The Beast on the Move
“All the world wondered after the beast” (Revelation 13:3), predicts God’s Word. A careful study of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 reveals that this “beast” is a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church, whose authority is centered in the Pope. “We here are of the conviction,” wrote the bold Protestant Martin Luther, “that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist.” In an October 31, 1999 article titled “The Way the World Ends,” even Newsweek magazine candidly admitted that Luther’s view eventually “became dogma for all Protestant churches.”
Is the world wondering now after Pope Francis? Open your eyes. Of this, there is no doubt. But there’s more. Highly unusual supernatural experiences are connected with Pope Francis’ meteoric rise to global stardom. Consider these strange details:
- Argentina Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope (becoming Pope Francis) on March 13, 2013, because Pope Benedict XVI resigned. Historically, Popes rarely resign.
- According to an August 22, 2013 report from CathNews (a Catholic news service), the 86-year-old Pope Benedict XVI stated that he resigned because of a supernatural, “mystical experience,” during which he had a strong sense that it was time to step down, thus paving the way for Pope Francis.
- Amazingly, according to a February 11, 2013 USA Today article entitled, “Lightning Strikes the Vatican—Literally,” lightning actually struck the Vatican twice on the same day Pope Benedict announced his resignation. Was this a sign from God that His final prophetic countdown had begun?
- A March 9, 2015 Catholic World News article entitled, “Did mystical experience change approach of Pope Francis?” reported that Francis himself also had “a mystical experience on the night after his election to the papacy” that “accounts for a dramatic transformation of the Pontiff's public persona.”
- A March 7, 2015 All Things Catholic article entitled, “What’s really miraculous about Pope Francis,” quotes Maria Elena Bergoglio, the pope’s only surviving sibling, as jokingly stating about her brother, “I don’t recognize this guy!” because his personality changed so dramatically.
- Francis is the first Jesuit ever elected as Pope. The Jesuits were established in 1540 as a militant order of Catholic soldiers commissioned by the Pope to destroy the Protestant Reformation and help establish world papal dominion. “God’s marines,” “elite troops,” “the pope’s secret service,” “the pope’s KGB,” are some nicknames for the Jesuits.
Speaking of the world “wondering after the beast,” take note:
- News media have glowingly credited Pope Francis as the key agent who helped normalize USA-Cuban relations.
- Political and religious world leaders are increasingly looking to Pope Francis to help combat deadly religious extremism (such as ISIS) and assist in solving the world’s global problems.
- On September 24, 2015, Pope Francis will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress—a first ever for a Pope—, plus he will address the United Nations in New York during the same trip.
- “When Pope Francis tweets, the world listens,” was the title of an April 28, 2015 article by the Catholic News Service. Pope Francis now has “the most influential twitter account” on Planet Earth.
- Some politicians have called for Pope Francis to head a United World Religion.
Wake Up Call: The Mark of the Beast is Coming
Prophecy plainly predicts that governments on earth will finally legislate “the mark” of the papal beast in the closing moments of history (see Revelation 13:17,16) as a misguided solution to a desperate global crisis. The Roman Church has gone on public record stating that “Sunday” itself is a “mark” of its authority.
"Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change from [Sabbath to Sunday] was her act ... the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things" (C.F. Thomas, Chancellor for Cardinal Gibbons, November 11, 1895).
- Is global Sunday legislation—as Seventh-day Adventists have been predicting for nearly 150 years—really possible in this day and age? Consider this:
- “Let’s Make Sunday a Day of Rest, for God’s Sake,” was the title of an April 22, 2012 Fox News article.
- “Pope: No Work Sundays Good, Not Just for the Faithful,” was the title of a July 5, 2014 Associated Press article. Pope Francis wants Sunday to be observed by the entire world, not just by Catholics.
- “Sunday as a Mark of Christian Unity” was the title of a recent April 2015 article published by “The Lord’s Day Alliance of the U.S.”
The push for Sunday laws is growing, as evidenced by laws recently enacted in Germany, Hungary, Chile, Greece, Poland, and other places. Even Israel has been debating Sunday closing laws.
“Senator: Church Attendance Should be Mandatory” was the title of a March 27, 2015, CNN article reporting that, during a gun bill debate, Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen asked, “How we get back to a moral rebirth in this country, I don’t know, since we are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have. Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday...."
Over 100 years ago, Ellen White saw it coming. In her classic book "The Great Controversy" she predicted:
Heretofore those who presented the truths of the third angel's message have often been regarded as mere alarmists. Their predictions that religious intolerance would gain control in the United States, that church and State would unite to persecute those who keep the commandments of God, have been pronounced groundless and absurd. It has been confidently declared that this land could never become other than what it has been, the defender of religious freedom. But as the question of enforcing Sunday observance is widely agitated, the event so long doubted and disbelieved is seen to be approaching, and the third message will produce an effect which it could not have had before (The Great Controversy, 605, emphasis added).
Did you catch that? According to God’s messenger, “the question of enforcing Sunday observance” is to be “widely agitated.” Such agitation has begun, and will increase. As it does, the third angel’s message will “produce an effect which it could not have had before.” We should be preparing for this right now.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (the early rain) was connected to real events that had just occurred—the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (read Acts 2). Similarly, the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit (the latter rain) upon God’s faithful children will be connected to a series of present events—growing “agitation” over “the question of enforcing Sunday observance.”
The Catalyst: Climate Change?
Climate change is now being hotly debated. Many scientists, politicians, and thought leaders are blaming “climate change” for the uptick in violent storms, bizarre weather patterns, deadly heat waves, record cold temperatures, reduced crop yields, and rapid melting of polar caps which has resulted in rising sea levels forcing the relocation of entire populations. “Record California drought linked to climate change,” was the title of a March 2, 2015, US News and World Report article.
Prophetically, once again eyes are turning to the Pope. Recently, Pope Francis announced that he would address climate change in an upcoming papal encyclical. Is it possible that a growing environmental crisis and the ‘common good’ will be used as an angle to promote so-called ‘moral’ legislation that will include an enforced day of rest? It could easily be argued that if one day (Sunday) in seven was universally observed as a no-work day, that the resulting reduction of pollution from factories, businesses, and automobiles could reduce global warming significantly. Sunday legislation could be attached as a ‘rider’ to a larger piece of legislation which those who discern the danger of religious laws would be hard-pressed to resist.
In another Associated Press news report, dated March 12, 2015, Cardinal Peter Turkson (who helped write the first draft of the pope’s encyclical) offered “what was widely seen as a preview of the encyclical,” and stated that Christians have a duty rooted in “ancient Biblical teaching” to help solve this dire emergency. Is this code language for Sunday rest? We will find out shortly, for the Pope’s encyclical will be released in June.
Bizarre weather. Natural disasters. Threatened food supply. The common good. “Moral rebirth.” “Ancient Biblical teaching.” Whatever details the pope’s upcoming encyclical includes, conditions are fast-ripening for the legislation of Sunday observance as a misguided, apparently ‘moral,’ and supposedly ‘God-oriented’ solution to humanity’s deepening woes. But whatever is promoted in God’s name doesn’t necessarily proceed from His throne. ISIS shows us that. The bottom line is that the stage is set for the mark of the beast. Now read this carefully:
As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel's message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position, and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side (The Great Controversy, 608, emphasis added).
Dear reader, we Seventh-day Adventists will soon have much more to think about than debating women’s ordination and Emerging Church inroads. “The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us” (5T, 81). If we have been drifting from Jesus, compromising with the world, or revealing the devil’s pride instead of God’s character of love, we’ll be blown away. “In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor” (5T, 79). Will we stand “the test,” or be purged out? May God help us!
The Path to Peace
On history’s darkest day, our Savior hung on a cruel cross, and paid the full penalty for our sins (see 1 Corinthians 15:3). Jesus died for the sins of Pope Francis, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, witches, atheists, and everyone else—including you.
The Holy Spirit is now wooing us to repentance and simple trust in Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice for “the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). To those who repent, believe the Good News, and are thoroughly washed in “the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 1:5; 12:11), Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
Those who keep God’s commandments through His enabling grace during earth’s last crisis reveal their love and loyalty to the Savior.
They reject the beast (read Revelation 14:9-12).
As we witness astonishing events all around us, I plead with you to take a strong stand for King Jesus right now.
“The time is at hand!” (Revelation 22:10).
Note: This information is now available from White Horse Media in the form of a 4-color sharing newsletter entitled, “The Time is at Hand!” and on DVD (a copy of a recent 3ABN LIVE program hosted by Danny Shelton and C.A. Murray, with guests Steve Wohlberg and Tim Saxton). Call 1-800-782-4253. www.whitehorsemedia.com.