If the report in today’s Gleaner (March 13, 2021) is correct, NCU’s theologian, Dr. Michael Oluikpe argues that the mark of the beast is to be a papal mandatory observance of Sunday as a day of worship. This is a rehash of old SDA wishful thinking and heresy spawned by SDA prophetess Ellen G. White.
Mrs. White said: “The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of creation…The mark of the beast is the opposite—the observance of the first day of the week.”
The Sabbath is a sign of the Mosaic covenant but is nowhere in Scripture called a seal of the people of God. Christians are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1.13).
Let it be known that Mrs. White in her Early Writings said that before the end of time SDAs would and should suffer persecution because they will not cease working on Sunday. Yet in 1909, in light of a governmental threat to arrest workers and lock down the SDA publishing house in Melbourne, Australia, on Sundays, The SDA prophetess got a convenient revelation. She wrote in “Testimonies for the Church”, Vol. IX, No. 37, pp. 232 and 238, “The light given me by the Lord at a time when we were expecting just such a crisis as you seem to be approaching was that when the people were moved by a power from beneath to enforce Sunday observance, Seventh-day Adventists were to show their wisdom by refraining from their ordinary work on that day, devoting it to missionary effort…Give them no occasion to call you lawbreakers…Give Sunday to the Lord as the day for doing missionary work…This way of spending Sunday is always acceptable to the Lord.”
The idea of some kind of mark as in some sense indicating ownership or allegiance was very common in the ancient world. Slaves were sometimes branded with a mark of ownership, especially if the slave had been a runaway. Such a runaway slave would be branded on the forehead with the letters FUG which stood for fugitivus (Latin for runaway). There is also evidence that soldiers were branded on the hand with the name of their general and devotees of gods with the symbol of the god whom they worshipped.
To bear the mark of a person would then mean either that one belonged to that person as a slave or a soldier or that one was devoted to that person as a worshipper to a god. The mark of the beast was a mark of allegiance on the part of those who received it and designated them as worshippers of the beast.
The mark of the beast could not have been meant to indicate observance of Sunday because, consistent with what marking meant in John’s time, Revelation 13 makes it quite clear that the issue is WORSHIP OF THE FIRST BEAST OR HIS IMAGE. Note the frequent references to ‘worship of the first beast’ in verses 4, 8,12,15.
Rev. Clinton Chisholm ia a retired Jamaica Baptist Union Pastor and former Academic Dean of the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology. He now resides in Florida.
 See her Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, 117, cited in Dale Ratzlaff, Truth About Adventist “Truth”, 2007, 39.
 In D.M. Canright, Life of Mrs. E.G. White Seventh-day Adventist Prophet: Her False Claims Refuted, 1919/1998, 180. Canright, a contemporary of Ellen White left the SDA Church and exposed many of the Church’s errors and hypocrisy.