At the time when all would have fully matured in either submission to God or rebellion against Him, Christ will return to the earth just as was promised. This time He will not come as a baby in a manger, but as a king in all His glory and majesty.
In this event which marks the end of the present world order, the Bible portrays Christ as riding out of Heaven seated on a white horse. In this dramatic session it is also described that the rebellious ones and how they are affected by Christ’s second coming. A characteristic feature that is common to those who are rebellious and are yet alive at that time is that they have the “Mark of the Beast” and are in company with the beast himself.
Whatever the mark of the beast is, it must be something distinct enough to distinguish the righteous from the unrighteous, this is evident in the description that is given of the righteous at that time. They are said to have gained victory over the beast and his image and also over his mark.
God’s unmingled wrath would not be reserved for a punishment of an unknown offense. Furthermore, the mark of the beast must be in some way, a contrast form the “seal” or the mark of God. So what really is the mark of the beast? According to a vision of prophetic history, Daniel was shown the rise and fall of four vast empires. Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome. A thousand years before the events took place, he foresaw the dismemberment of the western Rome, the rise of papacy and the establishment of “ten kingdoms” which developed into the nations of southern and western Europe. Regarding the accuracy of the fulfillment, nearly all conservative protestants agree. Daniel 7 tells about a “little horn” that grew in the midst of the ten horns. As it arose, it uprooted three other horns. The angel of the vision explained this to Daniel saying: another king shall rise after them he shall be different from the kings and he shall subdue three kings.
Daniel 7 gives parallel of the of this rise of power. After seeing this vision, four beasts arose out of the sea, an angel explained: “the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth which shall be different from all other kingdoms.” This kingdom will devour the entire earth and shall tread it down and break it in pieces.
According to history, the fourth kingdom would be the Roman empire. The prophecy about the dividing of the kingdoms also corresponds with the history of pagan Rome because Rome was divided into ten kingdoms, namely: the Franks, Ostrogoths, Visogoths, Heruli, Burgundians, Suevi, Saxons, Lombards, Alamanni, and the Vandals. These kingdoms are the ten horns of Daniel.
According to the prophecy, still another horn was to come out of Rome which was to uproot three smaller horns. This little horn will come from the same source that the previous horns came from. This then suggest that the little horn shall also come from Rome. This horn also had to uproot three kingdoms in it’s division. Up to this day seven of the original kingdoms exists. These kingdoms are: Anglo-Saxons – England, Franks- France, Lombards – Italy, Alamanni – Germany, Burgundians – Switzerland, Suevi – Portugal, and Visigoths – Spain. The kingdoms of Heruli, Vandals, and the Ostrogoths have no modern counterpart.
In the book of Revelation, John says that the beast bears the number 666, this has been identified with persons such as Nero, Napoleon and dozens of historical figures, but these speculations all have one fallacy: these persons, although they have bad reputations as leaders never sought religious supremacy, the little horn had to “seek to be like the most high.”
The mark of the beast has to be something that contradicts a principle of God which governs the universe, otherwise it would not be sin. The warning that is issued about those who receive the mark of the beast is the sternest in the entire Bible, but it also states distinguishing characteristics between those who receive the mark and those who do not.
Those who do not receive the mark are set apart by the fact that they keep the commandments of God. A close examination of the commandments will reveal that the fourth commandment is a kind of identifying mark or seal of God. It is a sign of God’s creative power, it would only be fair to say that a false seal would be a false day of worship. This is noted to have originated in the Roman empire, the fourth kingdom as was revealed in the prophecy of Daniel.
Rome essentially different in it’s political setting than all other kingdoms, it has ruled not by political rulers, but by the church. When the church began to fall away from the apostolic faith, she gradually accepted pagan practices. False teachings took the place of truth. In all of this, she also took a false day of worship. The Catholic World, March 1894, page 809 says: She took the pagan Sunday and made it the Christian Sunday. The late Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore says in his book. The Faith of our Fathers: “you may read the Bible from Geneses to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day we never sanctify.”
It has been revealed in clear terms that the mark of the beast is the observance of Sunday as the Sabbath in stead of Saturday, the little horn was said to seek to change things and times. There is no passage in the Bible that gives authority to the church to make such a change. This change is the only institution that involves an almost universal disregard for a commandment of God.