Well greetings once again, everybody; and a special greeting to all of you ministers who are here for the refresher course from around the world. Fifty years ago I was putting emphasis on certain things where I was actually at least fifty years ahead of my time. You know, actually the 1st century apostles were more than 1950 years ahead of their time. They thought the Second Coming of Christ was going to occur way back there in their lifetime; and, of course, it didn't. But 50 years ago I could see that we were coming into the last generation of this world. So many things had been happening.
I wonder if you people can understand? I don't think that very many of you can see things as I do. For example, I remember things that happened back in the 19th century. I remember very well staying up until midnight to see the old century out and the new century in. And 1899 was going out and the year 1900 was coming in. Of course, I was only 7 ½ years old. I couldn't understand why my parents kept me sitting up all that time in a Methodist Church; and they wouldn't let me go to sleep, and I wanted to go to sleep so badly. Sometimes children can't understand some of the things their elders do.
But today it becomes a very solemn warning, and now the time is very imminent. The new United States of Europe is on the verge of going together. It has gone together a number of times already. Well, five times directly; and a sixth time that the world hardly noticed. And we are waiting now for the seventh resurrection of the Roman Empire. The whole world is going to be astounded; and, I can tell you, it could even happen next year. But along with it, I want to come specifically today into a certain subject I have not touched on I think for some years now. I think that perhaps most of you have never heard me speak about it. In fact the booklet that we had on it has become out of print. And that subject is "The Mark of the Beast." What is the Mark of the Beast?
We began to see that I was ahead of my time actually. And I think we've said, and said publicly and in our advertising, that the Plain Truth is a magazine that has always been ahead of its time on foretelling news events and giving the meaning of today's news. (Today's world news — what it means, where it's taking us, where we are heading, what is going to happen next.) And now we are right at the time where the so-called Holy Roman Empire is going to be revived again.
Now, those of you who saw the Bible Study last night saw a lot of the events that led up to the present time. And it goes clear back to ancient Israel. Actually, God had raised up a nation.
Let me go back even further than that, from the time of Adam — after Adam made the wrong decision, rejected the Spirit of God, turned his back on God, decided to take to himself the knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil. Now "the knowledge of good and evil" has nothing to do with dealing with matter and material things, with science, with technology, with such subjects as chemistry, physics, astronomy. It has nothing to do with building a house, building an automobile. But it has a great deal to do with your relationship with other people, but most of all your relationship to God. And that's what the world has COMPLETELY lost, because "the knowledge of good and evil" not only represents knowledge of spiritual knowledge (of spiritual things, attitudes, events, and what God has in store for those who love Him and not for others); but it is a matter of attitudes.
And all troubles in the world come from the attitude that springs from the one human spirit with which every human being is born. Otherwise you wouldn't have a mind. As I have said many times, even a cow out in the field has a brain as good as yours. An elephant's brain is a great deal larger. I don't really know if a cow's brain is a little larger or a little smaller. It's one or the other. But a cow appears to be rather stupid compared to a human being, because there is no spirit in connection with its brain. And it doesn't have attitudes of competition, and strife, and of coveting, and the type of attitudes that we humans get into in relation to one another.
But humans have forgotten all about, it seems, their relationship with God. We have all kinds of relationships with other humans. And so husband and wife can't seem to get along together in so many cases. Parents and children, capitol and labor, next door neighbors, group can't get along with group, race with race, nation with nation. We get into conflict, and its all attitudes of mind.
Now, God closed up the Holy Spirit. When He closed the Tree of Life, He closed the Holy Spirit. When Christ came He said, "I will build My Church." He started it with twelve disciples. After He had taught them and on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to them; and there were 120 actually that had followed Christ who received the Holy Spirit that day. Later that day (after Peter's sermon) about 3,000 others were baptized. Then the Holy Spirit was opened, but only to those that God would draw. Jesus said no man can come to Him except the Father who sent Him draws them. And on that day of Pentecost Peter said the Holy Spirit was for "as many as the Lord our God [should] call." Go back and read it in the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts, about the 39th verse. "As many as the Lord our God shall call."
And let's see. Wasn't it in the...? I guess it was in the sermonette this morning, it was mentioned that you didn't volunteer to become a follower of Christ, or to become a Christian. You were drafted. You are not a volunteer. God chose you! And for each one of you, you were chosen out of perhaps a few thousand others that were not chosen. And so I have tried to tell you that there is a very, very great responsibility on you because you have been chosen for something very great.
Now way back at the time of Moses, many hundreds of years before Christ, God had decided to call the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And He made them into a nation. But they didn't have the Holy Spirit. It was not open to them. God gave them promises; but the promises He gave them were all materialistic, nationalistic, or material wealth and national dominance over other nations even. But there was always a condition, and they never would fulfill the condition.
After a long time, they even divided among themselves into two different nations. One was still called the kingdom of Israel. But they rejected their king; and they went in for democracy; and they chose the man who had practically been King Solomon's prime minister. He'd practically run the government anyway for Solomon. Jeroboam.
The tribe of Judah split off and formed its own nation, called the kingdom of Judah. And they are the Jews, and the Jews from that time on are not Israel. They are the nation of Judah, not the nation of Israel at all. And the world doesn't know that. So many of the people in the world don't know who they are. The people of the United States, of Britain, of Western Europe don't know who they are. The Germans don't know who they are. The Jews don't know who they are. They have lost their identity.
I was just remarking in the wings out here, just before the song service, that I really need five or six sermons for what I want to tell you today. It's so many different facets to it, so much that I can't get to more than just a part of it this afternoon.
But God offered finally... Well, they split up into two nations. Let's go back to that. And first, after 7 dynasties and 19 different kings, Israel had followed their kings. And every one of those kings had rejected God and God's way of life; and they had all gone the way of sin — contrary to the law of God, which is God's way of life.
God's way of life is the way God and the way Christ have always lived from eternity, so far as we know. At least we know, as far as we know, They have always lived that way. And it's the way of peace. It's the way of cooperation. It's the way of love. It's the way of happiness. And it's the way of real great accomplishment and achievement, and of a satisfying and fulfilling life. Humans don't know that.
So God let Assyria take Israel captive. They began to move away. And by about 118 or 120 years later, 130 years later, they had lost their identity and moved westward and northwest. And I'm going to tell you a little later why Israel lost her identity. Now, Judah kept her identity; and I am going to tell you why a little later. The Jews think they are Israel, and I'm going to tell you why. They are not Israel. They are Judah. And they don't really know who they are.
So I wish you all could have heard last night's Bible Study because it was a prelude of what I want to say today; and the Bible Study the week before. But I want to get back to this "Mark of the Beast" because it is soon now again going to be enforced; and it has been enforced in the past, in ancient history. You probably, most of you, don't even know that. Well, we will come to that.
Anyway, then God used King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to take Judah captive because they had turned away from God. Well, they never really turned to him. They professed to, back in the days of Moses; but they never really had done it. Through Daniel, God gave King Nebuchadnezzar a knowledge of the true God and that GOD had given him the right to rule. Now you are going to see that, later on, a continuation of that was given its seat and power and authority by Satan the devil. But it was GOD who gave Nebuchadnezzar his seat, and power, and authority. And God was showing (if you will read between the lines in the book of Daniel, especially in the 2nd and the 7th chapters and others in between) God was giving king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon the chance to become God's Kingdom and replace Israel; but the Gentiles rejected it.
King Nebuchadnezzar was sent off for seven years. He finally acknowledged God, and he came back; and God gave him the kingdom back. But his son rebelled and went the other way, and then the kingdom was taken away. And so it was succeeded by the Persian Empire. And that in turn by the Greco-Macedonian Empire, or Greece; and there were four different divisions there. And that in turn was succeeded by the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire began about 31 BC and ruled until 476 AD, when the barbarians of the north conquered it and destroyed it.
Then we had three nations — the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths — that came in there for a few years, less than a hundred years after 476; but by 554, at the behest of the Pope at Rome (The Catholic Church had grown by that time rather powerful.), Justinian, who was ruling the Empire in the east. Now the Roman Empire had been divided. There was a capital at Constantinople in the east. Constantinople today is called Istanbul, which is the real metropolis of Turkey today. It used to be Asia Minor, and up in the land of the Galatians and some of those people in biblical days. Anyway, he restored what they called the Roman Empire. And again, it was raised up again by Charlemagne, a French head who came to his zenith in 800 AD. And a little later Otto the Great of Germany; and after that Charles the Great, I believe it was, of Hapsburg of Austria. And after that came Napoleon. And there you had five different resurrections of the Roman Empire. But, by the time of Otto the Great of Germany, they were calling it The Holy Roman Empire. That was all explained last night. And it actually meant that they believed that the Kingdom of God had come.
The Pope was called Vicar of Christ. Did you ever look up that word "vicar" in the dictionary? He is supposed to have a name on his crown. I don't think it is there. It's never been found. I've heard it is supposed to be. I don't know whether I am pronouncing it correctly, but as it would seem to sound out in English 'VICARIUS FELII DEI' or something like that. I don't think there are any such words on the crown, however.
But the world "vicar" means "in place of." It does NOT mean "the representative of." It doesn't mean that he represents Christ. It means he's kicked Christ out and taken over. Well, that's rather brutal; and that's plain language. But I want to make it blunt enough so that you understand what I am saying, because that's what it actually means. Christ has been kicked out! There has been a revolution. There has been a military coup. The Pope has taken over. Christ is out of it; and they're supposed to rule now — not for just a thousand years, but forever.
Well, you know, when Hitler came he was... Mussolini had made a little bit of a resurrection of the so-called Holy Roman Empire. But it didn't really rise up to anything very big until Hitler joined with him in the axis. And Hitler's whole idea was a thousand years of rule of the master race, the Germans. Now the Germans are not the master race. They are a race of orderly people who are very great producers of certain mechanical things, have very great talents in certain directions. They are a people who have been down and out after World War I. And Hitler came around and raised them up with the idea that they are better than any other people on earth, and he practically had them hypnotized. I think a great many people in Germany today realize that, and I don't think you find very much of Hitlerism in Germany today.
However, it's coming in a little different way today. Once again, they are right on the verge of raising this thing up once again. Now, because it didn't happen in our lifetime, many people don't realize how it has happened time after time from 554 on up to 1814 when Napoleon, as we say, met his Waterloo. I go to Waterloo for lunch once in a while. King Leopold lives right practically there in that very vicinity, and we've been very close friends now since 1968.
Anyway, 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.
I am going to tell you one of two things is going to have to happen to you, every one of you; and we're going to face it collectively as a church, but each is going to face it individually also. You are going to be tested. If you try to save your life, you are going to lose it for all eternity. You may have to give your present life in order to make the Kingdom of God. Are you going to try to live on and save it? Or are you willing...? There is one place in the 12th chapter of Revelation where, after Satan has had the battle in heaven once again and has been sent back down to earth, where the "saints loved not their lives unto death." And that's speaking of our time, and our people, and those of the Laodicean Church to follow us almost immediately. And the Laodicean Era of the Church has not yet come, but it will; and I think that we are doing a whole lot to raise it up.
But a lot of people have been hearing on radio and on television, and they realize they are hearing a message that is UTTERLY DIFFERENT from any other religious message they hear ANYWHERE. And a lot of them, of course, say "Well, how can one man be right and all the others wrong?" because all the others preach about the same thing. And millions have been reading it in The Plain Truth, because over 5 million copies... I think it has gone down in the last two months a little bit because of renewal subscriptions, but about 3 months ago it was up to about 5 ½ million. But it goes right back up again. I think it came down to about 5 million, one or two hundred thousand; and in another few months it'll be right back up there, and then going on toward 6 million — God willing, we hope.
All right, now I want to get back; and I want to pick up this story in Revelation 13. It really starts in the 2nd chapter of Daniel. Now you know the story of the 2nd chapter of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar had finally put together the first great world empire.
Civilization started with city-states. Nimrod is the first one we have a record of. I believe it's the (What is it?) 5th chapter of Genesis, something like that. Nimrod built Babylon, Nineveh, and a number of other cities. And for a long time the only government was in each city. Each city had its own government, and we had what they called city-states; and each city had its own king. They didn't call them mayors. They called them kings.
And then they got into nations; and we had ancient Egypt, and we had ancient Greece, and certain others. And, of course, there was ancient Assyria; and later came the Medes, the Persians, and others. But Nebuchadnezzar got even many of those together into a world empire of a number of nations, the first World Empire.
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. He saw a great image; and that image showed what was going to happen, beginning with him. It was a great image. I forget what it was. I think it was 10 feet tall, or else it was a great deal taller than that. Anyway, we've shown you pictures of it on the television programs and in the magazines.
The head was of gold. That represented Nebuchadnezzar. Now it started there, and it showed what was going to happen as we come down through the image. Its breast and arms were of silver. That was the next empire to succeed him, or the Persian Empire. And then later on would come Greece, or the Greco-Macedonian Empire. And that was the belly and thigh of brass. And then came the Roman Empire and its two legs, because Rome was divided. And Satan's kingdom is divided. And part of the Roman Empire was in the East and part in the West.
Now incidentally the Roman Catholic Church grew up, but it wasn't all Roman Catholic. There was the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as the Roman Catholic Church, and that has come down to today also. However, the Roman Empire fell in 476 and 554, as I said a while ago. Justinian was brought from Constantinople over to Rome to restore the empire in the West. And it wasn't restored as the Roman Empire in the East at that time. But it has had a number of successions, and now it's going to be restored once again.
Now Daniel 2 shows it finally coming down to the toes of the feet; but you see one of those feet is planted on Eastern Europe, and one on Western Europe. And it comes down to the final end — of the Second Coming of Christ and smashing this whole succession of Gentile governments on the toes of the feet. That's the ten kingdoms that are going to go together in Europe perhaps next year, perhaps the year after. Now I can't set dates; and, if it doesn't happen till two or three years from now, don't say how Mr. Armstrong said it was going to be in 1983. I didn't say that. I say it could. I didn't say it will. Now if someone tries to say I said it, I've got all you as witnesses. I didn't.
They've tried to say, back in 1972, that I said things I did not say. Some people thought I said the Second Coming of Christ is going to occur then. No, I could see reasons why I thought this empire might go together at that time. And our Work will stop very soon after this Holy Roman Empire has this next, and last, resurrection. And OUR WORK WILL STOP and then will come the GREAT TRIBULATION. AND OUT OF IT AND DURING THE GREAT TRIBULATION will rise up the Laodicean Era of God's Church.
But this Church...Well you are either going to risk death, or your going to take the mark of the beast — one or the other, unless we are taken to a place of protection and safety; and there are two places in the book of Revelation that certainly indicate we shall be. But it's going to take a miracle. Now it took a miracle from God to get the Israelites out of Egypt way back there in the days of Moses. He had to strike a rock, and water came out of it. And He may have to perform just as great miracles again this time. You had better begin to believe in miracles, because your very existence may depend on it.
Well, anyway, you come to Daniel the 7th chapter; and he saw the same thing but in the form of his dream, or vision he had of four wild animals, or beasts. The first was a lion, and that was the Chaldean Empire. The second was a bear, and that was the Persian Empire. The third was the Greco-Macedonian Empire, and it had four heads. Well, it was divided into four divisions; and each one had its own head. And, then, that made up six heads; and then the Roman Empire, the seventh head. And that was the fourth beast he saw; and, of course, it had one head. But it was strong, stronger than any of the others, and snapped over the territory of all of them and replaced them all — the Roman Empire.
Then we come into the 13th chapter of Revelation, and it continues that same identical thing. I want to begin now in the 13th chapter of Revelation, and I am going to take a little bit of time to go through it word by word. As I say, I wish I could have many, many hours for this. Now John is telling here in the book of Revelation what he saw in a vision, like a dream. He was on the Isle of Patmos, and he was being shown the time of the Day of the Lord. That's the time when GOD will step in and intervene in world affairs; and it will climax in the Second Coming of Christ, and then the thousand-year rule under Christ. Now the 13th chapter of Revelation: He is showing what he saw in his vision. He says,
Revelation 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns [Now notice: the crowns were not on the heads. They were on the horns. "And upon his horns ten crowns."], and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
So there was something evil about it.
Revelation 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard [It wasn't a leopard; but it was quick and cat-like, like the body of a leopard. It had the best characteristics of a leopard.], and his feet were as the feet of a bear [The most powerful part of a bear are its feet. And it had the strongest part of a bear, because it was a very powerful thing. But it wasn't a bear. It just had the feet, like a bear.], and the mouth AS the mouth [It wasn't the mouth of a lion, but AS the mouth...] of a lion [Now that is the strongest part of a lion, especially a male lion. I don't know whether that's stronger than a female, but just looks bigger.]: and the dragon [Now, in Revelation 12 and Revelation 20 you see very plainly that the dragon is Satan the devil.] gave him his power and his seat, and great authority.
Now let me give you one little key right here. "Gave him," that's the male gender. In these prophecies, the "him" or the male gender represents civil, political government — political and military. The "she" or "her" or the feminine gender always denotes church. When you get to the 17th chapter, you find a woman riding the beast; but the woman is a church. The beast is a "he" or a "him," which is a military or a civil or political government.
This thing is of Satan the devil, who gave it its seat and power and great authority. This whole system as it started, GOD gave Nebuchadnezzar his seat and power and great authority. But by the time it gets down to this point... And I'm going to show you that this includes the four beasts of Daniel 7, and this is speaking of the Roman Empire. Now there is a chart; and I worked out that chart, believe it or not, some 55 or 56 years ago while I was being converted. God showed me the truth. Now if you take...
The only way you can understand this, and there are other chapters in Daniel that bear on the same thing. It is a very complicated thing, and the only way you can understand it... It is like a large problem in arithmetic, or mathematics; and it is greater than you can figure out in your head alone. You have to put it down on paper; and add and subtract and divide and multiply; and one thing and another. It gets a little confusing. You take 10,897 and divide it by 32 and multiply that by 4 and then subtract 822 and something else. Now do you have the answer? Anybody here got it? Well I haven't either. You can't do that. You have to put a thing like that down on paper to get it. Well, that's what I did; and I guess no one else ever thought to do that.
Revelation 13:3 And 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.
Now I want you to notice the time sequence. It has been healed; and now, since it's healed, the whole world is wondering after the beast. Let me give you a little bit here in the Revised Standard translation.
Revelation 13:5 (RSV) And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
Now this mouth was haughty, blasphemous words. Brethren, I don't want to accuse human beings (and this is all ancient history anyway, and not anyone now living); but that was the Popes at Rome. And here you have the Roman Empire and its deadly wound. It was wounded to death.
Revelation 13:3 (RSV) But its mortal wound [This is the Revised Standard now.] was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast [Or "wondered after the beast." Now that's the beast after it is healed.] with wonder.
Revelation 13:4-5 (RSV) Men worshipped the dragon [Which is Satan the devil, and he is the god of this world. And, brethren, I don't think we realize that the world is worshipping Satan.], for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast [The beast now healed — which is now, after Justinian, from that time on.] saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?" (5) And the beast [This is the healed beast, after 554] was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words [That mouth didn't come till after 554.], and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
Now "a day for a year" in those times meant 1260 years. It was started in 554, and it ruled for 1260 years. If you can figure that, that takes you to 1814; and that is when Napoleon was finally defeated at Waterloo.
Revelation 13:6 (RSV) It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is those who dwell in heaven.
And of course, "those who dwell in heaven" are angels that are described in the 4th and 5th chapters of the book of Revelation.
Now a lot of that blasphemy... I have been in Rome and down at the Pope's summer palace at Castel Gandolfo, and seen 5,000 people just screaming (and frantic, as if they were in a trance or a frenzy): "Viva Papa, viva Papa;" and calling, "The Most Holy Father." The Most Holy Father — that is a title that belongs only to God; and they do give that to the Pope, even unto this day.
Revelation 13:7-8 (RSV) Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. [And thousands and even up to a few million Christians, or professing Christians, were put to death. And I'm going to show you because of "The Mark of the Beast," because they wouldn't accept it... But I'll come to that later.] And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation [That is, of course, speaking about Europe and the different languages; and they have different languages in Europe.],(8) and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name [is not] written before the foundation of the world in the book of the life of the Lamb that was slain [from the foundation of the world.].
Well now, in the King James it says "the Lamb [of God] slain from the foundation of the world." It was decided at the foundation of the world (at the time of Adam, when Adam rejected the Tree of Life) that Christ would come as the second Adam and be slain to pay the penalty of our sins.
Now coming to the next verse; verse 9, I believe it is:
Revelation 13:9-11 (RSV) If any one has an ear, let him hear: (10) If any one is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; [Now this is coming down to a time now, when it does apply to us.] if any one slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is [the] call for the endurance and faith of the saints. (11) Then I saw [John says what he is seeing in a vision now.] another beast [Who and what is this beast? "Another beast..."]which rose [up] out of the earth; [The first beast was out of the sea, and this one is out of the earth.] It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.
I believe that's a little different in the King James. Let me see if I can find that in the King James.
Revelation 13:11 Another beast coming up out of the earth; and he [It's a "he" now. It's not "she." So this cannot be just the church as such.] had two horns like a lamb and he spake as a dragon.
Well, a lamb pictures Christ. He appeared like Christ, but he spoke like Satan. The dragon is Satan. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" says God. So says your Bible. So actually, while he was pretending to be Christ (Christ on earth, ruling. The Kingdom of God was here.), he was actually speaking like a devil.
Now the Bible says some very horrible things about the Roman Catholic Church. That's why the Catholic Church has never encouraged people to read the Bible. And for a long time in Spain, before the present government, anyone sending a Bible (even as a gift to a friend, if someone was having someone trying to send a Bible into Spain) it would be confiscated on the way in. Bibles are not allowed to be brought in. And Spain is more Catholic than Italy.
Revelation 13:11 ...I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth...two horns like a lamb...[but spoke] as a dragon.
So actually it was masquerading as Christ, but out of its heart it was speaking what was in its heart; and it was Satan the devil, or the tool of Satan.
Revelation 13:12 And he [Notice, it's "he" again.] exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
It's not "the first beast" before his deadly wound was healed, but "the first beast whose deadly wound [had now been] healed." So it is the one that became the Holy Roman Empire. Now the Holy Roman Empire was political. What is this other beast? The only thing that it can possibly be is that the Roman Catholic Church is both church and state. I wonder if you realize that Vatican City is a separate nation. The Vatican is the state part of the church. That is the "he" part. The church is the "she" part. But there is a marriage. Well, I don't think they're married either. It is fornication, not marriage. Anyhow, many nations send ambassadors to the Vatican. It is a separate state within the nation of Italy.
I have been there. I have been inside of the Vatican library, and I have examined pages of one of the three oldest copies of the Bible in existence — the Codex Vaticanus. And I had to have a letter from Mrs. Clair Luce, who was the American ambassador in Rome at the time, who sponsored me and guaranteed that I wouldn't destroy it, or steal it or take it out, or anything of the kind. And so they were very polite; and they let me have it, and hold it in my hands, and read it. I could have spent two or three hours there reading it, if I had wanted to. But I just wanted to see it for the novelty of it and because it is one of the oldest copies, and it may be the oldest on the face of the earth, of the Bible.
Revelation 13:12 ... he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him...
Now this is really the GOVERNMENT part of the Roman Catholic Church. But this is the political GOVERNMENT part, and it DID exercise the POWER. The Popes were on top of it, and the political rulers had to do what the church said. I want to tell you, they are coming to the place of doing that again. And just recently in Germany there has been a new law passed that the holy days to be observed as rest days, or national holidays, are to be decided by the church; and they must be either Roman Catholic or Protestant. And each state, like Bavaria or other states within Germany, can decide what they want. And whatever they decide, the people have to follow. Now just bear that in mind because we are coming to something.
Revelation 13:12 He [That is the government part of the Roman Catholic Church.] exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him [And that is the Roman Empire after it was healed, or the Holy Roman Empire. And why it was called "Holy" is because the Pope was supposed to be ruling it.], and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast [which is the Holy Roman Empire], whose deadly wound was healed.
See, not the first beast before its deadly wound was healed, or whose deadly wound was yet to be healed; but to worship the beast whose deadly wound had been healed.
Revelation 13:13 And he [Now it's the Roman government, church government.] doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.
If that has ever happened, I don't know. But a lot of this is yet to come to pass, and it may be that that has some significance. Now the book of Revelation speaks in symbol a great deal. I don't know why. I haven't done any research on that particular little detail right there — to find what that fire, if it symbolizes something other than literal fire. I'll have to check that later. Let's just pass right on over that.
Revelation 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell ON THE EARTH by the means of those miracles which he had [the] power to do in the sight of the beast.
Wait. Now let me read that. We're getting down to verse 14. Let me read that. I think there's another word that I want you to get in the Revised Standard translation.
Revelation 13:15 (RSV)... [all] those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.
In other words, they had to worship this government or be slain — the government of the Catholic Church.
Revelation 13:15-18 (KJV) He had power to give life unto the image of the beast that the image of the beast should both [Now remember: the image of the beast is the Vatican, or the civil government of the church.](speak,) and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (16) And he causeth ALL, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a MARK [Now we come to the MARK of the beast. "To receive a mark..."]in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (17) And that no man might buy or sell, [To "buy" means to purchase whatever you need, food, clothing, buy a new home, buy and automobile, whatever. "Or sell," now that means that you can't engage in the business of buying and selling; and you won't have the money, you won't have the wages to buy anything with. "That no man might buy or sell..."]save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (18) Here is wisdom. Let him that hath 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 [Or 666, six hundred and sixty six].
Now, of course, people have tried to count that in every way. People have said that "Mark of the Beast" is this and that and the other thing. It was the fasces on the dime years ago because the fasces was a Roman symbol of ancient Rome, the Roman Empire. And it was Franklin Roosevelt's NRA, some people said. People normally read a thing like this and just make up in their own imagination what they think it is. But remember, the Bible itself must interpret the Bible. The Bible must explain its own symbols. And we can't use our own ideas. If I give you my idea, I am not leading you properly
Now I want to show you something in the chain of events in the book of Revelation. We go back to the 6th chapter of the book of Revelation, and there you remember there were the four horsemen. And the first was a false Christ, those that were coming saying that they were the representatives of Christ — not that they were Christ, but they were the representatives of Christ — and deceiving many. They were preaching that Jesus was the Christ, and deceiving the many. After that came war, and then came famine, and then pestilence and death. Let's see first there were false Christs, then war, then famine, and then pestilence. That was the four horsemen. Now, let me see, we go back to the 6th chapter, and I want to begin now with verse 9.
Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
Way back in the Middle Ages, some reports say there were millions that were killed because they would not bow down to worship the papacy and because they would not observe Sunday; and they kept the Sabbath instead of Sunday.
Revelation 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long O Lord, [faithful] and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
Now, they are dead; but it's like their blood is crying out for vengeance. Of course, they are dead. They don't know anything until the resurrection. But this is just as if they were like (It's all like an allegory.) as if they were crying out "Why don't you avenge our blood?" And God hasn't done it yet; and that's been a thousand years, or more, ago since a lot of them were martyred.
Revelation 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them [And white robes always represent righteousness.]; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season [In other words, remain dead in their graves yet a little season.], until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were [as they were killed], should be fulfilled.
In other words, there is going to be another martyrdom of saints. Now in ancient history, long before any of us were born, there were thousands and millions. It used to be sport in Rome. In fact, maybe several of you may have visited Rome; and you've gone into the great coliseum there where they used to throw Christians on a Sunday afternoon. It was the Sunday afternoon sport. They had lions that were real hungry. They let the lions get hungry, and then they turned the lions loose; and the Christians in the arena, no place for them to go. And the lions would get them, and tear them apart, and eat them up; and the people used to watch it with glee. As the lions tore them open, they would bleed; and the lions would eat them up.
Now that kind of thing has happened. We think that there's never been a time when people could be as fiendish and as evil as some things are now. I think perhaps they'd been more in the past. It just wasn't as widespread and general as it's got to be now. And so that is the Great Tribulation, and others are to be killed in the Great Tribulation. And that is representing the time sequence of the Great Tribulation, in the 6th chapter of Revelation.
Revelation 6:12-13 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal [What happens right after the Tribulation?] and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; (13) And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs...
Revelation 6:15-17 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich [This is the Day of the Lord. Now I want you to notice: rich] men, and the [great] captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; (16) And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; (17) For the great day of his wrath is come [That is, the Day of the Lord].
Now then, let me read you that very same thing back here in Matthew 24. In Matthew 24, I haven't marked this. I hadn't intended to use this, but I want to. Let me show you a time sequence. They were going to come, and there would people representing Christ (in verses 4 and 5). Many would come in Christ's name saying that Jesus is the Christ and deceiving the many, and all of these other things would be happening. Then in verse 14:
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel [finally, this gospel] of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then [will come the end of this world].
Brethren, this is the Church that's doing that! And I have been doing it, and you've been backing me in doing it.
Now, what is next? Verse 21:
Matthew 24:21-22 For then [right after that] shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this [same] time, no, nor ever shall be. (22) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect's sake those days [will] shall be shortened.
In other words, it's going to be the Great Tribulation! Now, WE are proclaiming that WARNING. WHILE WE HAVE BEEN PROCLAIMING THAT WARNING, 30 years ago the hydrogen bomb was first produced — the FIRST TIME a weapon of mass destruction could wipe out all humanity on the face of the earth. And this says right after, immediately after that, will come the Great Tribulation. That's going to come as a result of the reformation of this empire over in EUROPE. And it will be so BAD. It'll be NUCLEAR WORLD WAR III. If God did not intervene, no one would be saved alive.
Now what's going to happen right after the Tribulation? How is He going to end that Tribulation? "For the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." And we, brethren, are the elect! Notice:
Matthew 24:29-30 Immediately after the tribulation of those days [verse 29]shall the sun be darkened [It's the same thing I read in Revelation 6, the sun be darkened] ...the moon shall not give her light... the stars [of heaven] shall fall... the powers of the heavens shall be shaken [Those powers are spiritual powers of Satan and his demons.]: (30) And THEN SHALL APPEAR the SIGN of the Son of man in heaven [They will see God sitting on His throne in heaven.]; and then shall all the tribes [or nations]of the earth mourn, AND THEY SHALL SEE the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [the Second Coming of Christ].
Brethren, we are the last thing triggering just before the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation is going to be brought on by this United States of Europe. It is not going to come by Russia, but by them. They will be a greater power than Russia or the United States. Now then, let's get back to some other things. I was reading out of the 6th chapter of Revelation just a moment ago. Now let's get back to the beginning of the 7th chapter. I want you to notice a few things.
Revelation 7:1 Now after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding [up] the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth...
Now, they are the winds that blow on the trumpets — the trumpet plagues that come just before. As a matter of fact, the trumpet plagues are the 7th seal. And the 7th trumpet is the 7 last plagues, and Christ comes at the time of the 7 last plagues. Now comes the sealing of the 144,000. And then, separate from that and a little later, is this (beginning with verse 9).
Revelation 7:9-10 After this I beheld, and, lo, A GREAT MULTITUDE, which no man could number [The 144,000 appeared to be this Church, brethren. And we're not that big yet, but we are getting that big, fast. "I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number"],of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and [different languages] ...stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes [He sees a vision that represents things on earth.], and palms in their hands; (10) And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
Revelation 7:13 One of the elders [in verse 13] answered, saying unto me, What are these [that] are arrayed in [the] white robes? ... (14) [And he said] ...Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came OUT OF [THE] GREAT TRIBULATION, [Now, modern translations say "the" great tribulation.] and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
That would be the Church. That would have to be the Laodicean Church that will follow this Church and come out of the Great Tribulation. Now, I want you to notice something in Revelation 20 and verse 4. Revelation 20 starts out with the angel taking Satan the devil and binding him a thousand years; but in verse 4:
Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus [Martyrs — both way back there several hundred years or over a thousand years ago, and those yet to be martyred during the coming Great Tribulation.], and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his [name], neither had received his mark [Now there's the mark of the beast again.] upon their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Those who refuse to have the mark of the beast will reign with Christ a thousand years. Now, plainly, the martyrs over a thousand years ago refused that mark. And there are others that are to be martyred in the future — in the next few years, maybe within a year and a half or two years from now. It could be that soon. So now let's go back to Revelation 14. The martyrs over a thousand years did not receive the mark. Now let's see, Revelation 14 and verse 1.
Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having [the] Father's name written in their foreheads.
Now where's the mark of the beast to be written? The mark of the beast will be stamped in the forehead and in their hand so that they can't buy or sell, or can't hold a job and have money to buy or sell. Now take verse 4, just to skip and get the important ones.
Revelation 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; [and] they are virgins. [That is, spiritually speaking "not defiled with." In other words, with the churches of this world; but are virgins from that point of view, plainly referring to this Church.]These are they which follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
Again: we are the firstfruits, brethren. How many times do we see that, and we get that on the day of Pentecost. Now, beginning with verse 9:
Revelation 14:9-10 And [There were now two angels with messages.] the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand [Here it is again, about the mark of the beast.], (10) the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb [at the Second Coming of Christ].
IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE THE MARK OF THE BEAST, you're tortured. You may be martyred. IF YOU DO RECEIVE THE MARK OF THE BEAST, then this [banging on the Bible] is going to happen to you! And brethren, every one of you may personally in the next 1½ to 5 years, maybe 10 years... I can't set a date. But it's VERY, VERY IMMINENT NOW. And the time has come to WARN. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION. You'd better know what is the mark of the beast.
Revelation 14:11-12 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day (n)or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name [the mark of the beast]. (12) Here is the patience of the saints: here are they [Now these do NOT have the mark of the beast.] that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
On the one hand are those who have the name of God in their forehead and, when it comes to work and things, they have the commandments of God. And one of those commandments tells you what day you can't use your hands in work, and that day is the Sabbath day. IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD! Now why would Satan the devil use a church to try to make you break one of the commandments of God? Satan is a great deceiver! Satan is a great deceiver. I want you to notice there are two classes. One will not have the mark, and they will be martyred. And many things are going to happen to you by the police and the police state, and they are going to take over this country. If you are not killed in the war and the famine and pestilence that is coming and prophesied to come almost any time now, then you are going to face this.
But if you REJECT the mark... Let's see. Revelation 12:17. (12:17; I don't remember why I put that right in here.) Let's get that. Revelation 12:17, oh yes, that's it.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have [the faith, or] the testimony of Jesus Christ.
That's the Word of God, the Bible. And what churches do have it? Brethren, I had to find out (way back there 56 years ago now) that the churches do not believe the Bible. They do not follow the Bible, but they preach precisely the opposite of the Bible. And when it comes right down to following the Bible, this is the only Church I know! The Sardis Church did as far as they went, but they didn't go far enough. They didn't even know what is the true gospel. They didn't know what will happen during the Millennium. They knew there would be a Millennium all right, but they didn't have the true gospel of the Kingdom of God. They don't know we could be born of God. They had the Bible as far as they've got it, but they only have a little of if.
But now the martyrs did NOT have the mark of the beast. Those who obey the human government may save their human life, but they are going to suffer all these plagues that I've read to you here from God and will not make it into the Kingdom of God. Those who obey God may be tortured.
Let me tell you what kind of torture. They used to run needles right up under your fingernails and thumbnails, into the quick. And boy, that does hurt. All right, now let's get down to... I wanted to prepare you. Now I'll give you one. They would tie a rope around your wrists together. They would tie another rope around your ankles holding them together. The one rope would be hitched up to one horse. The other rope from your feet would be hitched to another horse. And they'd start the horses in opposite directions, and they'd pull you until they'd pull you apart. Actually would pull your legs, or your arms, right out of their sockets until you're pulled apart. That's the way they tortured people, until they died. It's so fiendish that I'd hate to tell you some of the things that have happened. And those things have happened, and former people have gone through that in order to keep the commandments of God.
Now the two-horned beast is merely a sort of enforcer. They enforce the mark. They compel obedience. And they don't kill anyone. They... You'll notice that they "are drunk with the blood of the saints." But they didn't kill them. They "caused them to be killed." They just simply announced them "anathema from Christ," and the government killed them; but they ruled the government.
Now, they are going to compel disobedience to God. But they are not going to compel you to lie. They are not going to compel you to commit adultery. They are not going to compel stealing. They are not going to compel you to covet your neighbor's goods or your neighbor's wife. They will not compel you to dishonor your father and mother. They will not compel you to have other gods. (They might to worship idols, and they might not.) They won't compel you to use profanity. But I tell you what they will compel you to do — to observe Sunday, instead of the Sabbath.
Now, they call the Sabbath "The Lord's Day." They say the church changed it. And the church did change it, the Roman Catholic Church; but GOD DID NOT. Cardinal Gibbons of the Roman Catholic Church wrote in my earlier life... He's dead now, but I remember when he did. You see, he wrote this: "You may search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you cannot find one word in the Bible authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Bible everywhere enforces the sanctification of Saturday, the 7th day of the week." But he said, "You Protestants have to admit the AUTHORITY of the Roman Catholic Church that is BRANDED ON YOU WHEN YOU OBSERVE SUNDAY, BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOOTHER AUTHORITY FOR SUNDAY BUT THAT OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH." And it came out of the sun worship that they brought in. The so-called Christianity, they put the name of Christ on it. It has to affect one of the commandments of God.
Now what commandment affects your business? How many of our people have had to change their jobs (that has affected their job and their earning of a living and the buying or selling) because of the Sabbath? Now the Roman Catholic Council of Laodicea, that was 363 AD, they passed this. "Christians must not Judaise by resting on the Sabbath." They called it "the Sabbath." They didn't try to say... It's the Protestants that began to call Sunday 'the Sabbath.' The Roman Catholic Church never did. Rather they said, at this Council of Laodicea: "Christians must not Judaise by resting on the Sabbath (That, they said, is Jewish.), but must work on that day, resting rather on Sunday. But if any be found to be Judaising, let them be declared anathema from Christ."
AND WHEN THE CHURCH CALLED THEM "ANATHEMA FROM CHRIST," THE GOVERNMENT OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE TORTURED THEM OR PUT THEM TO DEATH if they didn't obey and start to worship on Sunday. There is no question about it, brethren. And that has happened. It is the only commandment that they have altered. They haven't altered the others, but they did try to alter this one.
Now I'd like to have you notice back in Daniel the 7th chapter and verse 25. And this is speaking of the Roman Catholic Church, among Daniel's four beasts here. And there was to be a small horn that was to come among them, which was the papacy.
Daniel 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High [Isn't that just like I read in Revelation?], and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws...
You change the law in respect of time, and they changed the Sabbath into Sunday. And they changed the day from beginning at sunset, to beginning at midnight. And they changed the months from the new moons to the way it is. They've changed times all along, and it all came through the Roman Catholic Church.
Daniel 7:25 ...think to change time and laws, and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
In other words, 1260 years. And they did that, carry it on for 1260 years.
Now I want you to notice that the Sabbath is NOT a mark. It is a sign. And I want to show you there is a difference between a sign and a mark. A sign is something that a man hangs out in front of his business. "Jones & Company Furniture." Now that identifies it, tells who owns it, tells what it is. It's not a drug store. It is not a men's clothing store. It's a furniture store. A sign identifies. But a merchant hangs it out of his own accord. It is not branded on him. He takes that himself and puts it out. A sign is always something that you hang up yourself to identify. Or even a doctor would have a little neat sign outside of his door; but it identifies who is in there, who is in that room. Let's turn back for a moment to Exodus 31, beginning with verse 12.
Exodus 31:12 And the Eternal spake unto Moses, saying,
I want you to notice that this is something. It is a covenant, and it's eternal. And it has nothing to do with the Old Covenant. This is made after the Old Covenant was made. That means set apart for holy use and purpose. It IDENTIFIES WHO ARE GOD'S PEOPLE. IT IDENTIFIES GOD. Now, let's read on. I'll show you how.
Exodus 31:14 You shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you...
The world doesn't want to put any difference between the holy and the profane. This one Church is one Church that does, brethren; and you'll have to begin to put a difference between the holy and the profane. The Sabbath Day is holy. Your first tithe, which is God's tithe, is holy to Him. You are stealing if you use it. You are stealing if you use the Sabbath Day that belongs to God. It's not your time. It's God's.
Exodus 31:14-15 You shall keep the Sabbath therefore for it is holy unto you; every one that defileth it shall (surely) be put to death: [Now that was, of course, in the nation Israel. It was a death penalty.] for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. (15) Six days may work be done; but (in) the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the [Eternal]; whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
Now there is a death penalty in Israel if you don't keep the Sabbath. The beast now says there is a death penalty in THEIR law if you don't break the Sabbath. You see how Satan wants to contradict, and yet he wants to counterfeit and let a lot of people think it is the Sabbath.
Exodus 31:16-17 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. [A PERPETUAL COVENANT. This is a COVENANT.] (17) It is a sign between me and the children of Israel [That is, it identifies them as God's people. It identifies God. Why?]forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
It doesn't say He created. He "made." And you'll find that many... He did create a few things. He created the land animals and people on that day. But He didn't "make" the earth at that time. He was remaking its surface, as you find in the 103rd Psalm and verse 30. Oh, there is so many of these little things that so many people in the churches of this world just don't understand in the Bible. But a sign identifies.
Now let me tell you a few things. Why do the Jews think they are Israel? Why is it that OUR PEOPLE ARE ISRAEL, BUT DON'T KNOW WHO WE ARE? Because the first thing that Jeroboam did, when Israel rejected king Rehoboam, was to not only get rid of the priesthood (and the Levites went back and joined in with Judah); but he also changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. And he went right along with the pagans over in Assyria that were observing the Chaldean MYSTERY RELIGION. And because they lost their sign that identified them, no one knew who they were; and they finally lost their own language, and they lost their identity.
Why do the Jews think they are Israel? Because they have kept the Sabbath through these centuries and years, and the Sabbath has branded them as Israel. But it's a sign they have voluntarily kept. No one forced them to do it. BUT THE MARK OF THE BEAST, A MARK IS A BRAND. It's branded on you, like you brand cattle. The cow doesn't ask you to do it. The cow doesn't do it voluntarily. You do it to him. And the MARK is one that is MARKED on you.
A mark also identifies, doesn't it? The sign identifies. Both a mark and a sign identify. One is the sign of God. The other is the mark of the beast. They both have something to do with the right hand and the forehead, with work. Christians, who have the sign of God, have the name of God — the Church of God, the name written on our foreheads. We have it in our hand. And you'll find that the commandments will be bound in their hand and in their forehead in other places in the Law of Moses when speaking of the commandments of God.
There is only one commandment that the world absolutely will not obey, and that is the Sabbath. The Sabbath is GOD'S TEST COMMANDMENT. That is the one that is the TEST above all. God's law is love to God and love to neighbor. You know, the carnal mind will often have a certain amount of love to other people. For example, a lot of husbands and wives, who are entirely carnal, get along because each is getting what he or she wants from the other. They can get along. Of course, too often they don't get along. It all depends on what they get, not what they give. But they don't seem to want to have anything to do with God.
You can't come to love God unless you love less your own children, your father and mother, or those closest to you. Not that you have to "hate" them, as it says in the King James translation of the Bible. But the world doesn't realize that it makes any difference whether we love God or not. God's law is love. It's love divided into two divisions. The two great commandments: Love towards God (That's the first four of the Ten Commandments). Love toward neighbor (That's the last six.).
The Sabbath is the one that shows love towards God, and there is NO REASON IN THE WORLD to keep the Sabbath except it's holy to God and you are obeying God and keeping your foot off of the Sabbath (as He says I believe.... Let's see, is that the 56th chapter of Isaiah? It's one of the chapters of Isaiah). Keep your foot off of it from polluting it, mudding it all up.
Oh, I could preach you sermon after sermon after sermon about the Sabbath. And we've been taking it for granted, because we keep it and we just take it for granted. And I haven't been preaching much about the Sabbath in a good many years now, and I used to have to preach that subject more than anything back 50 years ago. But now we are coming to the place where you are going to see how important it is. There is no question whatsoever. I tell you, brethren, I'd... It just seemed like we didn't need to talk about this subject in our Church because we understood it. Another thing, the Sabbath question was a great question before the public 55 years ago.
But today it hasn't been so important. It's going to get important once again. So we haven't been talking about it much in this Church. We take it for granted. Well, don't take it for granted! It is VERY important! I think we need a few more sermons about the Sabbath, and I think that I am going to preach a little more about it and also about the very immanency of these things. We are in the time now of our final exams. In fact, we have been for the last two or four or five years. I have been telling you that. But we are in that time, and there isn't much time to go.
I have some other things that I thought I would read to you about the coming of this Empire in Europe, but I just haven't had time. So I am not going to take time, because time is up now. But I want you to realize the seriousness of this, and the immanency of it; and the time of trial and testing is coming. And the time when we are going to have to be concerned about it, if we are going to have to get out of here and leave here. Leave this auditorium. I don't know what will happen to it. God will look after that. It's dedicated to Him. I think He'll take care of it whatever way He wants it done.
We may have to all go someplace. I don't know how we are going to go. God's going to have to show us a lot of things He hasn't revealed yet. We're coming to the time. And we are going to come very shortly now to the time when, I tell you, the ministers of this Church are going to have to tell all you people in the congregation its better not to have more children from now on — because there is a curse pronounced on those who have either nursing babies or new babies that are that young at the time of this Great Tribulation. And it is going to come very soon now. I think it's bound to be one, two, three years at least. I don't think it's going to be here tomorrow or next week. Now don't misunderstand me. I'm not setting a date. I am just telling you it is VERY, VERY imminent.
I wish I had time to read you some letters here. And there is one very important man that has a lot to do with this getting of Europe together. Well, he is one of the two most important men; and he is going to come. He wants to have a meeting with me, and I just missed a meeting with him on this last trip.
But there is to be plenty of meetings of the European Parliament, which is that division of the people of the Common Market trying to get this together as a political union. And their meetings, it's the same as the San Francisco Conference that drew up the Charter for the United Nations. And they expect to have their charter for that all completed by (I believe it was... Now I forget the date again. I had it given to me again yesterday.) it was in early March. I think the 7th or 8th of March, something like that. It's supposed to be completed by that time.
Now things are going together faster than you realize, and most of it is not hitting the public press. You aren't going to read of it for a while in the public press, but I get it confidentially from those on the inside. And I have fortunately had access to them. And I want to tell you that it is moving. They say it is not moving fast enough for them. They are very disappointed that it isn't moving faster, but they are putting everything back of it that they can. And we've got to put everything back of getting ourselves ready that we can.
I am going to have to declare a time of fasting and prayer in the next two or three weeks, but I am not going to do that this minute today. I want to think it over; and I'll send it out in a general letter to the whole membership and at least to the ministers, who will announce it in their respective churches. So it'll be maybe just a week or two.
From NOW ON, brethren, UNTIL THE KINGDOM OF GOD, IT'S NOT GOING TO BE ALL peaches and cream. If you think it's going to be just all beautiful, and everything is hotsy-totsy and dandy, FORGET IT. WE'RE IN FOR NOTHING BUT TROUBLE, AND THE WHOLE WORLD IS. But we are on God's side; and that means He is on our side, doesn't it? And we need to get a little better on His side, and we are going to have to do some fasting and praying. And I'm going to set aside a time for fasting and prayer in the next few Sabbaths.
So that's it for now, brethren. But whatever you do, keep close to God from now on because I want to tell you that times are different; and the Devil knows he has but a short time. Now maybe we don't know it. We better wake up to the fact that he does only have a short time, and that means we only have a short time to be ready.