"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 had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
Yikes. :) So, on an end-of-the-world theme in Revelation… this is very interesting. If you have ever heard of the number of the beast, it comes from the verse directly following this. And, so... as we live in the last days, I suppose we can expect someone to try to put marks in our foreheads at some point. :) My suggestion is... don't do it. :) (Revelation 14:9-11 if you want to see why, exactly.) You know, I was watching a Veggie Tales video the other day, where these vegetables were supposed to sing the bunny song, or get burned in the furnace (the vegetable interpretation of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego) and I was thinking to myself that we rarely have to worship something other than God or face death anymore... It happened a lot in the Bible, occasionally in the Book of Mormon, and there are several pioneer stories about it... but, you know, nothing too recent. ...but here it is, in Revelation, predicting it in our future. I think that it is an interesting test... easy to fail. Especially in this context, where it isn't really even threatening immediate death, but only the ability to buy and sell... which, you know, could mean *eventual* death, but nothing that is in-your-face, hold-a-gun-to-your-head threatening. So... if it meant being able to buy some food for your family, you might justify it and get a little devil sign tattooed on your forehead. Ugly, yes... but livable. However, it is a huge test of the very first commandment. And, of course, of the power of our personal principles. I wonder sometimes if I would be able to handle the pioneer stuff... if someone rode up on a horse, pointed a gun at me, and asked if I was a Mormon... could I be as brave as some of the pioneers and say yes? And, then... in the challenge that is reserved for us... will I be able to refuse the label, the mark, that represents things that I definitely don't believe in... if it means that I can't buy food, or books? :) Hopefully I would put eternal consequences and God’s will before the book or the loaf of bread… but if it meant starving, or having nothing to read, seems like a very tough choice. So maybe I need a year’s supply of food and books. ;) Anyway, something to think about on this fine day. If people ask us to give up God for the necessities of daily life, are we strong enough… or prepared enough… to refuse?