Steven:
I used to believe that the "mark of the beast" certainly referred to an 
intrusive, all powerful government, which held its subjects in economic 
bondage, by forcing them to submit to some kind of microchip implant or
in 
some other manner with the number of the beast. As I've studied
Revelation 
further however I've changed my views. Here is why:
 
Gary: I agree with much of your premises, but believe there will be a
major government involved. I don't think it will control all the world,
but mainly the Old World. In the New World will be another major
government emerge, called Zion. 

Steven:
One of the overarching themes of the Book of Revelations deals with the 
victory that Jesus Christ and the righteous have over Satan, Babylon and 
mankind's twin nemesis, both Spiritual and Physical Death. The righteous,

we are informed by Revelations 15:2 are those who gain victory over the 
"Beast" and thus qualify to live on this earth in its Celestial Glory.
 
Gary: I believe you mean a Terrestrial Glory, as the earth will not
become celestialized until at the end of the Millennium. It is highly
possible that the righteous with the mark of Christ are not just
celestial beings, but also the terrestrial.

Steven:  It's interesting to note that those who accept Christ and
overcome Satan 
are sealed up unto eternal life by having Christ's name written on their 
foreheads (see Rev. 7:3 and 22:4). Under the law of Moses the Israelites 
were commanded to wear phylacteries on their hands or frontlets upon
their 
foreheads which were little boxes that contained certain scriptures
written 
inside them as a "sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial 
between thine eyes, that the Lord's law may be in thy mouth" or in other 
words that the righteous were to treasure up the words of Christ in their

heart and soul and to physically bind these items on their hands or 
foreheads as a sign of this fact (see Exodus 13:9,16; Deut. 6:8; 11:18).
 
Gary: There clearly is a symbolic level to the marks. But often there are
both physical and spiritual parts of a symbol. Babylon, for example, is
an actual city in antiquity. It also symbolically represents the
telestial world, built on greed and power. Although not all the wicked
may have the physical mark on their hands/foreheads, it is possible that
many will; while all will have the spiritual mark of Babylon/Satan on
them. I believe we will see a physical mark put into place in Europe
before long, as part of the EU.

Steven:
Satan, as the great counterfeiter, also "seals" his followers with a mark

in their hand or forehead. But what is this mark
and what does it represent? Is it an actual physical mark or merely 
symbolic? What characterizes those who have the mark?
 
Gary: As I said, it is both physical and symbolic in nature.

Steven:
As a result of the fall of Adam and without the atonement of Jesus
Christ, 
man is carnal sensual and devilish. Thus Satan causes "ALL, both small
and 
great, rich and poor, free and bond" to receive his mark "in their right 
hand or in their forehead. Since this is a "mark" which affects all
mankind 
it clearly cannot be an actual physical one. It is symbolic. Thus It 
represents man in his mortal state and without the atonement of Jesus 
Christ, who truly cannot "buy or sell" without the mark of Satan (see
Rev. 
13:16-18; 14:1, 9-11; 17:5).
 
Gary: I fail to see your hard evidence that it is solely symbolic.
Combining scriptural quotes from the BoM with Revelation does not mean
you have proved your point.  Members of the Church are marked both
physically and symbolically with garments. Would you suggest that the
garments aren't real? People are marked all the time by machines, and are
tracked every time they use a credit card (held in the hand). I
personally believe the physical mark is a special economic bank code that
will be used to prevent fraud. The EU is growing quickly, with reluctant
nations being forced into the economy if they wish to trade freely with
the other nations of Europe. As John the Revelator sees all mankind
getting the mark, he may be exaggerating the extent of the physical mark,
in order to show the widespread symbolic mark being used.

Steven:
It is also significant to note in Rev. 14:9-11, that those who thus
follow 
Satan and receive his mark on their forehead or hand, suffer the "wrath
of 
God", are "tormented with fire and brimstone", and the "smoke of their 
torment ascendeth up for ever and ever"--quite a punishment just for 
accepting a "mark" for food, as the christian fundamentalists believe, 
especially if one did so without knowledge or innocently! Reading these 
scriptures in context just doesn't bear this viewpoint up. It should be 
obvious that the "punishment" mentioned here is the "hell" that all of 
Satan's followers receive after the last judgment.
 
Gary: These destructions are both physical and symbolic as well. There is
a great destruction of the wicked that will occur prior to Christ's
coming and the final judgment/punishment of the wicked. Though the Bible
doesn't speak of it, ancient sources show that there were many disasters
occurring in the world prior to the Great Flood.  And it isn't a mark
just for food. It is a mark showing the person has given up Christ.
Europe is very unChristian today. It is godless, and based upon a
fascist/socialist society.  Given two world governments, one of Zion and
the other Babylon, a person must choose the physical/symbolic mark they
will receive. One cannot have a foot in each. Either you have Zion's mark
or Babylon's mark. Economy is just one part of the whole issue. Those in
Zion will accept a life of consecration, while those in Babylon will seek
a life of greed and sin. It will be on the level of Enoch/Noah's day.
Either one will live in the world, or one will flee to Zion and accept
its economy.

Steven:
Also of note is the mention in Rev. 17:5 that spiritual Babylon will have

the words "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND THE 
ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" written on her forehead. Do the Christian 
fundamentalists really believe that there will be a great Babylon arise
up 
with these literal words on her forehead?
 
Gary: I can't speak for the Christian fundamentalists, since I often
don't agree with them. However, in my point of view, there is definitely
a symbolic level on this. For all I know, there may be a physical point
also that hasn't occurred yet, or may be hidden under a burka. ;-)

Steven:
Well, what about the number of the beasts name, 666? Consistent with
Moses 
6:63, which states that "all things are created and made to bear record
of" 
Christ, or in some manner testifying of the gospel plan, the number 6 to 
the Jews represented Man under sin. For example man was created on the
6th 
day. Cain's descendants are listed to the 6th generation. There are 66 
generations listed from King David to Joseph. The "Man of Sin" or Satan
is 
represented by the number 666. The 6th letter of the Hebrew Alphabet is
the 
letter "vav" which is the sign of the nail.
 
Gary: I'm not a big one for gematria, as I think the ancient Jews dug way
too deep. John was obviously giving the Jewish Christians something to
ponder about here. There is just too much out there that these things can
be. An interesting note: the main European banking computer is in
Belgium. It is affectionately known as "the Beast."

Steven:
Furthermore, in connection with the number 666, It's interesting to 
consider that the Jewish cabalistic magic square (those square
mathematical 
puzzles which when added up either horizontally or vertically add up to
the 
same number) of the sun (or Son!) when totaled adds up to 666.
Additionally 
when the 12 (symbolic of the twelve disciples) diagonal squares (the
letter 
x or sign of Christ) are added they each total 111 which when both are 
added to 666 become 888, the gematria value of Jesus. In addition a
circle 
can fit in the magic square whose circumference is exactly 1480, the 
gematria value of Christ.
 
Gary: Comparing the sun (or Son!) doesn't hold water to me, as the terms
aren't homophones in Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic. Anyway, what do these "Fun
with Number" games have to do with modern Babylon and world governments?

Steven:
So it seems that the magic square serves as a perfect symbolism of Jesus 
Christ overcoming the Natural Man, the man of sin or 666, through the 
atonement (the x or cross) and of Revelations 15:2 or those who like
Christ 
attain the "victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his
mark, 
[and] over the number of his name." Again, the symbolism involved in 
Revelations concerning the "Mark of the Beast" hardly seems like biochips

or the like to me.
 
Gary: Once again, you are speaking tons on gematria, but not really tying
it into how it can only be symbolic. As it is, John describes the beast
as a league/union of nations. How can you ignore his description? The
Beast is symbolic, but John tells us what it symbolizes: a Union of at
least 10 nations with a lot of power. "The economy, stupid" becomes their
mantra, as they reject holiness and God.

Steven: 
Finally, when "searching " the scriptures, the jewish rabbinical
literature 
states (and in keeping with the tenet of seeking to understand after the 
manner of the Jews, see 2 Nephi 25) that when one encounters a number in 
the scriptures this serves as a marker or flag to highlight a message of 
importance within the text. I find it interesting therefore to consider 
Alma 11: 22-25 in light of our current consideration of the number 6 or 
666. In these verses Zeezrom tempts Amulek to deny God by offering him 6 
Onties of silver (Remember that the number 6 to the Jews represented man 
under sin). Amulek responds by stating to Zeezrom, in effect, don't you 
know that "the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations?" Then he
exposes 
Zeezrom's deception by revealing that he, Zeezrom, had it in his heart to

get Amulek to "deny the true and living God." Amulek's controversy with 
Zeezrom, it seems to me, serve as a further witness of the verses we read

about in Revelations and further emphasizes our need to resist Satan's 
power and "mark" by living righteous lives. Thus we see that both Christ 
and Satan seal up their followers either to eternal life on one hand or 
spiritual death on the other.

Gary: And I do agree that people can be sealed up to spiritual death by
Satan. However, there is often a physical side to all things spiritual,
for all things are spiritual to the Lord. 
 
K'aya K'ama,
Gerald/gary  Smith    gszion1 @juno.com    http://www
.geocities.com/rameumptom/index.html
"No one is as hopelessly enslaved as the person who thinks he's free."  -
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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