Brother Beebe: Will you be so kind as to give your views on Revelation 14:9-11? and oblige yours in hope of eternal life,
S. R. Burgess. Girard, Ill.
January 29, 1864.
Conscious of our inability to do full justice to the subject embraced in the text named, we are nevertheless willing to present for consideration such views as we have and submit them to the consideration of brother Burgess and to our readers generally.
Immediately after the vision which John saw of the beast which rose up out of the sea, and the two horned beasts coming up out of the earth, and the image of the beast, and his power, persecution and proscription, as recorded in the thirteenth chapter, he “looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” And he says, “I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” Then follows the text on which we are requested to give our views: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
“And the third angel followed them.” Namely, the two preceding angels; the first having the everlasting gospel to preach, and the second announcing the fall of Babylon, and this third angel bearing the solemn admonition expressed in the fearful and startling words of our text: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand.” The beast described in the thirteenth chapter, whether in his dragon form, as set forth in Rev. 12:3, or as seen rising out of the sea or coming up out of the earth, or as presented in the image, the same principle of idolatry is involved in either case, and the same tremendous consequences must result. In Rev. 13:8, it is said, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” The manner of their worship is stated in verse four of the same chapter: “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” Their admiration of his power, confidence in his miracles, signs and lying wonders, and submission to his assumed authority, and obedience to his decrees, as also their reliance on his power to save, are all idolatrous, and bestowing upon the anti-christian beast that homage and devotion which belongs only to God. This homage, whether offered to the papal beast with seven heads and ten horns, or the Protestant beast with two horns like a lamb, or to the image made by those who dwell upon the earth, in obedience to the mandate of the two horned beasts, the wickedness is the same, and the consequence equally fearful.
“And receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand.” The mark of the beast appears to be that by which they who receive it are to be known as the worshipers of the beast. As those who are redeemed from the earth have their Father’s name written in their forehead, so false worshipers are marked with an imprint of character like that of their mother, a copy of which is given in Rev. 17:5. The initiatory mark of a Jewish proselyte was that of circumcision, and the initiatory mark of many of the worshipers of the beast is made by what they have substituted in the stead of circumcision - made by the hand of the priest on the forehead of the initiated, as in their wicked perversion of baptism. The mark of the beast on the forehead may also signify that external display of an anti-christian spirit which is readily seen as identifying those who bear it as the admirers and worshipers of the beast; and as the hand is the member of the body by which we work, so the hands of all who worship the beast are defiled with blood, with cruelty, with persecution and with oppression. With the forehead they give countenance to the admonitions of the beast, and with their hands they perform their works of darkness.
Whether we have a correct view of the mark of the beast or not, it is certainly a mark by which the worshipers are known by their party, for only those who can show the mark are exempt from proscription and bitter persecution, for under the turbulent power of the image of the beast no man shall be allowed to buy or sell save he that hath the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. But their special privileges, in which the worshipers of the beast may revel for a season, are limited, and the day of retribution is hastened on apace, for they “shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation,” and they “shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” These are strong and expressive words, the wrath of an indignant God unmixed and unremitting, for ever and ever. Who can describe the storms of wrath which God has laid up in store against the day of wrath for the ungodly? All nations have drank of the maddening cup of the fornication of the whore of Babylon. Exhilarated and inflamed from its intoxicating power, infatuated, besotted and raving in the delirium tremens of her accursed cup, the earth has been, and is still being, drenched with human blood. But the avenging hand of God is even now uplifted, and the day of retribution is nigh at hand. The scene will soon be changed, and they who have the seal of God upon them, and not the mark of the beast, shall shout an everlasting deliverance, and all the worshipers of the beast receive their irrevocable doom.
In view of the tremendous import of our subject, does it not become us to inquire most seriously and prayerfully, Whose image or superscription do we bear? Have we the seal of God upon us? Are we sealed with the Holy Spirit of God, with the Spirit of promise? For “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The Spirit of Christ is holy, harmless, meek, loving, patient, forbearing and forgiving, and as many as are led by it, they are the sons of God and heirs of glory. But the spirit and mark of the beast are unholy, malicious, haughty, hateful, overbearing and revengeful.
“Lord, search my heart, and try my ways,
And make my soul sincere,
That I may stand before thy face,
And find acceptance there.”
August 1, 1864.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 6
Pages 72 - 75