Mark of the Beast & Seal of God

By admin On July 13th, 2012

 

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“And he (The False Prophet) had power to give life unto the image of the beast,

Mark of the beast - pub. dom. - Wikipedia

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that the image of the beast should both speak,

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and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

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And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,

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to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:”

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Revelation 13:15, 16

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THE MARK OR SEAL

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The Mark of the beast is currently a very popular subject. And there are many differing opinions on just what it is. There are many who search the newspapers or studying history bhttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8f/Optic_stub.svg/200px-Optic_stub.svg.pngooks, trying to find a connection to what the Bible says about all this. And as a result, there is no shortage of opinions on just what or just who is this Antichrist Beast.

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But the Bible has the answers. And it would be profitable to search its pages, that it might be discovered just what we should know about the seal of God as well as, the Mark of the Beast.

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Optic stub svg wikimedia commons share-alike license

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GROUND-WORK LAID

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It seems practical to put both the Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast discussion in the very same article, since they are such similar concepts.

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And as with most of the articles on this website, this article is also very condensed, for brevity’s sake. Perhaps an entire book could be written on each topic. But instead, only a pamphlet-size article will be offered.

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The subject of the Seal of God will be first discussed, which will hopefully lay the ground-work for the Mark of the Beast concept.

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WHAT IS THE SEAL OF GOD?

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“And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” Ezekiel 9:4

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That book of Ezekiel got its “fiery” reputation from such chapters as Chapter 9. In this chapter, the Lord commanded the man with the ink-horn to go through Jerusalem, “and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” Ezekiel 9:4.

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Then after this was accomplished, the Lord commanded the men, who were together with the man wearing linen, with the writer’s ink-horn… “And to the others He said…Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” Ezekiel 9:5, 6.

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From this little scenario, it’s not hard to see why Ezekiel got such a fiery reputation. Of course, this was all symbolic. But God is painting for us a picture, concerning those among His people who will be saved, and those who will be lost. This has everything to do with God’s seal. It presents the concept that many among God’s people, are merely pretenders. As one old southern preacher used to say: “There are the Believers and there are the make-believers”.

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Giotto-innocents wikimedia US public domain

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HEAVEN DECLARES GOD’S GLORY

Wikipedia star-charts winter constellation in West.

But God is the searcher of hearts, and knows just who it is who has made a covenant by sacrifice… “He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is judge Himself. Selah.” Psalm 50:4-6

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And as this passage declares, “The heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is judge Himself!” And God has written His judgments in the Sun, Moon, and Stars! And this website is declaring those signs and those judgments!   

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WHY IN THE FOREHEAD?

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“And thou shalt bind them (the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments) for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.” Deuteronomy 6:8 

 

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The above verse calls for God’s people to bind the commandments, statutes and judgments on the hand and forehead. And there were many who returned from the 70 year Babylonian Captivity who took this literally. They actually had what was known as phylacteries which had Bible verses written on them, which the Jews literally tied to their hands and forehead. And even today, they are used.

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But God told them to! Right?

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Well, listen again… “And thou shalt bind them (the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments) for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.” Deuteronomy 6:8

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So why would God have Christians put the commandments upon a man’s forehead? Why not put them in a less conspicuous place, like the upper arm? Or how about under the shirt? Why the hand and forehead?

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Phylacteries – Israel – Religious Jew on a Daily-Market – Wikipedia – Share-alike Lic.

 

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“SPIRITUAL THINGS ARE SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED”

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The answer to this question is the very same answer to so many Bible questions. Again, it must be remembered that the Bible is a spiritual book. It must be spiritually discerned.

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Listen… “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned…Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 1st Corinthians 2:14, 13. 

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Many, many have stumbled on the Word of God, because they did not understand that it is a spiritual Book. So very often, God presents heavenly, spiritual ideas, using earthly metaphors. So in order to find the deeper truths of God’s Word, there must be a comparinhttp://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A7%D7%95%D7%91%D7%A5:Tfilin_shel_yad.JPGg of spiritual things with spiritual. 

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But those Old Testament theologians tried to interpret Scripture literally. Oh yes, all the Old Testament stories actually happened! But God gave these stories to present spiritual concepts. And so also was this commandment about writing God’s commandments upon our hands and foreheads given, in order to present a spiritual concept.

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Phylactery on Yemeni Jew 1914 wikipedia US public domain 

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COMMANDMENTS GO IN, NOT ON THE FOREHEAD!

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“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:23.

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The above verse from Mark’s Gospel declares that out of Man’s heart proceed evil thoughts. Then if that’s so, why do people always point to their chest when referring to their heart? Obviously, people are confused, because long ago, the medical community had misappropriated the name “heart” to the blood pumping organ, located in the chest.

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And so, as with every other question, this problem of “where to hide the commandments” is solved by studying all verses in the Bible which relate to this subject.

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And so, trying to find other passages to help, let this passage be offered… “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Revelation 7:3. 

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So this verse says IN the forehead. As a matter of fact, by reading the KJV Version, it is discovered that almost the entire book of Revelation says IN the forehead in every case concerning the Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast. The modern translations do not pick up on this (The King James Version faithfully translates, once again!).

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This word, “in”, helps greatly to understand the Seal of God, for this reason… “Thy Word have I hid IN mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:1

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BLOOD-PUMP NOT THE HEART!

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So where does this verse (“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11.) tell me that God’s Word must be hidden? “In my heart.” And what does this little verse say will be the result of hiding God’s Word in my heart? “That I might not sin against God.” 

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But where is the heart? In my chest? No, that’s the blood pump. That’s just a mis-named body part, which should have been named the “blood-pump”. The biblical human heart has to be in a person’s mind. That is where God’s Word is to be found. Obviously a Christian doesn’t hide God’s Word in the blood-pumping organ! That’s an absurd idea! So in essence, we hide God’s Word in our foreheads…in our brain…in our mind…in our heart.

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Listen again to Scripture… “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” 2nd Corinthians 3:3.

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This verse makes a startling revelation! It declares that the Christian should have Jesus written on the fleshly tables of the heart! Now this of course is speaking of a Christian’s mind, and not of the blood pump in one’s chest.

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Heart oblique external – Wikimedia – Share-Alike Lic..

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SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

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“(God), in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13 

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So now this above verse helps to see that God’s seal is very much connected to the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. After all, the Bible alone is just a dead letter. To become God’s LIVING WORD, it must be combined with God’s Holy Spirit. Does the Bible ever refer to itself as the LIVING Word?

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Well, this verse from Hebrews says it is… “For the Word of God is quick (O.E. for “living”), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

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First of all, this above verse says that the heart has, “thoughts and intents”. So it is obviously speaking of the mind: perhaps we could call the heart, “the treasure chest of the mind”.

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Secondly, the following passage from Romans Chapter 8 helps to understand that having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not optional, but necessary, to be called a Christian…  “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace…And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Romans 8:5, 6, 10. 

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In this passage is made a distinction between those who serve God and those who merely profess to serve God. A true worshipper dedicates his or her life to seeking after a closer relationship with the Lord. But those who are earthly-minded seek after the things of the world.

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But here is an even more pointed statement from this very same passage… “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9. So here it is seen that those who are not connected with the Holy Spirit are, “none of His”.   

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Pentecostés_(El_Greco,_1597) wikimedia public domain

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THE RELATION BETWEEN THE ‘SEAL’ & THE ‘WORD’

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And so there emerges a relationship between God’s Seal and God’s Word. Here is another verse which ties together the Seal of God and the Word of God.

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Listen… “And He (Jesus) shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. Bind up the testimony, SEAL the law among my Disciples.” Isaiah 8:14-16.

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So here it says, “Seal the Law…bind up the Testimony among My Disciples”, God’s Law and His Testimony is His Word, the Bible.

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RELATION OF SEAL & STRIVING FOR HOLINESS

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mark on forhead

So here is another verse which makes all this just a little more clear.

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Listen… “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2nd Timothy 2:19 .

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So again, this verse is very similar to that fiery passage in Ezekiel. Just like Ezekiel, This Seal in 2nd Timothy has to do with departing from iniquity ( “…having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”).

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Well, remember in Ezekiel, that the man with the writer’s inkhorn, was told to, “set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof (of Jerusalem).” Ezekiel 9:4.

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So, to, “depart from iniquity”, as 2nd Timothy 2:19 says, and, “sighing and crying”, for the abominations of Jerusalem (God’s people), as Ezekiel 9 says, are essentially the same idea.

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And God knows who are the real thing in His Church: that is, God knows those who are truly actuated by the Holy Spirit. And contrariwise, He knows exactly who are NOT the real thing: those who are not led by the Spirit. And this is what will be discussed next. 

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At this point, anyone reading this article is no doubt asking his or herself, “Am I sighing and crying for the abominations in Christendom?” Well, there is certainly no shortage of abominations in the churches today. And so there’s NO excuse for anyone to NOT sigh and cry to God in prayer over these abominations! But that’s a discussion for another day. But if you wish to explore that subject, just go to, “Fleeing to the Mountains-The Abomination in the Churches”.

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IMAGE OF CHRIST IN THE HEART

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mark on forhead

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” Genesis 1:27

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In the beginning, God created Man in His image. But when Man rebelled, Man gradually reverted into the image of the beasts of the Earth.

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Listen to God’s assessment of fallen Mankind… “And (Mankind) changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” Romans 1:23 

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God has chosen New Testament Christians to become conformed into Christ’s image.

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Just listen… “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29.

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And so this verse (and others) reveals the purpose and intent of God, in calling His sons to service: that we will be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, pure and unspotted by the world.

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Now fallen Mankind does not have the image of Christ within their hearts. And God condemns their unconverted, fallen image.

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Listen… “As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when Thou awakest, Thou shalt despise their image.”  Psalm 73:20.

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Yes, God despises the image of the unconverted man. He is still in the sinful image of his, “father, the Devil” John 8:44

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PART 2: THE MARK OF THE BEAST

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“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” Revelation 14:9, 10

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So the above verse is a warning against worshipping the Beast, and receiving his Mark.

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But what or who is the Antichrist Beast spoken of in Revelation?  

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DON’T GET CONFUSED BY MAN’S THEORIES

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Mark of the beast - pub. dom. - Wikipedia

The Bible explains that the Dragon is Satan… “And the great dragon…that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan…” Revelation 12:9. So then the Beast, with his similar attributes (7 heads, 10 horns, etc..) is a reflection of the Dragon, i.e., a reflection of Satan.

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It is not the purpose of this article to define the Beast, as far as the ecclesiastical authorities which have persecuted God’s Church in Europe (either doctrinal or physical persecution), during the Dark Ages (c. 400 AD to about 1700 AD, or thereabout). Sufficed to say, Revelation Ch. 17 reveals that these heads and horns and crowns are kings and kingdoms.

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Avvakum_by_Myasoyedov.jpegBut instead, this article (and this website) desires to bring out the qualities of the heart, which define the nature of Satan and his followers, and how this all relates to the individual Christian.

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The Bible does not require that the Bible student knows and understands exactly what each head and each crown, and each horn represents, in order to understand just what and who is the Beast. As a matter of fact, there are many differing opinions on that subject, and no lack of dogmatism accompanying each opinion. And it is very easy to get led down a wrong pathway by listening to these various theories on prophecy.

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When it comes to anything in Scripture regarding future events, there needs to be great humility and self-distrust. One reason for this, is that Scripture shows that God always fulfilled prophecy in a different manner than theologians were expecting.

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Christian martyrs of Europe Wikipedia US public domain

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WORLDLY SPIRIT IS AN ANTICHRIST SPIRIT

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Instead, look at this big statement which God makes concerning Antichrist… “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” 1st John 4:3-6.

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If the Spirit within is not manifesting Jesus Christ to the world, and I instead have a worldly spirit, then can I really say I am of God? And very simply put, any person who is of the world, is an Antichrist. Let’s repeat that statement. Any person, man, woman, or child, who possesses a worldly spirit is an Antichrist.

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“They (Antichrists) are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.”  1st John 4:5

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THIS WORLD IS ANTICHRIST

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Mark of the beast - pub. dom. - Wikipedia

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” 1st John 4:5

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And so, this Antichrist Beast of Revelation, with all its kings and kingdoms, must be speaking of the kingdoms of this world. This world is Satan’s dominion. Scripture calls Satan, “the god of this world” 2nd Corinthians 4:4. This verse says that Satan is the, “god of this world”!

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What an amazing proclamation! When Satan tempted Jesus, Satan made this following statement… “And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” Luke 4:5, 6. 

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So this passage reveals that the kingdoms of the world were given to Satan for a time. Because Satan used the kingdoms of this world as a “trading card”, so to speak, to entice Jesus to worship him. This was obviously a great temptation for Jesus. And because the Bible calls Satan, “the god of this world” 2nd Corinthians 4:4, it is manifest that the kingdoms of this world were indeed given to Satan.

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GOD CALLS US OUT OF BABYLON

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Now this is an extremely important truth, since it concerns all of us who live in this world. And prior to conversion to Christ, we were all likewise partakers of the sphttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Burgkmair_whore_babylon_color.jpgirit of the world, and Antichrists. In simple language, we were all citizens of Satan’s kingdom, prior to our conversion. But when God calls us, He calls us out of this world and into His kingdom. Oh, we are still in this world in body. But in heart and spirit, we are now citizens of Heaven. We must still work and live and eat, etc.. But the great motivation of our heart is to do the will of the Father, and conform our heart and life into His glorious image!

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“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” Ephesians 2:12.

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So prior to conversion we were strangers, “from the commonwealth of Israel”.

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A NEW HEART = A NEW CITIZENSHIP

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And what is that difference, which now has made us no longer citizens of Satan’s kingdom, but citizens of, “the Jerusalem above”? Well, the new heart we have received of God desires the things of Heaven. And though we must live in this world and work for our daily bread and shelter, our hearts are now filled with the love of God, and the Spirit of Jesus and the desire to be faithful ambassadors of Christ to this fallen world.

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Listen… “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:” 1st Peter 2:9.

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As the Elect of God, we have been grafted in to the very same commission which was once given to the nation of Israel. We are a royal priesthood, and a holy nation.

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Mall witnessing, Panama City, Panama

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“KEEP THY HEART WITH ALL DILIGENCE”

Proverbs 4:23

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“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

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So now it begins to be seen that there are two spirits in this world. There is the spirit of the world, which is Antichrist, and there is the Spirit of God, of which a Believer receives at the time of his or her Salvation. This is the essence of what the seal of God, and the Mark of the Beast are all about. And it is the solemn duty of every child of God to diligently guard his or her heart. Because it is the heart that both God and Antichrist (Satan) desires to gain control of.

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The following passage is an exhortation from Paul as to what is the goal of each and every Christian soldier… “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2nd Corinthians 10:4, 5 .

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SPIRIT OF TRUTH & SPIRIT OF ERROR

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The Bible speaks of two spirits in the world, “The Spirit of Truth”, referring to the Holy Spirit, and “the spirit of error”, speaking of the antichrist spirit, i.e., the Devil.

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Listen to the words of Jesus… And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16, 17

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This above passage reveals that the people of the world cannot receive the, “Spirit of Truth”, i.e., the Holy Spirit. But in contrast, listen to John’s 1st Epistle, which speaks of the, “spirit of error”…

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They (antichrists) are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of Truth, and the spirit of error.” 1st John 4:5, 6

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Now this passage speaks of the, “spirit of error”, which the people of the world possess, or rather, which possesses them! And so it seems that a person is filled with either one or the other spirit: the, “Spirit of Truth”, or the, “spirit of error”.

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Now, Paul, in Ephesians makes a comment on this.

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Listen… “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” Ephesians 2:1, 2.

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So Paul here makes it perfectly clear, that those who have not been “born again” by the Holy Spirit, are instead, indwelt by the spirit of the prince of the power of the air, i.e., Satan.

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THE GOLDEN IMAGE TODAY

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Back in the days of Daniel, the people of the world were forced to bow down to the golden image which the King of Babylon set up on the Plain of Dura.

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Today, the King of Babylon (Satan) has erected another golden image, in which the people of the world are to bow down to. And just as that golden image in Daniel’s day was in the likeness of the King of Babylon, so also, the golden image in our day is in the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:81st_Academy_Awards_Ceremony.JPGlikeness of Satan, the true King of Babylon.

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Television, radio, Internet, books and magazines and newspapers all play a part in indoctrinating us into Satan’s image. As a matter of fact, this entire world and the inhabitants thereof are conformed to this image.

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But just as the people were commanded to bow down when the music began to play, so also these modern media present beautiful images of fallen mankind, often accompanied by beautiful strains of music, along with a sympathetic story-line.

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And thus are the people of the world, little by little, indoctrinated into this worldly image which, “the god of this world”, presents in such glorious array. 

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Academy Awards Ceremony – Wikipedia – Share Alike Lic.

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WORLD INDOCTRINATION

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“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupts good behavior” 1st Corinthians 15:33

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A certain person coined the proverb, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” Television is Satan’s 24/7/365 mouth-piece, repeating and reiterating his lies so often, it is all but impossible to resist! And those who are most easily indoctrinated are of course, our children! Children take to television, etc., as the proverbial “duck takes to water!” And there is just enough truth presented on television to deceive the unwary watcher.

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NO FENCE-SITTERS IN THIS WORLD

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This next parable presents a giant concept concerning the Mark of the Beast. Jesus spoke this parable to the Pharisees… “He that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” Luke 11:23-26 

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As already mentioned, this parable was spoken by Jesus to the Pharisees. And while this is a great prophecy concerning the future of the world, it is also a revelation into the inner-heart of Man, especially of those who are in the Church, and yet still unsaved.

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This parable explains what happens when a non-Christian decides to clean up his life and yet is void of the Spirit of Christ. This parable makes the point that there are no “fence-sitters” in this world. Jesus compared this man’s heart to a house empty and swept clean. But it wasn’t empty for long! Soon, the evil spirit went and gathered 7 spirits, more evil than himself. And now this man’s last state, “is worse than the first.”

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Jesus plainly declares in the above parable… “He that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth.” 

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This parable explains that no man stands on neutral ground. You are either for Christ or against Him.

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But this parable also explains that every person is either filled with God’s Spirit, or with Satan’s spirit. This is probably the most unacceptable as well as the most unpopular truth found in God’s Word! Of course, very few people in this world would care to admit that they are filled with Satan’s Antichrist spirit.

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Jesus and Pharisees and Sadducees – James Tissot – US Public Domain – Brooklyn Museum – Wikimedia

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FALSE BRETHREN

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“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in (to the Church)…” Galatians 2:4

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Now, none of us should get the idea, that just because I faithfully attend church and pay my tithes, that this somehow guarantees that I am a child of God. The above verse makes clear that there are false brethren within the Church.

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And the Bible warns us to… “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2nd Cor. 13:5.

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The sad fact is, there are many in the Church who believe they are on the pathway to Heaven, when in reality they are, “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15

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Evangelist Preaching – Church – Audience hands – Wikimedia – Public Domain.

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RELIGIOUS DEVILS 

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“He that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” Luke 11:23-26

tissot-the-pharisees-and-the-herodians-conspire-against-jesus- www.joyfulheart.com pub dom

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As we more closely examine the above parable of the man with the 7 unclean spirits, it is discerned that the man did not actually have 7 more evil spirits. As already mentioned, this parable was spoken by Jesus to the Pharisees. And while this is a great prophecy concerning the future of the world, it is also a revelation into the inner-heart of a Pharisee. This parable explains what happens when a non-Christian decides to begin attending church, and yet there is no change of heart.

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This parable makes the point that the before-condition of that person, symbolized by one evil spirit, becomes far worse after cleaning up, symbolized by seven more evil spirits. And as Jesus spoke to these Pharisees, they did not understand that Jesus was speaking of them.

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For example, a mere drunkhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_Jerusalem_Jerusalem_(J%C3%A9rusalem_J%C3%A9rusalem)_-_James_Tissot.jpgard, lying in the gutter, is like a man with an unclean spirit. But when that drunkard decides to clean up his life and begins to attend church, but has no inward conversion, that same unclean spirit returns and finds that man’s heart void of the Holy Spirit. And so he gets seven more evil spirits (symbolizing false religion).

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The number “seven” represents Jesus and His Church. So now this drunkard has cleaned up his life. Now he has been transformed into a respected member of the church. Now he has become a productive contributor to the community. But inwardly, he is motivated by the seven “religious devils”, and is void of the Holy Spirit. But these Pharisees, in all their pride and arrogance, were symbolized by having seven devils, more evil than the first.

https://www.google.com/search?q=drunkard+wikimedia+commons&hl=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=bahCUf7THqWQ2AXs-oDoAw&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAQ&biw=1093&bih=498#imgrc=HeJcFvXRw-h2zM%3A%3BpKsPOsVLla76dM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fupload.wikimedia.org%252Fwikipedia%252Fcommons%252F4%252F47%252FHighbrow_drunkard.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fcommons.wikimedia.org%252Fwiki%252FFile%253AHighbrow_drunkard.jpg%3B1280%3B1024.

So what is Jesus saying? He is saying that it would be better to be a wretched drunkard laying in a gutter, than to be a proud moralistic church-goer!

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As Jesus said… “the last state of that man is worse than the first.” 

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Paul’s letter to the Corinthians reveals the inner-workings of Satan. Just listen… “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15.

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Here God plainly declares that Satan’s ministers are within the Church, behaving as moral leaders, but all the while, deceiving the flock.

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tissot the pharisees and the Herodians conspire against Jesus – www.joyfulheart.com – Pub Domain

Jesus – Tissot – courtesy of Brooklyn Museum – Wikimedia

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PART 3: HOW CAN I HAVE THE SEAL OF GOD?

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Now the obvious question is, “What can I do to receive the Seal of God, and not receive the Mark of the Beast?”

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While Salvation is the gift of God, and not of works, nevertheless, the Bible is literally teeming with counsel as to how to come closer to God. And yet, there are certain Christian duties which are fundamental to having a successful relationship with God. Here are 6 basic duties…

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1. PLEADING TO GOD FOR MERCY. Pleading for God’s mercy is a 24/7/365 duty, as far as possible, for the rest of a Christian’s life.

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2. DEPARTING FROM EVIL. This means to not only cease from doing evil, but also to remove one’s self from evil associations, as far as possible. 

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3. IMMERSING ONE’S SELF IN GOD’S WORD. Signs Of Heaven is convinced that, as far as possible, the Christian should surround his or her self in God’s Word, as a means of gaining victory. To listen to the Bible on and MP3 player. To carry a little Bible at all times. To try to fill one’s entire day and night with God’s Word, is the only way this site knows, of how to change the heart and mind into Christ’s image. 

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4. SERVING THE LORD WITH THE WHOLE HEART. Christianity is not something to complement one’s life. IT IS THE LIFE! God accepts no divided heart, and no divided service.

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5. LOOKING TO JESUS AS THE DIVINE ROLE MODEL. It is important to constantly refer to Jesus as the example for how the Christian should behave. Many situations require the Christian to pause and ask his or her self, just “What would Jesus do?”. Paul is also a God-given role model. And his life is also given as a role model, because sometimes it’s not so easy to know what Jesus would do.

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6. REJOICING AND ENDURING TRIBULATIONS. In order for God to mold us into His likeness, we must endure tribulation at various times. And when tribulation comes, we must never murmur at Gohttp://lavistachurchofchrist.org/Pictures/The%20Early%20Church%20Artwork/target8.htmld.

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Listen to James… “but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:” James 5:3, 4.

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Just look at the life of the Apostle Paul. Just behold all the tribulation which he endured, for the sake of the Gospel. Did Paul complain?

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Just listen to his own words… “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” Colossians 1:24.

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What an incredible attitude which Paul had! He knew that afflictions were necessary to become Christ-like. And so he welcomed trials and tribulations, so that he could achieve his great commission: to proclaim Christ within, to this hopeless and lost world. Paul well knew that merely preaching Christ was not good enough. But Paul realized that Paul must die, so that Jesus might live out His holy life through Paul.

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Morning Prayers – Ebenezer Newman – Downard – 1860 – Wikipedia – Public Domain

Paul Shipwrecked Acts 27:41-44-www.lavistachurchofchrist.org–public domain

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“BY EVIL REPORT AND GOOD REPORT”

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“Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, etc., etc..” 2nd Corinthians 6:3 

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Now to the world (and to worldly Christians), these 6 duties, previously listed, may seem extreme. And for those who are given to extremes, these things must be performed in behaving normally. But for those who are given to orthodoxy and respectability, it is time for such to get extreme!

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The Christian life is extreme! Both Jesus and Paul were considered extremists. And so would they today! Christianity is not merely a modification of the old life. On the other hand, the longer a Christian lives the Christian life, the more graceful should his or her life become, as one lets, “the hidden Man of the heart”, be seen in, “quietly working with his hands, the good things”. 

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paulinastromacts27-21-www.breadsite.org-public-domain.jpg

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“IN QUIETNESS AND CONFIDENCE”

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“For in Thee, O LORD, do I hope: Thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. For I said, Hear me, lest http://www.wikigallery.org/wiki/painting_198722/William-Brassey-Hole/The-sorrow-of-king-Davidotherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me. For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.” Psalm 38:15-17

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Now all this information can be overwhelming for many who feel they are helpless…even still unsaved. There are many times in which a Christian can only just pull the covers over the head, so to speak, and silently cry out for mercy.

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There are many times when all one can do is wait patiently for the Lord, and not to give up in discouragement. There are many Psalms one can read during such times. God is a very tender God. And perhaps, some of the greatest victories can be won, in such helpless moments, as he simply holds on to God during great discouragement.

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David’s sorrow – Wikigallery – Public Domain.

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THE END

 

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NEXT ARTICLE SUGGESTION:

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FLEEING TO THE MOUNTAINS, PART 3 “The Abomination in My Heart”

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The True Accusing Finger www.signsofheaven.org share-alike license- you may use

This Part 2 deals with how that same Abomination of Desolation can exist in my very own personal temple: the temple called the body! And how does the following verse apply to my heart?… “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:” Mark 13:14.

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Such a strange passage to be speaking of the human heart! Well, read this article and search, and find these things out.

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A HEAVENLY HOBBY

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.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1_vermont_night_stargazing_panorama_2009.jpg

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold Who hath created these things; that brings out their host by number: He calls them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth.” Isaiah 40:26

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vermont night stargazing panorama 2009 wikipedia share-alike lic.

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The above verse is a plea from God to look up at the Heavens and behold Who has created these things.

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In this busy work-a-day world, there are many very interesting things which can occupy one’s time and energy: hobbies, and careers, and entertainments and worries, and habits, to name just a few.

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But as the child of God devotes his or her life to God, there should be a jealous guarding of one’s own heart… “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.

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The Christian wants nothing to get in the way of running that Christian Race.

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 New York Times Square – terabass – Wikipedia – Share-alike License

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“AND WHEN YE SEE THESE THINGS…

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LOOK UP, LIFT UP YOUR HEAD”

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But having said this, there is one hobby which every ‘Noble Berean’ may take up, which only compliments the pursuit of the heavenly Prize.

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Yes, Signs Of Heaven becomes a wonderfully rewarding hobby which, unlike many less meaningful hobbies, pays off with rich, heavenly rewards. Everlasting rewards!

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And unlike these people in this photo with equipment, all you need is fairly good vision, and a dark, starry night.

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And once a person really gets to know these heavenly messengers, it will become very apparent that the message connected with these signs is truly a message to be heeded.

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Thus will the Christian be able to share this message with others. And there are perhaps many nuances and hidden biblical truths to these signs which have yet to be discovered.

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Astronomy Amateur Wikipedia share-alike license

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“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;” Luke 21:25

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ABOVE STAR-CHART – Summer Constellations with Two Turtledoves (Sagittarius) & Flower of the Field (aka: Scorpio) & The 12-Star Crown (aka: Corona Borealis) & The Cross-Scepter (aka: Ophiochus & Serpens) & Revelation 12 Woman (Ursa Major) & Arcturus Star – www.theheavensdeclare.net

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FIRST FIND ORION & 7 STARS

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The very first step in finding these many constellations, should be to find the two main constellations: Orion, and the 7 Stars (aka, The Big Dipper).

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These two constellations represent Christ (Orion), and His Church (7 Stars).

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And just as these are the easiest constellations to find, so too, the first place to begin studying the Bible is the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).

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These four books present Christ and His Church, when He walked the earth, just as Orion and the 7 Stars represent Christ and His Church, as seen up in the heavens.

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Then, once you are comfortable finding these two constellations, you can begin to locate the next closest constellations, and so on.

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ABOVE PICTURE – winter constellations – Orion & Revelation 12 Dragon (Hyades, Pleiades, etc…) seen at Eagle Ridge – Signs Of Heaven.org – Not for profit use!once you are comfortable finding these two constellations, you can begin to locate the next closest constellations, and so on.

ABOVE PICTURE – 7 Stars Constellation as the Cross (aka Big Dipper) – winter – signsofheaven.org – not for commercial uses

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ANOTHER HEAVENLY HOBBY: PRAYER-WALKS

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Now if you’re fortunate enough to be able to go on nightly walks, and you live in an area where you can safely view the stars, here is another Heavenly Hobby which Signs Of Heaven endorses…

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Why not combine star-watching with prayer, as you walk? What a great way to draw closer to God!

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It cannot be over-stressed, just how wonderful it is to walk under the dark canopy of Heaven, while lifting up one’s heart to our Heavenly Father! There is a closeness to God that cannot be described with words!

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(And even if you cannot safely do this, you can always do such prayer-walks in the daytime, in a safe place, such as a mall, which is every bit as effective, prayer-wise.

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And for those who are in confinement, one can view these starry signs on the Internet, or simply listen to Scripture on audio.

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Either way, all such may enjoy God’s richest blessings at this very time in which God is pouring out all Heaven’s treasures upon anyone willing to forsake all, and follow Jesus!)

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Starry Night at La Silla Wikipedia share-alike license

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THRICE-DAILY PRAYERS

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Now of course, the Bible commands us to, “pray without ceasing“. The Christian is to constantly talk with our Heavenly Father throughout the day.

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But the Bible also holds up the godly life of Daniel, who, when captive in Babylon, still set aside three times daily, in which he knelt for special prayer.

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And furthermore the Bible also says… “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:17.

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Even those who are bed-fast or in a prison cell can begin to imitate Daniel in this way. And if one is fortunate to be able to walk, then this thrice-daily prayer regimen can be combined with three walks daily and even nightly.

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Marines at Prayer by Alex Raymond wikimedia public domain

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