I guess I’ve just about ran the spectrum when it comes to “eschatological paradigms.” I think a lot about prophecy, the last days, etc…, and it’s kind of been like watching a trial on “Court TV”: all the arguments sound believable until you hear the next one. I’ve also been told that we shouldn’t think too much about these things, and I understand where most of the folks who say that are coming from. But then as I read scripture, I observe that the Holy Spirit has given a considerable amount of space to the topic; so, I know it’s something that at the least He wants us to consider. And so, lately I’ve been thinking about the “mark of the beast” and the “seal of God” as mentioned in the book of Revelation. What does it mean, and why should we even care?
I guess at this point I could say, “I don’t know,” conclude this article, and everybody go and have a good life. But I do think these things matter. And while I don’t “know” for sure, I’d like to make a few comments that I think are applicable to us “upon whom the end of this age has come.”
WE ALL WILL BE MARKED. In one way or another, each of us will be “marked” as this present age comes to a close. A “designation of ownership” is going to be signified within each of our hearts and perhaps upon our bodies as well. It is not an event that will sneak up on you, surprise you, and you wake up one morning to find: “Oh no!! I’ve taken the mark of the beast.” Or, “What is this mysterious seal of God on my forehead?” No, each of us will be marked because the lives we have lived, the decisions we have made, and the disposition of our hearts will reveal us to belong either to the “Lamb who was slain before the foundations of the world” or “the lawless one whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.” And whether it be a bar-code, implant, tattoo, visible seal, or an invisible brand upon our very hearts, make no mistake; even now, the truth of who(se) we are is being made manifest.
It’s true, some of us can get carried away when it comes to these things, and I most definitely concur that our intimate attention is to be centered upon the person of Jesus. But I also believe that part of the “Revelation of Jesus” includes prayerful, humble consideration and discussion concerning these matters, with an understanding that we need each other as none of us has fully comprehended “the entire counsel of God.” When it comes to being “marked” I do believe that perhaps the most important thing we need to keep in mind is that a mark or a seal simply reveals to whom or what we belong. And we all belong to someone.
I have a friend, a pastor in Maryland (Timmy Mac!!) who I talk with about these things from time to time. And he told me something the other day that I thought was so perfect, truthful, and eloquent (the kind of thing I wish that I had said). I’ll share it with you: “It takes a lamb’s heart and the seal of God on the forehead to recognize and resist dragon talk.”