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A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church

by Bob Pickle

Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and
Others

Discern Fact from Fiction


The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast

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#179 & #180: "Today the view is equally severe. On page 167 of the Adventist publication Twenty-Seven Fundamental Doctrines it says, 'When this issue is clearly brought before the world, those who reject God's memorial of creatorship, the Bible Sabbath... choosing to worship and honor Sunday, in the full knowledge that it is not God's appointed day of worship, will receive the mark of the beast. This mark is a mark of rebellion.' "—Narrator.

#179: This view is severe. A rather strange conclusion. How can it be severe to believe that Christians ought to obey the commandments?

After all, the devil and his angels were kicked out of heaven for breaking the commandments of God. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden of Eden for breaking the commandments of God. How can God take us to heaven when we are knowingly living in unrepentance and disobedience to one of His commandments, and at the same time not take the devil to heaven too?

Christians are to grow in grace and keep God's commandments out of a love for Him . . . . (Mark Martin under #153)

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (Jesus in John 14:15)

So according to both Mr. Martin and Jesus, those who do not keep God's commandments reveal a lack of love toward God. Are these views of Mr. Martin and Jesus severe?

#180: This quote says it's a mark of rebellion. The whole topic has been grossly oversimplified.

While enough context was quoted to catch the thought of the statement, enough was left out so that the average viewer will not comprehend what is really being said. First of all, the final period in the quote should actually be an ellipsis, for the remaining 71% of the sentence was omitted. The portion omitted makes clear what the Seventh-day Adventist position really is.

Also omitted is any explanation regarding the identity of the beast. Who is the beast anyway? Once this question is answered, it is pretty easy to see that Sunday just might have something to do with the mark.

The context of the quotation, as found in the documentation package under "Point 87," follows:

The beast described in Revelation 13:1-10 is the church-state union that dominated the Christian world for many centuries and was described by Paul as the "man of sin" (2 Thess. 2:2-4) and by Daniel as the "little horn" (Dan. 7:8, 20-25; 8:9-12 KJV). The image of the beast represents that form of apostate religion that will be developed when churches, having lost the true spirit of the Reformation, shall unite with the state to enforce their teachings on others. In uniting church and state they will have become a perfect image to the beast—the apostate church that persecuted for 1260 years. Hence the name image of the beast.—Seventh-day Adventists Believe, p. 167.

Let's pause for a moment. The first one that we know of to identify the little horn in this way was a Catholic Archbishop, Eberhard II of Salzburg, around 1240 AD (Froom, Prophetic Faith, vol. 1, pp. 796-806). Why would he want to identify the little horn as being the papal power, you ask? It isn't hard to understand if we remember some of the controversies of yesteryear.

One such controversy was whether the final authority in the church should be a single man accountable to no one, or a council of representatives from churches around the world. Another one was whether the pope should be just a spiritual leader, or a political ruler too.

What added fuel to the fire of these debates was the papal see's all-too-frequent political corruption, intrigue, and immorality. It's embarrassing to say it, but not a few popes had children, as even papal writers admit. Then there was simony, the selling of church offices, like that of cardinal, to whomever could pay. [p. 118]

The New Catholic Encyclopedia spends more time pointing out the abuses the pontiffs suppressed than the abuses they perpetrated, for obvious reasons. Still, it says that Innocent VIII was elected to be pope through "shameless bribery." After becoming pope, "to raise money, Innocent created numerous new posts, which he sold to the highest bidders."—"Innocent VIII, Pope." Regarding Pope Alexander VI, New Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say:

Critical value is lacking in the pseudo-apologetic efforts made to deny Alexander's paternity of a number of children. The mothers of the first three children are unknown. . . . The other four children . . . were born of Vannozza Cattanei. . . . It has not been proved that Alexander VI was the father of Orsino Orsini or Laura Orsini (b. 1492), daughter of Giulia Farnese, who was the mistress of [Alexander] at the end of his cardinalate. . . . However, it is certain that Alexander VI was the father of Joan de Borja . . . . Also sufficiently proved was Alexander's paternity of Rodrigo de Borja . . . .—"Borgia."

Looks like we can't know for sure how many kids he had, but he had at least nine.

At any rate, Eberhard's views on the antichrist of Scripture struck a chord in many a Catholic's heart. Similar views were later adopted by Wycliffe, Luther, nearly all of the Protestant reformers, and the churches they founded. Even Abravanel, a Jewish expositor from Spain, identified the little horn this way in 1496 (Froom, vol. 2, pp. 55-57, 228, 229, 268).

Since the 1830's, the view that the beast and little horn are future instead of present has slowly gained ground, until today the standard views of old are largely forgotten.

Continuing with the quotation from Seventh-day Adventists Believe:

The third angel's message proclaims the most solemn and fearful warning in the Bible. It reveals that those who submit to human authority in earth's final crisis will worship the beast and his image rather than God. During this final conflict, two distinct classes will develop. One class will advocate a gospel of human devisings and will worship the beast and his image, bringing upon themselves the most grievous judgments. The other class, in marked contrast, will live by the true gospel and "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14:9, 12). The final issue involves true and false worship, the true and the false gospel. When this issue is clearly brought before the world, those who reject God's memorial of creatorship—the Bible Sabbath—choosing to worship and honor Sunday in the full knowledge that it is not God's appointed day of worship, will receive the "mark of the beast." This mark is a mark of rebellion; the beast claims its change of the day of worship shows its authority even over God's law.—Seventh-day Adventists Believe, p. 167.

Arriving at such conclusions is quite understandable, given the standard interpretation 150 years ago of the beast and the little horn being the papal power. Daniel 7:25 says that the little horn would "think to change times and laws." The only one of the Ten Commandments that has to do with time is the one about the Sabbath, and this is the only one that the papacy thinks it has changed.

Catholic writers have repeatedly used the change of the Sabbath as proof of Rome's absolute authority in spiritual matters. Some have even been so bold as to declare that Protestants are worshipping the authority of Rome by keeping Sunday. So it is only natural to connect worshipping the beast and receiving his mark with Sunday keeping, if one still holds to the standard view of prophecy taught for centuries from Protestant pulpits, and some Catholic pulpits as well.

Now let's utilize some of the phrases from the above quotation: Advocating a "gospel of human devisings," rejecting "God's memorial of creatorship," and "choosing to worship and honor Sunday in the full knowledge that it is not God's appointed day of worship," would not this constitute "rebellion"? All Bible-believing Christians should agree that the breaking of a command of God "in full knowledge" does indeed qualify as rebellion.

If this is severe, it isn't more so than what the apostle Paul wrote:

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (Heb. 10:26, 27)

Oh, about those statements by Catholic writers. Perhaps you would like to read a few. The first ones below claim that the Church has changed one of the Ten Commandments, and that no basis for that change can be found in the Scriptures:

Q. Which day is the Sabbath day?

A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.

Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.—Peter Geiermann, The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, p. 50.

Q. What warrant have you for keeping the Sunday, preferable to the ancient Sabbath, which was the Saturday?

A. We have for it the authority of the Catholic Church, and apostolical tradition. [p. 119]

Q. Does the Scripture anywhere command the Sunday to be kept for the Sabbath?

A. The Scripture commands us to hear the Church, St. Matt. xviii. 17. St. Luke x. 16, and to hold fast the traditions of the Apostles. 2 Thess. ii. 15. But the scripture does not in particular mention this change of the Sabbath.—Richard Challoner, Catholic Christian Instructed, p. 209.

The next ones use this change of the Sabbath as a proof, mark, or sign of Rome's authority:

Ques.—How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holy days?

Ans.—By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which the Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same Church.

Ques.—How prove you that?

Ans.—Because by keeping Sunday they acknowledge the Church's power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin; and by not keeping the rest by her commanded, they again deny, in fact, the same power.—Henry Tuberville, Abridgment of Christian Doctrine, p. 58.

Q. Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?

A. Had she not such power, she could not have 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, a change for which there is no scriptural authority.—Stephen Keenan, Doctrinal Catechism, p. 174.

The Church is above the Bible; and this transference of Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday is proof positive of that fact.—London, Ontario, Catholic Record, Sept. 1, 1923, p. 4.

The next one claims that Sunday observance is an act of worship to the authority of Rome.

It was the Catholic Church which, by the authority of Jesus Christ, has transferred this rest to the Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord. Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the Church.—Louis Gaston de Ségur, Plain Talk about the Protestants of Today, p. 225.

The next one criticizes the use of certain Bible verses in support of Sunday observance by some Protestants:

The word of God commandeth the seventh day to be the Sabbath of our Lord, and to be kept holy: you [Protestants] without any precept of scripture, change it to the first day of the week, only authorized by our traditions. Divers English Puritans oppose against this point, that the observation of the first day is proved out of scripture, where it is said the first day of the week. Acts xx,7; 1Cor.xvi,2; Rev.i,10. Have they not spun a fair thread in quoting these places? If we should produce no better for purgatory and prayers for the dead, invocation of the saints, and the like, they might have good cause indeed to laugh us to scorn; for where is it written that these were Sabbath days in which those meetings were kept? Or where is it ordained they should be always observed? Or, which is the sum of all, where is it decreed that the observation of the first day should abrogate or abolish the sanctifying of the seventh day, which God commanded everlastingly to be kept holy? Not one of those is expressed in the written word of God.—An Antidote, or Treatise of Thirty Controversies.

This is but a sampling. Many similar statements could be cited.

A Response to the Video

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