Day 22: “Marked”

                Today I want to continue talking about our foreheads. Along this journey as we follow God’s plan for our life, we often have had to put our head down and surge forwards no matter how hard the journey is. We do this by Hebrews 12:2 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” We then look to Paul also as our example of perseverance who said, Colossians 1:28 “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” We do not give up. As we saw yesterday, there is a difference between the foreheads. Some people have a forehead of bronze, which represents stubbornness and iron necks represent a refusal to turn or repent. Isaiah 48:4 “For I knew how stubborn you were; your neck muscles were iron, your forehead was bronze.” The other description of a forehead was that of God’s servant Ezekiel. Ezekiel 3:7 But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8 But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.” This is the exact opposite of the bronze forehead, although, the forehead of stone is also unyielding and hardened but in a good way. This way also leads to putting stones in giant’s foreheads. 1 Samuel 17:49 “Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.” The enemy will bow to our King. I think it is obvious what side of the stone we want to be on.
                We also see the description of two different kinds of foreheads in the book of Revelation. This description describes how you are marked before God. Does your life represent good or evil in the eyes of the Lord? Do you have God’s marking on your forehead or satan’s? What I am about to talk about has many confused and living in fear. This is due to faulty teaching mostly because of the false teaching called dispensationalism. It tentacles are far reaching. You see it spread in Hal Lindsay’s The Late, Great Planet Earth (1970), and a movie narrated by Orson Welles and released in theaters in 1979, which perpetuated dispensational non-sense. One writer said, “Many Christians today read their Bibles through the lens of pop-prophecy books like The Late Great Planet Earth and the Left Behind series. They naively believe the prophetic schemes and theological presuppositions expressed in these and other fictional writings represent the doctrinal positions that Christians down through the centuries have embraced. This is viewed as a stumbling block to the Church and a distraction from the Great Commission.” Then a short time after when I was younger a terrible movie was shown. This dispensational teaching that no one had the sense to filter continued in the form of a movie called “A Thief in the Night” (1972). This movie should not have been shown. Meanwhile we were scared to death of something that wasn’t even going to happen. HELLO I was 9ish. The movie was filmed in a horror genre. It talked about the rapture and the taking of the Christians so they would not have to face the tribulation and those left behind and the dreaded mark of the beast. No one even questioned its validity. We then have this same terrible teaching in in LaHaye’s Left Behind series (1995) with it’s own movie reboot version starring the great theologian Nicolas Cage in 2014. It would be nice if the dispensationalists would actually base their theology on scripture as very little can be substantiated in scripture. I refer to it as doctrines of demons.  1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (doctrines, teachings of demons, devils)  2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.” There are many teachings including the likes of ceasationism. Many have turned away from the truth of the gospel to false gospels. We are talking millions of people who have been deceived. This is the abomination that causes the desolation of the church talked about in Daniel and Matthew. There is a good description of this deception in 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” Jesus said, “Do not be deceived! Luke 21:8 “He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.” They even teach they can’t fall away but Peter says 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.”
                Along with these dispensational false teachings comes this fear of the mark of the beast. They don’t even realize they should already be terrified at the massive deception that has already taken place. Sadly many have already received this mark by turning away from the true gospel to other gospels just as we were warned not to do. 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” Galatians 1:6  “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! Hebrews 10:26 “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
                Included in all this dispensational nonsense is the receiving of the mark of the beast. This is closely associated with the teaching on the rapture/ tribulation. Revelation 13:5 “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” So we have that happening already and many are falling for this deception. Now we have the part that has had many people in total confusion.  Revelation 13:13 “It performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.” We also see another marking in Revelation 17:5 “The name written on her forehead was a mystery: BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. 7 Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction.” May have been marked by this also. You can see this clearer if you look up the abominations in scripture. (NIV uses the word detestable) Babylon is the mother of these. You have been marked already no matter how diverse your church is.
                The bottom line is simple. If you worship false gospels you have received the mark already. Yes people keep teaching about the anti-christ being a world leader and they have to change and pick a new one as the ones they say keep dying. 1 John 2:18 “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.” This dispensational teaching places great emphasis on the receiving of the mark of the beast. They really focus in on not being able to buy and sell, so of course they emphasize our monetary system. While people continue to wait for all this to happen they continued to be deceived. They say, “they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark” so they focus on how we buy and sell not on being deceived by other gospels. They are perpetually waiting for the rapture and tribulation meanwhile they have already been deceived. The proponents of this literal reading talk about how we use money. One person said, “He will require that anyone who buys or sells anything must have a mark placed on his forehead or hand. This mark is called the mark of the beast. The technology is already in place for such a system. Today debit cards are already widely in use. No check is written. No cash is exchanged. The buyer's account is simply debited and the seller's credited. The beast will give each person a code for doing business and stamp that on their hand or forehead. The verses under consideration say that anyone who takes the mark of the beast will spend eternity in hell. I believe that the rapture will precede the Tribulation, and so I don't expect any of us to be around facing the trials spoken of.” Well isn’t that just swell! Meanwhile tribulation is happening all around us and they don’t even see the deception of following another gospel.
                Things change, that’s just what happens. Horse and buggies have been exchanged for cars. I for one love my indoor bathroom and the treatment of sewage as opposed to it being tossed out a window and flowing in the streets or an outhouse with a catalogue at 20 below. You can even get a heated seat if you want; indoors of course. I find it humorous that the ones who teach this submission to the mark focus on just monetary but think about this. All have a social insurance  / security number and a license and a passport if you want to travel. We Canadians have a health card to receive medical care. Try crossing the border with out a passport these days. There are many benefits to having these pieces of ID. So if those who say the money is the mark of the beast then why do they have all these identifications of which they could not exist here in Canada without them unless they went off the grid. Let’s just say crossing the border illegally is a hot topic. They talk about the chip as the mark of the beast. If they really believe what they are teaching, then get rid of all forms of identification that allows you to exist in this great country of ours. (Not great spiritually) I don’t believe that is what we should do by the way.
                As with much of Revelations this book had already happened in many cases. Some is happening now and then some is happening in the future. Revelation 22:7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.” Many so-called christians have turned away from the true gospel of Jesus Christ and yes they have already been marked. But there is another mark in Revelation that we need to have. That belongs to the true followers of Jesus Christ. Acts 4:13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” We are only to bow to Jesus. Revelation 14:9 “Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, here will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.”  Revelation 9:1 “The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. 2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. 3 And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Revelation 14:1 “Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.” Teaching that peace will only come after the rapture during the millennium is unbiblical. We can now have the peace that the Jews say is not here and the dispensationalist say can only come when Jesus reigns on the earth for a thousand years. The bible says Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Philippians 4:7 “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Revelation 21:1 “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” This represents the already and the not yet. In Jesus we have the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham and David. This then makes us heirs. Romans 8:17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Galatians 3:29 “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Ephesians 3:6 “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
                The false teachings of the dispensationalists and those who believe the same, and those who don’t even know they are dispensationists have already turned from God and received the mark of the beast, as satan was successful in deceiving them. Revelation 12:12 “Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” Then the dragon went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” We are already in the war of our lives but we must persevere and not bow to the enemy. Revelation 22:14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” The gospel has been added to and taken away and many have fallen because of it.
                Make sure you have been marked by God and not satan. Ask God to give you a forehead of stone, harder than flint so that you can stand your ground in the face of the enemy, so even when the enemy rages against you, you will persevere with his seal on your forehead as you will stand firm on the word of God. Know this: We are at war. Do not cave to the false teachings knocking at your door. Ephesians 1:11 “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”