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Thoughts on the Mark of the Beast

The mark of the beast is a mark of humanity and mankind.
The mark of the beast is a mark of humanity and mankind.

“This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of mankind and humanity. Its number is 666.” Revelation 13:18

“Mankind and humanity.”

The Greek word has carried over to our modern English word “anthropology.” Which is all about the study of humanity.

But the Big Point with this for me is this: the mark of the beast is all about, in its many, many facets, pointing to the works of, the achievements of, the lofty hopes of, the glory of — mankind.

As much as we have accomplished, it’s still not perfection. That is why the number 6 is repeated 3 times. The number 7 in the Bible and especially Revelation, is about perfection. It represents completeness and wholeness. In short, it represents God and his perfection in every sense of the word.

The number 6 conspicuously falls short of this perfection. Everything people do is inherently imperfect. It doesn’t matter if an idea is executed exactly as planned out or a design is presented with mathematical precision and even serves a practical purpose in the real world.

Nothing about humanity is ever perfect and it indeed never can be.

Why the Number

Which is why this number is the number of mankind — it falls short. But here’s the kicker for us to have stamped into our brains for the last events about to be unleashed onto the world: it is false worship of an imperfect impossibility.

The whole context of this verse about false worship. Much of the Bible and especially for us in these final days of Earth’s Story is to make sure God’s people do not fall snare to this false worship.

The very simple contrast presented as The Story winds its way down is for us to answer the question: Who or what will I worship and give my complete and utter allegiance to?

God, or something other than God?

True worship or false worship?

What or who has been falsely worshipped by human beings in our history?

Let’s see, this could be a long list, but I’ll only share what immediately comes to mind as I write this:

Individuality
Individual freedom
Money and wealth
Family
Power
Things
People and fame
Achievement
Sobriety
Marriage
Validation
Sex and pleasure
Leisure
Unity
Retirement accounts

Can you think of more?

The Good for the Great

What’s important to remember is this list isn’t necessarily bad. Who’s going to say individual freedom is bad? Or sobriety? Or unity?

But, if any of one these becomes an end in itself, when I put any or any part of these things before God himself — that is false worship. It will always fall short. False worship always leads to disappointment and “never enough.”

That is why the enemy has been so successful. He wants me to love the good at the expense of the great.

He wants me to put the most precious in my life — my bride and even my kids — before God.

Can you see how this is so nefarious and subtle at the same time?

Notice how there are 3 sixes. This is another attempt to deceive the world into thinking there is another trinity! And this verse is in the context of beast powers — that is geopolitical power and authority — who will work hand in hand with false spiritual powers to set up a false god of supposed power, control, and safety.

God’s Image

When God originally started earth’s story, among so many other things we read: “Let us make man in our image.”

And ever since the fall, humanity as a tool of the enemy, has put something besides God — an image — before him.

The image of God, mankind in all its glory, is what has been and continues to be worshipped to this very day!

Do you see that? God was the one who said, “Let us make a man in our image.”

Humanity has said, “Let us worship the image God made instead of the One who made the image.”

The mark of the beast is just a continuation of what humanity has been doing for millennia: Lifting up all things human before lifting eyes, hands and hearts to the God of the universe.

The mark just formalizes (and enforces) what has been going on since the fall. Something or someone before God. In other words, false worship!

The key here is to ask God this question: “God, what is coming between you and me?”

The reason why this mark can be enforced like it will be (very, very) soon is that the vast majority of the world will have settled in their minds that the invisible God isn’t enough. Worshipping the God of Creation isn’t enough.

“I don’t trust you” is the root of agreeing to get the mark in the forehead.

“I am afraid of what others think of me” is the root of getting the mark on hand.

“I don’t trust you and I never will, because I can do this myself” is the root to both.

What Saves Humanity In the End

Humanity, in the end, will believe it can save itself from the horrors that have fallen on the planet. And key humans, cooperating with false teachers and pretend spiritual leaders — even supernatural beings — will be renown for having the solutions to all the problems facing the world.

Humanity will be at risk. Extinction may even be talked about. Measures will need to be taken in order to save the human race.

All the possible solutions will come, but not from Infinite Wisdom. Not from the mind of God himself. No.

While the renown humans, full of their own wisdom, knowledge and vast experience will collaborate with these supernatural powers — the efforts to save a doomed race will fall short.

The gods of the age will not prevail, just like the Egyptian gods were powerless to prevent the plagues just before the Exodus of God’s people.

Humanity is powerless to save itself. It always has been.

We humans need a Savior and his name is Jesus Christ. His blood is our rescue. When we take his blood and apply it to the doorposts of our hearts, then we are ready to go!

And, friends, it won’t be long now before the gods of this world will come crashing down, powerless to do anything against the living God.

Now is the time to determine who you will trust in. Yourself? Your wisdom? Your power? Your schemes? Your retirement investments? Your government? Your local law enforcement? Your paycheck?

Now is the time to decide and proclaim, “I will trust in God and God alone to take care of me.”

I do what I can, but leave the rest in God’s capable hands. Because the time is coming when that is all we will have. But I would want it no other way!

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Story

My Story in The Story – Ministry pt. 1

I know, it’s been a while since an update on my story. Once again, I don’t pretend that my story is somehow superior, or extra special in any real sense. I know God has moved in my life and I have responded.

I believe all of that about your story too. I believe every single person’s story has value, because every person has inherent value. Both because of where you came from (the very heart of God), what he has done for your (faced eternal death without us) and what he will yet do (create a beautiful life here, to be continued in the next chapter).

Click here to get the book Alter Call by Dr. Roy Gane I mention in this episode.

Meanwhile, please share below so others can see parts of your story, and maybe we can talk on the podcast!

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Story

The Afghan Boy: A Reflection

The Boy in Afghanistan

This past summer (and leading up to it) Afghanistan was brought to the attention of the world because of the rapid withdrawal of U. S. Troops, after more than 20 years of rebuilding and, some would say, occupying that country.

Unfortunatetly, the growing vacuum was filled — once again — by the Taliban and so many people tried to flee. There were many efforts to get those out who wanted to go. And, as I listened in what was happening, clearly the enemy of souls was having a day with his kingdom of darkness enveloping a people who only wish to be left alone.

Among those is this beautiful little boy. To me, he represents all children caught in the midst of dark times and dark places in all of history. The innocent suffer the most when darkness pushes back.

But, I promise you, when you listen to this reflection, it does not end where it begins. I finish with hope. As this ministry is all about, it is about the glorious hope that is the end of The Story.

Meanwhile, please share below so others can see parts of your story, and maybe we can talk on the podcast

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Story

ESKATON: What Does It Mean?

You Found It! Now What Does ESKATON Mean?

ESKATON is a word meaning, “ending” or “the end” of something. More accurately, “ESCHATON” (not enough space on license plate, thus ESKATON instead), is a New Testament Greek word. If you have ever heard of the word “eschatology” – the study of last things, you now see they are related. Why I share it is because The Story we know as the history of the earth is coming to an end. Soon. And it is imperative you are on the right side of history if you would like to participate in the next chapter of The Story, that is, eternity.

I love the last lines from C. S. Lewis’s book, The Final Battle, as he describes how life will go on for the children after finding the real Narnia:

And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

If you’d like to learn more, head over my main page, The Story is Ending, to catch up on some podcasts and the occasional blog post about this crucial time in earth’s history. I strongly believe not only do we humans find meaning in story — we find meaning in story precisely because we are part of a larger Story that had a beginning will soon have its ending.

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Story

The Story of the Sabbath – Chapter Two

The Priority of Worship

The 10 Commandments set the stage for worship. Or, I should say, they reaffirm the stage and help us — to this very day — to know the stage never left, nor has it been for any one nation.

The Seventh day Sabbath is more relevant than most people realize. It will get more relevant as The Story nears its close for our planet.

As promised on the podcast, here are the corresponding questions for each of the first four commandments:

  1. What or who comes before our Creator God in our daily living? 
  2. What have we made with our hands (or in our minds) that we bow to in deference and submission, or put above God in some way? 
  3. What have we named that has this kind of authority in our lives?
  4. Do we have 24 hours in our lives where we can magnify or concentrate on all of these?

Meanwhile, please share below so others can see parts of your story, and maybe we can talk on the podcast

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Story

The Story of the Sabbath – Chapter One

As I mention in this new episode, I have been looking forward to this series for a long time. It’s a highly important topic to me — especially after reading a wonderful book a few years ago and, one I will be drawing from for this series: The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day by Sigve Tonstad. I even hope to interview him for this series if I can.

If you happen to be listening to these in order, you may also notice I haven’t finished telling and updating my own story. I will mix these in with stand-alone episodes until caught up.

Also, be patient with me as I pace myself to get this series out there. I want to avoid simply rehashing what is already in some great books I have for research. I am prayerfully and slowly asking God to show me how to present this in a way that is relevent and like, well, storytelling.

One book I read much from for this episode (and I can’t say I won’t in the future) is The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel. I love his insights and perspective from a lifetime of immersion in the Jewish life and significance of the Sabbath for him, and for us to read.

Enjoy this introductiory chapter.

Meanwhile, please share below so others can see parts of your story, and maybe we can talk on the podcast!

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Story

My Story in The Story – I Get Married!

Before moving on to The Story of the Sabbath series, I wanted to make sure and continue my story. I know it’s not the most exciting, but just like yours, my story has value to God and to people who see God in it. I am keeping true to the foundational verse of this whole podcast: “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb the word of their testimony…”

This short episode includes my wedding when I married my bride, Kimberly. As of today, we’ve been married more than 25 years, by the grace and love of God! She gets me closer to God. Together, we have been through much. She is a gifted and talented pediatric nurse. Many years before I ever met her, she dreamed of taking care of kids through nursing. She’s been living that dream for nearly three decades now. I am so proud of her.

Again – these books are the ones we worked on selling, this time in the summer of 1996 in Orlando, Florida:

Meanwhile, please share below so others can see parts of your story, and maybe we can talk on the podcast!

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Story

My Story in The Story, cont

Before moving on to The Story of the Sabbath series, I wanted to make sure and continue my story. I know it’s not the most exciting, but just like yours, my story has value to God and to people who see God in it. I am keeping true to the foundational verse of this whole podcast: “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb the word of their testimony…”

I mention a series of books that I grew to love, and still do to this day. I’m linking all of them directly to their own page where you can read any of them for free, and most if not all of them are available for audio download as well.

Meanwhile, please share below so others can see parts of your story, and maybe we can talk on the podcast!

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Story

The Story of Prayer – Chapter Five

As we finish our time of prayer, we finish with confidence.

Because we’ve been cleansed by Jesus’ blood and filled with the Holy Spirit and given away our prayers for others, we can now come into God’s very presence! Even if we’ve been doing it all along, it’s a beautiful thing to know we can approach God as we would a friend.

And, as promised, click here to download a PDF outline of this whole framework.

God wants to connect with us. He wants to dwell with us. It is for us to choose it now in this life by faith, so in the next, we can walk and talk with him in person!

Imagine walking with Jesus himself on the new earth out on an open prairie somewhere and the conversation is…what? What will you talk to him about in that moment?

The glory of the Father’s face is shining from the throne off in the distance. The sweet Holy Spirit is caressing your faces in the breeze and all is well.

What what do you want to talk to God about?

He’s waiting with love.

The golden Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place

Meanwhile, please share below so others can see parts of your story, and maybe we can talk on the podcast!

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Story

The Story of Prayer – Chapter Four

Bread. Eating. Nourishment. Sustenance. Food.

We need to eat to stay alive and it is no less true for our soul. We cannot survive, let alone find eternal life if we don’t take in the essential life-giving presence of natural food.

As it is with our bodies, so it is with our spiritual life. We must choose to be nourished and feed upon the Bread of Life, that is, Jesus who is also the Word of Life for our souls.

Very simply: if don’t, we will starve and eventually die a slow spiritual death. I might even say, it won’t be a painless death. It might be a comfortable death. But, it may even be worse — we could die and not even know it!

This part of our prayer time is to remind us we need Jesus to survive.

  • John 1:1-2In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
  • John 1:14The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

A table with 12 loaves of bread in the Holy Place.

Meanwhile, please share below so others can see parts of your story, and maybe we can talk on the podcast!