Facts of Faith
The Image to the Beast
EARLY EFFORTS TO UNITE CHURCH AND STATE
(302) In Holy Scripture Christ Jesus is repeatedly spoken of as the Lamb of God. Bible prophecy represents America by a similar symbol, which "had two horns like a lamb." The word of God informs us, however, that this peace-loving power, despite its lamb-like principles, eventually say "to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make and image to the beast [the Papacy], which had the wound by a sword, and did live." Rev. 13:14. The Papacy was formed by a union of church and state, which resulted in the persecution of dissenters. An "image," or "likeness," to the Papacy in America would be a union of church and state, or a co-operation between, as in the days of papal Rome. And, seeing it is to be "an image to the beast," it cannot be the beast itself, but must be an effort started among Protestants, who desire the aid of the state to enforce some of their dogmas. For nearly three quarters of a century Protestant churches and civic organizations have been at work to create just such a relation between church and state in the United States.
In 1863, representatives of eleven Protestant denominations convened at Xenia, Ohio, and organized a federation, with the avowed purpose of placing the name of God in the Federal Constitution. This National Reform Association declared in Article II of its constitution:
"The object of this society shall be to....secure such an amendment to the Constitution of the United States as will declare the nations allegiance to Jesus Christ and its acceptance of the moral laws of the Christian religion, and so indicate that this is a Christian nation, and place all the Christian laws, institutions, and usages of our government on an undeniably legal basis in the fundamental law of the land." - "American State Papers," William A. Blakely, p. 343. Washington, D.C.: 1911.
(303) Their official organ: The Christian Statesman, (1888) points out their reason for such an amendment to the Federal Constitution in the following words:
"We need it to correct our most unfortunate attitude under the First Amendment, which restrains Congress from prohibiting the free exercise of any false religion." - "Facts for the Times," p. 165.
That is, the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution, which safeguards religious liberty, must be made null and void by their proposed amendment, just as the eighteenth amendment was nullified by the twenty-first.
Rev. M. A. Gault, a district secretary of the organization, said:
"Our remedy for all these malefic influences is to have the government simply set up the moral law, and recognize God's authority behind it, and lay its hand on any religion that does not conform to it." - "The Christian Statesman," Jan. 13, 1887; quoted in "Facts for the Times," page 166.
Jonathan Edwards, another of their speakers, said:
"We want state and religion, and we are going to have it....So far as the affairs of the state require religion, it shall be religion, the religion of Jesus Christ....We use the word religion in its proper sense, as meaning a man's personal relation of faith and obedience to God. Now we are warned that to engraft this doctrine upon the Constitution will be oppressive; that it will infringe the right of conscience; and we are told that there are atheists, deists, Jews, and Seventh Day Baptists who would suffer from it. These all are, for the occasion and so far as our amendment is concerned, one class....What are the rights of the atheist?....I would tolerate him as I would a conspirator." - "Religious Liberty in America," C. M. Snow, pp. 266, 267.
The Lord's Day Alliance is another organization working for the same ends. In their "Lord's Day Papers" (Milwaukee, Wis.), No. 117, p. 4, they say of those who do not sanction their propaganda for Sunday laws: "That anarchistic spirit that tramples on any law that one does not like needs to be completely crushed."
JOINING HANDS WITH CATHOLICISM
(304) The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America has also interested itself along the same lines, and has co-operated more or less with the other two organizations. November 21, 1905, twenty denominations met in New York, and invited the co-operation of the Roman Catholic Church to help solve these civic questions. Another meeting was held in Chicago, December 4-9, 1912, where representatives of thirty-two denominations, having a constituency of nearly 18,000,000 people, met in council. The Inter-Ocean of December 7, 1912, reported:
"FEDERAL COUNCIL OPENS ITS DOOR TO THE CATHOLICS
"WORD PROTESTANT IS STRICKEN FROM COMMITTEE CREPORT ON OBJECT OF ASSOCIATION OF CHURCHES.
"The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America took one of the most important forward steps in its history when it adopted a resolution presented by the executive committee, and virtually threw down the bars and invited the Roman Catholic Church of America to join the council, and lend its titanic strength toward solving the common problems of the church." - Quoted in "Review and Herald," Jan. 9, 1913.
A strong resolution for the enforcement of Sunday laws by civil government was then adopted.
In forming the Papacy during the fourth and fifth centuries the Catholic bishops, in conjunction with the state, enforced the pagan Sunday as one of the first steps in uniting church and state, thus producing what prophecy terms "the beast." And now in forming "an image to the beast" the Protestant and Catholic clergy will again make Sunday laws the entering wedge in their attempt to enforce religion by law, because Sunday legislation constitutes the neutral ground for co-operation between Catholics and Protestants, and in this work they seek each other's assistance. Rev. S. V. Leech, a Protestant Sunday advocate, said in an address at Denver, Colorado:
(305) "Give us good Sunday laws, well enforced by men in local authority, and our churches will be full of worshipers....A mighty combination of the churches of the United States could win from Congress, the state legislatures, and municipal councils, all legislation essential to this splendid result." - "Homiletic Review," November, 1892; quoted in "American State Papers," William A. Blakely, p. 732. Washington, D.C.: 1911.
Rev. Sylvester F. Scovel, a leading National Reformer, says:
"This common interest [in Sunday] ought to strengthen both our determination to work, and our readiness to co-operate with our Roman Catholic fellow citizens....It is one of the necessities of the situation." - "Views of National Reform, Series One," Bible Students' Library, No. 3, pp. 85, 86. Oakland Calif." Jan. 15, 1889.
"Whenever they [the Roman Catholics] are willing to co-operate in resisting the progress of political atheism, we will gladly join hands with them." - "Christian Statesman," Dec. 11, 1884.
The Catholic Lay Congress, held in Baltimore, November 12, 1889, said:
"We should seek an alliance with non-Catholics for the purpose of proper Sunday observance." - Quoted in "Religious Liberty in America," C. M. Snow, pp. 283, 284.
When the great Federation of Catholic Societies was organized in 1906, they said:
"The Federation is a magnificent organization that is bound to root out prevailing and ruling national evils; a patriotic undertaking in which Catholic and non-Catholic may join hands." - "The Catholic Union and Times," Aug. 2, 1906; quoted in "Signs of the Times," July 8, 1908.
The following resolution was adopted by the Boston Archdiocesan Federation of Catholic Societies:
(306) "We are unalterably opposed to any relaxation of the Sunday laws. Sunday is a day of rest to be devoted to the praise and service of God. We hold the safest public policy at present is to adhere to the rigid observance of the laws now safeguarding the sanctity of the Lord's day." - "Boston Pilot," official organ of Cardinal O'Connell, March 16, 1912.
In 1910 forty-six Protestant denominations co-operated in an effort to reunite all the Christian churches in the world, and fifty-five commissions were appointed to attend a world's conference. They were to have been sent in September, 1914, to different countries to explain the plan, but the World War delayed it. Another effort was made in 1917, when delegates from "many denominations, including Protestant Episcopal, Baptist, Lutheran, and Presbyterian," met at Garden City, N. Y., where they received a letter from Cardinal Gasparri, Papal Secretary of State; and in 1919 three Episcopal bishops were sent to Rome to interview the pope on this question of church union, for Pope Benedict XV had already (1917) started a "move for reunited Christianity."
The daily papers reported in January, 1930, that a plan for a world federation of Lutheran churches was being worked on by a sub-committee of the National Lutheran Council at New York. Reports at that time stated the federated church would be headed by a world executive comparable in administrative respects to the Roman Catholic pope. Decorah Posten (Norwegian) for January 21, 1930, gives a similar report. So "federation" and "consolidation" are in the air.
EARNEST MEN SEE THE DANGER
God-fearing men in different denominations, who see the trend of the times, fear the consequences. Dr. A. C. Dixon says:
"The purpose of this 'Inter-church' movement seems to be to make a great ecclesiastical machine which will dominate all smaller bodies. It is an attempt to form a papacy without a pope; and, if evangelical truth is to be sacrificed or compromised, such a papacy without a pope will be no improvement upon the present ecclesiastical machine which has its center in Rome." - A front-page article in the "Baptist Messenger," June 23, 1920. Oklahoma City, Okla.
(307) Dr. George A. Gordon, Pastor of Old South Church, Boston, says:
"The church was united once, the holy Catholic Church throughout the world, and what was it? - An ineffable tyrant, denying freedom over its whole broad domain, and crushing the intellect and the spirit into a dead uniformity....Your one holy Catholic Protestant American Church would give me much uneasiness if it should come into existence tomorrow." - "Review and Herald," May 11, 1913.
How clearly these God-fearing men, and many others we could have quoted, see the trend of the Protestant church in forming "an image to the beast" and even seeking the aid of the Papacy in their efforts to form a "holy Catholic Protestant American Church," that could control the state as the papal church did during the Middle Ages!
As long as a church has a living connection with Christ, its true Head, and is loyal to His written word, she is supplied with divine power to do His bidding (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 5:32; Romans 1:16; John 1:12), and feels no craving for the power of the state to enforce its teachings. But when apostasy has robbed it of its divine power, and the power of love (2 Cor. 5:14) has been exchanged for the power of force, it usually seeks the aid of the civil arm. All attempts to secure the enforcement of religion by civil laws is therefore a confession of apostasy from apostolic purity.
A MIRACLE-WORKING POWER
Whenever God has sent a message of reform to prepare His people for some great crisis, the archenemy has always tried to counterfeit it. When Moses was sent to deliver Israel from Egypt, Jannes and Jambres withstood his message by counterfeiting his miracles. (Exodus 7:10-13, 22; 8:6, 7; 2 Tim. 3:8, 9.) And so it was when the message of Christ's first coming was given. In these last days God has promised to send a message in the power and spirit of Elijah to prepare His people for "the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." Mal. 4:5.) The devil knows this, and so he will counterfeit this message. The prophet, in speaking of the United States, says: "He doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men [as Elijah did]. And he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast,...and he causeth all...to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads." Rev. 13:13-16. Thus we see that this country was to become a miracle-working power.
(308) It was here in the United States that modern Spiritism originated in 1848. And it is working miracles. But what is the source of this miraculous power? We will let the leaders of Spiritism answer this question. In Spiritten [a Norwegian Spiritist periodical], for December 15, 1889, page 2, we read:
"Spiritism is the serpent in Paradise offering man to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil."
To understand this statement we must remember that God told man not to eat of this tree or he would "surely die," but Satan assured Eve: "Ye shall not surely die." Gen. 2:17; 3:4. And Spiritists have based their belief on the devil's words, claiming that people at death do not actually die, but simply pass into the spirit world. Moses Hull, a leading teacher and lecturer among them, makes this point clear. He says:
"A Truthful Snake....In answer to the question, 'Who, then, are we to believe - God or Satan?' I answer, The facts, in every case in the Bible, justify us in believing Satan, he has ever been truthful; that is more than can be said of the other one.....It was not the devil, but God who made the mistake in the Garden of Eden....It was God, and not the devil who was a murderer from the beginning." - "The Devil and the Adventists," pp. 15, 16. Chicago: 1899.
(309) I must ask pardon of the readers for quoting such blasphemous words, but the only fair way of revealing the true nature of Spiritism is to allow its followers to speak for themselves. In later years, however, Spiritism has changed its face, but not its heart, by professing Christianity; and in that garb has succeeded in getting into the churches. Some startling revelations have been unearthed of late years regarding the work of Spiritism in the different churches all over the world. Many in these churches have felt the emptiness of formalism, and have craved spiritual power, but have been unwilling to get it by the way of the cross. Humble confession, heartfelt repentance, and straightening up of wrongs done to neighbors is a road too narrow for many to walk; unpopular truths, which cut across their selfish path of ease, are unwelcome to them; but Spiritism in its Christian form offers the desired power without such sacrifices, and the easy road is accepted with eagerness by many. (Compare Mark 8:34, 38; Acts 5:32; Matt. 4:3-10; 2 Thess. 2:9-11; Matt. 24:24.) They mistakenly accept spiritual power and miracles as evidence of their being right with God (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 9:55), but God's children cannot thus prove whether a movement is true or false, for the enemy can work miracles. Judge I. W. Edmonds, a noted Spiritist, says of his daughter:
"She knows no other language than her own native tongue, the English, except a little French she learned in the girls' school; and yet she has talked in nine or ten different languages, often a whole hour at a time, with the same ease as a native. Quite often strangers in their native tongue hold conversation with their spirit friends through her." - "Spiritualism Before the Judgment Seat of Science," p. 42.
In the near future Spiritism will influence people in America to form a union of church and state. When this is accomplished, the Papacy will step in and take charge of it. Thus every effort to form this union is helping the Papacy to power....
"THAT NO MAN MIGHT BUY OR SELL"
(312) "And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark." Rev. 13:17. We have seen that the Papacy has adopted Sunday as "a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority," and the Protestant organizations have also adopted this mark, as the following quotations show:
"This day [Sunday] is set apart for divine worship and preparation for another life. It is the test of all religion." - Dr. W. W; Everts, in Elgin (Ill.) "Sunday Convention," November, 1887.
"When the people, through their representative, legalize the first day of the week as a day of rest and of worship for those who choose so to observe it, it is a sign of the Christian nation." - From a sermon reported in "Christian Oracle," January 12, 1893.
The Puritans in the United States made Sunday "a sign between them and the heathen world around, and, to a large extent, it has continued to be a mark of American religion to the present day." - Rev. J. G. Lorimer, in "Christian Treasury"; all quoted in "Signs of the Times," April 1, 1908.
When these large religious organizations, that are so vitally interested in Sunday enforcement, combine in their efforts, it is not remarkable that they should attempt to deprive dissenters of their natural rights of attaining their livelihood, for we have seen that this combination is making "an image to the beast" (Rev. 13:14-17); and the beast, or Papacy, did this very thing. At the Synod of Tholouse, A.D. 1163, it made the following decrees against Sabbath-keepers:
"The bishops and priests [were] 'to take care, and to forbid, under the pain of excommunication, every person from presuming to give reception, or the least assistance to the followers of this heresy, which first began in the country of Tholouse, whenever they shall be discovered. Neither were they to have any dealings with them in buying or selling; that by being thus deprived of the common assistance of life, they might be compelled to repent of the evil of their way. Whosoever shall dare to contravene this order, let them be excommunicated, as a partner with them in their guilt. as many of them as can be found, let them be imprisoned by the Catholic princes, and punished with the forfeiture of all their substance.'"
(313) Stirred by this decree, King Ildefonsus of Arragon banished all Waldenses in 1194. "He adds: 'If any, from this day forwards, shall presume to receive into their houses, the aforesaid Waldenses and Inzabatati, or other heretics, of whatsoever profession they be, or to hear, in any place, their abominable preachings, or give them food, or do them any kind office whatsoever; let him know, that he shall incur the indignation of Almighty God and ours; that he shall forfeit all his goods, without the benefit of appeal, and be punished as though guilty of high treason." - "History of the Inquisition," Philip Limborch," pp. 88, 89. London. 1816.
That the "image to the beast" will actually duplicate the work of the Papacy also in this respect is seen from the following utterances, among many others we could quote: Dr. Bascom Robins, in a sermon on the "Decalogue," preached in Burlington, Kansas, Sunday, January 31, 1904, said:
"In the Christian decalogue the first day was made the Sabbath by divine appointment. But there is a class of people who will not keep the Christian Sabbath unless they are forced to do so. But that can be easily done. We have twenty million of men, besides women and children, in this country, who want this country to keep the Christian Sabbath. If we would say we will not sell anything to them, we will not buy anything from them, we will not work for them, or hire them to work for us, the thing could be wiped out, and all the world would keep the Christian Sabbath."
God, who knows the end from the beginning, has foretold that they would do this very thing, so "that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark." Rev. 13:17. But will God forsake His faithful children in this trying hour? Oh, no! "He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye." Zech. 2:8. As a loving Father He will step forward to the protection of His children. (Psalm 103:13.) And His enemies will find that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Hebrews 10:31.
(314) When the world refuses to permit God's people to "buy or sell," He will send drought and famine, so that the wicked will have little or nothing to sell, and will be unable to buy because their money will be worthless. the seven last plagues will be God's answer to man's challenge, as the ten plagues of Egypt were His answer to man's challenge, as the ten plagues of Egypt were His answer to the haughty challenge of a Pharaoh against His message in ancient time. (Exodus 4:22, 23; 5:2.) With men suffering from sores and fever, and no water to drink, while the sun is scorching them with great heat (Rev. 16:1-9), causing the most terrible drought the world has ever witnessed (Joel 1:10-20), the earth will be in a deplorable condition (Isaiah 24:1-6), and people "shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king, and their God" (Isaiah 8:21,22). And they will turn against the rich (James 5:1-5), who will "cast their silver in the streets" to appease the angry mob, but "their gold shall be removed" (Eze. 7:19). They hoarded millions, and cornered markets, while working people were suffering, till at last the storm has gathered around their well-filled palaces, and too late they make an attempt to save themselves from the long-pent-up wrath.
The laws that deprive God's people of their rights, and thus force them out of the cities, seem to them a calamity, and many surrender the truth to support their families. But what appears to be such a calamity is a blessing in disguise, for it drives them out of the cities in time to escape this terrible labor-revolution. Some day we shall find that no hardship comes to God's loyal children but what is absolutely necessary to their salvation. Those who make it their undeviating practice to put God's will first in all their plans and habits of living, can safely trust Him for the rest. (Matthew 6:33; Phil. 4:19; Isa. 43:2.) Driven from the cities, they flee to mountain fastnesses and solitary places, where angels supply their needs, as Elijah was fed. "Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." Isaiah 33:16. Oh, we have a wonderful God. "Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him." Psalm 2:12.
(315) God's loyal children will be fed by angels, while the world is starving. The fondest hopes of God's people will be realized: "Thine eyes shall see the king in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off." Isaiah 33:17, 18. No pen can describe that thrill of joy when we shall meet our dear Saviour and our loved ones, and be taken home to that beautiful land that knows no heartaches, no farewell scenes, no funeral trains. (John 14:1-3.)
The great question for each one of us to settle is whether we will have our citizenship papers in order when King Jesus shall come to claim His own. The reader might ask what papers are required for citizenship in that kingdom. To answer that question satisfactorily, we must remember that sin has caused all the anguish, sorrow, and trouble in this world, and that God's heart of infinite love has been wrung with pain for suffering humanity. He has therefore decided that sin, with all its trail of woe, shall not be permitted to enter His eternal kingdom, and that all who enter that blissful home must part company with sin.
But sin is inbred in man, and forms a part of his very character, so that he cannot, by his own efforts, extricate himself from its toils. (Jeremiah 13:23; Romans 7:15, 18-24.) Christ, however, stands ready to free us from our sins. He will deliver us if we will let Him do it. (Matthew 1:21; John 1:12.) But He will not use force, even in things that are for our own good, for He has created man a free moral agent, and respects his choice. (Isaiah 1:18; Rev. 22:17; 1 John 1:7, 9.) A complete surrender to Christ is therefore necessary, that He may change our desires, affections, and characters so we can enjoy the society of the pure and unselfish inhabitants of that happy land.