It’s quite easy for Americans to take a short-term, microscopic view of current events as related to Biblical end times prophecy, but that’s really not how the Bible was written. Middle Easterners just don’t and didn’t think like us. We specialize on the minutia, which Bill Moyers pointed out decades ago: “Americans know everything about the last 24 hours, a little about the last 24 years and almost nothing about the past 24 centuries.” That’s us, and when it comes to end times prophecy, our concentration on the minutia leads us to conclude the kind of things being touted on social media about the Mark of the Beast.
The people of the Bible who received the Word of the Lord and wrote it down—every last one of them—saw the world in vast terms: of millennia, empires coming and going and continents on the move over vast periods of time—of eternity past to eternity future. This is how the Bible was written. In other words, they had a ‘fish-eye-lens’ view of the world and the things that God was doing that worked well enough for many, many generations to wait for a deliverer in Egypt and for the coming of the Messiah, and still hold onto their faith. This vast view is still true of almost everyone living today east of Turkey. We, in our short-term view of history and life (which usually carries over into the way we look at Biblical events), feeds the ‘prophetic’ assertions of various pastors, Christian bloggers and news sources and the immediacy-driven hunger of the social media masses. This is why the people of the Bible seemed so patient and meditative when “the Word of the Lord came to them”—there was always a bigger picture being painted.
This Covid-19 thing is a real eye-opener—it’s a wakeup call of true Biblical proportions of how relatively easy it will be for the antichrist to enrapture the world and introduce his agenda. But it’s also just another springboard for spiritual opportunists to ply short-sighted radical assertions that amp-up the emotions of the masses without really teaching them anything of value about Jesus and His first coming. This is the true essence of our message and walk. Being ready wasn’t a command to get busy speculating about the minutia of what the ‘mark’ may be, but what we are to be and to do while we await His return (Matt. 24:42-25:46). I’m starting to get callouses on my forehead from the fruitless, fear-driven speculations on Facebook that will be passé in a couple years or less, when the next wave of speculations will no doubt hit and everything will be ‘revised’ without apologies. The Lord has constantly provoked His church to serve, shine and use diligently what He’s given us to invest as we see the day approaching. That’s our great opportunity.
Concerning the Mark of the Beast, here’s a ‘fish-eye-lens’ take on it that I videoed in Ephesus, if you want to watch (~15:00).