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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 71

The Mark of the Beast

Picture 1 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 71
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Let’s pray together:
Our Lord,

There are hundreds of hypotheses about the nature of the mark of the beast. But the Bible says that this subject is so important that we cannot venture to play with hypotheses!

We need a clear answer coming straight from the only reliable source of truth: Your Word.

Our Father, please open our hearts and spirits, that we may understand Your teaching.

In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.
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Exodus 13:9 Comments
It shall be for a sign to you on your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth. In our last lesson, we have seen that God puts His law as a seal on the hand and forehead of His servants.

The mark of the beast, also placed on the hand and forehead, is therefore opposed to the law of God.
Revelation 13:16
And [the beast coming up out of the earth] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.
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Exodus 31:13,17 Comments
Truly My Sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the Lord that does sanctify you. (...)

It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever.
More specifically, the seal of God is placed in the heart of the Ten Commandments: it is the fourth commandment, requiring the observance of the seventh day as the day of rest.

In fact, God gave the Sabbath to His people as a distinctive sign, a sign «that you may know that I am the Lord that does sanctify you», «a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever».
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Revelation 14:9,10,12 Comments
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. (...)

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
God’s final warning clearly confirms that it is by keeping His commandments, including the fourth commandment about the Sabbath, that we will avoid receiving the mark of the beast.

Opposed to the Sabbath, which is the seal of God, the mark of the beast is therefore the observance of Sunday as the day of rest.
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Ecclesiastes 3:14 Comments
I know that, whatever God does, it shall be for ever.

Nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it.
But, where does the observance of the first day, Sunday, come from? Some people claim that the Word of God well and truly confirms this change of the day of rest. Is it true?

To get an answer to this question, let’s look at all the verses in the New Testament mentioning the first day of the week.

There are only eight of them, and we will study them one by one to see if they really teach a change in the day of rest.
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Five of the eight verses simply report the women’s visit to Jesus’ tomb:
«In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.» (Matthew 28:1)

«And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came to the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.» (Mark 16:2)

«Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene.» (Mark 16:9)

«Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulcher.» (Luke 24:1)

«The first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early, when it was yet dark, to the sepulcher.» (John 20:1)
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John 20:19 Comments
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the middle, and said to them,

«Peace be with you.»
Here again, there is no indication of a change of the day of rest.

Some people say that the disciples were assembled to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. However, we see that they were actually assembled «for fear of the Jews».

As for the resurrection of Jesus, they did not believe it yet!
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Acts 20:7 Comments
On the first day of the week, the disciples came together to break bread. The seventh of the eight verses mentioning the first day of the week reports a meeting in which the disciples broke bread.

Some people claim that breaking bread is an act certifying that Sunday was the new day of rest.

However, we see in the second verse that the disciples were gathering and breaking bread every day!
Acts 2:46
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness.
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1 Corinthians 16:2 Comments
On the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. Finally, in this verse, some people see a collection of offerings during a meeting held on the first day of the week.

But Paul does not speak of a meeting. He actually advises the Christians in Corinth to store up offerings, each one at home, for a future collection.

So, none of the eight verses mentioning the first day of the week confirms the replacement of the Sabbath with Sunday as God’s day of rest.
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Romans 11:13 Comments
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office. So, how did Sundaykeeping begin in the Church?

As the apostolic Church was growing, more and more Gentiles joined it, bringing with them some pagan customs which slowly mixed with the Christian form of worship.

Among these customs was the observance of the day of the Sun, the first day of the week, Sunday.

Around the third century, Sunday gained ground on Saturday which was increasingly associated with the Jewish religion, and thus the Sabbath was gradually abandoned.
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Daniel 7:25 Comments
[He] shall think to change times and laws. Afterwards, when the Papacy came to power, it changed «times and law», exactly as foretold in the book of Daniel.

In fact, by formally designating Sunday as the new day of rest, in replacement of the Sabbath, the Papacy tampered with the only commandment related to time: the fourth commandment, the seal of God’s law.

Besides, the Catholic Church willingly and openly acknowledges that it bears sole responsibility for the change of the day of rest, as the following statements prove.
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The Catholic Church, not the Bible, teaches the observance of Sunday:
«We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.»
(Peter Geiermann, The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, 1977, p.50.)

«It is worthwhile to remember that this observance of Sunday, in which after all the only Protestant worship consists, not only has no foundation in the Bible, but it is in flagrant contradiction with its letter, which commands rest on the Sabbath, which is Saturday. It was the Catholic Church which, by the authority of Jesus Christ, has transferred this rest to the Sunday.»
(Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today, 1868 ed., p.213.)
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The Catholic Church recognizes that the Bible does not sanctify Sunday:
«You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we [Roman Catholics] never sanctify.»
(Catholic Cardinal James Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers, 1917 ed., pp.72,73.)

«Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles. (...) From the beginning to end of Scripture, there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first.»
(Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August 25, 1900.)

«If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping the Sunday, they are following a law of the Catholic Church.»
(Albert Smith, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, letter dated February 10, 1920.)
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The Catholic Church admits that Jesus and the apostles kept the Sabbath:
«The Sabbath, the most glorious day in the law, has been changed into the Lord’s day. (...) These and other similar matters have not ceased by virtue of Christ’s teaching (for He says He has come to fulfill the law, not to destroy it), but they have been changed by the authority of the church.»
(Archbishop Gaspare de Fosso, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova amplissima Collectio, 1902, vol.33, pp.529,530.)

«The apostles, in fact, continued to observe the Sabbath, that is to say Saturday, (...) from Friday, at sunset, to Saturday at the same hour.»
(Abbot Boulanger, Catholic Doctrine, p.62.)
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The Catholic Church willingly recognizes going against the Word of God:
«Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that worship should be changed from Saturday to Sunday. (...) Now the Church instituted, by God’s authority, Sunday as the day of worship.»
(Martin J. Scott, Things Catholics Are Asked About, 1927 ed., p.136.)

«The Catholic Church, (...) by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.»
(Catholic Cardinal James Gibbons, The Catholic Mirror, September 23, 1893.)

«If we consulted the Bible only, we should still have to keep holy the Sabbath Day, that is, Saturday.»
(John Laux, A Course in Religion for Catholic High Schools and Academies, 1936 ed., vol.1, p.51.)
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Ezekiel 22:26 Comments
Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned My holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean.

And they have hid their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
The Papacy was not the first to attack the seventh-day Sabbath.

Throughout history, there have been all kinds of religious leaders influencing people to disobey the commandments of God and to profane the Sabbath.
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Mark 7:7-9 Comments
[Jesus said,]

«“In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men. (...)

Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.»
Very often, people have chosen to follow the tradition of men, rather than the commandment of God, a thing which Jesus openly condemned.

The choice of Sunday as the day of rest, rather than the Sabbath of the fourth commandment of God, is another sad example of this.
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Deuteronomy 4:2 Comments
You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. And yet the Bible is very clear: the commandments of God must not undergo any change, and must be observed just as God commanded.
Luke 16:17
[Jesus said,]

«It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one pronunciation mark of the law to fail.»
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Ezekiel 20:18-20 Comments
Walk you not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols.

I am the Lord your God; walk in My statutes, and keep My judgments, and do them.

And hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.
God calls us to reject the tradition of men which is honored all around us, in order to come back to His commandments, and to observe the day of rest which He designated from Creation: the seventh day, the Sabbath.
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Revelation 13:16,17 Comments
And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark. We are living the last days of history. Each of us must choose between the tradition of men and the commandment of God:
  • between Sunday, the mark of the beast’s authority;
     
  • and the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, the mark of God’s authority.
Moreover, the Papacy willingly recognizes that the institution of Sunday as the day of rest is the mark of its authority...
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The Papacy admits that Sunday is the mark of its authority:
«We have in the authoritative voice of the Church the voice of Christ Himself. The Church is above the Bible; and this transference of Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday is proof positive of that fact. Deny the authority of the Church and you have no adequate or reasonable explanation or justification for the substitution of Sunday for Saturday in the Third - Protestant Fourth - Commandment of God.»
(The Catholic Record, vol. XLV, September 1, 1923.)

«Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change [from Sabbath to Sunday] was her act (...). And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters.»
(Reply of Chancelor C.F. Thomas to a letter dated October 28, 1894, and addressed to Cardinal Gibbons.)
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By keeping Sunday as the day of rest, we accept the Papacy’s authority:
«Sundaykeeping (...) not only does not rest on the Bible, but also is in flagrant contradiction with the letter of the Bible that prescribes the rest of the Sabbath or Saturday. It was the Catholic Church which (...) transferred this rest to the Sunday (...). Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the Church.»
(Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk About Protestantism of Today, 1868, p.213.)

«The Protestant mind does not seem to realize that, in observing the Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the Church, the Pope.»
(Our Sunday Visitor, February 5, 1950.)
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Sundaykeeping is a recognition of the authority of the Catholic Church:
«Since Saturday, not Sunday, is specified in the Bible, isn’t it curious that non-Catholics who profess to take their religion directly from the Bible and not from the Church, observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Yes, of course, it is inconsistent. (...) The custom of Sunday observance rests upon the authority of the Catholic Church and not upon an explicit text in the Bible. That observance remains as a reminder of the Mother Church from which the non-Catholic sects broke away - like a boy running away from home but still carrying in his pocket a picture of his mother or a lock of her hair.»
(Roman Catholic scholar John A. O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, 1974, p.400,401.)

«Appealing to the fact that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday, contrary to the Ten Commandments. No case is appealed to and urged so consistently as the change of the Sabbath, for thereby they wish to maintain that the power of the Church is indeed great because the Church has dispensed from and altered part of the Ten Commandments.»
(Thomas Aquinas, Suma Theologica, II, q.122, a.4.)
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THE CHOICE: the Bible and the Sabbath, or the Catholic Church and Sunday.
«Reason and sense demand the acceptance of one or the other of these alternatives: either Protestantism and the keeping holy of Saturday, or Catholicity and the keeping holy of Sunday. Compromise is impossible.»
(Catholic Cardinal James Gibbons, The Catholic Mirror, December 23, 1893.)

«The Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her Founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant, claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh-day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant.»
(The Catholic Universe Bulletin, August 14, 1942, p.4.)
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Acts 5:29 Comments
We ought to obey God rather than men. In the battle between God and the beast, the issue is our worship.

It is impossible for us to remain neutral in this struggle: if we don’t take a stand for God, we will automatically be numbered with the worshippers of the beast.
Matthew 12:30
[Jesus said,] «He that is not with Me is against Me.»
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Revelation 13:17 Comments
(...) that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark. At present, nobody has the mark of the beast.

However, after an alliance between the Papacy and the United States of America led by the Christian Religious Right Wing, Sundaykeeping will soon become mandatory for everybody.

The mark of the beast will then be placed on all those who, for fear of reprisals, will reject the Sabbath to observe Sunday.

In a document issued in 1998, Pope John Paul II proposed to pass a law making Sunday the official day of rest. Let’s look at some excerpts of this document...
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Excerpts of the pastoral letter «Dies Domini» of Pope John Paul II:
«For Christians it is not normal that Sunday, the day of joyful celebration, should not also be a day of rest, and it is difficult for them to keep Sunday holy if they do not have enough free time.

By contrast, the link between the Lord’s Day and the day of rest in civil society has a meaning and importance which go beyond the distinctly Christian point of view. (...)

When, through the centuries, she has made laws concerning Sunday rest, the Church has had in mind above all the work of servants and workers, certainly not because this work was any less worthy when compared to the spiritual requirements of Sunday observance, but rather because it needed greater regulation to lighten its burden and thus enable everyone to keep the Lord’s Day holy.

In this matter, my predecessor Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Rerum Novarum spoke of Sunday rest as a worker’s right which the State must guarantee.

In our own historical context there remains the obligation to ensure that everyone can enjoy the freedom, rest and relaxation which human dignity requires, together with the associated religious, family, cultural and interpersonal needs which are difficult to meet if there is no guarantee of at least one day of the week on which people can both rest and celebrate. (...)

Therefore, also in the particular circumstances of our own time, Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy.»

(Pope John Paul II, Pastoral Letter Dies Domini, July 5, 1998, pp.64-67.)
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Revelation 13:12 Comments
And [the beast coming up out of the earth] exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. The religio-political alliance between the Papacy and the United States will very soon lead to the Sunday law, and this is precisely how the United States will cause «the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast», the Papacy.

All those refusing to receive the mark of the beast, this false day of rest, will go through very difficult times.
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Ezekiel 8:16,17; 9:4 Comments
At the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.

Then He said to me, «Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here?» (...)

And the Lord said to him, «Go through the middle of the city, through the middle of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the middle thereof.»
Sunday is the day of the sun.

It is very interesting to note that, when men turn against God and worship the sun, while they stand «at the door of the temple of the Lord», then God puts His mark on the foreheads of all those who reject this abomination.
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Revelation 13:8 Comments
And all that dwell on the earth shall worship [the beast rising from the sea], whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Likewise, as in the future all the inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast and its day of rest in honor of the sun, God exhorts us to reject this abomination.

By refusing to worship the beast and receive its mark, our foreheads will be marked with the seal of God, and our names will remain written in His Book of Life.
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Revelation 3:5 Comments
He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment.

And I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.
Let’s put our trust in Jesus Christ.

If we desire it, He will give us the strength we need to remain faithful to Him, especially when we have to choose between worshiping the beast and keeping its day of rest, Sunday, or worshiping God and keeping His day of rest, the seventh day, the Sabbath.
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Let’s pray together:
Our Father,

Although nobody has yet received the mark of the beast, we can see the danger appearing on the horizon.

Soon, the observance of Sunday will be imposed on everybody, and those refusing to honor it will experience difficult times.

Please help us to prepare ourselves for that day, and, from now on, to keep Your holy day of rest, the seventh-day Sabbath.

Through Your grace and the power of Your Spirit, we know that we can remain faithful to You in all circumstances, in order that our names may not be blotted out from Your Book of Life. In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.
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Lesson 71 - Test The test of Lesson 71 is waiting for you!

Source of the Pictures of this Lesson
Header Picture: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (June 1, 1991), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.24. Screen 1: «Mounts Drum and Sanford highlight Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.» In: «Deluxe Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia CD - 2000 Edition», Compton’s Home Library, 1999. Screen 2: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (September 15, 1988), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.15. Screen 3: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories, volume 5» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), pp.142,143. Used by permission. Copyright ©1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1976 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 4: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM221.BMP. Screen 5: Picture collection «ClickArt 65,000» by Broderbund, CD #4, RELCR008.JPG. Screen 6: COLEMAN, Ralph Pallen. In: «The Way, the Truth, and the Life», Philadelphia, The John C. Winston Company, 1958, p.115. Screen 7: In: «The Children’s Bible, volume 11», Golden Press, 1981, p.685. Screen 8: HAYSOM, John. In: «Guideposts #49 - Good News for Everyone» (FRANK, Penny), Lion Publishing, 1986, pp.20,21. Screen 9: RUDEEN, Herbert. In: «The Bible Story, volume 6» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.191. Used by permission. Copyright ©1955, 1983 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 10: «Apollo, the Greek sun-god», Temple of Apollo, Pergamum Museum, East Berlin. In: WHITE, Ellen G., «The (New, Illustrated) Great Controversy», Laymen for Religious Liberty Inc., 1990. Screen 11: Unknown source. Screen 12: In: «Awake» magazine (February 8, 1989), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 13: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (January 15, 1991), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.7. Screen 14: PAYTON REID, R. In: «The Bible Picture Book» (CHALMERS, Muriel J.), Thomas Nelson and Sons, London, p.70. Screen 15: MURILLO, Bartolomé. «The Blessed Giles before Pope Gregory IX». In: «Deluxe Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia CD - 2000 Edition», Compton’s Home Library, 1999. Screen 16: In: «Prophecy Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1989, Daniel lesson #11 («How the Little Horn Changed God’s Law»), p.1. Screen 17: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (January 15, 1990), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.18. Screen 18: LEE, Elfred. In: «Revelation Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1986, lesson #11 («L’Observation du Dimanche et l’Apocalypse»), p.3. Screen 19: CRUZ, Nery. In: «La Sentinelle» magazine (August 1986), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.13. Screen 20: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (September 1, 1998), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 21: In: «Revelation Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1986, lesson #19 («La Marque de la Bête»), p.1. Screen 22: STANFIELD, James L. «Sunset on the Vatican». In: «National Geographic Photo Gallery», National Geographic Interactive, 1997. Screen 23: Raphael’s workshop. «The Donation of Constantine», Sala di Costantino, Vatican. In: «The Art of Renaissance Rome» (PARTRIDGE, Loren), A Times Mirror Company, New York, 1996, p.158. Screen 24: BISHOP, Tom. «Truth or tradition». In: «New Pictoral Aid For Bible Study» (BREADEN, Frank), Australian Division of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1970, chart #28. Screen 25: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (May 15, 1990), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, pp.8,9. Composite picture by Cyberspace Ministry. Screen 26: In: «Canadian Adventist Messenger» magazine (January 1995), SDA Church in Canada, front cover. Screen 27: Photo by: The Mirror Syndication International Ltd., London. In: «John Paul II» (EDWARDS, Patrick), Bison Books, London, 1995, p.17. Screen 28: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.195. Screen 29: MONTERO, José Pérez. In: «The Children’s Bible Story Book» (DE GRAAF, Anne), Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992, p.87. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Screen 30: «Men adoring beast with two horns» (15th century), from «Commentary on the Apocalypse» (Bruges, Belgium), The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. In: «Revelations - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.62. Screen 31: In: «Questionnaire Adulte de l’Ecole du Sabbat», Pacific Press Publishing Association, First Quarter, 2000, front cover. Screen 32: Picture collection «ClickArt 65,000» by Broderbund, CD #4, NATFL114.JPG.
Any copyrighted images not bearing a statement of permission, are used for the purpose of non-commercial scholarly commentary or criticism in accordance with section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law, and with article 29 of Canada Copyright Act (Chapter C-42), which by law can be without the consent or endorsement of the copyright holder. Images lacking attribution are either known or assumed to be in the public domain, or have an as yet undetermined status. Anyone having knowledge of proper attribution for an image is requested to contact us via email below so that it can be correctly noted. It is our intent to comply fully with applicable laws regarding intellectual property rights.

Lesson 71 - Test The test of Lesson 71 is waiting for you!