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).
“Keep about your work that God has given you. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits. Do your work. Let liars lie, let corporations resolve, let the devil do his worst; but see to it that nothing hinders you from fulfilling the work that GOD has given you. He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you defended you character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood about yourself which Satan and his servants may start to peddle. If you do those things, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the LORD. Keep at your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded and rejected of men. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being until at last you can say, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.” —Pastor Matt M. Hoekstra
While the world runs for cover, we have work to do.
And wash your hands.
“All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes—all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the earth into a graveyard—into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance—then we become the gravediggers.” — Rod Serling, “Deaths-Head Revisited,” The Twilight Zone
The Jews are God’s people; the Bible is a Jewish Book; the Lord Jesus—Savior and Messiah—was the ultimate Jew; God’s covenant with the Jews and their Land was an everlasting covenant. Everlasting.
The devil, politicians and madmen have attempted to nullify this fact since the inception of evil and they’re not finished—yet. Which is why we remember and must not forget until our Jewish King returns and sets the record straight—something about sheep and goats at the end of the world…
Thank you for the provocation, Mr. Serling.
Jesus is coming back—His followers know it and most are thrilled at the immanent possibility. My friend Don Stewart, however, reminds us to be careful about one important detail…
“Do not make the mistake of replacing the Gospel with talk of the end times events—our main message isn’t the second coming of Christ, but the first.”
It’s not the end of the world—yet. But with all that’s gone wrong on earth, how is it we’re still here? C.S. Lewis wondered that too…
“Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it because He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force—we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right—but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else-something it never entered your head to conceive-comes crashing in—something so beautiful to some of us—and so terrible to others—that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise—something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing—it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.”
The side we choose is everything, forever. Choose wisely. Choose today.
If you haven’t seen the full stage presentation of the Galilean Wedding, have a look here. Huge thanks to The Life Center in Orangevale, CA.