As per usual, “Facebook Christianity“ is being overrun with what is called “Newspaper Hermeneutics” by biblical scholars. It is the biblically illiterate art of taking every current newspaper headline, and trying to predict the prophecies of the Bible by them. To be blunt, it is foolishness that almost everyone in this country, especially western Christianity is familiar with. Dispensational Evangelicalism is the largest vehicle for that nonsense. Today’s Facebook post headline may read: “BILL GATES WANTS TO PUT A MICROCHIP IN EVERYONE’S HANDS!!! THE MARK OF THE BEAST!!!!”
LOL. But wait?!? I though Mikal Gorbachev’s birthmark was the mark of the beast in the 80’s, when nationalism taught us that Russians were our enemies. Remember? Yeah, the Beast does that. It divides and conquers.
But where does the imagery we read in Revelation come from, and what was John the Apostle communicating by it?
“He (the metaphorical Antichrist) also caused everyone (small and great, rich and poor, free and slave) to obtain a mark on their RIGHT HAND or on their FOREHEAD. Thus no one was allowed to buy or sell things unless he bore the mark of the beast – that is, his name or his number. This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has insight calculate the beastʼs number, for it is manʼs number, and his number is 666.“
Okay, like every other allusion in Revelation, this symbolism comes from the Old Testament imagery. In the photo I’ve attached, we see what is called the “tefillin” in Judaism. It is basically a little temple shaped box they wear on the forehead containing scriptures, and some binding straps on the right hand. Jesus called them “phylacteries.” (See verse below) Hmmmm, sound familiar? Yeah, we just read it repurposed in John’s allegorical, visionary apocalypse. Is it literal? No. Nor is any other image in the book of Revelation. The hermeneutic rule of apocalyptic genre in Hebrew writing is that it is ALWAYS symbolic/ metaphorical.
“They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.”
So why did the Jews wear this garb? Because religious literalism is blindness. When people in religion take things literally that are not intended to be, it is the evidence of a person who is blind to God’s Truth. Let’s look at where this imagery came from in Moses’ writings.
“These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. You should tie them as a reminder on your FOREARM and fasten them as symbols ON YOUR FOREHEAD. Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates.”
In other words, keep your heart and mind set on the Words of God, and make your actions follow them!!! He wasn’t saying to make symbols you wear, (like a Cross on the neck, or a fish on your car), and not actually do righteously in your lifestyle.
“You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ And it shall be to you as a sign ON YOUR HAND and as a memorial BETWEEN YOUR EYES, that the law of the LORD may be IN YOUR MOUTH. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year.”
So you see the metaphorical imagery that John was drawing from the Old Testament, and reapplying to represent the New Covenant principle of allegiance. We serve Jesus or Satan. We bear the mark of servitude to one or the other, whether the “mark of the Beast (world system), or we bear the seal of God. So why the “hand” and “forehead” motif? The hands represent our works or deeds, and the forehead is symbolic of our thoughts and intents of the heart. Whatever is in our heart comes forth in our ways and actions.
Literalism, and the blindness that causes it, is evidenced by how the rebellious Israelites responded to Moses’ message. Was Moses telling them to LITERALLY put boxes on their forehead and wrap ribbon around their hands? No! He also said “that the law of the Lord should be in the mouth.” Did they literally eat the scroll, too? No! Why not? It too was part of the command, right? If you’re going to be literal, why pick and choose what parts to take literally, and what parts to be metaphor? THIS IS EXACTLY what modern church false teachers present with the books of Daniel and Revelation, to name a few visionary writings. Who gave them the right and authority to do that? No one. They blaspheme the scriptures doing it. The literalism of religious people is all through the texts, showing the blindness of their eyes. (I say the term religious in a negative light here, referring to false piety to God, void of sight and true worship).
Look at Acts 2, where there was a rushing, mighty wind, tongues of fire on each head of Christ’s followers, and they spake miraculously in the languages of all the nations of their world’s Jews, who had gathered for the holy day in Jerusalem. In modern Pentecostal/ Charismaniac circles, they choose the “tongues” part out of the scenario as “literal” and leave the two aspects they cannot fake out of their doctrine; the one tongues aspect they can fake and pervert. That is their token “evidence” of being “filled with the Holy Spirit.” No Apostle spoke of an individual reception of the Spirit in any of their writings. In fact, Luke, who wrote The Gospel of Luke and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, his writings are the only places where being filled with the Spirit is even mentioned. I wonder why this “must have” experience, which would be a main teaching by all Apostles, if it were true, is never taught by them??? In Luke’s writings, being filled with the Spirit is a corporal event, NEVER an individual one. And tongues was never the evidence of it. Sure, men speaking in other human languages as a sign to unbelievers at times occurred in the same event. But as well, there were many times this corporal outpouring happened where that sign was not needed or present. So the Assemblies of God, and every other pentecostal modern sect’s token doctrine is blasphemous, as well as every other gathering that promotes that BS. Hey, you ever noticed how the people who profess to operate in some “otherworldly” language (that is never affirmed in the Bible) can be the meanest people you’ve ever encountered? Yeah, I could write a book of experiences. You can also see in scripture, in Corinth, where these same warped, mean-spirited people operated in the same practices known as Pentecostalism today. The Corinthians celebrated “super apostles”, who were really false teachers, and rejecting Paul and the Truth. They also were enamored with charismatic personalities and eloquent, rhetorical speakers, condescending Paul for not being a flesh-exciter in his public speech. They elevated the tongues thing and spoke gibberish to no one’s understanding. Amazingly, this church is the ONLY church these “gifts of the Spirit” are ever mentioned to, and they were being rebuked by Paul for their misrepresentation of it all!! Go figure! Did you know there are more words written by Paul in correcting Corinth’s perversion of God’s gifts and order than all of the rest of Paul’s writings combined? Also did you know there was a third letter to this hyper-charismatic church that we do not have? What is called Charismatic today originated in the Corinthian church. Paul rebuked that church for all of it.
Literalism…….. Remember when the Pharisee called Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, seeking knowledge privately? Jesus, in the only instance in the Bible makes the statement, “you must be born-again”, and this literalistic-minded Pharisee man replies, saying, “Lord, how can a man re-enter his mother’s womb?” Remember, this man was of the elite religious leaders of his day!! Literalism is blindness. It’s religion without the Holy Spirit. Remember when Jesus said, “I will tear the Temple down, and rebuild it in three days!”? The religious leaders mocked, being LITERALISTIC in mind, and said, “This fool thinks he can rebuild our Temple in three days!!!” Literalism is BLINDNESS! What did Jesus say of such folks?……
“And concerning them, the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: ʻYou will listen carefully, yet will never understand, you will look closely, yet will never comprehend. For the heart of this people has become dull; they are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.ʼ
I see this every day. The religious church leaders defend their pet doctrines, and continue to talk like an alien in fluent “Christianese”. You know, that weird, hyper-spiritual jargon that creeps you out? The King James dialect of an English 400 years removed from what we talk like today? Maybe I should just utter Hebrew words in every response to every question people ask. After all, isn’t the point of that behavior to appear more spiritual than you? God, please make it stop?!?! When someone talks like that to me, I shut myself off to them. “Thou knowest, Brother Chris!!” LOL! Weirdoes!
Folks, the Mark of the Beast (Revelation 13), and the Seal of God (Revelation 14), are just parallel images intended to denote to whom you are loyal, whether to Jesus and His kingdom, or Helel, the satan, and his kingdom, which is this world system, always known as the evolving Beast. In Revelation, you basically have many opposing images that are all telling the same story. Pick one! It all means the same thing, whether its the Bride versus the Whore, New Jerusalem versus Babylon, the Sea of Glass versus the Lake of Fire, the Lamb versus the Goat, the Kingdom versus the Beast, the Mark versus the Seal, and so on. In any parable, you can change the nouns to be whatever you want, and the point of the story is still going to be made clear. Whether you are looking at the seals, the bowls of wrath, or the trumpets, they ALL end with the same event: Jesus returning, killing all who rejected Him, raising the saints to the clouds to descend upon the earth as joint heirs with Christ as they come into the promised Kingdom TOGETHER. THE END!!!!