Repentance After the Mark of the Beast?
by Tom Stewart
April 16, 2001
"And the first went, and poured
out his vial upon the Earth;
and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men
which had the Mark of the Beast,
and upon them which worshipped his image"
The First Vial Judgment is poured out upon all worshippers of the Beast, i.e., "upon them which worshipped his image" (Revelation 16:2). A "vial" is translated from the Greek word chiale, which means a shallow bowl or cup, usually without a stand or foot, used to draw out of a larger goblet. The Almighty's anger with man's wickedness is that larger goblet, i.e., "God is angry with the wicked every day" (Psalm 7:11). He has wisely chosen to govern His anger by the offering of His Only Begotten Son in atonement for man's sinful rebellion; but, man's probation must eventually end, or God's Kingdom cannot ultimately stand. "And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke Me? and how long will it be ere they believe Me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?... How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against Me?" (Numbers 14:11, 27). If man could always count upon sinning with time left for repentance, then:
A "noisome [Greek, kakos, meaning bad] and
grievous [Greek, poneros, meaning evil] sore [Greek, helkos, meaning
sore or ulcer]"
(Revelation 16:2) is a loathsome and malignant ulcer, that
will be poured out upon worshippers of the Beast. An ulcer is a lesion resulting
from the gradual disintegration of tissue, which covers most of the internal and
external surfaces of the body, whose main symptom is pain. And, pain, which was originally
intended to punish, i.e., "I will greatly
multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children...
cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of
thy life" (Genesis 3:16, 17), if
it does not reform the recipient, will only be a prelude to their final destruction,
for ulcers that are painful to touch are oftentimes a cancer. "Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of
temptation in the wilderness" (Hebrews 3:8).
This malignant ulcer will fall specifically upon the "men which had [Greek, echontas, present tense, literally, are having] the Mark of the Beast, and upon them which worshipped [Greek, proskunountas, present tense, literally, are worshipping] his image" (Revelation 16:2). Is it possible for one to have received the Mark of the Beast and yet not worship the Antichrist? Yes. The Beast will mark all of humankind as his property, i.e., acting for the Antichrist, the False Prophet "causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads" (13:16), which will include even those humans who are not moral agents, e.g., infants, toddlers, mentally handicapped, etc., who have no agency, and therefore cannot receive Divine Punishment. "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God" (Mark 10:14). From the Antichrist's perspective, refusal to take the Mark of the Beast means starvation, i.e., "no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark" (Revelation 13:17), and refusal to worship the Beast means the penalty of death, i.e., "as many as would not worship the image of the Beast should be killed" (13:15). On the other hand, God will Eternally Punish those who are clinging to the Mark and worshipping the Beast. "If any man worship [Greek, proskunei, present tense, literally, is worshipping] the Beast and his image, and receive [Greek, lambanei, present tense, literally, is receiving] his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the Wrath of God" (14:9, 10).
Does this mean that someone who has taken the Mark and worshipped the Beast might yet be converted before it was too late? Yes, but no one should ever take the Mark-- much less, take it with the mental reservation that they they will repent of it later-- for "ye know not what shall be on the morrow" (James 4:14). However, if repentance was morally impossible for all who had taken the Mark and worshipped the Beast, then:
Remember that a "Great
Multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and
tongues" (Revelation 7:9) of Tribulation
Saints, will come "out of Great Tribulation" (7:14), after the Mark of the Beast has been
implemented; and, undoubtedly, there will be former Beast Worshippers in that
number. "The things which are impossible
with men are possible with God" (Luke 18:27).
Next article "From the Editor's Desktop"
The Antichrist and the False Prophet ---New Window
Some have called chapter 13 one of the greatest prophetic chapters of the Bible!
A Commentary on the BOOK of REVELATION
by Tom Stewart
"Seven successive stages of Gentile world power-- out of which the Antichrist will come-- are represented by the 'seven heads and ten horns' (13:1). The difficulty of interpretation is the honest bias of each commentator, who is impressed that he is one 'upon whom the ends of the world are come' (1Corinthians 10:11). As we approach the conclusion of the matter, the Infallible Commentator, which is the Holy Spirit, will drop the scales from our eyes to teach us the wonderful secret of His infallible interpretation... Who will this Antichrist be? Periodically, each generation has had its own Antiochus Epiphanes, Caligula, Pontifex Maximus, Hitler, or Mussolini that must be the Antichrist. But, why? The appearance of the Antichrist will precede the Second Advent of the LORD Jesus Christ for the counterfeit to properly work its deception. 'Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition' (2Thessalonians 2:3)."
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