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The Final Test
Satan’s war against God and His authority has focused upon the character of God and His law from the very beginning, and it will escalate just before Jesus comes the second time.
Jesus must have known that Satan would tempt us to doubt our need to obey God’s law, for He emphasized that our obedience is a demonstration of our love to Him: “If you love Me, keep My commandments. . . . If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 14:15; 15:10. John the beloved wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3.
The fourth of the ten commandments reminds us to keep the seventh-day Sabbath:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11.
Is this command Jewish? It seems that many sincere Christians would say, Yes. Although the fourth commandment begins with “remember,” perhaps they have not remembered that the seventh day was sanctified long before there was a Jew, for the Sabbath was instituted on the seventh day of creation week:
“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3.
During His earthly life, Jesus affirmed what day is the true “Lord’s day”: “The Son of Man is . . . Lord of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:28.
In the book of Revelation, chapter 14, John tells us that he saw three angels flying in the heavens. As the first of those three angels calls all people to worship God, it is interesting to note that he uses language similar to what we read above in the fourth commandment. Note also that these three messages focus on the issue of who we worship:
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’ And another angel followed, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:6-12.
This issue of worship is indicated by man’s choice whether he will honor the true Sabbath of God or the false Sabbath that man established:
Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law and order, as breaking down the moral restraints of society, causing anarchy and corruption, and calling down the judgments of God upon the earth. Their conscientious scruples will be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and contempt of authority. They will be accused of disaffection toward the government. Ministers who deny the obligation of the divine law will present from the pulpit the duty of yielding obedience to the civil authorities as ordained of God. In legislative halls and courts of justice, commandment keepers will be misrepresented and condemned. A false coloring will be given to their words; the worst construction will be put upon their motives.
As the Protestant churches reject the clear, Scriptural arguments in defense of God’s law, they will long to silence those whose faith they cannot overthrow by the Bible. Though they blind their own eyes to the fact, they are now adopting a course which will lead to the persecution of those who conscientiously refuse to do what the rest of the Christian world are doing, and acknowledge the claims of the papal sabbath.
The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet’s words: “The dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17.
The Great Controversy, p. 592
If you are wondering how laws could be made that enforce a day of worship, you may wish to read what Ellen White had to say about The Lord’s Day Conflict and The Future of Protestantism. We would also encourage you to obtain a copy of the book The Great Controversy for yourself. In it, you will find much more details than we can share here regarding the beasts of Revelation, the mark of the beast, and how it will be enforced.
After all people of the earth face the final test regarding God’s law, what comes next?
All Scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version, including those originally quoted by Ellen White from the King James Version.—Editors