If anyone worships the beast and his image, … he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God. Revelation 14:9, 10.
But the stern tracing of the prophetic pencil reveals a change in this peaceful scene [civil and religious liberty]. The beast with lamblike horns speaks with the voice of a dragon, and “exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him.” Prophecy declares that he will say to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast, and that “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.” Thus Protestantism follows in the steps of the Papacy.
It is at this time that the third angel is seen flying in the midst of heaven, proclaiming: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.” “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” In marked contrast to the world stands the little company who will not swerve from their allegiance to God….
The most solemn warning and the most awful threatening ever addressed to mortals is that contained in the third angel’s message. The sin that calls down the wrath of God unmixed with mercy must be of the most heinous character. Is the world to be left in darkness as to the nature of this sin? Most assuredly not. God does not deal thus with His creatures. His wrath is never visited upon sins of ignorance. Before His judgments are brought upon the earth, the light in regard to this sin must be presented to the world, that all may know why these judgments are to be inflicted and may have opportunity to escape them.
The message containing this warning is the last to be proclaimed before the revelation of the Son of man. The signs which He Himself has given declare His coming to be near at hand. For well-nigh forty years [as of 1899] has the message of the third angel been sounding…. The time has come when all who have an interest in their soul’s salvation should earnestly and solemnly inquire, What is the seal of God? and what is the mark of the beast? How can we avoid receiving it?—Signs of the Times, November 1, 1899.