by Tad Lindley
This column is based on a message preached by Rev. Jimmy Toney at this summer’s family campmeeting in Sterling, AK.
The second mark: 666
One of the best known passages of scripture, even by atheists, is that foretelling the coming mark of the beast. It [the false prophet] also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666. (Revelation 13:16-18 NIV)
This mark of the beast comes at the end of time. It will happen midway through the last 7 years when the AntiChrist is revealed and begins to exert domination over the world. But this is not the first mark of the beast. To find that, you have to turn and look at the other end of the Bible.
The first mark: ?
The first mark of the beast is found in the book of Genesis. If you have a Bible, grab it and turn to chapter 3. Check out the first verse. Do you see the mark? If you don’t have a Bible, here it is: Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, “Yea, hath God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Genesis 3:1 KJ21) It’s right there at the end of the verse. The first mark of the beast is not 666, it is the question mark.
Eve takes the mark
The devil is there in the garden and Adam and Eve are there with it. For some reason Adam is nothing more than an eyewitness and the serpent engages Eve in conversation. He offers her the first mark of the beast, “Did God really say…?” And Eve made the mistake of responding. At which point the serpent turned up the pressure, “You shall not surely die: for God knows that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and you will shall be as gods knowing good and evil.” He made it sound as if God was trying to cheat them out of something. Within seconds Eve had the forbidden fruit in her mouth and Adam was lined up behind her for his taste.
Consequence of the question mark
Think about this. Adam and Eve had a sure word from God, “Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” It was the only commandment we know that they had. The devil came and caused them to doubt the word of God. He put a question mark where God had put a period. When they took the mark that the devil put out for them, they doubted and then rejected the word of God. As a result, instead of dwelling in the Garden of Eden, they were kicked out. The world they lived in became a place of violence. Their son Cain killed his brother Abel. They knew pain and suffering. The sin problem was passed from generation to generation until it got to you. We didn’t ask for it, but we’ve got it, all because our great-great-great-grandmother took the first mark of the beast, the question mark.
The mark of the beast hinders God
Read the following passage and count the number of times you see the mark of the beast. And when He had come into His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished and said, “From whence hath this man this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary and his brethren James and Joseph, and Simon and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? From whence then hath this man all these things?” And they were offended at Him.
But Jesus said unto them, “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country and in his own house.” And He did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:54-58)
The people of Jesus’ hometown questioned his authority and doubted him. As a result they missed out on many miracles that might have been done had they believed him. In like manner, when we take on the first mark of the beast by casting doubt on the established word of God, which is the Bible, we are cutting ourselves off from the blessings and miracles of God in our own lives. Don’t take the mark!
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.