Read for This Week’s Study: Revelation 12:6, Revelation 12:14; Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Daniel 7:25; Deuteronomy 6:8; Deuteronomy 11:18; Exodus 20:8-11.
Memory Text: “He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Revelation 13:10, NKJV).
In the fifteenth century, the Piedmont valleys, high in the Alps of northern Italy, were home to the Waldenses, a people determined to stay faithful to their understanding of the Bible. As the result of their steadfast loyalty to Christ, they were fiercely persecuted. In A.D. 1488, the Waldenses in the Valley of Loyse were brutally murdered by the Roman Church for their faith.
Another wave of persecution came in the seventeenth century, when the duke of Savoy sent an army of 8,000 into their territory and demanded that the local populace quarter his troops in their homes. They did as he requested, but this was a strategy to give the soldiers easy access to their victims. On April 24, 1655, at 4:00 A.M., a signal was given for the massacre to begin. This time the death toll was more than 4,000.
History, unfortunately, is often repeated. The “mark of the beast” prophecy is about the final link in an ungodly chain of religious persecution that goes back through the ages. Like the persecutions of the past, it is designed to force everyone to conform to a certain set of beliefs and an approved system of worship. As always, though, God will have a people who will not capitulate.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, June 17.