Marked

It 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.
                                                                                                                                               — Rev. 13:16-17

Long ago, in a book about the bible, I read a paragraph stating that there would be people “who had received the mark in their forehead but had the seal of God in their hearts.”

There have been all sorts of speculation about the nature of the mark and the meaning of the number.  One book I read went on and on about it being credit cards.  It’s conceivable that there might come a day when cash is no longer an option.  But the book finished with chapters about how you can continue to use credit cards without worry.

If we can’t be sure what the mark actually is, how can we avoid it?  Maybe by being so in tune with God that the Holy Spirit makes it obvious when the time comes.  Or maybe when it’s offered to you, you have to declare allegiance to the “beast” to receive it.

If an American wants to become a citizen of Spain, Spain requires him to renounce his American citizenship.  Hundreds have done so, knowing that it means nothing (and Spain knows it, too).  Could it be true that you could accept whatever the mark is while secretly rejecting what it means?

Some muslim groups think that merely quoting a certain thing is sufficient to make you a muslim.  Can you say it and not mean it, thus avoiding execution?

And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God.  They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.
                                                                                                                                               — Rev. 20:4

And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.
                                                                                                                                               — Rev. 14:11

Does the word “forced” in the first quote mean you can’t avoid it?  Or that it doesn’t even exist until someone comes along to force it?  What if someone in the future rules that I cannot buy or sell without a passport?  Would I be safe if I were to burn my passport then?

Things to think about…