Memo 991: The Mark
This is it, the last entry in the Unlocking the Power of Your Thinking series which we started last August. I have learned a lot and hope you have as well. We are ending in the book of Revelation, an appropriate place to end since God found it good to end there in His book as well. This week, let's look at a promise Jesus gave to the church at Philadelphia:
"I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Revelation 3:11-13).
People through the ages have been fascinated and even infatuated with the concept that something is going to be written on their heads, and of course the 666 of Revelation 13:18 gets most of the attention. Let's examine this concept to see what we can learn as it pertains to our thought life.
I find it fascinating that we have made so much of the 666 issue when we read in the next verse, "Then I [John] looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads" (Revelation 14:1). I have never heard a sermon or seen a book about the Father's name on our forehead but of course there is lots of material on 666. Yet what John saw in Revelation 14:1 coincides with the promise made to the Philadelphia church: God will write a new name on those who hold on, are victorious, and have ears to hear. They will be made pillars in the temple of their God.
What is the significance of the mark on the forehead? Jewish men often wear a small leather box strapped to their forehead (or arms) that contains a Hebrew text. They do this to remind them to keep the Law of God, to always have it on their mind. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit replaces the phylactery. Why would those who not know the Lord have the number 666 there instead of a phylactery? It is because the things of the world ruled by the evil one are always on their minds.
God empowers us through the Spirit to keep the things of God on our minds at all times. He has marked us as His. It was never intended to mean there would be a literal mark, but there would be something that separates the people of God from others. What is that mark? What distinguishes us from all others? It is faith, pure and simple. Those who have 666 will look for all sorts of means and formulas to provide for their needs. Those who have God's name "engraved' on their hearts and minds will look to Him. If they "forget," the Spirit will remind them.
WRAP IT UP
Do you think God needs a physical mark to distinguish between those who are His and those who are not? Of course not! He recognizes them by their faith, to which God always responds: "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). If without faith it is impossible to please God, then with faith it is possible. Without faith, people will be scrambling for crumbs that fall from the world's table. For those with faith, their God will set a sumptuous banquet table before them. So therefore, we could say that 666 is simply the symbol of unbelief while the name of God and His city given to those who hear and overcome are the marks of those who know Him by faith.
If you truly want to unlock the power of your thinking, don't look for a system or a formula. You should not pursue fads or copycat techniques (or bogus end time fantasies) that will get you what you want or need—or feed your need for sci-fi adventure. You are simply to strap on an invisible phylactery of faith and keep that before you at all times. Faith is what will unlock the power because faith invites God into any process. Your faith relies on the Spirit to empower your thoughts but there is one caution. This is not a passive process. You must work to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (see 2 Corinthians 10:5).
Unlocking your thinking is not simply "I have given it all to the Lord" so you then wait for Him to fill your head. It involves work when you wrestle some of your thoughts to the ground, pin them, and then replace them with new thought champions. As you learn and grow, you will live in the principle we discussed many months ago: "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). As you change your thoughts, you will transform your life and there will no need to worry about any mark except the mark of faith. Have a blessed week.