One of God's strongest warnings for the last days is against receiveing the mark of the Beast. Before identifying this mark, let us learn the identity of the Beast.
- What warning does God give against worshiping the Beast?
Rev. 14:9, 10 [The Further-study verse is Rev. 18:1-5]
- Why is God opposed to the Beast power?
Rev. 13:1, 5-7 [Rev. 19:11,19; 18:6]
- What does Paul call this power who seeks to exalt himself above God?
2 Thess. 2:3, 4, 8 [Ans: The "man of sin" and "the lawless one," (NKJV). Rev. 17:1-6]
- What descriptions in Daniel, compared with what we read in Revelation 13:57, show that the "Beast" power is the same as the "Little Horn" of Daniel 7?
Dan. 7:25 [Note: A "time" is a year (Dan. 4:16-32; Rev. 12:6,14). A time, two times, and a half a time equal 3 1/2 years, or 42 months, as denoted in Revelation 13. Revelation 12:14 refers to this period of time when the Beast rules as 1260 prophetic days (or literal years). Symbolic time prophecies are based on 30-day months, making 360 days a year. 3 1/2 times 360 equals 1260 days. Rev, 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14; 13:5; Dan 12:7; Eze. 4:6; Num. 14:34]
- Out of what kingdom did the little horn (Beast power) arise?
Dan. 7:7, 8 [Ans: Out of the fourth kingdom, pagan Rome. See Lesson 7. Rev. 12:1-5; 13:2]
- What happened to the Roman empire that made it possible for this new power to arise from its midst?
Dan. 2:40, 41 [Ans: It was broken up. 2 Thess. 2:6,7]
- Pagan Rome was divided into ten kingdoms between 351 and 476 A.D. When would the little horn arise?
Dan. 7:24 [Note: It arose as a political power AFTER the ten; but Paul notes in 2 Thessalonians that, though not ruling politically until pagan Rome was "taken out of the way," it was already present in his day and would continue until Jesus' second coming. 2 Thess. 2:7-12]
- What happened to three kingdoms before the little horn arose and exercised kingly power?
Dan. 7:8 [Note: Three kingdoms from the divisions of Rome opposed the spiritual supremacy of the papacy. They were the Heruls, destroyed in 493; the Vandals, destroyed in 534; and the Ostrogoths, "uprooted" from Rome in 538 and destroyed in 553. The Pope began exercising civil authority in 538 A.D. 2 Thess. 2:7-9]
- Would the little-horn kingdom be like the others?
Dan. 7:24 [Ans. No. It would be religious as well as political. See verse 25. Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Cor. 11: 13-15]
- What religious-political power arose out of Rome around 538?
[Ans: The Papacy. Emperor Justinian declared the Pope the ruler of Rome in 533, but he did not start to reign until 538. The Pope was the temporal ruler of Rome from 538 until taken captive by Napoleon's General, Berthier, in 1798--EXACTLY 1260 YEARS FROM WHEN HE STARTED RULING! Rev. 17:3, 9, 18]
- What kind of words does the little horn speak?
Dan. 7:25a [Note: The Roman Catholic Church claims that the Pope "Is not a mere man, but as it were God." He is crowned with a triple crown as "king of heaven . . ., earth and . . . the lower regions." He "is of so great authority that he can modify . . . even divine laws."-- L. Ferraris, Prompt Bibliotheca, vol. VI, pp. 26-29. 2 Thess. 2:3, 4; Dan. 11:36, 37; Matt. 23:9; 1 Tim. 4:1-3]
- What would this power do to the saints?
Dan. 7:25b [Note: It is estimated that 50 million Christians were martyred during the middle ages. Rev. 17:6; 18:24]
- Though the Pope was wounded by losing his political power in 1798, how large an influence will he again exert in the world?
Rev. 13:3 [Rev. 18:1-3]
- Does God have true and sincere followers in spiritual "Babylon"?
Rev. 18:4 [Ans: Yes. God calls those within, who are obeying the truth they know, "My people." It is the system, not the people, to which God is opposed, for it is a mixture of truth and error. God loves every person within every false system, but He is calling them to come out and to join His "sheepfold." John 10:16]
Protestants arose from "protesting" against Rome, but now even they are "wondering" after the Beast. God has many people in the Catholic Church, but He is saying, "Come out of her, My people . . ." (Rev. 18:4). As we will see in the next lesson, soon all will have to decide between the traditions of Rome and the commandments of God.
Are you willing to follow God all the way, even if all the world acknowledges another authority?