This is my second post for today. I simply cannot stop writing! I've been thinking about. As I said in a previous post, that, my pastor at my home church is going through a series on Revelation. Well, two weeks ago, I guess he either had us flip back to Revelation 14, or I found it on my own, but I have a thought....It isn't the scholarly "I've studied Revelation in-depth for years," kind of thought. This is coming from a new believer.
Also I want to encourage yo to NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR THINGS, JUST BECAUSE I SAY SOMETHING!!! Investigate the Bible for yourself if you are already not doing that, and seek God in the midst of it. These passages below mentioned are not, in any means, given in their entirety, so I encourage you to explore them further, in context, if you feel the need to do so. I am just quoting verses from some different spots to allow my thought to come across to you.
Revelation 14:1 "Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads."
Revelation 20:4-5 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection."
Ok so, from what I gather, the above verses are about those believers that basically testify of Christ and come to TRULY KNOW HIM during the tribulation. THEY are sealed and set apart....precious to CHRIST!! But these believers are NOT US. By that I mean that I mean that these people are not believers from where we are today in history. But they WILL BE a part of the Church (by "the church" let me clarify that "the church" specifically refers to THOSE THAT HAVE TRULY BEEN SAVED---WHO HAVE TRULY BELIEVED IN WHAT JESUS CHRIST DID FOR THEM--and that they who are of CHRIST'S CHURCH TRANSCEND ALL CULTURAL AND DENOMINATIONAL BOUNDARIES THAT MAN PUTS UP!!! The Lord KNOWS THOSE WHO ARE HIS!!
So, let me say that even though we (those of us whom Christ has brought to Himself in today's age and time and before that--New Testament Believers) are not among those considered in these specific verses mentioning those brought to Him through the tribulation, Ephesians 1 also makes it clear that we are also sealed. Ephesians 1:14=1-14 says "In him we were also chosen,having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory. specific We are set apart for His purposes--to give Him glory rather than living for ourselves. We have been transferred from the Kingdom of darkness to the KINGDOM OF HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT.
As a side note I simply have to say that last night, I read these verse for the first time being a new believer, and they thrilled me like nothing else in the world ever could have! (I used to read Ephesians and think, "well,yeah that would be awesome, if I really had the assurance that they applied to me!" (During all of those years that I never had assurance, I could never really trust these verses, because I had never been brought to the point where I truly trusted in Jesus Christ and what His death and resurrection accomplished for me!)
Continuing----Here is the rest of my thought. Here are the rest of the verses in Revelation. (at least through my search using www.biblegateway.com to investigate) Parts that discuss the mark of the beast are bolded and the emphasis is mine.
Revelation 13:10-17 "Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."
Revelation 14:9-11 "A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."
Revelation 16:2 "The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image." (Let me just say that for you to get all of the context of everything--this chapter definitely demands more of your attention, because you are missing out by my single verse quoted here!)
Revelation 19:19-21 "Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
So after all of these Scriptures, my point is this. DO YOU NOTICE THE CONTRAST? DO YOU NOTICE HOW SATAN ALWAYS TRIES TO COUNTERFEIT EVERYTHING THAT GOD DOES? IT is a VERY REAL THING--real today and WILL CERTAINLY be real in the days of the tribulation.
Today we need to be careful about WHO WE ARE LIVING FOR, and seek to TRULY UNDERSTAND GOD'S WORD AS HIS HOLY SPIRIT TEACHES US, and walk closely with the LORD, so that we do not fall into Satan's counterfeit ways. Christianity is not some "game" we are playing--it is SERIOUS BUSINESS.....because Jesus Christ, the ONE AND ONLY LORD AND SAVIOR OF THE WORLD (AND THERE IS NO OTHER) died for us, and WE MUST LIVE FOR HIM!!!!