"God has His Kingdom of light. Satan has built his Kingdom of darkness. God has created nutritious and healthy food. Satan has twisted food into something addictive and unhealthy."
Two thousand years ago, a mad man lived on a lonely island in the Mediterranean Sea, was banished by the Roman government because of his fanatical rantings. The Apostle John was a man filled with the Holy Spirit. A man chosen by God to unveil the most incredible revelation any human eyes have ever witnessed. Before him was displayed an ocean of people. Women, men, children and infants, every one with a mark upon their forehead or their right hand. The mark of ownership of the Prince of Darkness. Every tribe, nation, and culture in the most isolated places on the earth, under the utter and absolute control of a one–world government. Its head—Satan. John must have been appalled at such vision. How can it be?
"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 13:16, 17
It’s round up time at OK Corral, a busy time of year for the cowboys. Drawing their branding irons and mounting their horses, these heroes of the west ride off into the sunset.
Ranchers have devised a wonderful technique that solves an ancient problem of whose cattle are whose. This system is to take a red-hot branding iron from the coals and sear a permanent mark on the hunches of their cattle. This mark cannot be removed or destroyed, eliminating any confusion of who owns which cow. So a cowboy, riding on the back of his horse, will lasso a calf, tie his legs together, turn him on his side while the calf is resisting, and sear a permanent mark on his tender young thigh. You can imagine the sense of pride that wells up in a rancher's heart when he looks out his back door to see a herd of cattle with his mark of ownership on their hides.
"He also forced every one, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or 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." (Rev. 13:16-17)
When Christ looks upon the earth, He sees more than a herd of cattle; He sees individual lives with individual needs. The Bible says that He knows us by name and knows the number of hairs upon our heads. The analogy we see in Psalm 23 is of a shepherd Who tenderly takes care of all His flock's needs, even to the point of laying down His life for the sheep. Jesus said that He would leave the ninety-nine and go in search for that one lost sheep. Finding that sheep causes heaven itself to rejoice. (Luke 15:4) The imagery that is used to describe Jesus as our shepherd reinforces a sense of His tenderness and protection over us, even in the valley of the shadow of death!
When God puts His mark upon His people, it is not just a sign of ownership but a sign also of His love, faithfulness, and presence in our lives. In the Old Testament, God commanded that each male child be circumcised. This circumcision confirmed God's covenant with His people. In the New Testament, (after the resurrection of Christ) the mark becomes the promised Holy Spirit. (Eph.1:13-14) The evidence of the mark of the Holy Spirit is peace, guidance, and a life of separation and holiness. The difference between God's mark and the cattle rancher's mark is that the calves were given no choice in the matter. To the calf, the mark had no meaning except a dim memory of pain.
When God marked us out from this world it involved our will, our desire, and our surrender. This is beautifully illustrated in Acts 2 verse 41. After Peter preached that powerful message on the Day of Pentecost, three thousand people, before the eyes of all men, willingly moved into the river and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. A baptism that would mark them out as separated for the rest of their lives.
Now, let us look at the grim imitation that Satan has to offer this world. Satan is not very original. In Satan's pride, he is constantly trying to beat God. Let us not forget the fact that the greatest motivating factor in all that he does is to assert himself as being God. God has His Kingdom of light. Satan has built his Kingdom of darkness. God has created nutritious and healthy food. Satan has twisted that food into making it destructive and unhealthy. God has sent His Son, to be the Christ. Satan has sent his man to be the Antichrist. God has appointed prophets; Satan has appointed false prophets. God has put His mark on any that are willing to come to Him and be His child. During the great tribulation, Satan has devised a way to deceive the nations into receiving his mark. He certainly does not get an "A" for originality, but his means suits his purpose.
Christ desires His mark of ownership upon us so that He may bless us and that we may live our lives the way we were created to live, set apart and free. Satan wants his mark of ownership so that he may control us. In his twisted mind, in owning and controlling us, he has become god. Satan has desired to be in control of this world since the dawn of man but in doing so, he still has God to contend with. Satan is the prince of power in this world, but God's master plan is still alive and well on Earth today.
In Revelation, it is clear that Satan will be in absolute control of this world for seven years. In second Thessalonians 2 verse 7, Paul says that when he takes control of this world in the form of the Antichrist, it will only be when God allows him to do so and not before. In reading history, we can see a pattern of Satan trying to take control of the earth before his time. He used people like Alexander the Great, Nero, Stalin, and Hitler. There are many others in whom Satan would want to use as a tool of control over the entire earth but it was not God’s time.
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