Posted by Karen
by Randall Walton
Mankind was created by God as a free moral agent; that is, we are created with the power to make our own decisions. And, we are faced with many decision or choices in our lives. Most of these are of little importance on a day by day basis. Others, however, are of enormous consequence; and the difference between the right or wrong choice may be the difference between life and death. As Jesus says, “What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37).
The Lord offers His help to mankind in making the proper decision. He has delegated authority to the Holy Spirit to aid, lead, teach, and direct those who are willing to accept the help. He has also preserved the Scriptures so that anyone who is genuinely interested may see for himself what God has to say to mankind. God’s will for man is clearly presented in the Holy Bible.
But Satan, God’s adversary, wants to influence mankind away from the Almighty God and His will. He offers many alternatives: pleasures, fame, wealth, prestige, materialism, false religion, and so forth. Evil is made to look good, and good is made to seem evil. But, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil…Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isa. 5:20-21).
Man is confronted with having to make a choice: either accept and follow God’s way or do it his own way. Whenever a person chooses his own way instead of God’s way, they are listening to the voice of the enemy and are being affected by it; for “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12). All of man’s ideas, ambitions, and accomplishments are opposed to God’s ways; therefore, Satan is pleased to see man following his own plans. In doing so, he is walking down the path toward death and destruction.
In every area of life, many people have adopted their own way in contradiction to God’s way. In the time of the end, this will continue. Many will follow their own desires and ambitions. They will think only of Man, Man, Man, or six, six, six (666) instead of making decisions according to the Word of God.
The number six is man’s – or mankind’s – number. It was on the 6th day that man was created, and man, without God, has identified with the number 6 ever since. When this number is shown three times, or raised to the third power (666), it shows that man exalts, or magnifies, himself rather than God. It describes man’s ways, especially when he is inspired by Satan to make his own choices and to leave God out of the equation.
And this is so in the three main aspects of man’s activities: government, economics, and religion. The stamp of MAN is upon it all. Though most people don’t realize it, they are right now being psychologically and spiritually prepared to take the Mark of the Beast. They are on the verge of being branded psychologically and spiritually with the number 6. By following man’s thinking and behavior, while rejecting God’s standards, people are accepting the Mark of the Beast inwardly, that is, in their minds, their hearts, and their souls.
Whether a literal mark is ever placed upon the forehead or in the hand is not that important. The most vital, life or death, thing is the conditioning of the soul in accepting man’s ways in preference to God’s; and thus becoming marked with the Beast and the beast system.
The only truly just and righteous form of government among mankind was that which God gave to Israel through the judges. But the people didn’t like God’s form of government. They wanted a king; and God allowed them to have what they chose. But, God plainly rebuked Israel for asking for a king when He said to Samuel the prophet, “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (I Sam. 8:7). They wanted to have their own way.
So, through Samuel, God told the people the kind of government they would have under man’s rule. It would not only be inferior to God’s plan, it would be corrupt and unjust (see I Sam. 8:11-18). By their choice, they would no longer allow the voice of God to direct their lives; they would be under the dominion and opinion of men.
The governing of people from that time on has been a major disaster. Kingdoms have risen and fallen by the dozen. The history of mankind is a history of wars and rumors of wars: of nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. While representative government may be better that a dictatorship or monarchy, it’s still so far below the order of God that it’s not even worthy of comparison.
While Jesus tells us that we are to render to Caesar that which is his (see Matt. 23:21), we need to remember that our primary allegiance is to the living God, and that our citizenship is in heaven.
To maintain themselves in power, earthly governments many times resort to the rule of force to control their citizens. Many people don’t know a plan exists in our own Federal government that gives the government far-reaching powers. The plan could become effective in the event of a national emergency such as a major war or a deep depression. It will allow the government to take over all means of production, to appropriate any and all lands and property determined necessary in the interest of the welfare of the country, and to regulate and control all wages, prices, and transactions.
The Executive Order which contains these provisions sets up a virtual dictatorship in the name of expedience and safety; but at the expense of freedom: religious, intellectual, commercial, and political. But, an important point here is that the majority of the people in this country are dependent upon the government for their livelihood. It’s as if the people believe that the government is responsible for us all; body, home, and job.
We are so fine-tuned to the machinery of the political system that we have accepted it and its programs as a viable way of life. We have failed to realize, or lost sight of the fact, that the entire system of MAN’S government is opposed to God’s. The greed of mammon has served to dull the senses of most people concerning the evils that are inherent in the anti-God, anti-Christ system.
Even while hearing almost daily of the graft, corruption, and blue-collar crimes which are everywhere in all levels of government; city, county, state, and federal, people still have confidence and trust that the system will see them through. They are receiving the mark of Man’s invention, a system that is inspired and driven by the beast and Satan.
God’s way is so different from man’s way. The current system of merchandising and profiteering, of buying and selling, was not initiated in heaven; nor was it the method God gave ancient Israel. The earthly goal of merchandising is driven by greed in a desire for more wealth, material possessions, prestige, and power. It is built upon the idea of “buy low – sell high,” and has no room for thought about who is hurt in the process. This is the way of carnal man, Satan, and the beast system. Many saints are caught up in the deceitfulness of this worldly and ungodly method. The problem is that they accept man’s way as the normal, natural way to do business; and they are about to be snared in the trap of the beast.
God was quite clear in His commands about commerce and business. He says, “thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have” (Deut. 25:13, 15). God demanded honesty from those who bought and sold. A thing was to be sold according to its true worth; not for an excessive price. He says, “Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God…Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase” (Lev. 25:36-37). As we know, usury is a form of interest that is charged.
And Jesus commands us in this way. He says, “love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest” (Luke 6:35).
Of course, these commands of the Father and of Jesus go completely against the practices of man’s economic way of life today. Exploitation is the order of the day. In fact, usury – or interest – is legal up to a certain point. Modern man thinks God wasn’t much of a business man, so he has devised what he thinks to be a better way. In fact, the modern system of profiteering goes back to the practices of ancient Israel that they did in violation of the commands of God.
The prophet Hosea tells us, “The Lord hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob (Israel)…He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress” (Hos. 2:2, 7). And the prophet Amos says ancient Israel could hardly wait for the Sabbath to be over so they could “set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and (falsify) the balances by deceit” (Amos 8:5).
The greed that drives the current economic system is not new: it has merely been refined and modernized. The aim of most people is to see how much money they can make and accumulate; and it’s the motivating factor behind most of the financial scandals of the present time.
The world is not alone in its push for more wealth. Some Christians, too, are being mired down in the current economic system, their minds and hearts oblivious to the words of the Lord. The mark of that system is becoming part of their existence and their way of life; and they don’t even recognize it.
In all the world, there is but one true religion. That true religion is the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). It’s the religion established by Jesus the Christ. He is both the founder and the head of the church. He is “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). The true religion is the one that recognizes Him as its Master and Commander. It’s the religion that conforms to His words and His commands.
However, mankind has built a religion that has all the stability of a house of sand. It has no firm foundation. It has no strength. It’s built upon man and man’s ideas; rather than upon God. Man’s religious system exists without the benefit of authenticity: it is not real. It is not founded on the Rock.
Over the past few years a new religion has risen that is a conglomeration of so-called Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. It is called the “New Age Movement” and has crossed religious lines to claim hundreds of thousands of followers. The foundation of this movement is man; the exaltation of self, with the idea that man is not only his own god, but that he is God. So, when the Antichrist rises to power, many people will already be conditioned to follow him as he exalts himself, and magnifies himself above all gods, and all that is called God (see II Thess. 2:4 & Dan. 11:36).
Many of the old-line denominations have denounced the movement; but some have embraced at least part of the doctrines of this new faith that glorifies self in many ways. They teach self-love, self-esteem, and self-realization. They say that man can do it all on his own. That, in essence, man does not need God. They say that man has all the qualities of goodness, wisdom, and knowledge he needs, without God, and must only be able to focus his mind and energy in a proper manner to be all that he can be. It’s called positive thinking and it exalts man above God.
This is pure nonsense, but it’s amazing how many so-called Christians have bought into this doctrine of self-love and self-exaltation. The truth is that man, without God, is nothing. We would not even existence without our God. He is the Creator; we are the creation. It is only through Him and His Son Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to be all that we can be.
The idea of positive thinking stems from one source. Pride has been nurtured in many circles of religion: not pride in God or in God’s redeeming power; but pride in MAN, in self, in the creature instead of the Creator. One church denomination has even discarded such old gospel hymns as, “Hiding in Thee,” as well as others that refer to man’s need for God; and his need to find refuge for his soul in God.
As a consequence, the number six (6), man’s number, is being stamped upon many religious systems and church denominations. They have become a part of the devilish system that challenges heaven for superiority. They are being programmed, or conditioned, to accept the Mark of the Beast when it is established by the Antichrist. The time is ripe.
Come Out of Her, My People
There is only one solution for the true people of God in these times. They must become totally disentangled from man’s ways, ideas, plans, schemes, and programs. The longer people remain tied to, and believe in, the worldly system, the more compelled they feel to remain; and the more justified they become in their attitudes and beliefs. They are allowing themselves to be programmed by the system of the beast. It’s time to reject man’s ways and adhere to God’s ways as described in the Holy Bible; in God’s Word.
The time will come when people will be forced to declare their allegiance, either to God or to man. The Antichrist will “cause all” (see Rev. 13:16) to take the Mark of the Beast whose names are “not written in the book of life of the Lamb” (Rev. 13:8). Those who choose man’s way (666) will be allowed to buy or sell in the world system; but they will have sold their souls for nothing. Those who stand for God will not be able to buy or sell, but they will be cared for by the Almighty who loves and cherishes them.
Are you, right now, accepting the Mark of the Beast in your way of thinking, your planning, your style of life, or in your behavior? Or, are you turning your heart and mind to the Lord, carefully following the words of Jesus Christ and rejecting the worldly formula for success and happiness? Are you doing all you can right now to prevent yourself from being programmed and conditioned for the Mark of the Beast? Do you want man’s way or God’s way?
The choice is yours to make; and the time to choose is now. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Josh. 24:15).
[Adapted by James C. Taylor from an article in “The Testimony of Truth,” a monthly periodical, published by People of the Living God, January 2005]