Scriptures

In Lockdown With The Beast

Introduction

In the Book of Revelation, we find the apostle John exiled in Patmos and it’s here he receives signs, from God concerning the judgment of the Roman Empire.

I want to deal with a doctrine which is spreading around among certain Christian groups right now.

When it comes to the subject of the ‘mark of the beast’ in Revelation 13, it never ceases to amaze me the many different theories there are on what this mark actually is.

Does it really speak about people being ‘microchipped’ in the future?

Does it really speak about ‘bar codes’ being tattooed on people’s heads and hands in the future?

I don’t have to remind you that the Book of Revelation is a highly figurative book.

And we must also keep in mind, that it was written to the seven churches of Asia Minor, Revelation 2-3, to prepare the saints in Asia for the enormous persecutions they would soon have to face.

‘The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must SOON TAKE PLACE.’ Revelation 1:1

‘Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because THE TIME IS NEAR.’ Revelation 1:3

‘The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must SOON TAKE PLACE.’ Revelation 22:6

‘Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because THE TIME IS NEAR.’ Revelation 22:10

John says everything he saw in his vision was going to happen soon, not thousands of years later.

In Revelation 13 John introduces us to the sea beast, which I believe is Rome and her rulers.

He also introduces us to the land beast, which represents the militia who set up images of Rome’s emperors and who enforced emperor worship.

Let’s look at the Number 666.

‘This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.’ Revelation 13:18

If the number seven represents that which is complete and perfect, the number six falls one short of seven. If seven is perfection, then since six is one less than seven, it represents imperfection.

And look at how it’s multiplied in 666, imperfection, imperfection, imperfection! That’s what John means.

The Roman Empire was the embodiment of human imperfection and human sinfulness.

I’ve received countless emails and heard countless lessons from so-called Christians saying, ‘don’t take the covid-19 vaccination, it’s the ‘mark of the beast’!

The number 666 isn’t some literal number on some literal human’s head. Nor is it a Social Security number, microchip or tattoo, as some have suggested in the past.

It simply represents the imperfection and sinfulness of man, especially those who were enforcing emperor worship.

The number, 666 is a sign of utter and complete imperfection of man and his sinfulness outside of Jesus, especially in light of the identity of the sea beast and the land beast, which was enforcing emperor worship.

‘The second beast was given the power to give breath to the image of the first beast so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.’ Revelation 13:15-18

To understand what this ‘mark’ is we need to go back into the history of Rome.

Rome had ordered that all citizens give both political and religious allegiance to Rome and her government. All citizens had to submit to the Roman laws along with the Roman religious laws, this was a demonstration of loyalty to Rome.

The ‘mark’ refers to those who would direct worship toward Rome.

‘A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand.’ Revelation 14:9

‘I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.’ Revelation 20:4

The mark, or identification, was both psychological, that’s what the mark is on their ‘foreheads’ refers to, and the mark was also physical, that what the mark on their ‘hands’ refers to.

But make no mistake about it, Domitian wanted total allegiance given to him and he wanted the very minds of people, the ‘forehead mark’, along with an outward recognition, the ‘hand mark’, that people were allegiant to him.

Is John speaking about a literal mark?

Many believe that the ‘mark’ is a literal, physical mark on the bodies of unbelievers. But when we contrast this ‘mark’ with the ‘seal’ which is on the forehead of believers, we soon discover it isn’t literal.

‘Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.’ Revelation 7:3

‘They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.’ Revelation 9:4

‘Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.’ Revelation 14:1

‘They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.’ Revelation 22:4

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a Christian with a literal, physical seal, with the names of Jesus and the Father tattooed on their foreheads.

Remember this is figurative language and here John is describing those who have been born again, those who have been redeemed by Christ’s blood.

In other words, the seal is describing ownership, those who belong to Christ and the Father, those who are faithful to Him.

By way of contrast, the false prophet is trying to get everyone who isn’t a Christian to have the ‘mark of the beast’ written on their forehead.

This simply means that this ‘mark’ was a sign that they belong to the beast and are loyal to him.

The devil always tried to do what God does and so, this ‘mark’ on their foreheads or on their right hand is simply the devil’s way of imitating the seal of God on God’s people.

If you have the name of Jesus and God the Father written on your forehead, it simply means that they own you, that you belong to them, and that you are loyal to the Lord God Almighty.

But if you have ‘the mark of the beast’, written on your forehead, it signifies that he owns you, that you belong to him, that you are loyal to the devil.

Since the seal or name on the believer is obviously invisible, this is symbolizing the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

‘And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.’ Ephesians 1:13-14

‘Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.’ 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Common sense tells us that the mark of the beast is also a figurative way of describing the loyalty of his followers and his ownership of them.

We must always be careful when we’re trying to understand any text of the Bible, especially those texts which are very figurative in nature.

If we’re not careful we can come to all kinds of conclusions and sadly, many people do.

When we remember that the things John wrote about in Revelation were ‘soon to take place’.

We can know for sure that John when he speaks of this ‘mark’, isn’t speaking about ‘microchip implants, tattoos or bar codes’, something which going to happen in the future.

He was writing to Christians about things which were going to happen to them and in their lifetime. And however you interpret the Book of Revelation, here’s the best commentary I’ve ever heard on it.

Jesus Wins

God has blessed us with a way through this pandemic using scientists from all over the world.

He blessed them with the knowledge and wisdom to put together many vaccines that will literally save our lives.

Stay blessed, stay focused, and stay in Christ.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

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