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October 25, 2017

So that no one will have power to buy or sell unless he bears the stamp (mark, inscription), [that is] the name of the beast or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:17. This is a very sobering verse in Revelation that has direct bearing on us today. We are coming very close to a time when man will need to take the mark of the beast in order to buy and sell. This is something every believer must be aware of and consider the consequences. When I thought about this verse alone it started a journey I did not foresee and did not understand at the time but have learned a great deal about from the Father. I offer that wisdom to you.

It was a clear fall day, many years ago, driving back from Edmonton to Sherwood Park, when God first opened up this verse to me. It was in the form of a question. “What would you do Homer, if you could not buy or sell without the mark of the beast?” It was a simple question but it did not have a simple answer. As I reflected on my reply I began to be very troubled for I could easily see that I had no choice, in my present state, but to accept the mark if I was to provide for my wife and then young daughters. This was a big problem for I knew if I did that, I would lose any relationship I had with Jesus and I did not want to lose Him. I could not see how it was possible to live on this earth and NOT buy or sell for that was the only system that was visible to me at the time. I could not see then that God was starting me on the journey of faith. He started by shaking my world first. To do this, He raised questions about where my faith was currently placed. I began to realize then, that my faith in the systems of man was on a shaky foundation that would collapse in the days ahead. The trouble for me, at the time, was I could not see an alternative and that scared me more than anything. I realized that I was going to have to make a change right away while there was still time.

If you have read our book, you are aware of the journey of faith we went on after this. God destroyed our faith in the systems of man and taught us to have complete faith and trust in Jesus. Our journey led us to face the 4 systems of man that have people so trapped and confined. These traps are exactly what satan is banking on to force believers to take the mark when the time comes. With no alternatives visually available to them, many will feel they have no choice but to cave to the demands of man to be marked. This sobering reality helped us understand why our journey of faith was so very important. Not only were we to be released from the bondages of man and freed to have faith and trust in God; but our story was to be an example and warning to others just how serious this journey of faith is. God is letting many people know that there is a way to escape the mark and be provided for in the dark days ahead.

I confess that I have absolutely no idea what exactly the mark is or what it looks like. I know that many have their ideas and suppositions but I prefer cold, hard facts. The cold, hard fact I do know about is that the mark comes from the beast and the beast’s number is that of man; specifically the ‘self’ nature of man whose father is the devil. It is not rocket science to understand that the mark of the beast would be a natural progression of the systems mankind has already established. These systems are already dangerously close to locking people out of being able to buy and sell without credit and debit cards. It would not be a stretch to see these systems being used as a way to control behavior and override the faith of a believer in the future. It is not my intent to discuss how this will happen in this post. My goal is strictly to enlighten the reader as to the danger of being just a believer and not casting his/her whole weight onto Jesus in complete faith as a disciple.

To properly understand why the mark of the beast is such a big deal, I would like to illustrate with an incident that happened to us when we were in St. Stephen during our journey. It was in this place that we encountered a pastor named Robert (name has been changed). One day while living in his church Robert came to visit us and inquire about our faith journey. He was completely puzzled by our insistence on following God in faith; especially in the point of food and shelter. In rebuttal to our statements of faith he said bluntly, “If my family needed food or shelter I would rob a bank to provide for them.” In his sanctimonious way, he was belittling us for not doing enough to provide for our daughters and ourselves. What he did not understand, was that his very words betrayed his faith in his own ability to provide and willingness to break the law in doing so. He did not trust God to provide for him but believed if it came to it, he would have to provide himself; even if that meant hurting others and stealing. The stunning visual of a pastor, a pastor, giving vent to such ‘self’ told us much about the church today. Unfortunately for believers, many think the way Robert does. They believe that when times get tough, they will just have to rely on themselves and not God to provide for their families; even if that means taking the mark of the beast.

It was precisely the question of how will I provide for my family when the mark of the beast comes that got us started in this journey of faith; but I came up with a completely different solution than Robert did. To me it is apparent that the problems of this world and the systems of man all stem from the ‘self’ nature that infects us all. It does not make sense that pursuing ‘self’ even harder in the future will fix these problems. The only solution that our family found was going in the opposite direction. By following Jesus into the wilderness, He began to strip off the ‘self’ nature in us so that we could begin to trust the Father for our ‘daily bread.’ Did you ever wonder why Jesus included that in the prayer He taught us to pray? Simple; because the Lord knows that we need food, water, clothing and shelter on a daily basis. He is trying to teach us to rely on Him to provide these things instead of relying on our ‘self’ nature. This does not mean we do not work for these basics, but we work trusting God to bring to us what we need in due season.

God will test our resolve in the wilderness as we go from trusting in ‘self’ to trusting in Him. There were many days when we went without food, water and shelter; but He never let us fall to the point of death. He was building in us a faith that will not capitulate to the mark of the beast when it comes. This testing is very important for the days ahead will become very rough. It will be a temptation for many to take the simple way out to provide for their basic needs. In doing so, however, they will lose any chance of eternity. They will have chosen the temporal and become a fool; casting away their heritage like Esau did for a bowl of pottage. By siding with the ‘self’ nature of man, they will be separating themselves from the love and provision of God. He will not dwell with ‘self’. The delusion that many believe, and is promoted by the likes of some bible teachers, is that man can take the mark of the beast and still have salvation. This is simply not true. God takes very seriously the faith of the believer and will encourage all to trust Him fully with their lives; especially their day to day needs. If you choose to place your faith in man instead of God, then you have decided against faith in God. That is just how serious this issue is.

I would like to be very, very clear on this point today. Taking the mark of the beast so that you can continue to eat, drink, be clothed and have shelter is a poor choice considering what you will lose. I encourage you to think carefully about what is going to be happening, and is already happening, on the earth today. Easy food from the grocery store, free water, homes and places to rent and cheap clothing will be out of reach soon to those that choose not to take the mark of the beast. Those that take this path must learn the steps of faith today to trust God to provide for them when there is no other means. That faith takes time and effort to develop. Do not think that it will happen miraculously for it will not for many. Real faith is hard work but there are many rewards if you persevere.

I will leave you with this final thought. When the day comes when you have to decide to take the mark or not what will you choose?