I am awed by some of the newer brain research that has been coming out in recent years, particularly as regards the developing child/adolescent brain. Here are a few factoids of interest:
- The brain develops from back to front; that is, from critical life-sustaining functions in the brain stem (like breathing) to the more complex, problem-solving matters in the frontal lobe (perhaps calculus…personally, I never got there, but you get the point.)
- The limbic area (further back in the brain) is the home for our fight/flight/freeze response when we are afraid or angry—again, part of the life-protecting response to some perceived danger, I suppose.
- The frontal lobe (housed right behind the forehead) is also for decisions involving the word should, (as in, “no, I definitely should NOT take calculus”), and involves moral and ethical capabilities.
- And here’s the kicker—the frontal lobe does not fully develop in the human brain until the early to mid-twenties.
Explains a lot, don’t it?
So when I read this from John’s Revelation, it adds a bit of new meaning:
“Then I [John] saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
To begin with, the forehead is one of the first places on the face I’m going to see when I meet someone—you might not think of it that way, but you might also be surprised at how inventive women can be to hide blemishes or scars in that area, especially on school picture day. (Hair bangs do wonders.) So to have this Name written on the forehead represents to me something so significant that anyone who looks at the person will immediately and unmistakably know to whom the person belongs; that is, it speaks of my identity.
But the other very important component (that I had missed until now) is that being written on the forehead—where our frontal lobe is encased—could also indicate choice, my decision.
Which together underscores what the Bible says beginning in Genesis and now wrapping up in this last book: my identity with God is my decision. In fact, He’s already made His, decision that is, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world and then manifested on the old rugged cross two thousand years ago. The next step is mine—will I fight, flight or freeze?
Or will I act on the “should”? (It’s not nearly as complicated as calculus.)
Revelation 14:1 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.