Tag Archive | antichrist

Is the Wisconsin company microchipping employees a fulfillment of the Mark of the Beast?

Prophecy is so important to the Christian. We are supposed to take comfort and encouragement in it. God is sovereign, therefore He has the ability and the right to ordain history beforehand, and He does. Then in His grace and mercy He gave us knowledge of what will happen. We rejoice in knowing He will bring all He has said to pass. (Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35).

Sadly, Prophecy as a field of study has gotten a bad reputation. One reason is that it is rife with the unstable who make unbiblical date-driven predictions. Another reason is that some passages are admittedly difficult and the unstable go astray when preaching them. These passages are not impossible to understand, because the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible for our edification and He helps us interpret it. However, prophetic passages do take some deep study. When someone unstable preaches on eschatology, the passages are twisted and the sheep gain a misunderstanding instead of illumination (and the goats too)..

Prophecy is important because it informs our holiness and behavior. As Pastor Mike Abendroth said,

“Prophecy drives behavior. There are ethical implications to all eschatology. Those that study eschatology the most in my opinion ought to be the most holy, because they are so pondering the return of Christ.” ~Pastor Mike Abendroth, Bethlehem Bible Church/No Compromise Radio

There is a particular passage of scripture that is well-known to even the unsaved, and that regards the Mark of the Beast and his number of 666. Revelation 13:11-18 outlines what this is.

Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

The Second Beast is the False Prophet. At the time of the Tribulation when the Church is taken out of the world and Jesus hurls His stored-up wrath on Israel and the pagans, the Antichrist will rise. The UNholy trinity will be Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the devil himself, satan. These three will appear to be the blessed trinity, they’ll perform signs and wonders, deceive the whole world, and then once they have the people in the palm of their hand, they will force all to worship the Antichrist by receiving this mark on their hand or forehead. The Mark of the Beast is a mark of allegiance and worship.

Those who refuse to accept the mark will be unable to buy or sell, and so in effect, be starved or out in the cold so they’ll die, if the antichrist doesn’t catch them and behead them first.

Since the Mark is on the hand or forehead, and since it involves a number, and since it will be something that is trackable at points of sale, many have speculated that the Mark will be a chip-like piece of technology.

Normally, discussing the antichrist and his mark retains a whiff of unsavoriness due to these passages being mishandled so often. Worse, newspaper exegesis causes teachers to go off the rails. Newspaper exegesis is preaching prophecy from the news and not the Bible. We saw a lot of this with the Blood Moons. We will probably see this with the upcoming Eclipse.

However this week Dr Al Mohler remarked about microchipping and the Mark of the Beast on his cultural news and Bible program The Briefing. The mark of the beast was in the news. A Wisconsin company began microchipping its employees, and apparently the program is voluntary (for now). Legal and ethical implications abound, but also prophetic implications, all of which were discussed on Mohler’s program. Here are several brief excerpts from the Mohler segment with my own comments interspersed:

If you’re a Christian familiar with the Scriptures, then no doubt another dimension of this question is coming to your mind. It’s come to the mind of others, including interestingly enough USA Today. In yesterday’s international edition of USA Today, there is a story by Holly Meyer. It asks the question, is this the mark of the beast? As she writes,

“The apocalyptic “mark of the beast” prophecy in the Bible makes some wary of a Wisconsin company’s recent decision to embed microchips into the hands of willing employees. The end times account,” she writes, “in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation warns believers about being marked on the right hand and the forehead by the Antichrist.” But she says, “inserting rice-sized microchips under the skin of Three Square Market employees does not fulfill the prophecy.”

The mark is actually enforced by the False Prophet, not the antichrist, but close enough for secular people. Interesting that they know both the mark, his number, and of the antichrist himself. The Mark is a deliberate mark of worship. When the False Prophet causes all to take the mark, they know what it is for and why they are taking it. The enticement is being able to buy and sell, but it is first and foremost a Mark of the allegiance to the Beast, and it’s going to be offered to the whole world, not just 40 employees in Wisconsin. We are not in the times outlined by Revelation now. So the issue fails on those three accounts as far as being a “fulfillment” of the aforementioned prophecy. Continuing with Mohler:

The USA Today story goes back to Proffesor Vlachos who said,”Taking the mark goes hand in hand with the conscience decision of publicly pledging one’s allegiance or loyalty to the beast and worshiping his image.” He went on to say that, “The mark is not a random number either. It always names the Antichrist, either numerically or alphabetically.” The professor says to his students, “No name, no worries.”

A similar kind of assessment came in the USA Today story by Randall Balmer, chair of the religion department at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He said that many evangelicals look to that book and current events in terms of something like a parlor game. But even as Balmer seemed initially to dismiss the speculation, he went on to say that he understood why people might connect the micro-chipping and the prophecy from the book of Revelation. “It may not be the ‘mark of the beast,’ but it certainly is a slippery slope.’ He went on to say, “I think we should be cautious about allowing that measure of control or surveillance into our lives.”

The last days of the last days all takes place within 7 years. There is a massive amount of prophecy that will unfold within that very short time. It could be said that the last 6000 years has been laying the infrastructure for those last 7. I agree that the microchipping is a slippery slope. The technology that will be used in those short, last 7 years is present on earth now and further, the minds and hearts of people on earth are being prepared to use it. After the rapture it’ll all come together quickly. Dr Mohler concluded-

But at the same time, there’s something truly haunting about the idea of a company embedding an RFID chip under the skin of an employee’s hand. We’re told, of course, that the company will not be able to track the employee, but we also understand just how quickly this kind of technology can go from a matter promised as a convenience to a matter coerced as an absolute necessity. 

… It also tells us something that this particular story landed on the front page of USA Today, the book of Revelation, the antichrist, and the beast on the front page of USA Today, even in its international edition as read here in Europe. It at least should be noted that even in this very secular culture there are those who immediately are asking the same question. Is this chip the mark of the beast? That tells us that even secular people still hear the distant hoof beats of the horsemen from the book of Revelation.

Yes. Yes. Yes. I’m so glad that this issue is being directly addressed, and in both a scriptural and poignant way, too. Dr Mohler said in his article that no, this is not the mark of the beast, but it is haunting. It’s haunting in my opinion because of the conscious decision of many future millions to consign themselves to eternal destruction the moment they raise their hand to worship the beast and not Christ.

It’s also haunting that the pagan world is so spooked and unnerved by this prophecy. Deep down, with eternity in their hearts, they know that wrath for sin is coming. In a dark, closed cupboard of their mind, they are aware of the prophecies and keep that door firmly shut…until an article like this comes along and they lose their atheistic composure. That’s why when a false teacher teaches a date-driven prophecy related to prophecy, they mock and scorn when it doesn’t come to pass, comforting themselves that it won’t happen at all. (2 Peter 3:4; Matthew 24:48). When prophecy becomes fodder for jokes or badly made movies, they comfort themselves that it is just fiction. (Ecclesiastes 8:11).

Please be the Christian like the ones mentioned by Pastor Abendroth: let prophecy inform your behavior and inspire you (and me) to urgency. We have to read prophecy in the first place, and then pray for wisdom and understanding to is grows us on proper holiness. Because, prophecy is important, even the strange and difficult passages like the ones mentioned in Revelation. Especially those.

mark_of_the_beast

The quality of charisma many wolves possess

Introduction

This week GraceLife Pulpit’s pastor Phil Johnson tweeted out a link to a Nautilus magazine article in a positive light. I usually like what Pastor Johnson likes, so I thought his positive remark to the article might be worth a read. It was. The article is titled “The Anatomy of Charisma“.

I first began hearing the word ‘charisma’ as a very young person. After President Kennedy was assassinated, which occurred when I was nearly three years old, the word became indelibly attached to Kennedy and then the Presidency itself. I used to hear it a lot. This Japan Times article notes that Kennedy set the bar for charisma and the Presidency.

It’s interesting to note that ‘charisma’ and ‘presidency’ are usually intertwined. Or any national leadership position. Truly charismatic people do not remain unknown. Their peculiar light ends up shining more and more brightly to ever widening audiences, until the top levels of leadership – or notoriety – have been reached. This happens due in part of course to the times, and the man, but also to his possession of the quality we are examining today: charisma.

Defining charisma

So what is charisma?

Laying aside the interesting article above for a moment, we read the straight definition of the word:

compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.

If it sounds like possessing a charismatic personality can be dangerous to others, it is. ‘Inspiring devotion’ usually means the person receiving the charismatic’s shining light makes emotional decisions, not rational ones. The article opens with this paragraph:

For weeks I had been researching what science has to say about the power of charisma. Why do some people so clearly have it and others don’t? Why do we fall so easily under its influence? Charismatics can make us feel charmed and great about ourselves. They can inspire us to excel. But they can also be dangerous. They use charisma for their own purposes, to enhance their power, to manipulate others.

The article goes on to quote a Christian-turned atheist, Bart Campolo, son of  preacher Tony Campolo. Bart uses his charismatic personality for manipulative purposes and in the article Bart plainly tells how.

Humanist chaplain Bart Campolo knows the dark side of charismatic leaders: “The essence of demagoguery is recognizing that appealing to people’s emotions is the most rational way to move them. After all, that’s where people make their moral decisions.”

The best way to inoculate one’s self against falling for a charismatic personality is to stay in the Word. The word is of the mind, it’s where truth resides. An effect from learning the truth can be an emotional one, but the first pass is always the mind. Truth sheds light and clarity on the Christian mind, and if we keep putting the Word in it, we can stay safeguarded against manipulation.

Charismatic people in Christianity

The second straight definition for charisma was: “a divinely conferred power or talent.” Many charismatic leaders do seem to infer possession of a divinely conferred gift. At least, they don’t deny it when their loyal followers intimate as such. Or say it right out. The Nautilus article goes on,

The early 20th-century German sociologist Max Weber wrote charisma is a quality that sets an individual “apart from ordinary men,” and causes others to treat him as “endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities.” Such qualities, Weber wrote, “are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader.”

Pastor Johnson tweeted out the link to the Nautilus article from the angle of being interested in how one goes apostate. He wrote,

Atheistic “chaplain” Bart Campolo makes some telling analyses of charisma, his dad’s influence, & his own apostasy:

As I read the article though, another famous charismatic leader kept popping into my mind. The antichrist. I began to think how the pinnacle of charismatic leadership will be encapsulated in this man prophesied to come and delude the whole world.

Charismatic Antichrist

I’m fascinated with this figure the Bible prophesies will appear in the very last days of the end time, during the Tribulation. He will delude the entire world, duping men from east to west and leading them into perdition. He will be the devil’s best and most successful tool, right until the moment Jesus decides enough is enough and comes back to earth to stop him.

In Daniel 11:21 we learn that the coming world dictator will obtain the kingdom by flatteries. This word actually means slippery. I think we have all read about or even have known someone we dubbed “slippery tongued’. Some say silver tongued. That will be the antichrist, using language to bamboozle and appeal to the emotions, where all rational thought will slide right out of their brains.

He will be a master of intrigue, Daniel 8:23 records. The word means dark intrigue, riddles. Once again the antichrist will use language to manipulate, a feature of all charismatic people.

He will deceive the whole world. (Revelation 13:14).

The fact that the entire world will be deceived (except post-rapture saints) is indicative of his powerfully charismatic personality. The world will be spellbound, taken in by his smooth words, flatteries, facility with language to confuse and deceive them.

Even though the world has not seen THE antichrist yet, many antichrists have already gone out into the world (1 John 2:8). Many charismatic men come along to deceive and twist the Word, to the detriment of the health of the sheep. Paul noted this in Romans 16:17-20,

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. underline mine

In this second Nautilus article about charisma, Why Joel Osteen, “The Smiling Preacher,” Is So Darn Appealing, we learn that charisma is not only an inborn quality, it can also be taught and then used as a tactic.

But there’s a small but growing group of individuals who have another explanation. Using brain-scan technologies and modern statistical techniques, a band of committed academics in recent years have set out to decipher that mysterious quality from which legendary leadership is born. And some have reached what a previous generation of observers might have considered a dubious conclusion: That it’s possible not just to reverse-engineer charisma, but that it’s something, at least in part, we might learn to master.

During the Tribulation, the coming antichrist will delude all the people who do not have Christ. Even today with the church on earth, we see how easy it is to be taken in by wolves, especially charismatic wolves who manipulate your emotions and use rhetorical tactics that confuse the mind. So what’s the antidote?

Protecting yourself against charismatic wolves

1. The Word of Christ.

In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:16-17)

The sword of the word of God is both an offensive weapon and a defensive one. Staying in the Word is the best protection against the wolves, no matter who they are, whether they be charismatic or dull.

2. Vigilance

We are also to take heed and be on guard. The Christian life requires vigilance. Many, many verses urge us to be on guard, stay sober, be vigilant. That means admitting that wolves exist, expecting them to come, and testing them against the word, no matter how popular or well-liked they are. Do this every time. It’s what vigilance means.

3. Avoid them

Paul said in Romans 16:17 that of those who cause dissensions and strife, and teach what is contrary the Gospel, avoid them. Don’t dabble. Don’t eat the meat and spit out the bones. Don’t entertain them on TV or in books or go to their movies. Don’t rationalize that they might be OK. Avoid them. The word actually means ‘to turn away from’ which is a stronger action that passively avoiding. It’s a deliberate turning of your back to the wolves.

4. Submit to elders

Acts 20:28 tells the pastors and overseers to take care for the flock. Hebrews 13:17 tells us to have confidence n the overseers and submit to them. I know that many of you cry out that your elders are not doing their jobs, that they allow false doctrine in all the time. But in any case, the Bible tells us what to do. Pray for them, help them, and submit to them. We know what to do even if they do not. And if they do, all the better. God raised them up for a reason.

I’m sure if we scoured the Bible we’d find lots of directions for how to protect one’s self against the false ones. But these are top of the list. Pastors and preachers with charisma come along all the time. They come and go. Osteen has had some staying power, others are flashes in the pan. But there will be one particular religious seeming man who will possess all the charisma and power and signs satan can give him (2 Thess 2:9). He, and the ones preceding him, will be easily spotted if you do what we’re supposed to do, and compare what he says to the word of God. Not how he says it, not how he looks when he says it, but his actual words.

As always, it always comes down to God’s word. Praise the Lord He revealed Himself in it and to us!