When I was saved and born again in 2005, my pastor impressed on me the importance of reading the Bible daily. He held a Bible up over my head and said that everything in our lives must come under the Word of God. Being brand new in the Lord and having no idea what real Christianity was all about, I believed him. I desperately wanted to walk with the Lord, and I was willing to do whatever it took to accomplish that.
Since that time in nineteen years as I write this, I’ve completely read the entire Bible through at least twenty-five times. I’ve read it through with a year-long Bible reading plan, and I’ve also read through a number of times with a Bible in 90 Days plan. When I’ve completed those ninety days, I go right into the New Testament and read that as often as I can the rest of the year.
I think from this you can see that I believe it’s critical for my walk with the Lord to constantly be in His Word and to know the big picture of the entire Bible. By the way, when you read the Bible through in ninety days, because of the compressed time period, you really get a good sense of its continuity and are able to piece many things together that you might not have done in reading it over a longer period.
A major aspect of my reading God’s Word like this is that it’s helped me to better know His heart, will, and commands for our lives.
There’s a passage in Exodus that I recently came across, which, based on my reading pattern noted above, I’ve read at least twenty-five times. However, this time I made a connection that I never had previously. This is one of the benefits of the continual reading of and washing yourself in God’s Word. You provide the opportunity for God to reveal things to you in His timing. You can only do this if you’re regularly in the Word.
“In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed the firstborn of both people and animals in Egypt. This is why I sacrifice to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.’ And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”
From this passage we see that the firstborn of Israel were to be redeemed to bring the clean out of the unclean. This act was to be a reminder for the Israelites of their position with God.
Now let’s go to Revelation 13:16-17:
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.
This passage speaks of the Beast that comes out of the earth during the Tribulation. The beast is the false prophet, not the Antichrist.
Of course, the first thing I noticed is the similarity in the marks. The first in Exodus is from God, the second in Revelation is from Satan. As usual, Satan is a counterfeiter. I don’t think he has an original bone in his body; he can only copy something from God and twist it for his evil purposes.
I never thought of the mark of the Beast having a religious connotation. Normally we look at it as a means of control so that people must take the mark if they wish to eat or engage in any commerce during the Tribulation. But, given the first usage by God, I think another way we can look at the mark of the Beast is as “redemption” during this time of horrors. Taking the mark means people will be “clean”; they’ll be “protected” by the religion of the beast. The added benefit is that this redemption gives them the right to buy and sell. It makes them special and have a unique position with the god of the Tribulation.
This will be just one of the many deceptions that blind the peoples of the earth in those days. Make sure you have God’s mark upon you today—that you are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ—and that true redemption will protect you from God’s coming wrath upon an unbelieving world.