Deliver Us From Evil | Refuse the Mark

deliver us from evilThe Lord’s prayer says, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Many translations say, “…from the evil one.”

When the Nazis forced their way into Corrie ten Boom’s family home on February 28, 1944, the family’s work with the Dutch Resistance ceased abruptly. But, not before they had hidden and rescued well over 800 Jews from certain death.

Nazi soldiers terrorized members of Corrie’s family that day, searching everywhere for evidence of hidden Jews. Thankfully, they could not find their hiding place; a secret room built into the wall off Corrie’s bedroom. Sadly, the ten Boom’s were arrested, along with visiting friends, thirty-five in all, and many never came back.

No doubt, those perilous times had many convinced that what the Bible describes as “the last days” had arrived. Daniel wrote of them in his book; the apostle Paul detailed them in I Thessalonians; and Jesus told of what would come, in Matthew 24. The book of Revelation’s chilling prophecies surely seemed to have found their fulfillment as Hitler’s third Reich stormed across Europe. However, according to scripture, certain things would be in place before the Biblical “Antichrist” would come. Certain signs would be evident.

The World War II years (1937-1945) gave rise to powerful dictators in Russia, China, Italy and Japan. Yet, none seemed equal in malevolence to a freakishly unstoppable leader named Adolf Hitler. If ever there was a being who fit the description of that “man of sin,” surely the German Chancellor showed all the marks.

A Type of Antichrist

Corrie and her Christian family had lived peaceful lives in Haarlem, Holland, until those years; later to become unwittingly embroiled in intrigue and danger. With Germany so close by, radio stations bellowed with talk of the new Austrian-born dictator. The pounding voice of Hitler himself, with his persuasive speeches, stole peace from many hearts. Yet, many hungry people listened to Hitler’s impassioned rhetoric, hopeful he might lift Germany out of its economic doldrums. Blindly, they tuned in, even to his talk of eliminating Jews and others Hitler deemed “unnecessary to the new order.” As madness became reality, it might have seemed to more discerning people that this was surely the end of the world.

Not taken in by Hitler’s ear-tickling promises, the ten Boom family trusted God and His word to sustain them. But, soon the harsh treatment and disappearances of so many Jewish neighbors prompted the ten Boom’s to join The Resistance. If Hitler was not the Antichrist, he was certainly a type of antichrist—a twisted soul bent on the destruction of others.  In the end, Adolf Hitler could claim responsibility for the deaths of more than six million Jews. Not to mention, millions who fought necessarily, including countless Americans, to defeat him and his cancerous regime.

Power and violence drove Adolf Hitler, but his regime came to a terrible end. Speculation moved on then, seeking to identify the Bible’s true “man of sin” in other world figures.

Who then IS the infamous Antichrist, and what are his Marks?

For centuries, Bible scholars and historians have pondered that mystery. Numerous books and films have conjectured about “the mark of the beast” and the meaning of the mysterious number 666. Even nighttime talk show hosts, comedians and others have speculated about the possible identity of the “666” man. Calculating the numerical value of various names, they jokingly ascribed the number to various opposing political figures, e.g. Ronald Wilson Reagan (six letters, three times).

The Book of Revelation describes the vision God gave to John the Apostle (c. 100 AD), while exiled on the island of Patmos. The book reveals that Antichrist will be a popular, charismatic figure who will apparently rise out of Europe; a restored Roman Empire.  He will win over many, if not most people with his seemingly benevolent, sincere facade; “even the elect, if it were possible.” However, scripture assures us his true intent is to ensnare; ultimately to steal, kill and destroy.

In Revelation 13:18, any “person of understanding” is challenged to “calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man,” it says. But, what man?

I John 2:18 tells us that “many antichrists have already come into the world.” However, this ultimate “man of sin” will be revealed during the “last days.” This will be the most horrendous time ever in human and world history—the Great Tribulation.

His name? The Bible tells us that those who see him standing in the Jewish temple proclaiming himself to be God will know he is the one.

The Antichrist | Refuse His Lie

A clever liar and deceiver who will be indwelt by Satan himself, the “father of lies”; this singular world leader will demand that all people take his MARK, or be destroyed.

Revelation 13:16-17 says,  “He [Antichrist] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a MARK on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has that “mark,” or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

Until recently, it had not occurred to me as to WHY, EXACTLY, Antichrist would want people to wear his mark “on the forehead or right hand.”  I believe scripture gives us the best clues.

GOD’s Mark On Believers

Think of the “mark” GOD places on those who believe Him through faith in Jesus Christ.  The LORD’S mark or seal for believers in Him also regards the right hand and the forehead:

The mark of God’s right hand of righteousness is on the believer. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” …Isaiah 41:10

The words “right hand” occurs 166 times in the Bible so it is no accident that the words “right hand” have significant meaning.

God inspired Isaiah to write “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand. It is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you” (Isaiah 41:13).

The right hand signifies strength.  The term “God’s right hand” in prophecy refers to the Messiah (the Christ) to whom is given the power and authority to subdue His enemies, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. The right hand of God is exalted! (Psalm 110:1; Psalm 118:16, Mark 16:19, Matthew 22:44).

The Mind of Christ

The Bible says, the “mark” of God gives believers the very MIND of Christ—His indwelling Holy Spirit confirms God’s truth, and the knowledge of Him in their hearts. I Corinthians 2:7-16 below:

“We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  As it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But, the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they can only be spiritually discerned. But, he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.  For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

These are God’s promises to believers—Jesus said we “MUST BE BORN AGAIN.” A spiritual rebirth, whereby we are marked, SEALED by His Holy Spirit, that we may know whom we believe and be saved from the power of sin and death. God wants that ALL should be saved!  But, we must humbly choose Him!

John’s vision revealed HOPE for true believers: “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast [Antichrist] or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” [Revelation. 20:4]

The Beast’s Counterfeit Mark

Can you see why Satan would want to steal that from believers? It’s our very salvation that Antichrist (indwelt by Satan) wants to steal!

Satan has always been a counterfeiter, holding out to human beings what seems to be gold, when it’s really “fools gold.” His plan is to place his own permanent seal or MARK on those who choose not to believe God through His Son, Jesus (Y’shua) the Christ.

Just as God’s MARK is permanent (believers sealed forever in Christ), Satan’s MARK is also permanent for those who believe him.  Revelation 14:11 tells us, And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the MARK of his name.”

Corrie ten Boom and her family knew that whenever Antichrist would come, whoever he turns out to be, they must NOT take “the mark of the beast.”  They chose to follow Christ, and to share the Good News (the Gospel of Christ) with others, even while imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, that others might be saved for eternity with Him.

Corrie’s dear friend, the late Reverend Billy Graham, wrote 5 critical answers to questions about the End Times.

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16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  (John 3:16-17)

There are many signs in these times that scripture has warned of for millennia. Consider your eternity in light of God’s word, and whatever you do, or must suffer, trust God who is faithful… REFUSE the Mark of the beast!

Beyond the Veil | Love After All

It had been seven years since Anna discovered the truth; yet it seemed a lifetime ago.  A man named Paul had written, as if to Anna personally… “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes… to free and slave, prisoners, and those who suffer.” 

Anna had been a long time in grasping that message in her own heart, although she’d suffered much in her young life; a prisoner of her own pain and distrust.

Thankfully, that truth had sustained her as she struggled to survive those horrifying seven years, while she feared that most of those she cared about were lost forever.

Unable to move now, Anna found herself standing between fading memories and the door to eternity.   Everything had changed, and only what she had finally come to believe kept her from crumbling, as had so many, into total madness.

“Am I breathing… dying?  Am I dead?” she wondered.

The Great Veil

Rising before her was a great, shimmering wall of indescribable dimensions, like an immense veil or theater curtain in the grandest proscenium archway.  Suddenly, the veil ripped from top to bottom before her eyes.  Anna remembered reading a story about something like this in a Bible, during the past seven years when being found with a copy of that forbidden book threatened imprisonment or worse.

The story told of a devastating incident, long ago.  How another mammoth veil in a Hebrew temple had torn violently, right down the middle, as if by unseen hands—as an innocent Man died on a Roman cross.  Anna had finally come to know that Man as her life. Now she understood. He was the only way to God—for her, for anyone.  God Himself, appearing in human flesh; born to die, to pay for the sins of every person on earth, of all time, in one sacrificial act of grace and forgiveness.

Anna hadn’t let herself believe it before that day—when so many people just disappeared!   

Everyone had heard the voice roaring from the heavens then.  Like the blast of a great horn, it had shaken them all to their knees.  Some recognized the voice instantly, yet they had been too late in taking the prophecy seriously, as unbelief, or their “religion,” had masked the truth.  Anna had only covered her ears at the sound, still unwilling to listen.  It had all been too incredible for her to believe.

But, people were suddenly gone, and Anna realized she and millions of others were now left behind to face what Jesus Himself had warned of, “For then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred, since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be.”

The Man of Lawlessness Comes

The mysterious book of Revelation told of a “man of lawlessness” called Antichrist, who would rise during the final seven years.  Ultimately, it said, he would show himself for who and what he was—Satan incarnate.  At first, Anna had listened to this charismatic world leader; captivated by his smooth, persuasive words.  But, just as the book had foretold, three and a half years later, he changed; morphed into something hideous in nature. A killing force;  vicious and cruel.

“Science is king,” he chanted. “Evolution is truth, and creation is a lie. Your GOD is a lie!”

Then came that day in the new temple; he did the most abominable thing!  

“I alone am god!” he declared, as millions watched via satellite around the world.  So many had cheered, while others like Anna were terrified, knowing who he really was.  The builders of the new temple had finally realized also—and remembered the One they had rejected.  Those who could run fled into the desert.  After that day, those who wouldn’t bow down to Antichrist’s image were destroyed.

The Mark

“Do NOT take The Mark, no matter what!” Anna’s best friend Grace had warned her.  Grace was one of those who did read that Book, and knew the rewards of taking the Mark—that symbol of allegiance to Antichrist.  NOT taking the Antichrist’s “Mark” would mean not being able to buy food or anything else; all privileges taken away.  However, taking the Mark had dire, eternal consequences!

One day, Grace had desperately insisted on reading a Bible passage to Anna… “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his Mark on their forehead or on their hand, they shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God… Here is the patience of the saints (believers); those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus the Christ”

Still, Anna had not listened.  It had taken the disappearance of her friend and many others to convince her of what had been inconceivable before that day.

Now, seven terrifying years later, endless lines of rescued souls stood silently to her left and right.  Waiting.  Unable to move, or even to see clearly beyond the veil, they were captive to a seemingly infinite moment in time, before there would be no more. 

Standing beneath the great veil, Anna’s mind raced at light speed through what had been her life.  Faces of those she had known and loved.  But, even as her heart assured her she would soon be with God forever, deep grief swept over her for those who would never go beyond the veil.

The evidence of the disappearances, and a world gone mad around them, had not convinced most of the world that had been too willing to take the Mark.  Sadly, those would never realize their dreams or find the love they had sought in anything and anyone, but Christ.

For Anna, it was unbearable to think what waited for them now.   “If only they had believed!”

She wept, one last time—her only comfort, remembering what the Book said lay beyond the veil.  “For God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither any more pain; for the former things are passed away.”

A Prisoner and Yet..

Anna woke with a start at the sound of the prison bullhorn; her heart still racing.  The veil was gone now.  The images she had dreamed about in such detail had been prompted by Corrie and Betsie ten Boom’s nightly readings in Barracks 28, from a small, smuggled Bible.  The Tribulation had not yet happened; but now she understood, it would certainly come.

Too early for daylight to show through the dirt-encrusted windows, Anna and hundreds of other women were crammed into a space meant to house much fewer people.  Yet only their closeness kept most from freezing to death in the icy winter of Northern Germany.  Women, Jews and Gentiles of many countries and languages, were forced to lie in filthy, flea-infested bunks, hoping a Nazi guard would not call their name, one final time.

Now fully awake, Anna was relieved to be alive, even in Ravensbruck prison.  There was still time, however short, to comfort others with the hope of heaven beyond this place.  She and the other women would likely never leave Ravensbruck alive.

Night after night, Corrie and Betsie had read scripture to give that hope to all the women.  The images Anna had dreamed about had once frightened and confused her, not having understood John’s vision, told of in the Revelation, was the kindest warning Christ had given His beloved apostle—to be delivered to any of us who might believe and be spared what was going to come.

Love, After All

But, it wasn’t the fear of the Revelation’s horrible images of the end times that caused Anna or others to trust Christ as Savior.  It was those other passages they read each night—about God’s mercy and forgiveness.  It was His willing sacrifice on that cross for Anna and all mankind, if they could only believe.  His resurrection promised victory even over death, and new life forever with Him.

God’s amazing and sacrificial LOVE was what won Anna’s heart!  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,”  Romans 5:8 proclaimed.  And “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends,” says John 15:13. He was Anna’s Friend!

In 1944, Corrie and Betsie ten Boom risked their own lives reading from that smuggled Bible, to the women in Barracks 28.  It was ones like Anna, although a fictional character here, who listened and believed the readings from God’s word each night, who found hope, strength and true freedom, even in prison.

On those dark nights, with death so close, some might have wondered if that man in Germany, Adolf Hitler, was the long-prophesied Antichrist.  After all, his twisted ideology had caused them and so many others to be captive there.  Time would prove otherwise. 

However, the ancient prophecy, found in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, remains a serious, yet merciful warning to any who would find ultimate victory over this world, beyond the veil,  through faith in Jesus Christ—Yahshua, the Messiah!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world, through Him, might be saved” … John 3:16-17

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[Ravensbruck was a Nazi Concentration Camp where more than 100,000 women, Jews and others, were exterminated during World War 2]

Scripture references include: Rom. 1:16, Matthew 24:21, Rev. 14:9-12, Rev. 21:4.