[This tract - reprinted in May, 1962 - may be of interest for some who may want to compare how conditions - (within the Church and the World) - have deteriorated over the past 50 years.  Sunday after Sunday, millions of regenerate believers hear NO Divine warnings against wilful sin and disobedience; NO promise of a Millennial Reign of Messiah upon this earth (See Footnote 2); NO future salvation for the nation of Israel; NO heart-felt prayers offered to God for the peace of Jerusalem, the holy city; and, as is evident amongst prophetical students throughout Christendom, NO prayers offered for the grace, sanctification and obedience necessary to be able us escape the coming wrath of God upon “the sons of disobedience”!  (See Footnote 1.)   “It is tragic that a truth can be abandoned when it is far more urgently needed.” ]



To say that we are living in serious times would be to express a mere platitude.  The present time is, of course, always serious, for in it God is working out His counsel and realizing His purpose with regard to the salvation of His Church and the coming of His Kingdom.  But there are periods in which the significance of the times is more obvious than at other periods of history, because they are so crowded with tremendous events that their importance is impressed upon the minds and hearts of men, and because they remind the people of God more than at other times that this is the last hour and that their redemption draweth nigh.  It is in such times that we are deemed worthy to live today.  The red horse is running over the earth in every direction, obviously beyond the control of any man or power in the world, and the world is in the throes of a war as has never been witnessed before.  The economic problem cries for a solution with ever greater emphasis, and its solution appears to be more remote than ever.  We are told even now that we may expect a new world-order, in which freedom of worship and of speech, freedom from fear and from want shall be maintained, a world of peace and prosperity for all.  But in the meantime the struggle between capital and labour, between the “haves” and “have-nots” becomes more bitter and intense as the days go by.  And it becomes increasingly difficult for the faithful believer in the Lord Jesus Christ to maintain himself in society and to earn his daily bread, unless he will make common cause with the world and put on an unequal yoke with the unbeliever.  In the religious sphere our times are characterized by apostasy.   Modernism is rampant.  By far the majority of churches in our land have long abandoned the truth as it is in Christ.  They have become like the salt that has lost its savour, and which is good for nothing but to be cast on the dunghill and to be trodden under feet by men.  The masses have become alienated from the Church, and those that still belong to her and attend divine worship on the sabbath understand sound doctrine no longer.  There is a mad pursuit of the things of the present world, rather than the things that are above, and a hankering after the treasures and pleasures, of this world that leaves room for little else in the hearts of men.  Everything reminds us of the warning of Scripture in 2 Tim. 3: 1-5: “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that do good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away



Always, but especially in times such as the present, the Scriptures convey a twofold message to the believer that turns to them for instruction and consolation.  First of all, the Bible comes with a message of comfort to all that love the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For all these things have been foretold, in order that we might believe when they should come to pass, and believing might have peace.  In the light of the “more sure word of prophecy” we feel assured that God holds the reins, that He is working out His good counsel and realizing His purpose, and that this purpose is the salvation of His eternal, heavenly covenant.  And we are not amazed or perplexed, for we know that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purposeRom. 8: 28.  And through all the turmoil and distress of the times we may lift up our head, assured that day of the Lord is near and that our redemption draweth nigh.  Without committing ourselves to a prediction of “the day and the hour we may safely say that our times impress upon our minds and hearts the nearness and fast approach of the clouds and every eye shall see Him.  But, secondly, the Word of God also sounds a note of warning that before the final coming of the Lord the Church* must expect dark and difficult days, a period of great tribulation for the people of God; and it exhorts us to be faithful even unto the end, that no one take our crown.  For the “man of sin” must still be revealed, and the antichristian empire must be established for a time, and during that period there will be no room in the world for those that love the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.  There are, indeed, those who teach that the faithful Church will escape this great tribulation.  Just before the reign of Antichrist and the last days of distress and persecution they shall be taken up in the “rapture” to be with the Lord in the air.  But this is quite contrary to Scripture, and is a dangerous doctrine because it fills the believers with a vain hope, which must needs end in utter disappointment and leave them wholly unprepared in the “evil day”.   Everywhere the Word of God warns the Church that the believers must expect tribulation even until the end.** When nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places, we may see in them the “beginning of sorrows”.  But the time will come, too, that they shall deliver up the true believers and kill them, and that the Church shall be hated of all nations for Christ’s sake; the time when many shall be offended, and shall betray one another, and hate one another, many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many, and the love of many shall wax cold because iniquity abounds.  And it is only they that shall endure unto the end that shall be saved.  And they shall be of great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall be.  And if it were not that the days were shortened for the elect’s sake, no flesh should then be saved.  Matt. 24: 7-13; 21, 22. Cf. Mark 13: 7ff.; Luke 21: 8ff.  And not only does Scripture teach us that the faithful in Christ must expect tribulation, and exhort us to be faithful even unto death, but it would consider such persecution for Christ’s sake an honour and a blessing.  “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before youMt. 5: 11, 12.  The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ.  Acts 5: 41, And “unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” Phil. 1: 29.  Not to secure tribulation, but to suffer it gladly, for Christ’s sake, to glorify God’s grace through it, and to enter into the great reward of the faithful, - that is unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 1: 7.


[* There was a time in the editor’s life when he believed most of what is written in this tract; but he was blinded to responsibility truths and conditional promises.  However, those unwatchful servants of God; who think it foolishness to pray to be “able to escape all that is about to happen” and “able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21: 36. cf. Rev. 3: 10), will be “left” to endure persecution and death at the hands of the Antichrist and his deceived followers.


“If prophecy fails to have its right effect on us, it is not the fault of prophecy, or of the God who alone gives prophecy; it is solely the fruit either of our ignorance or of our denial of what is foretold.  All the vital impetus imparted by the tremendous rewards and punishments foretold for [regenerate] believers is lost by a complete ignorance of what is coming


“Even Christian statesmen are no more ignoring prophecy than they are ignoring (grossly) contemporary facts.  President Truman said in his Christmas message (Times, Dec. 27, 1945):- ‘We must strive without ceasing to make real the prophecy of Isaiah:- “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more  In that day, whether it be far or near, the kingdom of this world shall become indeed the Kingdom of God  Does the President – himself a baptized believer – imagine that the Kingdom will be established by the atomic bomb, over which he holds more control than any man living-  (D. M. PANTON.)


** But, when the rapture of God’s saints does occur, it will be a ‘wake-up-call’ for all who will be “left”: and an opportunity for some of them to secure “the crown of life” in the “age” which will follow!  (See Footnote 1 at end of tract.)]



The Church, therefore, must expect the “great tribulation” of the last days.  And even now she must watch and pray and put on the whole armour of God, and prepare herself, lest she defile her garments and be swallowed up of the world.  For always the world hates the children of light, and always the latter must suffer persecution.  The “great tribulation” will not come upon the Church as a thing all by itself, without any connection with the preceding times.  It will rather be the culmination of all the suffering the faithful have endured through the ages, a period in which the dragon will make a last and most furious attempt to destroy the seed of the woman, and in which the hostile world will cast off the mask of outward friendship and tolerance toward the people of God.  It will then become fully manifest that they still furiously hate the Christ and those that are His.  It will, of course, be a time in which the line of distinction between the true Church and the world will be clearly and distinctly drawn.  There will be no room then for hypocrites and outward Christians.  One shall be able to “discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him notMal. 3: 18.  And one of the chief means to bring that distinction to open manifestation in those days will be “the Mark of the Beast



Every Christian that is at all acquainted with Scripture is able to find immediately the reference to the mark of the Beast in the Bible.  It is found in the thirteenth chapter of the book of Revelation.  In that chapter we have a rather elaborate apocalyptic description of the Antichrist and his reign and fury.  It is not now our purpose to enter into a detailed exposition of this description, but only to recall the general features of it in as far as it is necessary for a correct understanding of the mark of the beast.  The chapter presents the vision of two monster beasts, the one rising out of the sea, the other out of the earth.  The former represents the Antichrist and his final empire from its political aspect.  It is presented as a world-power that has universal sway.  It is a kingdom or empire that embraces all the nations of the earth.  This anti-Christian beast, that blasphemes against God, His name and tabernacle and against them that dwell in heaven, is the embodiment of the dragon, that old serpent, the devil, from whom it receives its power.  And it is admired and worshipped by all that dwell on the earth, except by those whose names are written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.  A universal, wicked, anti-Christian State, therefore, is represented by the beast out of the sea.  In its service stands the second beast, the one that rises out of the earth. It is this second beast that is interested‑in persuading all men to admire and to worship the anti-Christian political world-power.  This second beast is the “false prophet”.  It is the spiritual power of false science and false philosophy and false theology, using every means in its power, the spoken word, the press, the printed page, the radio, and all the wonders of science and invention, to mould public opinion in favour of the first beast.  It is very persistent in its efforts.  It cannot rest until the Antichrist is openly and publicly worshipped and admired, and it cannot tolerate those that refuse to bow their knees before this Baal of the latter days.  And, therefore it persuades men to make an image of the beast, some visible representation of the anti-Christian almighty state, that all may make their obeisance to it openly.  And for the same reason this false prophet takes care that no one’s attitude over against the beast and its image can remain a matter of doubt.  The distinction between those that worship the beast and those that refuse to worship him must become manifest to all.  There must be no half-heartedness.  Those that are opposed to the anti-Christian beast and insist on being faithful of Christ must be exposed in order that they may be extinguished.  For in the anti‑Christian empire there will be room only for those that worship the beast!



To accomplish this purpose the false prophet invents two means: the spirit of life he gives to the image of the beast, causing it to speak; and the mark of the beast.  It is well that we distinguish these.  We read in Rev. 13:15: “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast (or, according to the RV, “And it was given unto him to give breath unto it, even unto the image of the beast”), that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed  The general idea of this is plain.  Images, representations of the antichristian state are installed all through the empire.  To these images is now given breath, a spirit.  This does not mean, of course, that the false prophet will have power to create living beings, but rather that somehow these images will assume the character of and function as living persons, that have eyes and ears.  It is especially in this particular respect that the image of the beast will function as a being that has the breath of life: it will both hear and speak.  Emphatically we are told that it is the purpose of the spirit of life given to the image to enable it to speak.  And again, the purpose of its speech is “that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed”.  It is evident, then, that this speaking image serves the purpose of a spy.  The device is a means to expose those that are opposed to the worship of the beast.  The image of the beast both hears and speaks.  It records the speech and conversation of those that refuse to worship the beast in order then to report to the false prophet what it has thus recorded.  Just how this is to be realized in the day of Antichrist is a matter of minor importance.  That we need not spiritualize or allegorize the text, but adhere to a literal realization of the speaking image, ought to be evident to anyone that contemplates the wonders of modern invention and science.  It is not at all difficult to conceive of the installation of mechanical ears and mouths that will record and make public even that which is spoken in secret.  Such devices will be installed everywhere in the antichristian empire and under the supervision of the false prophet, in churches and lecture halls, in homes and offices and public places in order that the faithful may be exposed and killed by the power of the sword.



The second means whereby the worshippers of the Lamb may be distinguished from the followers of the beast, the godly from the ungodly, is the mark of the beast.  It is quite distinct from the first, not only in its character but also in its effect.  The first means of distinction is the speech of the image of the beast, the second is a mark which everyone must receive and exhibit on his forehead or right hand; the former leads to the exposure and death of those that refuse to worship the beast, the latter to their expulsion from society: they cannot buy or sell.  The latter, the mark of the beast, is, evidently, designed to supplement the former, the speech of the image.  For the false prophet is, evidently, determined that absolutely every one without exception shall worship the antichristian beast, and that in all the dominion of Antichrist no follower of the Lamb shall be left.  To accomplish this purpose the speech of the image is not sufficient. It is conceivable that some, that many may elude its detection.  It will accomplish chiefly that the leaders of the Church, those that are called to preach the Gospel, to teach and to admonish the people of God, those who by virtue of their very position as leaders are called to confess the name of Christ and to denounce the name of Antichrist, are exposed and persecuted to the death.  But this does not satisfy the false prophet.  All must be exposed.  And so he devises the mark of the beast, and “causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads”.  From this cunning device no man can escape.  For the false prophet so arranges matters “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  The mark of the beast is very effective.  It will, indeed, divide men into two clearly distinct groups and opposing camps: the followers of the Lamb and the worshippers of the beast.  In those days one will be able to discern clearly between him that serveth the Lord and him that serveth him not.



Let us notice, first of all, that this mark of the beast, although instituted by the State, must, nevertheless, be adopted voluntarily by every citizen, rich or poor, great or small.  It is, indeed, an invention of the false prophet.  In this cunning and wicked mind it had its origin.  But let us not forget, that the false prophet functions in the name of and in behalf of the first beast, the political power of the Antichrist.  By his influence, therefore it becomes a state-law, that all shall receive and openly exhibit (this is the meaning of “in their right hand, or in their foreheads”) the mark of the beast.  On the other hand, the state-law is of such a nature, that each man must make his own choice with regard to that mark of the beast.  He must adopt it voluntarily.  He must go after it.  It is not even improbable that he will have to apply for it and pay for it.  Just as it is a state-law that your car must exhibit a license when you drive it, and just as you have to apply and purchase that license; so in the days of the antichristian empire it will be by decree of the almighty state that you must receive and exhibit the mark of the beast, but you will have to make your application in order to receive it.  Only, the matter that will then be presented to the choice of your will is extremely serious, much more so than your application for an automobile license. For if you fail to make your application for the mark of the beast, you will not be able to buy or sell; while, if you do apply for this ensign you will have to swear that you call Christ accursed and that you are and always intend to be a faithful worshipper of the beast.  By the cunning device of the false prophet, and the sword-power of the anti-Christian State you will be placed before the alternative: deny Christ and worship the beast or die!  But however great the strain of trial and temptation upon your will may be, it will be you that chooses for or against the mark of the beast!  The thoughts of many hearts shall be revealed. And only the gold of God’s own grace will come through the trial “unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”.



It is always thus.



Persecution for Christ’s sake always involves a choice between the things that are seen and the things that are not seen, between the present world [age] and the world [age] to come, between keeping or loosing your life.  And it is always grace only that is able to choose for Christ and suffering rather than for Antichrist and the world and its treasures.  In the days of the early Church it was the law of the empire that worship was to be rendered to Caesar.  And Christians would sometimes be placed before the choice of making obeisance to Caesar’s image or of being thrown into a caldron of boiling oil: it was grace that invariably chose the latter.  At the time of the Reformation and the Spanish Inquisition men were stretched upon the rack, slowly torn apart, and caused the most excruciating pain and anguish.  And on that rack they confronted the choice of Christ and continued agony to the end, or denial of Christ and immediate deliverance.  It was grace alone that enabled the faithful to endure unto the end.  Today the situation is not different, even though the lines are, not so severely drawn as in some past periods and as they will be drawn once more in the latter days.  Many a time we are placed before the alternative of assuming an unequal yoke with the unbeliever, of subscribing to anti-Christian principles and denying the truth, or remaining faithful and losing a job or a dollar.  And again, even now, it is only the marvellous power of the grace of God that will choose the latter.  It is given us of grace to believe in Christ and to suffer with Him.  And in such times of stress and tribulation “the love of many will wax cold”.  It may be that they will attempt to cover up their apostasy by many excuses but the fact is that whenever and wherever we choose the world rather than Christ, it is the sinful flesh that determines the choice, never the grace of God!  That is the seriousness of the matter. In our choice we reveal the thoughts of the heart!



Let us consider, too, the mark of the beast as such and it meaning.  From vs. 17 it is evident that the mark is the same as the name of the beast, and that the name is also the number of the name.  This is especially clear if we adopt the rendering of the Revised Version: “save he that had the mark, even the name of the beast or the number of his name It is clear, then, that the mark men are required to exhibit in their right hand or in their forehead consists of the name of the first beast, before whom and in whose name the second beast functions and exercises his authority; and it is equally evident that this name is represented by the number of the beast.  An important question in determining the significance of this mark of the beast is: how are we to understand the term “name” in this connection?  A very common group of interpretations explains the term as referring to the proper name of the Antichrist. They interpret this chapter and a large part of the book of Revelation as having had its historical fulfilment in the Roman Empire of John’s day.  It is the beast that rises up out of the sea in the vision. The name of the beast, according to this interpretation, is some proper noun, either of one of the emperors such as Nero or Domitian, or of the empire itself.  And the number of the name, according to this view, is the sum of the numerical value of the several letters of that name.  A very commonly adopted interpretation belonging to this class is that which considers the “name of the beast” to refer to the name of the Roman empire, the name LATEINOS.  The numerical value of the several letters of this name in the Greek alphabet is as follows: L stands for 30, A for 1, T for 300, E for 5, I for 10, N for 50, 0 for 70, S for 200; added together these various numbers give the sum 666, the number of the name!



Against this interpretation we have various objections.  First of all, even though “the beast” as it historically appeared at the time of John might be the Roman world-power, this empire certainly cannot have been the Anti‑Christian State in its final manifestation that is undoubted  ly pictured in the chapter. To the antichristian world-power in its consummation and ultimate development the name Lateinos could not possibly be applied.  Even then, if the “name of the beast” might be explained as referring in the first instance to the proper name of an emperor of those days, or to the name of the empire in general, it must still have another, a symbolical significance.  Secondly, the term “name” in Scripture in connections such as the one in which it occurs here usually has a different meaning.  It does not denote a proper noun, but is expressive of that which denotes the essence, the nature, the real character of something or of someone.  This applies also to the use of “name” in the book of Revelation.  Thus we read in chapter 3: 1: “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead  Still more clearly the term refers to personal identity and character rather than to a proper noun in vs. 5 of the same chapter: “I will not blot out his name out of the book of life”.  And without any doubt the term has this meaning in vs. 12: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name”.  It is in this same Scriptural sense of the word that we prefer to interpret the term in the phrase “name of the beast”.  It does not refer to any proper noun, but expresses the nature, the real, spiritual character of the beast.  In the third place, the interpretation that finds the name of the beast to be Lateinos, and then proceeds to discover the number six hundred and sixty six in the sum of its letters, is both too mechanical and too arbitrary and besides, it smacks of the allegorism of, the old Cabbalistic school of interpreters.  If the number of the name of the beast is to be considered a sum in arithmetic, one can never be sure of having discovered the true meaning of the name: more than one name that deserves consideration here will yield the same result.  It is true that the interpretation is ingenious, but the text informs us that wisdom and understanding rather than ingenuity are required to discover the significance of the number of the beast.  Vs. 18.  And wisdom and understanding in the Scriptural sense are spiritual insight in the things concerning the kingdom of God.



On the very face of it the number 666 with its emphatic repetition of the number six suggests that it is a schematic number, and that its meaning must be found in its symbolism.  And this is quite in accord with the use of numbers in other parts of the book of Revelation.  The numbers three, four, six, seven, ten in their various combinations and relations abound in this book, and constantly they have symbolic significance.  They are symbols of some spiritual meaning.  It would be very strange, indeed, if a number like 666 would be an exception to this general rule.  And it is also evident that the symbolic meaning of this number expresses the name or character of the anti-Christian world-power.  Now, the number six is the number of creation: in six days God created the heavens and the earth.  It is the number of man’s week of labour, for even as God created all things in six days, so man must labour six days and do all his work.  Six days, once on each day, the children of Israel are ordered to march around the city of Jericho. The number six, therefore, denotes labour, toil, the fulness of human strife to produce the finished product, to reach the end, to attain to the goal of human existence.  But labour and toil are not, cannot be the end in themselves.  The end, the crowning point of God’s work of creation is the sabbath, the rest of God.  And so man’s toil can be considered successful only if he attains to the rest, the Sabbath, the true rest of God, the number seven.  The scheme, the ground-work of the book of Revelation is the number seven, but it occurs as six plus one.  There are seven seals, the seventh seal is revealed as seven trumpets; and again, the seventh trumpet assumes the form of seven vials.  On the seventh day the city of Jericho must be encompassed seven times, and on that seventh day, after the children of Israel marched around the stronghold the seventh time, the city is taken.  Six, therefore, may be viewed as seven minus one, the week without the sabbath, labour without rest, toil without attainment, vanity of vanities, the hope that never comes, the expectation that perishes.  This, then, expresses the real character of the mighty antichristian world-power in its consummation.  It represents man’s complete effort in time.  For the number is that of a Man.  Even the Antichrist is just a man, nothing more.  His name is Anthro-pos, a Man powerful though he may appear to be.  He is Man standing in his full development, as he has spent his ingenuity and power and labour and toil upon the earthly creation and upon himself, cultural Man standing at the peak of his development. In the zenith of his power.  He has striven to make something of this world, to establish a kingdom of Man.  And now he reached the number six.  It is the end. Repeatedly he attempted to attain to the goal of the number seven, the rest, the world-sabbath, as is indicated by the reception of the number: 600 ... 60 ... 6.  Each time., it would appear from the number, the efforts of man required a shorter time and were more apparently certain of reaching the, goal.  Yet he fails.  Mere Man, man without God, earthly man, lying in sin and in the midst of death, cannot attain to the rest.  The expectation of the wicked perishes.  It is only the hope of the righteous, of man in Christ, the Man of God, that is gladness.  He reaches out for the number seven, the rest that remaineth for the people of God.  And he attains.  Hope maketh not ashamed!



Consider, now, the horrible meaning of the mark of the beast.  For the mark is the name of the beast, and the symbolism of the number 666.  The false prophet of the antichristian empire will, therefore, so exert his power, that by decree of the State all within the dominion of the Antichrist, that is, in the whole world, must adopt and publically exhibit the name of the beast!  In this he reveals himself as anti-Christ, as the one that is opposed to the Christ of God and that intends to usurp the place of the latter.  For Christ, too, gives a name to them that are His, the name of his God, and the name of the city of God, and His own a new name.  And even in this world, through the efficacy of the name they receive of Christ, believers become manifest, in word and conversation, in confession and walk, in their worship and preaching of the Word, as belonging to Him with body and soul, for time and eternity.  He purchased them with His own precious blood, and redeemed them from sin and death; he delivered them from the power of darkness and renewed them through His Spirit, so that they became like unto Himself.  They bear His name.  And by faith they adopt that name, and they exhibit it in the midst of the world.  But by the instigation of the false prophet the Antichrist in the latter days will make a deliberate attempt to obliterate the very memory of the name of Christ from the earth, and to have it replaced everywhere by his own name: the mark of the beast!  All citizens in his dominion, that is, all men, must display his name!  Voluntarily, as a matter of their own choice they must adopt it.  And by adopting it they openly declare that they belong to Antichrist body and soul, in life and death; that they admire and worship him, and put all their confidence in him.  Such is the dreadful significance of the mark of the beast!



But although in those days each one will be called upon to make a choice, and although whatever choice he makes is certainly voluntary and for that reason the expression of what lives in his inmost heart, refusal to receive and to display the mark of the beast can be made only at the price of suffering for Christ’s sake.  For it is the purpose of the mark of the beast to determine who shall have the privilege of buying and selling in the dominion of Antichrist.  For so we read in verse 17 of Revelation 13: “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, even the name of the beast, or the number of his name”.  Consider what this means.  You are conducting a certain business, and some day a State official steps into your store, takes one look at your forehead and at your right hand, and orders your store closed immediately until such a time as you shall have secured for yourself the mark of the beast.  You try to make the purchase of your daily necessities, your food and clothing, and the man behind the counter looks at you, asks you to show your right hand and cooly informs you: “I cannot sell you anything  You are employed in a certain factory, and are making a fair wage to provide for yourself and yours, and unexpectedly you are called to the office and are told that, unless you secure the mark of the beast, you need not return for work tomorrow.  You are renting a home, and as you pay your monthly rent, the proprietor orders you to evacuate the house unless you immediately apply for the mark of the beast.  If you refuse to deny Christ and to confess Antichrist, you will be a social outcast, worse than a pariah: there will be no place left for you in the world!  Voluntarily, indeed, you make your choice, but your choice for Christ and against Antichrist will be put to a severe test, more severe, in fact, than if the choice were between Antichrist and immediate death!



Already we may read the approach of those awful days in the signs of the times.  The place of the faithful Christian in the world becomes narrower fast.  Labour and industry and business and even agriculture are becoming more and more organized and even today one cannot always secure a job or conduct a certain business unless he subscribes to principles and condones practices which are contrary to the Word of God and to his Christian conscience.  Yet, today the matter is not compelling.  It may sometimes be a question of a better position, of a higher wage, of a little more profit, but the faithful Christian may still have a place in the world.  But in the days of Antichrist there will be no room left for him that refuses to receive the mark of the beast.  And it is not difficult to conceive how in those days many will fall away that now appear to be of Christ.  And it will not be difficult for them to find excuses that will apparently justify their unfaithfulness, and even cause the stand of the faithful to appear foolish.  Must they not live?  And how shall they live, if they can neither buy or sell?  Besides, it is not a State law that no one must receive the mark of the beast, and must we not be in submission to authorities?  Such arguments will, no doubt, appear very plausible in the days of Antichrist.  In the meantime, let us remember that they are quite contrary to the Word, which plainly teaches us that “whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find itMatt. 16: 25.  And “he that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternalJohn 12: 25.  And let us not forget that only they “whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world” shall worship the beast, and receive the mark of the beast.



Dreadful days they will be, indeed, but only according to the flesh.  But also glorious days they must be, days of much grace.  For to His own, God will surely give grace according to the way, in order that they may be faithful even to the end.  Significant is the picture that is held before us in the beginning of chapter fourteen of the book of Revelation.  No matter how Antichrist may rage, the Lamb is still standing on Mount Sion, and the one hundred and forty and four thousand, all his elect, are still with Him, and no one shall be able to pluck them out of his hand!  Be patient, therefore even unto the coming of the day of the Lord!  He that endureth unto the end shall be saved!  The victory is ours!



*       *       *









The post-tribulationists, who consign all [regenerate] believers – whether watchful or unwatchful – to the Great Tribulation, but contend that the ‘tribulation’ is not the wrath of God, a wrath which is expressed only, in ‘the great and terrible day of the Lord’ which follows it, are silenced by a single fact.  That the Great Tribulation is in the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord – no prelude to it, but part of it – is proved by our Lord’s words describing it.  “Then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, NO, NOR EVER SHALL BE” (Matt. 24: 21).  Since no such horror will occur again, the [Great] Tribulation must include, not forestall, the Day of the Lord.






So the pre-tribulationists, who are sure that all [regenerate] believers – even the grossest backsliders [and apostates] – will be rapt en masse into sudden glory before the [Great] Tribulation starts, overlook the warning of our Lord [to His disciples].  “Watch ye at every season, making supplication, that YE may prevail to escape all these things” – He has just described the Great Tribulation, ‘days of vengeance’ (verse 22) – “that shall come to pass” (Luke 21: 36).  The Old Testament type, which our Lord stresses as a warning to His disciples concerning His return, is extraordinarily illuminating:- “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17: 32).  If all [regenerate] believers are exempt from the coming judgments, the command ought to have been, - “Remember Lot  Lot’s wife had no part in the fire and brimstone that wiped out Sodom, yet in a moment she was turned into stone for ‘looking back’ – backsliding.  Like Lot’s wife, the unwatchful believer escapes Hell [i.e., the ‘lake of fire’], but incurs the lightenings if the Judgment Seat.*


[* That is, judged unworthy by the Lord, to escape the coming tribulation warth of a holy and righteous God against wilful sin and unbelief in His redeemed children: Heb. 10: 26-30. cf. Rev. 2: 23; 2 Pet. 2: 20, 21.]






Both groups base their teaching on 1 Thess. 1: 10 – the pre-tribulationists asserting that all [regenerate] believers will escape the [Great] Tribulation wrath, the post-tribulationists that the Tribulation is not wrath.  But while we are fundamentally and eternally delivered from the wrath to come, Paul equally states that we believers can incur the wrath of God, even in the day of grace.  After speaking of fornication and uncleanness, he says -[to ‘the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus’] - “Let no man deceive you with empty words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon THE SONS OF DISOBEDIENCE; be not ye therefore partakers with them” (Eph. 5: 6).  So also:- “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, passion; for which things’ sake cometh the WRATH OF GOD UPON THE SONS OF DISOBEDIENCE” (Col. 3: 5).  It follows indisputably that the incestuous brother, whose body was committed to Satan for destruction that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 5: 5),* incurred the wrath of God.  One word of our Lord, upsetting all [both] groups, explicitly states that the overcomer will escape, and the overcomer only, the coming judgments.  “Because thou didst keep the word of my patience” – not because he was a [regenerate] believer, a saved man [saved by grace through faith alone in Christ Jesus] – “I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3: 10).


[* That is, when the “Day” of which Peter says: “Is like a thousany years” (2 Pet. 3: 8, N.I.V.): that “day” which we ought never to forget about, is the “day” when all unrepantant backsliders and apostates will experience the salvation of the ‘spirit’: the time when they realize (in the underworld) of not being “considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead” (Luke 20: 35) - the loss of the millennial inheritance of which the land of Canaan is a type of the “rest” out ahead.  Num. 14: 24; 1 Cor. 10: 6, 11; Psa. 95: 11; Heb. 11: 4: 1, 11; Rev. 20: 4-6.]






An open denial of the Second Advent and the prophetical events assciated with it in the Holy Scriptures, are now being denied by all A-Millennialists. Their false interpretations are evident throughout the whole Church of God: and our Christian bookshops have their shelves stacked with their literature.  What was written in September 1945 by Mr. R. H. Charles in America, has now filtered throughout all the various Christian denominations worldwide.  The following are his recorded words:-



“The denial of the Second Advent by almost the total Church of God is proved afresh by a congress in Cleveland, Ohio, consisting of 481 of the leading and most influential members of the Church in the United States and Canada, and representing 45 denominations, which in its circular embodies the dream that the Church is to co-operate with the world in establishing the Kingdom of God.  The document they have issued (Religious Digest, March, 1945) says:- ‘It is the Christian faith that the Church, the body of Christ and the fellowship of Christ’s followers, is the creation of His spirit, and the steward of His purpose; that His Kingdom on earth is an unconquerable Kingdom of justice and mercy and truth in which it is our responsibility to bring human laws and human institutions into increasing accord with His holy will  It is a complete denial of a kingdom solely established by a returning Lord and by unprecedented judgments.  ‘The earliest exponents of the Apocalypse, such as Justin Nartyr, Tertullian, Iranaeus, Hippolytus, and Victorinus, take in a literal sense AN ACTUAL REIGN OF CHRIST ON THE EARTH.’ ”






The truth stated by Scripture – that the translation of Enoch was a reward – is obvious to commentators, and is undeniable.



John Angel James, a leading Nonconformist of the nineteenth century says:-  “Enoch’s translation was a testimony to the whole world of God’s approval of his conduct  Dr. Gouge says:-  “To be translated from the earth to heaven is a great reward.  Enoch did that which moved God to translate him: work must be done before reward can be expected  Gilfillan says:- “One reason why this honour was conferred on him was to show his transcendent excellence  Calvin says:- “The Scripture shows that this translation was a proof of the Divine love towards Enoch by connecting it immediately with his pious and upright life  John Gill, Spurgeon’s predecessor by a hundred years, says:- “He was a walker with God, and the course of his conversation was holy and upright; which was the reason of his translation, a high honour which was bestowed upon him  “God translated him; FOR before his translation he hath had witness borne to him that he had been well-pleasing unto God” (Heb. 11: 5).



*       *       *







It is of immense importance to warn our young folk of the tremendous events at our doors; and none is more stupendous than the Mark of the Beast.  Satan’s profound wisdom is proved by his studied imitation of God; and he knows perfectly well, from the Apocalypse, that the 144,000 body-guard of the Lamb “have his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads” (Rev. 14: 1); and of all the redeemed at last it is written, - “They shall see his face, and his name shall be written on their foreheads” (Rev. 22 : 4).  The names of God confessed on earth are now the glory of the saints on high: their ownership by God, and the character of God, are stamped for ever on the redeemed.  Exactly so, the Antichrist, equally with the Christ, will have his name stamped on his worshippers, and they will be the whole world.



A Flesh Mark



It was very startling, some years ago, to confront - for the first time in modern England - an appeal for the stamping of a flesh-mark; nor was it the less ominous that it comes from an untaught Christian.  He says:- “Is there not a need for some unmistakable sign, in these days when it is fashionable to disclaim any religious belief?  And if so, can anyone make a suggestion.  I have seen a cross tattooed on a man’s hand - and, in another land, a crescent tattooed on a man’s face - extreme lengths these, binding for life and exposing the bearer to much, but unquestionable proclamations of faith.  Can anyone suggest better?  I would even go this length if others would join, and good could be done  This is exactly what was done by the more enthusiastic of the Crusaders.  The historian Gibbon says:- “The cross was, by some Zealots, inscribed on their skin; a hot iron, or indelible liquor, was applied to perpetuate the mark  Early in the first World War The Times (May 26, 1915) said:- “If the war has led to the dropping of old customs it has led to the adoption of new ones: the most conspicuous of the acquired habits is the wearing of badges  Some secret societies are already adopting a flesh-cutting.  The Menilmonches, a band of apaches in Paris, imprint a fivefold puncture on the wrist as the sign of their sect.



A Mark



Now the False Prophet yet to come is to enforce the worship of the Antichrist with a cutting in the flesh. “He causeth all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond” - wealth cannot buy itself out of the obligation, nor is anyone too obscure to escape notice – “that there be given them A MARK” tatoo, a brand; a puncturing of the skin so as to produce an indelible impression – “on their right hand” - this selection of the right hand at once proves it is a literal mark – “or upon their forehead” (Rev. 13: 16)*  Under the Law one sex of God’s people had to receive a mark in the flesh - circumcision: all other flesh-cuttings were strictly forbidden.  “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, NOR PRINT ANY MARKS upon you” (Lev. 19 : 28).  Upon only one Gentile in the Old Testament was a mark ever set with the approval of God, and one full of an awful significance.  “The Lord appointed a sign for Cain, lest any finding him” - it must therefore have been a visible mark, probably in the forehead – “should smite him” (Gen. 4: 15).  The first murderer, the first apostate, God branded as a forecast and prototype of the murderers and apostates who will form the Church of the Antichrist, and meet an identical doom.


* The forehead, as the most conspicuous, would be used by the enthusiastic the hand by females, as less detrimental to beauty. - GOVETT.



Its Significance



What the significance of a tattoo is, history has already abundantly proved.  Slaves were branded by the Romans as we brand cattle, to show their ownership by their master’s mark burnt into the flesh, and so to reveal that they were his inalienable property.  “You know slaves,” says a Roman writer (Petronius), “by their foreheads  So Roman soldiers also, as devoted body and soul to the Emperor had branded as stigmata on their hands the name of the Emperor.  This tattooing was done in various ways: by puncturing with needles or burning with hot irons, or marking with indelible ink: “the operation”, we are told, in the East today, “performed with a hammer and a serrated chisel, causes great swelling and excruciating pain, and is sometimes the work of years  Early in the Russian Revolution a private letter from Finland came through, saying, - “Soldiers of the Bolshevists are obliged to wear a mark on their caps, AND ON THEIR ARMS ; and they call it the Antichrist’s mark  So a telegram in The Times (Oct. 6, 1915) revealed that the Germans branded men of military age on the right arm above the wrist, to prevent all escape from conscription.



A Sacrament



But the history of Paganism reveals a significance still deeper and more sinister.  Stigmata have always been associated with Idolatory.  No Hindu can enter his temple without a mark on his forehead, painted on it by a Brahmin, called the Tiluk; a scarlet mark and perpendicular, if of Krisha; or a saffron and horizontal, if of Liva.  So, in ancient Rome, the ‘mark’ of Neptune was the trident of juniper, the thunderbolt; of Mars the spear; of Bacchus, the ivy leaf: in Egypt, the mark of the god Neph was the snake; of Thoth, the ape; of Butastis, the cat; and of the Sun, the beetle.  Some devotees branded themselves with the name of the idol, cut at full length, as Zeus; others with the number of the god’s name, as, for example, XH, or 608, the number of the Sun.  The mark is a sacramental sign: it is equivalent to saying, - Antichrist is god, and he is my god.  Some have thought that the mark, as distinct from the name, or its number, will be the six-pointed double triangle a symbol sacred to Islam, apostate Israel, and pseudo-Christians; but more probably it will be an image of the Antichrist’s death-scar for it is a ‘sacrament,’ a commemorating of the Wild Beast; a ritual of confession; a public devotion (like baptism) to the god worshipped: in the forehead, as the mark of a worshipping soul in the hand, as the mark of a devoted servant.






But the main reason of the Mark is a masterpiece of economic diabolism.  It is imposed in order “that no man should be able to buy or to sell, save he that hath the mark  The transactions of commerce are made illegal without it: it is the voucher for all business transactions: no one is prevented from entering the shops or markets, but before any deal across the counter can be accomplished, the hat must be removed, or the palm opened.  All food will be rationed, and will be reserved for worshippers of the Antichrist, publicly and indelibly self-confessed as such, alone: it makes all secret worship, or secret refusal to worship, impossible: as God demands public confession, so does Antichrist.  The two World Wars, by their universal registration and strict food-rationing, brought us an enormous stride nearer the goal; but the economy of the final system is obvious - no enrolment, no registration cards, no coupons, no costly organization; simply a cutting in the flesh, self-inflicted, and therefore the cost of the victim alone.






Now the awful consequence of accepting the Mark of the Beast is revealed in the most terrible revelation of Hell given in the whole Bible.  “If any man worshippeth the beast and his image and receiveth a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand, he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment goeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, they that worship the beast and his image, and whoso receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14 : 9). *


* The enforcing the Mark on entire humanity by making it a compulsory food-coupon, without which is certain starvation, seems to make sure that the Mark will not be stamped on the flesh of those who refuse it.  If it were, it manifestly would not incriminate the victim, nor involve him in eternal punishment.






Could anything make more vitally important the love of God still wooing all mankind, just before the awful revelation of Fire and Brimstone?  Less than a century ago the South Sea Islanders were ignorant, idolatrous, immoral, and inhuman.  Neighbouring islands were raided and captives were roasted and eaten.  For fourteen Years, missionaries laboured at the risk of their lives and without any visible results.  Mr. Hunt, a missionary, translated the Gospel of John, and, before printing it, read it to the natives in their own language.  After he had read verse 16, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life a Chief stepped out and said, - “Would you read that again, Mr. Hunt  After the Missionary had read it again, the Chief said, - “Ah, that may be true of you white folks, but it is not true in these islands; the gods have no love for us  Mr. Hunt fixed on the word “whosoever” and that poor Chief it meant him. The old Chief was convinced and said, - “Well, then, if that is the case, your book shall be my book, and your people shall be my people, and your heaven shall be my heaven.  We, down on the island of Tahiti, never heard of any God that loved us and loved everybody in that way  And that convert became the leader of a host, numbering nearly a million, in the South Sea Islands.



*       *       *






After Constantine’s professed conversion, Christians were given court positions, and honoured in every way.  It meant official position, honour, and the favour of the Emperor to unite with the Christian Church at this time.



Constantine took his place openly as the head of the church, but at the same time retained the office of Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of the heathen: this he never gave up: he died the head of the church, and high priest of the heathen.



It was the custom of the polytheistic Rome to acknowledge all the gods, while they selected one of them as a special patron, and object of adoration.  Accordingly Constantine placed Christ in his pantheon and adopted Him as his favourite god.  His desire was to weld pagans and Christians into one.  To promote this a set of double meaning synbols was adopted, and so adapted that to the Christians they meant one thing, and to the pagans another.  Constantine gave the name Catholic to the church, simply meaning the national, or established church.  Constantine found the church imprisoned in mines, dungeons, and cataconbs; he left it on the throne of the world.



Christians were scupulous at that time in keeping holy the first day of the week, in memory of their risen Lord.  Perceving that this was enough in itself to distinguish them from their fellow-citizens, Constantine issued an edict that the pagans should observe the same day in honour of their sun god, Apollo, and call it Deis Solis, of the Day of the Sun.  Very soon Christ and Apollo came to be identified, and from this unseemly origen comes our modern term, ‘Sunday.’



About this time the custom of turning to the East was introduced into the church.  For, however this ceremony may be explained, it is pagan in its origin, and connected with the worship of the sun god.  It was practised in the remotest antiquity.  God called it an ‘abomination’ when the Israelites did it.  Ezek. 8: 15, 16.



The sign of the cross was another pagan symbol brought into the church about this time.  The cross was the mystic ‘Tau,’ the famous, but obscene ‘sign’ of life, known from earliest antiquity throughout the whole circle of heathendom, and marked in baptism upon the forehead of those being initiated into the mysteries.  It was the great Phallic emblem.  For this the Christian meant the cross of Christ; for the pagans it retained its previous meaning.



- Christian Life.





(Phil. 3: 14, 16).