God's Two Greatest Mysteries
Rev. 13:16 says:
"He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If any one has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666."
Whether you ever have a literal mark on your hand or on your forehead makes very little difference to me. The important thing to me is that you understand the spirit of the antichrist. In order to understand the mark of the beast we must read Acts 17:22-29:
"Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: `Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and observed your objects of worship, I even found an alter with this inscription: To An Unknown God. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and exact places where they should live.
God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have being.' As some of your own poets have said, `We are his offspring.' Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone - an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
When the men designed these idols, where did the image first originate? It first had to appear in their minds, in their imaginations. What your mind sees or creates or produces, your hand will make. The word 'Mark' in Rev. 13 is the same Greek word that is interpreted graven or designer in Acts 17:29 and word -'mark, design, or graven' means the same thing.
The Greek word is (CHARAGMA #5480) from which we get our English word character, and it literally means a stamp or a mark or an impress. Where was the mark of the beast? On the forehead or on the right hand. What were these idols graven by? KJV says by art and man's device.
The Greek word for art is (TECHNE #5078) from which we get our English word technical or technology and the literal meaning is something made from man's hand. The Greek word for 'man's device' is (ENTHUMESIS #1761) and means man's inner thought. How were those idols formed in Athens Greece? First of all, some man formed them in his inner thoughts and perhaps wrote or drew his thoughts on paper with his right hand. Then some technicians or sculptures formed the image with rock. Those idols were produced by man's mind and man's hand. I wonder what would be formed if we had God's mind and God's hand?
Rebellion is as witchcraft, and stubbornness as an idol. My way and my thoughts are idols. My will is an idol. I have met many men, women and children who in their minds thought like beasts and in their hands, as it were, acted like one. King Nebuchadnezzar, in the book of Daniel, was a man who became a beast. When Adam sinned man became a beast and began to act like one. Animals will not even do what some men do. The word beast in the book of Revelations literally means a wild beast. Have you ever seen anyone who looked like a wild man and acted like a wild man? Have you ever heard a parent say, "My kid is wild!"? Sure he is wild! He has inherited your nature!!!! Why is he out in the world and so wild. Because he is following your nature, and example of you and your church doing your own thing. When Nebuchadnezzar became wild, he had long hair and ate grass. Men have long since stop eating grass. Now days they smoke it.
In Gen. 16 - Ishmael was a wild man and an idol. Let us see where he came from. What did God promise Abraham? A son. Who was the son of promise? Isaac. Abraham tried to help God out by listening to his wife and what he produced with her thinking and his own strength was a wild ass. Ishmael means a wild ass. Gen 16:12 says:
"He will be a wild ass of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand will be against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers."
This is why we have so much conflict in the Middle East today.
Isaac, on the other hand, was a product of God. Ishmael was a product of the flesh but Isaac was a product of faith in God. Ishmael had a natural birth and Isaac had a supernatural birth. Gen. 16:1 says:
"Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had born him no children. (She failed her walk by faith because of the circumstances.) But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar: So she said to Abram, `The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maid servant; perhaps I can build a family through her."
The sad thing is that Abram could not pass up a deal like that. Notice the words [perhaps] or [maybe I can]. This is where a lot of charismatic's are today. Maybe I can be healed tonight! Maybe I can be blessed tonight! If you are full of maybes it is because you are full of your ways.
Ishmael is a product of two things. Sarai's thinking. Abram's strength. Where did Abram get the thought to go into Haggar? Sarai gave it to him. After he found out she had conceived, he strutted around the camp for days and you would too if you were in your 80's.
What most of us fail to realize in this story is that God worked a miracle in Abram's life in order for Abram to have his own way. God worked a miracle for Abram in order for him to produce something in the flesh. We are in covenant relationship with God, and sometimes if we insist, he will work a miracle in order for us to have our own way.
Where is the mark of the beast? In your forehead and in your hand. Where did Ishmael come from? Man's mind and man's hand. The mark of the beast is man's wisdom and man's ability. The right hand is man's ability and the forehead is man's wisdom.
People right now are receiving one of two marks. Right now marked or stamped or impressed upon your life and your mind is either man's way of thinking or God's way of thinking. Right now in your life you are either trying to work out your life in your own ability and strength, or you are by faith trusting God to work it out with His ability and His strength.
Every time I do what Abram did by trying to help God out, I use man's wisdom and man's ability. (Thus an Ishmael is created.) Once you create an Ishmael; you have to live with him. Ishmael will always persecute Isaac. Today you can see man's wisdom and man's ability marked all over churches. This is how the beast thinks. "What new programs can we think up or dream up to reach the young people?" "We have to get them all in before the rapture."
There are three spirits in the world today.
1. God's Spirit
2. Man's spirit
3. Satan's spirit
Jesus defeated Satan, therefore that leaves only two spirits. God's Spirit and man's spirit. And these two are in conflict with each other for the control of man. In Galatians 5:17, Paul says,
"For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want."
Who is going to win? Will Jesus be Lord or will you be lord? Will His will be done, or your will be done? Will His way be Lord or will your way be lord? Will He sit in your temple as God or will you sit in your temple as the spirit of antichrist?
You will find out whether God is ruling or whether you are ruling, because God is sending His delegated authority to you in the form of His five-fold ministry. These are men of a broken spirit. They are not dictators because the place of the greatest authority is the place of the greatest humility. They will lay down their lives for the brethren without a question. We will pour out our life for you because that is the will of God. This is difficult for most to understand.
Right now there are one of two marks on your forehead. Engraven in your thinking. On some lives it is just beginning to appear and on other lives it has been impressed for some time. This is either the mark of the beast, or the seal of the Lord. If the mark of the beast is upon you, then you are a person like Abram who becomes very stubborn and impatient. You say, "Lord, I know you promised me you would do this for me, but I want to help you out." You, like Abram, will let the human reasoning of Sarah and the human ability of your own loins produce the answer. You just cannot wait for God's timing. However, there will be some who will say, "I will do nothing of myself, I will do only that which the Spirit of the Lord leads me to do because I have been marked with the seal of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul said in Heb. 1:3 that Jesus is the expressed image of the Father. This word image is the same as the word graven. This simply means that stamped and impressed upon the Son of God was the nature of His Father. And Jesus said, "As the Father has sent me; so send I you."
The question then becomes what image has been impressed upon you? The nature of a beast or the nature of the Christ? The nature of the beast is full of fear, bondage, and condemnation. The nature of Christ is full or righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit!
What does it mean in Rev. 13:17 when it says, "They can not buy or sell?" What I am teaching about the Kingdom of God many will say, "Oh, I do not buy that" and there is nothing I can do for them if they refuse to hear the Word of the Lord! I cannot convince them if the Spirit of the Lord cannot. He can only deal with a broken spirit.
Proverbs 23:23 says, "Buy the truth and sell it not." So many ministries freely receive from God revelation and then want to copyright it and sell it for gain. Paul said in II Cor. 2:17, "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit." The traditions of men make the Word of God to loose its effectiveness and I will not buy that and I will not sell it!! You say, "But Brother Johnson, everybody is teaching traditions. If that is so where you worship then you need to ask the Lord to show you a ministries that is teaching His word.
Rev. 13:15-16 says,
"He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refuse to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his hand or his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."
First, note that this beastly antichrist spirit will always seek to kill the prophets because the prophets speak the word of the Lord which means you must change your way of thinking. Secondly, no one will be allowed to teach or minister or hold any position unless he goes along with the harlot [denominational] system.
Does this passage of scripture have anything at all to do with the natural flow of commerce? I don't know; but I do know this: Jesus went into the temple one day and looked around. What do I do when I meet someone? I go into their temple and look around by the discerning of spirits, which simply means seeing though. You cannot put a mask on in this walk and not be detected because Jesus said, "By their fruits you shall know them. I want to see the fruit of your ministry. And I don't mean your mailing list or how many are going to your church or how many souls you have saved. No matter how many of these you have, if there is no fruit of the life of Jesus in your life there is no ministry!
You say, "Well, why do you want to go into the temple anyway? Because the message I have received from the Lord is for the purpose of cleansing it of all that is not of Christ. Jesus Christ is in your temple and is speaking His Anointed Word in order to cleanse your temple. This is why there is such a stir in some of you. The Bible says that Jesus cleared out all those who bought and sold. All that has been engraved and imbedded in your thinking by man must be destroyed. Paul said in II Cor. 10:3-5,
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
There are a lot of Christians buying and selling and trading with the world system and as a result they have the mark of the beast on them. Nevertheless, there are people in this world right now that do not have the mark of the beast on them. They are a product of God's hand. That is, His apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.
You must realize that you are the workmanship of God. He has designed you and His hand is going to build what He has designed. His hand is going to create what His mind has purposed. If you reject this message of the Kingdom and choose to hold on to your traditions, it will be impossible for you to mature and fulfill God's desire in your life. As a result, selfishness will become the God of your life and cause you to end up with the mind and nature of a beast.
Right now in the World System and in some churches there are men and women who think like a beast. Beast is the Greek word THERION (#2342) and means a wild untamed beast.
1. A beast that is strong willed person and wants to do his own thing.
2. A beast is one who refuses to be corrected.
3. A nature that refuses to be disciplined, and refuses to see
its need of growth and development.
In the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar was a perfect example of the fullness of man's government. The very highest that man could achieve in self-government and yet, he became a beast. This fulfilled what the Psalmist declared. "That man in his best state is altogether vanity."
Men are forever behaving like animals. Paul used other terminology for the beast nature.
1. The old man.
2. The unregenerate nature.
3. The nature of the first Adam untouched by the Holy Spirit.
4. The first Adam became a living soul.
This beast nature is operating in men and women today. Anyone who believes in a carnal way and thinks from the carnal mind has already begun to take on the mark of the beast and yet, most of the Church world today, makes the mark of the beast futuristic. What all the future implications of the antichrist spirit are, no one knows but I do know that John said that the spirit of antichrist was in the world in his day and it is still in the world today.
In I John 2:18 John said,
"Dear Children this is the last hour, and as you have heard that the anti-christ is coming, even now many anti-christs have come."
This is how we know it is the last hour. Are you worried about a mark tattooed on your hand or on your forehead? I personally think you should be more aware of the present day reality of THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST in you THE HOPE OF GLORY rather than the mystery of iniquity and the man of sin.