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Jumat, 30 Januari 2009
The Twelve Reasons Given for Sunday Worship Examined
The Twelve Reasons Given for Sunday Worship Examined
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We will be examining the twelve main reasons Christians give to show why the day to worship God, in this New Covenant period, has been changed from Saturday to Sunday. As this is such an important matter to clearly understand, we encourage each one to pause before you read further and to pray for God to send you His Holy Spirit so that you can be led and guided into all truth (see James 1:5; Psalms 119:130; John 14:26, 16:30).
Sunday, the first day of the week, is heralded today as the "Christian Sabbath". But it has not always been so! Since ancient times, Sunday has been a day in which pagans, witches, shamans, and other occult and spiritualistic peoples worshipped the sun, hence the name--Sun-day. It was not a day to worship the God of heaven, but to worship the god of this earth--Lucifer or Satan or the devil, and can be traced all the way back to ancient Babylon and Nimrod.
As the first day of the week is almost universally observed by Christians today instead of the seventh day Sabbath of creation which the Creator required that we must remember to keep holy (see Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 20:8-11), the question needs to be asked: When was this change made? The Roman Catholic Church states:
"Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever did, happened in the first century. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. 'The day of the Lord' was chosen, not from any direction noted in the Scriptures, but from the Church's sense of its own power....People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically...keep Saturday holy." St. Catherine Church Sentinel, Algonac, Michigan, May 21, 1995.
"Some theologians have held that God likewise directly determined the Sunday as the day of worship in the New Law, that He Himself has explicitly substituted the Sunday for the Sabbath. But this theory is now entirely abandoned. It is now commonly held that God simply gave His Church the power to set aside whatever day or days she would deem suitable as Holy Days. The Church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days as holy days." John Laux, A Course in Religion for Catholic High Schools and Academies, 1936 edition, vol. 1, p. 51.
"The Catholic church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday....The Protestant World at its birth found the Christian Sabbath too strongly entrenched to run counter to its existence; it was therefore placed under the necessity of acquiescing in the arrangement, thus implying the (Catholic) Church's right to change the day, for over three hundred years. The Christian Sabbath is therefore to this day, the acknowledged offspring of the Catholic Church as spouse of the Holy Ghost, without a word of remonstrance from the Protestant World." James Cardinal Gibbons in the Catholic Mirror, September 23, 1893.
"Question - Which is the Sabbath day?
"Answer - Saturday is the Sabbath day.
"Question - Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
"Answer - We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church...transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday." Peter Geiermann, C.S.S.R., The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, p. 50, 3rd edition, 1957.
So we find that the Roman Catholic Church has changed God's Sabbath day to Sunday. But on whose power or authority was God's Sabbath of the fourth commandment changed from Saturday to Sunday? Roman Catholicism proudly declares:
"The authority of the church could therefore not be bound to the authority of the Scriptures, because the Church had changed...the Sabbath into Sunday, not by command of Christ, but by its own authority." Canon and Tradition, p. 263.
"Is Saturday the seventh day according to the Bible and the Ten Commandments? I answer yes. Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church change the seventh day - Saturday - for Sunday, the first day? I answer yes. Did Christ change the day'? I answer no!"
"Faithfully yours, J. Card. Gibbons." James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, Md. (1877-1921), in a signed letter.
"From this we may understand how great is the authority of the church in interpreting or explaining to us the commandments of God - an authority which is acknowledged by the universal practice of the whole Christian world, even of those sects which profess to take the holy Scriptures as their sole rule of faith, since they observe as the day of rest not the seventh day of the week demanded by the Bible, but the first day. Which we know is to be kept holy, only from the tradition and teaching of the Catholic church." Henry Gibson, Catechism Made Easy, # 2, 9th edition, vol. 1, p. 341-342.
"For example, nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Roman Catholic] church outside the Bible." Catholic Virginian, October 3, 1947, p. 9, article "To Tell You the Truth."
"Written by the finger of God on two tables of stone, this Divine code (ten commandments) was received from the Almighty by Moses amid the thunders of Mount Sinai...Christ resumed these Commandments in the double precept of charity--love of God and of the neighbour; He proclaimed them as binding under the New Law in Matthew 19 and in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5)....The (Catholic) Church, on the other hand, after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, to the first, made the Third Commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord's Day." The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 4, "The Ten Commandments", 1908 edition by Robert Appleton Company; and 1999 On-line edition by Kevin Knight, URL: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04153a.htm), Imprimatur, John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.
"...Had she not such power, she could not a done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; -she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day of the week, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority." Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism On the Obedience Due to the Church, 3rd edition, Chapter 2, p. 174 (Imprimatur, John Cardinal McCloskey, Archbishop of New York).
Since the Roman Catholic Church claims her own power and authority to change the worship day of God from Saturday-the seventh-day of the week to Sunday-the first day, and not the power and authority of God as found in His Scriptures, then Sunday is purely and only a worship day created by the Roman Catholic Church and not God! And the Catholic Church is not afraid to admit this!
"Is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify." James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (1917 edition), p. 72-73 (16th Edition, p 111; 88th Edition, p. 89).
"They [the Protestants] deem it their duty to keep the Sunday holy. Why? Because the Catholic Church tells them to do so. They have no other reason....The observance of Sunday thus comes to be an ecclesiastical law entirely distinct from the divine law of Sabbath observance....The author of the Sunday law...is the Catholic Church." Ecclesiastical Review, February, 1914.
"The Sunday...is purely a creation of the Catholic Church." American Catholic Quarterly Review, January, 1883.
"Sunday...is the law of the Catholic Church alone..." American Sentinel (Catholic), June, 1893.
"Sunday is a Catholic institution and its claim to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles....From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first." Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August, 1990.
Now members of the Catholic Church have been taught to recognize the authority of the Pope and their church as being greater than the authority of God, and thereby feel perfectly satisfied in observing the commandment of Rome in keeping holy the first day of the week. But Christians from other denominations deny the authority of the church of Rome. Yet they continue to worship on Sunday--a day for which the Catholic church alone claims authority to make holy. Thus, whether or not Christians will admit it, by continuing to worship on Sunday they are obeying the commandment of the Roman Catholic Church and its Pope and not the commandment of God!
"It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church." Priest Brady, in an address reported in The News, Elizabeth, New Jersey, March 18, 1903.
By obeying the commandment of Rome and not of God, Sunday-keeping Christians are really bowing down and paying homage to the Pope of Catholicism, and not to the God of heaven--and Rome clearly understands this!
"It was the Catholic church...which has transferred this rest to Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord. Therefore the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the Catholic church." Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today, p. 213.
"Protestants...accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change...In observing the Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the Pope." Our Sunday Visitor, February 5, 1950.
"I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' The Catholic Church says: 'No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.' And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church." father T. Enright, C.S.S.R. of the Redemptoral College, Kansas City, in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, February 18, 1884, printed in History of the Sabbath, p. 802.
Most Christians are honestly trying to serve and worship God to the best of their knowledge and ability, and are ignorant of this dilemma. Yet when confronted with the truth regarding Sunday worship being only a commandment of Rome and not of God, many attempt to justify the change from Saturday to Sunday upon Biblical reasons. But not a single text clearly states that God has changed His Sabbath to the first day of the week! How then, can they dare to exalt the first day of the week above the Sabbath of the Lord, and yet claim to be serving and worshipping God and not the Pope? And whether they realize it or not, the great majority of their arguments in trying to validate Sunday worship originated from Catholic sources! (For proof of this see Catholic Arguments).
There are several reasons urged for the observance of the first day of the week, instead of the Sabbath of the Bible, and we will examine the twelve most common beliefs.
"Redemption is greater than creation; therefore, we ought to keep the day of Christ's resurrection instead of the ancient Sabbath of the Lord."
Where has God said this? It is no where to be found in God's word. What right then, has any man to make such an assertion and then to base the change of the Sabbath upon it? God never required men to keep any day as a memorial of redemption. But He did command us to keep holy the seventh day Sabbath as a memorial of creation thereby recognizing God as our Creator.
If however, it were a duty to observe one day of the week for this reason, most certainly the crucifixion day presents the strongest claims. It is not said that we have redemption through Christ's resurrection, but it is said that we have redemption through the shedding of His blood (see Revelation 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:12,15). The wonder of the act of Jehovah in giving His beloved and only begotten Son to die for a race of rebels was a spectacle of redeeming love on which the universe might gaze in wonder throughout all eternity. Who could wonder that the sun was veiled in darkness and that all nature trembled at the sight! Friday, the crucifixion day, therefore, has far greater claims than the day of the resurrection; but God has not enjoined the observance of either.
If we would commemorate redemption, there is no necessity of robbing the Lord's rest day of its holiness in order to do it. For God has provided us with memorials for this event (see 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
"The disciples met on the day of our Lord's resurrection to commemorate that event, and the Saviour sanctioned this meeting by uniting with them (See John 20:19)."
Even were this true, it would not prove that the Sabbath of the Lord has been changed. For several days the disciples did not believe that their Lord had been raised from the dead, but were assembled for the purpose of eating a common meal and to seclude themselves from the Jews (see Mark 16:12-14; John 20:19). So the disciples were not commemorating the resurrection of the Saviour, and it is equally evident that they had not the slightest idea of a change of the Sabbath. They kept the Sabbath, according to the commandment, and resumed their labor on the first day of the week (see Luke 23:55-56, 24:1).
"`After eight days,' Jesus met with His disciples again (see John 20:26). This must have been the first day of the week, which is thereby proved to be the Christian Sabbath."
Who can be certain that "after eight days" means just a week? A literal construction of the language would lead one to conclude that this was upon the ninth day "after eight days" were passed.
But even if "after eight days" means only a literal week, how does this prove that Sunday has become the "Christian Sabbath" when there is not a particle of evidence that either Christ or His apostles ever rested on that day? There is no such term as Christian Sabbath found in the Bible. The only weekly Sabbath named in the Bible is called the Sabbath of the Lord--the seventh day (see Genesis 2:2-3).
It should not be very remarkable that Christ should find His disciples together, inasmuch as they had one common abode (see Acts 1:13).
"The Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost, which was the first day of the week. Therefore, the first day of the week should be observed instead of the Sabbath of the Lord (see Acts 2:1-2)."
Admitting that the day of Pentecost occurred upon the first day of the week, it remains to be proven that this day thereby became the Sabbath. It was the feast of Pentecost, and not the first day of the week, that God designed to honor.
The day of Pentecost is distinctly named, but the day of the week on which it occurred is passed by in silence. It was not the design of Heaven to honor the first day of the week, but to mark the anti-type of the feast of Pentecost.
The slaying of the paschal lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month had met its anti-type in the death of the Lamb of God on that day (see Exodus 12; John 19; 1 Corinthians 5:7). The offering of the firstfruits on the sixteenth day of the first month had met its anti-type in the resurrection of our Lord on that day, the firstfruits of them that slept (see Leviticus 23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; Acts 1:1-2). And the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost fulfilled the type of the feast of Pentecost. It was not the day in which these events occurred that was of importance, but that these ancient symbolic ceremonies and services were meeting their fulfillment in type.
God spoke nothing in this place respecting the day in which these events occurred, and thus no proof exists for a change in the time of God's Sabbath. "Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" Proverbs 30:6.
"Paul once broke bread upon the first day of the week. Hence this day was observed as the Christian Sabbath (see Acts 20:7)."
At one period the Apostolic church at Jerusalem broke bread every day (see Acts 2:42-46). If a single instance of breaking bread at Troas upon the first day of the week constituted it the Sabbath, would not the continued practice of the Apostolic church at Jerusalem in breaking bread on other days be sufficient to make these days a Sabbath also?
Why try to grasp at a single instance in which an evening meeting was held on Sunday, and then try to vainly prove that the Sabbath has been changed, while overlooking the fact that this same apostle Paul preached every seventh day Sabbath, not only to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles? (See Acts 13:14,42,44, 16:13, 17:2, 18:4.)
"We are to find our rest in Jesus, and Jesus declared Himself to be the Lord of the Sabbath. Thus the seventh-day of the week is no longer to be kept Holy, because Jesus is our Sabbath Rest (see Matthew 12:8; Matthew 11:28-30)!
While it is true that all are to find rest in Jesus (rest from all their cares, burdens, anxieties, sins, etc.), and while it is also true that Jesus declared Himself to be the Lord of the Sabbath day, yet it is not correct to therefore conclude that Jesus is the Sabbath day Himself!
The Queen of England is not England herself, but only the sovereign over it. In like manner, Jesus is not the Sabbath day Himself, but only the Sovereign or Lord over it. So as we find our rest in Jesus, we must not neglect to also rest from our labors upon His weekly Sabbath day. And since Jesus is still today the Lord of all His followers, then there is still a Sabbath day which He is Lord of and which all of His followers are to be observing today! And what day of the week is this Sabbath day of God in this New Covenant period?
"For he (God) spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works....There remaineth therefore a rest (a keeping of the Sabbath) to the people of God. (NOTE: this word for "rest" in Greek is "sabbatismos" and literally translates Sabbath keeping--see Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, Greek word #4520.) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." Hebrews 4:4,9-11.
Thus Paul clearly declares that there is indeed a Sabbath day which all of God's followers are to observe in this New Covenant period, and this day of the week is the same day which God made holy at creation--the seventh-day or Saturday! Let us heed Paul's counsel and avoid falling from God's grace because of unbelief by not keeping His Sabbath day of rest!
"Paul commanded the church at Corinth to take up a public collection on the first day of the week; therefore, this must have been a day of public worship and consequently is the Christian Sabbath (see 1 Corinthians 16:2)."
Paul, however, does not say: "Place your alms in the church treasury on the first day of the week;" but says: "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store."
The apostle simply told each of the Corinthian brethren to lay up at home some portion of his weekly gains on the first day or the beginning of the week before they had a chance to spend it all up. In following Paul's advice, they would be putting God and His cause first in their financial affairs, instead of at the end of the week after all their money had been depleted.
The whole question turns upon the meaning of the expression, "by him." Two Latin versions, the Vulgate and that of Castellio render the phrase, "apud se,"--"with one's self, at home." A similar rendering is given in numerous other versions.
The text, therefore, does not prove that the Corinthian church was assembled for public worship on Sunday; but, on the contrary, it does prove that each must be at his own home where he could examine his worldly affairs and lay by himself in store at the beginning of each week as God had prospered him. If each one would do thus, when the apostle should come, their bounty would be ready and each would be able to present to him what they had gathered.
"No one really knows when the original seventh day of the week falls on. So each person needs to decide which day of the week they will keep sacred to God as His Sabbath, and Sunday is as good as any other day!"
Yet there has been no time lost since creation took place all the way up to the present time. So the same seven day weekly cycle established at creation is the same seven day weekly cycle we continue to observe today even though the names of the days of the week have been changed depending on the calendar used!
When the calendar was changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar back in the sixteenth century, it was discovered that the Julian calendar was off 10 days from the actual solar year. But the same weekly seven day cycle was not altered even though 10 days were added to the Gregorian calendar. Thursday, October 4, 1582 in the Julian calendar, was immediately followed by Friday, October 15, 1582 in the Gregorian calendar--thus keeping the continuity of the Sunday to Saturday weekly cycle! But even though some will not believe the fact that there has been no time lost since creation, God does indeed show all of His people what day of the week today is the seventh-day of the week--the true Sabbath worship day of God!
When Christ was on this earth, being the Lord of the Sabbath, He definitely knew which day of the week was the ancient seventh-day Sabbath of creation to worship God on. But since we use a different calendar today than what Christ used, which day of the week in our modern calendar does this seventh-day Sabbath fall upon? The Bible plainly and clearly shows to all who will see, in the events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, exactly which day of the week today is God's holy Sabbath.
The Bible records that Christ was crucified on the sixth day of the week, or the preparation day--the day before the Sabbath was to occur (see Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:31, 42; Matthew 27:62), He was resurrected on the first day of the week, or the day after the Sabbath had passed (see Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-10; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1), thus showing that Christ was resting in the tomb during the seventh day Sabbath. It is plain knowledge that Christ arose from the tomb on Sunday morning--which many refer to as Easter (see Acts 12:4). With this knowledge of truth, it then becomes easy to determine exactly which days of the week in our modern calendar correspond with the days of the week anciently.
As Christ arose on the day we call Sunday today, this day corresponds to the first day of the week anciently--or the day after the Sabbath had passed. Then the day we call Saturday in our modern calendar, corresponds to the seventh day of the week anciently, and the day we call Friday in our modern calendar, corresponds to the sixth day of the week anciently--or the preparation day before the Sabbath occurs! Thus all who desire to follow and serve God with their whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, out of love for what He has done and is continuing to do for them, will see that the seventh day Sabbath of God today is Saturday--the day after Friday, and the day before Sunday! This then plainly shows us that the Sabbath day of God has not changed its seventh place in the weekly cycle since it was made holy at creation, and it never will!
God's Sabbath was established in Eden before sin had entered the world as the seventh-day of creation week (see Genesis 2:2-3). God re-established the same seventh-day Sabbath after sin had entered the world for all His chosen people to observe and worship Him on, after the Exodus from Egypt--some 2500 years later (see Exodus 20:8-11). The very same seventh-day Sabbath was observed by Christ and His disciples--some 1500 years afterwards. The very same seventh-day Sabbath was still to be observed by all of God's people some 33 years after the death of Christ in the New Covenant period (see Hebrews 4:4-11). And did you realize, that this very same seventh-day Sabbath will continue to be observed after Christ comes again and the earth is made new? (see Isaiah 66:22-23). This is because the seventh-day Sabbath is a memorial of creation, and will forever point directly to God as our Creator! You can no more change this seventh-day Sabbath to another day of the week than you can change the day of your birth to another day! Thus the seventh-day or Saturday--the Sabbath worship day of God, will never change, but will always remain the Sabbath day to worship God on throughout eternity!
May God grant us His Spirit of grace and the strength to serve and worship Him on His chosen Sabbath day of Saturday, and not on Sunday or on any other day of the week. Thus in doing so, we will show that we serve and worship the true God of creation, and not any other so-called god!
"We are to worship God every day, not just one day a week. So there is no need to keep only one day a week as a Sabbath day to God."
While it is true that Christians are to worship and serve God every moment of each day, yet it is impossible that they can keep each day of the week as a Sabbath day holy to God! God clearly states:
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8-11.
There are several points which this statement and command of God shows the above belief to be in error.
First: God commanded all His followers to observe His Sabbath by not working upon this day of worship. So if one would try to keep each day of the week as a Sabbath worship day to God, then neither they, nor any other person connected with them, could do any work in seeking to earn a living throughout each day of each week! If the average person would try to follow this plan, they would soon be destitute and starve to death! So obviously, it is incorrect to believe that we are to keep each day as a Sabbath worship day to God.
Second: God commanded all of His followers to work six days of each week, but to only keep the seventh-day Sabbath of each week as a special sacred worship day with no work to be done! Thus if one tries to keep each day of the week as a Sabbath worship day to God, thereby refusing to work on six days of the week as God commanded, then they would be directly going against the will of the God whom they profess to serve. This also clearly shows that Sunday, along with the other 5 days of the week, are nothing more than common work days with no sanctity whatsoever, while Saturday is the only day of the week God declares to be holy!
Third: God clearly stated that only the seventh-day of each week was to be held sacred as His Sabbath worship day, not any other day of the week: not the first, or second, or third, etc., but only the seventh day! Hence for any follower of God to keep any other day of the week as a Sabbath worship day to God, would be going directly against the command and will of the God whom they profess to serve!
"The Sabbath was part of the Old Covenant Ceremonial laws; thus was nailed to the cross when Christ died, and Sunday has taken its place in this New Covenant period (see Colossians 2:14-17)."
As was already noted, the seventh-day Sabbath was given to God's people at creation. This means that the Sabbath was in existence before sin entered the world, and thus before the sacrificial and ceremonial laws were instituted. Thus the weekly Sabbath of God could not be part of the ceremonial laws, and so could not have been nailed to the cross along with these sacrificial laws.
Since many have trouble differentiating between the ceremonial laws written by Moses, and the Moral Law of 10 commandments spoken by God, let us examine the clear differences between the two.
The ceremonial law is termed "the law of a carnal commandment" (Hebrews 7:16); and the moral Law of God, it is affirmed, "We know that the law is spiritual." Romans 7:14. The one is a law of which "there was made of necessity a change" Hebrews 7:12. The moral is that Law of which Christ says, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:18.
The ceremonial law was a "shadow of good things to come" (Hebrews 10:1), and was only imposed "until the time of reformation" Hebrews 9:10. But the other was a moral code, of which it is said by John, "Whosever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4. The one is a yoke not able to be borne (see Acts 15:10); the other is that "law of liberty" by which we shall be judged (see James 2:8-12).
The ceremonial is that law which Christ "abolished in His flesh" (see Ephesians 2:15); the moral is that Law which He did not come to destroy (see Matthew 5:17). The one is termed "the handwriting of ordinances" "which was contrary to us," which was nailed to the cross and taken out of the way by the death of Christ (see Colossians 2:14); the other is that Law which He came to magnify and make honorable (see Isaiah 42:21) and which James affirms is "the royal law" which is a sin to transgress (see James 2:8-12). The one was a temporary law which was disannulled "for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof" (see Hebrews 7:18); the other is an eternal unchanging Law which cannot be made void: "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Romans 3:31.
The ceremonial law is that law which was the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles (see Ephesians 2:14); the other is that Law, the work of which even the Gentiles are said to have written in their hearts (see Romans 2:14-15). The one is the law of commandments contained in ordinances (see Ephesians 2:15); the moral Law is the commandments of God, which it is the duty of all mankind to keep (see Ecclesiastes 12:13).
This great moral Law of 10 commandments is brought to view by the message of the third angel (see Revelation 14:9-12). This is the Law which the remnant of the seed of the woman were keeping when the dragon made war upon them (see Revelation 12:17). This moral Law will insure, to all those who keep them, the right to enter into heaven and to eat of the tree of life (see Revelation 22:14).
Surely, these two laws should not be confounded. The moral Law was magnified, made honorable, established, and is holy, just, spiritual, good, and royal; while the other was carnal, shadowy, burdensome, and was abolished, broken down, taken out of the way, nailed to the cross, changed, and disannulled on account of the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
It is true that the precepts of the moral Law are variously interspersed throughout the books of Moses and mingled with the precepts of the ceremonial law. But this can in no way cause them to be included as part of this ceremonial law and also done away with. The moral Law is as eternal as God, while the ceremonial law was only in force until Christ died on the cross. Those who rightly divide the word of truth will never confound these essentially different laws, nor will they apply to God's royal Law the language employed respecting the handwriting of ordinances.
That the Ten Commandments are a perfect code of themselves, appears from several facts: God spoke them with His own voice; and it is said, "he added no more" (see Deuteronomy 5:22), thus showing that He had given a complete Law. He wrote them alone on two tables of stone with His own finger, another proof that this was a complete moral code (see Deuteronomy 9:9-11). He caused these alone to be placed under the mercy seat in the second apartment of the sanctuary (see Exodus 30:6; Hebrews 9:4-5), an evident proof that this was the Law that made an atonement necessary because it had been broken. And God expressly calls what He thus wrote on the tables of stone, a Law and commandments (see Exodus 24:12).
Both laws had Sabbaths, yet there were clear differences between them. The seventh-day Sabbath originated in Eden before sin as part of God's immutable Law, and always occurred on the seventh day which we today call Saturday. While the feast day sabbaths originated after sin as part of the ceremonial law, and could take place on any day of the week. The seventh-day Sabbath was written on stone by God's own finger. While the feast day sabbaths were written on cloth, or paper, or skin, by Moses' finger. The seventh-day Sabbath, along with the 9 other commandments, was placed in the ark directly underneath the mercy seat with God's glory and presence above (see Exodus 30:6, 40:20,34), signifying that they were to be enforced permanently and were unchanging. While the feast day sabbaths were placed in the side of the ark (see Deuteronomy 31:26), signifying that they were to be enforced only temporarily until their purpose was accomplished. On the seventh-day Sabbath no cooking was to be done, but all food was to be prepared and cooked on the sixth day or the preparation day (see Exodus 16:23). While on the feast day sabbaths you could prepare and cook your food (see Exodus 12:14-16). And on the seventh-day Sabbath, no work could be done--not even sticks were to be gathered for the preparation of food (see Numbers 15:32-36). While on the feast day sabbaths work could be done in gathering various tree branches (during the feasts of tabernacles) in order to build booths for shelters (see Leviticus 23:34-40).
So there is a clear difference between God's unchanging fourth commandment of the moral Law to keep holy the seventh-day Sabbath, and the temporary types and shadowy feast day sabbaths of the ceremonial law. The seventh-day Sabbath was "made for man" before he had fallen in sin; hence it could not be a type or shadow pointing forward to Christ's death and, hence, could not have been nailed to the cross, but continues pointing backward to the beginning of this earth's history and to the Creator of us all. But the feast day sabbaths, as well as all the other types of the Jewish economy, came into existence after man had fallen and needed a Saviour; hence they were a shadow pointing forward to redemption and were indeed nailed to the cross (see Colossians 2:14).
Paul even states that God's people are to continue keeping the Sabbath of the moral Law after Christ's death, but nowhere does he state that we need to keep the sabbaths of the ceremonial law! (see Hebrews 4:4-11).
It should be plain to all who wish to see that the doing away with the handwriting of ordinances of the ceremonial law leaves in full force every precept of the royal Law, and also that the law of shadows pointing forward to the death of Christ expired when that event occurred. The breaking of the moral Law was that which caused the Saviour to lay down His life to save you and me from sin. Thus the continued and unchanging sacredness of the 10 commandments, including the fourth commandment of the seventh-day Sabbath, may be judged by the fact that God gave His only Son to take its curse upon Himself and to die for our breaking of it.
"The Sabbath was only given for the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, and was replaced in the Gospel Dispensation with Sunday (see Exodus 20:8-11)."
First of all, the Seventh-day Sabbath was given by God before the Jewish people were born!
"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Genesis 2:2-3.
Also, when God led His people out of Egypt, and fed them manna in the desert, they were told to gather each morning enough manna for that day only, and any unused portion became wormy and stank. But on the sixth day, or Friday, they were to "prepare that which they bring in and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily....And they laid it up until morning...and it did not stink...So the people rested on the seventh day." Exodus 16:5, 24, 30. This plainly shows that the people of God had a knowledge of His Seventh-day Sabbath even before the law was given on Mount Sinai!
So God's seventh-day Sabbath was clearly in existence before Judah, before Jacob, before Abraham, and even before the flood. Hence for over 2000 years before the first Jew walked the earth, the Sabbath was in existence! Thus the Sabbath of God was not a Jewish institution and could not pass away when the Gospel Dispensation arrived!
"John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, which is then declared to be the first day of the week (see Revelation 1:10)."
But we ask: On what basis can it be assumed that this proves the point it is alleged to prove? This text, it is true, furnishes direct proof that there is a day in the gospel dispensation which the Lord claims as His; but is there one text in the Bible which testifies that the first day of the week is the Lord's day? There is not a single one.
Yet, there is indeed a record that God claimed a certain day as His and reserved it to Himself as His Sabbath. "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made" Genesis 2:3.
"For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works....There remaineth therefore a rest (the keeping of the Sabbath) to the people of God" Hebrews 4:4, 9.
"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Isaiah 58:13-14. (see also Exodus 16:23, 20:10; Mark 2:28).
Then the seventh day is the true rest day which God reserved to Himself when He gave to man the other six, and this day He calls His holy day. This is the day which the New Testament declares the Son of man to be Lord of. There is but one day that the Bible designates as the Lord's day, and it is none other than the Sabbath of the fourth commandment--Saturday.
At Mount Sinai God Himself came down and proclaimed His holy law--the ten commandments. The fourth commandment, dealing with God's Sabbath day, is at the very heart or central part of this law.
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work...For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8-11.
Notice that God began this commandment with the word "Remember". This is because God knew that there would be an attempt to mislead people into forgetting to keep holy the seventh day as God's Sabbath. But more than this.
The Sabbath commandment contains the three things necessary to make the law of a King valid. It contains the NAME of the lawgiver--Lord; His official POSITION--Creator; and His DOMINION--heaven and earth. These three things are necessary in any royal seal of a King. Thus the seventh day Sabbath contains the seal of God which He has put in His law to make it valid. For those who keep this seventh day Sabbath holy unto God, will God place His seal in their foreheads (see Revelation 7:3), because the Sabbath is a distinguishing sign to all the world that we love and serve God and not man! So says God Himself:
"Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them....And hollow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God." Ezekiel 20:12, 20.
Since the seventh-day Sabbath contains the seal of God, and is the distinguishing sign between God and His people, then what does the Bible call the first day of the week or Sunday, which is the day made holy by Rome?
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." Revelation 13:16-17.
History shows conclusively that the Roman Catholic church is this Beast power listed in Revelation 13:1-10, as well as the Little Horn power of Daniel 7 (see Appendix A). This Little Horn power was prophesied to think to change God's law (see Daniel 7:25)! So what is this mark of Roman Catholicism or the Beast? As the seal and sign of God is the keeping holy of His seventh-day Sabbath, then the mark of the Beast must be the keeping holy of Sunday after you know that it is not God's worship day! And Rome plainly admits this!
"Sunday is our mark of authority...the church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact." Catholic Record of London, Ontario, Canada, September 1, 1923.
"Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change (from Saturday Sabbath to Sunday worship) was her act....And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things." H.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons.
Therefore, any Christian who knowingly continues to worship on Sunday--the first day, while they know that the Bible Sabbath of the Lord is on Saturday--the seventh day, thereby show that they love a follow a lie of man, instead of loving and following the truth of God! They also show that they are content to serve, worship, and bow down to the authority of the Pope of Catholicism, and not to the Lord God of the Bible. Thus they are in grave danger of receiving the mark of the Beast and being lost, instead of receiving the seal of the living God and gaining everlasting life! And why will they be lost? Because they are following a commandment of the Roman Catholic church, and not the commandment of God; they are following the word of men founded in tradition, and not the word of God founded in the Scriptures! And Rome clearly understands this.
The Roman Catholic church blatantly challenges all Bible believing Christians to either give up Sunday, go back to the Bible alone as their authority and thereby keep the seventh-day or Saturday holy, or give up the Bible alone as their sole foundation for doctrinal truth, and come fully back their mother Roman Catholic Church!
"Sunday is founded, not of scripture, but on tradition, and is distinctly a Catholic institution. As there is no scripture for the transfer of the day of rest from the last to the first day of the week, Protestants ought to keep their Sabbath on Saturday and thus leave Catholics in full possession of Sunday." Catholic Record, September 17, 1893.
"Regarding the change from the observance of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday, I wish to draw your attention to the facts:
"1) That Protestants, who accept the Bible as the only rule of faith and religion, should by all means go back to the observance of the Sabbath. The fact that they do not, but on the contrary observe the Sunday, stultifies them in the eyes of every thinking man.
"2) We Catholics do not accept the Bible as the only rule of faith. Besides the Bible we have the living Church, the authority of the Church, as a rule to guide us. We say, this Church, instituted by Christ to teach and guide man through life, has the right to change the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament and hence, we accept her change of the Sabbath to Sunday. We frankly say, yes, the Church made this change, made this law, as she made many other laws, for instance, the Friday abstinence, the unmarried priesthood, the laws concerning mixed marriages, the regulation of Catholic marriages and a thousand other laws....
"It is always somewhat laughable, to see the Protestant churches, in pulpit and legislation, demand the observance of Sunday, of which there is nothing in their Bible." Peter R. Kraemer, Catholic Church Extension Magazine, USA (1975),Chicago, Illinois, "Under the blessing of the Pope Pius XI"
"The arguments...are firmly grounded on the word of God, and having been closely studied with the Bible in hand, leave no escape for the conscientious Protestant except the abandonment of Sunday worship and the return to Saturday, commanded by their teacher, the Bible, or, unwilling to abandon the tradition of the Catholic Church, which enjoins the keeping of Sunday, and which they have accepted in direct opposition to their teacher, the Bible, consistently accept her (the Catholic Church) in all her teachings. Reason and common sense demand the acceptance of one or the other of these alternatives: either Protestantism and the keeping holy of Saturday, or Catholicism and the keeping holy of Sunday. Compromise is impossible." James Cardinal Gibbons, in Catholic Mirror, December 23, 1893.
Now the question is for you to settle: Do you want to be a candidate to receive the mark of Catholicism by following the lie of worshipping on Sunday--the first day of the week and lose eternal life? Or do you want to be a candidate to receive the seal and sign of God by following the truth and worshipping only on Saturday--the seventh-day Sabbath and gain everlasting life through Jesus Christ? This great solemn decision is now up to you to make, and praise God that you have such a choice!
But when all the reasoning, theories, and excuses for keeping Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath of the Bible are thoroughly examined, the following Scriptures plainly declare what God's people are to do in this great controversy:
"We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29.
"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." Revelation 22:14-15.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
May God help us with the grace, strength, and courage to keep His commandments thereby showing our allegiance solely to God's authority in serving and worshiping only Him. May God help us not to follow a lie, nor to give our allegiance and service to the authority of any church, nor to the Pope, nor to any other man, in the place of God.
THE BEAST and LITTLE HORN
The Beast power of Revelation 13:1-10 has intrigued Christians for hundreds of years. There have been many speculations as to what it is, it’s nature, and the time when it appears. This concern is well placed, for the Bible gives a most powerful warning about this Beast power. But speculation is not necessary.
In Bible prophecy, political powers are frequently represented by animals, or “Beasts”. This practice is not limited to Bible times, for we still use animal symbols to represent countries today. But the appearance of this particular Beast is different from any animal we know and seems to be made up of several different beasts put together into one. Thus we are unable to call it by the name of any particular beast, such as a lion or a bear; and so it has commonly become known as the Beast, or the Leopard-like Beast, or the composite Beast.
This Beast is of such interest because it demands worship in opposition to God. And it is against this false system of worship, along with those who form a part of it, that God’s wrath, unmingled with mercy, is to be poured out!
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brinstone..." Revelation 14:9-10.
In looking at the verses which pertain to this Beast power, we notice that there are many characteristics or clues that help to identify who it represents. As we examine each of these points, it should become increasingly clear who this Beast power must be.
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:1-8.
Many people are looking for a diabolical power that will force it’s way into the political arena, compelling Christians to abandon their faith by setting up a nonreligious government of force. We need to notice, however, that there is worship connected with this power. Verse 8 states that all of the people on earth will worship it, except for those whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life. And it is only those whose names are written in that book of life who will be saved! Jesus spoke very plainly when He stated that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14.
A little later in that same sermon Jesus made another profound statement: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23.
From these verses we conclude that the overwhelming majority of Christians will not be ready to meet Christ when He returns. According to the prophecy, all of these will be found worshiping this Beast power. This fact must tell us something about the nature of this Beast; for if this power professed to be anti-Christian, as so many expect, very few in the Christian world would be found worshiping it.
The next point to notice is that this Beast has the body of a leopard, and in Daniel 7:6 the Greek nation was represented by a leopard (please write for our tract on The Rise and Fall of Empires). Few people realize how completely the pagan philosophy of Greece captured the world, and it also played a significant role in the formation of thought in the church.
Several Greek philosophers are famous for the impact they had on human thought. During the middle ages, when the Bible was outlawed, men looked to Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates for light. As one may expect, their paganistic philosophy greatly permeated religious thinking, helping to shape many of the concepts that became a part of Christian belief, but for which there was no Biblical support.
For instance; Plato believed in the immortality of the soul. In his understanding, heroes and notable persons went immediately to mansions and places of reward, while the common people went down to the infernal regions to receive punishment for sinful pollutions until they had been cleansed. Here we see the religious belief of the elevation of the saints to heaven at death, and also the doctrine of purgatory.
Plato also believed in the concept of separating the body from the soul. He believed this was achieved by afflicting the body, by depravation, and by separation from society. Thus was laid the groundwork for the later emergence of the belief for monasticism and penances.
Another point to notice is that this Beast came up out of the waters of the sea. According to Revelation 17:15, waters represent “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” So what this text is stating is that when this Beast power emerged, it arose from an area which was densely populated--such as Europe, and not from the wilderness--or an area which was sparsely populated.
It is important to understand that this Beast power was also prophesied to continue for 42 months, or three and a half years of prophetic time. Using the Jewish calendar of 30 days for each month, 42 months or 3 1/2 years would mean 1260 prophetic days. In Bible prophecy, each day of prophetic time would equal one year of literal time (see Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6). Thus we understand that this Beast would rule for 1260 prophetic days or 1260 literal years.
The Little Horn
In Daniel 7, this same Beast power is likened to a Little Horn or kingdom which uproots and destroys three horns or kingdoms, and then speaks great blasphemous words against God (see Daniel 7:8, 20-25). This power was to rule “until a time and times and the dividing of time” Daniel 7:25. A “time” represents one year in Bible prophecy. So this Little Horn power was to rule for a time--or 1 year, times--or 2 more years, and the dividing of time--or half of a year. This would total three and a half years, or again 42 months or 1260 prophetic days or literal years. Thus the prophecies of the Beast and the Little Horn power are referring to this same religious power.
While both these prophecies indicate that the power identified was to reign for 1260 literal years, when did this time period begin? Another significant point which helps us to establish the time for the emergence of this power, is that it was to be given it’s seat, it’s authority, and it’s power, by the dragon.
While this dragon refers to Satan (see Revelation 12:9), it more specifically refers to the ancient pagan Roman Empire which Satan used to try and kill the man child--or Christ--as soon as He was born (see Matthew 2:1-18; Revelation 12:2-5). The seat of the old Roman Empire was the city of Rome itself. And as the date for the fall of the Roman Empire was A.D. 476, it is clear that this Beast power could not be firmly established with it’s seat and authority until after this time.
Then, who could this Beast power be? When the Roman Empire fell, it’s kingdom was divided into 10 nation-states. And what was the religious power which arose out of the ruins of pagan Rome? Claiming the titles and the authority of her Emperor predecessors, the Roman Catholic Church gradually sought to extend her power over these 10 nation-states of Europe. Soon the heads of these states received their crown and ruled more or less subject to Roman Catholic authority. While some might contend that the papacy is primarily a religious power, we have to understand that it is also a political power which sends and receives ambassadors and functions as a political state.
As the Roman Catholic church gradually gained more power and control over these 10 nation-states of Europe, it became evident that all but three of these nations (the Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths) were in favor of, or yielded to, the Catholic religion and authority. Therefore the Catholic church made war against these three nations, and uprooted them in succession (the Heruli in 493, the Vandals in 534, and the Ostrogoths in 538)--exactly as the Bible predicted of this Little Horn-Beast power! Thus 538 would be the starting point for the Beast’s rule.
It was also shown that at the end of this Beast’s 1260 year reign, it’s power was to be removed, and it would received a wound that appeared to be a death blow. Yet this wound would be healed, and this same power would again exercise authority over the kings of the earth.
Beginning with the date of 538, the Catholic church ruled for exactly 1260 years, and then received it’s deadly wound in the year 1798. The armies of Napoleon were marching across Europe, destroying monarchy and the church. French general Berthier, went down to Rome and took pope Pious VI prisoner and returned him to France to live out his remaining days in exile. Thus the Catholic church was, for a period of time, without a visible head to rule. This was definitely a death blow or a deadly wound to the church, because without a visible head or pope, the Catholic Church was dead! It had ruled for 1260 years, and now it was powerless--just as prophecy declared.
Many believed that the church had come to an end and would never again figure significantly in world affairs. For many years this picture remained unchanged, but in 1929, Cardinal Gasparri and Benito Mussolini signed the concordat which restored temporal powers to the papacy. Once again the Vatican began to function as she had before.
No one can question that since that time the papacy has regained much of the prestige lost two centuries ago. In the 1950’s, when Harry Truman attempted to appoint an official ambassador to the Vatican, there arose such a protest that it was not possible for him to follow through. But thirty years later, when President Reagan tried to accomplish the same thing, he met with little opposition.
Another remarkable point is that this Beast had the feet of a bear. The bear in Daniel 7:5 represents the empire of the Medes and Persians, and they had a method of government peculiarly their own. When the king of the Medes and Persians spoke law, he was considered to be infallible. Once given, it was not possible to change the law (see Daniel 6:8,12,15.) This finds its counterpart in the doctrine of the infallibility of the pope when he speaks ex-cathedra, and defines points of law or doctrine.
Also, on the head of the Beast was the name of blasphemy. The Biblical concept of blasphemy is found in Mark 2. The rulers of the Jewish people accused Jesus of blasphemy for presuming to forgive sins, a prerogative belonging to God alone (see verses 5-7). This authority the Catholic Church also claims to have.
The final point to note, is that the prophecy declares that this Beast power would make war with the saints of God. No one with any knowledge of history can deny that this description, without question, fits the Roman Catholic church. It is conservatively estimated that the Church of Rome caused over fifty million people to be put to death throughout it’s 1260 year reign. Why were these people murdered? Because they followed Bible truth and their conscience--even when it differed with the established teaching and authority of the Church. Thus it is clear that the Beast of Revelation 13:1-10 and the Little Horn of Daniel 7, unmistakably refers to the Roman Catholic church!
While it is true that religious tolerance is more widespread today than in the past, Bible prophecy points to the fact that this will not always be the case. This deadly wound was to be completely healed, and soon the Catholic church will re-gain her lost power. Then, along with those Protestant churches which are united with and who image her, they will revive the persecutions of the past against those who refuse to accept and abide under their authority in religious belief and practice--choosing instead to follow Bible truth and their conscience (see Revelation 13:15-17).
We understand that God did not give these Biblical prophecies as an indictment against individuals, but rather against apostate religious systems. God has sent His people these prophetic warnings so that they might not innocently become involved in this apostasy of Rome or in any of the churches of apostate Protestantism which are united with her.
In Revelation 18, God refers to these same apostate systems of religion as Babylon. In these last days we find that, just as God called Lot out of wicked Sodom before its destruction, so He sends a call to His people today to “Come out of her, my people”: to separate from all these religious systems of apostasy, “that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” Revelation 18:4.
God clearly warns His people not to be united with apostate churches or with unbelievers, but to remain separate from them all. If they should continue to remain members in or united with these, they will not be clean in God’s sight, He will not consider them as His sons and daughters, and they will lose eternal life (see 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Isaiah 52:11; Micah 2:10).
It is because of God's great love for those who are still connected with these religious systems of apostasy; the many who sincerely love Him with all of their heart, that He warns them to escape from the real danger they are in. In loving kindness and tender mercy God calls His people out of all the churches, so that they might avoid being destroyed along with Babylon, and instead become connected with Christ and His kingdom of righteousness, and thus to gain everlasting life.
"Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity...My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord." Jeremiah 51:6, 45.