General Conference of SDAs
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600
Dear Brother Netteburg,
Thank you for your prompt e-mail dated December 16th. In answer to your "unrelated, irrelevant question," I do not know of having a home page in Arkansas. We were assigned an address with "Hot Springs" (www.geocities.com/HotSprings/2786/), perhaps relating to the health field in which our home page majors-- mental, physical, and spiritual. Links and web site development are yet under way. Please forgive me for the misunderstanding, but I really had nothing to do with the address assignment.
I do not know how familiar you are with the General Conference Corporation's federally registered trademark/service mark "SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST." While your understanding might be that this trademark "is a term related strictly to the protection of business interests," this is not the actual case, in view of litigation on record since the mid-1980s. I am enclosing a packet of "hand-outs," providing much of the documentation which we have on file.
At this juncture it may be fitting to look at the ancient uses of "marks," published in the Review and Herald (1913), as I begin to develop a connection between trademarks and the mark of the beast in Revelation 13.
"When the Lord called Israel out of Egypt and its idolatries and warned his people against the ways by which the heathen round about worshiped their gods, he gave commandment: 'Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead [demon- or spirit- worship], nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.' Lev. 19:28.
"The distinguishing mark of God's people was to be found in their loyal obedience to his commandments, the fourth precept particularly pointing out the sign of the great Creator: 'Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes.' Deut. 4:6. 'Hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.' Eze. 20:20.
"From the earliest days, it is evident, the heathen were accustomed to mark themselves with the signs or symbols of their gods. Marks were also sometimes carried to indicate the master that a man served. An old author, Dr. John Potter, in a work on the Antiquities of Greece, says of these ancient practices:
Slaves were not only branded with stigmata for a punishment of their offenses, but (which was the common end of these marks) to distinguish them, in case they should desert their masters: for which purpose it was common to brand their soldiers; only with this difference, that whereas slaves were commonly stigmatized in their forehead, and with the name or some peculiar character belonging to their masters, soldiers were branded in the hand, and with the name or character of their general. After the same manner, it was likewise customary to stigmatize the worshipers and votaries of some of the gods: whence Lucian, speaking of the votaries of the Syrian goddess, affirms, "They were all branded with certain marks, some in the palms of their hands, and others in their necks: whence it became customary for all the Assyrians thus to stigmatize themselves." And Theodoret is of opinion that the Jews were forbidden to brand themselves with stigmata, because the idolaters by that ceremony used to consecrate themselves to their false deities. The marks used on these occasions were various. Sometimes they contained the name of the god, sometimes his particular ensign; such were the thunderbolt of Jupiter, the trident of Neptune, the ivy of Bacchus: whence Ptolemy Philopater was by some nick-named Gallus, because his body was marked with the figures of ivy leaves. Or, lastly, they marked themselves with some mystical number; whereby the god's name was described. Thus the sun, which was signified by the number 608, is said to have been represented by these two numeral letters XH. These three ways of stigmatizing are all expressed by St. John, in the book of Revelation: "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." Vol. 1, page 75."Still the mark is used in modern heathenism. Most of the Hindu sects in India have their special marks to distinguish the god or gods of their chief devotion. On the festivals, after the ceremonial bathing and worship, the marks are painted afresh on the devotee's forehead or breast or arm. It is the sign of allegiance and submission to the authority whose badge it is.
"So the prophetic scriptures represent the Papacy, and the "image of the beast" (the likeness to the Papacy formed in the falling away from Protestant principles) as joining in enforcing the mark of papal authority, upon the world.
"The whole matter of papal authority turns upon the question as to whether God's Word or the church is supreme. As a mark of the superior power of the church, Rome sets forth the Sunday institution. God's law says that the seventh day is the Sabbath. That is the sign of Jehovah, the Creator of heaven and earth. By church tradition the change has been made to Sunday, the first day. The famous Council of Trent, Rome's answer to the Reformation, cited the general acceptance of the Sunday as proof that the church is above the Holy Scriptures." RH 04-24-13, p. 393.
Applications to our time can be made from the above article. An elementary study of the history of "marks", i.e., "trademarks" reveals the relationship of the modern "mark" to that which distinguished one's allegiance to an "owner", "master", "ruler", or "god." The SDA trademark is "taken" by the devotee at baptism showing their allegiance to the SDA Church.
In Ministry, December, 1988, the article "General Conference trademark policy "contains the following: ". . . Yes. The General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists, on behalf of the ENTIRE DENOMINATION, has registered under the United States trademark laws the name 'Seventh-day Adventist' . . . ." [emphasis supplied.] Thus, every baptized member receives the mark, Seventh-day Adventist.
What is a corporation? One dictionary in my library says it is a "fictitious person." Amore comprehensive definition is given by Chief Justice Marshall (1819):
A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible and existing only in contemplation of law. Being the mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it, either expressly or as incidental to its very existence. These are such as are supposed best calculated to effect the object for which it was created. Among the most important are immortality, and if the expression may be allowed, individuality; properties by which a perpetual succession of many persons are considered as the same, and may act as a single individual. (4 Wheat, (U.S.) 518) It is interesting to me that this "fictitious person" has "individuality", "immortality", and a "perpetual succession of many persons" acting as a single person. This character reminds me suspiciously of the office of the "pope." In fact, the historical roots of "ecclesiastical entities" is revealed by Ludwig Teller in CORPORATIONS, (1949):
The corporation does not appear to have originated as a state franchise, nor as a means of securing limited liability. Roman corporations, originally unregulated by the state, were later licensed by the Emperor apparently to abridge their political activities. . . . After the advent of Christianity, ecclesiastical entities were similarly created by the Pope, who took the view that his fiat was necessary for such purpose. (p.4) We could argue in depth regarding these things, but the point I intend to make is that the "corporation" is a "fictitious person" or "image" of a person. You may say that the General Conference Corporation is required for the legal holding of property. So be it. An image may be carved from stone, and we know that image has no life. We would be loath to worship it. The commandment prohibits carving that stone and "bowing down to worship it." Any sensible person would not bow to a carved stone. But what if something gave "life" to that image? Review with me the story of the image in Daniel, chapter 3:
Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, were assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnez'zar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnez'zar had set up. (v. 3) And the herald proclaimed aloud, "You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, (v. 4) that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnez'zar has set up; (v. 5) and whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace." (v. 6) Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image which King Nebuchadnez'zar had set up. (v. 7) Trace, if you will, the steps taken in giving "life" to Nebuchadnezzar's image. They are listed as follows:
Plainly, the image had no life at step # 1. It had no life at step #2. So far, the image was nothing more than "an amusement." Suddenly, in step #3, a law is set in place requiring something of the population with respect to the image. There was a requirement of worship, special recognition an act of adoration on pain of punishment (i.e., death). When one is required to make a choice between life and death, the "thing" requiring that choice must have "life." It "both speaks and causes as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed." Rev. 13:15. When an individual can be "forced," on pain of punishment, to give special recognition, adoration, or worship to anything or anyone, there is some kind of "life" given to that agency.
The General Conference Corporation, as a "fictitious person," without life, and without power to "force" anyone to give special recognition, adoration, or worship to anything or anyone, is nothing more than a "holding company," or "agency" for the sole purpose of owning and managing church real estate. However, when this "fictitious person" acquires" intellectual property" (i.e., a trademark), and seeks to have "the powers that be" and the entire population to give its "intellectual property" special recognition, adoration, and even worship, upon pain of punishment, this corporation is no longer an agency for holding real estate. This corporation has acquired "life" through the laws of "intellectual property." Now, the corporation can "both speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed." Rev. 13:15.
I have made a thorough study of Revelation 13:16, 17 from every Bible version and commentary which I could find "in captivity." I shall choose one translation here for special illustration: The Jerusalem Bible: ". . . and made it illegal for anyone to buy or sell anything unless he had been branded with the name of the beast or with the number of its name." v. 17. (italics mine). Looking up the root word "brand" in English dictionaries reveals interesting results. Note the following three which are from my personal library: Webster's New American Dictionary, 1939-- . . . 2 A trade-mark. 3 A certain make of anything. 4 An identifying mark burned in, as, the brand of the ranch was Cross and Star. . . . vt. To put a trade-mark on; to mark with a hot iron, as range cattle; to mark, as, to brand one as a traitor. Funk & Wagnalls Standard Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1972-- . . . 1. A distinctive name or trademark identifying the product of a manufacturer. 2. The kind or make of a product: a good brand of coffee. 3. A mark made with a hot iron, as on cattle, to indicate ownership. 4. Formerly, a mark burned on criminals. . . .
Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition, 1974-- . . . 2. a mark burned on the skin with a hot iron, formerly used to punish and identify criminals, now used on cattle to show ownership . . . 4. a mark of disgrace; stigma 5. a) an identifying mark or label on the products of a particular company; trademark b) the kind or make of a commodity c) a special kind or variety Since the above English dictionaries show a probable link from the root brand to "trademark," let me substitute into the Bible text a possible interpretation, and add a brief commentary. McGill version: "and made it illegal for anyone to buy or sell [the Seventh-day Adventist faith] unless he had [the registered trademark] with the name of the [General Conference Corporation of SDAs] or with the number of its name." (v. 17)
. . .
Webster's New American Dictionary, 1939-- . . . 2 A trade-mark. 3 A certain make of anything. 4 An identifying mark burned in, as, the brand of the ranch was Cross and Star. . . . vt. To put a trade-mark on; to mark with a hot iron, as range cattle; to mark, as, to brand one as a traitor.
Funk & Wagnalls Standard Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1972-- . . . 1. A distinctive name or trademark identifying the product of a manufacturer. 2. The kind or make of a product: a good brand of coffee. 3. A mark made with a hot iron, as on cattle, to indicate ownership. 4. Formerly, a mark burned on criminals. . . .
Of course, the number is a "human number" bearing out the "engraving" [see Acts17:29, "charagma"] of a natural man (666-- imperfect mental, imperfect physical, and imperfect spiritual). The ecclesiastical ["religious"] corporation had its original creation by the Papacy (or the beast), as noted in CORPORATIONS, by Ludwig Teller (1949, page 4),above. Teller also writes, "The corporation is the real, though artificial, person substituted for the natural persons who procured its creation . . . ." (emphases mine; ibid, page 3). As I said before, close examination of the attributes of corporations, as compared to the office of the pope, indicates suspicious similarities between them-- "religious corporations," having originated by the pope's fiat.
Some may object to my substituting "General Conference Corporation" for "the beast, "since we know "the beast" to be the Papacy. But the phrase "name of 'x'" (where "x" represents any given person, place, or thing) does not demand the exclusive application of the name to "x." Let me illustrate, using the Scriptures.
Revelation 14:1 refers to the saints having "His name and his Father's name written on their foreheads." The "name of the saints" is the name of the Father and the Son (see also, Rev. 3:12). Note here, the contingency for wearing the Father's name is to partake of His character. This, afore-mentioned taking of the name of another, is applied to "the seal of God" (see also, Rev. 7:3, 4). James asks, "Do they not blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called." What name? Of course, the name of Christ-- "Christian." ". . . Let every one that nameth the name of Christ (Christian) depart from iniquity." 2 Timothy 2:19b.
In parallel comparison, Revelation 13:17 refers to the antithesis, "mark of the beast." The "image of the beast" having the "name of the beast," is in line with the children being named after their father, as in the "seal of God." Those who perfectly reflect the "image ofChrist" are called by His name. In like manner, those who perfectly reflect the character ofthe Papacy are called by his name. In saying, "Ye are of your father the devil . . .," Jesus spiritually illustrates the relationship of "the image of the beast" to "the beast" (John 8:44).
So, in my above substitution-- "name of the General Conference Corporation" for "name of the beast," I am consistent as we would be justified in substituting "Christian(s)"for "the name of Christ." The likeness in character-- the intimate family relationship is the relegating principle.
"The Seventh-day Adventist faith" is intended to be the "everlasting gospel" of Rev.14:6. "The registered trademark" is charagma, or a man-made "engraving," "stamp," or "impress" used to identify "the owner" or "the source" of a particular commodity. In this case, the "special kind or variety" is "the Adventist message." "The owner" of this "registered trademark" is the General Conference Corporation (artificial person or "image"), which claims ownership of the "intellectual property," trademark: SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST. The "intellectual property" is none other than a "label" for "the Adventist message," or "everlasting gospel." In reality, this amounts to a claim, on the part of the General Conference Corporation, to being "the source" of the gospel of Christ. This claim of ownership is blasphemy, in the same sense which the Papacy is guilty, since its inception, of claiming to be the "Vicar of Christ." The Christ is "the source," the "Pearl of Great Price"-- the only mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5).
The "Lamb" built His Church upon a solid Rock-- Himself, that is, His character written in lasting stone by the very finger of God, and promising to give a "new heart of flesh" preprogrammed with His character. The "dragon" builds his church on the "graven image of the beast," or himself. It is written upon the selfish "stony heart" by the very hand of Satan and enforced by the natural man's law (666), being derived from "the mind set on the flesh .. . ." Satan desires to "make for [himself] a name" (see Gen. 11:4) which no one else might have, without bowing to his dominance (oppression and selfishness). The Lamb of God, who has "a name above every name," became sin for the world that all who believe on the name of the Son of God may freely partake of "His divine name"-- "the IMPRESS of the divine name, 'The Lord our Righteousness.' Jer.23:6." (Evangelism, p. 307). Notice, when the unconverted disciples would forbid "non-members" from the "unauthorized use" of Christ's name in their ministry, the Lamb said, "Do not hinder him. . . ." Mark 9:39. In like manner, the "lamb-like beast" of Rev. 13 would, by the Lamb's nature, say, "Do not hinder him." But what happens? The "false prophet"-- the "lamb-like beast" speaks like a dragon. The dragon says, "Forbid them, lest we lose our kingdom." And is this not the same as it was in the days of Christ? Did the chief priests and elders not fear that Jesus would dethrone them? Isn't the great controversy over, "Who is the king of the Jews?" "Who is the greatest?" "Who shall sit on God's throne?"
The contest will be between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. Those who have yielded step by step to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will then yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. At that time the gold will be separated from the dross. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliance will then go out in darkness. Those who have assumed the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ's righteousness, will then appear in the shame of their own nakedness. PK 188. I emphasized the word "impress" above in bold because Vine's Expository Dictionary of N. T. Words defines the Greek word for "mark" [charagma] as "a stamp, [or] impress"(page 42). This word deserves a bit of discussion. Most SDAs agree that the "seal of God" is represented by the Sabbath, and from a biblical perspective the NAME (or character) of God-- ". . . having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads." Rev.14:1 (NASB). This "name of God" is nothing more than a transcript of His character—His SIGNature, which is the law of God, written in the hearts of those truly converted to the religion of Christ-- thus,-- "the impress of the divine name . . . ."
It was common for kings and nobles to seal documents, etc. with the impress of their "signet rings." For example: "And a stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing might be changed in regard to Daniel." Dan. 6:17 (NASB). "And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone." Matt. 27:66 (NASB). God shall seal Satan securely in "the abyss" "that he should not deceive the nations any longer. . . ." Rev. 20:3. At this point in time, the saints will have already been "securely sealed" by the "seal of the living God"-- "Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved-- just as soon as God's people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come." (MS 173, 1902).
These faithful ones have allowed "the impress of the divine name" to be their protection even at a time when they have "no intercessor"-- the time of "Jacob's trouble." "Nothing can be changed in regard to" the destiny of the saints who receive God's "stamp of approval" in "the judgment of the living."
I wish now to return to the development of trademarks to present more related parallels from Scripture. The following is quoted from Collier's Encyclopedia (1989); Vol. 22, pp.396-97: . . . [among earliest civilizations, introducing specialization] markings on pottery and other objects served the purpose of identifying the maker after the goods had left his hands. They thus approached closely the function of the trademark of modern commerce. However, the primary purpose of such marks apparently was to fix responsibility so that the maker of imperfect merchandise could be located and, if necessary, punished. . . . Building stones of that period [c. 3200 B.C.] are marked with symbols that indicate either the quarry from which they came or the masons who prepared them. Roof tiles, as well as bricks, had the names of their makers impressed in them. (emphases mine.) The Roman civilization, which endured for approximately one thousand years . . . provides our earliest sustained records of an economy in which trademarks evidently were a matter of everyday experience. . . . Seals were used for marking cloth. Masons' marks can be found on building stones. Tiles and bricks bore impressions of marks identifying their makers. As in previous civilizations, however, it is the pottery that survived in the greatest profusion, and trademarks were in common use on pottery ware. . . . The economy of England and the rest of Europe [from the 12th century on] was characterized by the organization of industry into guilds, and trademarks were used primarily for the purpose of maintaining the control of an industry in the hands of the members of the guild and their chosen successors. Typical guild regulations required that every article produced by a member bear both the guild symbol and a mark identifying the individual artisan. The guild mark indicated that the goods were not contraband; the artisan's mark fixed responsibility upon the individual craftsman so that he could be disciplined by the guild if he failed to maintain proper standards of workmanship. . . . The modern view of a trademark is that it constitutes a symbol by which the source of goods may be identified. It serves the function guaranteeing that all articles bearing the mark will be uniform in quality, and in this sense it is a descendant of the medieval merchant's mark. It also serves to fix responsibility upon the maker, and in that sense it is a descendant of the obligatory guild marks, which in turn reflect such ancient systems as the marking the bricks in Egypt so that an inept slave could be identified and punished. (all emphases supplied.)
. . . ancient marks [c. 5,000 B.C.] presumably were proprietary in nature, identifying the owner of the property rather than the original source of something bartered or sold. Thus, they did not perform the business function of a modern trademark. . . . From the foregoing we gain some significant insights. In Pagan Rome [represented as the "dragon" in prophecy] "trademarks evidently were a matter of everyday experience"—a parallel to our day in the United States [represented as "the Lamb-like beast," speaking as a "dragon"]. Prior to and during the span of the Roman Empire, "building stones" were" impressed" with "the names of their makers." Notice this precious promise from our Maker, describing the impression of the divine name, ". . . To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new NAME written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it." Rev. 2:17 (NASB). "You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and crushed them." Dan. 2:34 (NASB). Further commentary comes from Ellen G. White:
The mingling of church craft and state craft is represented by the iron and the clay. This union is weakening all the power of the churches. This investing the church with the power of the state will bring evil results. Men have almost passed the point of God's forbearance. They have invested their strength in politics, and have united with the papacy. But the time will come when God will punish those who have made void His law, and their evil work will recoil upon themselves. Ms 63, 1899, pp. 12, 13. (Untitled Manuscript, April 22, 1899.) 1 MR 51. (emphases mine.) "Seals were used for marking" and "Trademarks were in common use on pottery ware." "Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker-- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands?'" Isa. 45:9 (NASB). "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel." Jer. 18:4b (NASB). "The precious sons of Zion, Weighed against fine gold, How they are regarded as earthen jars, The work of a potter's hands!" Lam.4:2 (NASB).
. . . [among earliest civilizations, introducing specialization] markings on pottery and other objects served the purpose of identifying the maker after the goods had left his hands. They thus approached closely the function of the trademark of modern commerce. However, the primary purpose of such marks apparently was to fix responsibility so that the maker of imperfect merchandise could be located and, if necessary, punished. . . . Building stones of that period [c. 3200 B.C.] are marked with symbols that indicate either the quarry from which they came or the masons who prepared them. Roof tiles, as well as bricks, had the names of their makers impressed in them. (emphases mine.)
The Roman civilization, which endured for approximately one thousand years . . . provides our earliest sustained records of an economy in which trademarks evidently were a matter of everyday experience. . . . Seals were used for marking cloth. Masons' marks can be found on building stones. Tiles and bricks bore impressions of marks identifying their makers. As in previous civilizations, however, it is the pottery that survived in the greatest profusion, and trademarks were in common use on pottery ware.
. . . The economy of England and the rest of Europe [from the 12th century on] was characterized by the organization of industry into guilds, and trademarks were used primarily for the purpose of maintaining the control of an industry in the hands of the members of the guild and their chosen successors. Typical guild regulations required that every article produced by a member bear both the guild symbol and a mark identifying the individual artisan. The guild mark indicated that the goods were not contraband; the artisan's mark fixed responsibility upon the individual craftsman so that he could be disciplined by the guild if he failed to maintain proper standards of workmanship. . . . The modern view of a trademark is that it constitutes a symbol by which the source of goods may be identified. It serves the function guaranteeing that all articles bearing the mark will be uniform in quality, and in this sense it is a descendant of the medieval merchant's mark. It also serves to fix responsibility upon the maker, and in that sense it is a descendant of the obligatory guild marks, which in turn reflect such ancient systems as the marking the bricks in Egypt so that an inept slave could be identified and punished. (all emphases supplied.)
Anyone who undertakes a work with his hands intended to improve God's program or defend it with "carnal weapons," is saying "to the Potter, 'What are you doing?'" We are to "rest in Christ"-- leaving the battles with Him. Herein is the true keeping of the spirit of Sabbath.
In Europe, labor unions employed trademarks "primarily for the purpose of maintaining the control of an industry"-- "to maintain proper standards of workmanship." Ephesians 2:10,20-22 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, . . . having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone (stamped with a name above every name), in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." We could say more about the relationship of labor unions to the "mark of the beast" from the "Spirit of Prophecy."
The Roman Catholic Church employed creeds as a method of defining heresy. Ultimately, their motivation was to "control the membership of the church and maintain a high standard in the building." But the only standard they could maintain was that of the "natural man" (666)--as was the case at Babel (Gen. 11:4ff), where they sought to "make for [themselves] a NAME." And the 1896 International Sabbath School Lessons (p. 33) says, "While the Reformation churches held fast to the word, Christ was with them. When they crystallized their various errors into creeds and endeavored thus to confine God's word, they made themselves daughters of Babylon."
What is being done with "the 27 fundamentals?" It has become a convenient way to define a true "Seventh-day Adventist"-- with the motivation of "maintaining a particular standard." This exemplifies man's tradition in opposition to the "commandments of God." Then, when certain ones depart from "the traditions of men" [i.e., leave the dominance of the hierarchy], the same method of correction is imposed which the Papacy employed-- "the strong arm of civil power." History then repeats with the punishment of heretics and the restriction of the liberty of conscience. Of course, most of these so-called "heretics" conscientiously cling to the Adventist message, the prophetess, and consequently, the NAME. Thus-- the trademark law is invoked against them through the civil power-- "all in the name of the Lord." Is this not imaging what the Papacy [does]? The Papacy is the beast-- is this not, by definition, "the image of the beast?" And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: 'Behold I lay in Zion a choice Stone, a precious Corner Stone, and he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed.' This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, 'the Stone which the builders rejected, this became the very Corner Stone,' and, 'a Stone of stumbling and Rock of offense'; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. 1 Peter 2:4-8 (NASB). The religion of Christ is sincerity itself. Zeal for God's glory is the motive implanted by the Holy Spirit; and only the effectual working of the Spirit can implant this motive. Only the power of God can banish self-seeking and hypocrisy. This change is the sign of His working. When the faith we accept destroys selfishness and pretense, when it leads us to seek God's glory and not our own, we may know that it is of the right order. 'Father, glorify Thy name', was the keynote of Christ's life. . . . The Desire of Ages, page 409. (emphases supplied.) . . . Our effort, in even the most obviously embarrassing cases, has been to restrain groups, usually by means of injunction, from trading on or profiting by the use of the name "Seventh-day Adventist." Adventist Review, "Protecting Our Good Name," Sept. 26, 1996, p. 27. (emphases supplied.)
NOTE. The beast "which had the wound by a sword, and did live," is the Papacy. That was a 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, page 236. But what is the motive of the General Conference in invoking trademark protection?
The Trademark Committee was organized to respond to local conference requests for legal protection from identification with groups whose activities have obvious potential to harm the church's image or bring material liability. The wording of this article by Calvin B. Rock demonstrates the self-centered, faithless motivation of the General Conference and local conferences in organizing the Trademark Committee.
And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: 'Behold I lay in Zion a choice Stone, a precious Corner Stone, and he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed.' This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, 'the Stone which the builders rejected, this became the very Corner Stone,' and, 'a Stone of stumbling and Rock of offense'; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. 1 Peter 2:4-8 (NASB).
The religion of Christ is sincerity itself. Zeal for God's glory is the motive implanted by the Holy Spirit; and only the effectual working of the Spirit can implant this motive. Only the power of God can banish self-seeking and hypocrisy. This change is the sign of His working. When the faith we accept destroys selfishness and pretense, when it leads us to seek God's glory and not our own, we may know that it is of the right order. 'Father, glorify Thy name', was the keynote of Christ's life. . . . The Desire of Ages, page 409. (emphases supplied.)
. . . Our effort, in even the most obviously embarrassing cases, has been to restrain groups, usually by means of injunction, from trading on or profiting by the use of the name "Seventh-day Adventist." Adventist Review, "Protecting Our Good Name," Sept. 26, 1996, p. 27. (emphases supplied.)
Let us look at the Spirit's counsel when a NAME or reputation is an issue. The following illustrations should suffice:
Here is an example of how God would have you overcome a tarnished name.
I do not consider your case hopeless; if I did, my pen would not be tracing these lines. In the strength of God you can redeem the past. Your name is already a byword in ___; but you can change this by using the powers which God has given you. You may even now gain a moral excellence so that your name may be associated with things pure and holy. You can be elevated. God has provided for you the necessary helps. He has invited you to come to Him, and has promised to bear your burdens and give you rest of soul. "Learn of Me," says the divine Teacher, "for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." 2T 562. Consider an example of how to preserve a holy name.
Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Acts 19:13-17. Here, the holy name of Jesus was being misused by "vagabond Jews." The apostles did not do anything but leave them to their own destruction. "The law of the Lord is perfect." "Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap." "Do not hinder them."
This Scripture shows how a name is blasphemed.
But if you bear the name "[SDA]," and rely upon the Law, and boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written. For indeed circumcision is of value, if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. If therefore the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And will not he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? For he is not a [SDA] who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a [SDA] who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. Romans 2:17-29 (NASB). Must I say more? Let Jesus say it.
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are [SDAs], and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." Rev. 2:9. "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are [SDAs], and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee." Rev. 3:9. "Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. Matt. 7:22, 23. Let James say it. James 2:6, 7 (NASB):
But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? My last example is a Scriptural answer to give when the name your conscience requires you to use is forbidden by man:
And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Acts 4:18-20. In conclusion, the February 15, 1996, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board s ruling, which gives life to the General Conference Trademark Policy, opens the floodgates to religious persecution in this country. By restricting the liberty of any Seventh-day Adventist, openly professing the name Seventh-day Adventist, in declaration of their faith, and without permission of the General Conference Corporation, the U.S. government in protecting the General Conference fulfills the prophecy of Rev. 13. Careful study of the mark of the beast will reveal that the mark is the name of the beast. Even the SDA Bible Commentary, vol.7, page 822 reads as follows on Revelation 13:17:
Or the name. Important textual evidence may be cited for the omission of the "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.What is the name of the beast? It is the tradeMARK church name: SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST.
We have gathered documentation and written much on this subject since 1991. I encourage every "truth-seeker" to rise quickly and slumber no longer. The test shall surely come to every soul. Five years ago I was shown that what is now transpiring would take place, that the observance of an institution of the papacy would be enforced upon Adventists by the trademark law, while the sanctified rest of Jehovah would be trampled underfoot (see5T, page 137).
All who are yet holding membership in Conference Churches are held accountable to God for this travesty. Even though you may have been ignorant, you are just as cursed as the children of Israel by the sin of Achan (see Joshua 7). You are guilty as the Jews who ignorantly crucified the Prince of life (see Acts 3:14-21, NASB). For this reason, in God's mercy, the mighty angel of Revelation 18 is calling you out of these fallen churches "that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues." Rev. 18:4. Judgment has come to your house.
In the final analysis, the General Conference and its supporters claim that their corporation's trademark is necessary to "protect their good image." But the loss in civil court to the homosexual support group, SDA Kinship International, proves that supposition to be a falsehood. Had God been their General, the battle would have been won by the GC. But God allowed his name to be "tarnished," similar to the experience at Ai hoping to bring revival and reformation to His people,-- sadly, they refused to be healed. The General Conference has continued to pursue trademark protection with "carnal weapons" abroad in1995-96. And indications are, with "exclusive right to the name" granted by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U. S. PTO, the General Conference will soon revive the prosecutions of trademark violators in this country. The recent letter dated 6 November 96,and drafted by Walter E. Carson, to the Rogue Valley Historic SDA Church, stands as prima facie evidence.
"He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." Rev. 13:10. The only "image" which is protected in civil courts is "the image of the beast."
Dear Brother, I pray that the peace of God and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the conviction of their Holy Spirit will rest upon you for now, and forever, as I remain
Your Devoted Servant,
Walter "Chick" McGill
Pastor, The Creation 7th Day Adventist Church
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