THE MARK

THE MARK Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The Book of Revelation has much to say about Antichrist, and mentions a mark that the False Prophet will force everyone to receive. The mark is on the individual’s right hand or on his forehead. The mark is "the name of the Beast or the number of his name."

THE MARK

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666. (Revelation 13:16-18)

I will tell you who I think the False Prophet is, and who Antichrist is, and what I believe to be the mark that the False Prophet insists on. Perhaps I am mistaken. But the thesis of this brief essay, which is that we ought to obey God rather than man, is definitely scriptural and of the Lord. I hope my words prove to be a blessing to you.

I have written throughout the years on these topics, and have not changed my mind at all.

The False Prophet who comes out of the earth represents Christians who are seeking the power of Jesus Christ but are guided by their own thinking and desires. I say this because the False Prophet has the two horns (power) of the Lamb but speaks with the voice of the dragon.

The Antichrist, the Beast, speaks of man being his own god. He comes out of the great sea of mankind.

Thus the False Prophet is self-will in the spirit realm and the Beast, or Antichrist, is self-will in the civil realm.

Now we come to the mark that the False Prophet forces on everyone.

If the False Prophet indeed represents Christians who seek to use the power of Christ according to their own will, then we are stating it will be self-willed Christians who are forcing the mark on all people.

We might think the idea of Christians upholding an Antichrist government by forcing their ideas on people to be unrealistic. Let me quote from a noted historian concerning the actions of religious leaders in the past: "The clergy as a whole sustained royal authority by exerting theirs directly: from the pulpit they spoke every day to every man, woman, and child": (Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence. New York: HarperCollins, 2000, p. 265).

"The clergy . . . sustained royal authority." We are not accustomed to the clergy supporting the government to this extent, but it has happened in time past and I think, from the Scripture, it will take place in the future.

The mark is either the name of the Beast, of Antichrist, or else it is the number of his name.

Perhaps the name is Antichrist (against Christ), as in the Book of First John.

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. (I John 2:18)

Perhaps the number 666 symbolizes man making himself god. Three is the number of God. Six is the number of man.

The False Prophet will force the name of the Beast, or the number of his name, on the right hand or on the forehead of each individual.

In order to buy or sell, which is the ordinary business of life, an individual must receive the mark of the Beast.

My interpretation of this symbolism is that the mark of Antichrist on the right hand of a person means this individual acts according to the spirit that is in the world. The mark of Antichrist on the forehead means the individual thinks according to the world spirit, the consensus of the greater society.

Will there be a computer chip with the name "Antichrist" on it that is inserted on the right hand or on the forehead?

I tend to doubt this; although it is evident there will be some sort of recognizable "mark" that permits one to buy or sell.

It is not important whether the "mark" is a credit card, a debit card, a computer chip, or some more advanced technological instrument.

The point is, the individual is willing to go along with the decisions of the greater society rather than waiting on the Lord for His decisions, and will accept whatever token of compliance is mandatory.

The important aspect of the mark of Antichrist is not the device itself but the attitude of the heart! Do we take our directions from the world spirit, or from some other power or guidance such as our self-will; or do we take our directions from the Spirit of Christ?

There are at least six "marks" that can be found on the right hand or on the forehead of every person. By marks I mean sources of motivation and decision making. These six powers govern man’s thinking and actions. The six are as follows:

Man is governed by the civil authorities.

Man is governed by ecclesiastical authorities.

Man is governed by his desire to find survival and security in the world spirit.

Man is governed by the lusts and passions of his flesh and soul.

Man is governed by his self-will and personal ambition.

Man is governed by the Person and will of God.

The issue of who or what governs God’s creatures is the supreme issue of the creation. There is no greater issue than that of God’s will, as far as I know. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will. It is as simple as this.

The Lord Jesus Christ and those who are part of Him have a song they sing continually:

I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." (Psalms 40:8)

The original problem in the universe of God, the source of all sin, chaos, suffering, sickness, insanity, wars, desolations, and every other catastrophe, came into existence when the cherub, Satan, the adversary, decided to do his own will rather than the will of the Father.

You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.  I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." (Isaiah 14:13,14)

I will; I will; I will; I will; I will.

As far as we know, Adam and Eve were quite content to obey God. Then Satan entered Paradise and stirred up personal ambition in Eve. At that moment the rebellion of Satan entered mankind. The world has been in rebellion against God’s will since that time.

Now Adam and Eve had the mark of Antichrist on their right hand and on their forehead. They were governed by ambitions and fears other than the will of God.

The long march of mankind had begun. Man, who began in Paradise, will end up in a hell on earth as the bowls of Divine wrath are poured out

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth." (Revelation 16:1)

Such is the result of disobeying the will of the Father.

Enoch pleased God by faith and God removed him from the earth. Noah obeyed the eternal moral law of God and was deemed righteous. Noah obeyed God by building an ark.

But it was Abraham, the father of all who believe, who did the will of God under excruciating circumstances.

Finally Gethsemane, and the supreme agony: "Not My will but Yours be done."

God was totally satisfied with the obedience of the Lord Jesus. Then, through His atoning death, the way was made for God to receive back His disobedient children. But never Satan or his angels! Those rebels are doomed for eternity!

Let us list once more the six powers that govern man, the forces that motivate individuals and guide their decisions:

Man is governed by the civil authorities.

Man is governed by ecclesiastical authorities.

Man is governed by his desire to find survival and security in the world spirit.

Man is governed by the lusts and passions of his flesh and soul.

Man is governed by his self-will and personal ambition.

Man is governed by the Person and will of God.

Man is governed by the civil authorities. From earliest times there has been government of one sort or another. We read in the Bible of the kingdoms of Israel, Babylon, Media, Persia, Greece, and Rome.

A few hundred years ago the nations that we know today came into existence. Then there was a move toward encouraging independence of thought and action, a revolt against civil and ecclesiastical authority. The spirit of independence has found expression in the American Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution.

(But we are in the pursuit of happiness, not of righteousness or obedience to God!)

Today the concept of liberty, of democracy, is highly esteemed in the Western nations. In America, freedom of speech is protected by law. This freedom has resulted in artistic monstrosities and pornography. Various music groups appear to be determined to revolt against every social value.

Thus we see the evolution of what the Apostle Paul terms "the secret power of lawlessness."

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. (II Thessalonians 2:7)

Man is governed by ecclesiastical authorities. During the greater part of the Church Era the Roman Catholic Church and other ecclesiastical governments exerted considerable influence over the behavior of people. We do not notice this authority in America because we are devoted to the separation of church and state.

However, in Muslim countries the ecclesiastical authorities wield considerable power over the people. This was true in ancient Egypt during the reign of the pharaohs, and in modern Egypt by Muslim leaders.

It is my thought that miraculous power will be given in the future to a great world church with headquarters at the site of ancient Babylon. This church perhaps will incorporate the Catholic and Protestant organizations, and possibly Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist congregations. Such a joining together may not seem possible today. But given the present destructive confrontations it might appear some day to be mutually beneficial if such uniting could take place.

If the Catholic Church can again demonstrate some of the miraculous power that has appeared in past time, such as that of Bernadette of Lourdes, religious leaders, when they consider the possible benefits, might be persuaded to join forces in the creation of a super-church.

If, at the same time, a world leader arose in the civil realm, who was willing, for a season at least, to share world leadership with the super-church, then we very well might witness the super-church imbuing a world capitalistic system with spiritual life.

I predicted years ago that the communism would fail as an economic system and give way to capitalism. Democracy and capitalism are what the people of the world want, and sooner or later they will overthrow their oppressive regimes and grasp for themselves more self-rule and more material comforts and amenities.

Man is governed by his desire to find survival and security in the world spirit. This was the temptation Christ faced when He was invited to turn stone into bread. "Will I use by God-given powers to satisfy my bodily needs, or will I wait for God to take care of me?"

Here is the mark of Antichrist. It is the sign of servitude to the world spirit, to the consensus of society. When we are baptized in water we are demonstrating our intention to turn away from the world spirit, to take our place on the cross with Christ, and to arise and ascend with Him in newness of spiritual life.

Those who choose the mark of Antichrist, the way of self-direction (being our own god), will suffer intensely in the time to come.

And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name. This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. (Revelation 14:11,12)

It is my point of view that the image in honor of Antichrist, that the False Prophet ordered the inhabitants of the earth to set up, represents money. You may have noticed that one of the excesses practiced by the adherents of the "faith-prosperity" doctrine is the association of money with God’s blessing.

One does not have to use great imagination to picture a super-church, at some point in the future, ordering the people of the world to enter various capitalistic enterprises in order to subsidize a democratic government, a government devoted to improving the living conditions of the world’s population. (The United Nations already is entertaining the possibility of a tax to be imposed on its member nations.)

We are not accustomed today, at least in America, to having a religious institution exert such authority and power. But think for a moment about the recently dismantled Taliban government in Afghanistan. Consider the authority and power of the Catholic Church hundreds of years ago, and even today in some countries.

Man is governed by the lusts and passions of his flesh and soul. Not all people are equally driven by the lusts of the flesh. But some are bound with fierce chains of burning desire, ranging from the lowest bestiality to the higher levels of romantic imagination, in addition to pride, violence, jealousy, covetousness, gluttony, drunkenness, and the other compulsions of the sinful nature.

In time past the ecclesiastical and civil governments imposed severe penalties on those who yielded to their passions to the point of harming other people. But today in America there is an increasing willingness to permit people to express their passions and fantasies—all in the name of personal liberty.

Sometimes the expressions of these lusts harmed other people. But the tendency is to protect the "civil liberties" of the offender regardless of the injury to society. It doesn’t really make much sense, when you think about it.

For example, the development of babies is aborted in order to insure that the mother’s "freedom of choice" is not harmed. This is the mark of Antichrist on the right hand and on the forehead—on action and thinking.

Such was the second temptation of Christ—possession of free expression of the sensual pleasures provided by the kingdoms of the world, made possible by the worship of Satan.

Man is governed by his self-will and personal ambition. Presumption, the exercise of ambitious self-will, was the supreme temptation of Christ, the test of the gable of the Temple.

The leaders of Judaism were driven by self-will and personal ambition to murder their Christ.

Notice that the third temptation of Christ took place in Jerusalem, that is, in a religious context. There is little doubt in my mind that the most destructive motivation that inspires human beings is self-will and personal ambition in a religious context. Envy and personal ambition will murder the prophets every time.

We notice today that some of the Muslim leaders, in the name of their religion, are encouraging young people to murder their supposed enemies by blowing themselves up. This is what religion can do to people. This is how it can warp the mind of a decent person until he or she expresses the murderous nature of Satan.

Muslims, Christians, Jews, and members of other religions have all been guilty of committing atrocities in the name of their god, their religion.

From the preceding paragraphs one could gain the impression that there are numerous sources that inspire and guide people as they think, speak, and act.

Now let us consider the end of the matter, and the thesis of our present essay.

Man is governed by the Person and will of God.

I really should amend this to read, Man is to be governed by the Person and will of God.

Every creature of God has one fundamental choice is his or her life. He can choose to submit to God and do His will from the heart, or he can permit himself to be inspired and guided by some other force. To submit to God and to do His will from the heart is the "rest of God," emphasized in the Book of Hebrews.

When I say "submit to God and do His will," I do not mean only by reading a religious book and obeying what it says. There is a place for obedience to the commandments of one’s religion. I mean, rather, living in such a place that we can hear from God and obey God on a moment by moment basis.

Not all Christians hear from God in the same manner. Some are aware of God’s voice. Others commit all their ways to the Lord and He directs their path.

We can read the Bible, for example, and attempt to do what it commands. But the Bible, as crucially important as it is, is not to be the focus of our life. It is the living Lord Jesus who is to be the focus of our life.

Mary did not ask the "Gardener" where He had put her Bible but where He had put her Lord.

Jesus invited the Jews to look up from the scroll and consider the eternal Life who was standing before them.

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39,40)

The eternal Life of God is not found in the Bible or in any other religious book. The Life of God is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every human being on earth and in Heaven has one simple choice to make: Am I to do my own will, or am I to do God’s will?

This issue can be expressed in simple terms, but it is difficult to work out in our life. We may want to do God’s will. But the civil government lures or commands us to perform its will. The ecclesiastical authorities invite or direct us. Our desire to find security and survival in the world persuades us. The lusts and passions of our flesh and souls seek to enslave us. Our personal ambition and self-will challenge us to prove our importance, to seek our own aggrandizement.

So from the time of the garden in Eden, mankind is faced with the fundamental decision: do I obey God, or do I obey some other power or wisdom?

You might be a Christian, that is, you have believed in having your sins forgiven through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet you might not know what it is to walk in moment by moment interaction with Jesus. You might not be hearing from Him, or committing your way to Him, concerning each decision you make.

You might have been filled with the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you speak in tongues and prophesy, or even pray for the sick with outstanding results. Yet you might not know what it is to obey the Lord each moment, looking to Him for every issue during the day.

You might be serving as a pastor, evangelist, Christian teacher or missionary, and still be planning and acting according to your own wisdom and desires.

This is why we are to take up our cross and follow Jesus. Our personal cross has been designed to crucify our self-will. We are obliged to remain in situations we detest. We are denied that which we fervently desire. Yet we patiently continue on our pilgrimage day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade.

We sing: "I delight to do Your will, O Lord. Yes, Your law is within my heart." To do the will of Christ is our daily food, the bread that strengthens our heart.

It is so easy to "do the Lord’s work," even to serve as a pastor or missionary, and not yet know what it is to obey Christ at every moment. Many ministers of the Christian religion are filled with self-will and personal ambition. Whatever they accomplish while inspired and guided by their own ambition will be burned away in the fire and they will be left without reward.

Samuel, who always obeyed the Lord, told Saul to wipe out the Amalekites. Saul did not do this, leaving some of the animals, and King Agag, alive.

Samuel instructed Saul that to obey God is better than all religious service; to listen and obey better than all spiritual endeavor.

But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." (I Samuel 15:22,23)

To rebel against God is similar to sinning by seeking the help of spirits other than God. To be arrogant, proud of our own way, is to worship a false god—the god who is our self. This is the mark of Antichrist.

In fact, "the just shall live by faith" means the righteous individual conducts his life by continually interacting with the living God rather than relying on his or her own abilities.

Saul and David were both chosen by the Lord to be king of Israel. Both were anointed by the Lord. Both sought the Lord’s help in governing the kingdom.

The difference between Saul and David was that Saul was filled with his own ways, his own ambitions. David did not look to his own devices. He continually inquired of the Lord as to what to do in each situation.

Saul, head and shoulders above the people, represents the prideful ways of religious flesh. David was a man after God’s heart, because all David’s thoughts were fixed on the Lord. We know this from what David wrote in the Book of Psalms. David had set the Lord before him at all times. The Lord was at David’s right hand, so David was never shaken or utterly dismayed.

Saul’s willfulness brought him to the place where God no longer would answer him. This was why Saul consulted the witch of Endor.

It was David who made it possible for Solomon to control such a vast empire. But Solomon made possible the destruction of what David built, in that Solomon acquired numerous horses and numerous wives—both of which were forbidden to an Israelite king by the Law of Moses. Solomon, although he called on the Lord at the beginning, was not careful to then follow the Lord all his days.

God’s will is done in Heaven, at the present time; but we must always pray that God’s will is done in the earth—especially in our own life.

There is a great deal of presumption among the Pentecostal-Charismatic ranks, of which I am a member. I have been teaching for years that the Charismatic people will be split on the issue of obedience to Christ. Most of these believers will remain under the impression they are to go forth with their gifts and attempt to heal a "lost and dying world." This sort of attitude, although well intentioned, can evolve into the False Prophet who will assist the Antichrist.

How many well intentioned Christians, such as the Catholic prelates who ordered the torture and slaying of true disciples, were assured they were doing God's will when they actually were destroying the Kingdom? Were the Pharisees certain they were condemning to death a false Christ? Spiritual ambition can be used by Satan to accomplish his own purposes.

A small number of Charismatic believers will bring their gifts and ministries to the feet of the Lord Jesus and wait for Him to direct their paths.

Such will be scorned by those who arrogantly boast of their faith, and their ability to command the Holy Spirit and direct angels; who are confident they can take authority over the spiritual rulers of particular cities. But in the age of moral chaos we are entering, these presumptuous believers will we swept away as so much chaff. Only those who are meekly submitting to Christ in all areas of their life will be able to stand and be a light during the coming heavy spiritual darkness.

I think the Lord has told me that monumental catastrophes are ahead of us, and that America, England, and Israel are going to be chastened severely because they have turned away from God. America and England, once pillars of the Christian faith, are drowning in the cesspools of moral filth. The leaders of Israel, instead of trusting their God, are looking for help to America and other nations—nations who themselves are under Divine judgment.

This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD." (Jeremiah 17:5)

Hear me! Only those who obey Christ implicitly in every area of life will be protected, along with their loved ones, during the time of tribulation on the horizon. Obedience is what God is looking for.

In the days to come the very heavens will be shaken along with the earth. The purpose is to remove every trace of rebellion and disobedience. Only that which has been established in Christ will survive the shaking. To be established in Christ includes being sternly obedient to the Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

All that matters is obedience! Obedience! Obedience! Stern, uncompromising, unchanging obedience to God! All else is the mark of Antichrist.

All religious activities finally will be swept away, because they are no more than scaffolding. It is obedience to God that will survive. There will be no religious structures in the eternal Jerusalem.

The mark shows a willingness to trust in the world, in money, in education. While we are in the world we are to be responsible stewards of whatever God has entrusted to us. We are to work diligently at our secular or religious employment. But beyond this we must always remember that our inspiration and guidance do not come from the civil authorities, from ecclesiastical authorities, from our desire to find survival and security in the world system, from the lusts and passions of our flesh and soul, or from our self-will and personal ambition.

Our daily, moment by moment direction is to proceed from our continual interaction with the living Jesus. He is rising up now, because the time when God will make Christ’s enemies His footstool is at hand.

Christ is knocking on the door of our heart. Will we permit Him to enter and sit on the throne of our life? Will we dine with Him moment by moment on His body and blood as He dines on our obedience and worship.

Are we living in Christ or just talking about Him? Do we really know Him on a personal basis? Are we looking to Him in every detail of our life?

Mary, the mother of Jesus, gave the greatest sermon of all: "Whatever He says to you, do it!"

Life really is so simple. "Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."

We find God’s commandments in the Bible, and these are our infallible guide. But the Bible leads us to the living Lord Jesus. We look up from the pages of the Bible and we see Jesus. He is the living Word. We fasten our eyes on Him. We do not lean to our own understanding. We acknowledge Christ in all we do, and He directs our path and makes it straight.

Why don’t you, right now, tell the Lord that from this point forward you are going to look to Him for every detail throughout every day and every night. You are going to take all your plans, relationships, possessions, ambitions, circumstances, and give them to Him to do with as He will.

Whatever you do, do not hold anything back! Anything you hold back will prove to be loss for you, loss for Christ, and loss for those whom Christ plans to be helped by you.

Count it all garbage. Give it all to Jesus. When Christ is certain something you have given to Him no longer controls you, He will give it back to you if it will bring you joy. Now it is yours for eternity.

What I have written in the few words of this essay is just one long definition of faith. Faith is trusting that God know the details of your life; that He is bringing you to perfect, eternal joy; and that He has the power to do this. Faith is your testimony concerning God’s goodness, His trustworthiness, His faithfulness, His integrity.

This was the issue raised in the beginning. "Yes, you have been forbidden to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But remember—then you will be like God. This is a good that God is denying to you. He really cannot be trusted to bring you to joy. You must exert yourself; use your own judgment."

So it is with every human being in the world—Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist. We are forced to rely on our own resources, or rely on God. Happy is the individual who decides once and for all to trust in the Lord with all his heart. He shall be brought to perfect righteousness, perfect peace, perfect joy—all in the wonderful Spirit of God.

But cursed is the individual who trusts in himself and others to bring him to righteousness, peace, and joy. His destiny is barrenness, the loss of all that is desirable. He will find himself one day in eternal darkness, a wandering star; for the God of Heaven will permit no other god, no other will, in the creation.

"Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on the earth as it is in Heaven."

"I delight to do your will, O God. Yes, Your law is engraved in my heart for eternity."

The opposite of this is the mark of Antichrist.