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Doctrine in dialogue format
MARK OF THE BEAST
33Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. (Luke 17:)
"I'm honored to be here Mr Shibboleth."
"The topic of discussion tonight is one that is on the lips of even the unbeliever, if for no other reason than the mystery behind it. And as 2012, the latest doomsday approaches, the subject of end time becomes even more intriguing. Doctor Providential, I understand that you've written an authoritative journal on the end times, perhaps you would share with us your interpretation of what is commonly called the mark of the beast."
"I would be most happy to Mr Shibboleth, however, the subject is not as clear-cut as many would have us to believe. There are a myriad of ideas as to what the mark might be, and even more debate as to when the mark, that is, the end times, will occur."
"That is true Doctor Providential. As little as I know about the subject I have seen where they have been expecting this end time ever since the book of Revelation was penned. And I have seen where 666, the number of the beast, has been attributed to everyone from Nero to John F. Kennedy."
"It goes even beyond this Mr Shibboleth. The mark is not just something that began with John, but was talked about 500 years earlier by Ezekiel, the ninth chapter I believe. And if we consider the phylacteries the Jews were instructed to wear, then a foreshadowing of the mark extends all the way back to Moses."
"I don't see how the mark Ezekiel spoke about, or phylacteries, relate to the mark of the beast Doctor Providential. Those are symbolic items, as is Ezekiel, of keeping one's mind on Godly things if I'm not mistaken, which it seems to me is just the opposite of what the mark of the beast will symbolize."
"Very good Mr Shibboleth. That is exactly what the mark of the beast is about. Where God tells us to keep our mind on Heavenly things, the Antichrist tells us to keep our mind riveted on earthly things, things that feed our lusts and pleasures."
"If that is so Doctor Providential, then one might say that we are living in just such a time since all the world, including the churches, have lent themselves to the satisfying of the flesh and moving ever farther way from things of God."
"Indeed Mr Shibboleth. One might very well say that."
"Well, it would make sense that such things might be since we know we're rapidly approaching the end, and that apostasy will abound at that time of this age. Since we're already talking about the time of the end, what is your perception of 2012 being the end of the world?"
"There's an interesting paradox that exists Mr Shibboleth. It seems clear to us that 2012 could very well be the date when everything will come to a conclusion. However, we are so prophesy minded that we do not take the time to consider everything in its true perspective. This is why we fell for the idea that time would come to a close in the 70's, or the 80's at least because everything seemed to be at the ready. This situation was magnified by the book, and later movies based on the book, The Late, Great Planet Earth. We now know that much of what was used as evidence of the end times in the book did not exist. Yet we continue to seek out and believe whatever is handed us by so-called experts and prognosticators."
"Does this mean you don't believe that 2012 is the date we should be looking for Doctor Providential?"
"I didn't say that Mr Shibboleth. What I said is that we have a tendency to believe the obvious, according to our observation and our logic. But God does not move according to human reasoning. His ways are far beyond ours, and past finding out. The Bible tells us that no one knows the time or the season of the end. Yet Paul tells us to watch and be ready. Jesus spoke of signs that will forecast the end. Paul and the prophets gave us signs to watch for. I believe there will be two sets of signs available, those the world and the carnal Christians will see, and signs that only those who are in the Spirit will see. It's a matter of hearing the voice of the True Shepherd, and of having an ear tuned to the Holy Spirit. Of course everyone from the most backslidden Christian to the unregenerated fully believe, and are told by their church, that they have the Holy Spirit in them, and therefore they are fully in tune with what God is doing. Even a moment of thought would tell us that such is not true. But because they fully believe it is true, they will be open to the signs and wonders that the Beast will use as evidence of his divinity."
"That's interesting Doctor Providential, but you seem to have missed the point of my question. Is it your contention that 2012 is not the date we are to look for?"
"We have an inborn tendency to look for the wrong things Mr Shibboleth. We look for the end of things. We look for death, and not for resurrection. We seek things of this life, and we don't live as if we really believe there is a much more important life to come. I mentioned earlier how it was the 70's that people looked for because they thought it was the end. During the war it was supposed that this age was coming to a close, and for good reason. When Khrushchev was banging his shoe on the table there was no doubt but that it had to be the end. We look for the end, but it's not the end we should be looking for. We should be looking for the beginning. We have an expression, it's always darkest before the dawn. We're seeing, and have seen for some time the ever increasing darkness. We see new uncontrollable diseases being discovered, some that we created ourselves. We see earthquakes becoming more and more intensified and acting in strange ways. We have churches becoming more and more diverse in their thinking, and becoming more and more worldly. And the world as an entity is growing more and more united in it's thinking, which is completely contrary to logic, and to the will of God. We know we are in the darkness. But what we look for is the midnight hour of that darkness. What we should be looking for is the twilight that follows the deepness of night."
"Doctor Providential, are you ignoring my question? What is your opinion about 2012? Is it the end of the age as we know it? Do you have an opinion? Or do you just like beating around the bush?"
"No Mr Shibboleth. In my opinion 2012 is not the end, but it is significant. However the question could be asked, how can something as obvious as the end of the Mayan calendar, as well as many other things such as the Year of Jubilee coming at that same time or thereabouts depending on the source, not be the end of time? We had every evidence, and by noted authorities, that the Millennium was to be the end of the world. We knew for certain that everything controlled by computers, which is virtually everything, would come to a standstill when the clock struck midnight of December 31 1999. The only thing that occurred in the year 2000 is that computer suppliers and survival equipment providers walked away with very large fortunes in their pockets, unquestioned. Did the Millennium have an effect on us, the populous? Absolutely. It had the same effect that the Late, Great Planet Earth and such expert predictions as the San Andreas Fault causing California to fall into the ocean had. It put everyone to sleep. We now look for these dates, as curiosity pieces, but we really don't put any stock in them. We believe in them the same way we believe in God, those of us who claim to believe in God. It's all just an interesting adventure of the mind. We don't put any action behind what we say we believe in."
"Doctor Providential, I'll try once more, Do you think 2012 is the end of time? Please answer."
"I've already said I do not believe it is the end of the world Mr Shibboleth. Calendars do not end on new years Mr Shibboleth. They begin. 2012 is not only the end of a era, but a beginning of a new era. I've explained that we are in darkness now, waiting for the dawn of a new age. It isn't midnight yet, but I believe it's coming up soon. 2012 will be another date to put people even deeper into slumber. When the year passes, and we awake to a bright sunlit day, we will be certain that it was all hyperbole, and just that much more evidence that the Humanists and Atheists are right. I believe we will be seeing signs of the end at that time, but because of our Spiritual blindness, we won't recognize what we are seeing. Does that answer your question Mr Shibboleth?"
"Yes Doctor Providential. Thank you. Now, back to our subject. Since we have discussed the when of the mark of the beast, let us consider what the mark is. I recall even in my time there have been a number of ideas as to what that mark might be. My parents told me of fearing it was the social security card, or a driver's license. And I recall myself having doubts about taking a credit card for fear I was taking the mark. Now they talk about a data chip under the skin or a bar code tattoo. What are your thoughts on what the mark consists of Doctor?"
"We've seen speculation about the mark long before your parent's time Mr Shibboleth. It goes all the way back to the Apostles. At that time it was believed the charagma, or mark was the Emperor's image on the coin of the realm. They thought by accepting money, they were participating in idolatry. Then in the third century, during the reign of Emperor Decius, a libellus, or certificate was given to those who provided evidence of worship of the emperor. Those without such a certificate were not allowed to pursue trade. This prohibition is believed to extend all the way back to Nero."
"You're referring to the Preterist view I presume Doctor Providential."
"Yes I am Mr Shibboleth. According to this theory the Great Tribulation is past and there is nothing further to look forward to. I think you can see how taking such a stance might well be dangerous, in the same way that false predictions are dangerous. It all just builds up resources for the Beast system. Anything that causes us to be complacent and unwatchful, contrary to what the Bible tells us to be, throws out the welcome mat to a universal governmental and religious system. We find this in two other areas of modern life as well. We see how we've become divided and splintered in our efforts to improve the world. Some say everyone must protect the bug, another says the owl, and another the tree. Then there's the anti-abortionists. In the meantime the opposition to all these good causes is becoming more united and stronger in purpose and larger in number. We see this again in the church. If the church was a single unit, as it was for a time in Rome, it would be a very powerful force indeed. But splintered the way it is, it is a useless entity, and because of this lack of strength, it is experiencing atrophy as would any other organism. Also, the acceptance and dependancy on all our modern conveniences that we just can't let go of, even when they turn around and bite us, creates a desperate need to conform to the ways of society. And when that society changes....? Well, we know what happens to the people in that society, including the church, it changes right along with it. World War two Germany is an excellent example of how sociological changes will cause a person to do what they would never do ordinarily. It's the rule of mob influence. And we've been put to sleep by all our past experiences and by false predictions. It's bad enough that the world is taking such an attitude as this, but since the church is so imbedded in the world rather than separating itself as we are told to do, the church won't recognize what's happening until it's upon them, any more than will the rest of the world. And to be quite frank, this is exactly what the beast system is now, and has been seeking to do from the beginning, that is, put us to sleep, thus causing us to be dependant on what that system provides."
"You say has been doing for some time Doctor Providential. Am I to understand that you also think the mark and the Tribulation is past?"
"Not at all Mr Shibboleth. Solomon made quite a point of saying that there is nothing new under the sun. What is now happening, what will happen in the future, has happened many times before in one form or another. We see this in the Bible. In Hebrews 8 and Colossians 2 Paul makes a point of telling us that the law of Moses, the Tabernacle, and even the lives of the Old Testament saints were but shadows of things to come so that we might better understand them. If we keep this concept in mind, then we can learn from our past, and from the experiences of others. If we do not keep this in mind, or refuse to accept this, then we lose what knowledge and understanding has been given us. We see this in governments. We wonder why government officials don't implement programs that have proven themselves successful in the past. We wonder why they empty out Fort Knox, or begin an un-winnable war when we've suffered the consequences of such actions so many times before. We wonder why we destroy our national morality, and cut down our national forests when any sixth grader can tell you the dangers of such actions because of what he studied in history. We refuse to learn from, or accept our past. We think, they may have failed, but I can make it work. So we, that is our experts and our professionals, continue to bang their heads against the same brick wall our forefathers did. We can only see what we're not personally involved in. You've witnessed this looking into the lives of other people, especially if you are a parent or a teacher. We can see their problem, and we try to advise and help them. But they just cannot see it. I know because I have that problem as well, that of not seeing what I'm not separated from, until I've gotten past it. Then I can't imagine why I couldn't see anything so obvious. I was blind while I was in the middle of my situation."
"I think that's what Jesus was alluding to when He said as long as we think we see, we remain blind, or something to that effect. When I was a boy there was a popular saying that goes something like: the more you know, the more you know, the less you know. For some reason that saying stuck with me, and I understand what it means. And because of it, I try to always remember that I know very little. It keeps me ready to listen to the views of others."
"That's an important rule for any of us. But I suppose this is especially so for someone in your position Mr Shibboleth."
"Yes. Well, back to our topic Doctor Providential. You were telling me about what the mark of the beast might be, which it seems led you to a tangent. Please tell me what you believe the mark itself might be."
"We have seen that the way to understand the future is to look into the past. It is my belief that everything that has happened in history will happen again, and even more so, during the Great Tribulation. It's as if an understanding of the Tribulation, as well as the Millennium and Eternity has been cut into a huge jigsaw puzzle and scattered over thousands of years. If we look at all those tiny pieces, we can get a fairly good picture of what will occur in the end times."
"If we put all those tiny pieces in their correct place Doctor Providential. That's a big if, if you were to ask me."
"Very good Mr Shibboleth. And along with getting the pieces in the right place, we must realize that not all the pieces we find will fit the puzzle on the table. For instance, we find by looking into history that there were those who believed the tonsured haircut of the Roman Catholic clergy, or the making the sign of the cross was the mark of the beast. We now have those who believe that the mark might well be the international money system that is currently in use. As to the RFID chip implants you mentioned earlier, those are already in use, and it is my opinion that they will indeed become prevalent because of the need to control identity fraud and counterfeiting. Do I believe this is the mark of the beast? Very possibly it will become used as the mark after the system is implemented. I don't think the so-called beast, whatever that might be, will begin the use of the chip, or the mark whatever it might be. But like the universal use of the computer that is depended upon by every aspect of commerce and society as a whole, including our news media, it can very easily become used for subversive purposes by such a beast system."
"Then I take it Doctor Providential that you do believe the chip is the mark? But how can that be if many people will have already taken the mark, that is, the chip, even before they're used for sinister purposes?"
"You ask a very important question Mr Shibboleth. If taking the mark means an eternity in a burning hell, then it certainly would not make sense that those with the mark will be so punished. This is especially true if that chip, the mark, is thrust upon to us as a baby as is circumcision and water baptism. If my calculations hold any weight at all, then there has to be something else to the taking of the mark that has been missed. Wouldn't you say so Mr Shibboleth?"
"I should think so Doctor Providential. But as I recall, that's exactly what the Bible says, anyone who takes the mark will be cast into hell with the beast. I don't see any way of getting around that. And I hope you are not into twisting Scripture in order to prove your point."
"Not twist Mr Shibboleth, but examine. Do you have a Bible handy? Ah, good. Please turn to Revelation chapter 13 and read about the middle of the chapter if you would."
"All right, it says: 'And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 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: 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. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.' Is that what you're looking for Doctor? It says very clearly that those who don't take the mark will be killed."
"Yes Mr Shibboleth. And did you also notice that the small ones will receive the mark as well? The word small carries the meaning of size, quantity or number. We know it isn't likely to be referring to quantity or number, so it most likely means size, that is, age. Again, if this is so, we see small children, everyone, taking the mark, even before the age of accountability. Then we see where these have received the mark. This word receive indicates there is a willingness in the accepting of it. There are other words that mean to either have something forced on a person, or to passively accept something. This word is more of a middle voice between the two. If this is so, then one who finds they have the mark because they received it from birth, or before it had any meaning to it, I should think would be exempt from God's punishment. Wouldn't you say so Mr Shibboleth?"
"Yes Doctor Providential, I would. But I'm not God doing the judging. I was looking here a little further on and it appears the Bible is more specific in its terminology regarding this point. I don't think you can talk your way around this quite so easily. I'm reading in the nineteenth chapter of Revelation. It says: 'And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.' It says plainly that those who have taken the mark were cast into the pit. I don't see any exceptions like the ones you named Doctor."
"In every case when the mark was mentioned there was another action that accompanied it. Did you notice what that action was Mr Shibboleth?"
"Are you referring to the use of the word worship Doctor Providential? Yes, I noticed that. What of it?"
"All worship belongs to God Mr Shibboleth. Worship belongs to no one else, whether it be the beast or your Aunt Maggie. Worship that does not go to God is idolatry. Wouldn't you agree with this Mr Shibboleth?"
"Off hand I would have to agree with you Doctor Providential. But I'm not going to accept it on your say-so. I would have to research it myself before I conceded the point."
"Good for you Mr Shibboleth. I should hope that's what you would do. Please, turn if you will to the twentieth chapter of Revelation and begin reading from verse four."
"Chapter twenty, it says: 'And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.'It says the same thing Doctor Providential. What's your point?"
"We have two groups of people here, two extremes. We have those who worshiped the beast, and we have those who refused to worship the beast, and who worshiped God and followed God's will to the point of death. One group became leaders, kings and priests, and the other group was cast into the fire. Now I ask you, who are those faithful going to rule and reign over if everyone but rulers are cast into the fire?"
"I hadn't thought about it in those terms Doctor Providential, but I suppose it's all those who were saved before the tribulation. There would be millions, if not billions of them."
"That would be a natural conclusion Mr Shibboleth. Now tell me, what is the criteria for being among the saved? Consider, you and I may very well be living in the time of the tribulation where we will have to make the choice of whether we take the mark or not. If I take the mark, whether innocently or not, and you do not take the mark, let's say because you're a native living in Borneo where there is no modern commerce, then I burn forever, and you rule and reign. Is that the picture you have? Or is it at all possible that John is not merely giving us a picture of just three years, but the entire end time, which according to 1John 2:18 it was the time of the end 2,000 years ago. And again in that verse, and in 2John 7 we see there were already antichrists in the world during his time. As for the tribulation, Jesus Himself made it very clear that anyone who is a Christian is going to endure the fires of tribulation to try them, regardless of what age they might live in. So, considering this, is it not possible that regardless of when we were born, what is spoken of here in Revelation applies to us as well?"
"No Doctor Providential, I don't. I think you're twisting the Scriptures into a rope to prove an unprovable point. I believe the Bible means just what it says, and that is that there is going to be a massive Tribulation coming. Not that we are now living in the Great Tribulation."
"You misunderstood my words Mr Shibboleth. I wasn't nullifying what the Bible says. I was giving a possible explanation as to how it, by picture, applies to more than just those three and a half years. I elaborated earlier on the need to keep in mind that what has happened in the past, is bound to happen again in some form in the future. This, the Tribulation, would certainly fit into that category."
"Point taken Doctor Providential. Now, back to the subject at hand. Let's take a closer look at the number 666. In your opinion Doctor, what do those numbers mean? We know they've been interpreted to mean a myriad of different people, but just what does it mean when we're told to count the number of the beast?"
"The Bible says those who are wise will count the number of the beast. This is difficult at best, as is demonstrated by the fact that everyone who considers themself wise has come up with ways to count that number. And they've all come up with a different answer, and so far all have been proven wrong. In my mind wisdom does not come from counting as we know it, that is, by using numbers, but understanding that we are to avoid worship of anything and anybody regardless of the time. According to Luke 12:46, if we're prepared, which means we wear our full armor and keep it clean, as well as worship God, and God only, then there will be no chance of worshiping the beast. If we aren't worshiping God with all our heart, and if we aren't preparing ourselves to meet the Lord at His coming, then it doesn't matter what we do, or what we worship, we are counted with the unbeliever, and headed for the pit. And this even if we are the best church goer on the planet."
"You're stretching again Doctor Providential. And it sounds to me like you're still trying to prove your point that we've moved past. Please try to keep on the topic. What do you think 666 means?"
"There are a number of ways to interpret the meaning of 666, and these methods have been used since numbers existed. Some say it represents the six cardinal directions. Some say it represents a forcing of people to worship on Sunday instead of Saturday, a breaking of the commandments. Others believe it represents the unification of all the world's governments. I've heard it said it's the mark of Cain. For myself, as I indicated earlier, I believe that the mark on the right hand represents our best works, symbolized by, but in contrast to the tefillin worn on the right hand by the Jews. And the mark on the head being the same in that the thoughts of people are taken off God and put on the desires of the beast, or the world, whichever might be the case. At any rate, the result will be the same, people will be in a lost condition. In essence Mr Shibboleth, the mark is an indication of servitude. Do we serve God with our thoughts, our words, and our works? Or do we serve ourselves? If we serve ourselves, then the beast, whatever it might be, will easily cause us to think that by serving him, or it, we will be serving our own needs and desires. And since he will claim to be god, then those in the church will believe that by serving the beast they are serving another incarnation of God. This is especially so since the world's religious leaders, the little beast, whatever or whoever that might be, will be supporting such a stance."
"I've seen the numbers added up so they spell out everything from Mickey Mouse to Superman. I agree with you that we're not getting anywhere trying to use numbers as we know them to figure out who the beast is. But who isn't the question Doctor Providential. But what does it mean to count the number of the beast?"
"Bypassing the Greek and Hebrew gematria, the method used to count the number, we can look at the Greek words themselves. First we have the word 'count.' Count in the Greek means to compute. It's interesting that someone has come up with the World Wide Web by counting using the ways we just described. Compute in this case means the use of pebbles. Here we see the black and the white stones used by the High Priest to see what God's will is. And we see this same thing in Acts where the Apostles were deciding who God wanted to take the place of the then deceased Judas. Then in Revelation 2:17 we see where the overcomer will be given a white stone, indicating acceptance. Number we find is taken from a word meaning to take up or away, or to keep in suspense...."
"That's an interesting coincidence Doctor Providential, since it's kept us in suspense for nearly 2,000 years."
"Yes, a very humorous observation Mr Shibboleth. Now if I may continue."
"Of course. Sorry for the interruption."
"As I was saying, Beast refers to a wild animal or venomous serpent. We see this usage of the word in Acts where Paul was bitten by such a serpent. The word is derived from a word meaning to trap, or hunt. This we see in Romans 11:9 where Paul says the Jews are blinded to the truth by their desires. Well, the actual word used is tables, that is, their table is a trap and a snare to them. And as for the word name, this is extremely important to God. We see the defense of God's name all through the Bible, and what happens if anyone takes His name lightly or abuses it. We also see over and over again where Jesus and the Father gave new names to people who He favors, and will do the same for those who overcome this fleshly body and its lust."
"You're sneaking in your own doctrine again Doctor Providential. I don't see this in the Bible or in church doctrine. Please refrain from adding your own interpretation and stick to the subject."
"I'll try, but it won't be easy Mr Shibboleth."
"I can believe it Doctor Providential. And has anyone ever told you that you're very wordy?"
"Everywhere I go Mr Shibboleth."
"I thought as much. Please, continue with your loquacious soliloquy Doctor Providential."
"Did anyone ever tell you your disingenuous Mr Shibboleth?"
"Everywhere I go Doctor Providential. Everywhere I go."
"Just as I suspected. Well Mr Shibboleth, back to the word name, as in the number of his name, that is, the beast. Name indicates authority. We see this in Adam naming the animals. If you name something, you have authority, that is to say dominion, over what you have named, as did Jesus. We see this in our naming of pets. We don't as a rule name something that is not our own or that we can't control. Jesus said to do whatever we do in His name. This invokes the power Jesus gives us. If we represent a king or a boss, then we do whatever we do in the name of that person, and the person represented stands behind it. In essence they have the power of attorney where that person is concerned. When Jesus was baptized, the Father proclaimed Him to be His son, and from that time on, whatever Jesus said was the Father talking. Moses is another example of this, as were the prophets. In contrast, those who use the name of God to try and validate an idea, God becomes very angry toward. The Pharisees who attributed the words and the works of Jesus to the devil were severely threatened. If you recall, Jesus very often asked the name of the demon He was going to cast out. We name our child, and very often if we address our child by their full name, they can be pretty sure they are in deep trouble. In today's theology we have what we call 'name it and claim it', or the power of positive thinking. This is based on the assumption that if we state something, especially if we name it, then we make it happen. We have taken dominion over something. We see this again in voodoo where the witch doctor takes an image of a person and is able to control that person. The Native Americans, along with others, were afraid of the camera for the same reason. They believed that if someone captured their image, that person stole their soul. In the Greek the word name means to call, that is, to be called. It stems from a word that means to know, perceive or understand. And we know that if we understand something, we pretty well have control over it. Naming gives us authority. God made man to have authority over His creation. We see this in Genesis 2:26 to 28. And again we see the outcome of this in Revelation 2:26 where Jesus said He will give the overcomer power over nations. The word power here is the same word used in Matthew 28:18 and Mark 2:10 where Jesus said all power in Heaven was given to Him, including the power to forgive sins. Understanding this, you can see why God put so much emphasis on the use of a name."
"I can see the significance of the word name Doctor Providential, but what does that have to do with the number of the name of the beast?"
"There's a theory that the number 666 is indicative of man himself. That is, that 6 is the number of a man. If this proves to be so, which I believe it does in this case, then 666, being three numbers, three being the number of perfection or completeness, from which we derive the Trinity amongst other things like body, soul and spirit, and wind rain and fire, then 666 may well be the perfect man, that is, as best a man can be without a soul, that is, the Spirit of God. I think, and mind you, this is only my own speculation, the three sixes stand for man being created on the sixth day, there being six thousand years of man as we know it, a day being a thousand years, and six coming just short of seven, which is the number of perfection. Man, at his best will fall short, that is, he will miss the mark, just as did Adam in the beginning. Most people don't even approach the firing line. And far too many of those who do, believe that they are exempted from having to fire their weapon."
"I must say Doctor Providential, you have some, shall I say, oddball theories."
"Don't I though?"
"Oh well, I guess you have just as much right to come up with your own far-fetched theories as does anyone else. Now, I think we're down to the bottom line, having covered all the aspects of the mark that can be covered in this brief program. If you will sum up your ideas on the this topic I believe we can bring this program to a close."
"Thank you Mr Shibboleth. The bottom line is that it really doesn't matter when, where, who or why of the beast or the Tribulation. The only thing we have to concern ourself with is if we are well on the side of the Lord, or if we are playing close to the line. If we're playing both sides, or trying to see how little we can get away with and still make it into the Kingdom, then we're lost already, because Jesus made it very clear that it's all or nothing. The Jews found that out, over and over. They thought they could play God's game, and still take part in the world around them. They learned all too well that this does not work. In Matthew 24:24 we see that if it were possible, even the elect of God will be deceived by the beast. Again we see in verse 22 that it's for the elect's sake that the Tribulation will be shortened. That to me means the Tribulation will consume everyone but the elect. I don't know about you, but I want to make sure I'm part of the elect, especially if what I'm saying proves itself to be true. And just who are the elect? In all too many of the churches it's believed that the elect are those who go to their church and have been baptized. I wouldn't count on that being true. In 1Peter 2:6 we see that one of the elect is Jesus Himself. So the elect is going to be someone who is doing very well in their effort to do all God wants them to do. We see this again in the use of the word overcome. Jesus said we are to overcome as He overcame. How did Jesus overcome? Well, it seems to me that how He overcame, we are to overcome if we're going to be with Him. Peter, in 2Peter 1:10 tells us to make our election sure. That tells me even if I think I'm one of the elect because of something I've done, then I had batter make sure I maintain whatever is required in order to make my election sure, and to not relent. Elect in the Greek means selected, or by implication, to be a favorite. The word has also been interpreted 'chosen'. In John 6:70 we see this word used by Jesus to say that He had chosen the twelve. We might assume then that being chosen is a sure sign we are in like Flynn. However, in that same breath, Jesus said one of the chosen was a devil. So even being chosen is not something to put total confidence in. Then again in Matthew 22:14, along with other places, Jesus warned us that many are called, but few are chosen. So hearing the knock and being called is nothing to rest one's confidence on. Then, of the Apostles, who followed Jesus to the end, and even long afterwards, Jesus warned them, His special Disciples that His entire ministry rested on, that if they kept His Word and endured to the end, then they would receive the rewards and see the resurrection. Read John chapters fourteen and fifteen, and count the number of 'if's' Jesus used. I'm afraid there's far too many people counting on their church affiliation and doctrines, and their own righteousness, as did the Pharisees, that are going to find they played too close to the water, or better still, too close to the fire, both when the Tribulation comes, and at the Judgement. And finally Mr Shibboleth, I would like to add this. I'm afraid far too many people are counting on their knowledge of the end times to save them rather than their preparedness for meeting their Lord. Being too close to one aspect of anything, such as knowledge of the beast, prevents a person from seeing the big picture. And the big picture is this, if we're trying to get to Heaven, rather than serving the Lord for service sake, then we're very likely to find ourself standing with the unbelievers before the Throne. Heaven is a reward for servants, not for those who are only interested in being paid for their efforts. And as to understanding the meaning of 666, I would like to throw a monkey wrench into the works. Experts have found that this number was originally 616, not 666. Do I have faith in the findings of experts? Not at all. Do you?"
[ For more on this subject read the Mark of the Beast Companion, Portia, and other such stories and studies. Also more information can be found in the studies on Babylon and The New Jerusalem.]
1From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:)
Another problem with such an undertaking as this is the many misconceptions and misapplied verses that have become so popular. These must be reapplied correctly (as I see it and have been given to understand it). Since we have a tendency to force new information into our preconceived understandings, and to reject anything that contradicts these understandings, you will naturally reject what is given here, especially since it will take much work and research to follow what is presented.
Nothing should be taken as the end of truth in itself. This certainly applies to what I have provided here, and it also applies to anything you already think you know. If you have a nature to skim what is presented to you, or to force it into your own beliefs, or to let your mind wander while reading, yet think you have absorbed the "gist" of what is said: I would suggest you not bother with reading any farther. You won't get anything at all out of it. But should you decide to investigate what I have presented, realize that I have had to butcher the Scripture to keep this offering as short as possible, and keep to the point at hand. There was a great deal I wanted very much to leave in, but had to delete it for convenience' sake. Research this material for yourself, looking for even more than I have given you. Don't assume anything I have said is true or accurate. There are thousands of theories out there to choose from. Just consider this another one of those theories that must be researched and proven. Hopefully you will find some information that will set you on a course that will lead you to truth, whether that truth be what I see or otherwise.
And if you want to find truth, be sure to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, not only with this piece but an anything that is offered to you. If you haven't received the gift of the Holy Spirit, then whatever time you might spend in research will be wasted time and effort. The most you will be able to expect is to find some interesting information to add to your repertoire of fantasies and fables.
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