Speaker: Vasko Belovski
Hello friends. Over the past two weeks, we have been examining the workings of the two beasts that are presented in the book of Revelation. And more specifically, we’ve been looking at how the mark of the beast crisis, or an upcoming national Sunday law is to be established in the United States of America and spread to every other country in the world. We learned that America will form an image to the beast, a church and state union, the church being apostate Protestantism, which will be needed in order for this country, which was established upon the principles of Protestantism and
Republicanism, to speak as a dragon, to legislate Sunday worship, and ultimately persecute those who wouldn’t adhere to this papal Sabbath. We also connected this prophetic revelation with some of the current events that we have been witnessing in the world in order to ensure we remain focused on the plain teachings of the Bible, and be prepared to warn the people of this world for the impending crisis. In fact, one of the main reasons why Bible prophecy has been given to us as God’s people is for the purpose of evangelism in order to reach all the different demographics of this world. Jesus himself told us in Matthew chapter 10: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles”, Matthew 10:16 to 18. This passage is very important for us because we have indeed seen God’s people being brought before governors in the past, specifically with respect to an upcoming national Sunday law in the United States of America. And God’s people today need to make sure they are prepared to yet again, though harmless as doves to be wise as serpents because it is through the wisdom that Christ alone can give that many of us will be able to again stand before governors and kings for His namesake. The Bible also tells us in the book of Ecclesiastes, that the thing that had been it is that which shall be and that which is done is that which shall be done, and there is no new thing under the sun Ecclesiastics 1:9. History is to be our lesson book. And what we’re going to do today is go back in time in order to further examine some of the main historic events of the past related to the workings of the two beasts in Revelation. Specifically in relation to the enactment of a National Sunday Law. There are two major events that will be beneficial for us to exam. The first one deals with the time when the very first National Sunday Law was ever passed. And the second deals with a period in which the subject was yet again agitated. But due to the lack of faith among God’s people, the final events of this Earth’s history were held back. The winds of strife that Revelation seven talks about were kept in check in order for God to allow the sealing to continue. Let us go back now to the year 321 AD, when none else but the Roman Empire enacted the very first National Sunday Law. This is very well described in the book The Great Controversy, where we read the following remarks on page 573, and page 574. “If the reader would understand the agencies to be employed in the soon coming contest, he has but to trace the record of the means which Rome employed for the same object in ages past. If you would know how papists and Protestants united will deal with those who reject their dogmas, let him see the spirit of which Rome manifested toward the Sabbath and its defenders. Royal edicts, general councils and church ordinances sustained by secular power, were the steps by which the pagan festival
attained its position of honor in the Christian world. The first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was the law enacted by Constatine. This edict required townspeople to rest on ‘the venerable day of the sun’, but permitted country man to continue their agricultural pursuits. Though virtually a heathen statute, it was enforced by the Emperor after his nominal acceptance of Christianity.” History very well confirms what we see here in the Great Controversy. And in the Chambers Encyclopedia we read: “Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which this sabbatical observance of that day is known to have ordained is the Edict of Constantine, 321 AD.” And how exactly was that edict formulated? We read in the History of the Christian Church, volume three: “On the venerable day of the Sun led the magistrates and people residing in the cities rest and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain sowing or for vine planting less by neglecting the proper moment for such operations, the bounty of heaven should be lost.” What is interesting here to note, though it isn’t the focus in this message is that when the edict was first introduced, those in the countryside were allowed to continue with the cultivation of their fields. I cannot but think for a second of what we have witnessed in the current COVID-19 crisis, and the situations people have had to face in the cities. My wife and I have been in the countryside for some time now. And I have to say that the further you get from the larger cities, the less chaos and confusion you see. The grocery store in the nearby town we visit never ran out of toilet paper, there were never lineups and life wasn’t impacted, as it were in the major cities. All of this has reminded me and many other people of the importance of making sure we follow God’s blueprints that He has revealed in the Bible. And one of those blueprints is country living. God placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful country setting. Abraham dwelt in the countryside. And we know what happened to Lot and his family when he chose to become a city dweller. We’re to work in the cities to form churches there and mingle with the people in the cities. But at the same time, God’s ideal has always been for His people to secure a place in the countryside, particularly when raising children. John the Baptist was not only raised in the country, but the countryside remained his home, even as he was called to witness and work upon the people in the cities. Likewise, God’s people in these last days, who will be driven by the spirit of Elijah, just as John was, will also find valuable lessons in John’s example, and reap the spiritual benefits of being in the country, perhaps even during the early stages of the upcoming mark of the beast crisis. Nevertheless, we are also not to fool ourselves that country living will eliminate the difficulties that are ahead of us, because even in the time of Constantine drastic measures were taken as the Sunday law back then progressed. We find that presented in the following paragraphs in the Great Controversy: “As the papacy became firmly established, the work of Sunday exhortation was continued. For a time the people engaged in agricultural labor when not attending church, and the seventh day was still regarded as the Sabbath. But steadily a change was effected. Those in holy office were forbidden to pass judgment in any civil controversy on the Sunday. Soon after, all persons, of whatever rank, were commanded to refrain from common labor, on pain of a fine for freemen and stripes in the case of servants. Later, he was decreed that rich men should be punished with the loss of half of their estates; and finally, that if still obstinate, they should be made slaves. The lower classes where the suffer perpetual banishment.” History testifies that a law in the year 386, instituted by Theodosis, who had become the Eastern Roman Emperor seven years prior, those older changes brought in by Constantine were more rigorously enforced. And in general, civil transactions of every kind on Sunday, were strictly forbidden. We see how the Sunday law back then progressed and passed through different stages. The same can be also said of the Roman power. As pagan Rome, or the dragon is presented in Revelation 12 and 13 continue to transition into Christianity.
the papacy ultimately received all of its power, seat and great authority, which resulted in a period of 1260 year persecution during the dark and Middle Ages. History has proven that a church and state power which legislates a mandatory National Sunday Law ultimately becomes a persecutor of life for those who do not agree with its religious belief system. Constantine saw Christianity’s belief as a way to unify the empire that had been so badly divided. He introduced Christianity for the benefit of society, for the greater good. But unfortunately as time progressed, and as the church became the prevalent dictator in civil matter, the papacy took one’s liberty of free worship completely away, persecuting people even unto death. This is what we learned from the example of the first ever passed National Sunday Law. As we read earlier, history is to be repeated, because as the Bible says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The repetition of this history was starting to become a reality at a particular time in America’s history, when the same fervent Christian spirit was manifested, pressing upon Congress to accept a national Sunday law for the benefit of society. In the early 1880s, two primary Christian lobbies, began to petition for a National Sunday Law. Something to keep in mind here is that we’re looking specifically at a Nationwide Sunday Law. There have been different state blue laws that deal with Sunday sacredness. But in the 1880s, we see a push particularly for a National Sunday Law. The two groups which were actively involved back then, were the women’s Christian Temperance Union, and the National Reform Association. We already learned that in America, the image to the beast, or the church and state union that the Bible speaks about in Revelation 13 will be accomplished between the False Prophet apostate Protestantism and the civil powers. And it was no coincidence that these two groups were Protestant associations. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union, also known as WCTU, was founded in November 1874 in Cleveland, Ohio. It became one of the largest and most influential women’s groups of the 19th century, by expanding its platform to campaign for labor laws, prison reform and suffrage. The National Reform Association the NRA, which was formerly known as the National Association to Secure Religious Amendment of the United States Constitution was founded in 1864, and was an organization that wanted to introduce a Christian amendment to the US Constitution in order to make the United States a Christian state. In an article published in the Review and Herald of 1887, we find the following remarks about the workings of the NRA. The aim of the national Reform Association is to secure a constitutional establishment of religion so that ecclesiastical offenses shall be punished by civil penalties. And this association proposes to bring this about by the recognition and the help of the Roman Church. In other words, the National Reform Association proposes by amendment of the National Constitution, to establish an order of procedure here by which the papal church may do all over this nation what she is now allowed to do in Canada, in Spain, in France, and other such benighted countries. The Scripture says of Rome that the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication,.And all any person has to do to behold the proof of it is only to turn his eyes in any direction. You see, the NRA had its own paper called The Christian Statesman that was heavily promoting Sunday sacredness in the hopes of bringing Protestant America together. The combination of this agitation reached its peak in the year 1888 when a senator by the name of Henry W. Blair, after having 21,000 petitions, representing 14 million signatures from Christian lobby, and labor union groups, advocating for a national Sunday law raised the issue before the Senate Committee on education and labor. There were two attempts for this bill to be passed. But due to the great argumentation of Alonzo t Jones, who represented a Seventh Day Adventist
Church, and God’s providence, that which has become known as the Blair bill never became law. Though there’s a lot to learn from this particular event that which is of great importance for us is the way the issue was being agitated and the reasons brought forth. By the time the Sunday Rest bill reached the December Senate committee hearing, the Christian lobbies arguments had evolved from being religious to the point of giving mainly civil reasons for why this bill should pass. Lobbyists argued that the bill presented a scenario in which religious and civil law merely coincide. Instead of emphasizing the need to protect the rights of Christians, the lobbyists emphasize the need to protect the rights of the American workmen. J.C. Bateham, one of the WCTU leaders asserted that state Sabbath laws needed to be protected from the encroachment of capital and that WCTU had all unprejudiced working men in their side. She claimed that the most groups who oppose the Sunday Rest Bill were those who stood to make a profit from Sabbath desecration. In other words, the capitalists. It was argued that Sabbath laws were laws of national self preservation, and that anyone who threatened those laws also threatened liberty. Senator Blair himself stated that the bill should be decided on the grounds of what is good for human beings here in the world. You see, there are two ways for a religious day of rest to become a legal reality in the United States of America. Either some aspects of the Constitution are to be abolished or amended, or the religious day of rest isn’t proposed as a Christian holiday only, but rather as a day of rest that will benefit all human beings being based on civil or secular premise. Of these two, the latter is rule seen a little bit seems to be the way this law is going to be passed in America at some point in the near future. The primary lesson we find from both the Edict of Constantine in 321 AD, and the Blair bill from 1888, is that in both cases, we have had the desire for people to introduce that which is good for the country and all human beings. Constantine wanted to unite and strengthen the Roman Empire, while the Blair bill wanted to ensure that America preserves its Christian roots, and its high standard of morality. So what does all of this mean for us today? And do we see a push in America and the world as a whole for a national day of rest? The answer to this question is a resounding yes. And what is most interesting about this push is that a lot of it is based on civil or secular premises. Why is that? Because as we learn from the Blair bill, the way a religious holiday would even have the potential to be considered constitutional is if it is based upon a secular premise. A civil interest for all human beings. And friends, there’s a lot has changed since the Blair bill was introduced over 130 years ago. There have been three key Supreme Court cases that have paved the way for the enactment of a National Sunday Law. It was already mentioned in our previous presentation, that the case Magallon versus Maryland ruled that Sunday laws are constitutional for as long as they have a secular purpose. Furthermore, the Supreme Court in the United States also ruled in the two guys vs. McGinley and Brownfield vs. Brown, that a Pennsylvania and state law that required certain types of retail businesses to close on Sunday, did not violate the first Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause. McGowen versus Maryland was not an isolated case. What we have seen today is a very strong legal premise upon which a national Sunday law can very easily be passed and deemed constitutional. The time is indeed our hand. But you know what friends, even though the way has been paved, legally speaking, even though we see a push for a day of rest based entirely on a secular premise
that will be a benefit for all human beings; there’s still one more element that needs to be part of the prophetic picture. This brings us to the most important lesson that we can learn from the Blair bill of 1888 and 1889. You see the year 1888 was not just a random time period. The only reason why a national Sunday law bill was being introduced into the United States of America is because God was also paving the way so to speak for His church, His chosen people that give the third angels message with a loud voice. We find the following remarks in the Spirit of Prophecy with respect to this point:”The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through elders, Wagner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Savior, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus, they needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angels message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.” You see, friends, the mark of the beast would have only become a reality if God’s people had accepted the message He had for them. Only when the third angel’s message is proclaimed with a loud voice attendant with the outpouring of His Spirit is the National Sunday law going to be passed. The Blair bill did not go through because the message did not penetrate the hearts of the people and because of insubordination, this world has continued to suffer the consequences of sin. You might be thinking, but I have read this quote. In fact, I see ministers, I see ministries, people in various groups within Adventism, who constantly talk about righteousness by faith. So many different books have been written. And so many different sermons have been preached on the subject. Are we not there yet? We are getting there. The Lord is taking us step by step. But what we have witnessed over the past few years, is that the majority of those who should be embracing the third angels message in its purity and completeness, have been settling for a Barabas instead of Christ. People have been denying the foundation of God’s Church, Jesus Christ Himself, the chief Cornerstone in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom we also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit. In order to fully understand the third angels message, we must have a right Foundation, we have to understand the identity of Jesus Christ, who He was in His pre-existence, and who He became 2000 years ago. Without this Foundation we’ll just continue to choose Barabas, preventing Jesus from not only finishing the work in our own hearts, but also preventing Him from finishing the work worldwide. Beloved, after examining some of the lessons from the first ever past Sunday law, and the Blair Bill, we can but notice how all the signs we are witnessing in the world are telling us that the Lord is yet again bringing His people near the Jordan. We know what happened the second time Israel was brought to the promised land. They entered in. It isn’t a matter of if, but of when God is raising a spiritual army, His bride, which will be the pillar and ground of the truth, and which is being prepared to give the third angels message with a loud voice. Will you choose to be part of that army? To Be yourself the pillar and ground of the truth? There’s no time for insubordination anymore. May the Lord help us all to make sure we do not repeat the mistakes of the 1888 generation, because this time, the consequences might have eternal impact for us as individuals.