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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Seventieth (Control)

Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person did or said things to control you? Their end goal being to get their way either in a situation or in the relationship as a whole? If not, consider yourself blessed! Sometimes, this type of relationship is not obvious while we're in it, but we look back and realize that's exactly what they were doing.

While the details and specifics of what is from YHWH versus from Satan is complicated at times, it's safe to say a relationship of control is from Satan. The most effective of which involves deception and manipulation, because then the person being controlled is unaware of it and continues in that relationship. The person, without realizing, loses themselves and becomes a puppet of the controller, convinced that what they want is what the controller wants, and getting mad at themselves at times because they think they messed something up and should have known better.

These types of relationships are not just limited to interpersonal ones. They also occur in society as a whole between the citizens and the various organizations. Some of the methods of control are obvious: an advertisement is designed to get us to buy a product or "buy" (vote for) a politician (your "price" is the one vote that you are allowed). Other methods of control are hidden: an email from a government administration that has social media companies remove content from platforms (thereby controlling what you see) or algorithms that control what news articles, search results, or social media content you see.

Either way, interpersonal or organizational, these relationships of control are not Godly. I think we can agree that the single-most important thing YHWH wants for us is to be saved. It is so important to Him that He sacrificed His only Son so that we would have just the opportunity to be saved (1 John 4:9-10). Even with something this big, this important, and even with what it cost Him, He still only desires that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4). He doesn't force anyone. He also doesn't deceive or manipulate anyone into it. He presents the truth and lets the individual decide, He doesn't lie in order to achieve the result He desires (John 8:42-47).

Satan, on the other hand, will do anything to get what he desires. He lied to Eve in the garden to get her to eat the fruit (Genesis 3:4), he inflicted pain, destroyed property, and even murdered people to try to get Job to forsake YHWH (Job 1:13-22). He desires to have what YHWH has with His least to have what that looks like since his methods are motivated by control vice love.

To that end, we need to be able to identify these relationships of control so we can fight against them, or at least avoid being subject to them. I saw an article the other day about some Catholic cardinal who's been slowly having things taken away from him based on the things he's been speaking about that the Vatican is not happy with. Starting in 2016, he has had offices and honors removed from him for "bolstering 'disunity'" in the Catholic church, and the latest report is that he will have his salary removed. Good on the guy for sticking to what he believes is right, despite what they've done to him, but this is an example of a relationship of control. And it's in an organization supposedly founded on the teachings of Yeshua (one of the beliefs of the Catholic church is that it is the only true church because it was founded by Peter, who was "given the keys" by Yeshua). Despite all this, the cardinal has maintained silence on these retaliations and refused any suggestions of hostility to the Pope, which is more representative of Yeshua than the Vatican is demonstrating.

Now, you're probably going to say, "but Rob, every organization you are, or want to be, a part of has to have some measure of control over its members." And yes, that is true. In order for an organization to function, there has to be some sort of control. In a perfect world, especially in a church of that world, all people would know what is right and what is best, and do it. However, we don't live in a perfect world. But we do have freedom of choice, even if that choice is one of the hardest choices you'll ever have to make.

That's where Yeshua gives us comfort with His teachings, though. We just have to trust in His promises instead of what we see with our eyes happening in the world, or what we fear will happen. We are all members of some organization, whether it be the place we work, a religious establishment, a social media account, a bank account, or simply just living under a state or federal government. Each of these organizations have rules or expectations we have to abide by if we want to continue being a part of them. The question is if we're willing to lose our standing in those organizations if their rules or expectations become such that they violate what we know is right.

There are a lot of Christians out there reading Revelation and looking at what's happening in the world, saying efforts of national and global governing bodies are leading to the "beast system" talked about in scripture (Revelation 13:16-17). This system is from the beast that rose from the earth, and it is 100% about control since it prevents whoever doesn't have the mark of the beast from buying or selling. However, if you read closely, you'll see that according to the prophecy, everyone will be required to have this mark if he or she wants to buy or sell. The worry is that if we are a part of this system we will be subject to the follow-on wrath of YHWH (Revelation 14:9-11, 16:2), but we should not worry about this.

First, we need to understand what this mark is. The problem is we have very little in scripture to get its context because there is only one verse outside of Revelation that uses this Greek word, charagma (Acts 17:29). It's in the account of Paul's sermon about the unknown god, and is used when he talks about not thinking God is some gold/silver/stone image, charagmati, designed and created by man. This means the mark is a physical thing, which is confirmed by the Helps Word-studies definition of it being a stamp used to impress a coin or seal. So, depending on when this particular part of prophecy was/will be fulfilled (Revelation 13:16-17) we may already be using this mark given the satanic imagery that is on our currency already.

Additionally, we can sometimes look in the Septuagint to see if there is context for Greek words used in the New Testament, but in this case, charagma is nowhere to be found. If you're of the majority of the Christian population that believes this mark is something put onto a person, like a tattoo or something, the fact that this word is not in the Septuagint should surprise you. If you recall all the way back to the first murder on earth, YHWH did something to Cain because of this transgression: He marked him so no one would kill him and he would have to roam the world as a fugitive until he died (Genesis 4:11-15). This mark was an identification to others, so if the mark in Revelation were something similar, the same Greek word would be used. Instead, however, the word semeion is used, which means "that by which a person or thing is distinguished from others and known," and is used throughout the New Testament for this purpose. For example, circumcision was once the mark of righteousness of faith (Romans 4:11).

The other aspect of this beast mark is being subject to YHWH's wrath. Will that include everyone that has the mark? If you notice, wherever this wrath is given, it states those who have the mark of the beast and worship its image (Revelation 14:9-11, 16:2, 19:20). So, it would seem it requires both of those things to be true in order for an individual to be subject to the wrath. In fact, when John sees those that overcame the beast and its image standing by the glass sea in heaven, it says nothing about them not receiving the mark (Revelation 15:1-4). Now, this could mean they never got it because they were killed for not worshipping the beast or they got it but it didn't preclude them from coming to heaven. Either way, it's interesting that the mark is omitted here when in other places involving wrath it is always tied to worshipping the beast.

The bottom line is, whatever this new system is that the world wants to institute, it may or may not be the beast system, but it will most certainly be about control. We, as Christians, need to look at all organizations and systems we are in, and those that come in the future, to ensure we are not compromising the truth, what we know is right, and our values just to make our lives easier and remain in those systems and organizations. If we stand up for those things, staying strong to Yeshua's teachings, YHWH will take care of us. So have no fear!

Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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