Well I guess time will tell which one of us is more correct. I would respond in more detail but I just got back from surgery (Ouch! Where are my pain pills?) so I hope you'll forgive me for not responding in more detail.
At 09:38 AM 11/21/2002, you wrote:
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 ________________________________________________________________ Sign Up for Juno Platinum Internet Access Today Only $9.95 per month! Visit www.juno.com ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /// ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at /// /// http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html /// /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
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