June 20, 2006 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
What Does It Mean To Take “the Mark of the Beast”?
A book and movie series, popular with Evangelical Christians, have fed upon latent paranoia of the Roman Church and of global government to make the numeral 666 a fearful mark, a mark of men that might be anything from an implanted computer chip to a Social Security number. The numeral 666 comes from a very bad translation of chi xi stigma (Rev 13:18), Strong’s #5516; the numeral should be read as the tattoo [stigma] of Xx [chi xi], or the tattoo of Christ’s cross; and the numeral is both the identifier of a man, Christ Jesus, as well as the accepted icon for organized Christianity. Thus, halfway through seven endtime years of tribulation, when that old dragon Satan the devil is cast from heaven (Rev 12:9-10) and when the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of the Most High and of His Christ (Rev 11:15) and when dominion over the world has been taken from the four beasts (Dan 7:11-12), that old dragon temporarily usurps the Son of Man’s authority to rule over humanity by posing as the Messiah and by requiring all who would buy and sell [conduct commerce] to pledge allegiance to him by taking the tattoo of what has become the accepted icon of Christianity. Few Christians alive today would refuse, if required to buy and sell, to take on their hand a simple tattoo of the cross. Even fewer will refuse such a tattoo after three and a half years of tribulation. Those who would refuse are not Christians, but are today Muslim or Buddhist or Hindi or atheist. Likewise, those who will refuse after three and a half years of tribulation have some other belief paradigm by which God has allegedly revealed Himself to the person.
If most Christians would not, today, refuse a tattoo of the cross—and if most Christians will not, after three and a half years of tribulation, refuse to accept a tattoo of the cross, then the majority of those on whom God’s wrath is poured out during the last three and a half years of the tribulation are “Christians.” And to most of Christianity, this makes no sense at all. Why would God punish His own holy nation…what if this nation that has identified itself to the world as Christian is not of God, but of the Adversary? Would God not then pour His wrath out upon it? Would He not then doubly repay that nation for its iniquity (Jer )—and how could God doubly repay a nation for its lawlessness? The wages of sin [lawlessness — from 1 John 3:4] is death (Rom ). To repay doubly would be to punish the nation with death, then with a second death. But in order for a nation to experience a second death, the nation must be born a second time or born of Spirit.
The second death is being cast into the lake of fire, which comes to earth with the return of Christ Jesus when judgments will be revealed (1 Co 4:5). Only when a person has been born of Spirit in a perishable body can the person experience the second death. The person who has not been born of Spirit has only been born once and is only subject to the death of the flesh. This person has no other life than that which comes from his or her physical breath [psuche]. Plus, once a person born of Spirit puts on immortality, the person is no longer subject to the second death but has passed through fire (Isa 43:2), and baptism by fire (Matt 3:11-12).
All of humanity will be born of Spirit when the Holy Spirit, the divine Breath of God [Pneuma ’Agion], is poured out upon all flesh (Joel ) when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Father and His Son. In the middle of the seven endtime years, Satan is cast from heaven and all of humanity is born of Spirit. Now God can repay doubly every transgression of His law. He can repay doubly those who have polluted the land and have defiled His inheritance with detestable abominations—and His inheritance is a holy nation that walks upright before Him, a nation that is holy as He is holy (1 Pet 1:14-16), a nation of spiritual Israelites that live like spiritual Judeans, not spiritual Gentiles.
Because of the lawlessness
of the first Adam and first Eve, God consigned all of humanity to disobedience
(Rom ) for the destruction of the flesh (1 Co 5:5) so
that the spirit might be saved. The promise made to the people of the Book is that every person will be resurrected
from death through receiving a second birth; i.e., being born of Spirit.
Following the sin of Adam, every person was consigned to Satan so that when the
person was born of Spirit, the spirit might be saved. Therefore, because God
gave humankind to Satan to be bondservants to sin for a season, God does not
reckon the sin of a person consigned to disobedience against the person (Rom -14). Only when the
person has been brought out of sin, geographically represented by the
The Father by sending His
Son into time in the likeness of sinful flesh and as the acceptable sin
offering condemned sin in the flesh (Rom 8:3) so that human beings could be,
first individually, then en masse, liberated from bondage to disobedience. The Logos came as the man Jesus of Nazareth
(John 1:1-2, 14), born of Spirit as the first of the firstfruits, the uncovered
Head of the Son of Man, the body of which are Jesus’ covered [as in clothed —
Gal 3:27] disciples. But what the early Hellenistic Christian Church overlooked
is that the Logos deliberately came
as a circumcised Israelite, for the nation of Israel was the first born natural
son of God (Ex 4:22). This firstborn son had been liberated from physical
bondage to Pharaoh, but remained subject to disobedience through “hearing”
Satan’s broadcast of lawlessness (Eph 2:3) as evidenced by the nation’s history.
When the natural nation
of Israel divided following Solomon’s reign, the northern kingdom began
sacrificing to two gold calves, one set at Bethel and the other in Dan (1 Kings
12:25-31). And with this sin of Jeroboam, which the northern kingdom never
overcame, these tribes of
Today, disciples of Christ Jesus practice walking uprightly before God and man under the dazzlingly brilliant garment or mantle of Jesus’ righteousness. Although they are the Body of Christ, they are, themselves, not acceptable sacrifices for sin, for the law of sin and death remains dwelling in their fleshly members (Rom 7:25). Plus, every disciple knows that he or she fails to measure up to Christ (1 John 1:8-10)—and for most disciples, this is enough. The disciple does not try to live as Jesus lived. The disciple does not try [or at least does not try very hard] to keep the commandments, but is eager to relax the commandment the disciple regards as of least importance (Matt ). For most Christians, this is the Sabbath commandment. For some it is adultery. For some it is coveting. All of Western culture, allegedly based upon Christian values, is built on coveting what rightfully belonged to another, a harsh statement but one that can be supported from a theoretical Marxist analysis of history.
The problem with biblical
prophecy is what has been revealed: the Christian Church, which is the spiritual
The vast majority of Christian theologians do not—and even refuse to—believe that the Body of Christ will be any different when Jesus returns than it is now (if they believe that He will return). Hence, they teach disciples to erase the laws of God that were written on hearts and minds through receipt of the Holy Spirit; they teach that because Jesus kept the commandments, disciples do not have to keep these commandments; they teach that because the righteous requirements of the law were fulfilled in the person of Jesus, Christians are and will forever remain righteous through being the Body of Christ. And while the arguments of these many theologians sound plausible from a distance, none of their arguments pertain when the Son of Man is revealed: as a man doesn’t “marry” his own body, the glorified Christ will not marry His Body. Thus, the Body of Christ must undergo transformation into being the Bride of Christ, a separate personage who becomes one with the Groom through marriage.
The transformation of the Body into being the Bride begins with the spiritual liberation, through empowerment by the Holy Spirit, of disciples from the law of sin and death that continues to dwell in their fleshly members—the flesh was consigned to disobedience when Adam was driven from the garden, but the Spirit has been free since it was given. Thus, a war has raged within every disciple between the flesh and the Spirit, between the flesh being a bondservant to the Adversary and the Spirit being a bondservant to Christ Jesus. When the Spirit rules the flesh, the whole body is clean. But as the Apostle John wrote, if disciples now say that they are without sin, they are liars. Today, in disciples, the Spirit is unable to entirely rule over the flesh—sometimes it seems as if the Spirit rules over nothing, that the person remains a son of disobedience. However, as the Spirit within a person strengthens through exercise—as the son of God dwelling in the particular tent of flesh matures—the Spirit more ably rules the flesh, losing only occasional battles to disobedience.
In a direct analogy to
The last Eve is the Body of Christ, not the Bride of Christ. From the two sons that this last Eve delivers in a day—and from the third son that this last Eve will deliver when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh halfway through the seven years [the great multitude] will come the endtime portion of the Bride. But the bad news for the two sons that’s also the good news for the third part of humanity (Zech 13:9) is that so few disciples comprise the loved son, Abel [or Jacob who becomes Israel through prevailing with God], that as in Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast (Matt 22:1-14) the remainder of humankind is born as a spiritual Seth.
Yes, so few Christian
disciples will walk uprightly before God and man when empowered by the Holy
Spirit that the Father will send His angels out to invite the third part of
humanity to the wedding supper of the Lamb of God. As the natural nation of
Israel rebelled against God in the wilderness of Paran
(Num chap 14) and after acknowledging that it had sinned, tried to enter God’s
rest on the following day (Ps 95:10-11 & Num 14:40-41), the spiritual
nation of Israel will rebel against God (2 Thess 2:3)
and try to enter His rest on the following day, the 8th day instead
of on the Sabbath. And as the natural nation could not enter on the following
day, neither can the spiritual nation enter heaven on the following day—all of
Christianity’s day of salvation is this present spiritual day that began at
The importance of those who take upon themselves the mark of death in both the heavenly and physical realms has not been appreciated in the plan of God: these human beings who have each been born of Spirit but were each created as a vessel for dishonorable usage will perish in the lake of fire, thereby forming the dross of the glorified Body of the Son of Man…
But again, Jesus will not
be crucified a second time. He will not die in the heavenly realm as the sin
offering for the lawlessness of born of Spirit disciples—and every sin
committed by a son of God in the heavenly realm requires in that realm a death,
a sin offering. Spiritual
Ultimately, Satan will
pay with his spiritual life for the disobedience of all of his spiritual
bondservants, but this payment occurs after the thousand year long reign of
Christ Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus paid with His physical
life for the physical disobedience of His bondservants, this disobedience
occurring prior to the new creatures being born of Spirit in the fleshly tents
of the old man. Thus, the payment for disobedience occurs after the occurrence
of the disobedience; payment is not made in advance, a
reality Christian theologians have not understood, for the old creature
is crucified with Christ following spiritual birth, not before. Even though Jesus
What advantage, then, was
the giving of the Law to
When the Christian Church is empowered by the Holy Spirit and is thus an acceptable sin offering for humanity, the entirety of the Church will be sacrificed in either the physical realm where physical lives are given thereby saving spiritual lives, or in the spiritual realm where those disciples who sin make themselves slaves of sin to die for the sins of humanity in the heavenly realm in the same way that bulls and goats died for the physical lawlessness of Israel prior to when Jesus died as the reality of these sacrifices.
The significance of the
above statement will escape too many: when Christians are empowered by the Holy
Spirit, every Christian will be without sin dwelling anywhere in their fleshly
tents. These tents, then, will be like Jesus’. As disciples and servants, every
disciple will be like his or her Teacher and Master, who died as the ransom
price paid for withdrawing those individuals previously consigned to disobedience
from their consignee. But because no one had life in the heavenly realm prior
to Jesus, no human son of God had disobedience in that realm. Therefore, only
physical death was required to pay the ransom price of disobedience. However,
since Jesus breathed on His disciples, the firstfruits have had life in the
heavenly realm as well as in the physical realm—and lawlessness in this
heavenly realm has been committed by these disciples,
with Jesus as the reality of the Azazel goat bearing this lawlessness. Jesus,
though, will not pay the death penalty for this heavenly realm lawlessness.
Eventually, Satan will pay for all lawlessness. But until Satan pays, the spiritual slaves of Satan—those liberated
Christians who take upon themselves the mark of death, the tattoo of the
cross—will, as bulls and goats paid for the physical lawlessness of the natural
Here is the difficulty of prophecy: most Christians today have been called by God to be vessels of dishonor, vessels to be sacrificed in the heavenly realm, vessels to be cast into the lake of fire as bulls and goats were burned by the physical nation on the temple altar. They must first make themselves into a slave of sin by taking sin into themselves after they have been liberated from sin and death, but realistically, what portion of the lawless Christian Church will not make itself into a slave of sin when liberated? As a simple test, what portion of the lawless Church will repent of its lawlessness and enter God’s rest when God says to rest from the works of the flesh? Worldwide, there are, probably, fifty million Sabbath keepers, with forty million being circumcised Jews. Out of a billion Christians, ten million or less enter God’s rest when He says to rest. And there is nothing any servant of God can do or say to the majority of Christendom to cause these vessels of God to keep the commandments of God. It is as if this vast majority of Christendom has been predestined to be sacrificed in the lake of fire for my lawlessness and for your lawlessness in the heavenly realm.
Should we thank them, or attempt to warn them? What should we do? The plan of God is certain. Ultimately, we cannot alter this plan. But as I am a brand plucked from the fire—and so, probably, are you—can we not attempt to drag from the fire whomever we can?
The arguments for keeping the commandments come down to whether we will live as Jesus lived, or whether we will live as Augustine, or Luther, or Calvin, or Menno Simons, or John Fox, or Darby, or whichever televangelist you want to name lived or lives. Jesus lived as a Judean. He kept the Sabbaths of God—the Pharisees never kept the law of God or of Moses (John ). He ate as a Judean. He was, as one observant Jew commented to me, an observant Jew. And His disciples were and are Judeans in their minds, not necessarily in their flesh—for the fleshly tent in which a son of God dwells is of no importance, or of very little importance. Jesus’ disciples lived, live, and will live as spiritual Judeans.
All disciples who live as spiritual Gentiles will take to themselves the tattoo of the cross, thereby upon liberation sacrificing themselves as if they were a bull or a goat. The same will apply to that portion of the third part of humanity that takes upon itself the mark of death after being born from above when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh—for all who endure to the end without the tattoo of death shall be saved (Matt 24:13); enduring means not accepting the mark of the beast.
The Buddhist, the Muslim, the Hindi, when born of Spirit, will continue for a while in their present belief paradigm, thereby racking up the transgressions in the heavenly realm. It will take many spiritual bulls and goats to cover these transgressions—I suspect the third part of humankind should, today, thank mass-marketed Christianity for bringing to God the clay that will be spun by television spinmeisters into many vessels of dishonor, each to be burned to nothing in the lake of fire.
* * *
"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."