(Is it all about the Sabbath?)
The mark, everyone’s concerned about it. Everyone thinks about it. But is it purely about keeping the Sabbath or breaking one of Yahweh’s laws? Many over-spiritualize the mark, explaining it away with talk of one’s heart or one’s mind. Is it actually just about heart and mind?
The Scriptures tell about a day that “No one can make war with the beast” or, “Who is like unto the beast” (Rev. 13:4), or give specific times which the beast will rule such as forty-two months, or three and one-half years. There will also be a day when those who do not have their name in the Book of Life will worship the beast! Is this in just the Spirit realm, or does it manifest itself into the physical realm too? And are these just platitudes given by our forefathers as a moral lesson?
The Book of Revelation is a strange and mysterious book, but it holds the key to the future. Remember the Book of Revelation is a revelation of Yahshua Messiah given to John through His messenger.
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and guard what is written in it, for the time is near, Revelation 1:3.
This author hopes this article guards the words of this prophecy. The Scriptures by the Institute for Scripture Research, is used throughout this article.
In the Book of Ezekiel, chapter eight, we have an account of Ezekiel in a vision, taken away to a future Jerusalem. We are told of the many abominations in which Israel and Judah were engaged, including idol worship, women weeping for Tammuz, and sun worship! This vision is descriptive of men given over to reprobate minds throughout all of history, but specifically addresses the end times pointing to Yahshua the Messiah in His glory:
And I looked and saw a likeness, like the appearance of fire. From His waist and downward the appearance was like fire, and from His waist and upward the appearance of brightness, like glowing metal, Ezekiel 8:2.
Chapter 9 begins with a calling out:
“And He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, ‘Let the punishers of the city draw near, each with his weapon of destruction in his hand.’ Six men with battle axes prepared to punish the wayward, a single man stood ready with an ink-horn at his side, he was dressed in linen …” (Ezek. 9:1-2).
It was proclaimed in Ezekiel 9:4-6:
4And יהוה said to him, “Pass on into the midst of the city, into the midst of Yerushalayim, and you shall put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it. 5And to the others He said in my hearing, “Pass on into the city after him and strike, do not let your eye pardon nor spare. 6“Kill to destruction old, young men, maidens and children and women, but do not come near anyone upon whom is the mark, and begin at My set-apart place.” So they began with the elders who were in front of the House.
In this case it was righteous men who were marked and not unrighteous men, as in the end times. The man who did the marking would distinguish those who were not marked from them which were. Furthermore, Yahweh had a plan to punish them, as it is written in verses 7-11:
7And He said to them, “Defile the House, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!” And they went out and struck in the city. 8And as they were striking them it came to be that I alone was left. And I fell on my face and cried out, and said, “Ah, Master יהוה! Are You destroying all the remnant of Yisra’ěl in pouring out Your wrath on Yerushalayim?” 9And He said to me, “The crookedness of the house of Yisra’ěl and Yehuḏah is exceedingly great, and the land is filled with bloodshed, and the city filled with that which is warped. For they say, ‘יהוה has forsaken the land, and יהוה is not seeing!’ 10But as for Me, My eye shall not pardon, nor would I spare, I shall recompense their deeds on their own head.” 11And see, the man clothed with linen, who had the ink-horn at his side, reported back and said, “I have done as You commanded me.”
It must have been some sight to see the men that were killed piled up in the courts of Elohim! Many look over the account in Ezekiel and think, this is just a vision … yes, but a prophetic vision yet to come! There is so much in Yahweh’s Word about things to come we cannot dismiss them as allegory, or merely a lesson. Yahweh makes His Word happen! He follows through in each instance, whether it be a judgment or a blessing. He makes His Word manifest! Yahweh’s apparent harshness in Ezekiel 9:6 is an example to us and for us. Though it’s our position to “wait upon Yahweh” (Isa. 40:31), in these end times it’s not a season for us to be slack or lazy.
There are many physical examples of Yahweh and Yahshua fulfilling their word. For example, think about Yahshua’s immersion, and the Spirit falling like a dove – an ultimate fulfilling of something Spiritual, by something physical.
We also have to consider what is Spiritual, what is physical, or both. Many of Daniel’s visions and John’s visions occurred with them taken away “in the Spirit,” being shown in heaven what would happen on the earth.
What, and for Whom is the Sabbath?
In this section we will examine the characteristics of Sabbath, starting with the law of first mention. In Exodus 16:23, 26-28, we find the seventh-day being set-apart for the worship of Yahweh:
23And he said to them, “This is what יהוה has said, ‘Tomorrow is a rest, a Sabbath set-apart to יהוה. That which you bake, bake; and that which you cook, cook. And lay up for yourselves all that is left over, to keep it until morning ... 26Gather it six days, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, there is none.’” 27And it came to be that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. 28And יהוה said to Mosheh, “How long shall you refuse to guard My commands and My Torot (Torah Laws)?”
This ordinance of the Sabbath was codified in Exodus, chapter 20:8-11:
8Remember the Sabbath day, to set it apart. 9Six days you labour, and shall do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath of יהוה your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11For in six days יהוה made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore יהוה blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart.
We find something interesting in verse 10 – the command prohibiting work, even for the “stranger” in your gates. The Hebrew word is ger (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, H.1616) meaning a sojourner, foreigner, a person living out of his country. This person was to observe the Sabbath refraining from work. Nevertheless, if a stranger “rests” with us during the time of tribulation and he had the mark, we should not think him exempt from Yahweh’s wrath? In other words, he will not escape judgment just because he observed the sign of the Sabbath!
Buying and Selling
And he causes all, both small and great, and rich and poor, and free and slave, to be given a mark upon their right hand or upon their foreheads, and that no one should be able to buy or sell except he that has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name, Revelation 13:16-17.
These Scriptures pose a problem for those who say the mark is just spiritual. Let’s examine further. “He causes all (except those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life) both small and great, and rich and poor, and free and slave …” This is not an allegory. These are real people, from the poorest to the richest, from freeman to slave. Those without Yahweh in their lives will be subject to receiving the mark.
Think, brethren! They will have to have something outwardly identifying themselves, to distinguish THEM from US! Otherwise, how do they know from whom to buy or to sell? Imagine being a merchant and doing business during this time. The beast system will have to identify people, somehow. Those who are trying to get you to believe it’s OK to take a chip or mark, are in the employ of the adversary. And beware of ‘the believer’ who says, “It’s no big deal.”
Blessed is the man who does endure trial, for when he has been proved, he shall receive the crown of life which the Master has promised to those who love Him, James 1:12.
There is, however, an exceeding great and precious promise of reward to them who remain steadfast, walking by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7) in this time.
Yahshua forewarns us in Revelation 2:10-11:
10Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. See, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, in order to try you, and you shall have pressure ten days. Be trustworthy until death, and I shall give you the crown of life, 11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes shall by no means be harmed by the second death.
Be not deceived. The second death is very real.
Blessed and set-apart is the one having part in the first resurrection. The second death possesses no authority over these, but they shall be priests of Elohim and of Messiah and shall reign with Him a thousand years, Revelation 20:6.
Some will say this is an allegory as well, but when we obtain that “better resurrection” (Heb, 11:35) … this will be our reward.
And I heard a loud voice from the Dwelling Place saying to the seven messengers, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of Elohim on the earth.” And the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and an evil and wicked sore came upon the men, those having the mark of the beast and those worshipping his image, Revelation 16:1-2.
These verses apply to them left upon the earth. The sores could be from whatever chemical substance the mark is made of, but the result is allowed (or directed) by the angel at the appointed time. Once again, such is the punishment for taking something so abominable.
The effect of taking the mark is so grievous, one would ask, “Why do men want to take a mark, or teach the people that a mark only exists in their hearts and mind?”
Revelation 14:9-11 seals the fate of them which receive the mark:
9And a third messenger followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark upon his forehead or upon his hand, 10he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of Elohim, which is poured out undiluted into the cup of His wrath. And he shall be tortured with fire and sulphur before the set-apart messengers and before the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torture goes up forever and ever. And they have no rest day or night, those worshipping the beast and his image, also if anyone receives the mark of his name.”
But on the other hand, we read in Revelation 20:4-6:
4And I saw thrones – and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them – and the lives of those who had been beheaded because of the witness they bore to יהושע and because of the Word of Elohim, and who did not worship the beast, nor his image, and did not receive his mark upon their foreheads or upon their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years 5(and the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended) – this is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and set-apart is the one having part in the first resurrection. The second death possesses no authority over these, but they shall be priests of Elohim and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
The Scriptures state that sin starts in your heart (Matt. 15:19) and mind (2 Cor. 10:5) and then manifests itself outwardly. Taking the mark represents an ultimate rejection of Yahweh and Yahshua, a choice of having taken the broad way that leads to death (Matt. 7:13).
-Brother Chris Avalos
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