Saturday, February 18, 2012

Beware the Mark of the Beast: What Is It?

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: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Revelation 13:16-17

What is it?  A comment to a friend brought a new teaching about the mark to light last evening, so I thought I would address it.  Like many things pertaining to the last days, it seems that the enemy is working diligently to confuse and distort the truth.  Whether it is the rapture, the 2nd coming of Yeshua, the mark of the beast, or a whole host of other eschatological ideas, many are teaching information that deviates from the word.  Why?  My guess is that the enemy is sending disinformation to hide the true meanings in order to deceive the masses.

The word translated "mark" in the text above is only found once in the Greek New Testament.  It is the word charagma.  By definition, it is something that is physical; however, it is also evidence of a spiritual decision.  Blue Letter Bible outlines the meaning as such:

1)  a stamp, an imprinted mark a) of the mark stamped on the forehead or the right hand as the badge of the followers of the Antichrist b) the mark branded upon horses

2)  2) thing carved, sculpture, graven work, a) of idolatrous images. 
It   It is apparent that these definitions portray and clearly imply a physical, visible, tangible, and discernible mark of some sort that will be found on, in, or both on and in the body of those following after rebellion.

There seems to be a host of sites and teachers who are claiming that the mark is just thought.  They propagate that the mark is simply an act of rebellion, disobedience to God, the acceptance of deception, or the act of rejecting Christ while choosing the Antichrist.  To support their teachings, they are trying to take numerous verses from the Old Testament and link them to this particular verse in Revelation.  One such verse is Deuteronomy 6:8 which states, "And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes." Most of these claim that the Jewish people simply accepted the LORD and then they were spiritually marked by the LORD as God's children.  While that is true (God has a spiritual mark, the blood of Jesus on the heart of His children), they still have a problem with the very word "sign" that they are using to support their theory.   

The word that is translated as "sign" is the Hebrew word 'owth.  Like the Greek word charagma, this word denotes something physical, something that can be seen. Note its definition also from Blue Letter Bible:  

1) a sign, signal  a) a distinguishing mark b) banner  c) remembrance d) miraculous sign e) omen f) warning
2) token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof

Now, how did the people of Torah interpret this and keep this law?  By wearing phylacteries, portions of scripture placed in boxes or strips of leather or paper which were bound to the right hand and/or forehead.  This is a practice that is still followed today!  They have made a choice to follow GOD wholeheartedly, and the phylacteries are a visible and material means of showing their devotion.  Even Jesus would have worn these and He rebuked those who wore excessively large ones to gain attention as hypocrites in Matthew 23:5.

Modern Jewish Man Wearing Phylacteries on the Right Hand and Forehead

In its context, the mark of the beast is used as a means of total control.  Without it, you cannot buy nor sell.  This requires some sort of item to be in place that will assure the local grocer that you have sworn allegiance to the Antichrist and that you are eligible to make purchases.  Now use common sense!  How can the butcher, baker, or candlestick maker see rebellion, lies, disobedience, or deception.  If this interpretation that the mark is simply a concept is true then Christians should not be able to go to market today as they have sworn allegiance to Christ and rejected the Antichrist spirit that is already in the world.  All ages would have had the mark present, and it would not be specific to the last 3.5 Jewish lunar years of the Tribulation.  It just doesn't make good sense now does it?

This is why many believe that the mark is not only the rejection of God, but that there is also a physical component attached to it which one can detect.  It is for this reason that many consider the mark to be some sort of technological invention such as an insertable microchip or a computer readable tattoo.  It fits with the text in that we can clearly see that this technology is around us today.  Furthermore, it is specific to this generation and not something that could be found in the entire church age as the above false notion would imply.  

The fact that we do see this sort of ability to control all commerce through some sort of technology is another clear warning that the End of this Age is upon us.  We will explore more about the mark another day, but I want to address you.  If you have not yet prayed to Christ and asked to be covered by His blood in the full pardon of your sin, do it today!  Truly, Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!  

Mark of the Beast Technology?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Return America! Return!

Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
Joel 2:12-14

Like other books in the Bible, the literary structure of the Book of Joel is a chiastic pattern.  Briefly, a chiasm is an ancient literary device that placed a symmetric pattern into the text.  The purpose was to highlight a specific theme.  This device is very common, and it is found in the New Testament as well.  Patterns revolve around a center point, a point of reflection, and the verses above are the center point, the point of reflection--an appropriate title!  (For more information on this literary device, read The Literary Structure of the Old Testament* by David Dorsey.)  Anyways, the message of the entire book is RETURN!  It is the very message God is shouting to a fallen America as well as the entire world.

The pattern of Joel would be classified and an ABCDABC pattern.  Let's look at it:
A.  Devastating locust invasion—(1:2-14) (Locusts are a type of demons) 
·         Four locust species are devouring the land
·         There is a destruction of grain—new wine and oil  (I am sure you know these types and shadows)
·         The trees are withering
·         Theme: dried up, empty, withering, destroyed, wailing, mourning
     B.  Suffering of all creatures due to the invasion—(1:15-20)
·         Short unit
·         Topic-The coming day of the Lord
·         “I will call on you, O LORD
·         All creatures, including animals, are suffering due to judgment
          C.  The LORD is the bringer of the locusts (He has withdrawn His protection) (2:1-11)
·         The Day of the LORD is near; destruction of agriculture
·         Locusts are warriors and soldiers
·         The earth and the heavens shake
·         The sun and moon are darkened
·         YAWEH thunders at the head of His army (2:10-11)
·         Judah becomes a desert waste
               D.  CENTER: God calls for repentance! The stress is on repenting to bring the blessing (2:12-17)
A.  The promises that the devastation will be reversed—(2:18-27)
·         Reversal of the devastation of the four species that devoured
·         A restoring of the grain, new wine, and oil (Remember—Gospel types!)
·         The trees are rejuvenated (Psalm 92:12)
·         Theme: rains, watering, renewal, refreshing, filling, rejoicing, gladness
     B.  In the future all of Judah will experience God’s blessings (2:28-32 & 3:1-5)
·         Short unit
·         Topic-The coming day of the Lord
·         Everyone who calls  on the name of the Lord shall be saved
·         All will experience God’s blessings
          C.  In the future, The Lord will bring armies (remember the locusts of Revelation) to protect Judah and their enemies will be  utterly destroyed by Christ
·         The Day of the Lord is near
·         Warriors and soldiers gather
·         The heavens and the earth shake
·         The sun and the moon and the stars are darkened
·         YAHWEH thunders against the nations
·         Edom will become a desert waste
A.  So what is your choice America?  Will you turn?  World, will you seek the GOD of grace who saves to the uttermost or reject His grace only to receive His justice.  It is apparent that the locusts are here.  Demonic doctrines are taught in every public sphere.  Mankind is following the doctrines of devils today just as Paul warned!  "What doctrines preacher?"  The doctrine that teaches that EvoLIEtion, adultery, abortion (murder), homosexuality, pedophilia, drug addiction, pornography,.....on and on the list goes--that it is OK to believe in or commit such godlessness because GOD is nothing but love and He "understands".  These are the doctrines that teach the lie that grace is a license to sin.  Do those teaching such not see that they are the subjects of Jude 1:4?  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.  The overwhelming grace of God, the awesome love of Christ's cross should call us to strive to forsake sin not accept it.  Find the grace that changes you to the core, the very grace that makes you more than a conqueror.  Return to God and strive to allow Him to wholly deliver.  Deal with your sin daily at the foot of the cross in meekness.  

B.  Can't anyone discern that the nation is suffering due to this demonic invasion?  Our schools are unsafe, our streets are filled with violence and drugs, our entertainment is perverse and godless, our government is ever growing towards totalitarian control, our colleges are filled with wretched philosophies, and our churches are growing colder.  Those churches which dare to preach against sin are emptied while "saints" heap to themselves teachers who will preach them happy and not challenge to holiness.  Churches that make Christianity another form of entertainment and not a house of prayer are filled to overflowing. Yes!  There is an invasion going on!

C.  Don't you see that these are the signs that the Day of the LORD is near upon all heathen (Obadiah 1:15)?  The world is growing ever godless because it is mirroring the days of Noah and Lot.  All that is left without repentance is the fearful look towards cataclysmic judgment that is sure to follow!

D.  Return America--Return World!  Turn with weeping and fasting and wailing and mourning.  Rend your hearts in prayer before a merciful, loving, yet just Savior.  "Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?"  Take time to reflect on God and His call!  Reflect on repentance!  Turn!

Will their be a blessing series of ABCs for America? Will there be a second set for you? Only if you turn.  There is a day when God turns the tide of sin through Christ, but will you be a part of it.  Return!  The choice is yours.  Return!  Do it quickly because Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!

*Dorsey, David A.  The Literary Structure of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academics 2004

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Satan Declared War On You!

But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.
Isaiah 47:9

Psalm 2 is a great commentary on the folly of waging war against the LORD.  Resistance against the LORD and His Messiah will not succeed no matter who leads the charge nor how many are involved in the attack.  The Almighty is clear, it will be HE who has the last laugh as stated in verse 4, He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."  Truly, who is like the LORD?  No one!  Don't think that you can ever win in your rebellion as you are warned,  "The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name (Exodus 15:3)." He who dwells in eternity, who knows the end from the beginning, who has the breath of life of every man in His hand knows that the ultimate triumph will be His.  Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of God the Father.  Therefore, He offers grace when He states in verse 12, "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

The Bible is clear.  Supernatural power has but two sources--the divine and the demonic.  God's power has redemption as the underlying theme.  It is the outreached hand of God that extends grace and mercy to a fallen creation in rebellion to His rightful rule.  Can you hear that call of grace in Psalm 2:12 quoted above?  Turn to Jesus as those who do will be blessed, or choose to remain in rebellion and see Him as your judge.  What do you want to see in Christ: The Lion or the Lamb?  The demonic, on the other hand, leads us far from the truth of redemption and strengthens us in rebellion against God the Undefeatable One!  Humanity's attention is turned from the cross as a purposeful deception until death lifts the fog of the lie from temporal human eyes.  Within a split second of death multitudes will sadly know that they were horribly deceived about Jesus--FOREVER. Even the leader of the demonic, Satan himself, knows that his demise is certain and eternal.  His only means of hurting God is to blind the eyes of humanity for whom Jesus died to save.  Furthermore, the Bible is also clear that demonic deception is another key characteristic of the days before the return of Christ.  

Over the past few weeks, the alarm indicating a rise in demonic deception is blaring like an air raid siren.  Ironically, that is what it is.  The New Testament calls Satan the god of this world, and the power of the air.  Paul taught this concept when called the adversary, "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (See Ephesians 2;2)."  Later, in Ephesians 6 we learn that our warfare is really not against people like Madonna nor Nicki Minaj (who I had never heard of until last week).  These are but poor souls blinded, abused, used by the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spirits of wickedness in the air around us. They are blinded with the pseudo power of the enemy so that they never come to the knowledge of the truth in Christ.  It is for this reason that Christians need to focus not on the blinded human but on the Antichrist spirit that is enabling the delusion.  Ultimately, it comes down to this--what did you do with Jesus Christ?  Did you trust the revelation of God and by faith accept the gift of pardon in Christ, or did you allow yourself to believe a lie when the truth of God was shared with you?

The picture above shows a tarot card and a part of the performance by Madonna a week ago Sunday during the Super Bowl halftime show. Speaking of this performance on Aderson Cooper, Madonna said, "“The Superbowl is kind of like the Holy of Holies in America. I’ll come at halfway of the “church experience” and I’m gonna have to deliver a sermon. It’ll have to be very impactful.”  Can you notice the overwhelming similarities in the images?   First of all, let me warn you!  There is a spirit behind demonic tools such as tarot cards that can enslave, oppress, and even possess you so run from this wickedness as if your life depends on it--it does!  However, the symbolism and the message that Hell is sending compels me to share with you the meaning of this card and the satanic rite done in full view of the world.  The chariot card is about rebellion, being the master of one's own destiny, and it involves being armored to fight a war.  Did you get that?  It is about warfare.  It is a declaration of war. The show may have seemed innocent enough, but the underlying interpretation is that the enemy is warring over the soul of a nation and ultimately the entire world.  

Add to this the performance of Nicki Minaj's performance at the Grammy Awards the other night and you will see that demonic foolishness is being flaunted in the face of every American and even a world audience.  In essence, demonic blasphemy against the LORD and His Christ is on the rise.  Nicki's exorcism performed on an international stage that included levitation, mocking what is holy, mocking speaking in tongues,and the Holy Spirit is not only foolish, it is a dangerous act of war.  (Poor Nicki, open your eyes to Jesus and be truly delivered!) Does this nation really want that?  Isaiah warned Israel that following the false gods of their neighbors would lead to destruction.  Many of the gods that Israel went after are the exact same demonic powers being portrayed on stage before the eyes of the nation.  The prophet, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, warned that the results of such war and rebellion would be the same results that war always brings--a loss of life.  

Satan is called the prince of the air because he is seen as a usurper of the ministry of Christ.  Jesus, the second man on the cross, the second person of the Trinity, the second Adam is the only acceptable mediator.  Again, the scripture says, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)."  Satan and his cohorts are trying to block that intercession by taking up strategic positions in the air around you.  His declaration of war is a way of saying the he will block the prayers of America.  Sorry devil!  The prayers of the righteous are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. There is open access for every believer who understands that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the shed blood of Jesus that opens clear access to the throne of grace.  His war is designed to keep you from praying, then.  Watching his rites on TV may be doing just that!

God pleads for you to understand the seriousness of such actions.  His word reminds us that these are all signs that He must soon deal with rebellion of the world permanently.  Don't be like those mentioned in Revelation 9 who will not repent of such acts only to face God as a foe.  Understand Paul's warning and see that this is the last days and perilous times are here!  Choose to come out of the blindness of satanic deception into the marvelous light of the cross. Turn to Jesus. He is Soon2Come!

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
2 Timothy 3:1-5

Monday, February 13, 2012


These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
John 16:1-3

In proper context, Jesus reminded his disciples that eventually a time would come when they would be driven away from the synagogues where the mostly Jewish early church worshiped.  This was to be just the start of the church's persecution.  As Tertullian would wisely state in Apologeticum, ""the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church".  Satan tried his best to stamp out the flame of the Holy Spirit filled body of Christ, but each stomp just started a new flame elsewhere until the entire world was filled with fire of the gospel.  He has not yet learned that persecution tends to build mature believers evermore zealous to share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is very evident that this persecution, however, is ever growing.  Furthermore, it is one of the many signs that we are ever closer to the hoof beats heralding the return of Christ the King of Kings.

Look carefully for Jesus Christ's Second Coming!

Matthew sheds more light on the persecution that the church will see in the last days.  Quoting Jesus he wrote, "And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another (Matthew 24:10)."  The implication is that persecution will become so prevalent that some will turn fellow believers in.  As the world draws near to the rapture of the church, the coming of the Antichrist, and the beginning of the Tribulation worldwide persecution will increase.  The word translated as offended in the above passages is even more telling.  It is the Greek equivalent of the English word "scandalize".  As Satan's forces in futility make their last ditch effort to  stop the church, a church that the gates of hell cannot prevail against, he will try to slow it down with universal persecution.  The enemy will seek to scandalize the Body of Christ.  We know that the plight of many Christians worldwide is terrible, but it is the persecution beginning to erupt in once Christian nations that should make us understand the seriousness of the hour!

Take into consideration a few trends seen in the news over the last few days. It shows that Christian persecution is on the rise.   

Add these subtle changes to the rise in support for Islam in many western nations with other changes in moors and values, and you can see that universal persecution is just on the horizon.  Even more, add this to the many attacks on the US Constitution and you will see that there is great trouble brewing in America.  It is another sure sign that Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!  

*I want to thank Tiffany Haskell for the beautiful artwork that will now be the official signature for this blog and ministry.  Please visit Tiffany's website and see the great Christian artwork she produces.  Home - "PAINTINGS OF FAITH"