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Image for 666 ~ The Mark of the Beast ~ 666
GOD WARNS HUMANITY

     The most solemn warning recorded in the Bible for our day is found in the fourteenth chapter of Revelation. Called the mark of the beast, it has generated countless discourses and theories as expositors attempt to plot a course to escape its execution. Photo of 666 in the forehead; 666 is the number of a man.
     Some twist the Scriptures in a manner to exalt the theory that the saints will be in heaven and will not have to endure this final test of loyalty to God.      Actually, the Bible says that God's people will not even be allowed to buy or sell, and eventually they will face a death decree unless they have this mark (Revelation 13:15-17); this suggests a strong connection with civil governments, as sanctions are used for enforcement.     Most speculators will not rule out a connection between a proposed computer chip implant and world banking, but this is not the "mark", but an implement to coerce the saints. Let us find out precisely  what the Bible says on this subject. But before we start this important journey through God's word, please take a moment to humbly pray. Ask for heaven's enlightenment through His Holy Spirit that you may be anointed with the wisdom that can only descend from above to assist your understanding of this most important subject.


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GOOD WORKS WILL NOT SAVE

     Because the Scripture warns about approaching trials that require one to explicitly trust and obey our heavenly Father, I must first clarify one point. Today many do not like the word obedience. True, you are only justified by the grace of God through the merits of our Sin Bearer accepting our punishment, but please understand that our actions are important in another sense. Good works that we possess will NOT be our authority to enter into heaven because good conduct that emanates from the heart can only come from the One who dwells on high and within--"Christ in you" is the mechanism of our salvation (Colossians 1:27). When first baptized by water, we symbolically died a death to this world, but that death must be manifest in our deportment by Christ working out His life within us; that is, the "born-again" experience (John 3:3).
    A strict obedience to God will not qualify anyone to enter through the gates of the Holy City into the Heavenly Canna. Neither will Christ's righteousness justify, that is, make right, anyone by virtue of their being born as a human--of woman, or of the flesh; or, by being inaugurated into the most noble religious organization. Only God's love, trust, and your surrender, as prompted within by the Holy Sprit, must be the great factor for your service and obedience. This was indicated to Israel before their exodus to the Promised Land: "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear [revere] the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, AND TO LOVE HIM, and to serve the LORD God with all your heart and with all your soul. To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command you this day for your good" (Deuteronomy 10:12, 13).
     Many in the religious community are trying to love this fallen world and its allurements while loving God. Only half-dead to the world, their presumptuous faith, or self-inspired enthusiasm, becomes a  method of works to make them believe they are saved when, in fact, they are half saved yet totally lost because they serve two masters; "A house divided cannot stand", says Jesus (Matthew 12:25). While attempting to serve God and their fleshly desires, their divided priorities prevent total commitment to the omnipotent One and they "grieve" the Holy Spirit and God's saving presence departs from them (Ephesians 4:30).
    Often the words and actions of false prophets tell us that Christ's forensic act at Calvary, or our system of belief (faith) is sufficient for salvation while we descend from our high calling and partake of worldly pleasures (most are allurements of Satan). They forget the pleading words from the One who holds the entire universe in His grasp: "And why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"--(Luke 6:46). And when someone said the womb that bore and breasts that Jesus sucked were blessed, Jesus replied: "More... blessed [than my mother, Mary,] are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" (Luke 11:27-28).
    When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we must also accept Him as our King and obey the laws of His government. Someone not "born again" or led by God's presence within, sees God's law as foolishness and does not really believe he is condemned through the words of death written indelibly by God's finger on stone. Forced obedience is not correct in God's sight because it does not spring from a love and appreciation of God goodness. When that same person becomes "enlightened" through God's Spirit, the same condemning law is now written on the tables of the heart; this correct obedience is spontaneous--it is pleasurable--and that is the right condition of loyal angels and the perfect inhabitants in God's unfallen galaxies.  In that condition, the same law then promotes life, liberty, and happiness because the transformed saint is now in harmony with God's devout universe; and, to quote Jesus' statement to His followers: "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21).

    Just how one is saved is a subject of debate among theologians, and even more confusing is how one "falls from grace." Because of their great importance, these topics will be explained in greater detail later, making this the longest chapter; but for now, and throughout this treatise, keep this thought continuously before you: The saints who DO NOT receive the mark of the beast are those "that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12). Now for the most solemn warning:


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THE WARNING

     "If anyone WORSHIP the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, that person will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out... [full strength] into the cup of his indignation; and he will 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 ascends up forever and ever: and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:9-12).

     With such a fearsome warning, we must diligently seek to understand precisely what is occurring in this world today that will disqualify us from participating in the resurrection of the righteous--especially, the Mark of the Beast. As the earth heaves and tosses in its dying pains, there are a few people who are preserved through this calamity. David tells of those who "abide under the shadow [protection] of the Almighty" (Psalms 91:1). At the time of the last plague of Armageddon, the living Saints will be those resurrected alive, never tasting of death. David continues: "A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked" (ibid. verses 7, 8). Therefore,  those who observe the destruction of the wicked is not limited to the holy angels and the Lamb, but to the saints who endure the coming tribulation and do not receive the mark of the beast. These faithful ones have endured unimaginable hardships. And their only hope is in Christ's promise of their resurrection to heaven (John 14:1-4); their hope increases in proportion to the calamities on earth. As the world consumes around them they sing songs of praise: "They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing.... From the ends of the earth we have heard songs: Glory to the righteous!"--(Isaiah 24:14, 16).


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A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION

     "Glory to the righteous [ONE]!" This song of praise indicates that those gaining victory over the Beast WORSHIP God. Who you worship is the first important "key" to victory. The warning in Revelation says: "If anyone WORSHIP the beast and his image..." (Revelation 14:9). WORSHIP and religion are synonymous, inseparable. So, first of all, the beast is a religious power, and demands our worship or allegiance.

     As we discovered previously, the Roman System had demanded allegiance or worship; or, suffer the penalty of death. Now it is in the form of a Christian church, and this system is to rule until consumed by fire under the fifth plague (Revelation 16:10). Therefore, the abomination of desolation spoken of in Daniel 12 must have another name in the book of Revelation. Perhaps you guessed it, the Beast! But to identify this power for certain, the Bible gives us many important clues--and the most profound is his name. Let us read it for ourselves:

     "Here is WISDOM. Let him that has UNDERSTANDING count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a MAN; and his number is 666" (Revelation 13:18). There are several points in this verse that need your attention. First are the words WISDOM and UNDERSTAND, they have similar meaning. Remember from our study in Daniel 12 Revealed: "And none of the wicked will UNDERSTAND; but the wise shall UNDERSTAND." If you had no problem UNDERSTANDING from that study that the Roman System is the Abomination of Desolation, then you will UNDERSTAND this too.


Image for 666 ~ The Mark of the Beast ~ 666THE NUMBER OF A MAN

     Second, the number 666 is that of a MAN. If you are like me, you get a little squeamish when you see the number 666. I used to wonder while passing a highway mile-post number 666, but after re-reading the verse, I now chuckle. The Bible says it is the number of a MAN.
    If you get anything positive from this study, it should be this fact: That mysterious number is not the number of a computer operated by the New World Order.  It is not a triple SIX digit number on your credit card or social security number. It is not a computer chip with 666 megabytes of random access memory implanted in your forehead or on your hand. It is not a mile post number, and if the last three digits of your mother-in-law's phone number is 666, that, too, is a coincidence. It can not apply to a woman, although a woman called Pope Jude once masqueraded as a man and was elected to that office. Even if numbers are juggled to find a female, it cannot apply because the Bible says: It is the number of a MAN.
    The word MAN used here in Greek is aner. This noun is always translated masculine in the King James Bible according to the context of the sentence as follows: Fellow, one time; husband, 50 times; man, 156 times, and sir, six times. It is ALWAYS used to indicate a PERSON, and never a place or thing. In the Greek, it says to count the number of the MAN. It did not say "read his number", or "see his number", it says to COUNT THE NUMBER of the MAN. In Revelation 14:11 the mark is referred to as "the mark of his NAME". In Revelation 13:17, 15:2 it is called "the  number of his NAME." So the "mark" and "number" refer to his "name", so we count the number of his name.

     As mentioned earlier, one thing we inherited from the Roman System are Roman Numerals. Archaic? Yes! Awkward to use? Yes! And do you remember them all? Probably not! The way I remember is to calculate the tiny Roman Numerals on the bottom row of the pyramid found on a U.S. one-dollar bill. They are MDCCLXXVI. The largest digit is placed first, M = 1,000; D = 500; Two C's = 200; L = 50, two X's = 20, V = 5 and I = 1. Now, let us add and "COUNT THE NUMBER" and they TOTAL 1776--the year the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed. By the way, if it totaled 666, the U.S. dollar is not the beast because it is does not apply to a man's name or title.

     Several years ago I was working with a friend who had once studied to be a Catholic Priest. "Robert!" I asked. "Have you ever heard of the name VICARIUS FILII DEI?" Robert answered affirmative. "Of course! It is the title of the Pope. It means: 'In the place of the Son of God.'" A MAN in the place of God?

     Robert was correct. Spelled slightly different, my dictionary defines vicarious as "acting for another." A form of this word denotes the one in authority when the president dies--vice president. FILII  (Latin, filialis, for son or daughter) is closely related to our word FILIAL. That refers to a kindred relationship by parents and offspring, such as "filial love." And DEI represents DEITY, or God. So, VICARIUS FILII DEI, originally published in Latin, literally means: In the place of the Son of God. This title was first bestowed upon the Pope in the eighth century when he received the so-called "Vicar of Christ" title by the Roman System. It was a forged document called the Donation of Constantine that originated the heresy of  succession from the apostle Peter to popes. (See the Appendix for more details /vicarius.htm).

     Please allow me one moment to inject a thought: Do we need a human "father" to prescribe our religious duty? Did Jesus really abandon us? He said: "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the earth" (Matthew 28:20). And John emphasizes the mission of the Holy Spirit: "But the anointing which you have received of Him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie..." (1 John 1: 27). So with Jesus' presence through the Holy Spirit, we need no human being to usurp the position and mission of His Spirit that gave us the Bible as a rule of faith. For man to change the Word given through the Holy Spirit is blasphemy (Revelation 22:18). The mission of the church is not to pass ecclesiastical legislation that conflicts with Scripture, but to teach what God gave humanity in the sacred scriptures. God gave "some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfection of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ... (Ephesians 4:11-13). The mission of church leadership is to foster an intimate relationship with Christ and a trust and obedience to His Word. Shepherds of the flock who do this are to be commended.


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666, THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST

     Now, let us COUNT THE NUMBER of the man using Roman Numerals. Even though it is Latin, we can figure it out because a few letters of their alphabet are assigned numeric value. (Note: The letter U is a variant of V and was added as a vowel to our English alphabet in the 18th century; the U, and W, have the same value as the V in Latin Roman Numerals*).
 
V (U) = 5
  • .
.
I = 1 . .
C = 100 . .
A = 0 F = 0 .
R = 0 I = 1 .
I = 1 L = 50 D = 500
*U = 5 I = 1 E = 0
S = 0 I = 1 I = 1
Totals 112 Totals 53 Totals 501
Now, let us total all columns: 
112 + 53 + 501 = 666

      The NUMBER OF THE MAN IS 666. It can't be much clearer. Some Bible studies use several more identifying traits found in the scriptures to overwhelmingly indicate the link between the Roman System and the Beast.  For example: "Here is the mind which has WISDOM: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the... [unfaithful church] sits" (Revelation 17:9). We have already learned that this is the seven hills of Rome, so we will not elaborate on that thought. I just want to emphasize that the mark of the beast and 666, the number of his name, are two different things. The MARK denotes loyalty, worship, or obedience to the Roman System. The seal of God is placed on His faithfully obedient followers (Revelation 9:4). And the Beast's number, 666, is the NUMBER OF A MAN. Because we do not want to be disloyal to God, let us now study the MARK "in his forehead, or in his hand" (Revelation 13:16).
    *In the 1870 German translation of Catholic Canon Laws and Gratian's Decretals, column 342, you will notice that it uses a Latin "U" to spell Vicarius Filii Dei for the title of the Roman Pontificate.


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THE "MARK" IN THE BIBLE

     There are three places in the Bible that mentions a mark in the hand or forehead: First, Deuteronomy 11:18: "Therefore shall you lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes [your forehead]." Second, Deuteronomy 6:8 says: "And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes [forehead]." And finally, Exodus 13:16: "And it shall be for a token [Hebrew: oth, meaning "sign"] upon your hand, and for frontlets between your eyes [forehead]: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt."

     The first two verses quoted are in reference to obedience to God's commandments, being written in the "heart", the "soul" [psyche], and the "hand." If obedience to God is spontaneous because His indwelling presence inspires love and trust in His Word, then even obedience through action (the "hand") is acceptable to God--that means that we must obey God's holy dictates, even if we do not fully discern the rationale behind the commands. The last quotation carries the same thought, but makes reference to Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage: "The LORD brought us forth out of Egypt."  This is Moses' version of God's law. In the fourth commandment he uses the theme on Sabbath deliverance because it is a "holy convocation", signifying Israel was probably delivered from Egyptian bondage on that day (Deuteronomy 5:14; Exodus 12:16,17).

     "But the seventh day [is] the Sabbath of the LORD your God: [in it] you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your ox, nor your ass, nor any of your cattle, nor the stranger that [is] within your gates; that your manservant and your maidservant may rest as well as you." [Then Moses adds this thought to remind God's people that  God is our Deliverer:] "And remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and [that] the LORD your God brought you out here through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD your God commands you to keep THE SABBATH DAY" (Deuteronomy 5:15).
     Today, we have been delivered through Christ's eternal sacrifice from the world where we were Satan's captives just as surely as the Israelites were delivered from slavery in Egypt. If you, too, abhor the injustices of this sin-polluted planet, then you are looking forward to that rest in the heavenly Canna. The apostle Paul borrows from Moses' thought as recorded in Hebrews where he likens the exodus from Canna to our Sabbath rest in Christ:

     "For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh [day] on this occasion, 'And God did rest the seventh day from all his works....' For if Jesus [literally Joshua, which means God saves] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His  rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief [and not enter heaven]" (Hebrews 4, 8-11).


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JESUS DID NOT ABOLISH THE LAW

     These thoughts convey the principle that in addition to reminding us of God our creator, the Sabbath of the fourth commandment brings us into rest with God, OUR DELIVERER. Christ says: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find REST unto your souls" (Matthew 11:29). And Christ did not change His Father's commandments, "would he not afterward have spoken of another day?" (Hebrews. 4:8). Yes, there are those who insist that Christ actually changed His own law.
    We do not find this change recorded in the mission of Christ outlined by God the Father in Isaiah 42:  "Behold! My servant [Jesus] who I uphold, My Elect One in who my soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.... He will MAGNIFY THE LAW AND MAKE IT HONORABLE" (Isaiah 42:1, 21). Christ magnified the law by upholding its principles and stating that it is only fulfilled through love. He specifically said that His Father's Commandments were NOT to be changed:

     "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill [magnify and make honorable]. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law until all is fulfilled." Matthew 5:17, 18
    When will "all be fulfilled?" Certainly it was not on the cross when Jesus announced that His sacrifice was complete with the words, "It is finished!" (John 19:30). After Christ's exclamation, the controversy between good and evil continues--even to this day. Our study of Daniel 12 accurately shows  when "all these things shall be finished" (verse 8). It is three and one-half millenniums from Daniel's time under Persian rule (or B.C. 474)--still 1,000 years in the future. That is when Satan and the wicked are destroyed and sin is eradicated from the universe.
    Some sincere ministers say that Jesus changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, or worse yet, they nullify the entire ten commandment law. Have you observed that neither Jesus or the Apostles tell the people to trust the Rabbi? Their job was to read the scriptures to the people each Sabbath, but they were interpreting the Scripture to suit themselves, to pacify their consciences while living in transgression. It was for this reason that God spoke similar words of caution through Jeremiah: "Cursed be the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD" (verse 17:5). And the apostle James says: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him." (verse 1:5). Jesus said: "But be not you called Rabbi [meaning: a great man or teacher]: for one is your Master, even Christ.... And call no... [theologian] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matthew 23:8, 9).

    Before we delve further into the mark of the beast, you need understand some important Bible truths listed in the following paragraphs.  If  your pastor or priest "nails jots and tittles" of God's law to the cross, you will never hear them teach these profound facts.


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SUNDAY'S SANCTITY WAS "NAILED TO THE CROSS" AT CALVARY

       It is difficult for some to properly understand the Bible because they study it while "wearing grandpa's glasses." That is, they assume what they have been taught is correct, and are interpreting the Bible as if their established beliefs are the same as Bible authors. Therefore, they may inadvertently misapply biblical facts, including the truth that Jesus abolished "sacrifice and offering" (Daniel 9:27). When properly applied, that text means that food offerings and festivals related to annual ordinances and days were abolished at Calvary because they merely prefigured future events.
    The only symbolic festivals that commemorated a specific day of the week were the two annual Sundays: The Feast of First Fruits; and the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost.  To observe Pentecost, God commanded they "count 50 days to the day after seven Sabbaths..."(Leviticus 23:16).  In other words, Pentecosts were to be observed annually on the Sunday following seven consecutive Saturdays, dating from the Firstfruits Sunday when they "began the harvest" (see Leviticus 23:16; 9-22 and Deuteronomy 16:9).  According to the Sadducees, Samaritans, and authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, these festivals  were to be observed literally, as the Bible commands, every year on "THE DAY AFTER THE SABBATH", which is Sunday (Leviticus. 23:11, 15). These annual Sundays were sacred, or holy assemblies, when no common work was to be done (Numbers 28:26).
    You who understand deeper truths of the Bible know that Christ was literally raised from the grave as the Sunday "Firstfruits"--But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept....  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming--(1 Corinthians. 15:20, 23). And the Holy Spirit fell on the "Pentecost Sunday" seven weeks later (Acts 2:1). "Firstfruits Sunday" commemorated the Sunday resurrection of Jesus from the grave to heaven to receive His father's authority; and "Pentecost Sunday" represented the strength manifested seven weeks later in the Spirit's outpouring of "power" upon His disciples to be "witnesses... unto all the earth" (Acts 1:8).
    God previously typified those significant events in the Old Testament because he did not want them celebrated, in any manner, by the New Testament church. These Old Testament Sunday observances were "symbolic" and therefore "a shadow of things to come." That is, today there is no such thing as a weekly Sunday holy convocation, Passover, Pentecost; nor a weekly Easter service or Sunday resurrection celebration; such suggestions originated as a fabrication to pacify the conscience and excuse transgression of God's law among those erroneously sanctifying events previously typified in the Old Testament.
    Some theorists may argue that Sunday's significance is not terminated because these festivals were kept by certain Jewish groups each year on a different week day, sometimes on the Sabbath, following the Feast of Unleavened Bread. That reasoning has no logic because Firstfruits occurred on the harvest day they "began to put the sycle to the grain" and they could never "begin" or start harvest on the Sabbath (Deuteronomy 16:9). Secondly, these holy days met an exact literal application on that special Sunday of the very year Christ was crucified; that is, the shadows met their substance precisely--they were completely fulfilled and these "sabbath days" are, to quote the Apostle Paul,  "nailed to the cross" (Colossians 2:14-17).
    For this reason, Sunday can not be legally observed; it is not sacred today, and will remain a regular working day--never to be kept sacred each week throughout the endless days of eternity.  Sunday's sanctity only exists in the minds of the nostalgic. There is now NO mandate in the New Testament to observe Sunday in honor of Christ's Sunday resurrection or the Sunday Pentecost "experience", or an example of such observance recorded in God's word.
   This may be confusing to you. Most of the world thinks that Sunday is the New Testament Sabbath with many (alleged) biblical examples of its sacredness. True? Well, the Bible (and the Koran) both command Sabbath (Saturday) sacredness as part of God's plan to inherit eternal life, and there is not a single text in the Bible (or Koran) suggesting such a change. Instead, history reveals Sunday as linked with sun worship; it is named "sun's day" and is Satan's counterfeit holy day. In reading the Bible you will find recorded many Sabbath services and NOT ONE "sacred Sunday" (or Friday) worship service in compliance with God's law.
    Additionally, the Koran emphasizes Abraham as the father of the prophets and says you must obey God's prophets to be a true follower of Islam; the Koran also condemns the Jews for crucifying the Jewish Prophet Jesus Christ. In addition, by teaching that you must obey the prophets of the Old Testament, that encompasses the Sabbath (not Friday) in the ten-commandment law given to the prophet Moses about 2,000 years before Mohammed existed (Exodus 19:1-25;20:26; 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:10).


SUNDAY SACREDNESS IS NOT  FOUND IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

   Perhaps you have read  newsletters written for Sunday congregations. They may mention many Sunday events, like the amount of offering collected, or church attendance "last Sunday", or perhaps discuss plans for Sunday choir practice, field trips, or outings.  When one reads the Bible they discover the opposite of this--many Sabbath events, and a strange omission of Sunday's glorification. This is because Sunday is one of the six common days in which we are to "remember the Sabbath day" and prepare for its sacred hours (Exodus 20:8).

    Without dispute, Jesus was resurrected on Sunday, but that event did not nullify the Sabbath's sacredness. Luke's writings in Acts, covering about 30 years of church history after Christ's ascension to heaven, only mention the words  first day ONE TIME Instead of using the term "Sunday", Luke writes "first day" because he uses the Bible's method of naming week days. This indicates he also uses the biblical reckoning of sunsets, not our modern midnight, to start the beginning of each day, as he does in Luke 23:54 and 24:1 (Leviticus 23:32). As Christians, God demands we speak honestly, and it is very important that we study Luke's only usage of "first-day" in Acts without the distortion that you hear from those who misunderstand that Sunday is not sacred, but a common working day (Acts 20:1-16).

    To understand this "first day" event, please observe that Luke identifies seven disciples who accompanied him and Paul to a farewell dinner and final meeting of their one-week stay at Troas (Acts 20:4-6).  And because "there were many lights" at that Sunday service, it was actually recording a Saturday-evening meeting, which is the beginning of the Biblical first-day (Sunday).  Also, after breaking bread, Paul delivered "his message unto midnight"; that is, he stopped his sermon at midnight, which is actually the end of our modern Saturday (Acts 20:7).
 Although there were "many lights in the upper chamber", that Saturday evening around midnight, a young man fell asleep and toppled three stories down from that room's outside window.
  The young man was taken up alive, and Luke's narration continues: "And we ["we" means seven disciples plus Luke] went before [in advance] to ship and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he arranged, minding himself to go afoot... [walking], departing at daybreak [Sunday morning]" (verses 7, 11, 13).
    Let me speak plainly so you may understand what the Bible is clearly saying: Paul's parting sermon to the Troas church  lasted until midnight, which is the beginning of our modern Sunday. That evening Paul's evangelistic team of eight disciples "went before"; that is, they left that Saturday-evening meeting, pulled anchor, paddled to deep water, and sailed some sixty miles (97 km) around the peninsula from Troas to Assos, and that excursion occupied all of the day millions of people think is the new Sabbath of the Christian church. Meanwhile, with the disciples gone, Paul's sermon was over and he "talked" (verse 11) with the remaining church members until sunrise, Sunday morning, and then walked about 24 miles (39 km) across the isthmus from Troas to Assos to meet the eight disciples--that would also occupy most of Sunday, a mandated working day (Exodus 20:9).
    You must honestly admit that God knew precisely what He was doing when He impressed Luke to record the minute details of these events which include Paul hiking and eight of his evangelists boating all day Sunday, and all this after a Saturday-evening meeting. This is hardly a sacred Sunday-morning church-service, or evidences a change in God's law.
    Properly understood, these verses re-orient us to reality--God's evangelistic team of nine disciples (counting Paul) delayed their departure until after the Sabbath's sacred hours; also,  Sunday is not sacred because they were not at a morning church service, but traveled all day.  God knew Satan would introduce error into the church during the Dark Ages when Bibles were suppressed and the Abomination of Desolation changed His law and hunted and murdered those who translated or preached the Word in languages other than Latin. And millions today sincerely think they are obeying God by keeping Sunday holy while they are actually transgressing the day he "blessed and sanctified" (Genesis 2:3).  As we enter this period of enlightenment where "knowledge will be increased", it is imperative that you see that Sunday-sacredness is an incomprehensible myth and absolutely absurd (Daniel 12:4).  "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).

    Similar to Luke, the apostle Paul also uses the word for Sunday,  first day, ONE TIME  in all of his epistles (letters), also covering about thirty years of his ministry to the church. This lengthy period stretches from Paul's conversion in A.D. 34 on the road to Damascus, to his condemnation by the infamous Nero who died in A.D. 68.  That lone mention of Sunday is recorded in Paul's letter written to the Corinthian church that he had previously established.
    Luke writes of Paul's initial visit to Corinth and states:  "He reasoned  in the synagogue every Sabbath [Saturday], and persuaded the Jews and Greeks [Gentiles]....", "And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them" (Acts 20:4, 11). Now, Paul plans to visit the Corinthians. So they can prepare for his arrival, he sends a courier ahead with the epistle (First Corinthians) telling of his intentions which includes the collection of an offering for the famine-stricken saints in Jerusalem.
    Sunday was not considered sacred to the early Christians and Paul says he was 'blameless in the Law"--that law commands Sabbath sacredness (Phillipians 3:6). He is fully aware that this letter will be read to the congregation as they meet together on the customary Sabbath (Saturday, Acts 17:2). The apostle does not want any anxious saints to desecrate God's Sabbath by preparing an offering before sunset on the Lord's sacred rest-day, so instructs them: "On the first day of the week [Sunday] let every one of you lay by him [himself alone, not in church] in store [storage], as God has prospered him, that there be no gathering when I come" (1 Corinthians 16:1,2).
    When the entire Bible is taken in context, you must honestly admit that Paul is literally saying Sunday is still a working day: "Do not  transgress God's law by going to your granary, market place, storage shed, garden, or otherwise perform work by preparing an offering until after the Sabbath's sacred hours Saturday evening. That way your offering will be ready for presentation, and no work will be necessary, when I preach to you next Sabbath."
    This may sound strange to you, even hypothetical, but even among congregations that keep the Sabbath sacred today, common church functions, or activities that require work, are routinely announced before the congregation during the Sabbath's worship service, and scheduled for Saturday evenings or Sundays. And Paul's instructions to the Corinthians are a valid caution for you, to prevent your transgression of God's law. Were he writing to us, the "last generation", he might say: "Begin preparation for next week's Sabbath on Sunday; remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. It is a holy assembly (convocation) to meet with the saints and God--do not desecrate its sacred hours by frequenting sporting events, restaurants, working, or shopping. You must wait until after sunset Saturday; and do not forget to "gather" your offering on Sunday, that way it will be ready for church service next Sabbath" (Isaiah 58:13,14).
   Paul's instruction to the Corinthians is another biblical example proving that God's Law is binding today; that is, Paul is actually guarding the Sabbath's sacred hours. It is in no honest sense telling  people to worship on Sunday. Read 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 again; it does not record tithe-paying at a Sunday church service as falsely suggested (Proverbs 30:6).


NEW COMMANDMENTS FOR THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

    These truths should be gladly received by everyone desiring to serve God according to divine standards; and others, unfortunately, will certainly be offended (Galatians 4:16). Yet please understand, there were some valid changes introduced into the New Testament church.  Although the Bible is silent concerning a change in God's explicit instructions to have a "holy assembly" on Saturday (Leviticus  23:3), and it does not command one to  "remember" a new "holy Sunday" or "holy every-day-alike"; instead, it records Jesus giving the New Testament church two new ordinances. Let us first discuss communion, sometimes called eucharist.


CHRIST'S BODY IS TRULY FOOD

   Under the law of Moses, the saints often ate the life-imparting flesh of their sacrificial offering--those digested proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, provided strength and built new tissue in their bodies.  Jesus indicated that this was really pointing to our becoming an integral part of His divine life while acknowledging His great sacrifice: "He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him" (John 6:56).  Today, Christians who eat the nourishing bread and wine during communion service symbolize the combined life that all believers must have as Jesus also "nourishes" them through His imparted presence: "Do this in remembrance of Me", said Jesus; "He that lives in me, and I in him, the same... [accomplishes much] for without me you can do nothing" (1 Corinthians 11:24,25; John 15:5). This is the only way you can be saved, by accepting through the faith God gives you, what God has done for you, and what God is simultaneously doing within you; that is, the crucified and risen "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).

    God is not mocked and he knows where His presence abides (John 6:70). God is also fully aware of the enabling strength imparted by His internal Shekinah glory, and if He could force 1,000 megawatts of conviction into our conscience, we still could not be saved without our consent because God  demands our cooperation.   And the worthless excuses and alibis that bind us to pride or willful sin, they are rejected as were the empty excuses of our first parents.  God only accepts our best efforts, and we can not succeed without that "leading" presence, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). If we fail to grow to the "full stature" by persistently yielding ourselves to transgress God's law in deed or thought, we have then presumptuously separated ourselves from Christ. Then the Holy Spirit departs and we, like King Saul who initially felt his insufficiency and was anointed with God's Spirit, or Judas Iscariot who worked miracles with the disciples, may profess holiness, but have failed to keep our sinful inclinations in subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27;1 Samuel 16:14; Luke 22:3).
    Such transgressors become servants of the one they obey; that is, they make a covenant with sin and death instead of obedience and righteousness (Romans 6:16). Making a covenant with sin "grieves" the Holy Spirit and allows evil angels to silently assume that vacancy and, unknown to us, our life is outside of Christ (Ephesians 4:30). This happens regardless of our previous faithfulness, denominational orientation, waving hands and vocalized praise, conviction, religious enthusiasm, ecstatic feelings, sincerity, or supernatural manifestations--our faith becomes worthless presumption. God's mission is to save, and for a time He may continue to strive with our impenitent hearts, wooing us to conform, but in that un-saved condition we have failed to "overcome" and unknowingly, we have become Satan's puppet, dressed in Christian apparel, in eternity's great drama (1 Samuel 16:4; Matthew 12:45; John 13:27 1 Corinthians 4:9). And Satan knows he can influence Christians to proclaim their "faith in Jesus" while "slightly sinning", and their delusion works more destruction to God's noble plans for mankind than the influence of the most blatant criminal--reproach is brought upon God's name as they cause the word of God to be "evil spoken of" and influence others to "slightly" transgress (2 Peter 2:2; Matthew 13:29-30).

           "It is impossible for God to lie", and we can trust His promises of eternal life for the faithful; Jesus said: "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Hebrews 6:18; John 8:32). When called of God, the new Christian usually has a contrite and humble spirit. In their weakest state they are the strongest in God's strength and are justified by true faith; yet our judgment is imperfect and it is difficult to determine at what point we are actually saved or when ones faith becomes presumptuous and grieves the Holy Spirit's saving presence (Isaiah 57:15). Many feel fully saved when they are totally lost; "they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge" (Romans 10:2).  This is because even right actions or repentance can be prompted by wrong motives; remember, repentant Judas was not saved while the penitent thief was (Matthew 26:24; John 23:43).

    To feel secure in their beliefs, often while compromising with sin or shunning known duties, many attempt to determine God or man's exact action that makes one saved or lost. For centuries people have been vigorously debating the intricate legalities of justification by faith to the point where they are as argumentative as the Sadducees and Pharisees of old.  Unfit for heaven, Jesus said the prostitutes would enter the kingdom before them; but one thing is certain, Jesus warned that the enemy plants "weeds" in the church (Matthew 13:24-30).
    The weeds closely represent the true plants. According to Jesus these are Satan's "implants" and may never have been converted: "one of you is the devil"; that is, these deluded impostors look like Christians but are self-deceived, and Paul calls them "enemies of the cross" (Matthew 13:25; John 6:70; Phillipians 3:18). "Not sparing the flock", they often appear the most learned and pious among the humble saints. They may exhibit their credentials, even speak of divine revelations and work miracles; meanwhile, they are actually tempting the saints to transgress, promoting self-satisfaction to the unconverted, advocating false theories, and causing confusion within the church (Acts 20:29; Matthew 13:38,39). These individuals have embodied error until  it permeates their being; thinking they are saved, they will be stunned when they hear Christ's words spoken while they stand among the condemned multitude: "Depart from Me, you that work iniquity" (Luke  13:27).
    Many times they have spoken soft words of love through smiling lips and tactful deportment. They may have betrayed with a kiss and made noble statements like: "Are you also deceived?  Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed on Him?" and,  "This [fragrance] should have been sold and the money given to the poor" (Pharisees--John 7:47,48; Judas Iscariot--John 12:5).  Jesus warns them of their fate, "It is certain that troubles arise, but curses will follow those who cause these problems"; and for greater emphasis, two times Paul says: "Let them be accursed" (Matthew 18:7; Galatians 1:8,9). Jesus gives us permission to evaluate others by comparing the Word with their conduct because actions reveal  mental processes, "by their fruits you will know them", He said (Isaiah 8:20; Matthew 7:15-23).
    So, at what point  is one actually saved or lost? We can not say with certainty because heaven makes that determination. Supernatural intelligences weigh our individual history, read our thoughts, know our motives, and hear our appeals (Daniel 7:9,10). God also listens to others as they offer prayers of intercession in our behalf. To one Jesus might say, "You are not far from the kingdom of God"; to another, "Woe to you... you can not enter into the kingdom, and you prevented those who were from entering" (Mark 12:34; Luke 11:52).
    Most Christians do not know "the depths of Satan" (Revelation 2:24).  Because our perception of sin and ability to judge motive in others is imperfect, and God's most faithful followers are usually charmed by the counterfeit "saints" and can not discern their delusions, greater harm may be done to the church by their premature separation--believers may not understand the logic of their termination. It is best to let God do the impartial judging while we individually maintain a teachable spirit.  Although the church must deal with the corrupting influence of obvious transgression, Jesus has instructed the leadership to allow the Christian look-alikes to remain; then, He will do the discipline and separating as necessary. Do not be alarmed when their afflictions arrive or when they forsake assembly with the saints; the church will continue to grow as it did after Judas hung himself, Demas forsook Paul, and the appalling deaths of Ananias and Sapphira (2 Timothy 4:10; Numbers 26:9,10; Hebrews 10:25; Acts 5:10,14).

     Satan is quite capable of partially blinding us to our own faults, so we must closely compare ourselves with Bible standards (Isaiah 8:20, 2 Timothy 2:15). Through honest self-analysis and much prayer, God will reveal to us our true condition (2 Timothy 2:15; Revelation 20:12, 13). Are we willing to obey Jesus regardless of circumstances and intimidation by others? Then offer no excuses for bad behavior because you are not justified while excusing known sin, evading compliance under the pretext of ignorance, or neglecting known duties: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you... seeing you have forgotten the law of your God..." (Hosea 4:6; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Daniel 12,10; Matthew 25:25-30; Hebrews 10;26; Numbers 15:30).  Do not have a double standard by trying to love the world and heaven simultaneously. Maintain faithfulness in meeting your obligations to God through obedience, benevolence, and supporting the Gospel through prayer and personal service while studying the Bible and assembling with the saints at each Sabbath's "holy convocation" (Leviticus 23:3).  Although good works will never buy your salvation, if you find these distasteful or burdensome, your old person has not "died" and the "kingdom of God" is not complete within.
    The beloved disciple says it so very clearly: "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments" and "do those things that are pleasing in his sight" (1 John 2:3; 3:22). Then John summarizes that point by reminding the "born again" saint that one must "keep himself" from sin, and God will provide protection from Satan's assaults: "You may know that you have eternal life, and that.... whosoever is born of God sins not; but he that is born of God keeps himself and the wicked one [Satan] touches him not" (1 John 5:13, 18).
    As God reveals our  weakness, we should realize it is only unequaled grace that conquers the treason of our human nature. Jesus' mission is to recover the lost and He will certainly reveal those needs and effect the essential changes within; to the humble believer seeking God's will, He promises: "Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me" (Isaiah 27:5).
    Our humility and mistrust of self is so important, and God can not be bribed; He is an impartial judge, and faithful angels record every detail of our lives with uncanny precision. We will meet our life again in the judgment and there are no omissions of your faithfulness and repentance; or, unconfessed or unforsaken sins and neglected duties (Matthew 12:36). Our "self estimation" will not qualify us for paradise, but in God's judgment heavenly beings determine if you can dwell with them (Daniel 7:10). And if you remain faithful to the end, you will know for certain you have "attained" when you hear God's words, "Well done, good and faithful servant... enter into the joy of your Lord" (Phillipians 3:12; Matthew 25:23).


YOU MUST "DIE" BEFORE YOU ENTER HEAVEN

    Baptism by immersion is the other New Testament ordinance, and a thinking pastor will tell you that your rising from the water during baptism, not Sunday observance, is the New Testament's method of commemorating both Christ's and your resurrection from the dead.  No, you are not automatically saved by the act of baptism; but, being immersed in cleansing water commemorates the washing of your sins and your acceptance of Jesus' death; and rising from the water symbolizes the Spirit's cleansing work in you; that is, what should be taking place internally--the old sinful person's "death" and a new life invigorated with God's power.
    Although provision has been made to save everyone, humanity is not unconditionally saved when born of the womb, or anyone automatically made righteous by Jesus' atonement 2,000 years ago because John the beloved identifies the saved as those not "born of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor the will of man..." (John 1:13).  To believe an "easy street to heaven" theology might pacify ones conscience, but remember, for eons the devils were totally-saved and majestic angels; they are fully aware of Jesus' authority, but tremble and face their final punishment as must unrepentant transgressors (James 2:19; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6).
    Although Christ's great sacrifice is significant beyond comprehension, the re-birth requires our honest cooperation--"as many as received him [internally], to them he gave [enabling] power to become the sons of God" (John 1:12). We hear much of Christ's death, but it actually takes two "deaths" for each saint to enter heaven--first Jesus', then our death to self.
    When you sincerely receive the name of Christ for the remission of sins, calling yourself a Christian, and make a public statement of that fact by giving your old person to Christ through public baptism, you should rise from the water "born again." This is your second birth,  "born of the Spirit" with the old sinful person dead and buried in the watery grave. Paul explains it to the Roman church this way:  "Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). Allowing God to conform us to His divine image is essential in the Christian journey to Heaven.
    In a sense, the children of Israel and the "mixed multitude" were baptized as they crossed the divided waters of the Red Sea and walked under God's protective cloud on their way to Palestine, but take note: They were not automatically saved because those who murmured, who forced their own plans instead of obeying God's, and who did not walk in newness of life, perished as blatant transgressors (Ibid.; 1 Corinthians 10:1,2; Jude 1:5).

    The human heart is deceitful above all things; truly, "who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" (Proverbs 20:9). As Christians, we should mistrust our abilities and never boast like the self-confidant disciples, "We are born again and have attained; we will never, never, never, forsake You"; or inquire like the works-oriented ruler, "What must I  do [I do, I do] to be saved"; instead, we must all crucify self--every day we must all come to Jesus just like that crucified thief (Matthew 26:35; Luke 18:18; 23:41-43).
    Before his death, he had time in prison to reflect on his wrongs and sincerely repent--his life had been cumbered with bad choices. God moved upon his penitent heart to recognize his unworthiness and understand Christ's noble mission. This degenerate failure was the only human to personally call upon Christ to permit his entrance into heaven before Jesus died; yes, this thief pled his unworthiness to the Compassionate Savior. We have the same option; with so many imperfections we know that our human nature falls extremely short of the holiness heaven demands and we are unfit to enter paradise. We see little good in ourselves; mistrusting our own righteousness and abilities, our alibis cease and we cling to Jesus our righteousness (Romans 3:22). Longing for the holiness necessary to see God, we know He is faithful and all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us according to His good pleasure (Hebrews 12:14; Philippians 2:13; 4:13).

   In an honest self analysis, a deep soul searching, do you see your unworthiness like the prophet and apostle Paul? He was exact in outward obedience but internally was not "already perfect" (Romans 7:24; Phillipians 3:12)?   If so, do not retreat or forsake the battle; that conviction means the Holy Spirit has not deserted you like it did the remorseless Herod: Jesus "answered him nothing" (Luke 23:9).  There is hope if God is still battling your sinful nature by revealing to you your great need of "bringing into captivity every thought" (2 Corinthians 10:5). Were you not drawn into circumstances that reveal these personality defects, you could not ask God for help in conducting the most protracted battle you will ever fight--the conflict for your mind.
    God has asked nothing impossible of us, merely our faithful cooperation. As a "born again" convert, with Christ abiding in you and you abiding in Him,  you should faithfully "die daily" and will love to obey all of your heavenly Father's commandments, including assembly with the church family each Sabbath (throughout eternity, Isaiah 66:23) as you exemplify the effects of the Spirit's enabling presence within--He both strengthens and convicts, all things become new; and like God, you love righteousness and detest evil. This longing for Christ's righteousness permits Him to work within, enabling you to repel those evil propensities that clamor for ascendancy (John 14:20; 15:4-7; 1 John 1:9; 3:4; Romans 6:16; 1 Corinthians 15:31).
    It is through the gift of faith, an essential component of God's grace, that we are saved by Jesus' substitutional punishment AND imparted righteousness (Romans 12:3).   Jesus does not merely cover our sinful human nature through His supreme forensic act;  instead, God IS our righteousness. And His righteousness is merged with our worthlessness, and His strength merged with our weakness--old things pass away and all things become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then we are unified with the Just Creator, and are legally justified through that oneness--we are new persons, not reborn of the womb, or water only, but as Jesus stated, "born again... of the Spirit" (John 3:3).
    God does not force sanctification because justification is a multifaceted legal transaction that is only ratified (legally effective) through His abiding presence--that presence enables us to "turn from transgression." The Holy Spirit does not manipulate our movements like a marionette; we must cooperate with heavenly agencies through God's gift of true faith. Both agencies, our willingness and His providence, are necessary in our conversion and salvation (Isaiah 59:20,21; Ephesians 4:30). God is always faithful and has made every provision for those who, instead of offering excuses for sin,  "hunger and thirst after righteousness"--the decision is ours (Matthew 5:6). Should we withhold our best efforts and persist in stubbornness, we mock God's plans of righteousness for us and we "grieve" the Holy Spirit's presence--God does "not justify the wicked" (Exodus 23:7). When God abandons us to our pernicious ways, we are no longer justified, regardless of our sincerity, and we face the penalty of our sins in the judgment.
    Salvation is quite easy if we remain faithful; it is not merely what we do, or what He did, but what we allow God to do in us and for us that we are accounted righteous and become a "new creation", growing to the full stature. To abide in His love, we must obey Him and maintain a willingness to allow God to work His pleasure within as He effects essential changes to our characters: "You are my friends," says Jesus, "if you do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:5,10,14).
    God knows us better than we know ourselves, and if we refuse reform, we are illegitimate children (bastards, Hebrews 12:8) and our justification is rescinded. Unless fully repentant, God will faithfully execute judgment upon us as He will the demons. When united with God, they were noble angels who knew the peace and perfection of heaven. Thinking they had good motives, they refused to obey their Creator while arguing their plans to reform God's government (Matthew 8:29; 25:41).

    The inhabitants of Heaven are perfect because the will of God is their joy and supreme delight--they love God, trust His capabilities, and obey Him without question. God demands this trait of His faithful followers before allowing them into paradise. Regardless of your "noble" intentions, if you act like the devil here, and attempt to reform God's standards of righteousness, insisting on your own way by not cooperating with God, then you would also resist compliance and continue to "reform" there--the peace and security of heaven will never be jeopardized by your presence.


DO NOT PRESUME ON GOD'S MERCY

    False faith is Satan's counterfeit of the true. Originating in heaven with the great deceiver, it is known as presumption and encourages pride or resists compliance through complacency. It is extremely dangerous because it prevents Christians from seeing their great need. It allows believers to love self and the world while blindly "continuing in sin that grace may abound"; it fosters self-righteousness and claims the promises of God while excusing sin, and this stifles growth and repels God.
    God calls this a "lukewarm" state,  when deluded believers feel totally justified while living a partially-compliant life (Revelation 3:16). They lack the imbued "enmity" that makes them hate this sinful world. This enmity is furnished by the indwelling righteousness of the Lamb of God; they are in a lost condition if they only trust in the superficial robe of the Lamb's skin and lack that enmity imparted by His Spirit (Genesis 3:15, 20).
    Being "saved" while "lukewarm" appeals to the unconverted who love pacifying preachers. Soothing sermons travel around the world at 186,000 miles (300,000 km) per second (the speed of electromagnetic waves in free space); meanwhile, the truth is censured (Jeremiah 50:6). Ignorant of the unity and holiness that keeps God's universe secure, the presumptuous say, "God is not particular."  They fail to exemplify heaven's principles and do not allow God to complete His work within--these half-saved yet totally-lost "Laodiceans" will be "spewed out of His mouth" like lukewarm water (Revelation 3:16).
    Like the majority lost in Noah's day, the presumptuous sinners portray Satan's first lie, "In the day you... [sin] you will not surely die" (Genesis 2:17).  They feel that God's loving nature prevents Him from destroying transgressors; they forget that both John the baptist and Jesus opened the Gospel with the words "repent"; that is, be sorry for your transgressions and turn from your sinful ways.  The Gospel does not excuse sin, it provides the remedy--it furnishes power to obey and pardon for failures  (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). Jesus said: "I tell you... except you repent, you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3,5).
    The life of the impudent is fraught with alibis for bad conduct and this trait is carried into church. Many transgressors feel justified by their intellectual assent of God's great plan while rejecting His admonitions and warnings against sin and prideful hearts.  They blindly believe that the Gospel, or God's immeasurable love, saves them from the consequences of continuing in sin; while confessing His name, they hold to a form of godliness but deny His power to change lives (2 Timothy 3:5).
    Abandoned by God and blinded by Satan, the presumptuous consider their faith "grace based." Wrestling the Holy Scriptures to their own destruction, they stubbornly cling to selected Bible texts deemed favorable while rejecting those they need most (2 Peter 3:16). For example, while "loving the loaves and fishes" that God provides, they may say "love, love, love, love" and quote Jesus' words to Nicodemun written in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world...", yet fail to read His complete thoughts that include good works: "But he who lives the truth comes to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they are accomplished in God" (John 3:21).
     God's humble followers, possessing true faith, firmly believe they are justified by faith that delivers them from their sins, that their works are accomplished in God; they do not believe they are justified by faith through their own meritous works or while being non-compliant (Ibid.). The faithful saints appropriate His righteousness and produce a harvest of obedience; they will not be easily deceived by those making a covenant with death.  Let me remind you again of Jesus' enlightening words to those who "live not by bread alone, but by every word of God" spoken in His law and through His prophets: You "are not of the world, even as I am not of the world... and the Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 4:4; 17:16, 21).

  Legislators know that anarchy is encouraged when their laws are not enforced; order is maintained only if they do not allow citizens to pick and choose which injunctions they obey. Likewise, the Supreme Lawgiver will do precisely what He did throughout the Bible, strictly enforce His divine laws. God has asked nothing impossible or unreasonable of His subjects, and they must not make excuses for transgression, alter His commandments, or select the laws they wish to obey or transgress. And those who think God excuses willful sin will never be allowed to menace the peace and harmony of His immaculate universe (Exodus 34:7). God is sound in His reasoning, and disobedient humans and angels will certainly harvest what they have planted; because, "God will in no case clear the guilty" (Exodus 39:7).

    As you can see, there is more to the important ordinances of baptism and communion than just doing them, their principles must be applied in your life; that is, Christianity is living in oneness with God. That oneness is the mission of His church.  With the saints exemplifying the changes God makes in their characters, it becomes our lost world's theater of God's ability to change lives for eternity. And that change, that individual oneness with heaven, is the key to avoiding the "mark of the beast", surviving the plagues, and being resurrected to heaven.

    Besides the New Testament ordinances of baptism and communion, it also strengthens ones faith to study other symbolic festivals observed in the spring and fall of each Jewish year--they dramatized other components of God's plan of salvation. Some of these are called Sabbath days, and are not enjoined upon the Christian church (Acts 15:9).  In reading New Testament history, one would expect to find recorded a resistance to the elimination of  these Old Testament ordinances by those who faithfully observed them from adolescence. This did occur, resulting in admonitions such as recorded in Colossians 2:14-17; Galatians 4:9-10; Romans 14:5, 6; and Ephesians 2:15. These symbolic festivities were legitimately abolished by Jesus (nailed to the cross), but this does not include any portion (jot or tittle) of God's ten-commandment law that defines sin (Matthew 5:18; 1 John 3:4; Romans 7:7). With these thoughts in mind, and asking for Divine guidance, let us consider Christ's words:


GOD'S LAW IS FOREVER

    Jesus' mission was not to destroy God's standard of righteousness, but to "magnify the law, and make it honorable" (Isaiah 42:21). Truth is an absolute that can neither be voted on or dismissed, and God's Word and His divine law is as eternal as God himself. Jesus magnified the law by teaching that sin proceeds from the heart; that is, we must clean the cup within, then the entire vessel will be pure (Matthew 23:26). "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these [My Father's] commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:19). "Whoever will keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all" (James 2:10).  John the beloved uses much stronger language: "He that says, 'I know him,' and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4). Your minister should be teaching you to revere God's Word and to observe all ten of God's commandments.
    Jesus did not allow sin to go un-reproved or obey the Rabbinical traditions, nor should we. No one is an island unto himself; if we dismiss a single scripture that we personally feel insignificant, we unknowingly become "teachers of unrighteousness" and our bad example inspires others to negate those of their choosing. The consequences of deceiving others by living an untruth effects our eternal realities because "the least in the kingdom of heaven" will be destroyed outside the Holy City--these are those who "cause... a lie", or "love and make a lie" (Matthew 5:19; Revelation 20:9; 21:27; 22:15).

     If Jesus did not change His fathers Law, then the change is again found with the "man of sin" that emerged from the Abomination of Desolation. Previously we have discussed that the Bible foretells the Roman System's presumptuous intent to alter the Law (Daniel 7:25). The ten commandments were permanently engraved on stone with God's own finger to remind us that they can never be erased. You certainly recall our discussion of the Roman Catholic Church. It was more than 1,000 years before the Protestant reformation when they effected this change; and in the past, they have honestly bragged about that presumptuous act.


Image for 666 ~ The Mark of the Beast ~ 666
INTIMIDATION LEADS TO TRANSGRESSION

     Do Jesus' followers have the authority to change His instructions? Absolutely not! Christ commissioned His disciples to baptize all nations, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world..." (Matthew 28:19,20). There is no such thing as a secret Bible text that Jesus has forgotten to mention, so God's church must operate within the perimeter of Christ's teachings. Whatever the church "binds on earth" is merely applications of Jesus' teachings in the New Testament, and they do not conflict with the testimonies of His prophets; to teach a conflicting revelation is worthless tradition and should be abandoned.
    Truly, no authority to change God's commandments can be found written in His Word. We can only make decisions on Christ's pre-established Bible principles. Yet, the deluded Roman System claims authority not even given Christ's disciples, including Peter.

    Catholicism determined if church policy should be based on Scripture or, so called, "church authority", during the famous 16th-century Council of Trent. After 18 years of deliberation, church tradition prevailed when the Archbishop of Reggio reminded them that the church changed the Sabbath to Sunday, for which no scriptural authority can be found. Knowing this historical fact, learned writers, like the editor of the Saint Catherine Catholic Church Newsletter published from Algonac, Michigan, U.S.A., can sincerely state:

The Church has always had a strong sense of its own authority. 'Whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven', Jesus said.  Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever did, happened in the first century [Actually, it was at the Council of Nicaea, 325 A.D.]. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. "The Day of the Lord" (dies Dominica) was chosen, NOT from any directions noted in the Scriptures, but from the Church's sense of its OWN POWER. The day of resurrection, the day of Pentecost, fifty days later, came on the first day of the week. So this would be the new Sabbath. People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become 7th Day Adventists, and keep Saturday holy" (Ibid., May 21, 1995).
     During Constantine's reign, most of the Christians around the world were still keeping the Sabbath sacred. As centuries passed, Christians yielded to tradition and intimidation, and exalted Rome's counterfeit commandment. The church historian Socrates, writing from the fifth century, aptly observes:   "Almost all the churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries [communion, or eucharist] on the Sabbath of EVERY WEEK, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ANCIENT TRADITION, have ceased to do this" (Ecclesiastical History, Book 5, chapter 22, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2d series, Vol. 2, p. 32).

     Rome and Alexandria were capitols of the Roman System. A few years after Christ's crucifixion, gentile Christians feared being identified with the Jewish Nation that was in revolt against Roman occupation. Avoiding the scorn associated with being Jewish sympathizers, they adopted a two-day worship system. They kept both God's sacred Sabbath and Sunday, in effect saying to the Romans: "We are not Jewish, we worship the risen Savior."  This was, as you will later see, initially an essential compromise; that is, until intimidation from Rome kept them from exalting all of God's law and the fourth commandment was fraudulently abandoned. The only quotes from early history exalting Sunday worship over God's sacred day come from these Roman capitols where God's Sabbath would eventually be held in derision and Sunday erroneously called "the Lord's day."

    Had you been living during that time, would you have distanced yourselves from the Jews and compromised to retain your home and livelihood? Think about it for a moment. It requires a strong faith to not yield to pressures, "because Claudius [emperor--A.D. 41-54, succeeded by Nero--A.D. 54-68] had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome" (Acts 18: 2).  Yes! In all probability you would not want to appear Jewish, and that is one reason many do not keep God's holy Sabbath commandment today, they stigmatize it as archaic and only applying to the Old Testament Jews--such deluded logic. Like the unity of the marriage institution, the oneness of Sabbath observance found its origin in Eden when God perpetually blessed and sanctified the special day He rested on, and that was many centuries before Abraham and Moses (Genesis 2:1-3).
    Even  Constantine the Great made a bigoted statement that worked to negate God's Sabbath: "Let us then, have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd" (Eusebius, The Life of Constantine, Book 3, chapter 8). Constantine even passed the first recorded Sunday-rest law: "On the venerable Day of the Sun [Sunday] let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed...." (Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated in History of the Christian Church, by Philip Schaff, Vol. 3, p. 380).
    This law would eventually expand to prohibit commandment keepers from obeying God by resting on His holy day: "Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord's day [Constantine's Sunday] they shall especially honor, and,... shall do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing [resting on the Sabbath], they shall be shut out from Christ" (Charles Joseph Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, vol. 2, p. 316). It is very unfortunate, indeed, that these men, who never ascended to the "third heaven", yielded to intimidation and did not  possess the fortitude of the apostles and Peter, who said: "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).


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THE MARK OF OBEDIENCE

     Many church leaders today refrain from declaring the whole truth. The majority, even among the Catholic family, are as sincere as was Saul on the road to Damascus to capture the condemned saints. They have not recognized the connection between perfect obedience to God's Law and the "mark of the beast." After studying the issue closely, you can see that Sunday sacredness is ridiculous, a colossal myth promoted as genuine. And with the truth burning within, those recognizing the facts should not fail "to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin" (Micah 3:8). Like the converted Paul, refusing to "scratch itching ears", they will face denominational expulsion and loss of employment, friends, family, and possibly their life, the ultimate result of declaring an unpopular truth to a lost society (2 Timothy 4:3). By teaching present truth and warning the people of their transgression (Satan's counterfeit Sabbath), they will ultimately be found  among the faithful. Christ teaches: "Therefore your sins remain...", and, "in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (John 9:41; Matthew 15:9). If it is vanity to reject revived truths while professing allegiance to God, and not keep His commandments, then Sunday is kept in vain--it is no more significant than a Wednesday night prayer meeting.
    Substituting Sabbath sacredness for Sunday observance can "mark" one as a transgressor today and the Church of Rome claimed that Sunday observance is a MARK of their authority; yet, God says that the Sabbath is a sign [or mark] of our sanctification:    "Hallow [keep sacred] My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign [mark of allegiance, or seal] between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God" (Ezekiel 20:20). This text mentions that the seal (mark) of God is "hallowed" by the observance of the fourth Commandment.
    Many honest Christians who keep Sunday do not know that Rome claims that Sunday observance is a mark of allegiance to their authority. Read what Monsignor Luis Segur frankly writes in Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today: "The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage [mark of allegiance] they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Catholic] church" (ibid., 1868, p. 213).


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SIN IS NO SMALL MATTER: JUST CONTEMPLATE CALVARY

      The issues at stake in God's Ten-Commandment law is significant beyond imagination. It was what we consider a little sin that brought destruction to all of God's universe  (For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now, Romans 8:22). You may have noticed that Satan concealed himself as a beautiful serpent to tempt Eve. Sunday also conceals its falsity under a beautiful religious disguise--the resurrection of Christ is likened to a weekly Easter Sunday celebration (See Pope John Paul's Apostolic Letter Dies Domini of May 31, 1998).
    Adam's transgression was what we might think insignificant--he only yielded to his wife's suggestions, yet God shut them out of the Garden because of that "little" sin. Trying to keep peace in the family was fatal and the curse of sin now encumbers us. Because the first ruler of earth forever lost the right to reign through "one small step for man", it became "one giant step for mankind."  The only remedy available required the Lord God, the co-ruler of the universe, to become a human and accept upon Himself the punishment and death for those who are truly repentant. At Calvary our sins were placed on our Substitute and God turned His face from His Son for a brief moment--so He can behold our continence forever. Our majestic Savior took our stunted human nature after 4,000 years of degradation, then Christ faced Satan in person after being weakened by 40 days of starvation; and He was victorious, even to the death of the cross. This is what one "little" sin cost--God's substitutional death.  We deserve the beating Jesus took, but Jesus did not die from the wounds received at the hands of the Romans.
    God is not a coconspirator with Satan in the plan of redemption; and although the devil persecuted and mocked Jesus at Calvary, his attempted murder of our innocent Savior has no part in our salvation because Jesus gave His life (John 10:17, 18). Then the Father crushed His Son's life by placing YOUR sins on Jesus: "He has made Him sin for us", the innocent Sin Bearer "who knew no sin" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Our Holy Father can not dwell with sin, and Jesus cried: Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani as God crushed His Son by withdrawing His life-sustaining presence: "Yet it pleased the LORD [the Father] to bruise [crush] Him [Jesus]; He has put [Jesus] to grief: when you will make His soul [life] an offering for sin..." (Matthew 27:46; Isaiah 53:10).
    When Jesus accepted our guilt and punishment, God inflicted our sentence for sin upon His Son, and Jesus died as our Substitute; and those two distinct streams of saving blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of His corpse, they testify of the aspects of our redemptiont (John 5;6-8). The blood represents Jesus' sacrificial death for us and the water represents His Spirit's purifying work in us  (John 3:5; 4:14; ). Knowing this, you must not resist God's work in you by not giving your best efforts; because, God does not accept the punishment for known sins that you have not forsaken and transferred to your Substitute by repentance and confession. "You will find [the LORD your God], if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29).  Sin can not be excused, and there is a strict legal process for eliminating sin; it requires your cooperation. If you think otherwise, you will make of none effect the truths God symbolized throughout the Bible and in the Old Testament sanctuary service.

    When you contemplate those last moments of Calvary, and understand His beating and ignominious death, the distorted flesh on His lacerated body, that blood spilling from His ruptured veins and pierced side--God allowed this as a punishment for sin by civil authorities. Do you realize it should have been ours? "His visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men" because sin can not be allowed in God's perfect universe--it can never be dismissed--there is no excuse for rebellion against God, and it demands the maximum punishment, even death.  Yes, Jesus took our sins upon himself as symbolized by the brazen serpent, a symbol of sin, "lifted up" in the wilderness that saves beholders from the sting of death. And although God hid His face for that brief moment when Jesus "became sin for us", Calvary's brilliance illuminates the face of those who live His victorious life; Jesus lives again in you, and you are healed to radiate His righteousness to a rebellious world (Numbers 21:9; John 3:14,15).
    The universe would never be secure by any other means: "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed"; Jesus suffered the punishment of the vilest sinner (Isaiah 52:14; 53:5; Hebrews 10:29; 2 Peter 2:9). Can you see how inexcusable and detestable sin is in God's sight? There is no excuse for rebellion, disobedience must be punished, and heaven would never be heavenly with its blight because permissiveness would eventually putrefy God's immaculate universe (Isaiah 26:21).
    Let me remind you once more: That righteousness possessed by our Example is available to you; that is, provision is made to save every contrite sinner who comes to Him in true repentance. It is not my mind you want, or even the unfallen mind of noble Adam in his Edenic perfection; only the untainted mind of God--yes, Jesus was God. It is only His perfect mind that can make us righteous, and He offers it to you: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5-13).

     God demands respect, and He will be glorified by His subjects. When His holy law was given in awesome splendor, just touching the mountain invoked the death penalty (Exodus 19:12, 13). Understanding the issues, can you better see why God demands death for the unrepentant and will never dismiss willful transgression of His holy law or the presumptuous substitution of Satan's counterfeit commandment. The Bible is plain on this point, and we need not question God's wisdom in demanding the unity with Him and His subjects that Sabbath sacredness conveys. The Sabbath is a rest-day for both men and women, and Christians who enjoy hot foods cooked on Sabbaths, or otherwise desecrate the Sabbath sacredness, usually shun these verses:

    Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and that which remains over, lay up for you to be kept until... [Sabbath] morning.
    They found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day....   And the LORD said.... "The man shall be surely put to death...."
    Speak also unto the children of Israel, saying, "Verily my Sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign [mark of obedience] between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the LORD that sanctifies you. You will keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is HOLY to you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever does work therein, that soul will be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD [the Lord's holy day]: whosoever does work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death." "Keep the Sabbath... for a perpetual covenant.... for ever...."
Numbers 15:32-35 ; Exodus 16:23; 31:13-17
     How proper it is that God demands perpetual obedience,  forever, upon the penalty of death for transgressors of His law. Legislators, in collaboration with the Roman System, will ultimately demand obedience and death for violation of Satan's counterfeit sun's-day, that is, Sunday. Unable to sway total allegiance to their church's exaltation of Sunday, they will use civil governments to impose sanctions against the saints--antiquated laws will be revived and freedom of worship scorned.
    As noted earlier, Constantine's church outlawed Saturday with the following decree: "Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday [Sábado in Spanish, the Sabbath] but shall work on that day; but the [so called] Lord's day they shall especially honor" (Ibid., page 316). When conditions are favorable, Christendom will again exalt Satan's counterfeit commandment. And to question their authority will excite the same wrath that was executed in the past against the estimated 50,000,000 people murdered by the Roman System throughout the Spiritual Dark Ages; and yes, you are surely aware that Protestants have, on a smaller scale, also persecuted each other and Catholics; strangely, they will collaborate with Rome in this final delusion.
    The Vatican has a significant voice in world affairs, even before the United Nations. Presently restrained by public opinion and protective laws guaranteeing religious freedom and human rights, when conditions are right they will again slander God's International Rest Day by promoting their spurious sabbath--such blasphemy and deluded logic to presume the authority to change God's law. Legislation will be introduced that revives and augments their archaic anti-blasphemy laws that are based on flawed interpretations of the Bible--freedom of religion and human rights will be scorned. Upholders of God's truth will again meet Satan's wrath through the influence of the Abomination of Desolation and its sympathizers. And this will occur on a much larger scale than similar anti-blasphemy legislation now existing in some Arab countries.  Then the church and its sympathizers will be guilty of murder against the saints, and divine justice met by the outpouring of the seven vials of God's wrath as "the curse devours the earth" (Isaiah 24:5,6; Revelation 15:7).

    Does all this sound impossible? Will tenants of constitutions guaranteeing religious freedom be renounced by national and international law?  Yes! Jesus said: "The time comes that whoever kills you will think that he does God a service" (John 16:2).   Satan knew how to shape policy in the past, and possessing greater skills from practice, he controls world events to suit his evil plans. These predictions are not written because of enlightened hindsight, or deluded paranoia, but our faithful God has warned us about this last-day image; that is, a reproduction or duplication of the past where governments enforce church laws; and as surely as Jesus is Lord, the Scriptures will be fulfilled (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:14,15).
    How easy it is to follow public opinion; increasing sedition and anarchy, on a scale unimagined by our forefathers, constrains sincere people to make decisions they would not make under normal circumstances. It appears there is no other way than an imperfect mixture of religion and civil government to save the world from disaster, and the non compliant will be scorned and considered traitors against society: "Consider that it is expedient for us, that one [innocent] man should die for the people, and that the whole nation [or world] perish not" (Caiaphas--John 11:50).


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THE TRADITIONS OF MEN

      There were times in the past when feelings of despair overcame me as circumstances forced my absence from church on Sundays. Being raised to revere Sunday causes one to esteem a day of human invention--a tradition, and only sacred in man's eyes. The atheistic German philosopher Fredreich Nietzsche correctly emphasizes this valid point. He writes: "Every tradition grows even more venerable--the more remote is its origin, the more confused that origin is. The reverence due to it increases from generation to generation. The tradition finally becomes holy and inspires awe" (Human, All Too Human, 96).

     Jesus' greatest obstacle was trying to overcome the errors of church hierarchy who had exalted man's theories in place of God's. He did not obey church legislation that conflicted with God's law, but His mission was to save. That is why He never failed to rebuke the sins of leadership or laity; "Sin no more, unless a worse thing comes upon you", He said to a man He healed--much stronger words were used against the proud Pharisees (John 5: 14; 8:11).
    The Gospel's design is to give victory over transgression and prepare you for life in paradise; and more than any other commandment, Jesus enforced the Sabbath because it is "the Lord's day" and He was "Lord of the Sabbath" (Isaiah 58:13; Mark 2:28). He taught that God's special day was "made for man"--for their benefit. And that it was lawful to rescue suffering animals and minister to the immediate needs of humanity. He emphasized this by allowing the hungry disciples to disobey the priests prohibition against eating the tender grain they had just plucked for lunch on the Sabbath. He never said that the Sabbath should be desecrated by common labor, like harvesting with a scythe, or doing one's own pleasure. He emphasized that performing intimate care on His special day is manifested through love of God and His creation. This love was displayed by His acts of healing diseases on the Sabbath, and His correct observance in attending church and, "as His custom was", by reading the Scriptures on that day; you see, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Luke 4:16; Mark 2:27).
    Jesus' refusal to observe tradition caused Him much criticism, and ultimately death. And when charged with violating their rules, He corrected their error and "said to them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" and, "In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew. 15:3, 9).


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FAITHFUL TO THE END

      My Christian friends, we must trust and obey Christ explicitly. As we live during the fulfillment of these last-day events, we must remember that Jesus said He will find faith when He returns. "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night to him, though he bear long with them? When the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:7).  Yes! There will be faithful servants resurrected without tasting death, who are changed "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye", and throughout eternity these saints will worship before the Lord every Sabbath (1 Corinthians 15:52; Isaiah 66:23).

     So take note! It is imminent that conditions worsen before resurrection day. Sunday observance will be legislated globally as the beast causes all to receive the "mark" by honoring Rome's Sunday in substitution of God's sacred Sabbath. Flagrant transgression has always resulted in God's wrath; violation of the fourth commandment will cause God to withdraw His protection. Then Satan's followers, unrestrained by God's protective grace, will unjustly persecute those who keep God's commandments (Isaiah 24:5,6; Revelation 13:15,17).

    The Bible commands you to obey civil legislation that does not require one to violate God's superior laws, and the saints should comply with civil rest-days, also called blue laws (Titus 3:1; Romans 13:1-7). God will not consider one a transgressor of His law because they obey Jesus' instructions to render unto Caesar and God what is required; if necessary, change your employment so you can attend church and abstain from work on both God's sacred rest day and "Caesar's" Sunday (Luke 20:25).
    Although this legislation is introduced with the best of motives, and may give a superficial appearance of unity, Sunday laws will not render global peace and sanctity as sponsors anticipate because prejudice, self-worship, mistrust, and hatred, is too deeply ingrained to be pacified. Do not provoke by flagrantly violating the civil Sunday law, you will only bring reproach upon the saints and cause your unnecessary martyrdom; the civil authorities will be overwhelmed prosecuting those of independent mind who respect neither the laws of God or man.  And God's faithful will also be blessed by studying His benevolence on Sunday, during a mid-week service, or daily; however, you must continue to assemble on and revere the true Sabbath--it is "blessed and sanctified"; that is, made sacred by God for a "holy convocation", to be "remembered" and "kept holy" (Genesis 2:3; Leviticus 23:3, Exodus 20:8).
   Where necessary, the early  church in Rome initially reasoned likewise in compliance with civil and divine laws by maintaining a two-day worship system. This action represented wisdom on their part and was not sinful until they glorified Sunday and abandoned the Sabbath. Please remain faithful during these difficult times--only those who obey God's law are translated alive--and the transgressors who have rejected present truth will perish on "judgment day."
    Remember, regardless of their accusations against you, it is actually those who exalt Satan's false rest day who cause the plagues and earth's destruction; they have "changed the ordinance and broken the everlasting covenant.  Therefore has the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned and few men [saints] left" (Isaiah 24:5, 6).  Jesus explains the end so vividly: "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:25--28). "There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" (Daniel 12:1).

      Just one more important thought as we close this chapter: Do not sell your eternity on a cheap market. To be found among that faithful company must be your greatest goal---to be with that small group enduring earth's final test of obedience to God's Law, not Sunday, the Mark of the Beast. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death" (Revelation 12:11). As earth disintegrates around the saints, they are comforted by these words: "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God [not man's tradition] and [possess] the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12). The Omnipotent One is well able to preserve His people through the coming tribulation; "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above that which you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
    Will you join me by making that decision to trust our loving Creator explicitly so as to endure to the resurrection of the saints and inherit glories unimaginable?


The NEXT chapter in this series presents very important truths: "Will Israel Save the World?" Select: 70weeks.htm.

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     Did the early church keep Sunday? We discuss this vital topic and comment on the Vatican's declaration of Sunday's "sacredness" and the reasons for the Sunday replacement of God's third (actually fourth) commandment. Select: The New Testament Church and Sunday Observance

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An interesting letter is linked here displaying the Catholic Church's bold claim of authority over Scripture to change God's Sabbath to Sunday.
Please select: STULTIFY.HTM

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    This study has not covered everything on the mark of the beast. Much more is covered in the Bible studies recommended at the end of chapter five of this publication: The Wise Shall Understand.

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