… I figured I would post something pertaining to it (I know, I’m a cheese ball for even posting anything about it). So much mystery surrounds the mark of the beast. It’s just so blatant, but what does it mean? How will it appear? How will it manifest itself? I think this guy does a good job of explaining it without being nuts like so many fanatical eschatalogically dispensational types (e.g. Rev. Irvin Baxter, Jr., not all dispensationalists in general). I would like to make it known that I hold to the idea that the church will go through the tribulation; and that is the position of the paper below. I personally believe that scripture is rather clear concerning this, that the church will endure persecution, up to the very end, when Christ returns one more time to setup His kingdom, destroying His enemies and saving those who are eagerly waiting for Him. Why does the church think it will escape trials? That has been my position since I came to Christ, and in studying the scriptures over the years, I still hold to that position. That’s not to say I am any final authority on the matter at all (I’m no scholar, and there are people way smarter than me who would disagree with my position); I have a long way to go in my understand of these things; and also scripture is our final infallible authority anyway. This paper below supports my position on the tribulation. I’m really not convinced just yet on the whole amillenial position of most reformed people, mainly because Revelation seems to be clear that there will be a thousand year reign of Christ. So I have some undefined doctrines concerning end time matters. But, I’m fully convinced there will be one more return of Christ (not one secret return of Christ to rapture His people, then later come back again to setup His kingdom). I believe in one final return, where at the sound of the trumpet the dead in Christ shall rise first, and those of us who remain will be caught up with Him in the air; I believe this is what is called the Day of the Lord, the day in which He returns to destroy His enemies, redeem His people, and setup His kingdom. I’m convicted that all believers need to be ready for tribulation unto death. This is what Bonhoeffer believed, and lived out in Nazi Germany; faithful unto death.
Here’s an excerpt:
“The Mark: 666
The second means whereby the worshippers of the Lamb may be distinguished from the followers of the beast, the godly from the ungodly, is the mark of the beast. It is quite distinct from the first, not only in its character but also in its effect. The first means of distinction is the speech of the image of the beast, the second is a mark which everyone must receive and exhibit on his forehead or right hand; the former leads to the exposure and death of those that refuse to worship the beast, the latter to their expulsion from society: they cannot buy or sell. The latter, the mark of the beast, is, evidently, designed to supplement the former. the speech of the image. For the false prophet is, evidently, determined that absolutely every one without exception shall worship the anti-christian beast, and that in all the dominion of Antichrist no follower of the Lamb shall be left. To accomplish this purpose the speech of the image is not sufficient. It is conceivable that some, that many, may elude its detection. It will accomplish chiefly that the leaders of the Church, those that are called to preach the Gospel, to teach and to admonish the people of God, those who by virtue of their very position as leaders are called to confess the name of Christ and to denounce the name of Antichrist, are exposed and persecuted to the death. But this does not satisfy the false prophet. All must be exposed. And so he devises the mark of the beast, and “causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.” From this cunning device no man can escape. For the false prophet so arranges matters “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.” The mark of the beast is very effective. It will, indeed, divide men into two clearly distinct groups and opposing camps: the followers of the Lamb and the worshippers of the beast. In those days one will be able to discern clearly between him that serveth the Lord and him that serveth him not.”
Some more food for thought concerning the pre-trib rapture: Is the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Biblical? – Brian Schwertley