Pastors Report - 20 Apr 2019
Gods Sign Or Beasts Mark

God's Sign or Beast's Mark?

"And it [Unleavened Bread] shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD’S law may be in thy mouth (Exodus 13:9) ... And the counterfeit? ... "he [The Beast] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads (Revelation 13:16)" ....

Ecumenism:

As we observe the Passover and keep the Days of Unleavened Bread again this year, something else is stirring on the world scene: greater and greater ecumenism — the merging of many disparate groups of traditional christians, almost always under the auspices of the Catholic Church. We saw this vividly illustrated this past week when Pope Francis kissed the feet of the Sudanese leaders who had been at war with each other for the past six years:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, described the retreat as a "miracle", saying that "until within 24 hours of it beginning we didn't know it was going to happen. The atmosphere has been extraordinary and we just see the hand of God in it."

The retreat was proposed by Archbishop Justin and approved by Pope Francis. It would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. "We have a gathering at the invitation of the Pope, in the Vatican, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church", Archbishop Justin said. "These are Churches that have been separated for half a millennium."

"We have the main political leaders from South Sudan, with the main spiritual leaders, gathering together. The political leaders have been at war for six years...

...I start with our Christian faith: that we believe in the God that raised Jesus Christ from the dead so all evil and darkness was finally overcome in the resurrection. And resurrection life overflows in ways we can't predict; so that there is always hope.

And what we have seen in this last 24 hours is not a promise of change; but it is a reasonable hope of change."

The Anglican primate of South Sudan, Archbishop Justin Bada Arama, used Twitter to thank people for their prayers. "We have concluded the healing retreat today at the Vatican", he said. "We were all commissioned by the Holy Father, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presbyterian Moderator of Scotland to go and be ambassadors of peace and reconciliation in South Sudan." ( Pope Francis kissed the feet of the Sudanese leaders - indcatholicnews.com - April 14 2019 )

Catholic Authority:

If there is a single common factor shared by those wanting to get together, it is the Sunday communion — or Eucharist — justified by the claim that Sunday was the day of the week on which Christ was resurrected. And yet, by keeping Sunday in this way, the Protestants merely reinforce the Catholic claim to exercising supreme authority in such areas. Repeated Catholic statements illustrate this:

"From this same Catholic Church you have accepted your Sunday, and that Sunday, as the Lord's day, she has handed down as a tradition; and the entire Protestant world has accepted it as tradition, for you have not an iota of Scripture to establish it Therefore that which you have accepted as your rule of faith, inadequate as it of course is, as well as your Sunday, you have accepted on the authority of the Roman Catholic Church." (D. B. Ray, "The Papal Controversy," 1892, page 179)

"Is Saturday the seventh day according to the Bible and the Ten Commandments? I answer yes. Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church change the seventh day - Saturday - for Sunday, the first day? I answer yes. Did Christ change the day? I answer no!" (James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore (1877-1921), in a signed letter)

"The Bible everywhere enforces the sanctification of Saturday the seventh day of the week ... You Protestants have to admit the authority of the Roman Catholic Church that is branded on you when you observe Sunday because you have no other authority for Sunday but that of the Roman Catholic Church." (James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore (1877-1921))

"The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday." (James Cardinal Gibbons,The Catholic Mirror, Sept. 23, 1893)

"We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy Catholic Church." (Bishop Seymour, "Why We Keep Sunday.")

Apostolic Authority?

The papal pretension to exercise such authority is the claim to be a continuation of what Jesus Christ left in the True Church through the apostle Peter when He said specifically to him:

Although the apostle Peter was neither given the position of Pope - or Father - nor the position of vicar (or substitute) to Christ, he was indeed given the position of chief apostle under Christ to whom the other apostles were to look for strength against Satan ( Luke 22:31-32). But Peter was never in Rome! The apostle to the Romans was Paul — not Peter — so all such claimed authority is bogus! As the apostle Paul points out:

Mark of the Beast:

But changing the Sabbath to Sunday has a much more sinister dimension — for it is destined to lie at the very heart of the soon to be imposed Mark of the Beast. As Mr Armstrong explains:

"The Sabbath is God’s SIGN, standing, more than any commandment, for OBEDIENCE.It was symbolically in the HAND and in the FOREHEAD, just as the MARK of the BEAST – the pagan SUNDAY – was in the right HAND and in the FOREHEAD!

"SUNDAY observance – Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, etc. – this is the MARK of the BEAST!

"The church did cause all under the “Holy Roman Empire” to receive this mark, during the Middle Ages.Not only were active church members caused to observe Sunday instead of the SABBATH, but it became a universal custom so that all the Western world – regardless of religious connection or belief, accepted Sunday instead of SATURDAY as the weekly day of rest. It has become universal in the Western world except for Judaism, Islam, a few sects in Christianity, and the comparative few whom God has called out of this world and into His true Church.

"Has she stopped?

"Just at present she has not the POWER to enforce this mark on everyone. But there will be a United States of EUROPE – a union of ten nations. It will be a UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE – and the church once again will sit astride "The BEAST." ( Who or what is the Prophetic Beast?)

Sunday and the Resurrection:

As mentioned above, the only attempted justification for Sunday observance — other than a spurious papal authority — is the false idea that Christ rose from the dead on a Sunday. This can be clearly seen in the following portions of a letter sent by Pope Benedict to Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria a few years ago:

The Second Vatican Council teaches that "the Church celebrates the Paschal Mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the "Lord's Day' or "Sunday'" ( Sacrosanctum Concilium , n. 106).

Sunday remains the fertile foundation and at the same time the fundamental nucleus of the liturgical year which originated in Christ's Resurrection, thanks to which the features of eternity were impressed on time....

The cultural context in which we live, often marked by religious indifference and secularism that blot out the horizon of the transcendent, must not let us forget that the People of God, born from "Christ's Passover, Sunday", should return to it as to an inexhaustible source, in order to understand better and better the features of their own identity and the reasons for their existence.

The Second Vatican Council, after pointing out the origin of Sunday, continued: "On this day Christ's faithful are bound to come together into one place. They should listen to the Word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection and Glory of the Lord Jesus and giving thanks to God who "has begotten them again, through the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, unto a living hope'" ( Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 106)....

... May the "Day of the Lord" that could well be called "the lord of days" regain all its importance and be perceived and lived to the full in the celebration of the Eucharist, from which the Christian community grows authentically and on which it depends . ( From the Vatican, 27 November 2006)

Passover vs Eucharist:

I hope we can see from the above letter how this mark, this branding that will take place, is not just Sabbath to Sunday. It also involves the Eucharist. It is the acceptance of the sun-disk of bread on Sunday that they claim places their Christ IN that Sunday and simultaneously places them into the body of their universal, broader church. How interesting that it was the bread of Passover that was attacked so readily and so vehemently within the apostasy. It is undoubtedly why this issue seems destined to determine who will be counted as Christian in the future and who will be labelled as anathema from Christ.

Conversely, the True annual Passover is all about the forgiveness of sin — symbolised within both the bread and the wine. God insists on forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to Him before we can have Christ dwelling in us and all of the other aspects found in the Holy Days. But once our sins have been forgiven, then a new life can begin based on reconciliation with The Father — a life then subject to the Living Word and Law of God — obedient as Christ was when human — pictured by eating Unleavened Bread for seven days: " And it shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the [ETERNAL'S] law may be in your mouth: for with a strong hand hath the [ETERNAL] brought you out of Egypt.(Exodus 13:9) Coming out of Egypt (or sin - Hebrews 11:25) is the focal point. And to do that requires the positive action of placing God's Law — the bread of Unleavened Bread — into our mouths, as a symbol of being obedient to our Father and to Jesus Christ, the true Christ. But there is absolutely no understanding of such crucial Truth at all within Easter or Sunday observance. Rather, it is but one more tool in making and keeping the world blind. (II Corinthians 4:4)

Not on a Sunday:

The Truth God has left us is very different. The fact that Jesus Christ was placed in His tomb at sunset on Wednesday and was resurrected at sunset on Saturday is clearly proved in the booklet: The Resurrection was not on Sunday. It is the only way the scriptures fit together so that Jesus Christ fulfils the ONLY sign He gave that He was the Messiah. For that sign was NOT the resurrection. It was the length of time He was to remain in His grave:

Tying it to the Hebrew account of Jonah removes all doubt as to the time stated: three days ... AND ... three nights . Look it up in an Interlinear. There is absolutely no confusion. There were clearly TWO Sabbaths that week — the First Day of Unleavened Bread and the weekly Sabbath — something those who are careful to keep God's Holy Days have no problem understanding:

So the day following the Wednesday sunset burial was a High Day (1st day of UB) — night 1 and day 1 — then ....

The Sabbath passing was the First Day of Unleavened Bread that ended Thursday sunset. The preparation day that followed was preparing for the weekly Sabbath and was the day they not only bought spices, but prepared them into ointments. Making ointment would require boiling. That takes time. And remember, such preparation was in addition to the normal Sabbath preparation of food etc — night 2 and day 2 — ending Friday sunset.

Then came the second Sabbath itself — the weekly Sabbath — clearly seen by correctly translating the word Sabbaths as plural within the Literal Translation above — night 3 and day 3 — ending Saturday sunset when Jesus Christ was resurrected — after precisely 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb. Then, when they came to the tomb early Sunday morning, He was gone. Already risen at sunset the night before. Exactly as He said:

Hold That Fast:

The above is clear. It is as we were taught from scripture originally. It all fits together beautifully — though remains hidden from the wise and prudent and revealed unto babes (Matthew 11:25) whose aim is simply to believe and keep what God commands. As Mr Armstrong said in his sermon on Mark Of The Beast - 11 Dec 1982:

... this whole system of Gentile governments began with Nebuchadnezzar; and now we find the LAST RESURRECTION OF IT IS COMING UP. AND IT MEANS SOMETHING TO YOU AND ME. AND THE MARK OF THE BEAST IS SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO BE ENFORCED, AND YOU ARE GOING TO RISK YOUR LIFE ON IT in the very near future. It is speaking of these very same things. Jesus said, He that hath an ear, let him hear. And I say to you, if you have ears to hear, you BETTER hear; and you had BETTER UNDERSTAND. And don't take this lightly, because your life is going to be at stake.

Fortunately, God has left us with probably the greatest human example of holding fast in the face of insurmountable odds to be found in scripture. Just as did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, so must we be able to say that we are not going to bow down to this image of the Beast. We're not going to serve this satanic system! And we're not going to be branded with this day nor its Eucharist that they have fraudulently foisted on the world, because, quite frankly, they don't have the authority to change anything — certainly not the Sabbath, Passover and Unleavened Bread! They don't have the authority of the Apostle Peter. They don't even understand Apostleship. Peter wasn't even in Rome.

In addition to that, as far as the resurrection is concerned, the only sign Christ gave was that He'd be three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth. That was the only sign of His Messiahship. He therefore died on a Wednesday evening, and was resurrected on a Saturday evening. By the time Sunday came along, He'd already been resurrected several hours before. So the very foundation on which they base the entire Sunday argument is false and flawed.

But we are in good company. As we follow in the steps of those who went before us within scripture — boldly holding firm the Living Word that God has left us — we align ourselves with them, and once again stand up to the Beast and the entire Babylonian chaos it stands for: