Summary: Whose brand do we carry? Is it the mark of the Antichrist in our attitudes and way of life, or do we carry the mark of the Lord Jesus Christ? Has the devil tried to rustle you from the Lord?
By Pastor Jim May
When our country was young and the herds of cattle ranged freely on the plains, before barbed wire fences came into being, the only way that a rancher could positively identify his cattle was by placing a brand upon their flanks. Some of the brands, like the Flying W, the Rocking Horse, the Z Bar, the Running W of the King Ranch and others are famous and some are still in use.
It wasn’t hard in many cases for the cattle rustlers to change the brand so they could steal them without being noticed. One of most famous brand changes happened when the XIT Brand was changed to a Star with a Cross in the middle. Cattle rustlers were pretty ingenious when it came to changing brands, but many were caught and executed on the spot.
It isn’t only cattle, horses and other animals that are branded though. I want you to know that you are branded as well. In fact, every man, woman and child on the face of the earth carries a brand, a mark if you will, upon them.
Surely, there will come a day when the Antichrist will require everyone alive to take his mark. What that mark will be is very much in question, but it is unmistakable that it will be a mark that is easily seen either by the naked eye or by some sort of scanning equipment because no one will be able to buy or sell without the mark. It will be universal in its application and all who refuse to take the mark will be persecuted and sentenced to death.
But the Antichrist, under the direction of Satan, is not the only one who places his mark upon mankind. God marks those who are His also. His mark is not one that can be seen with the eye or with a scanner like that of the Antichrist, but the mark is there nonetheless.
For some, the marks in their bodies, resulting from service to the Lord and the persecution of men, are marks that identify them as a Christian. The Apostle Paul had some of these kinds of marks. The scars of beatings, the disfigurement of tortures and the physical pain resulting from imprisonment, shipwreck, stoning and being left for dead by those who were anti-Christian, were plainly visible in Paul’s body.
Galatians 6:17, "From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."
But the mark that God has upon those that are His are much more than just these kinds of physical marks. They are visible in other ways as well.
John 13:35, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
Love is one of the marks of God’s people. It is a love that goes deeper than the love of the world. The compassion and sympathy of God’s people goes farther and deeper than anything that the worldly crown can do.
That has been proven in the past several months with the recent disasters that have stricken our nation. One news report that I heard yesterday quoted a research finding that said that Faith Based Relief efforts to all the devastated areas was far quicker in coming, had a far greater impact and was able to help people when they needed it most. The Federal Government, with all of its money, power and manpower could not do what the Christian community could do to meet the needs of people when they needed it most.
In addition to the character traits and attitude differences between Christians and the people of the world, there is yet another way that we are branded.
2 Timothy 2:19, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these words to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."