“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark…”
Revelation 13: 16-17
Many people whether they have read the Revelation or know anything of the Bible, know this passage. Some see it as the ultimate future “offer you can’t refuse” extended by some symbolic, fiendish godfather. Some see it as just a bit of far-fetched apocalyptic literature. And some see it unfolding before their eyes.
It is in the nature of humanity to desire to “lord it over” one another. Personal freedom is a relatively new idea in the history of the world. On the timeline of mankind, it is little more than a couple of ticks of the clock. Why, then, is this instance of restricted liberty so important?
Perhaps, because it is a choice, an informed choice. This is not a master marching his slaves to receive a shot...er…mark, it is compelling those with a choice to choose a side. That the record seems to say there is no escape from the consequences of that choice for eternity adds to the monumental stakes.
Christians have lived under oppressive regimes since the Founder was led into Pilate’s Hall. And their Jewish predecessors for centuries before that. My jabs at the current government’s coercion aside, there is always a choice. It is true some choices carry immediate and dire consequences, but that does not erase the choice.
Until March 2020, I thought the churches I frequented were agreed on what constituted the proper choice when faced with the choice between God’s Law and Man’s law. I was wrong about that. The current government’s mandate is not the Mark of the Beast…it is a rehearsal. The choice is the same, the consequences may or may not be as far-reaching, but there are consequences which either choice. The question becomes, “Can you live with your choice?”
The prophet Jeremiah once asked Israel, “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”
On the march in to possess the Promised Land, Joshua told the people, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life…”
Choices are the acid that etches our character upon our soul. God help us all to choose well!