For some odd reason, I never really enjoyed reading the Revelations of John during my formative years. I remember forcing myself to read the book and how I ended up sweating profusely in my palms. The movie industry did not help matters too; their portrayal of the book of Revelations always centred on the hardships that the people on earth would face in the end-time. They always wanted to show the Beast in his power, forcing people to receive his 666 mark on their hands and foreheads (as found in Revelations 13). And yes, these film producers also seemed to derive pleasure in depicting the fate of people who refused to the take the mark.
Well, all these did not help me develop much of an appetite for Revelations. In fact, for years, most of my Bible reading was focused on the Gospels and the stories of the Old Testament and, later on, the epistles of the New Testament. Subconsciously, I avoided Revelations like a plague, all because I was scared of reading about the fate of people in the end-time.
However, all that was going to change.
At a point in my life, I believe that the Spirit of God prompted me to read the Book of Revelations. That was when, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I started seeing the book of Revelations in a brand new light.
I saw a vivid description of Heaven.
I saw Jesus Christ in His glory.
I saw the tree of life in the midst of the Paradise of God.
I saw the hidden manna.
I saw the very throne room of the Almighty God with the vast sea of glass.
Eventually, I got an eye-opener that totally turned my Religion upside down (That is good news since the Christian is called to be spiritual, not religious).
Remember how I told you that I refused to read the book of Revelations because I was scared of the vivid descriptions of the Beast and his mark?
Well, it turns out that about 6 chapters before the Beast is even mentioned, God in His Infinite Wisdom had made provisions for a mark of His Own in Revelations 7:2 – 3,
“And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea.
Saying, Do not harm the earth, the sea or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads”
From my little understanding of the English language, I know that the word “seal” could be used interchangeably with “mark”.
So, in essence, that verse is saying that till the servants of God (imagine the children of a CEO working in their Father’s company) have been sealed or marked in the foreheads, no harm would befall the earth, sea or trees. “No harm” also includes every possible for of maltreatment that would be inflicted by the Beast on whosoever does not receive his inferior mark.
From this point, I realized that if I was sealed with the mark/seal of the Living God on my forehead, I would be free from the mark of the Beast.
Why? Because the forehead is the seating place of the brain, which in turn is the organ through which the mind functions. Hence, the seal of the living God on my forehead would imply that my actions and thoughts are not controlled by my natural mind, but by God Himself. I would love whatever He loves, and hate whatever He hates. And all these would happen without me undergoing any form of discomfort.
Seeing this truth made me very excited. But I was eager to know what exactly what this mark was.
So, I searched the scriptures and found my answer in many points of the Bible.
An example is in 2 Timothy 2:19,
“Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal ‘The Lord knoweth them that are his’ and ‘Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity’”
You know what? God knows those that belong to Him. And the children of God also know that they belong to God. Romans 8:16 tells us that “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God”. We know because of the indwelling Spirit of God within us.
In addition, in his letter to the Galatians, Apostle Paul said,
“From henceforth, let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus (Galatians 6:17)”
You know, many people have interpreted this verse in many ways. Some say that the marks that Paul was referring to were physically marks which were made on him during the severe whippings that Paul endured for preaching Christ. While this is true, I believe that Paul was also referring to the seal/mark of the living God. Note the phrase “…I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus”. Paul did not say “…I bear ON my body the marks of the Lord Jesus”. No, he said “…I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus”. I believe Paul was referring to his body as a container that’s carrying a seal/mark within it. This mark(s) is what made Paul who he was in Christ.
Furthermore, Ephesians 1:13 says,
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation; in Who also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”
Now it becomes very clear.
The mark that comes before any other mark is the seal of the living God. And the seal of the living God is the HOLY SPIRIT of promise.
You see, God loves us so much that even before the wickedness of the beast would cover the earth, He marked every true believer with the indwelling seal of the Holy Ghost.
Take a look at 2 Corinthians 5:5,
“Now He that wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, Who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit”. Some other translations end that verse as, “…Who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee”
Do you know the gravity of that verse? The Presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of any believer is like God saying,
“Look son (or daughter), I have bought you wholly with the Precious Blood of my Son Jesus Christ. I have redeemed you totally – spirit, soul and body. I have prepared for you a wonderful home for you in heaven. Now, take a part of My very Spirit – The Holy Spirit. Yes, that is My Seal, My Mark and your proof that you have a home in heaven after your sojourn here on earth. In the meantime, live a victorious and glorious life here on earth. You have My very Nature – The Divine Nature within you. You can now live victorious over sin, sickness, poverty, oppressions, depressions and the curses of the law. You can live the exact full life that my Son Jesus Christ lived here on earth. And when you are done here on earth, you shall have your mansion in My Heavenly House”
That, my friends, is the enigma of The Mark before a mark…