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(Some of the Bible verses quoted in this study have had comments added in brackets. The sole purpose of this study technique is to emphasise or introduce a line of thought. All verses KJV unless otherwise stated).

God has made the number "666" to be looked upon as something evil for nearly two thousand years.
Almost everyone who has read anything in the Bible knows that this number is associated with evil and mystery.
Today, there are many theories as to what the mark is, and how it will be implemented.

Is it a microchip, a tattoo, or is it referring to a spiritual condition?

Although there are many claims, no one can say for sure what it is; but that shouldn't stop us from considering all the options.
By studying all the viable options, we will be in a better position to recognise the mark when it is implemented.

In this study we are going to investigate an idea centred on the tattoo theory. Rather than demonstrating that the mark is a tattoo, this study deals more with the relevance of the number 666, and its association with being a literal tattoo.
You could think of the tattoo as something similar to the tattoo given to the Jews during the holocaust.

A 'Tattoo' does align closest to the Greek word for mark G5480; which means;
a scratch or etching, that is, stamp (as a badge of servitude): graven, mark.

To pursue a clearer understanding of the mark of the beast, we first have to lay a foundation of events transpiring during the Great Tribulation, at which time the mark is enforced. We should also point out before proceeding, that a pre-tribulation rapture is NOT supported by Scripture.

Jesus clearly states that the wicked are first gathered to burn; then the saints are gathered;
(Mat 13:30) Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
(For an in depth study on the rapture, please read full study on this topic here: Pretrib Rapture: truth or trap ).

During the Great Tribulation, the gospel presented by the 144,000 will be preached to ALL the world;
(Mat 24:14) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

When the 144,000 are sealed and empowered by the Word and Holy Spirit (the Two Witnesses), their focus will be to move people into the light of truth.
(You can read a full study on the Two Witnesses here: Two Witnesses ).

First, the 144,000 are sealed and 'given' the everlasting gospel to preach. This is described in Rev 7, and is also paralleled in the following verse;
(Rev 14:6) And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

John receiving and eating the little book in Rev 10, is another parallel prophecy to this event.
It represents what each of the 144,000 prophets will experience, when they are sealed, and 'eat' the words they are to proclaim;
(Rev 10:11) And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

Once the Great Tribulation begins, the Two Witnesses are only 'given' for a period of 1260 days;
(Rev 11:3) And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy (through the 144,000 prophets) a thousand two hundred and threescore days,...
(Note: power unto does not appear in original text. This has been added by translaters).

During this period of time, God will use the 144,000 'servant the prophets' to speak His words, and to proclaim the 3 angel's messages at their appointed times.
They will continue this duty until the close of probation at the 7th trumpet;
(Rev 10:7) But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his (144,000) servants the prophets.

At the commencement of the Great Tribulation, the first 4 trumpets will deliver redemptive judgements upon the earth, which will harm the earth, sea and fountains of water. These events are designed to get the attention of mankind, so that they will seriously consider what the 144,000 will have to say on behalf of God. The trumpets do not commence until after the 144,000 are sealed;
(Rev 7:3) Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants (the prophets) of our God in their foreheads.

So, once the trumpets commence, the first proclamation by the 144,000 will be;
(Rev 14:7) ...Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment (of the living) is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (the very things He has just partially [1/3] destroyed during the first 4 trumpets).

This 'hour of judgement' that "is come", is the same 'hour' Jesus told us "shall come";
(Rev 3:10) ...the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try (test) them that dwell (live) upon the earth.

This is really the whole purpose of the Great Tribulation. God will test the faith of all the living, in order to separate the sheep from the goats. Everyone will face a similar test to the 3 Hebrews, which stood before the golden 'image', set up by the King of Babylon. In refusing to obey man and bow down before the 'image', the penalty was death in the fiery furnace. In like manner, each person will face various trying situations, designed to test their faith. On passing their test, they will receive the seal of God. By the end of the 1260 days (at the 7th trumpet), every living person will have either the seal of God, or the mark of the beast. They will have chosen between obeying God, or obeying the laws of Babylon.

The first 4 trumpet judgements will come upon the world 'as a thief', and will trigger the formation of Babylon. Therefore, the second proclamation presented by the 144,000 during the Great Tribulation, will be the warning that Babylon is false and corrupt;
(Rev 14:8) And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city,...

Could the above prophecy be fulfilled before Babylon is even formed?
Although many pieces of Babylon exist today, we know that the Babylon spoken of in this verse is an entity which ALL the world will obey (other than those written in the book of life).
We could also ask the same question about the third message;
(Rev 14:9) And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
(Rev 14:10) The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God,...

Can this prophecy be fulfilled before the point in time arrives that the mark of the beast is being implemented?
Although people have been able to read these messages for nearly 2000 years, the true fulfilment of these verses can only take place once Babylon is fully formed
(ie, when ALL obey it), and the mark of the beast is ready to be enforced. People who lived 1000 years ago, or even 150 years ago, can not claim that they fulfilled these messages.

At the commencement of their prophesying, some people will follow the truth presented by the 144,000, others will remain in darkness. After 890 days (2 1/2 years: being 2/3 through the Tribulation period of 1335 days), all people will have taken their positions, and the gospel stalls out. Some will have received the message of the 144,000, some will be obeying the beast; and others will be sitting on the fence, refusing to obey anyone.
This marks the time of the 5th trumpet;
(Rev 9:1) And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth (speaking of satan being cast out of heaven): and to him (ie, to satan) was given the key of the bottomless pit.
(Rev 9:2) And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
(Rev 9:3) And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power...
(Rev 9:11) And they (the locusts: fallen angels) had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon (= a destroying angel), but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon (= a destroyer, that is; satan).

So, satan is king over these locusts (fallen angels). The reason satan and his fallen angels are allowed to appear impersonating Jesus (ie, this is a counterfeit Second Coming), is that God requires every living person to have either the seal of God or the mark of the beast by the time of the Second Coming.
(Only sheep or goats, no middle ground).
You will see shortly that God uses these 'locusts' (fallen angels), to torment those without the seal of God; so that they will choose whom they will serve.
We find in the following Scripture that God is currently holding the devil back, to be released at the right time;
(2Th 2:3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come (the Second Coming), except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed (satan, who will come impersonating Jesus), the son of perdition;
(2Th 2:4) Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
(2Th 2:6) And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time... (at the 5th trumpet).

Paul speaks with familiarity toward this 'man of sin', who will show himself to be God; because he is identified in the Old Testament;
(Isa 14:12) "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,...
(Isa 14:13) For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;...
(Isa 14:14) ...I will be like the Most High.'
(Isa 14:15) Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.
(Isa 14:16) "Those who see you (when he becomes visible at the 5th trumpet) will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: 'Is this the man (of sin) who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms,...

Paul would have also seen this same theme in Ezekiel;
(Eze 28:2) ..."Because your (Lucifer) heart is lifted up, And you say, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas,' Yet you are a man (of sin), and not a god,...

So, continuing with Thessalonians;
(2Th 2:8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed (when released from the abyss at the 5th trumpet), whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
(2Th 2:9) Even him, whose coming (although looking like Jesus) is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
(2Th 2:10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
(2Th 2:11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
(2Th 2:12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

How can someone refuse to believe the truth unless they have HEARD the truth?

According to figures released by the American Bible society, just over half the world's population have never heard of Jesus Christ.
However, they will when God sends out His 144,000 'servants the prophets' during the tribulation.
Jesus sends this strong delusion mentioned in Thessalonians, because most of the world's inhabitants will have rejected the gospel by this time. Therefore, Jesus turns the world over to the devil to bring the drama to a climax.
They have heard the truth preached by the 144,000 and still do not believe. So at the 5th trumpet, God releases satan from the spirit world (the abyss or bottomless pit); only he will not appear as the devil, but as a glorious 'angel of light', (see 2Co 11:14).

Notice he is released from the same place where God had earlier cast him;
(Rev 12:9) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan,...: he was cast out into the earth,...

At his appearing, at the 5th trumpet, he comes back up out of the earth;
(Rev 13:11) And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon (this is the dragon in sheep's clothing).

It is important to remember, that when the first beast of Rev 13 appears; that the deadly wound received by the papacy (in 1798) is healed.
It is not healing when the beast rises, but is healed.

This first beast rises as a result of the first 4 trumpet judgements, being still a future event. Therefore, the second beast cannot rise until after the first beast has risen. When satan does arrive, the civil/political/religious authorities will be "puppets" that carry out the evil schemes of the devil;
(Rev 13:12) And he (satan impersonating Jesus) exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
(Rev 13:13) And he (satan) doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, (this is a powerful deception, remember in Elijah's day, this was proof of the true God. Satan was also given power to make fire come down from heaven in the days of Job; see Job 1:16).

(Rev 13:14) And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power (from God) to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
(ie, he will cause man-kind to set up a one world religion honouring him; being an image of the one world religion set up by the papacy during the dark ages).

This is the time of the 3rd angel's message, that declares not to take the mark of the beast, or they will suffer the wrath of the 7 last plagues.
Here comes the rebellion ('falling away' mentioned in 2 Thess.), where God intends to flush out His sheep from the group that has so far refused the truth presented by the 144,000 (ie, the fence sitters and those already obeying the beast, but not yet marked);
(Rev 9:4) And it was commanded them (the locusts; fallen angels) that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
(Rev 9:5) And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
(This is a similar situation to when God allowed satan to inflict torment upon Job, but did not allow satan to kill him).

While this torment is happening, the devil (as God) will enable and empower civil authorities to set up 'an image' to the beast; his one world religion.

This is the point in time when the mark of the beast begins to be implemented.

Now that a foundation of events has been layed, we are going to consider the significance of the number 666.
Why did God ordain this number 666, and not 333 or 777?
The answer appears in Old Testament parallels, and is also seen 12 times in the book of Revelation.

It is possible that when satan appears, he will divide his subjects into groups.
The dividing of groups is a Biblical principle that we see clearly in the Old Testament.

Let's look at some of them
(Exodus 18:21) Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:

(Numbers 31:14) And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.

(2 Samuel 18:1-2) And David numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.

This military principle designed by God continues in today's military.
We see platoons, regiments and squads; all that have a leader.
Because of chaos and rebellion in the world, the devil, after he appears, could well do the same.

Consider this:

The beast that owns the mark, is the beast of greatest and highest authority. In other words, although the composite beast (1st beast), will be physically enforcing the mark of the beast, the initial order to do so, cannot 'come from' the composite beast, because no particular religious or political power can force the rest of the world to comply with its demands.
The composite beast has many members and as such, one member cannot demand submission from the rest of its members. If it could, then it would not be a composite beast. (Remember the composite beast is a coalition of world-wide church/state authorities).
This is why the mark is not enforced until after the second beast rises 'out of the earth'.

Check this verse-
(Rev. 13:18) Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count thenumber of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.
These Greek pronouns are "possessive".
So those who have understanding will know it is the number "belonging to the beast".

Remember there will be 3 distinct groups at the appearing of the devil (the second beast):
- Those who have accepted the testimony presented by the 144,000, and who have the seal of God.
- Those who freely obey the composite beast when it rises from the sea.
- Those who are undecided, and don't want to obey anyone.

At the appearing of satan and his angels at the 5th trumpet; he will declare that he is God and will set up 'the image to the beast'; that is, a one-world religion where he is God;
(2Th 2:4) Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

This strong delusion sent by God is designed to sort out the undecided using torment. Remember God used sword, famine, pestilence and wild beasts to sort out a remnant in Israel's time.
During the 5 months of torment, they are not to harm those in the first group;
(Rev 9:4) And it was commanded them (the locusts; fallen angels) that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

To maintain order, consider that the devil divides everyone within his control (those without the seal of God), into groups of 1,000.
Out of each 1000, one would be appointed as a leader, leaving 999 subjects per group.
To receive the right to rations and the ability to trade, a tattoo on the right hand will be implemented;
(Rev 13:16) And he (satan; as God) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
(Rev 13:17) And 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 commander of each thousand would receive the tattoo on the forehead.
The reason for the distinction between the forehead and right hand is rank.
Those who serve in Lucifer's government as officials will receive a tattoo on their foreheads as a mark of their rank, devotion and loyalty in Lucifer's court.
You might be surprised to learn that this process is mandated by God to make Lucifer's deception all the more secure. The Second Coming is not the only thing that satan will be allowed to counterfeit.
Notice what the Bible says about the 144,000:
(Rev 14:1) And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

In other words, the devil will imitate the distinction that God is going to bestow on His own servants!
The contrast, of course, is like daylight and darkness.
Nevertheless, officers in Lucifer's government will have the mark of the beast (that is the assumed name of the devil), tattooed on their foreheads.
(Incidentally, in most military organisations today, officers display rank on their collars or foreheads using hats.)

As you can see, this is another of satan's clever counterfeits.
During the 5 months of torment, many will exchange their souls for the ability to avoid further persecution, and to partake in earthly rations and trade; and will accept a tattoo on their right hand.
These partakers of the devil's one-world church/government will receive a tattoo on their saluting (right) hand showing allegiance and loyalty to this new order.
The irony here is important.

Men and women will wilfully and knowingly submit to this evil tattoo, rather than put their faith in God. The tattoo must be clearly visible, since it will have to be displayed to buy or sell what few precious rations are available.
By the time Jesus comes, there will be two classes of people:
- the slaves of the devil and the free in Christ
- the marked and the unmarked.

When the 5 months of torment of the 5th trumpet are complete, the 6th trumpet then occurs;
(Rev 9:13) The sixth angel sounded his trumpet,...
(Rev 9:15) And the four (fallen) angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. (NIV)

It is important to remember that salvation is still available until the seventh trumpet. During the 5 months, some that were following the beast, and witness the devil's method of enforced subjection, will see the light and accept the truth still being proclaimed by the 144,000. Remember they are still proclaiming the 3rd angel's message during this time;
(Rev 14:9-10) ...If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God,...

Now back to the 6th trumpet;
(Rev 9:15) And the four (fallen) angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. (NIV)

As already pointed out, many will see through the methods of this false god, and accept the testimony of the 144,000, and be sealed. Others will accept the mark wilfully, and yet others will stubbornly refuse to do either, and bear the torment. Satan will not tolerate rebellion to his authority; and at the 6th trumpet, he is permitted to kill 1/3 of mankind. Starting with the obvious rebels, 1/3 of each group of 999 will be killed, (ie, 333 is one third of 999). Those spared will be two thirds (2/3) or 666 out of 999. These 666 spared will all be tattooed and will be loyal to Satan.


When the devil is released from the abyss (Rev 9:1-3) he is not allowed to harm the people having the seal of God (Rev 9:4).
There are 3 classes of people at this time.
The people of God, the people who follow Lucifer, and the "refusnicks". These do not follow either; they refuse to be a
part of either side. Lucifer kills the third who are the refusnicks, and spares 2/3 who receive his mark to show loyalty of being spared. After subduing all that he can through torture, the devil then kills the remaining opposition, which the Bible says equals one third of the wicked.
This is the 6th trumpet war of Rev 9:14-21.
Just as God used the King of ancient Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar) to sift out a remnant from Israel;
God will use the King of modern Babylon (satan) to sift out a final remnant from the living.

And just as the King of ancient Babylon set up 'an image' to be worshiped;
the King of modern Babylon will also set up 'an image' to be worshiped (satan's one world religion/government).

God uses Lucifer to help in separating the sheep and goats!
And notice the counterfeit..... God's mercy spares 2/3 of everything (during the first 4 trumpets); and Lucifer also shows mercy on 2/3.

When it comes to dealing with rebellion, the ancient custom of sparing one-third and destroying two-thirds is clearly Biblical.
This fact is important to our study on the mark of the beast, because during the sixth trumpet, the devil will generously spare two-thirds of mankind, (Revelation 9:16).

In Ezekiel 5:12 - God killed 2/3 and spared 1/3.
In 2 Sam 8:2 - David killed 2/3 and spared 1/3.
In Zech 13:8 - 2/3 are struck down and perish.

TWELVE TIMES in the trumpets, notice how God spares 2/3 and only destroys a third.
This reveals God's infinite mercy;
(Rev 8:7) The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
(Rev 8:8) And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
(Rev 8:9) And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
(Rev 8:10) And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
(Rev 8:11) And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
(Rev 8:12) And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

This repetition of one-third is deliberate.
God assures us twelve times that He is generous; even though He will release His wrath on the world during the seven trumpets. Instead of justifiably destroying three-thirds of Earth, God spares two-thirds of everything.
Remember the practice of ancient kings killing two-thirds?;
(2Sa 8:2) David also defeated the Moabites. He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. So the Moabites became subject to David and brought tribute.

The devil will only kill one-third because he wants to appear generous. The result is that 666 people will be "mercifully" spared out of each group. And as with the above example, these 666 survivors will be subject to the king (satan). To conduct business and receive rations from Lucifer's government, all people who have sworn allegiance to him will have to wear a tattoo on their right hand. This tattooed number on the right hand of his followers will identify the 666 people spared from death.
There will be no mystery to the meaning of 666 when the time comes. This literal number indicates who submits to Lucifer.

The Bible says,
"This calls for wisdom [to understand the number before it is implemented].
If anyone has insight, let him calculate [do the math]
the number of [belonging to]
the beast, for it is man's number [in other words, the number 666 represents the number of people who belong to the Man of Sin - 2 Thessalonians 2].
His number [of survivors in each group] is 666." (Revelation 13:18)

Those with the mark of the beast may think they have escaped death; but this will be short lived.

This time period will not be easy for the saints either. At the time of the 6th trumpet, the devil is given power to kill 1/3rd of mankind, not just 1/3rd of the wicked.

We know many Christians like the idea that God will not allow any harm to come upon His children during the Great Tribulation. However, Jesus indicates otherwise;
(Joh 15:20) Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;...
(Joh 16:2) They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
(Mat 24:9) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

Since the time of Christ, His true followers have always suffered persecution and in many cases death. Look at the apostles; the millions of saints during the dark ages; and even today an average of 435 people every day are dieing for their faith.
So why should this pattern suddenly stop when the Great Tribulation commences?

The important thing to remember is that death is not an obstacle to God. Looking back in history, how many saved people have been spared from death so far?
The fact is, every saved person throughout history has died (with the exception of perhaps Enoch & Elijah). Death is not something to fear; and Jesus particularly taught us not to fear death at the hands of evil men;
(Mat 10:28) ... fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him (God) which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

When the devil enforces his mark, many will sell their soul in order to spare their life; but Jesus warns;
(Mat 16:25) For whosoever will (try to) save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Death is just a part of life from God's point of view; but the praise is to Him, that He has the power to resurrect to eternal life.
Just as most of the prophets of old were executed;
(Mat 23:37) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, ...

Likewise, the 144,000 prophets will also meet this common fate;
(Rev 11:7) When they finish their testimony, (at the end of the 1260 days) the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit (satan's appearing at the 5th trumpet) will make war against them, overcome them, and (eventually) kill them (ie, the 144,000, through which the 2 witnesses had worked).

This marks the end of probation, the doors to salvation now close, at the end of the 1260 days. This is the 7th trumpet.
During the 7 last plagues that follow, the wicked will receive wrath from God. At the third plaque (or bowl), their drinking water is turned to blood. But notice why they are given blood to drink;
(Rev 16:6) For they (those with the mark of the beast) have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due." .........

This clearly shows that saints and prophets will die during the Tribulation. This is not talking about saints and prophets who have died through ages past. People living and experiencing the 7 last plagues, didn't cause the bloodshed of prophets and saints from ages past!

The tribulation will be a time of endurance for the saints;
(Rev 13:10) If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. (NIV)

The following statement applies to the time the third angel's message is being proclaimed;
(Rev 14:13) ...'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' " "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."

There is no greater honour than to 'die in the Lord'. Interestingly, God has predetermined the exact number of martyrs He will allow to die during this period.
At the 5th seal, which aligns after the appearing of the devil, God gives reassurance to the martyrs;
(Rev 6:10) ...How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
(Rev 6:11) Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest (in the grave) a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

And from the consistency we have seen so far, it would be a reasonable guess to say that God will allow 1/3rd of the saints to die during the trumpets period.

So why does God allow His children to suffer at the hands of the wicked?
Well, the blood of martyrs is a powerful tool for saving others. Historic writings speak of Christians being burned at the stake; singing hymns to God through it all. Firstly, this shows us that God has the ability to limit pain and suffering in His children. Secondly, imagine the power of such a sight to undecided onlookers. The response to such martyrdom, in the sight of unsaved onlookers could well be; "I want to follow their God". God allows martyrdom to save to the utmost!

If He was willing to give His only begotten Son, in order to save lives; why wouldn't He be willing; and why shouldn't we be willing, to do likewise;
(Joh 15:13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Overcoming satan does not necessarily mean overcoming being put to death;
(Rev 12:11) And they (the saints) overcame him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
(Rev 12:12) Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

It is about having a willingness to die for God's truth. Whether we actually die or not in such a situation is up to God;
(Dan 3:15) ...if ye worship not (the 'IMAGE' that Nebuchadnezzar made), ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
(Dan 3:16) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered...
(Dan 3:17) If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
(Dan 3:18) But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

The 3 Hebrews were willing to go to their death if necessary, rather than disobey God.
So, we may be spared like the 3 Hebrews in the fiery furnace, or like Daniel in the Lion's den; or we may die at the hands of the wicked like most of the prophets and Apostles did.
So don't you think it would be better for us to be mentally prepared for the worst?

The Great Tribulation is going to come upon many Christians as a thief.

Millions of Christians today erroneously believe that they are 'out of here' in a pre-trib rapture, and won't be faced with any troublous times. They use many misinterpretations of Scripture to arrive at this conclusion. One such misinterpretation is that because 'the Church' is not mentioned after chapter 3 in Revelation; that must mean 'the Church' is not on earth during the Tribulation.

So using such reasoning, would that also mean, that because 'Jerusalem' is not mentioned once in the Book of Revelation, that Jerusalem is also gone from the earth?
'Jerusalem' is not mentioned in Revelation (other than the 'New Jerusalem' which comes from God out of heaven),
because earthly 'Jerusalem' is no longer a significant landmark in God's end time plan.
It was for the First Coming, (as revealed by the Old Testament prophecies), but they received Him not;
(Mat 23:37) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Mat 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

In the Old Testament prophecies, God consistantly warned; that if Israel did not execute judgement and righteousness, Jerusalem would become desolate;
(Jer 22:5) But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation. 

The Old Testament prophecies concerning Jerusalem, which pointed to blessings for Jerusalem at the First Coming, were not unconditional promises;
(Jer 18:9) ...at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
(Jer 18:10) If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

And so likewise, the true reason why 'the Church' is not mentioned after chapter 3 in Revelation, is because God is not specifically working through 'the Church' during the Tribulation.
Just as 2000 years ago, God had to abandon the nation of Israel, as being trustees of the Gospel (due to rebellion and hardness of heart), so has God had to do with the systems that represent Christianity today. The trusteeship given to the seven churches was also conditional;
(Rev 2:5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
(Rom 11:21) For if God spared not the natural branches (natural Israel), take heed lest he also spare not thee.

God will soon give the job that both Israel and Christianity have failed to do, to the 144,000.
Understanding Revelation's story before the Tribulation begins, will be a real blessing to those who seek to understand it;
(Rev 1:3) Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

It is not about believing what is popular or what sounds easy; but rather believing what is written in God's word.

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