Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Mark - Chapter 3

The Mark

Tom Wise


3. The Mark of the Beast.

Most Christians are familiar with the following passage (Revelation 13:16):

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.

Notice that this mark may be received in the forehead (the argument that this may not be a correct translation, or that it is linguistically ambiguous, does not concern us, for the printed words for the world to see are, at least in the King James Version of the New Testament, "in their foreheads"). The implication is that the Mark of the Beast can be placed in the mind, as an idea.

The Mark of the Beast thus does not need to be a branding of the skin, nor the implementation of any device. It can easily be a way of thinking, a state of mind.

But this way of thinking does not necessarily have to be an ideology. One does not have to believe in the Beast in order to take the Mark. In fact, the Mark is more likely to be taken as a means of survival, in the same way that a gang member might adhere to "the code" so that he or she will have access to the relative safety and camaraderie the gang offers which may not be elsewhere for that member. In other words, people will take sides for the best of reasons, but some will side with the Beast, ceding their sovereignty for some security.

In the book of Revelation, the Mark of the Beast will be literal and visible. That Beast will not only be fearful, but also global. That Mark will denote actual servitude and allegiance to the Beast. Those who take the Mark of the Beast will be willing followers into slavery. I say "willing" because the Beast will give you a choice: take the Mark or die. Human nature, and history, dictates that most people will choose to receive the Mark.

Those who take this Mark, however, will receive a sad curse (Revelation 14:9-11):

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.

Those who willingly surrender their convictions and allow themselves to receive this mark of corruption will not walk away from their own choices nor the consequences for those choices. In whichever method God punishes, those who gave up their righteousness and integrity for the temporary safety and comfort of the Beast's "mercy," by taking the Mark, will suffer greatly.

Those who do not take the Mark, but choose death in the name of God, will be beheaded. Those beheaded for such resistance will live again to reign with Christ for 1000 years (Revelation 20:4), and will bypass the judgment of Judgment Day (20:6). A great reward indeed!

The choice should therefore be simple, since God wins in the end (Revelation 19:20):

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Ultimately, those that receive the Mark do so of their own free will. It is a shameful reality that most people are predisposed to receive the Mark of the Beast. They’re ready to sell out right away. Yet, they will deny this vehemently. It is thus critical to know and understand the true definition of the "Mark of the Beast." Without this knowledge etched into our psyches, we risk unknowingly accepting the Mark of the Beast and finding ourselves in opposition to God.

Simply saying you would never take the Mark is not a sufficient armor, neither an excuse nor a defense. This is mainly a humanist argument, that the human spirit can conquer the ills of this world. It will not work. While one person may escape by individual strength of spirit and body, it is mostly ridiculous to expect that a vast majority of individuals or peoples are mentally and physically prepared to withstand even the slightest survival scenario, or that men without existing systems naturally coalesce into groups of logical arrangement (like ant colonies or beehives). In fact, most people who have some security are fearful to lose it, and most people who have no security have no idea how to acquire it, except by means of violence or other sins. It should therefore be impressive that the Constitution of the United States has performed the logical arrangement of a new and better society from the chaos and tyranny of the old world, holding that personal security, that is, life and liberty (for examples, the right to bear arms and the right to property) and the right to happiness (the land of opportunity) are not only God-given but also under the protection of the central government from all usurpers, both foreign and domestic. For civil rights and basic freedoms were never ordinarily given voluntarily to the powerless, but had to be wrested by wars and uprisings, but this Constitution (and the Magna Carta before it), is not a product of instinct, nor of human will conquering instinct, but derived from natural law, that is, the Law of God. And it is only this one principle which stopped America from becoming another monarchy (for if one power overthrows another, what stops that new power from becoming a tyranny?), that God desires men to be free, and holds other men responsible for keeping them free.

This is our central point, for the same mechanism that brings freedom to slaves, and power to the powerless, is also the defense against the Mark of the Beast. What is this defense? It is the Mark of God.

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Copyright © 2009 by Tom Wise and Dennis Putnam, Jr.

All rights reserved

"The Mark" is available from Lulu Books: here.

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