By Elizabeth Prata
Revelation. The poor, neglected, misunderstood book of Revelation.
Overlooked, rarely preached on, even the mention of it incites arguments (Symbolic! Actual! Amillennial! Pre-millenial!) and so, the blessing promised twice in the book is not received by many believers, due to forsaking it for calmer scriptural pastures. (Ahhh, the book of John…Colossians…)
The Apokalupsis/Revelation word used in Revelation 1:1 means “revelation, unveiling”. The Book reveals the Lord’s plans for the end of time. “See? I have told you ahead of time,” Jesus said to the disciples in Mathew 24:25. He declares the end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10).
The End Time is the entire time between Jesus’ ascension and His return. We are in the end time now. Our sense of urgency should be pitched, fervent, and always-consciously present, due to the fact that the next item on God’s prophetic agenda will be the removal of the Church from earth, known as the Rapture. Thus, either through rapture or death, our lifetime Christian tasks of being salt and light will end abruptly at some point. However, there are some chronological events due to occur at the tail end of the end time, namely, Revelation’s description of the Tribulation. So, we can think of that time as the end of the end time. This event will be the final punishment of Israel for 7 years, Israel’s realization of Jesus as their Messiah, and God’s wrath against the ungodly. (Daniel 9:24, Zechariah 12:10).
If there is one verse that seems to have captured the global church’s imagination, and indeed, the secular world’s, it’s Revelation 13:16-17.
And he causes all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, and he decrees that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.
The Mark of the Beast. Prophesied to come is a one world ruler the Bible names the Antichrist, the Beast, the Man of Perdition… He is energized by satan, and later to be possessed by satan himself. Operating in conjunction with the False Prophet, the three will be the unholy trinity who will cause the world to plunge into chaos, sin, and eventually, judgment. A scary proposition.
In former times, even in recent times here in America, it was hard to think of the entire world being joined into ten governments, ruled by one man. It was nearly impossible to see how the prophesied one world economy would come about. The US has been the strongest country in the world; free, thriving, and the police guardian against global evil. Many believe the US was even formed and blessed by God to be the city upon a hill, sharing biblical truths and sending missionaries.
Over the last 20 or 30 years, it has become easier to see how the end of the end time would come about. Not that we didn’t believe, all Bible believers trust that the Lord will make it happen. (Isaiah 46:10-12). But in the last very few years, especially 2020, many in the believing world are saying ‘Whoa, NOW we see!’ It has suddenly become very easy to look back in hindsight and see the LORD at work eating the foundations as a moth. (Matthew 6:19, 20; James 5:2). Suddenly they crumble.
Along with suddenly seeing how easy it will be at the right time for the antichrist to come forth and create a one world government, it is also likewise easy to see the process being laid for instituting a one world economy. With a one world economy comes with it the mark of the beast, where without it, no man may buy or sell.
It was pretty easy to persuade the population of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of that are being felt today. Lockdowns, quarantines of healthy people. Government tyranny and leadership’s hypocrisy. Closing schools, but opening prisons. Dangerous riots called peaceful protests and friendly worship called dangerous.
Now we have the specter of a global vaccine. People are wondering if it will become mandatory. It already has become mandatory in some spheres. Australia’s airline, Qantas, says that the covid vaccine will be mandatory if you want to board their planes. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that it’s in the final development phase of its IATA travel pass. IATA is not the only developer working on a digital COVID-19 travel pass. The World Economic Forum has developed an app called CommonPass and the security firm International SOS developed a similar service called AOKPass. (Source). Most tellingly, the AOKPass is not related only to international travel, but economics:
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has partnered with International SOS, the world’s largest medical and security services firm, to launch the new ICC AOKpass mobile app to provide trusted recognition of individuals’ COVID-19 compliance status. At all times, users maintain full control over their medical information, which is stored securely and privately only on their device. Co-developed by Singapore-based startups AOKpass and Perlin, the app will allow consumers, workers and businesses to more safely and quickly resume commercial activity in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source)
In fact, a global study completed this past October and published in Vaccine, revealed that of all UN recognized countries showed that 54% of them already had a national mandatory vaccination policy that required at least one vaccine.
Closer to home, employers and states may condition return or access to workplaces, schools and colleges upon getting the vaccine and mandate it once the FDA issues full approval. In fact, labor lawyers say they are already seeing momentum in the push for employers to require it, or at least ask about the legalities of such a requirement. Some professions in the US already require certain vaccinations, and experts say that “Once a Covid vaccine becomes available, experts think some employers are likely to require workers to get it.”
As of now, there’s even a proposal suggesting tying finances to the vaccine, giving $1,500 stimulus checks in exchange for taking COVID vaccine. The politicians know about carrots and sticks.
I understand that people are worried and nervous about both the medical issue of a covid vaccine and the spiritual implications of accepting something like a vaccination Digital CommonPass. These are scary times.
However, I am NOT SAYING that the covid vaccine is the mark of the beast. For emphasis, because it’s 2020, the point of this essay is NOT saying that the covid vaccine is the mark of the beast, no. No. I am saying other things.
1. God’s prophetic plans will come to pass. There will be a mark of the beast someday.
2. As we get closer to the next prophetic item on God’s agenda, it is becoming easier to see how his plans could come about. Where decades ago a one-world, micromanaged economy through a mark seemed impossible, now it seems not only possible, but likely to occur relatively soon. This should give believers both comfort in His sovereignty, and also a fervency in being good witnesses of His Good News.
3. God’s ways are not our ways. No matter whether we can see how He is operating or not, or only seeing things in hindsight, Providence always speeds us toward the conclusion of His plans for each individual on earth, each nation. We believers take comfort in the knowledge that chaos doesn’t exist. There is only God’s orderly progression toward the culmination of all things.
Here is the most important point: NOW is the time like no other for believers to be in the Word, studying, knowing it, trusting it. Doing so will comfort ourselves, and we can share that comfort with unbelievers. Whether I meet Jesus via live rapture or through death, I want to know I obeyed His great commission, that I worked for His Kingdom, and that the minas He gave me I did not bury.
Prophecy is relevant, progressing, and affects all of us whether we understand it or not. His will (and plans) be done.