Many bible scholars and students alike believe we are living in the last of the last days. I
do also. Due to the preponderance of at least some knowledge of bible prophecy, many
believers are prone to wonder about “the mark of the beast” predicted in the 13th
Chapter of Revelation. What is it? Is it a number tattooed on ones hand or forehead? Is
it a computer chip implanted under the skin? Is is our social security number or
something more sinister coming in the near future? Or, does Revelation use
metaphorical or symbolic language to describe our cell phones, always in our hand and
on our minds? I don’t think anyone knows. However, I do think there is a question, much
more importantly to be asked!
Have you received the mark of the Spirit?
After Jesus’ resurrection and just before He ascended into heaven, the disciples asked
Him if He would now “restore the kingdom to Israel”? This was both a political and
prophetic question. The eleven were still desiring Jesus to throw off the Roman
shackles of oppression and bring liberty and God promised glory to their native land. In
other words, they asked a question about what they believed “end time prophecy” had
predicted. Jesus answered them with a word of correction. He said it was not for them
to know the times and seasons the Father had put in His own power. He quickly
But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit comes upon you:
and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea,
and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The disciples were concerned about the power (Greek word, authority) to know the
timing and detail of the end times, but Jesus was concerned about them having the
power (Greek word, ability) to be His witnesses to a lost world! The disciples were
concerned with their authority to know a mystery. Jesus was concerned with their ability
to proclaim a message!
This reveals a mistake often made by Christ’s followers today. Some are singularly
focused on their study of end time prophecy, while giving little or no effort to the winning of souls or proclaiming the Good News of God’s kingdom. Don’t get me wrong. The study of end time prophecy and specifically the book of Revelation is worthy of our time. The book itself even promises blessing to those who read it. We must remember
though, Jesus has not yet returned and while this world is getting darker and darker with
sin and rebellion toward God, we who are the salt and light of the world have a mandate
to go into all the world announcing the good news of Jesus to those at risk of spending
eternity without God! Now remember, Jesus emphasized our receiving the Holy Spirit
and His power in order to effectively be His witnesses!
Just days after Jesus ascended, He fulfilled his promise of sending the Holy Spirit to
empower the church. Jesus and Peter after Him called this experience a “baptism with
the Holy Spirit.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty
wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared
unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in tongues,
as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now this phenomenal occurrence started quite a stir. A crowd of devout Jews outside the building overheard the outburst of inspired utterance and worship coming from the
disciples prayer meeting. “What does this mean?”, they asked. Peter seized the
moment, preached about the now fulfilled promise of the Holy Spirit empowering
people, explaining that it was actually proof positive that the Jesus whom they had
crucified was both Lord and Christ, was risen from the dead and now sat at the right
hand of God. Three thousand people believed and were added to the church after Peter
encouraged them to repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit that had come into
the world just that day!
Think this through. Speaking in tongues (prayer language inspired by the Holy Spirit
described by Jesus as a sign that follows believers) was and is evidence that the Holy
Spirit has come, that Jesus has ascended to the throne of God and poured out His
Spirit, therefore providing evidence that He is alive, also signifying that He was no
ordinary trouble maker executed for a crime, but rather the Son of God, crucified for
the sins of the world!
This same experience of receiving the Holy Spirit baptism was repeated in Acts 10 with
the household of Cornelius and in Acts 19 with the twelve men of Ephesus. Speaking in
tongues was the common result as believers received the mark of the Holy Spirit!
I call it the mark of the Spirit because of what the Apostle Paul later wrote to the
That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed,
ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,
Paul told the Ephesian believers that they had been “sealed” with the Spirit. The word
“sealed” is “sphragizo” in the original Greek language. It literally means to stamp or
mark, to set a seal upon, to mark with a seal. The word was used to describe the mark
or seal made with wax and a signet stamp or ring on letters and other important
documents. It was used to prove, confirm or attest to the authenticity, ownership or origin of a thing or a document. Thus, the seal of the Spirit is simply and
wonderfully God’s mark of ownership and authenticity upon the Christian.
Just as one must hear the gospel before one believes, one must believe before one
receives the mark of the Holy Spirit. All believers should move on beyond just being
saved and be empowered to be a witness for Jesus by being filled, saturated and
covered with the Holy Spirit! When the Apostle Paul met disciples in Ephesus in Acts 19,
he asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit since they had believed. He didn’t
ask if they had discovered the mark of the beast but rather had they received “the mark
of the Spirit”. Before the day was done, he helped them to receive the Holy Spirit
baptism, speak in their Spirit inspired prayer language and even begin to prophecy,
moving in the giftings of the Holy Spirit!
When a Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit, praying in the Spirit’s power and
ministering in the Spirit’s giftings, there can be no doubt that he or she has
experienced God, is owned by God and is equipped to share the Good News of
This is why every believer should be baptized in the Holy Spirit! Yes, every believer
should receive all that God has for us, so that we can be all we can be for Him!
Let’s be marked by God! Let’s allow God to stamp every one of us with his signet!
Let’s let the world know we are His and His alone! Let’s be His witnesses!!!
For Jesus and His Kingdom,
Note: It has been often taught that being “sealed with the Spirit” means that believers
are sealed (or sealed up) in Christ, for the purpose of security. Those who believe in the
doctrine of “unconditional security of the believer” use the term to give credence to their
theological position. The thought is that we are sealed to such a degree that we cannot
and will not ever be released from our position in Christ. They teach that the seal of the
Spirit cannot be broken. While it is true that a seal was used to provide security to a
document, it is not true that the seal could not be broken. It had to be broken so that the document could be read. The purpose of the seal was to secure the ownership and
authenticity of the document and to provide proof that the document had not been
altered, tampered with or compromised before delivery. It should be noted that Pilate
had a seal set upon the tomb of Jesus. Thank God, that seal was broken when Jesus
rose from dead and the stone that covered the tomb was rolled away. A believer in
Jesus is not sealed in with no escape. He may leave God’s presence, kingdom and
family any time he so desires. We are marked with the seal of heaven to show
ownership and authenticity. Such was the case in Acts 10 when Jewish believers
accepted the authenticity of Gentile conversions seeing that they had received the Holy
Spirit and spoke with inspired languages.