REVELATION 13Revelation of Jesus | Revelation of JohnT: REVELATION 13:1-1813: 1,2 THE BEAST FROM THE SEATHE SEA BEAST AND THE WILD ANIMALS OF DANIEL 7THE LITTLE HORN AND THE SEA BEASTTHE BEAST’S AGENDA—TO CHANGE GOD’S LAW13:3 THE DEADLY WOUNDTHE FRENCH REVOLUTIONTHE DEADLY WOUND HEALED13:11,12 THE BEAST FROM THE EARTH13:11 A LAMB OR A DRAGON?13:13,14 FIRE FROM HEAVEN13:15 THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST13:16,17 THE MARK OF THE BEASTOF MAN’S DEVISINGATTACK ON THE EVERLASTING COVENANT13:18 THE NAME AND NUMBER OF THE BEAST666, THE NUMBER OF DISOBEDIENCE


OF MAN’S DEVISING

The Greek word for "mark" is haragma, which is defined as a mark or stamp, made by engraving, etching, imprinting, branding; likeness, handiwork, the thing formed.[1] This word only appears eight times in the Bible, and seven of them are in the book of Revelation, referring to the “mark of the beast.” The other occurrence is in Acts chapter 17.

Paul was in Athens and “his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols” (Acts 17:16). He preached to the philosophers who gathered in the market concerning the "unknown God” that they were “groping after” during “these times of ignorance.” “He is not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being…for we are also His offspring. Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped (haragma) by art and man’s devising” Acts 17:27-29. The haragma or mark in this verse is something created by man, which represents a false god, “something…[of] man’s devising.” The story of Jeroboam in 1 Kings shows that the altering of God’s appointed memorial days is this kind of “something of man’s devising,” and is an abomination to God.

Jeroboam, rebelliously seeking to establish his own religious authority,[2]ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar…he installed the priests of the high places which he had made. So he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel.” (1 Kings 12:26-33).

Just as the haragma that Paul saw in Athens was “something of man’s devising,” so Jeroboam’s change of the feast was something “which he had devised in his own heart.” All through the Old Testament the wicked kings of Israel are condemned because they “did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin.” 2 Kings 10:31 et al. The sinful, natural man, seeking independent self-exaltation, always tries to replace the perfect work of God with his own human effort. Salvation by human effort is the basis of every false religion.

True Christianity, by contrast, is based on resting in God’s completed work. This is symbolized by the Sabbath, and for this reason Satan wars against it and tries to replace it with something "of his own devising." The issue is not about worshiping on the wrong day. It is about an attitude of trusting in the act of creation that God has already accomplished for us, in contrast to trying to make ourselves righteous through our own efforts. The false Sabbath “of man’s devising” symbolizes man’s efforts to save himself by his own works.

The Roman Catholic Church in her catechisms proudly admits that she changed the Sabbath to Sunday, “devising” a new day of rest and worship. One of many examples which could be given is The Catechism Simply Explained which presents these questions and answers:

“What is the third commandment?
“The third commandment is, ‘Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.’

“What are we commanded by the third commandment?”
“By the third commandment we are commanded to keep Sunday holy.”
“The Jews’ Sabbath Day was the Saturday; we Christians keep Sunday holy. The church, by the power our Lord gave her, changed the observance of the Saturday to the Sunday.”[3]

This same admission is found in the Catholic encyclopedia. “The Ten Commandments…are found twice recorded in the Pentateuch, in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, but are given in an abridged form in the catechisms…The church, after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, to the first, made the Third Commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’s Day.”[4]

Satan did not pick the Sabbath randomly as the point of God’s law for special attack. For one thing, it is the one commandment that tells us who God is. The Sabbath identifies “the Lord [who] made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11). It is the Creator God, and not just the God of any creation story, but the God revealed in Genesis, who ends His creation work with the Sabbath rest. All religions claim to worship “God,” and some, like Islam, claim to worship the “God of Abraham.” But by rejecting the Sabbath they have broken the connecting link to the Creator of the heavens and the earth.[5]

In the second giving of the law in Deuteronomy the Sabbath is presented as a memorial of redemption: “Observe the Sabbath day...remember you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand” (Deuteronomy 5:15). By reminding us of God’s mighty acts, the Sabbath points us to the God who is revealed in the Bible, not the gods that are portrayed in other “scriptures” or philosophical systems.

It is significant that the apostles “with one accord” quoted the Sabbath commandment (Exodus 20:11) to identify the Lord “who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them” as they petitioned Him to give them boldness and power to face the threats of the Jewish religious authorities (Acts 4:23-31). The threats they faced prefigured the experience God’s people will have during the persecutions of the time of trouble.

Continue to next section: ATTACK ON THE EVERLASTING COVENANT



[1] See any Greek lexicon such as Thayer, Friberg, Liddel-Scott, etc. for the definition.

[2] Solomon, through his marriages with pagan women, led the nation of Israel into idolatry. For this reason God, through the prophet Ahijah, told Jeroboam (an official in Solomon’s service) that He would tear ten of the twelve tribes of Israel away from Solomon’s son and give them to Jeroboam (1 Kings 11: 26-40). This happened when Solomon’s son Rehoboam foolishly heeded the harsh council of his young advisers (1 Kings 12:1-19). But Jeroboam understood that this was not to be a permanent arrangement (God had told him “You shall be king over Israel… but not forever” 1 Kings 11:37,39). In rebellion against God, he sought to ensure that the ten tribes would not return to David’s descendents because of contact with the temple worship in Jerusalem. “And Jeroboam said in his heart, ‘Now the kingdom may return to the house of David; if these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me.’ Therefore the king made two calves of gold, and said to the people, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt’…Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar…in the month which he had devised in his own heart. ” (1 Kings 12:26-33).

[3] H. Canon Cafferata, The Catechism Simply Explained, quoted in Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation (Hagerstown, MD, Review and Herald), 1972 p. 611.

[4] John Stapelton, "The Ten Commandments," The Catholic Encyclopedia, http:/www.newadvent.org/cathen/04153a.htm (Acessed August 22, 2014).

[5] Most who do not accept the Sabbath have not rejected it; they have never considered it. But at some point in history their religion rejected the 7th day Sabbath, and this has been an entry point for Satan's influence. At the end of time the Sabbath will become such an issue that all will either accept it (along with Jesus, the “Lord of the Sabbath” Mark 2:28) or will reject it and come under the authority of the beast.