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Gary discusses a recent appearance by Ray Comfort on the Dr. Phil Show.

Throughout the book of Revelation marks given on the hand and head are symbolic. Commentators do not usually claim that when God gives a mark to set apart His people that the mark is visible to the eye. For example, in Revelation 3:12 we read: “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it any more; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”

Is writing God’s name and the name of the New Jerusalem an external tattoo or brand of those who overcome? Is being a “pillar in the temple” of God to be understood literally as well? Robert Thomas concludes correctly that the “pillar” language is “clearly metaphorical.”[1] Thomas intimates that writing God’s name on “he who overcomes” is also metaphorical. “To have ‘the name of My God,’” Thomas writes, “was equivalent to belonging to God, being endowed with divine power (Moffatt). This sets the overcomer in utter contrast with the assumptions of the present Jewish persecutors (Beckwith).”[2] Having the “name of the city of My God” written upon the overcomer meant the right of citizenship in the new Jerusalem. “Christ’s ‘new name’ symbolizes the full revelation of His character promised to the overcomer at Christ’s second advent.”[3]

What then is the solution to this seemingly enigmatic passage? Like much of Revelation, its familiar symbols are meant to represent familiar concepts. This is why Revelation must be read against the backdrop of the Old Testament. As Ferrel Jenkins writes: “The book of Revelation is the most thoroughly Jewish in its language and imagery of any New Testament book. This book speaks not the language of Paul, but of the Old Testament prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.”[4] The beasts, both sea and land, the mark on the hand or head, and the number 666 should be interpreted in light of the Old Testament, similar to the way Sodom (11:8), Egypt (11:8), Jezebel (2:20), Balaam (2:14), and Babylon (14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21) are interpreted. Understanding the way the Old Testament uses and applies marks, it is not that difficult to determine what John is describing in Revelation 13. Whoever carried the mark of the beast would be protected by Satan, and whoever carried the mark of the Lamb would be protected by God. Those who identified with Rome against Jesus Christ died in the destruction of Jerusalem when Titus and his army swept in to destroy the temple and the city.

Gary discusses a recent appearance by Ray Comfort on the Dr. Phil Show. Ray decries the practice of “microchipping” people and how unethical and irresponsible it is (which it is) and how it “might” fulfill Bible prophecy and Revelation 13 (which it doesn’t). Christians must stop looking for prophetic signs in every modern technology and start reading the biblical text as significant and relevant to those living in Israel in the first century.

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[1] Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1–7: An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1992), 292.

[2] Thomas, Revelation 1–7, 293.

[3] Thomas, Revelation 1–7, 293.

[4] Ferrel Jenkins, The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1976), 22.

Author: Gary DeMar

Gary—who served as President of American Vision for thirty-five years—is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. Author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, he has been featured by nearly every major news media outlet. Gary also has hosted The Gary DeMar Show, History Unwrapped, and the Gary DeMar’s Vantage Point Webshow and is a regular contributor to AmericanVision.org. Gary has lived in the Atlanta area since 1979 with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and are enjoying being grandparents. Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).

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Gary—who served as President of American Vision for thirty-five years—is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. Author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, he has been featured by nearly every major news media outlet. Gary also has hosted The Gary DeMar Show, History Unwrapped, and the Gary DeMar’s Vantage Point Webshow and is a regular contributor to AmericanVision.org. Gary has lived in the Atlanta area since 1979 with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and are enjoying being grandparents. Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).

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