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Originally Posted By: wayfinder
The "Sunday Law", if there ever is one, will not be a test for Seventh-day Adventists. They will already have been sealed before the great tribulation starts.

Do you have a quote to back that up?

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[...] what power is represented by the sea beast of Revelation 13 and what is the mark of its authority? Finally, what power is represented by the beast that rises out of the the earth and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast?

I gave "Q" some time to answer according to his knowledge and understanding, but since he has not responded, let me share my answers. Thank you for the liberty. :)

1) The "sea beast" of Revelation 13 is representing the Papacy or Papal power. The "dragon" (or pagan Rome) gave him his power. "...the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." (v. 2)

2) The "mark of [the sea beast's] authority" I will explain below.

3) The second beast rising out of the earth is none other than the United States of America and is called a "two-horned beast." "...he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him,..." (v. 12) That power came from the "dragon" (v. 2). The same principles that ruled pagan Rome would influence the "two-horned beast" which would eventually give rise to an "image of the [first] beast." This would be how the "two-horned beast" would cause "the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed." (v. 12)

Now, for a more detailed explanation of point number 2, above.

The word “mark” is defined in many ways. As often used by Adventists, “mark of authority” implies “a distinctive trait or characteristic” that manifests an indication of the authority referred to. Example: “What was the first beast’s mark of authority?” The “mark” in Rev. 13:16, 17 is the Greek word “charagma.” Strong’s definition of this Greek word is “a scratch or etching, i.e. stamp (as a badge of servitude), or sculptured figure (statue).” This word has a different denotation from “mark” used in “mark of authority.” In fact, the “mark” in the Bible is a “mark of servitude,” rather than a “mark of authority.” Notice what the SDA Bible Commentary says on verse 17: “Or the name. Important textual evidence may be cited for the omission of the word “or.” If it is omitted, the phrase “name of the beast” may be considered to be in apposition with the word “mark.” The passage would then read, “the mark, that is, the name of the beast.” This would imply that the mark John saw in vision was the name of the beast.” And I would contend that an expanded reading would be, “the stamp of servitude, that is, the trademark name of the beast.”

So, what IS the "mark" or "symbol" of Papal authority using the Biblical definition for "mark?"

It is simply the Papal insignia described as follows:

The insignia of the papacy includes the image of two Crossed Keys, one gold and one silver, bound with a red cord. This represents the "keys to the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 16:19; cf. Isaiah 22:22) and is in many ways the quintessential symbol of the Papacy as an institution and of its central role within the Catholic Church. Jesus' statement to Simon Peter, "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven", is understood in Roman Catholic theology as establishing two jurisdictions, Heaven and Earth; the silver and gold keys are said to represent these two jurisdictions. The silver key symbolizes the power to bind and loose on Earth, and the gold key the power to bind and loose in Heaven.

There is no certainty about what the three crowns of the Triple Tiara symbolize, as is evident from the multitude of interpretations that have been and still are proposed. Some link it to the threefold authority of the "Supreme Pontiff: Universal Pastor (top), Universal Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (middle) and Temporal Power (bottom)". Others interpret the three tiers as meaning "Father of princes and kings, Ruler of the world, Vicar of our Saviour Jesus Christ".

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Hello,

My apologies for the delay in response. Pastor_Chick summarized fairly well as it turns out; certainly the traditional understandings of the identity of the first and second beasts have no need for re-examination, as they are beyond question.

The only real subject that merits reexamination, I believe, is the title of this thread - specifically, what the mark enforced by the image of the beast is, and whether it is or is not, in fact, Sunday worship.

I saw that Doug said a few posts back:

Quote:
I don't agree with the "adjustment" of EGW's identification of the final issues in the spiritual controversy. If she got the Sunday Law wrong,she also misdiagnosed a bunch of other events and principles too.If she got the Sunday test correct then suggesting that it was merely a conditional prediction annuls the entire prophesy itself.

I think that is a little bit on the extreme side. Several prophecies in Scripture were conditional, and yet were not annulled entirely. Actually, Pastor_Chick made some good contributions on this some posts ago, mentioning the issue of Jeremiah's mention of the New Covenant. But we can go even further than that.

Where, in the Old Testament, do we find anything vaguely reminiscent of SDA, or even Revelation eschatology? It's simply not there. Ezekiel saw 12 gates to the new city, but with different tribal names. He saw Gog and Magog, but not as the multitudes of the revived wicked from all generations - nowhere in the OT do you find any mention of a second resurrection, or a New Jerusalem from heaven.

The scenario as described by the Old Testament prophets was simply that after Israel returned to Him, Yahweh would call all the wicked nations up against Israel for the "battle of Armageddon" - in the actual valley in the actual nation of Israel. Israel was to be victorious, the Messiah was to be slain in the conflict, and then to rise again. Afterwards, Israel would rule all nations, and they would come up yearly for the feast of tabernacles to worship, being either all converted or destroyed in the battle.

Now, this is obviously very different than what we now understand. Why? Because the prophecy, like all others that do not deal with time, was conditional. Does this mean Ezekiel, Zephaniah, Isaiah, Zechariah, etc. were false prophets, or that their entire prophecies were annulled?

No, obviously not, any more than the lack of Nineveh being destroyed in 3 days meant Jonah was a false prophet. We see quite clearly how the prophecies became fulfilled in a different manner according to the same principles after the fall of the people they were made to. Judaism did not, as it turns out, return to Yahweh - they crucified the Savior instead of accepting Him.

Yet in all truth, Mrs. White wasn't even making a new prophecy to be called "conditional." She was speaking as to what the fulfillment of the prophecy from Revelation 13 would be; so to call it a "conditional prophecy," or even a "prophecy" at all on her part, is something of a misnomer. It was a conditional fulfillment of a prophecy. Consider what Mrs. White herself wrote on the matter:

"But in the very act of enforcing a religious duty by secular power, the churches would themselves form an image to the beast; hence the enforcement of Sundaykeeping in the United States would be an enforcement of the worship of the beast and his image." [Great Controversy p. 449, emphasis added]

Very simply, any Protestant church joining to the U.S. Government forms an image of the Papacy, the first beast. Any religious observance they then regulate or enforce with civil power is the mark they are imposing.

Obviously, Mrs. White saw this happening in her day. She saw the Sunday lobby, the bill before congress, and all the things mentioned in an earlier post. She was quite right to say "The Mark of the Beast will be Sunday" - had it come to pass as expected, it most certainly would have been. Were it to come to pass today, it most certainly would be.

But she does not say "The mark of the beast is Sunday worship because this is what the Lord has shown me." No; she lays out the Biblical exposition of what constitutes the image, and thus reasons that Sunday enforcement would be an enforcement - not the only one possible - of the worship of the beast and his image.

Uriah Smith wrote likewise, stating that a Sunday law, or it's exact equivalent, would constitute the mark of the beast. Consider, also, what Mrs. White said elsewhere:

"It should be remembered that the promises and threatenings of God are alike conditional." [1 SM 67]

"Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered." [1 SM 57]

The idea of Sunday as the mark of the beast has never been demonstrated from Scripture alone as a matter of prophecy, but always upon the writings of Mrs. White. And then, not on her writings which were visions, or a "Thus saith the Lord," but on her writings in regard to what seemed to be the obvious fulfillment of the Biblical principles in her day.

What we - and she - find in the Bible is simply that a Protestant church (or union of churches) would join with the U.S. Government to enact an oppressive religious law against the people of God. It does not limit this to one instance or another; any time this occurs, it is a fulfillment of the principles involved. The difference between the wise and foolish virgins, you will recall, is principle. Both professed a pure faith, but one class did not assimilate the principles of the Word.

The Jews were not foolish virgins; they professed a pure faith. They even had ready Scriptures for why Jesus could not have been the Messiah, and to expect a conquering King to arrive. They missed the principles of who God was, and crucified the lord of the Sabbath.

Now, we find ourselves in a similar position. Adventists have many ready "proof texts" for a Sunday law fulfillment of the mark of the beast. Yet will they ignore, or even support, a law or church that does the exact same thing under a different cover? What is the principle of the matter?

Bypassing the principles of what made the Sunday law wrong and a fulfillment of prophecy is not what it means to be a wise virgin, assimilating the principles of the Word of God. We need a clear understanding of these things; one thing is certain, Satan is no fool. He would certainly be remiss to lull the world - Adventists included - into such a deep Laodicean slumber, only to shock them awake with such a crude and loud stir as a Sunday law would be in this generation.

When has the line between truth and error ever been so pronounced? We expect the last test to be more difficult and subtle than any before it. The line between truth and error, Mrs. White says, will be so subtle that only those with spiritual discernment will be able to see it. Does that sound like a Sunday law in this generation? In Mrs. White's day, absolutely. In our day, it certainly does not sound like it to me.

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Again, I don't see why the actual literal fulfillment of the Sunday Law "principle" is impossible. We agree on no time soon, but given enough time and lots of unforseen circumstances why couldn't Sunday sacredness "suddenly" deja vu? I absolutely don't hold the "ready or not,here I come" view that seems rather prevalent today. And I have a hard time spiritualizing away so many of EGW's eschatological statements.I,for one, am convinced that literal Sabbath keeping will be a mandatory requrement for God's people before He is able to say "the mystery is finished."

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Well, I would not say "impossible" - "extremely unlikely" is perhaps a more accurate term. IF Sunday-keeping were to suddenly be required by the Government at the request of a Church-state union, then yes, obviously it would be the mark of the beast. Why? Because it would fulfill the principles of the prophecy, "hence [...] would be an enforcement of the worship of the beast and his image."

The major danger is in assuming that Sunday keeping is the only way that the mark of the beast can be imposed, and thus, as you've mentioned a few times, placing it so far off in the future that it is of necessity not a present message. Worse than that, if we look for Sunday as the only way it can happen - and something else comes along that fulfills the principles of a church-state union forcing the conscience, but is not literally Sunday worship - we've missed the boat entirely, because we were in exactly the position of the foolish virgins. Waiting for an expected fulfillment, and not looking for the principles. That is what SDAs need to be concerned with - when the bridegroom tarries, do they have enough of the Spirit of God to be recognize when He *is* coming, at a time and in a way unexpected.

Obviously, literal Sabbath-keeping is and always will be a distinguishing feature of God's faithful people. The only question is whether it is that literal aspect of their faith that is to be "the final test" of God's people. Consider the way that Christ came the first time - entirely different than the Jews expected, or had any reason to expect. His ministry was nothing like they anticipated from Scripture. He was a rebuke to their expectations, and a test of their hearts and spirit.

Consider the second time Christ is to come. Are we really safe with a theology that tells us "My Lord delayeth His coming?" It would seem to me to be entirely in keeping with God's way of dealing with His people to structure the final test in such a way as to test the Spirit and discernment of His people - not the tenacity with which they hold to certain quotes of Mrs. White's. The real issue here is, if a church joins to the state, and uses that power to wield civil authority against God's commandment-keeping people in a way that isn't Sunday worship... what then? Do we decry it as the mark of the beast? Do we protest it and prepare for the end?

Or do we say "Oh well, it's not Sunday?" From what I understand of the Scripture and Mrs. White's writings, that is a far more realistic danger at this point than many are willing to examine.

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Just a brief side note, I was browsing earlier pages of this, and found a great quote posted by John317:

"In free America rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance."(GC 592)

I think that really helps underscore the earlier point I was making about then vs. now... What popular demand and public favor? We aren't in a society that demands Sunday laws any more... we're in a society that would have to have them forced upon them. In a country of largely atheists and secular humanists that demands Ten Commandments displays removed from Gov't property, bans prayer in schools, and boycotts the word "Christmas," a Sunday worship law would incite a revolt before it would "secure public favor."

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The major danger is in assuming that Sunday keeping is the only way that the mark of the beast can be imposed, and thus, as you've mentioned a few times, placing it so far off in the future that it is of necessity not a present message. Worse than that, if we look for Sunday as the only way it can happen - and something else comes along that fulfills the principles of a church-state union forcing the conscience, but is not literally Sunday worship - we've missed the boat entirely, because we were in exactly the position of the foolish virgins. Waiting for an expected fulfillment, and not looking for the principles. That is what SDAs need to be concerned with - when the bridegroom tarries, do they have enough of the Spirit of God to be recognize when He *is* coming, at a time and in a way unexpected.

Obviously, literal Sabbath-keeping is and always will be a distinguishing feature of God's faithful people. The only question is whether it is that literal aspect of their faith that is to be "the final test" of God's people. It would seem to me to be entirely in keeping with God's way of dealing with His people to structure the final test in such a way as to test the Spirit and discernment of His people - not the tenacity with which they hold to certain quotes of Mrs. White's. The real issue here is, if a church joins to the state, and uses that power to wield civil authority against God's commandment-keeping people in a way that isn't Sunday worship... what then? Do we decry it as the mark of the beast? Do we protest it and prepare for the end?

The problem with your take on THe Mark of the Beast is that it creates a different set of reinterpretations. First, it requires us to ignore the fact that the Bible describes the Mark as the ending scenerio not a historical principle that can be applied to a church/state violation that has been in exstence for thousands of years.Second,it requires us to abandon the specific EGW statements that attach a Sunday test to the Mark of the Beast.Something that she clearly indicated was a future event even though there were already violations of the "principle" in her day.If anything that the state requires that violates God's direct commands can be understood as the MOB then almost anything can be it's fullfillment.Just as dangerous an assumption is one that is assured that the end is imminent and the world's focus on the 4th commandment is unnecessary.While I see many problems with the contemporary fixation on the impending Sunday Law, relegating it to the symbolical back of the bus is no better.
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Just a brief side note, I was browsing earlier pages of this, and found a great quote posted by John317:

"In free America rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance."(GC 592)

I think that really helps underscore the earlier point I was making about then vs. now... What popular demand and public favor? We aren't in a society that demands Sunday laws any more... we're in a society that would have to have them forced upon them. In a country of largely atheists and secular humanists that demands Ten Commandments displays removed from Gov't property, bans prayer in schools, and boycotts the word "Christmas," a Sunday worship law would incite a revolt before it would "secure public favor."

I agree 100%, but today's skepticism is no guarantee of tomorrow's skepticism(prophetically speaking,of course).
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Guest truthseeker007

I definitely don t believe in a subtile sunday law. It s ridiculous. This is not even an issue for the US government yet. First we ll see all forms of godliness manifest itself, like we are seeing already, then the holy spirits gets lesser and lesser ground and destruction will be allowed. Satan will appear as a saviour and claim that all destruction and misery is the result of not keeping sunday holy. So the US government will cooperate with the church of Rome to ensure the enforcement of sunday keeping. Meanwhile God will pour out his spirit on his people and this will cause the final religious schism in earth s history.

Please don t waste time on alternative (conspiracy) theories.

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I would like to see more "thus saith the LORD" instead of "I thinketh ..." This is because I "live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4)

I have shared previously a statement from EGW that bears some attention, analysis, and serious discussion:

The Lord has shown me clearly that the image of the beast will be formed before probation closes; for it is to be the great test for the people of God, by which their eternal destiny will be decided. (LDE 227, 228)

My question, having been asked more than once, is:

What is the image of the beast?

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It will be government-enforced religious observance. It will be similar to the dark ages papacy. It will tolerate no dissent. It probably will be enforced through the UN or a similar global organization, which purports to be the "conscience" of the earth's population.

We have already seen Americans give in to marked encroachments on their freedoms in the name of the "war on terror." Throw in a few natural catastrophes, financial disasters, and some manipulations of the press by power-hungry politicians and you can set the stage for the people to demand a Sunday Law. Especially if other countries have them and seem to have stable economies.

We've already seen right here on this forum the sentiment that other countries are doing OK so we should do as they do.

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I would like to see more "thus saith the LORD" instead of "I thinketh ..." This is because I "live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4)

I have shared previously a statement from EGW that bears some attention, analysis, and serious discussion:

The Lord has shown me clearly that the image of the beast will be formed before probation closes; for it is to be the great test for the people of God, by which their eternal destiny will be decided. (LDE 227, 228)

My question, having been asked more than once, is:

What is the image of the beast?

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Thank you, Henry, for your kind words and participation. I hope you will put your ideas together into a brief outline that we may consider. I realize that it can be difficult to expound in a brief manner, but I think that is necessitated by the venue in which we now dialogue.

Thank you, Karl, for your good response, and I would be grateful for more specifics about what IS the "image of the beast." What does it consist of in the real world? How will we know "the test" when we see it?

By the way, I am thoroughly interested in this topic, and that is why I am so active here. I do not intend to be the "moderator" or lead, though it might appear that way. Please forgive me.

What I want is "truth as it is in Jesus."

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Since the final movements are supernaturally ordained, it's unlikely they will follow our human expectations or timetable.

Few seem to recall the suddeness of the JFK assasination, or the September 11th attacks. These were local events with few people directly affected, yet the entire nation was paralyzed. Even the world was amazed. Little comparison to the plagues of Egypt where all waters turned to blood & almost every firstborn was slain.

When God ordains, worse calamities will occur, unimaginable, and in the wake of utter chaos the secular governments will seek to establish order, to appease the god they serve by legislating its mark of authority. It could happen very quickly.

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Quote:
"Whenever it is possible, let religious services be held on Sunday. " 9T 233

In an attempt to follow our prophets instructions ... I attend religious services each Sunday. As I am able. I find no fault in doing so.

Hi Woody, In fairness to Sister White, we should provide the context of her words.

She was advising SDAs to hold Sunday meetings for the benefit of the unreached.

She was not instructing SDAs to attend Sunday meetings held by others.

(Testimonies for the Church, Volume 9, p.233.)

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You're exactly right, Gordon1.

In fact, Ellen White wrote against going to the meetings held by Sunday keepers. She did go herself to Sunday-keeping churches on occasion, but it was in order to give talks and sermons.

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thanks for your comments Gordon.

There is no record that I am aware of where our prophet told us not to go to Sunday churches for worship. So, that is why I do so. I don't go there in search of doctrine. I go there for worship.

By the way ... my favorite one was Willow Creek. My wife and I really learned a lot there and enjoyed it greatly.

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What is the image of the beast?

"The "image to the beast" represents that form of apostate Protestantism which will be developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas." [GC 445]

"But in the very act of enforcing a religious duty by secular power, the churches would themselves form an image to the beast; hence the enforcement of Sundaykeeping in the United States would be an enforcement of the worship of the beast and his image." [GC 449]

"It was apostasy that led the early church to seek the aid of the civil government, and this prepared the way for the development of the papacy--the beast. Said Paul: "There" shall "come a falling away, . . . and that man of sin be revealed." 2 Thessalonians 2:3. So apostasy in the church will prepare the way for the image to the beast." [GC 443-444]

"But what is the "image to the beast"? and how is it to be formed? The image is made by the two-horned beast, and is an image to the first beast. It is also called an image of the beast. Then to learn what the image is like, and how it is to be formed, we must study the characteristics of the beast itself, --the papacy.

When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel, and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the State, and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of "heresy." In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so control the civil government that the authority of the State will also be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends." [GC 443]

"The beast 'which had the wound by the sword and did live' is the Papacy. That was the church dominating the civil power, a union of church and state, enforcing its religious dogmas by the civil power, by confiscation, imprisonment, and death. An image to this beast would be another ecclesiastical organization clothed with civil power - another union of church and state - to enforce religion by law." [bible Readings for the Home, 1949, p. 236]

"Q. What is an image to the beast?

Ans.- A union of church and state, by which the church will use the state to accomplish its own objects." [sabbath School Quarterly, First Quarter, Vol. 1 Num. 3, 1896]

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I think that really helps underscore the earlier point I was making about then vs. now... What popular demand and public favor? We aren't in a society that demands Sunday laws any more... we're in a society that would have to have them forced upon them. In a country of largely atheists and secular humanists that demands Ten Commandments displays removed from Gov't property, bans prayer in schools, and boycotts the word "Christmas," a Sunday worship law would incite a revolt before it would "secure public favor."

I think you would be surprised to know that 76% of United States population classifies themselves as Christian per 2008 census. I think it's a mistake to throw US as a secular humanist state. There are over 300,000 Christian churches in the USA. That's a very commanding number. All of those churches exist due to the free-will donations of the faithful.

I would not go so far as to say that because statism revolves primarily around the secular principles, that it does not heavily rely on support of religion.

This is one of the reasons that I don't outright dismiss such scenario happening in the US given certain variables. If you consider what happened to black and arab population during the Katrina, you'll see a small glimpse of how quickly things can disintegrate into maintenance of order by force and religious principles.

Yet, on the other hand I do believe that prophecy is not talking about localized enforcement. China and India together form 40% of world's population. It's very hard for me to consider how these countries would institute, and manage Sunday observance as a legal requirement. Christianity is fairly foreign to these countries and it's looked down upon. It will take extra-ordinary events to turn the population of these countries into obedient Sunday keeping people.

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Since the final movements are supernaturally ordained, it's unlikely they will follow our human expectations or timetable.

Little comparison to the plagues of Egypt where all waters turned to blood & almost every firstborn was slain.

.

Not the type of comparison you want to use,G. The plagues of Egypt were:predictable,avoidable,and in accordance with a publically announced timetable.
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Yet, on the other hand I do believe that prophecy is not talking about localized enforcement. China and India together form 40% of world's population. It's very hard for me to consider how these countries would institute, and manage Sunday observance as a legal requirement. Christianity is fairly foreign to these countries and it's looked down upon. It will take extra-ordinary events to turn the population of these countries into obedient Sunday keeping people.
Particularly in the next couple of years!! Hey cool,do you think it's possible that someday EVERYBODY will love the USA? That way they will willingly acquese to Sunday observance?
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Not the type of comparison you want to use,G. The plagues of Egypt were:predictable,avoidable,and in accordance with a publically announced timetable.

Thank you Doug - the intention was a comparison of man made disasters vs. supernatural destruction.

But yes the Passover deliverance is supremely fitting, and Daniel said the wise would understand, so there will be no surprises, except for the wicked. (Daniel 12:10) I'm no debater Doug, I'll leave you with your contentions.

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Since the final movements are supernaturally ordained, it's unlikely they will follow our human expectations or timetable.

When God ordains, worse calamities will occur, unimaginable, and in the wake of utter chaos the secular governments will seek to establish order, to appease the god they serve by legislating its mark of authority. It could happen very quickly.

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