mark of the beast

A Friend Forever

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5,6 KJV).

While today’s Scripture is to and about the nation Israel, there is a parallel with us today in the Dispensation of Grace. Let us see what it is!

Recently, I dealt with a despairing child. One “friend” had “stolen” another friend from her. Now, those two friends were associating… and ignoring her. My advice to her was that dissolved friendships are a part of life (this was her first direct experience of it). Sometimes, friendships can be repaired; other times, they cannot. Even after we reach adulthood, envy and self-centeredness divide us and our friends. My additional advice to her was though her friends disappoint, leave, and abandon her entirely, she still has the Lord Jesus Christ, one who never disappoints, leaves, or abandons. Israel has been granted such a promise in today’s Scripture.

To fully appreciate today’s Scripture, we must remember that the Book of Hebrews relates to end-times prophecy (see Hebrews 1:1,2; Hebrews 2:3-5; Hebrews 10:25-31; Hebrews 12:25-29; Hebrews 13:12-14; et cetera). It especially deals with Jews living in the future seven-year Tribulation, the Antichrist’s reign. This satanic political leader will institute his infamous “mark of the beast,” a special relationship needed to buy or sell in his economy (Revelation 13:16-18). Since Messianic Jews who believe in Christ will reject the Antichrist, they will also reject his “mark,” thus causing them inevitable economic hardships (namely, famine and homelessness). It will also break apart their families, unbelievers shunning believers in Christ (Matthew 24:9,10; cf. Matthew 10:21,31-37).

In the midst of their financial struggles, their “friends” and family abandoning them, the Lord speaks to Israel’s Little Flock, these circumcision believers, in today’s Scripture. They should be content with what they have. Most importantly, they should be thankful they have HIM, ever, ever, EVER faithful to them. He will provide them with the spiritual stability needed to get them through their troubles, until He returns for them. We have the same promise—a Friend in Christ forever! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does 1 John 1:8 mean, ‘We deceive ourselves?’

Paul and Dispensationalism #5

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Today’s Scripture is part of a larger context (verses 1-15). Paul rarely writes about prophecy, so when he does, we had better take note. Verses 1 and 2 explain Paul’s purpose in writing it: “[1] Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, [2] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”

Erroneous (false) teaching had distressed Thessalonica. Someone had forged a letter using Paul’s name! The Thessalonian believers were suffering immense persecution for their Christian testimony (see 2 Thessalonians 1:4-6)—actually, some had already been killed (1 Thessalonians 4:13)! Evidently, that forged letter taught the Thessalonians that they had missed the Rapture, and they were now experiencing the horrors of the Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year Tribulation! (Sound familiar?) These poor Christians were like many poor Christians today—“shaken in mind” and “troubled.” It is not uncommon for “Christian” people to say today, “I refuse that Mark of the Beast! Look at this computer chip, this smartphone, this I.D. card! Oh Lord, help me resist the Antichrist!” Frankly, beloved, this is foolishness! Paul wrote today’s Scripture to correct such flawed theology.

Our Dispensation of Grace has—we have—nothing to do with Israel’s program. Nothing! Theologians may not see it (because they refuse), but today’s Scripture says our program is postponing Israel’s prophetic program. Paul’s words in this second chapter of 2 Thessalonians can save us from sensationalistic prophecy preaching. May we let the Holy Spirit use today’s Scripture to comfort and encourage our souls—the Body of Christ is appointed to heaven, not wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9)!

For more information about this, you can see our study, “Is prophecy being fulfilled in the Dispensation of Grace?

For more information about the King James Bible’s wording in 2 Thessalonians 2:2, you can see our study, “Should the King James’ term “Christ” actually be “Lord” in 2 Thessalonians 2:2?

The Grandest Conspiracy of All

Friday, June 19, 2015

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV).

Behold, the grandest conspiracy of all!

So-called “conspiracy theorists” constantly speak and write of the latest secret government plots to accomplish “this” or do “that.” Health crises, environmental movements, political platforms, military operations, national disasters, et cetera are always under the scrutiny of those seeking to expose possible links to covert evil agendas. Doubtless many plans and scams exist throughout our beloved nation, America, but they exist in every country on Earth as well. But, there is more. There is one common conspiracy that unites all nations.

Unfortunately, professing Christians often lead the hysteria, using Scripture to justify their preparations for “Armageddon.” Hiding in their homes, constructing underground bunkers, stocking up on supplies and ammunition, and utterly fearing every new electronic gadget as a likely link to the Antichrist. These poor people are woefully ignorant of that which they claim to know and believe—the Bible! Honestly, bluntly, frankly, they could not spot the Antichrist’s regime if it was here. How so? They cannot discern the satanic scheme that is presently distracting them in religion, politics, and news media. When more Christians follow the latest news items than Christians reading the Bible, we can see why they parrot news headlines instead of quoting Bible verses. They know more about what their government is doing than what their God is doing!

Today’s Scripture says Satan wars in the Christian’s mind. Just as he misled Israel with worthless information, he is still doing it today with the Body of Christ. Our minds need to be focused on “the obedience of Christ”—what Jesus did at Calvary on our behalf. The greatest conspiracy is that Satan does everything in his power to keep Christians and lost people alike, all over the world, from remembering that perfect sacrifice of God’s beloved Son. May we not be ignorant of the greatest conspiracy of all!

Riches and the Ages to Come #4

Monday, August 11, 2014

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5 KJV).

If Israel’s believing remnant is to endure the seven-year Tribulation’s economic depression, she must remember that faithful JEHOVAH is with her, and that He will bless her in due time.

When Jesus gave the “Our Father” Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, He provided for His little flock a summary of her prophetic program. This prayer would continually remind Israel’s believers of their future that God had already pre-planned. After our Dispensation of Grace closes with the Rapture, our catching up to meet the Lord in the air, Israel’s program will resume where it paused (Romans 11:25-29). Those believing Jews will follow what Jesus taught in the Four Gospels, but they will progress in that doctrine with Hebrews through Revelation (Hebrews 5:11–6:3 urges Israel to move onward in spiritual maturity).

Approximately halfway through the seven-year Tribulation, the Antichrist will defile Israel’s Temple in Jerusalem by sitting in it and declaring himself to be God (Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4), and he will institute his religious mark that will govern the world’s economics (Revelation 13:7,16-18). Jesus warned that, at the time of this “abomination of desolation,” Messianic Jews dwelling in Jerusalem were to flee for their lives, to immediately go to the wilderness, and not bother wasting time gathering material possessions (Matthew 24:15-22; Mark 13:14-20). Now, we see why Jews are praying for “daily bread” in Matthew 6:11!

The Apostle John picked up the narrative in Revelation chapter 12, “[6] And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. [14] And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”

So, we see that Israel’s believing remnant in Jerusalem will flee into the mountainous wilderness, where JEHOVAH will feed, clothe, and shelter them during the last half of the Tribulation period….

Riches and the Four Gospels #5

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

“And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24,25 KJV).

Understandably, “health-and-wealth” preachers and teachers never quote Jesus’ words in today’s Scripture!

Observe how Jesus’ audience responded to today’s Scripture: “[26] And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? [27] And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. [28] Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. [29] And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, [30] Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.”

Jesus’ audience did not comprehend that those who could be saved in Israel’s program were those who sold their possessions and gave to the poor. The rich, however, would be greedy, worshipping “mammon” (their material wealth; Matthew 6:24-34). They would fall into the snare of the Antichrist—and once they would accept his mark or worship him in order to keep the value of their possessions, the Bible says they would be damned to everlasting hellfire (Revelation 14:9-11).

The Apostle Peter, representing all members of Israel’s little flock, responded, “Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.” Jesus assured them that He knew that they had abandoned their houses, families, businesses, and so on, for the sake of God’s kingdom. He reassured them that they would receive “manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” What did He mean?

Though believing Jews had lost their flesh-and-blood family members, and their material possessions, they had gained many brothers and sisters and spiritual wealth in Christ. These Messianic Jews would behave like family now by taking care of each other’s physical needs….

Riches and the Four Gospels #4

Monday, August 4, 2014

“And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24,25 KJV).

Understandably, “health-and-wealth” preachers and teachers never quote Jesus’ words in today’s Scripture!

When Jesus spoke today’s Scripture, He had Israel’s prophetic program in mind. The book of Proverbs had already foretold: “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death” (11:4). “Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land” (Zephaniah 1:18).

Once Israel’s Messiah, Jesus, arrived, her program was in its “last days” (Hebrews 1:2; cf. Acts 2:16-21; Joel 2:28-32; Luke 16:16; Matthew 3:7-12). After the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), the day of the LORD’S wrath, the seven-year Tribulation, was to begin. Then, the Antichrist, the false Messiah, would con Israel, and cause her to rest in a false peace policy. He would then manifest himself as satanic by implementing a tyrannical economic agenda: “[16] 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: [17] 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).

Jesus knew that material riches would spiritually hinder and destroy His little flock, for they would be tempted to take the Antichrist’s mark and accept his name or number in order to retain their physical possessions. He even warned Israel’s believers not to be attached to material goods during the Tribulation period (Matthew 24:15-18; Mark 13:14-16). If they sold all they had, they would be guarded against materialism. However, those rich would value their possessions, and thus submit to the Antichrist….

 

Cain Came and Brought Shame #7

Saturday, June 28, 2014

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD” (Genesis 4:1 KJV).

Can you identify the very significant phrase our King James Bible contains in today’s Scripture, and why it was said?

Jesus Christ forewarned Israel’s religious leaders: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John 5:43). Christ was referring to the climax of Satan’s policy of evil, when “the man of sin, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) would arise in the world’s governmental structure. National Israel refused Jesus as their King; hence, God would give them what they wanted (Satan’s error, spiritual ignorance). Instead, Israel would receive an “antichrist,” a counterfeit Messiah, someone who would fool them into believing he was their true Redeemer.

Intriguingly, this significantly parallels the passages of Cain’s birth and his murder of Abel. Adam and Eve had high hopes for Cain, going so far as to name him in reference to the Redeemer (Genesis 3:15 cf. today’s Scripture). However, they thought little of Abel, who would actually become God’s prophet and believer (God’s spokesman; Luke 11:50,51)—the name “Abel” means “vanity, emptiness.” In a tragic reversal, Cain turned out to be a mere professing believer; he disappointed his parents by killing righteous Abel (God’s child)!

Similarly, Israel saw no value in the true Messiah, Jesus, but she will have such high hopes for the Antichrist, for he will promise Israel peace and deliverance (and like Cain, the Antichrist will be manifested to be a disappointment). As Cain founded a civilization built on false religion (Genesis 4:15-17), so the Antichrist will (Revelation 13:1-18). Like Cain, the Antichrist will initially fool mankind, and introduce his own religious system, “the way of Cain” (Jude 11). As there was a “mark” associated with Cain (Genesis 4:15), so a “mark” will be associated with the antichrist’s religion (Revelation 13:16,17). Like Cain murdering Abel for following the Lord, the antichrist and his followers will kill believing Israel, those who trust Jesus Christ and reject that false religious system….