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The Tribulation: What is “the mark of the beast?”

Gary Googe Aug 23

As soon as this present age ends with the Rapture, our resurrection, a period typically called The Tribulation, will begin.  The Rapture is an event for all those who’ve accepted Jesus Christ and His provision for their salvation.  In other words, if you’ve accepted Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the sole basis for your salvation, you’ll get to be a part of that.  If you haven’t, you’re going into the most difficult of times in all human history.  It’s not called The Tribulation for no good reason.

Matthew 24:21

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. [Emphasis added]

If we’re still here as believers living in the generation which experiences the Rapture, we’ll suddenly be transformed when God gives each of us a perfect resurrection body like that of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It will be this event that enables us to escape this terrible time of suffering.

Philippians 3:20-21

20 For our conversation [our citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. [Emphasis added]

It is in that resurrection body that we’ll suddenly be miraculously transported into the sky to “meet the Lord in the air.”

I Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [believers of this present dispensation of grace who have passed away], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope [a reference to unbelievers].

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again [having believed the gospel of grace], even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him [a reference to believers who died prior to that time]. [Emphasis added]

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord [this means this was new revelation given to Paul for us], that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord [the time of the Rapture] shall not prevent them which are asleep [believers of this present dispensation of grace who have died before then].

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout [He doesn’t touch down on the earth then], with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ [believers who have lived and died in this present dispensation of grace] shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air [in a resurrection body]: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Even though this will then soon change, there will at that point be no believers whatsoever left on the Earth.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. [Emphasis added]

As I hope you know, this passage of Scripture we’ve just look at is NOT a reference to the Second Coming of Christ, as some claim.  This is what is called in the Bible a mystery truth, meaning it was a secret held in the mind of God until it was revealed to the apostle Paul.

I Corinthians 15:51-52

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [pass away in death], but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed [transformed into a new body]. [Emphasis added]

The Second Coming of Christ will occur seven years after the Rapture.  In that seven-year period that follows the Rapture, there will be suffering like the world has never seen or experienced.  That’s why the first half of the seven years is often called The Tribulation.  In the second half of that seven years, it will be much worse.  That’s why that period is often called The Great Tribulation.

The whole book of Revelation, including chapters 2 & 3, gives us a prophetic preview of all these things and more.  It is early in that seven-year period that a Jewish man will rise to power who is called in the Bible the Antichrist.  He is the first “Beast” spoken of in Revelation 13.  One reason we know he will be Jewish is that he’ll be from Israel’s Tribe of Dan [Genesis 49:17].  There are no passages that come right out and state that he’s Jewish, but there are passages that lead us to firmly believe that [Deuteronomy 33:2-27; Ezekiel 28:10; I John 2:48].  The fact that Scripture says he comes out of the sea [nations surrounding the Mediterranean Sea] simply indicates that he comes from that part of the world.  There are millions of Jews all over the world today and that’s not going to change significantly until Christ gathers them to Israel at His return to the Earth [Jeremiah 3:17-18; 31:10; Luke 21:24].  The regathering of Israel that began in 1948 was by no means of God, as it is often thought.  Right now, Satan is hard at work trying to get them back to Israel and all in one place so it will make it easier for him to exterminate them.  He knows that if there are no Jews on the Earth at Christ’s Second Coming, Christ won’t be able to fulfill His promise to regather them to be His people.  Being scattered as they are, makes their destruction far more difficult.  But this AntiChrist will be an impressive charismatic man who will have miraculous powers as our Lord displayed in His earthly ministry.  He will rise in power, and at the midpoint of The Tribulation he will demand for all to worship him.

Revelation 13:15-18

15 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.

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.

It should be plain to all that the world is getting ready for just such a situation.

18 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. [Emphasis added]

The 666 is representative of the identity of this man.  It is important to note that the number 6 has always been the number for man.  The number 3 is the number for God [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit].  The number 666 seems to indicate that this is a man deified.

Those who receive this mark of this beast will ultimately be tormented of God forever.

Revelation 14:9-11

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. [Emphasis added]

Even if they die a martyr’s death, those who reject the mark will have the blessing of God awaiting them.

Revelation 15:2-3

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. [Emphasis added]

The suffering of unbelievers will begin on earth and continue forever when they’re cast into the Lake of Fire.

Revelation 16:2

And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. [Emphasis added]

Revelation 19:20

20 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 worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. [Emphasis added]

However, as is always the case, the faithful have great blessing awaiting them.  They will have positions of rulership in the kingdom of Christ that follows.

Revelation 20:4

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 worshipped 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. [Emphasis added]

Nothing is given as to the details of the mark of the beast.  There’s this one who is called the false prophet who causes people to take the mark.  The mark is literally placed in the hand or forehead.  It is given only to those who choose to worship the Antichrist.  This mark is an end-times identification required by the Antichrist to buy or sell.  There’s much speculation about the exact nature of this mark.  For centuries there have been many who have been accused of beingthe Antichrist.  But what we do know for sure is that the mark of the beast is something used to identify those who are following the Antichrist.  Furthermore, his identity will not be made known until sometime after the departure, the Rapture of the church which is known as the Body of Christ.

II Thessalonians 2:3-4

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

The Greek word for falling away is APOSTASIA.  As you can see, the word apostasy comes from this word.  It means falling away or departure from.  In this case the word departure would be the best translation because this is speaking of the Rapture, the sudden departure of the Body of Christ from the earth.  It is after that departure that the Antichrist will be made known.

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. [Emphasis added]

Isn’t it wonderful to know that we may suffer terribly in this life, but we’ll be spared of the worst times!

Matthew 24:21

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. [Emphasis added]

Furthermore, in the end we win! In the end, all God’s people will get to live in a wonderful place of blessing for all eternity.

Revelation 21:4

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

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