Marked or Sealed

Today has been a laid back type of day. I have enjoyed working on my lesson for our men’s group tomorrow night. I have also been given the opportunity to preview an upcoming e-book on the life and ministry of Missionary Ken Godbey. Debbie’s challenge was having her car battery die as she was out running errands. It took some time, but she was able to get it restarted and then we headed out to buy a new battery.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… The second beast also forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on their right hand or on their forehead.  No one could buy or sell without this mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name…Its number is 666.”  Revelation 13:16-18 NCV

One of the most well known events in  Revelation is the “Mark of the Beast.” It is one of the control measures that is taken by the Anti-Christ and the “false prophet.” These two are viewed in the image of two beast in Revelation 13. The mark is mentioned as being specifically identified with “the beast” and it is used to control who can transact commerce. It is a mark that is needed to “buy or to sell.” So it does not just have to do with buying, but the ability of people to conduct or own a business.

The power grab of the Anti-Christ is described in these words,  “It was given power to make war against God’s holy people and to defeat them. It was given power over every tribe, people, language, and nation.” (Revelation 13:7 NCV) We see that his power is universal and it is specifically set against God and those who follow Him.

We notice that people are “forced” to take the mark. This is not an act of volition but one of coercion and deception. We read very specifically that, “…The false prophet had used these miracles to trick those who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his idol.” (Revelation 19:20 NCV) Also, we read,  And the second beast does great miracles so that it even makes fire come down from heaven to earth while people are watching. It fools those who live on earth by the miracles it has been given the power to do. It does these miracles to serve the first beast…” (Revelation 13:13,14 NCV)

The “mark of the beast” is a sign of allegiance and loyalty. The mark becomes an identification with the Anti-Christ and his system of government. We see the false prophet sets up an idol and forces people to worship the image.

As a result, the “mark of the beast” is not something that is taken by “accident” or being unaware of what is happening. The events of the world and the nature of the times, makes it very clear as to what is happening. This is designed to set those loyal the the Anti-Christ and those loyal to the true “Christ” against each other.

Just after these events, we read of a scene of the Lamb and the 144,000  “…With him were one hundred forty-four thousand people who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1 NCV)  These are those from the twelves tribes of Israel. They are divinely selected and protected by God.

“Then I saw another angel coming up from the east who had the seal of the living God. And he called out in a loud voice to the four angels to whom God had given power to harm the earth and the sea. He said to them, “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we mark with a sign the foreheads of the people who serve our God.” (Revelation 7:2,3 NCV)

An important aspect of being a follower of Christ is understanding that our lives have been “set apart” to the Lord.  “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Eph 4:30)

Paul writes about the work of Christ and says,  “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”  (2 Cor 1:22) This is emphasized in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians,  “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise…”  (Eph 1:13)

A seal speaks of ownership and authority. We can be confident that when we “belong” to the Lord, He provides us the confidence in life to live with wisdom and victory as the events of life unfold. We don’t need to worry about being “marked” by the Anti-Christ, if we are “sealed” by the Holy Spirit.