|THE MARK OF THE BEAST||
THE MARK OF THE BEAST
mark of the beast is some kind of identification device that the false prophet
employs in order to secure the overt worship of people during the tribulation.
The issue is NOT the mark itself, but it is the worship that is attendant with the mark. The mark is just the technical means for "forcing" OVERT worship. The beast cannot MAKE anyone "mentally" worship him. People will be worshipping for 2 reasons.
1. Because they are truly "awed" by his healing from a very real and fatal head wound (Rev. 13:3-4), and because of the many “signs and wonders” performed by the false prophet (Rev. 13:13-14; 2 Thes. 2:9-12).
2. Because they want the economic "security" that taking the mark provides. Rev. 13:17.
This is an “everyday” issue - so there needs to be some kind of PHYSICAL indication that a person has the mark.
Some will take the mark as a token of their worship and worship him "genuinely." And others will take the mark because they MUST and will only worship him with "lip service."
(That is why, after the first 4 trumpet judgments wreak havoc with the beast's economic controls and makes it impossible for him to meet the economic needs of those who claim allegiance to him, a great number of nations band together and rebel against the beast - trumpet #6; the invasion of the King of the North and the King of the South, Dan. 11:40)
Overt worship is directly associated with taking the mark and economic benefit is a by product. The very nature of overt "worship" requires that this issue will be clearly understood.
According to Revelation 13:16-17, failure to take the mark will prevent any person from participating in the normal economic system that is in operation during the beast’s reign. Thus, they will be unable to “buy or sell” and will have to try to function OUTSIDE the system in order to physically survive.
Now, as to the mechanical side of it, any of the "smart card" technology could be the controlling factor in regard to the economy - but simply possessing the card or any kind of "implant" in today's environment is NOT the mark. So if a believer uses the technological advances to conduct financial transactions, he is not taking the mark. The mark will have to be voluntarily received and "adopted" to smart card technology or implants, etc. In other words, I may have the "device" by which the mark will be employed, but I will still have to CHOOSE to "sign up" (for lack of a better idea) to have the device altered to comply with the beast's policies.
The issue is NOT the forcing of someone to take the "physical" mark, as when you are asleep or under medication, etc. It is not the "possession" of the mark which is the issue. It is the attitude that says, and then acts out, WORSHIP of the beast – either genuine or not.
THE GEOGRAPHICAL EXTENT
Revelation 13:7, tells us that the beast is given authority in the execution of the "war with the saints" over "every tribe, and people and language and nation."
When the beast recovers from his fatal head wound in the middle of the 70th week, he dramatically gains the attention and awe of the whole world. At Revelation 13:3, we are told that "the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast." According to verse 4, "they worshipped the dragon . . . and the beast, saying . . . who is able to wage war against him?" This suggests that the beast has dominance over the whole earth as already seen at verse 7.
In verse 8, it says that "all who dwell on the earth will worship him, that is, whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life." That is, those who had not and were not going to trust in Christ as the Savior, would instead direct their spiritual focus onto the beast and Satan. Now, this use of "all" is certainly hyperbole, but it emphasizes the huge number of people who will be deceived into following after the beast.
At the same time, it needs to be recognized that there will be a great presence of idolatry throughout the world, whether related to beast worship or not. We know this because at Revelation 9:20-21, after the great slaughter of people by the military machine released by the 6th trumpet judgment (Probably the king of the North), the survivors are totally unmotivated to repent of their spiritual rebellion, and
Based on Matthew 24:15-21, the beast's reign will begin and be centered in Jerusalem, when he places the abomination of desolation in the Holy Place of the temple. At 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Paul describes it as the revealing of the man of lawlessness, who "takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."
This of course accounts for the expression of worship that is extended to him, for after the miracle of coming back to life and the self-proclamation of deity (being God's Messiah), as well as the fact that his "coming is according to the energy of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of unrighteousness (2 Thes. 2:9); along with the miracle activity of the false prophet, who "performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men" (Rev. 13:13), it would be difficult for the unbeliever to resist.
In fact, Paul tells us that "God sends upon them a working of deception so that they might believe the lie" (2 Thes. 2:11).
At Revelation 6:8, we learn that during the great tribulation, 1/4 of the earth (that is of the land area of the earth, and not the population) will be placed under the authority of "physical" death and the grave (hades), "to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth."
These killing "effects" will be a result of the beast's attempt to control the world.
1. Those individuals who do not willingly comply with beast worship will be killed with the sword (Rev. 13:15).
2. Those land areas that are not under the beast's authority will suffer great economic hardship and experience famine because they will have very limited resources.
3. As a result of famine there will be great outbreaks of plagues.
4. And as a result of shortages in food and other resources, the wild animals will begin to encroach into the civilized areas.
This strongly suggests that the jurisdiction of the beast will extend to about three fourths of the world, and only fail to reach one fourth. And if the beast's reign and the great tribulation that he will be conducting, is not interrupted, then the death toll would become worse so that there would be no "elect" (believers in Christ) who would physically survive. But in order to have people alive who will later become believers, and then enter alive into Messiah's earthly kingdom, that tribulation will be cut short by the second coming of Jesus and the time period known as the day of the Lord (Matthew 24:21-22). All the believers at that time will be removed from the earth through the rapture (Mat. 24:31; 1 Thes. 4:13-17; 2 Thes. 1:6-7), and there will still be plenty of unbelievers left to trust in Christ later, starting with the 144,000 Jews of Revelation 7:1-8).
So, although authority is given to the beast over the whole earth, it
does not mean that he is ABLE to implement beast worship en toto. It is
The meaning of 666 has been speculated upon since the early church and there is no way of knowing its true significance until it comes on the scene. It has been used to identify a large variety of candidates to be the beast. The instruction at Rev. 13:18 is only relevant at the time of the great tribulation. Prior to that, EVERTHING is only speculation.
“Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”
Nero was the first candidate, and from him, the Roman Empire. Of course, it was not Nero, however our study of prophecy identifies the Roman Empire as being the key to understanding the beast empire, so it might just be as simple as that.
Since then, many persons and organizations up to the present day have received the notoriety of being a beast candidate, but it is ALL “corn-ball” speculation and does not even merit a lengthy discussion.
What is certain about 666, is that it is some form of identification that will be assigned to individuals to associate them with the overt worship of the beast and participation in the economic system of the beast. This will only be relevant WHEN the beast begins his oppressive reign over the world.
THE SEAL OF DESTINY
According to Revelation 14:9-11, if anyone takes the mark, they are destined to eternal judgment. The act of taking the mark, then, functions the same as physical death. If a person dies physically without trusting in Christ, then his destiny is eternal judgment.
The act of taking the mark accomplishes the same thing. Normally, as long as someone is alive they have the opportunity to trust in Christ and be saved. Taking the mark is the exception.
since the believer cannot lose his salvation (A basic doctrine that MUST be
understood for true confidence and peace in one's Christian walk) what happens
when a weak believer is no longer able to resist the economic pressures
associated with the beast's policy and will "try" to get the mark – and "swear
allegiance" to the beast (which is probably what will be required)?
A believer who is SEALED in union with Christ can not be lost - NO MATTER what he does. See Doctrine of salvation Security
However, when he sins he breaks fellowship with God and cannot please God in any way, shape or form. He is neutralized as a child of God and as an ambassador for Christ. It is God’s desire that the believer bear fruit and please God. When the believer fails to do this, God will discipline (Heb. 12:6ff) him in various ways and in 3 distinct stages (1 Cor.11:30). If the believer does not respond to that discipline then it gets more intense until finally in God's own timing, He simply removes the erring believer from this life through physical death ("sleep" at 1 Cor. 11:30; and the "sin unto death" at 1 John 5).
God will not allow a member of His family to take a mark that "reverses" HIS sovereign decision to save that person. Therefore, I suggest that sometime prior to actually taking the mark, the weak and unprepared believer will be taken "home" by God through physical death (like what happened to Anannias and Saphira at Acts 5) in spiritual embarrassment and shame (Principle of 1 John 2:28) so that he will be unable to take the mark.
This scenario is based on understanding the ABSOLUTE doctrine of salvation security. If one does not accept this, then he will of course be in doubt as to his own future as well as the future of "believing" friends and loved ones who encounter this great tribulation.
Even though it is discipline of the severest kind, it is still God's "family" grace to His children.
Think how difficult it will be for a parent to have to see their children suffering from hunger and other deprivation - when all they have to do is take the mark and swear worshipful allegiance to this stupid dictator - How strong will so many believers be to handle this? Not very strong. Today, they worry about the teeniest of things and get all bent out of shape at the slightest adversity. These will not survive. These will be disciplined by God in "some" way and it might very well be through one of the judgments that are "designed" for the unbelievers.
I find no precedent for this exactly - - but then again, there is no precedent for a "mark of the beast" scenario in history. However, there is a principle that can be found to confirm this possibility.
When Paul sinned and was about to offer an animal sacrifice, God intervened and prevented him from doing so (Acts 21:17-30). Now, if Paul had offered the sacrifice, it would not have resulted in a loss of salvation, but it was still a very serious matter and we see that God clearly intervened to prevent it. See Paul’s Sins
It is just as viable that God would intervene to prevent His people from taking the mark. They would still be woefully out of fellowship with God but not lose salvation.
issue of whether a believer can take the mark of the beast is NOT a pre-trib
vs. prewrath issue. Anyone who trusts in Christ after the rapture (WHENEVER it
occurs) will still be faced with the same choice of holding to his devotion to
Christ or accepting beast worship. And the doctrine of salvation security
©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com.
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