The Mark of a Determinant


Ezekiel 9:1-7 NKJV

Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, “Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.” And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer’s inkhorn at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar. 

Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side;  and the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”

To the others He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.”

So they began with the elders who were before the temple. Then He said to them, “Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!” And they went out and killed in the city.

Galatians 6:17 NIV

From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

Revelations 7:3 NIV

"Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."

Revelations 13:16 NIV

It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads,

Systems of equations play an extremely important role in applied mathematics. A system of equations is a set of equations that are solved in tandem; solutions to the system must satisfy every equation individually. In these systems, complex relationships can be modeled. Relationships such as those between sectors of the United States economy, components of computer-aided design, and even the flight controls of the space shuttle can be modeled and examined in simulation---all without putting drivers of cars and astronauts at risk. One method that mathematicians can use to determine whether a systems has a solution or not is by calculation of a matrix determinant number. If the determinant value is not zero, then a unique solution to the system exists. Though the determinant has theoretical value, its practical value is limited. It often takes more computational effort to find the value of the determinant than it does to apply common system solution algorithms.

This type of indicator exists in scripture as well--there are spiritual marks that indicate the bearer's allegiance to God or to Satan. Most people are familiar with the "mark of the beast" John describes in his vision in the book of Revelations. Here the mark of the beast was the number 666. However, there are several instances where God marks the faithful with a mark or a seal. In a vision, Ezekiel hears God instruct his assistant, "the man clothed in linen," to put a mark on the foreheads of those who have stayed allied with God. These persons were to be spared execution when God's vengeance was delivered. Other instances of marks or seals of God are found in Galatians 6:17 and in Revelations 7:3. Except for the marks of Christ Paul describes in the Galatians passage, these marks are not practical; they only occur in a spiritual setting. This makes the connection to the determinant more striking.