Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Mark and 666

I was reading in John and John 6:66 caught my eye, and considering the meaning of the verse, along with it's number, and knowing that John wrote both John and Revelation, it left me with some intriguing thoughts...

John 6:66 —From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. *

Revelation 13:18 —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. *


In John 6:66, in the original language, it suggests that their leaving was decisive and final. It wasn't a spur of the moment thing that they might change their minds about later. We all know that the one unforgivable sin is the sin of rejecting salvation through Jesus' sacrifice. (The Unforgivable sin is found in Matthew 12:32 —Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. *   Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit happens when we know that the claims of Christ are true and reject them anyway, because it's the Holy Spirit who testifies to us about Christ and makes the Truth known to us. Paul rejected Christ before his experience on the road to Damascus - he sinned against Jesus.  If he hadn't accepted the Truth  when it was presented to him on that road, it would have been a sin against the Holy Spirit because at that point, he then knew it was true.)  That's what the disciples in John 6:66 had just done.

In Revelation 14:9–11 we're told too that any who take the Mark won't be forgiven. Often people fear that this is some kind of second unforgivable sin, but it's not. Because of that, there's been all kinds of fear and concern about having any kind of mark or number given to us or put on us. But this is still the same sin of rejecting salvation through Christ. The only difference is that they've also chosen to state publicly at the same time, who they are accepting as their savior instead, which of course is the Antichrist. That's why taking the Mark is unforgivable. It has nothing to do with the mark itself or with the number or anything else.  Let me repeat that:  The only unforgivable sin is rejecting Christ when you know His claims are true. Taking the Mark of the Beast (the AntiChrist) is unforgivable only because they will know that Christ is the True Savior and that they are choosing to worship someone else instead. .

Many Christians fear the Mark and are concerned about the possibility of unsaved loved ones taking the Mark unaware of what they're really doing. This simply isn't possible though, for two reasons. First, as we just said, the sin isn't in the mark itself, the sin is what taking the mark means - that the person is rejecting Christ in favor of the Antichrist. Remember, all through the Bible, God reminds us over and over again, that it's what is in our hearts that concerns Him, not what's on the outside. Secondly, God Himself will make sure that every human being alive during this time, will have heard the Gospel and will know what the meaning of taking the Mark really is and what will happen to them if they take it. God will not allow anyone to take the Mark unknowingly. (This is explained starting at Rev 14:6 among other places.) Therefore there can be no chance of anyone taking the Mark that won't know what they're really doing.  If you read the Left Behind books you saw how they handled the idea of someone being forced to take the Mark against their will. As the authors showed, this would not be an unforgivable sin, since it was done against the person's will, even if that person was unconscious.  We tend to think that God is out to get us and is just waiting for us to "mess up", at least that's how we often act.  The Truth is though that He loves us, and wants to help us, not hurt us!

With that out of the way, let's go back to John 6:66 and how it might relate to the Mark. In John, this takes place right after Jesus had again explained that He would have to die for us and told us to drink His blood and eat His flesh. Meaning of course, as the Jews of that day understood, that they were to identify with Him, His life and sacrifice, make His life, theirs. In other words, they were to submit to Him, or as He said another time, deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him, etc.
The people, who knew scripture and knew Jer 31:31–34 quite well, would have understood the concept of receiving His Word and making it part of their inner beings.

That's what caused many of the disciples to turn away from Him. Up till then, they'd been willing to play the game, but now it was starting to get dangerous. Now He wasn't just telling people to be good and play nice with each other, but was demanding that they go against the crowd, be different, and stand up for the Truth. They didn't want anything to do with that. They liked their lives just fine. While it had been fine to follow Him and be able to tell their friends they knew Him and had heard this famous man talk etc. they for sure didn't want to irrevocably separate themselves from everyone else! So they rejected Jesus. They rejected Him as their Messiah. They rejected His offer of Eternal Life in Him. Instead they chose to live for themselves and this world.

During the Tribulation, the choice about the Mark will be similar. People will be choosing to reject Jesus and live for themselves and the Antichrist who they think will be able to provide them with all they want in this life. Among those who choose the Mark, will be people who were supposedly interested in the gospel. They will probably have been meeting with real believers who have been trying to teach them the Truth. They may even have pretended to accept it for awhile. But now, knowing the Truth, they reject it. As the popular game show would say, that is their "final answer", and that is why they are condemned to Hell.

I found it very interesting and instructive though that those particular words in scripture would have been labeled as 6:66. Words that speak of those who have decisively determined to reject Jesus once and for all time. They have turned their backs on God's Truth and His Son and live for themselves. Isn't that really what Satan did, and what we all tend toward? Isn't that really why we sin even after we're saved? We want what we want when we want it, regardless of what God says. The number that has always described mankind is 6 - one less then God's number which is perfection.

Rev 13:18 seems like an additional warning, a warning not to be taken in by lies and that this man is not what he appears to be. A warning that not everyone is what they appear to be, that looks and words can be deceiving. Interestingly verse 17 links the number with his name too, and that's not the first time names are mentioned in this chapter. The whole chapter seems to be dividing people between those who truly follow Christ and those who don't, and warning folks that soon they will have to give their final answer.

Obviously the warning is for those living during the Tribulation but I think it can also be a warning to us as well. We're constantly seeing signs showing that the Tribulation is near. We know that because the Lord told us these signs would become more numerous and more destructive as time went on. Having studied the judgments during the Tribulation, we know that the signs we're seeing are like milder mini previews of what's to come. I think it's the same way with the both the deceptions of the AntiChrist and with the defection of so called Believers and followers of our Lord.

We see these milder, mini previews of the Antichrist in a number of political figures, including Obama, to the point that many have wondered if he might not be the AntiChrist. If we look back, we can see how these mini previews have intensified and happen closer together, just like the other signs. There's no doubt too that we've all seen the previews of John 6:66 and that it's getting worse and worse. God has drawn a line in the sand and many have turned back to the world, no longer following Christ. As it gets more dangerous to be linked with Christ, more are abandoning ship. They'd rather lose Him then the good will of their friends.

We've been told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and that it's the Lord who gives true understanding, yet this beast, the antichrist, will tell people that he is wise and that he can give them the answers and save them from all that's happening. Isn't that what some are already saying and what everyone is already clamoring for? 

I fully realize that there were no verses or verse numbers in the original manuscripts and that the numbers were put in much later to help us. However, I also know that God is in control of everything and that especially goes for His Word. Therefore I don't believe it is a "coincidence" that this verse has that number, nor any other verses number for that matter. However, I do not make a habit of looking for things like this as I believe that wouldn't be correct or what the Lord intends for us to do. I do believe that it was the Lord who brought the fact of the so called "coincidence" to my attention and that it was He who guided my study about it as well. That certainly doesn't mean that all my conclusions are always correct by any means, only as I said, that the Lord guided me. I still have a great deal to learn and I know the Lord will teach me as I'm able to receive it.

The Lord teaches us that He is always in control. There is no such thing as "coincidence". And that, because the Bible teaches it, I firmly believe. I hope others are able to get something helpful from this.
 
 There's certainly a lot to reflect on with these verses!

John 6:66 —From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. *

Revelation 13:18 —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. *
 
Proverbs 9:10“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. *

1 comment:

  1. You know what Cindy I think world going welcome AC or false prophet whoever come first they want that person save the world it is human belief

    ReplyDelete

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