Difficult times often bring out the worst in people as well as the best in others. Unfortunately, difficult times also brings out deeply rooted fears that even good people have been convinced to believe. One of those is a fear of the infamous Mark of the Beast.
Recently, at a Texas protest over issues regarding the coronavirus, there was a banner that said, “TEXAS WILL NOT TAKE THE MARK OF THE BEAST”. Among other things written on the banner was the words, “vaccine, chip, ID 2020”.
This banner has made headlines and has become a source of mockery as some have allowed the events surrounding the coronavirus to bring out their worst fears. Such fears are the by-product of conspiracy theories and end time scenarios which are not aligned with the sound teachings of scripture.
The fears that people have regarding the “end times” often runs parallel with their political views, as the banner mentioned above proves, saying, “Texas will not take the Mark of the Beast.” Yet Texas is a State with nearly 30 million people and not all Christian. If there is a Mark of the Beast soon to be implemented (I say this to get a point across), these protesters seem to think they can impose their the decision regarding the Mark of the Beast on their fellow Texans. Where do they get such notions?
In Scripture, the Mark of the Beast is not something on a ballot box that people vote on, such as being implemented in Arkansas, but not in Texas. Again, Where do people get such ideas?!
One commenter on a you tube video made the following statement:
Amen! Glad people are waking up!!! This IS the beginning of the mark of the beast system AND glad Texas is awake. Wish WA State would wake the heck up too! Next will be a one world government and then one currency. This is ALL tied together.
Notice that this commentator’s view of the Mark of the Beast has nothing to do with sin and righteousness, Christians and non Christians. Instead, it is entirely political.
The truth is, such public displays as that in the Texas protest weaken our witness for Christ. This is why I believe the greatest need within American Christianity is sound, wholesome doctrine. I can’t stress that enough. Consider the following from Jesus’s sermon on the Mount:
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. ~ Matthew 5:13
Jesus did not say this in view of taking a stand on political issues, or enforcing our morality on society through political stances. Instead, he says it in view of what is often referred to as the B-Attitudes. When the world sees people with the traits of those Jesus describes as poor in spirit, pure in heart, meek, peacemakers, etc., there is saltiness in our witness of Christ, and people can taste and see that the Lord is good. Christ is exalted in the eyes of the world not by a political church, but a humble church.
Without getting into a discussion as to the timeline of the book of the Revelation, and whether or not the Mark of the Beast is past or future, literal or figurative, lets just look at the text as it is written and see if it matches the fears people have.
And 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. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. ~ Revelation 13:16-18
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 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; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. ~ Revelation 14:9-12
Notice that the Mark of the Beast is not a vaccine to combat a virus to help people. The mark is specifically associated with those who worship the beast rather than God. Now consider the following from Revelation 15:
And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. ~ Revelation 15:1-4
The Mark of the Beast specifically applies to an authoritarian ruler who claims to be deity and demands worship in opposition to the Living God. Now notice the following from Revelation 16:
And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments. And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. ~ Revelation 16:1-9
Notice that judgment was poured out on (1) men who had received the mark of the beast (2) the sea (3) the rivers and fountains of water (4) the sun. The men in this section were those who had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. They are the ones which are referred to at the end: “and they repented not to give him glory.”
According to the text, the Mark of the Beast is not something that people deceptively receive against their will. It is a mark that has to do with unrepentance towards God, opposition to God and worship of the beast, which opposes God. There also seems to be the inference that forgiveness is offered, but the people who have the mark are so given over to the beast they refuse to repent – “and they repented not to give him glory.”
The deeply rooted fear that the Mark of the Beast is something that even good people are going to be hoodwinked into accepting, and thus eternally doomed with no recourse, simply has no Biblical basis. That anyone would actually think that Christians who love Jesus with all their heart will be tricked by the government into taking a vaccination for a virus, and consequently condemned to hell is nothing less than superstition.
Such fears are not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” ~ Romans 10:11
Many of the ideas that people have concerning the Mark of the Beast are founded solely on conspiracy theories and superstitions. Its unfortunate that people live in such fear as they interpret a literal mark from a symbolic beast, while believing the mark is something other than what is literally is in the text.
The truth is, no one, and I mean no one, truly knows how events regarding the coming of the Lord will all shake out. No one figured God out with the first coming of Christ, and no one will with his second coming either. It is in vain that men calculate and conspire and develop plans of how Bible prophecy will unfold before the return of Christ.
The truth is, they simply do not know, because God does not connect all the dots for us. He simply gives us signs and warnings and expects us to trust him.
The apostle Peter tells us that the things which pertain to the coming of the Day of the Lord are hard to understand. It should be noted, that some think Peter is referring to Paul’s writings when he makes this statement, but Peter is actually referring to eschatology which Paul had also addressed in his letter to Peter’s audience.
It is my firm conviction that the apostle Peter gives us the outline we need for how we are to live in expectation of the coming of the Lord.
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior.: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. ~ 2 Peter 3: 1-18
May I encourage you today to lay aside all the end time scenarios, plots, and conspiracies that you have been taught and embrace the words of the apostle Peter, and actually breath a sigh of relief. Jesus is coming, so live for him and stop worrying whether a vaccine might have a chip that would send you to hell.
The ungodly will be ungodly and even mock the promise of the coming of judgment, but God is merciful not willing that any should perish and patiently gives them time to repent. However, the Day of the Lord will come, and when it comes it will come suddenly, unexpectedly, as a thief. So knowing this, live holy and godly lives looking for the New Heavens and New earth wherein righteousness reigns.
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