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What About The Mark of the Beast?

The other day I posted something on Facebook that created some disagreement and some good questions.  You know, when people question me, it usually has the effect of causing me to dig deeper in what I believe.  I think that is a good thing!

One of the questions asked of me was about the Mark of the Beast.  People questioned me on how what I had posted fit in with the Mark of the Beast.  So often we have set doctrines about things that are based on our thoughts on a subject or by what we have been previously taught.  As I dug into the Mark more I soon discovered that I really didn't fully understand it myself so I began to use some of my 4 Rules of Proper Bible Interpretation on the subject and was amazed as to what I discovered.  The 2 Rules that seemed to apply were Rule #2: Context and Rule #3: Don't make doctrine from obscure, stand alone verses.  However, before we go much further, for the sake of context, how about taking the time to read for yourself Revelation Chapter 13.  If you are like me, you haven't read these verses in a very long time.

OK, now that you've read the chapter here are a few thoughts and questions:

1.  Please note that the Mark of the Beast is only found in this chapter of the Book of revelation.  Nothing is mentioned about it by any other writer of the New Testament.  So, the info about the Mark is obscure, stand alone material.  Now, I'm not in anyway doubting or placing doubt on John's revelation!  Please understand this!  However, I do find it interesting that Paul, especially Paul, as the bringer of New Covenant Grace into the Church in the day did not mention any of this material in anything he wrote in any of his letters.  Remember it was Paul that spend 3 years with Christ in Arabia being taught the things that were of great importance to those of us living the New Covenant life!

2.  In John's vision we see two people groups mentioned, "The world" and "God's holy people." In our effort to comprehend insight into the Mark of the Beast is is vital to understand this!  Right now, it might be worthwhile for you to re-read chapter 13 and take note of these two groups and examine what happens to them and and the results.

3.  Question: What do the people of the "world" do?  They worship the Dragon and the Beast.  (v. 8a)

4.  Question: Who are the people of the "world?"  "They are the ones whose names WERE NOT written in the Book of Life." (v. 8b)

5.  Question: What happens to "God's holy people?"  They suffer great persecution and must endure! (v. 9-10)

6. Question: Which group of people will suffer great deception during this time? The "World." (v. 12-13)

7. Question: Who then will be taking the Mark of the Beast? Those who have been deceived, reading in context from verse 15.  (v. 16)

Therefore, based on my understanding of Revelation chapter 13, it is my belief that the Mark of the Beast will not be an issue to those who are truly "God's holy people." 

I trust that this Blog post gives you a little clearer understanding on this subject and allows you to come up with your own conclusions on the subject. 

Grace and peace!


My Take on Universalism

Lately, I've been very concerned about two teachings that are floating freely among those of us in the "Grace Camp." The first is the doctrine of inclusion (universal salvation) and the second is Preterism (future eschatological events have already taken place, primarily in 70 A.D.) The focus on this blog is on the first, Universalism.

First, I'd like to state that I believe in a "balanced" grace message.  I know there are some in the "camp" who do not like the word, "balance" as they believe that that word equates to control.  I totally disagree.  I do believe that the Bible is a very important guideline that God has given us, to help us in these last days, to stay focused on the truth and correct doctrine.  Yes, I do believe in a balanced grace message, one that is founded and endorsed by the words of the Bible; words that the Holy Spirit make alive and bring into the fold of revelation truth. 

Universalism or the doctrine of inclusion (ultimate reconciliation) is not new to me.  I've been exposed to it for many years, beginning when a brother told me in car coming home from a meeting one night, "I don't believe in a "Baptist hell!"  Later he told me that hell did not exist, or if it did, it was only a holding place where the occupants would learn the truth of God and Christ and be promoted to heaven. 

For several days after our conversations on the subject my wife and I would pour ourselves into the Bible, seeking truth from the Holy Spirit and all we could see that the only way to believe in a universal type salvation is to no longer believe that the Bible is relevant.  My response at the time, and it has not changed, is that I just cannot go there!  In order to believe in universal salvation one has to no longer believe in the Bible!

For the past 3 years now, I've been ushered into a wonderful grace walk.  It increases, almost daily.  Most of this has come from the Holy Spirit's illumination of verses in the Bible, especially those of Paul.  Here is one that has just recently come to life for me, " We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ's authority, knowing that God is watching us." (2 Cor. 2:17b NLT) Paul said that his message was the "word of God."  So, his message is written down in his letters, therefore his message then must be the "word of God" also. See my point.  People all of time are saying that it is Jesus that is the Word of God.  That is correct, but His words, His thoughts and yes, even His teachings to Paul for 3 years in Arabia also then become His word.  See my point? Please...we cannot do away with the Bible!

Then people are stating that all of mankind is saved and that it no longer takes faith in Christ in order to be so I have to ask,  what did Paul, the one who was taught all of these New Covenant truths by Christ Himself, say about this subject? His response is, "God saved you by his grace WHEN YOU BELIEVED." (Eph. 2:8a NLT) I guess it doesn't get any clearer than that, at least to me!

Here is what is happening these days.......The "grace message" is spreading like wildfire!  Many within are calling it, "Radical Grace."  I agree, it is very radical, however, we have to take care to not throw the baby out with the dirty bath water.  By that I mean that many have come from the ranks of legalism, of religion, etc.  They are now like a bird being released from it's cage, and they are flying freely, however, not aware of the fact that they can actually fly beyond the right perch (balance) and fly beyond into another error.  It is kind of like they are flying from one cage to another!  The deception is that the second cage seems so freeing, yet it is not!

I feel it is important to state that not all "Grace People" believe in Universalism and for that matter, Preterism.  There is a ton of scripture that we can look at on both subjects, but I'll save that for another day, maybe!!!  I just want people to fully know where I'm coming from on these subjects.  I love the others, I'm glad to see them free from religion, but I would just say...maybe from an apostolic point of view, "Come back to the proper perch!"

Grace and peace!