(The badge of servitude yesterday.)
(The badge of servitude today.)
“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,” (Rev 13:11, 13)
This new beast only had horns like a lamb, but it constituted the jurisdiction of the first beast.
Is it a wild animal or a brutal man? Or is it a government or dominion as foretold in Daniel 7? Are there governments who can make fire come down from the heavens in the sight of men?
“And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.” (Ro.11:9,10)
“Beast” is from therion, which is the same as thera, meaning “hunting”, which is found only in Romans 11:9. It is translated “trap”, referring to Psalms 69:22. Nimrod, too, was a mighty hunter before the LORD.
“Let their table become a snare before them: and [that which should have been] for [their] welfare, [let it become] a trap.” (Ps 69:22)
Has the table, set for the general welfare of the people, become a jurisdictional trap for them? Has their eyes been darkened to the deception? Have they bowed their backs?
“When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what [is] before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou [be] a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they [are] deceitful meat.” (Pr.23:1, 3)
What appears to be an entitlement or a gift may be but a bait? Entitlements beget entitlements.
“Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand [of the hunter], and as a bird from the hand of the fowler. Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:” (Pr 6:4, 6)
Have we eaten deceitful meats? Have we slumbered in sloth? Have we been deceived?
“And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” (Rev 13:14)
This beast is able to deceive, to seduce, or to lead, the people away from God’s ways with a miraculous power, or by offering and giving a sign, mark, or token.
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”(Rev. 13:15)
This new beast is created in an image, or a likeness, of the old beast. Like history repeating itself, an authority or jurisdiction that once was, would control the lives of the inhabitants of the whole earth instead of God.
Would it be by force or consent? Would this new power simply swallow up the world and the remnant or would they compel compliance to their will? By what authority or condition shall they compel compliance?
The word “killed” in verse 15 is not phoneuo, meaning “to slay” or “to murder”, but apokteino, “to kill in any way whatever, to destroy , to allow to perish to extinguish, abolish as to deprive.”
“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” (2Pe 2:3)
“The real destroyers of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.”
“Eat thou not the bread of [him that hath] an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart [is] not with thee. The morsel [which] thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.” (Pr. 23: 6, 8)
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Rev 13:16, 18)
This beast, or jurisdictional authority with only lamb's horns, was able to cause everyone to get this mark, that is to say, to get a badge of servitude. If they refused, they could neither buy nor sell anything, which could include their labor. If they did not work for the beast and/or this image of the beast, they would be excluded and persecuted, even unto death.
Not everyone works for the government, or do they? The news media announced on April 15 a number of years ago that the average worker works three hours a day for the government or over 4 months out of every year. That would be serving the government, or the ruling authority, for 4 months out of every year. Since that time, with the inclusion of other taxes, that percentage has vastly increased.
To buy or sell, people will need to have or hold this mark or charagma [i.e. stamp (as a badge of servitude),] or just its name, or the number of its name. Anyone of these acts will do to allow you to participate in the system of the beast, but would you want any of them if you truly wished to serve and worship the LORD God?
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev.14:6,7)
“I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;” (Exodus 20:2, 5)
“And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 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,” (Rev. 14:8, 9)
The first word we can examine is “worship” from proskuneo, meaning “an expression of profound reverence… used of homage shown to men of superior rank: such as a profound reverence for a flag or an attitude of ‘my country right or wrong.” The words in Old and New Testaments are political terms denoting allegiance.
The second word to examine is “receive”,which comes from the word lambano, meaning “to take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing in order to use it; to take up a thing to be carried; take possession of, i.e. to appropriate to one’s self … to receive what is offered; not to refuse or reject… give him access to one’s self.”
It should be noted that the curse that follows in Scripture only applies to men who both worship AND receive the mark. Is the mark implanted or simply handed to the one who receives what is offered?
The word lambano means “to receive” or simply that the mark can be taken with the hand or laid hold of; however, we see the preposition “in”, which could leave us with the concept of “inside.”
“In” is translated from the word epi, which is a generic preposition that is translated many different ways as a mere preparatory word, and has been translated “in, upon, on, come to, by, at, before, over”, etc.
It should be clear that there is no specification that the mark actually enters the flesh of the hand; furthermore, the use of lambano should lead one to think the mark, “i.e., the badge of servitude,” can simply be taken into the hand or accepted.
This brings us to metopon, which is translated “forehead.” If one need only remember the name or the number of the name, it could be assumed that the physical possession of a charagma or a badge of servitude is not even necessary and that the reference to the forehead, or the space between the eyes, is cognizant of the mind and the location of thought and memory. This is commonly understood in the use of the word in other text.
“And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. 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.” (Rev.16:1, 2)
How could a mere card or badge of servitude cause a sore in the flesh of your hand? If we look at the word kakos, translated “noisome”, we can see that it means something negative, like unto the idea of evil or bad, but more in the sense that things are not such as they ought to be or a wrong or unnatural mode of thinking, feeling, acting; while “grievous” comes from poneros, meaning “pressed and harassed by labours; bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble.” The text is simply speaking of evil burdens placed on the people, although having more to do with labor than a wound or sore.
“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: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev 14:10, 12)
Who was the first beast? Was it Babylon or Rome, or does it matter, for were they not all the same as was Egypt also? Who is the second beast made in the image of the first?
We must ask, who is the beast that causes the new image that was like the first beast and what would this image or likeness look like?
At the time of Jesus, Rome, as a faltering republic, was well into a process of decay.
“Of a population of about two million... Each class contributed its share to the common decay… The free citizens were idle, dissipated, sunken; their chief thoughts of the theater and the arena; and they were mostly supported at the public cost… While, even in the time of Augustus, more than two hundred thousand persons were thus maintained by the State, what of the old Roman stock remained was rapidly decaying, partly from corruption, but chiefly from the increasing cessation of marriage, and the nameless abominations of what remained of family-life.”
Family values were a chief topic of political rhetoric before every election and during the writing of the new constitution by Augustus. Today, the media fills the chief thoughts of the people and those kept at the public cost have peaked.
“All contributed to the general decay.... The social relations exhibited, if possible, even deeper corruption. The sanctity of marriage had ceased. Female dissipation and the general dissoluteness led at last to an almost entire cessation of marriage. Abortion, and the exposure and murder of newly-born children, were common and tolerated; unnatural vices, which even the greatest philosophers practiced, if not advocated, attained proportions which defy description. As regards the Roman rule, matters had greatly changed for the worse since the mild sway of Augustus, under which, in the language of Philo, no one throughout the Empire dared to molest the Jews.”
Today, living together, divorce, abortion-on-demand and promiscuous life styles of the rich and famous are proclaimed, admired, and envied.
The first Procurator whom Tiberius appointed over Judaea... found in Caiaphas a sufficiently submissive instrument of Roman tyranny. The Procurators were Imperial financial officers... The office was generally in the hands of the Roman knights, which chiefly consisted of financial men, bankers, chief publicans, &c. The order of knighthood had sunk to a low state, and the exactions of such a rule, especially in Judea, can better be imagined than described.
Today, it is financial men, bankers, chief publicans, and lawyers (republican or democrat) and the money powers that sway authority in government at home and abroad.
Rome was not an anarchy, but a complex system of laws, regulations, and obligations. The burdens that fell upon the average laborer, in order to support this burgeoning bureaucracy and apathetic welfare state, were immense and they depended upon a complex system of tax collectors and revenue officers. The Gabbai [tax collector], collected the regular dues, which consisted of property tax, income tax, and poll-tax and the Mokhes collected tax and duty upon imports and exports; ‘on all that was bought and sold; bridge-money, road-money, harbour-dues, town-dues, etc.’ They had invented a tax that reached into the life of almost everyone. There were taxes on axles, wheels, ‘pack-animals, pedestrians, roads, highways; on admission to markets to sell or a sales tax on much that was purchased; on carriers, bridges, ships, and quays; on crossing rivers, on dams, on licenses, in short, on such a variety of objects, that even the research of modern scholars has not been able to identify all the names.’ Today, not even certified public accountants can figure all the complexities of the present tax system and few understand by what authority it is imposed.
“And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute [money] came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?” (Mt. 17:24)
They not only had to collect these taxes, but they had to keep track of who had paid and who had not, as well as who was a taxpayer and who was excepted from that obligation. With all the traveling and trade that was done, there had to be ways of establishing who you were and what your status was. Slaves even had different statuses, as well as the residents. Subjects of the Empire might be required to supply statute labor for work on local roads or public projects besides the poll tax. How were all these records kept and recorded in an orderly way?
They had many ways to keep track of slave and freeman, as well as who had paid what and how much and who was still owing on the myriad of taxes, fees, tariffs, interest, and penalties.
Contracts were sometimes etched or engraved with a quill in wet clay and, then, the marks or seals of the parties and witnesses were pressed into the clay as a signature. The tablets were allowed to dry and were stored in the temple. This ancient method of record keeping, although not exclusive, was widely accepted.
Long-term loans of indebtedness and usury took advantage of this permanent form of record- keeping and made men and their lands a surety by virtue of those etched covenants, solemnized by the signing of the hand. Such covenants often resulted in a form of bondage. The Romans, having no forgiveness in the seventh year and no year of jubilee, often enslaved men through debt more quickly than men were able to buy their freedom.
“Be not thou [one] of them that strike hands, [or] of them that are sureties for debts.” (Pr. 22:26)
Articles of clothes and social demeanor also marked a man and his status. A man might go about with a Qolemos, or reed-pen, behind his ear, as a badge of his employment and, similarly, a carpenter carried a small wooden rule behind his ear. The use of more official identifications, made of copper, brass, silver, or gold with family seals, was a common practice.
Slaves in the market place were given dried clay tablets to identify their owner, their qualifications, and origins. If such tablets were baked with the seal of the owner, they took on a permanency that protected the slave from unwarranted detention as he traveled through the public streets on errands for his master. That etched document was referred to as a charagma, which was a badge of servitude. As oaths of loyalty to the government of Rome and its rulers became commonly required during the early rise of Christianity, the evidence of such a pledge of allegiance was often upon paper in front of witnesses and signed under penalty of perjury. A study of these paper trails showing proof of allegiance and subjection to authority is a parallel to our modern times.
A census required some form of accounting and usually required a token to mark those who had been counted. Before the days of plastic lamination of official identification cards, Herod had such a token in his plans for a Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The census called for by Augustus ‘was regarded as the badge of servitude, and incompatible with the Theocratic character of Israel.’ Herod’s mark was your new Hebrew name, carved in a white stone taken from the river Jordan, and was given to you at your baptism. At the same time, you were registered with the priests of his Kingdom and the first of your regular contributions was collected.
Everyone understood that John was preaching that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and baptism was part of that right of entry into its governmental system. The question raised in the Bible was, by what authority did he baptize? It was clear he was not a missionary of Herod, but he was the son of Zacharia and the cousin of the true heir of the throne of Judea, the highest son of David.
In 29 B.C., Gaius Octavianus marched into Rome as the savior of the Republic and was given the title of Augustus by the Senate. He was then legally granted, under constitutional forms and limitations, the position Emperator, commander-in-chief of all military and naval forces, for a period of ten years. He could set foreign policy and establish treaties, but, at home, each year he was elected consul and chief magistrate, swearing a binding oath of office read from clay tablets. Today’s first citizen appoints federal justices who judge its citizenry. “Thus the republic was restored under the presidency of its ‘first citizen’ (princeps civitatis).”
“But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.” (Mt 5:34,36)
Augustus as Emperator had dropped his position of Consul of Rome for almost 18 years while he settled disputes as a sort of combination N.A.T.O, U.N., and U.S. military force, all rolled into one. He kept banking, trade, and commerce prospering throughout the world and received great praise and adoration for the accomplishment.
Today, the United States, a democracy in a republic, with constitutional forms and limitations, has a president who sets foreign policy and establishes treaties and who is also the commander- in-chief of the military and naval forces, including the Air Force, which can make fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. Today’s modern ministers, licensed by the state in which their churches are incorporated, baptize the people into what kingdom? Men claim to worship God by singing on Sundays, but their practical allegiance and service is pledged to Rome by swearing words and applicatory deeds.
When the Separatists and pilgrims departed from the shores of England, they said, “Good-bye Babylon. Good-bye Rome.” The Common Law and the Holy Bible was the foundation of this Republic in the 1600’s. The government’s authority was insignificant, although it rose from the Common Law of the Land. It is now Roman Law that dominates the legal system and the courts. In Black’s Law Dictionary, found in every law office of the democracy, there is hardly a page that does not make reference to its Latin origins of legal principles.
“Civil Law,” “Roman Law” and “Roman Civil Law” are convertible phrases, meaning the same system of jurisprudence.”
Today, the public schools and the legal courts, and almost every aspect of the lives of the citizens of the United States, is manipulated, guided, and taxed by a legal system that mirrors that of Rome, which has conquered the people, not by the sword, but by their own covetousness.
The Common Law and the Holy Bible have become catch words of the so-called radical extremists and religious fanatics. Such titles of derision have not been so commonly used by the legal authorities in America since the Tories and Redcoats went back to serve George III.
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animated contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
A vast social welfare system, which has grown up in the United States, as well as the burdensome bureaucracy that feeds on and supports it, are supported at the public cost. The true productive laborer who carries the weight of this beastly incorporation staggers with no rest in torment under the infliction of today’s Gabbai and Mokhes.
The result has been a breakdown of the family values, a disrespect for the authority of parents, and a cessation of marriage and its permanence. People now take delight in the imagery of violence, erotica, and moral degeneration found in their two dimensional modern arenas.
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Mt. 5:28)
It is said that we don’t actually do such things as was done in the blood soaked arenas of the coliseums of Rome, but is the violence not done in the hearts, streets, and homes of our cities? Rome, too, started with blunted sword and choreographed battles. We can now watch in the comfort of our own homes, with fascination and patriotic cheers, as missiles crash through the roofs and walls in the blood-soaked soil of remote lands.
Of course, there is no slavery in the United States, or is there?
“EMPLOYEES See Master and Servant (this index)”
“People have not yet discovered they have been disenfranchised. Even lawyers can’t stand to admit it. In any nation in which people’s rights have been subordinated to the rights of the few, in any totalitarian nation, the first institution to be dismantled is the jury. I was, I am, afraid.”
In Rome, “The state of the slave varied. Some were impressed into gangs that worked the fields and mines. Others were highly skilled workers and trusted administrators. Frequently slaves were far better off than free laborers. Roman laws were passed to protect slaves and to allow rights, even of private possessions, which were sometimes used to ransom the slave and his family (Acts 22:27-28).” “Other forms of servitude related to slavery, and sometimes indistinguishable from it, are serfdom, debt bondage, indentured service, peonage, and corvee (statute labor).”
“The man who gives me employment, which I must have or suffer, that man is my master, let me call him what I will.”
To employ is defined as, “to give occupation to… We ‘employ’ whatever we take into our service, or make subservient to our convenience for a time; we ‘use’ whatever we entirely devote to our purpose.”
“The tax which is described in statute as an excise, is laid with uniformity throughout the United States as a duty an impost or an excise upon the relation of employment”.
“And he said… He will take your sons, and appoint [them] for himself… And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and [will set them]… to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters … And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, [even] the best [of them], and give [them] to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put [them] to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” (Samuel 8:11, 18)
Historians proclaim that the death of Marcus Aurelius brought to an end the golden era of the Roman Empire and, yet, this good emperor was one of the sternest foes of Christianity. Today’s true Christian may find himself under the same stern persecutions, with an apathetic modern society, unsympathetic, and even maliciously intolerant, of their faith in God.
Marcus Aurelius may have died, but the state lives on and on. Even now, it is the blood of the Roman law that pumps through the judicial veins of our present legal system. Who redeemed the children of the kingdom of God from the tyranny of the Roman Empire that now saturates the land with its own character?
“Redemption is deliverance from the power of an alien dominion and the enjoyment of the resulting freedom. It involves the idea of restoration to one who possesses a more fundamental right or interest. The best example of redemption in the Old Testament was the deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage, from the dominion of the alien power in Egypt.”
Though we may be redeemed, we may still be set upon by thieves and robbers, masquerading as government, law, or authority. Or we may give authority by word and deed and again learn to depart from iniquity in repentance.
“Violence may also put on the mask of law.”
As Moses, though dead, was contended for by the Lord’s angels, so also are those who worship the LORD bought from destruction. The battle for those who would journey down to the shores of the Red Sea, seeking not to worship in the temples and byways of Egypt and Rome as servants of false gods, will be defended by the power of the God of us all. That final defense may again be found in the “Wrath of God”.
Should America make its contract with the Republicans or should we make a “new covenant” with the Democrats or should we perform our oaths unto the LORD?
“He who contracts, knows, or ought to know, the quality of the person with whom he contracts, otherwise he is not excusable.”
“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, [and] over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous [are] thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true [are] thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for [thou] only [art] holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” (Rev.15:1, 4)
Today’s charagma is the “badge of servitude” that subjects our service to the rulers and judges of this world. They are the gods of this world system and they stand where only our Father in heaven should stand. It marks the child and servant of those powers created by the hands of men.
Are we condemned to hell if we take that mark of beast? Does it say that in the Bible?
“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 14:10
There are many assumptions concerning what the wrath of God is.
The word “drink” is from pino, which does mean “to drink”, but, figuratively, “to receive.” To “drink of the wine of the wrath of God” seems to be a figurative statement meaning that those that drink will receive something that, if it were merely a liquid, it would not be desired. Being “poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation” can at least give us the idea that whatever is coming is full strength and not very diluted.
The last part of this verse sheds important light upon the purpose and meaning of the whole verse. “And he shall be tormented” can give us the idea of torture or punishment, but as with most words, there are several connotations that can be construed. “Tormented” here is from basanizo, which, in turn, is from basanos. Basanizo actually means “to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal.” It can imply torture, which might be applied during questioning. Or it was even used by sailors whose ship was struggling with a head wind. The word clearly has the sense of a test, rather than punishment.
Many will tell you that this means, if you take the mark, you will be cast into hell. This is a conclusion based on the word “torment, which we have seen has to do with a test and the words “fire and brimstone.” Fire and brimstone are not, nor have they ever been synonymous, with hell. Fire and brimstone are mentioned in the Bible. One particular place it appeared was during the time of the liberation and redemption of the Israelites from Egypt. I suspect that, since most of the world is now back in a bondage worse than that of Egypt, it would seem reasonable that we will see fire and brimstone before we are all free on earth again. A more detailed explanation will be discussed elsewhere.
Here, the words “smoke ascending” has also been interpreted as coming from hell. Throughout the Bible, the idea of smoke going up has to do with the accepting of a sacrifice as worthy and, in the times of the great test, men will be called upon to sacrifice many things, including their very lives, in order to past the test.
The word “presence” is from enopion, which is more commonly translated “before” or “in the sight of.” To clarify the testing nature of these events rather than a condemning punishment and tormenting tortures, I ask one question: Why would the holy angels and the Lamb want to watch people suffer? This is clearly a test.