Sunday Laws in Our Future?

The following is a rewrite of the conclusion of my paper on the mark of the beast. I have concluded that Sunday laws in our future remain the likely reading of Revelation 13 and certainly that of the Great Controversy. But given what we know about fulfilled prophecies in the Bible, they may well come from a surprising direction. For example, Clifford Goldstein offers a path to international Sunday laws that would make sense in today’s world. All the world religions anticipate some future figure that will dramatically impact the course of history. For the Christians, his name is Jesus. For the Jews, he is the Messiah. For the Muslims, he is the Mahdi (although many Muslims also anticipate a major role for Jesus). For the Hindus, he is Kalki. For the Buddhists, he is Matreiya. Second Thessalonians (2:8-10) and Revelation (13:13-14; 16:13-14) anticipate a great end-time deception in which Satan impersonates Christ before the world (GC affirms this idea). His dazzling, end-time appearance could evoke the hopes and dreams of people of all faiths. Seizing upon these expectations, Satan could call the world to worship God on Sunday as a sign of loyalty to Jesus/Messiah/Mahdi/Kalki/Matreiya and the highest hopes of their faiths. Such an outcome would fulfill Great Controversy and Revelation 13, but in an unexpected way, something fulfilled prophecy in the Bible would lead us to expect.

Ellen White herself hints at something like this in the following statement: “As we near the close of time, there will be greater and still greater external parade of heathen power; heathen deities will manifest their signal power, and will exhibit themselves before the cities of the world. . . .” In the same context she also says, “. . . the Lord has called His people and has given them a message to bear. He has called them to expose the wickedness of the man of sin who has made the Sunday law a distinctive power, who has thought to change times and laws, and to oppress the people of God who stand firmly to honor Him by keeping the only true Sabbath, the Sabbath of creation. . . .” Maranatha, 140. To me this statement suggests the possibility that a movement toward Sunday will not be a natural philosophical progression from where the world is today, but the result of dramatic shifts in the popular mindset, grounded in miraculous displays that transform popular opinion almost overnight, much as Goldstein suggests. But for those who are waiting for some “sign of the End” to get serious about their faith, such rapid movements may not signal themselves the way we might hope, and also may not leave any time for spiritual preparation. “The final movements will be rapid ones.” Testimonies for the Church, volume 9, page 11.

My concern, and the main point of the whole treatise on the mark of the beast, is that by focusing on a prediction that seems as specific and measurable as a national Sunday law in Congress, we could distract ourselves from the real thing when it happens. In a changing world things could come from a different direction and in a different way. We need hearts that are open to revelation and open to the Holy Spirit as we navigate the challenging waters ahead. The desire for certainty causes us to focus on specific details rather than on understanding the larger picture of prophecy. That understanding is difficult work, but it will keep us safe in the perplexing times ahead of us. Prophecy was not given to satisfy our curiosity about the future, it was given to prepare our hearts to meet the one that we worship and adore. I suggest we prioritize that task.

One thought on “Sunday Laws in Our Future?

  1. Courtney Edwards

    This expectation; re Satan appearing as Christ, is not to be unexpected, as Satan’s signature deception.

    This is Satan at his best; and is what he did in heaven to deceive a third of the heavenly host; and the first sinless pair of humans on earth.

    Satan must give ultimate credence to the pope, his earthly face; and who alone enjoys adoration of all eartly religions.
    And who makes no attempt to convert these religions into being Roman Catholic Sunday worshipping religions; but by submitting to the Pope’s authority, these religions give credence to the pope as “God’s representative on earth”; and with his signature imprimatur, Sunday worship.

    This, worship practice, the other religions, whether, eastern/pagan, will gladly accommodate with their other pagan practices; and again; without being forced or coerced.


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