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The Moment of Truth - Lesson 36

666 and the Mark of the Beast

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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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Hebrews 5:14 Comments
But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. If you have not yet studied the previous lesson «The Beast of Revelation», we strongly encourage you to do it before going on, otherwise it could be difficult to grasp the content of this lesson.
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Revelation 13:1,3,10 Comments
I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. (...)

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death. (...)

He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity.
In our last lesson «The Beast of Revelation», we saw that the little horn (in Daniel 7) and the beast (in Revelation 13) both symbolize the same power: the Papacy.

Having led thousands of people into captivity during his reign, the Pope was himself captured in 1798 by French general Berthier. This is how the beast received a deadly wound.
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Revelation 13:3 Comments
I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed.

And all the world wondered after the beast.
We also saw that the beast’s deadly wound was healed.

Indeed, after having lost its political power in 1798, the papacy recovered it in 1929 when Mussolini, by the Lateran Treaty, made the Pope a political ruler again.

Since then, the Pope reigns over Vatican, a little country within the city of Rome.
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Revelation 13:10,11 Comments
He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity. (...)

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.
The prophecy links the Pope’s captivity (which happened at the end of the 18th century) with the appearance of another beast. As we have seen in previous lessons, a beast symbolizes a kingdom, a political power.

Unlike the first beast, this second beast comes up out of the earth, not the sea.

Who is this beast which arose at the end of the 18th century, and why does it come up out of the earth?
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Revelation 17:15 Comments
The waters which you saw (...) are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. In Bible prophecy, waters symbolize people.

So, the beast rising from the sea represents a power coming out of a populous place (as was the case with the papacy, which appeared in Europe).

But what about the beast rising from the earth? The only important power which arose out of a sparsely-populated place, at the end of the 18th century, was the United States of America, which came out of the New World in 1776.
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Revelation 13:11 Comments
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. But does the United States really fit the other criteria of the beast coming up out of the earth?

The beast displays lamb-like features, appropriately representing the Christian tradition of the United States which stands up for principles of civil and religious liberty.

But the beast also speaks like a dragon: in spite of an outward gentleness, this nation remains a fearsome power, ruling the roost throughout the world.
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Revelation 13:13 Comments
And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. First, the United States’ influence over the other nations is significant, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The «fire coming down from heaven» indicates the extraordinary power of the United States, which became, with the bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the first nuclear power of the earth.
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Revelation 13:12 Comments
And he 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 Word of God foretells that shortly before the return of Jesus Christ, we will see an alliance between the Papacy and the United States, leading men to worship the Papacy.

But how could this be possible?
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Revelation 13:14 Comments
And he deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. Very soon, the worldwide influence of the United States will also be felt at the religious level, by the creation of an image to the first beast, that is, a system reminiscent of the Papacy.

Therefore, we can expect the United States of America to create an alliance between Church and State. This alliance will produce a religio-political power, in the image of the Papacy.
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Revelation 13:15 Comments
And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. Of course, alliances between political and religious powers inevitably lead to intolerance and persecution.

That persecution will soon begin due to an alliance between the United States of America and the Papacy. We will see in a moment how this will happen.
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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. Once set up, the religio-political American government, with the papacy’s approval, will cause men to receive a mark: the mark of the beast, which is the subject of our lesson.

But before identifying this mark, let’s take a moment to solve an enigma which has mystified many students of Bible prophecy: the meaning of the number 666.
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Revelation 13:18 Comments
Here is wisdom.

Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six.
The Bible doesn’t tell us to seek the inscription «666», but rather to «count», to calculate in order to get to 666.

In the apostle John’s time, there was a well-known game named «Gematria», in which one calculated the number of a name by adding up the numerical value of the letters of this name, according to the Roman numeral system: V=5, X=10, C=100, etc.

Now, one of the Pope’s official names is «VICARIUS FILII DEI», meaning «Vicar of the Son of God».
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The number of the name «VICARIUS FILII DEI» indeed adds up to 666
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Revelation 13:18 Comments
Here is wisdom. Let’s remember that the number 666 alone would not be enough to identify the papacy as the beast of Revelation.

This is simply an additional clue, completing all the other identifying marks which we have already studied.
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Revelation 14:9,10 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. Now, let’s return to the mark of the beast.

According to these verses, it is crucial to know the nature of the mark of the beast, for the punishment of those receiving it will be eternal destruction.
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Revelation 7:1-3 Comments
I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying,

«Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.»
The mark of the beast is in direct opposition to the seal of God, because both must be put on men’s foreheads.

By understanding the seal of God, we will discover the nature of the mark of the beast.
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Ezekiel 9:4 Comments
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.»
According to the Bible, the mark of God is put on the foreheads of those who refuse to take part in abominations, in practices going against the will of God.

But the Word of God is even more precise...
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Deuteronomy 6:6,8 Comments
And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart. (...)

You shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
After giving the Ten Commandments to Moses, God clearly indicated that these commandments must be a mark on the hand and the forehead, thus meaning that we must keep them in mind (mark on forehead), and put them into practice (mark on hand).

But the beast too wants to put its mark on our hands and foreheads.

So the mark of the beast is opposed to the commandments of God.
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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. Knowing that the mark of the beast is opposed to the law of God, let’s try to discover the exact nature of this opposition.
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Esther 8:8 Comments
The writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse. To be official, a legal document must bear the seal of the legislator. The three components of a seal are:
  1. the name of the legislator;
  2. the title of the legislator;
  3. the territory covered by his legislation.
Now, what is the seal of God’s law? Where can we find it?
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Exodus 20:10,11 Comments
The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall not do any work. (...)

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.

Why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Among the Ten Commandments, the fourth one, requiring the observance of the seventh day as day of rest, bears the three components of a seal:
  1. the name of the Legislator: «the Lord»;
     
  2. His title: Creator, «the Lord made»;
     
  3. the territory covered by His legislation: «heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is».
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Romans 4:11 Comments
[Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had. According to the Word of God, a seal can also be a sign.

Is the fourth commandment, the seal of God’s law, also a sign?
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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.
Yes indeed, the Sabbath is a sign between God and His people.
Ezekiel 20:12,20
I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. (...)

Hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.
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Similarity between God’s fourth commandment and God’s warning
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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 our conclusion: it is by keeping the commandments of God, including the fourth commandment regarding the Sabbath, that we will avoid receiving the mark of the beast.
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Daniel 7:25 Comments
[He] shall think to change times and laws. We had seen that the little horn, symbolizing the Papacy, would seek to «change times and law».

Indeed, by formally designating Sunday as the new day of rest, in replacement of the Sabbath, the papacy tampered with the only commandment which affects time: the fourth commandment, the seal of God’s law.

Therefore the mark of the beast will be the observance of Sunday as the day of rest, instead of the Sabbath of God’s fourth commandment.
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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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Keeping Sunday as the day of rest is accepting 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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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. The Word of God is clear: the Ten Commandments, including the fourth one, must not be changed.

We must keep them exactly as dictated by God.
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 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. (...)»

And He said to them, «Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.»
Each one of us must choose between the tradition of men and the commandment of God: between Sunday, the mark of the authority of the beast, and the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, the mark of the authority of God, which He instituted at the very beginning of the history of mankind.
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Acts 5:29 Comments
We ought to obey God rather than men. God and the beast struggle one against the other in order to obtain our worship.

It is impossible for us to remain neutral in this battle: if we do not 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 is made 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.
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Revelation 13:8 Comments
And all that dwell on the earth shall worship [the beast], whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. By refusing to worship the beast and to receive its mark, we will take a stand for God.

Our foreheads will thus be marked with the seal of God, and our name will remain written in the 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 36 - Test The test of Lesson 36 is waiting for you!

Source of the Pictures of this Lesson
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 (June 15, 1985), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.9. Screen 3: «Taking the Pope prisoner». In: «Our Day in the Light of Prophecy» (SPICER, W.A.), Public domain, p.139. Screen 4: AP/Wide World Photo. In: «La Sentinelle» magazine (August 1997), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.3. Screen 5: BISHOP, Tom. «Beasts of Revelation 13». In: «New Pictoral Aid For Bible Study» (BREADEN, Frank), Australian Division of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1970, chart #41. Screen 6: In: «Photo Gallery 25,000» by Media Graphics International, CD #4, WASHD081.JPG. Screen 7: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (February 1, 1986), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.6. Screen 8: Photo by BLAISE, Olivier. «Nevada Test Site», Gamma Liaison. In: «Microsoft Encarta 98 Deluxe». Screen 9: Photo by Reuters/Bettmann, New York. «President Bill Clinton chats with the Pope». In: «John Paul II» (EDWARDS, Patrick), Bison Books, London, 1995, p.68. Screen 10: THORKELSON, Gregg. In: «Signs of the Times» magazine (October 2000), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.1. Screen 11: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.195. Screen 12: Picture from: Generation of graphics on CoolText.com (http://www.cooltext.com/). Screen 13: In: «Revelation Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1986, lesson #21 («La Babylone Mystique - la Courtisane»), p.4. Screen 14: In: WHITE, Ellen G., «The (New, Illustrated) Great Controversy», Laymen for Religious Liberty Inc., 1990, p.288-42. Table of Screen 14: First picture: In: WHITE, Ellen G., «The (New, Illustrated) Great Controversy», Laymen for Religious Liberty Inc., 1990, p.288-66. Second picture: In: WHITE, Ellen G., «The (New, Illustrated) Great Controversy», Laymen for Religious Liberty Inc., 1990. p.288-57. Screen 15: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (October 15, 1991), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.8. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Screen 16: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.233. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Screen 17: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM256.BMP. Screen 18: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (April 15, 1987), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.10. Screen 19: HARLAN, Russell. In: «The Bible Story, volume 2» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.152. Used by permission. Copyright ©1954, 1982 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 20: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (September 15, 1988), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.15. Screen 21: BISHOP, Tom. «Seal of God and mark of the beast 1». In: «New Pictoral Aid For Bible Study» (BREADEN, Frank), Australian Division of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1970, chart #43. Screen 22: In: «Revelation Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1986, lesson #10 («Le Sceau de Dieu In l’Apocalypse»), p.1. Screen 23: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «Uncle Arthur’s Bible Book» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.93. Used by permission. Copyright ©1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1968, 1996 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 24: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories, volume 5» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.142,143. Used by permission. Copyright ©1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1976 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 25: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM221.BMP. Table of Screen 25: First picture: In: «Revelation Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1986, lesson #10 («Le sceau de Dieu In l’Apocalypse»), p.3. Second picture: PADGETT, Jim. In: «God Cares, volume 2» (MAXWELL, C.Mervyn), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1985, p.350. Screen 26: CRUZ, Nery. In: «La Sentinelle» magazine (August 1984), Pacific Press Publishing Association, p.14. Screen 27: Unknown source. Screen 28: In: «Revelation Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1986, lesson #19 («La Marque de la Bête»), p.1. Screen 29: In: «Awake» magazine (February 8, 1989), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 30: LEE, Elfred. In: «Revelation Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1986, lesson #11 («L’Observation du Dimanche et l’Apocalypse»), p.3. Screen 31: In: «Prophecy Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1989, Daniel lesson #11 («How the Little Horn Changed God’s Law»), p.1. Screen 32: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (September 1, 1998), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 33: BISHOP, Tom. «Truth or tradition». In: «New Pictoral Aid For Bible Study» (BREADEN, Frank), Australian Division of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1970, chart #28. Screen 34: In: «Canadian Adventist Messenger» magazine (January 1995), SDA Church in Canada, front cover. Screen 35: ZINGARO, Charles. In: «Votre Bible et Vous» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.125. Used by permission. Copyright ©1959, 1987 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 36: In: «Questionnaire Adulte de l’Ecole du Sabbat», Pacific Press Publishing Association, First Quarter, 2000, front cover. Screen 37: «Smoky Mountains National Park of Tennessee.» In: «Deluxe Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia CD - 2000 Edition», Compton’s Home Library, 1999.
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 36 - Test The test of Lesson 36 is waiting for you!