’s mark? Revelation 7:1-3
Answer: Hurt not the earth…til we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
The seal relates to God’s law (Isaiah 8:16, 20). As an ancient king’s seal contained his title and dominion, giving authority and making official his letters, so God’s seal contains His name, title, and area of authority.
We find God’s seal in the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11). “For in six days the LORD [His name], MADE [Maker or Creator] the HEAVENS AND THE EARTH [His dominion]” (verse 11, NKJV). * The Sabbath is a special sign, or seal, between God and His people (Ezekiel 20:12, 20).
These signs represent two systems of religion-one initiated by God, one initiated by human beings. One the way of truth! One the way of error! To every soul will come the crucial test: shall I obey God, or shall I obey humanity?
WHO IS THE BEAST?
5. What three things did the dragon, or the devil, working through pagan Rome, bestow upon papal Rome, its eventual successor? Revelation 13:1, 2
Answer: a. his power, b. his seat, c. and great authority
It was the dragon, or the devil, working through pagan Rome, who tried to destroy Christ. And it was that same power that gave the beast its seat, or capital city, power and authority. Nations don’t do that very often! To whom did pagan Rome give its seat of government? How did it take place? History is clear. “By retiring to the East he [Constantine] left the field clear for the Bishops of Rome.” “. . . the Papacy is but ‘the ghost’ of the deceased Roman Empire, sitting crowned upon the ‘grave thereof'” (Arthur P. Stanley, Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church , p. 197). The papal system of religion is the one mentioned in Revelation 13. We must remember here that we are talking about a system, not about individual members of that system.
6. How else is this beast’s power identified? Revelation 13:3, 5
a. All the world: Answer: All the world wondered after the beast
b. This power speaks: Answer: This power speaks ‘great things and blasphemies.’
7. According to the Bible, what is blasphemy? John 10:33; Luke 5:21
Answer: Thou being a man makest thyself to God; who can forgive sins, but God alone?
Here we find that if anyone “claims” to be God, that person has committed an act of blasphemy. We also find that an earthly religious leader who claims the ability to forgive our sins has committed blasphemy. Such a leader usurps the authority that belongs to God alone! The Papacy makes these claims:
Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) declared, “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”
“Priests are called Vicars of Jesus because they hold His place on earth…”
“Let the priest approach the altar as another Christ.”
“The priest holds the place of the Savior Himself, when, by saying ‘Ego te absolvo,’ he absolves from sin”(Alphonsus de Liguori, Dignities and Duties of the Priest, p. 34).
8. What will this power do to God’s people? Revelation 13:7
Answer: Make war with the saints.
It is a well-known fact that millions of martyrs have paid with their blood the price for faithfulness to God. Church history is filled with examples of such persecution.
9. How long was this persecuting power to continue? Revelation 13:5
Answer: Power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
In Bible prophecy one prophetic day equals one literal year (Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34). The 1260 days are actually 1260 years. In A.D. 538 Justinian, the pagan Roman emperor, officially granted the Roman bishop the role of defender of the emperor’s empire, the definer of heretics, and defender of the faith. The Papacy exercised great influence from A.D. 538 to A.D. 1798.
10. What does God say the number of the beast’s name is? Revelation 13:17, 18
One of the official titles of the pope is Vicarius Filii Dei. These three words are Latin for “Vicar of the Son of God.” Webster defines “vicar” as a substitute, a person who acts in the place of another. Since this is a Roman power, it is only logical that the method of computation would be in Roman numerals. Taken numerically, the papal title is seen to be 666. Pope’s Title: Vicarius Filii Dei
Putting all the evidence together, it becomes clear that the papal power is the beast power of Revelation 13.
11. What does Revelation 14:9-11 warn us against?
Answer: If any man worship the beast…and receive his mark…the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.
12. What does the Roman Catholic Church itself say is the sign of its authority?
On January 18, 1563, “the Archbishop of Reggio made a speech in which he openly declared that tradition stood above the Scriptures because the church had changed the Sabbath into Sunday-not by a command of Christ, but by its own authority” (Canon and Tradition,
The basis of papal authority, he declared, was founded upon the right to change the Sabbath from Saturday, the seventh day, to Sunday, the first day. “The church,” says the Catholic Record, “is above the Bible and this transference of Sabbath to Sunday is proof of that fact” (Sept. 1, 1923).
In a letter written in November 1895, H. F. Thomas, chancellor to Cardinal James Gibbons, replying to an inquiry as to whether the Catholic Church claims to have changed the Sabbath, said: “Of course, the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act…and the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical authority.”
Rome claims that the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday is a mark of its authority. In the future church and state will unite once again in an attempt to enforce this mark. It is only at this point in the future when the issues are clear that the mark of the beast will be enforced. No one has the mark of the beast now.
13. What call does God give His people now? Revelation 14:12
Answer: Keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
14. What is the basic issue involved in the crisis at the close of this earth’s history? Romans 6:16
Answer: You are slaves (servants-KJV) to the one whom you obey.
* Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.