It is written:
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
At the end of our study of the mark of the beast and the coronavirus vaccine, let’s some up some of what we have learned.
1. The Book of Revelation is a Book of seven visions, each beginning with the First Coming, depicting the Christian Age, and culminating in the Second Coming.
2. The Book of Revelation is filled with symbolic language, drawn primarily from the Old Testament (and other references to Jewish apocryphal works as well).
3. The mark of the beast was directly related to the nation of Rome and the false religions which sprang forth from Rome (including but not limited to Roman Catholicism).
4. The mark of the beast was not a literal mark in the flesh.
5. Just as the people of the beast took his “mark”, so the people of the Lamb take His “mark” (i.e., the cross).
6. The mark of the beast was a symbolic reference to those who gave their full devotion to the nation of Rome and to false religion, as borne out by the location of the mark and where it is placed (i..e, the right hand and forehead).
7. Those in the first century who refused to bow down and worship Rome and false religion (i.e., those who refused to take the mark of the beast) were deprived of their right to buy and sell food and goods.
8. King Solomon is the perfect representative of this kind of apostasy, and we even find the number 666 applied directly to him in the Old Testament.
9. All of these facts show that the mark of the beast is not the coronavirus vaccine.
Putting it more succinctly:
1. The mark of the beast dealt with allegiance; the coronavirus vaccine is about medical care.
2. The mark of the beast dealt with the nation of Rome; the coronavirus vaccine doesn’t.
3. The mark of the beast dealt with false religions which came forth from Rome; the coronavirus vaccine doesn’t.
4. The mark of the beast dealt with corrupt government; the coronavirus vaccine deals with medical care.
5. The ones who take the mark of the beast hate God; that isn’t true of everyone who takes the coronavirus vaccine.
6. The ones who refuse to take the mark of the beast were persecuted by the government of Rome; those who refuse the coronavirus vaccine are not persecuted by Rome.
7. The symbolic number of the mark of the beast points to Solomon’s apostasy and rebellion against God; but that is not true of those who take the coronavirus vaccine.
The mark of the beast is not the coronavirus vaccine.
In this final lesson on the subject, let’s consider some important lessons and applications.
Lesson One: Be Diligent In Studying The Word Of God
The exhortation of Timothy by Paul stands as a reminder for us continually:
2 Timothy 2:15-Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The newfound hype regarding this vaccine is only the most recent in a long string of speculation brought forth by a mishandling of the Word of God. As a culture, many have traded the Word of God for unfounded conspiracy theories. To give you an idea of this, one friend (who means well) told me about their belief regarding the vaccine:
“Are you aware that this vaccine compromises you so you will be less & less able to fend off simpler medical conditions? That it can create blood clots, has nano technology robots in it, it can cause miscarriages, tremors, neurological problems, can cause death. It has stuff in it that enables you to adhere to technology. Worst of all over time it so radically alters you DNA that you are no longer made in the genetic image of God but you become genetically non human.All of these changes are permanent & irreversible. I’ve no idea if this is or is not the so called mark of the beast but it doesn’t have to be. It wrecks havoc on humans, & makes you yourself non human.”
I am not a doctor (nor is my friend here referenced), but I am a Christian.
And as a Christian, I can tell you this: I am not in the least bit concerned that this vaccine is the mark of the beast.
Lesson Two: The Bible And Medicine
The Bible continually discusses the legitimate use of medicine. Some friends that I have studied with have told me that they believe doctors and medicines to be ungodly, and that it is a sin for Christians to seek medical help.
Yet what does the Bible teach?
Consider king Hezekiah.
Isaiah 38:21-Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a lump of figs, and apply it as a poultice on the boil, and he shall recover.”
Did you notice that? God instructed Isaiah to make medicine to heal the king.
The Scriptures are full of references to medicines of various kinds.
“In the figurative account of the evil case of Judah and Israel because of their backsliding (Jer 30:13), the prophet says they have had no rephu’ah, or “healing medicines.” Later on (Jer 46:11), when pronouncing the futility of the contest of Neco against Nebuchadrezzar, Jeremiah compares Egypt to an incurably sick woman going up to Gilead to take balm as a medicine, without any benefit. In Ezekiel’s vision of the trees of life, the leaves are said (the King James Version) to be for medicine, the Revised Version (British and American) reads “healing,” thereby assimilating the language to that in Re 22:2, “leaves of the tree …. for the healing of the nations” (compare Eze 47:12). Very few specific remedies are mentioned in the Bible. “Balm of Gilead” is said to be an anodyne (Jer 8:22; compare Jer 51:8). The love-fruits, “mandrakes” (Ge 30:14) and “caperberry” (Ec 12:5 margin), myrrh, anise, rue, cummin, the “oil and wine” of the Good Samaritan, soap and sodic carbonate (“natron,” called by mistake “nitre”) as cleansers, and Hezekiah’s “fig poultice” nearly exhaust the catalogue. In the Apocrypha we have the heart, liver and gall of Tobit’s fish (Tobit 6:7). In the Egyptian pharmacopoeia are the names of many plants which cannot be identified, but most of the remedies used by them were dietetic, such as honey, milk, meal, oil, vinegar, wine. The Babylonian medicines, as far as they can be identified, are similar. In the Mishna we have references to wormwood, poppy, hemlock, aconite and other drugs. The apothecary mentioned in the King James Version (Ex 30:25, etc.) was a maker of perfumes, not of medicines. Among the fellahin many common plants are used as folk-remedies, but they put most confidence in amulets or charms, which are worn by most Palestinian peasants to ward off or to heal diseases.” (Alexander Macalister, “Medicine,” in James Orr, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 117347-117366 (Kindle Edition); Osnova)
“Medical care in biblical times frequently employed the use of different kinds of salves and ointments. Olive oil was used widely, either alone or as an ingredient in ointments. The use of oil for the treatment of wounds is mentioned in Isa. 1: 6 and Luke 10: 34. Oil also became a symbol of medicine, and its use was coupled with prayer for the ill (Mark 6: 13; James 5: 14). Herbs and various products obtained from many different plants were among the most popular of ancient medicines. These were applied to the body as a poultice, or, in many cases, taken by mouth. Frankincense and myrrh—gum resins obtained from trees—were commonly used to treat a variety of diseases, although their main use was in perfumes and incense. Wine was commonly thought to have medicinal value. One of its uses was to alleviate pain and discomfort. Wine, mixed with gall and myrrh, was offered to Jesus prior to His crucifixion, but He refused to drink it (Matt. 27: 34; Mark 15: 23). Wine also was used to sooth stomach and intestinal disorders (1 Tim. 5: 23) and to treat a variety of other physical problems. Beer was also widely used as an ingredient in several medicines, especially by the Babylonians….When Leah suffered a temporary period of sterility, she sent her son, Reuben, to the field to obtain mandrakes. Her barren sister, Rachel, also asked for some of the mandrakes (Gen. 30: 9-24). The root of the mandrake was widely used in the ancient world to promote conception, although there is no reason to believe it was truly effective. It was also used as a narcotic.” (Kenneth Eakins, “Diseases,” in Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary,14729-14755 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: Holman Reference)
The writer of Proverbs teaches us about the importance of alcohol as a remedy for those who are suffering (physically and mentally):
Proverbs 31:6-8-6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more. 8 Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
When Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, He instructed us about the important medicinal use of drugs:
Luke 10:34-So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
The Samaritan used oils and wines to bring healing to the man who had been injured.
When Paul wrote to Timothy, he instructed him about the importance of using medicine:
1 Timothy 5:23-No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.
I believe these words from the apocryphal book Wisdom Of Sirach are helpful here:
Sirach 38:1-2, 4-8, 12-15-““Honor the physician with the honor due him, according to your need of him, for the Lord created him; for healing comes from the Most High, and he will receive a gift from the king… The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible man will not despise them. Was not water made sweet with a tree in order that his power might be known? And he gave skill to men that he might be glorified in his marvelous works. By them he heals and takes away pain; the pharmacist makes of them a compound. His works will never be finished; and from him health is upon the face of the earth… And give the physician his place, for the Lord created him; let him not leave you, for there is need of him. There is a time when success lies in the hands of physicians, for they too will pray to the Lord that he should grant them success in diagnosis and in healing, for the sake of preserving life. He who sins before his Maker, may he fall into the care of a physician.”
Whether you choose to receive the coronavirus vaccine or not, please remember that God has always approved of the legitimate use of medicine.
Lesson Three: Turn To God Today
Solomon is used by John as an example of apostasy. Yet there is also hope for redemption, for whosoever will turn to God!
Indeed, Solomon himself is an example of this.
“It is worth considering the possibility, at least, that Solomon may, in his last years, have turned back to the Lord in true repentance and faith. There are several indications that this could really have happened, even though the biblical accounts of his life and death never say so specifically. For example, it seems significant that the Lord himself, in His human incarnation as Jesus the Christ, referred to Solomon’s glory and his wisdom, but never to his apparent apostasy. It is also interesting to note that the account of Solomon’s career as recorded in the two Books of Chronicles, covering some 13 chapters in the two books, never refers to Solomon’s foreign wives at all, except for the one verse (2 Chron. 8: 11) that mentions Pharaoh’s daughter, the first and most important of these wives. And that is the verse that tells us how Solomon took her out of Jerusalem, building a special house for her. The reason he did this was because of the holy places in Jerusalem and the presence of the ark of God’s covenant there, the implication being that her presence as a pagan religionist in Jerusalem was incompatible with these sacred items in the city. Neither does the Chronicles account refer at all to Solomon’s apostasy as caused by these foreign wives or God’s rebuke to him because of them and their idols. Furthermore, the Chronicler never mentions Bathsheba and the rather unsavory background of her affair with David that eventually led to Solomon’s own birth. Neither does it mention the rebellion of Adonijah and the subsequent executions of Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei that were ordered by Solomon. All this is found only in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings. It seems very much as though Ezra (who is believed by most scholars to have written 1 and 2 Chronicles) deliberately omitted all the “negative” aspects of Solomon’s birth, life, and career, recording only the “positive” items, as far as possible. Yet he surely had access to the books of 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings when he compiled the Books of Chronicles. A number of passages in these earlier books are quoted almost verbatim in Chronicles (for example, compare 2 Chronicles 10: 1–19, describing the initial acts of Rehoboam, who succeeded Solomon as king, with 1 Kings 12: 1–19). Thus, Ezra certainly knew about Solomon’s problems, so why did he omit them in his own account? It seems most likely that Ezra wanted the exiles returning from Babylon, for whom he was first writing, to dwell only on the positive things in the life of Solomon. Yet he did not hesitate to write about the sins and weaknesses of Rehoboam, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Uzziah, Ahaz, and the other later kings of Judah. So why did he spare Solomon? After all, it was through his initial disobedience that the idolatrous practices that later led to the Babylonian exile had been introduced into Jerusalem. One reasonable answer might be that he knew somehow—or at least had reason to believe—that Solomon had indeed repented and received forgiveness in his later years. A later evil king of Judah, Manasseh, had been worse than any of the kings before him, according to 2 Kings 21: 9, causing God to pronounce the certainty of Jerusalem’s coming destruction. No offsetting goodness was ever found in King Manasseh, at least according to the record in 2 Kings (21: 1–18). Yet Manasseh did later repent and turn back to God, and Ezra the scribe recorded this in his account (2 Chron. 33: 12–17), happy to be able to show his people that even such a wicked king as Manasseh could and did repent and return to the God of his fathers. Now, even though he did not have positive evidence of Solomon’s repentance (as he did for Manasseh, who had lived much nearer his own lifetime), he evidently felt that he had enough reason to believe that Solomon had returned to the Lord to warrant omitting the unsavory items and only “accentuating the positive” in his life…“Remember also that Solomon had a great deal to say about children, especially in his Book of Proverbs, as well as the importance of being true to the “wife of thy youth.” Was all of this nothing but hypocrisy on his part? The mother of his son Rehoboam was Naamah, an Ammonitess (2 Chron. 12: 13). Although she was from another country, Ammon, she could not have been one of the foreign wives he married later in life, for Rehoboam was 41 years old when he began to reign (2 Chron. 12: 13), and thus had been born a year before Solomon began his reign of 40 years (2 Chron. 9: 30). Now, as already noted, Solomon was no more than 20 years old when he became king, which means that he was in his late teens when he wed Naamah. Thus she must have been his first love, the “wife of his youth.” Most likely, she was the beautiful young woman praised by him so highly in his “Song of Songs.” This will be discussed more fully in chapter 2 of this book, as we try to look in greater depth at this beautiful love song of the young King Solomon. But if the Song of Solomon was written early in his life, his Book of Ecclesiastes was surely written very late in his life. In this book, he is clearly looking back at the “vanity” of his former dedication to wisdom, riches, and fame with apparent deep regret. He finally concluded his book (and probably his last written words) with the admonition to young people to “fear God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it will be evil” (Eccles. 12: 13–14).” (Henry M. Morris, The Remarkable Wisdom of Solomon: Ancient Insights From The Song Of Solomon, Proverbs, And Ecclesiastes, 484-534 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR; Master Books)
If you need to turn to the Lord today in belief, repentance, and baptism (Acts 2:16-47), or if you need to return to the Lord in repentance and prayer (1 John 1:7-2:2), please do so today.
The churches of Christ stand ready to assist you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.