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A Mark of the Beast

 

An article by one of our frequent guests, Scott Alan Buss. (Shared with permission)

A Mark of the Beast  Scott Alan Buss

Throughout church history there’s been intense curiosity and fascination with the “mark of the beast” described in the book of Revelation. While serious interest in the truth of God as revealed in His Word is a wonderful thing, in recent decades much of what is marketed as end times intrigue has been detached from its biblical foundation. Once that happened, it was bound to blossom into something quite ugly, and blossom it has.

English: Uppercase and lowercase Greek letter ...In its “Bible lite” format, unhinged from the full context of Scripture, most “end times prophecy” has predictably gone from bad to worse to…where we are now. And people love it (which tends to be the case with any biblical passage or concept taken out of context and massaged to fit the inclinations, desires, and traditions of man). The “mark of the beast” reference made in Revelation 13:16-18 is right there with the “Judge not” partial verse snippet surgically removed from the tippy top of the rest of Matthew 7 when it comes to examples of our culture’s propensity for the convenient destruction of context.

The modern spin on end times prophecy has pegged the obsess-o-meter in our culture. Inspiring and inspired by a growing gaggle of wildly popular yet comically unbiblical movies, books, and “end times ministries”, all coming together to produce a particularly wacky, nasty, and destructive little feedback loop, this movement shows no sign of slowing. This self-perpetuating end times prophecy machine has served as a powerful force of distraction for the professing church in America, with even many true believers captivated by its never-ending parade of tantalizing speculation, gossip-as-“prophecy”, and pin-the-tail-on-the-antichrist sessions.

Ironically, the modern end times prophecy movement would itself seem to be a great indicator of a world come off its biblical rails and in need of an apocalyptic purge.

That said, each of us should resist these distractions and shun even the sheer entertainment value of Jack and Rexella Van Impe’s 2,342nd “I’m not setting a date, but…” prediction for at least long enough to prayerfully focus and seriously consider Revelation 13:16-18, which reads:

…it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666*. (*Some manuscripts record the number as 616.)

The aim here is not to discuss the subject of the mark in detail, rather it is to inspire each of us to consider whether we, in light of this passage from Revelation, could be said to be displaying, right here and now, a “mark of the beast”.

Please note the “a” part of that last sentence. The reference is to a mark of the beast, not the mark of the beast.

It has been rightly noted that to be marked in such a manner (on the forehead and on the arm) is likely an indicator of one’s thoughts and one’s actions, with the mark on the head symbolizing one’s worldview in thought, and the mark on the hand representing one’s worldview in action. What we think and what we do marks us. There need not be a physical mark in order for a person to be marked either by the world or by Christ.

If we obey Christ, we are marked for Christ, and that mark is visible to a watching world. It is visible to them through our actions, which are a reflection of our actual belief (as often opposed to the belief we profess with our mouths but contradict with our actions).

The more American culture plunges itself into Christ-less oblivion as the wrath of God is poured out upon the land and its people, the more these marks will show. And the more these marks show, the more the world will persecute those displaying the mark of Christ.

When we want to be better able to “buy and sell” (as in “make more money” and “get a good job”), what has become “the way of the ‘Christian’ American”?

Compromise, of course. If taking an actual, clear stand for Christ as commanded by Christ would cost us something like a good job (or a shot at any job), we just won’t go there. That’s not how we roll. We simply don’t do personal sacrifice on a serious, comfort-destroying level, to say nothing of embracing a willingness to actually die for the Gospel, which has been a defining mark of the true Church at its world-shaking best throughout history. No, we here in good ol’ comfortable America are not at all interested in paying those prices or making those sacrifices.

“That’s just the way the world works,” we are told and tell ourselves. And besides, there’s no need to sacrifice that much, since Jesus is just gonna fix it all in the end anyway.

That is our testimony to the world.

That is our worldview in action.

That is our mark.

It is right and good that each of us ”examine ourselves” to see whether we are really “in the faith” (2 Cor 13:5-6), and repent of any mark embraced that does not conform to the lordship of Christ. May God grant His people repentance and restoration, so that true Christ-centered, Gospel-fueled revolution might once again shake the world.
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The above article originally ran in The Wisconsin Christian News and can be found by clicking here or at http://www.wisconsinchristiannews.com/view.php?sid=4623.

Copyright 2013 Scott Alan Buss. All rights reserved.

You can send feedback directly to Scott Alan Buss at Scott@FireBreathingChristians.com

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8 Responses to “A Mark of the Beast”

  1. Darrel #

    This article does not help, but only adds to the confusion concerning the Rev. 13 "mark of the beast." In a round-about-way you seem to be saying that a Christian in America may have such a mark on him now and without him knowing it. Please do not combine the real mark of the beast that is to be given to unbelievers during the Tribulation with the state of believers now in the USA.

    So what is the extent of your "compromise" in regard to the sacrifices you are unable to see that others have made. What sacrifices have you made? You say that Christianity lacks such sacrifice in America and you know this HOW? Perhaps what you see most are false believers for there are many that claim to be saved and are not—I was one for over forty years, but God had mercy on me and saved me almost nine years ago. You have no idea what believers have been called upon to "sacrifice." Loved ones who refuse to have contact because of their stance for Christ. Children that die in their early years with believing parents grieving 'til the day they die. Income being cut again and again. Can you live on 25% of your 2009 income? Expulsion from churches that teach false doctrine when questions are raised as to why the church condones falsehood. Need I go on?

    Since you have such a low opinion of the believers around you, perhaps you should look for those who really do love their Lord and Savior and have made some of the sacrifices you don't seem to be able to find.

    PS Sounds like you have a good case of the Elijah syndrome and have forgotten that our Lord has reserved a remnant that have not bowed the knee to Baal. I get there sometimes, too.

    August 21, 2013 at 2:51 PM Reply
  2. Oops, sorry Darrel! Got the wrong name in there, but I do thank you for your reply.

    August 21, 2013 at 7:43 PM Reply
  3. Darrel #

    It's good to see that you have retracted (if only partially) your broad condemnation of believers in America. Those of us who really are born again have been placed into the Body of Christ, we are His church, His Bride. Perhaps you should consider that the Lord Jesus does not take kindly, nor wink at those who would speak ill of His Bride without a cause.

    Those who harp on how bad things are come and go with the wind. It is true that false brethren are rampant here in the US, and have exported their lies around the world, but you seem to lump the false with the true and press condemnation on all. Here's hoping that is not your intent.

    Those who focus their attention on the glories of the Lord Jesus Christ will not have their works burned away at the Judgment Seat of Christ. When the narcissistic concepts of salvation are laid aside and the real reason for us being saved in the first place is realized then will our thoughts, words and actions actually glorify our Lord and Savior. May it be suggested that multiple (two dozen or more) and consecutive readings of Ephesians (at least the first four chapters, if not all six) be done 'til the full import of what Christ has done for believers begins to flood your heart and mind. Keeping in mind that the real reason anyone is saved is not that we may escape His righteous wrath, nor that we may live happily ever after in heaven, but solely for His sake—Ezek. 36:22 & 32; Isa.43:25; Col. 1:16; 1John 2:12

    August 22, 2013 at 3:37 AM Reply
  4. There is another mark, or seal given to believer's in Revelation seven. The part of Rev 13 that leaves open very strongly the possibility of the mark not being a physical device is the phrase "on the right hand or the forehead. ". Both of these speak of different if related ways of fellowship. The right is about business, contracts, and integrity. It could mean being at peace with a globalization that fungeably benefits wickedness. The forehead is always understood as symbolic of the will and distinction might be about those are more openly embracing the antichrist worship. Both classes would defacto enemies of the cross. Yet we have this evidence for some kind of physical mark.
    http://biblesuite.com/greek/5480.htm

    The word speaks to a branding or etching. It can figurative and I would be careful not insist it is literal, but also to carefully examine how it might be figurative in the context of end times narratives. Also not computer networking and the Internet most assuredly plays a key role in implementing the implied control grid.

    August 22, 2013 at 4:26 AM Reply

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