Author: Scott McGregor
Table of Conents
- Globetrotters and Jetsetters
- Information Overload
- The Pagan Revival
- The Beast That Is to Come
- The ?Mark of the Beast?
- The Second Coming
- Faith to Face the Future
Globetrotters and Jetsetters
?Many shall run to and fro?? (Daniel 12:4).
The modern means of communication and transportation that have made it possible for the Gospel to now be preached in all nations bring to mind another specific prediction regarding Endtime conditions. In 534 bc, the prophet Daniel received an outstanding revelation. Afterwards, God told him not to worry that he couldn?t understand it all, that even though the prophecy was given to him, it wasn?t for him. Amongst many other predictions, Daniel was told:
?Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase? (Daniel 12:4).
Many running to and fro literally means ?speeding about, here and there,? or as The Living Bible renders this verse, ?travel shall be vastly increased.?
When you consider that people?s means of transportation?horse and buggy, wagons, camels, boats, etc.?did not change substantially for thousands of years, you can appreciate the significance of this prophecy.
In 1789 it took George Washington eight days to travel the 200 miles from his home to his inauguration in New York City. The fact that it took eight days is not significant. What is noteworthy is that Julius Caesar could have made the same trip just as rapidly in the year 50 bc! No real progress had been made in transportation over the 18 centuries that passed between their lifetimes. But look how mankind has advanced in the past hundred years!
Today we not only drive at enormous speeds and cover great distances in our automobiles, but a new generation of supersonic private jets will fly at nearly 2,000 kilometers per hour, and the space shuttle orbits Earth in 90 minutes.
Two thousand six hundred years ago, another prophet described the following ?in the days of the Lord?s preparation? before He returns: ?The chariots come with flaming torches in the day of His preparation. ? The chariots rage in the streets, they jostle one another in the broad roads; they seem like torches, they run like lightning? (Nahum 2:3-4). No horse-drawn chariot ever ran like lightning. Could this be a vision of our modern highways at night filled with vehicles with their headlights on? It would certainly fit the description. And if it is, our modern vehicle-filled highways are another indication that the Lord is soon to return.
And they certainly jostle one another in the broad roads. Since the invention of the motor vehicle over a century ago, it is estimated that about 30 million people have been killed in road crashes.
Road traffic accidents?the leading cause of death by injury and the tenth-leading cause of all deaths globally?now make up a surprisingly significant portion of the worldwide burden of ill-health. An estimated 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes each year, and as many as 50 million are injured.
The number of people traveling today is unprecedented in history. In 1990, economic forecaster John Naisbitt underscored how the largest industry in the world is now the one which enables people to ?run to and fro?:
Travel and tourism is the biggest and the most energetic industry in the world. It will be one of the three super-industries driving the (global) economy of [this] century, along with Information Technology and Telecommunications.
There was concern that the airline industry might never recover from the downturn it experienced after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.However, the travel industry needn?t have worried.
World tourism broke all records in 2006 despite fears over terrorism, bird flu and rising oil prices, the United Nations tourism watchdog reported [January 29, 2007]. A total of 842 million international tourist arrivals were recorded [in 2006], an increase of 4.5 percent, the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization said, citing preliminary data. That followed a 5.5 percent jump in 2005.
According to the Geneva-based Airports Council International, airports handled 4.4 billion passengers on all services in the twelve-month period ending January 2007?equivalent to about two-thirds of the world?s population.
World travel and tourism is expected to generate in excess of US$7 trillion in 2007, rising to over US$13 trillion over the coming decade. It accounts for 10.4 percent of global GDP and over 230 million jobs [and is] set to grow at more than 4.3 percent per annum over the next ten years.
While most travel is in pursuit of leisure, adventure, or business, another reason that many people today travel to distant lands, particularly young people, is because they are dissatisfied with their own country, culture, or religion, and are searching for solutions or answers elsewhere. This brings to mind another prophecy about the last days, given by the Old Testament prophet Amos: ??Behold, the days are coming,? says the Lord God, ?that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord?? (Amos 8:11-12).
Never in all of world history have people traveled the distances, the speeds, or with the frequency that hundreds of millions are traveling today. Truly many are running to and fro, just like God said they would in the ?time of the end.?
?Knowledge shall increase? (Daniel 12:4).
It is with good cause that the term ?information overload? was coined in recent years. If the amount of information that is available is an indication of the knowledge available, knowledge has increased within our generation almost beyond imagination! Here are just a few mind-boggling facts on this:
* The total amount of the world?s newly generated digital information is expected to have exploded by 60%?to 8 exabytes [in 2005] from 5 exabytes in 2003, according to figures and extrapolations developed by the University of California at Berkeley. That means that [in one year] the world will generate 57,000 times the total of all information in the Library of Congress.
An exabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes, or 1 billion billion. All human spoken words in history are calculated to be 5 exabytes. Information in magnetic media (such as business digital information) account for more than 90% of this staggering total. U.C. Berkeley estimates that global information increases about 30% per year.
* Online information doubles every 6 months
* Corporate information doubles every 18 months
* Scientific information doubles every 5 years
* Biological information doubles every 5 years
* Useful genetic information doubles every 18-24 months
* The sum total of human knowledge doubles every 2-3 years (and is soon expected to double every year)
* Printed knowledge doubles every 8 years
* Technical knowledge doubles every 3 years
* Medical knowledge doubles every 7 years
* Each year around a million books are printed (that?s titles, not copies), 25,276 newspapers are published (that is separate newspaper titles), 40,000 scholarly journals, 80,000 mass-market periodicals, 40,000 newsletters.
* Estimates based on the Netcraft Web server survey for January 2008 show there are over 155.5 million distinct websites, an increase of over 33 million from six months before.
As far back as 1995, Professor Peter Cochrane of the British Telecom Laboratories? Advanced Application Division said, ?There are now wristwatches that wield more computing ability than some 1970s mainframes. Ordinary cars today have more ?intelligence? than the original lunar lander [Apollo Lunar Module].? In the decade since this statement, computer sciences and related disciplines have advanced exponentially.
Seventy percent of all information in our global society has been created since the start of the Internet and is currently doubling every three years. This means we will have 16 times more information by 2015 than we had in 2003.
Although we have made tremendous strides scientifically and technologically, are we more fulfilled or happier than our predecessors? Our knowledge has radically increased, but much of our scientific genius has been squandered in the development of armaments and weapons of mass destruction. Hi-tech gadgets and luxuries are given priority, while many of our fellow humans are hungry and destitute.
Time magazine examined this in their 1995 cover story, ?The Evolution of Despair?:
VCRs and microwave ovens have their virtues, but in the everyday course of our highly efficient lives, there are times when something seems deeply amiss. ? Whatever the source of stress, we at times get the feeling that modern life isn?t what we were designed for.
Rates of depression have been doubling in some industrial countries roughly every 10 years. Fifteen percent of Americans have had a clinical anxiety disorder.
The sentiments expressed then are even more appropriate today and the statistics even more gloomy. In 2002 nearly 25 million Americans were prescribed and took antidepressants. In 2003, 213 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written by U.S. doctors, resulting in $13 billion in sales. Eli Lilly reports that its breakthrough drug Prozac, the first in a new class of antidepressants, has been consumed by more than 35 million people since it was introduced to the U.S. market in 1988. In the United States, the number of deaths from suicide over the past 20 years exceeded the number of deaths from AIDS.
Depression is now the fourth-leading cause of the global disease burden and the leading cause of disability worldwide. Depression seriously reduces the quality of life for individuals and their families and often worsens the outcome of other physical health problems. Depression is the most important risk factor for suicide [which claims around a million lives annually, with another 10-20 million attempting suicide each year], and is among the top three causes of death in young people ages 15 to 35.
What good is a head full of knowledge if our hearts are empty and we lack peace of mind and purpose in life?
The 178-nation ?UnHappy Planet Index? published by the New Economics Foundation, lists the south Pacific island of Vanuatu as the happiest nation on the planet. Meanwhile, Western nations with their high level of prosperity and abundance are way down the list. The UK and the U.S. fill 108th and 150th places respectively.
The Pagan Revival
?Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [of Jesus? Second Coming] will not come unless the falling away [from faith and belief in Jesus] comes first? (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
The civilizations of Europe and countries of the Western world have been described by many commentators as now being ?post-Christian.? The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O?Connor, gave this bleak assessment of Christianity in the United Kingdom: ?Christ is being replaced by music, New Age beliefs, the environmental movement, the occult, and the free-market economy.?
In Jesus? discourse about the signs that would precede His return, three times He told His disciples that numerous false prophets would arise on the world scene, and that they would attract large followings. ?Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many? (Matthew 24:11).
Paganism is flourishing. The BBC reports: ?A study in 1997 suggested there were 100,000 practicing pagans in the UK, an increase of 95,000 since 1990.?
Would-be witches are being offered government grants to learn how to cast spells. ? Now they can take up home study courses in the ancient art of Wicca run by the British School of Yoga, which qualify for the government?s individual learning accounts, where students get a discount towards course fees. The subject list [includes] Spell Casting, Divination, Spirits, Gods and Goddesses, The Book of Shadows, and Moon Magic. Successful students are awarded a Diploma in Wicca/Witchcraft of the New Age Foundation. 
?Let the little children come to Me,? said Jesus. He did not add ??but only after they have been encouraged to question their faith and made aware of the arguments for atheism.? That is the proposal from the Institute for Public Policy Research [in the United Kingdom], the New Labour think tank that is attempting to refashion Religious Education lessons along progressive lines.
The IPPR report, entitled ?What Is Religious Education For?? wants children to be ?actively encouraged to question the religious beliefs they bring with them into the classroom,? and taught about fashionable alternatives such as paganism and environmentalism.
?Pagan power? is similarly on the increase in North America.
Helen Berger, a professor of sociology at Westchester University, [and] the editor of ?Witchcraft and Magic: Contemporary North America,? published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, estimates there are at least 200,000 practicing pagans in [the USA]. Other academics put the number as high as 700,000.
According to the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, based on data from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) conducted in 2001, Wiccans and pagans constitute the seventh largest religious grouping in the U.S.
The ARIS survey of the American adult population indicates a growth in the Wiccan community of 17-fold between 1990 and 2001?the highest of any faith group monitored. This would indicate a doubling in numbers of adherents about every 2.5 years. If the latter growth rate is accurate and if it continues, then Wicca would be the third largest religious group in the U.S. by about 2012, behind Christianity and Judaism.
The Santeria, Candomblé, Macumba, and Vodou religions that are popular in areas of Latin America and Africa can also be included in this pagan revival.
Although the Bible and prayer were officially banned and removed from U.S. public schools in 1962, many of these same schools now offer their pupils accredited courses in witchcraft and the occult.
The Bible tells us that if people willfully reject God?s truth, they will be given ?strong delusion, that they should believe a lie? (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11). When we refuse the truth, there is nothing left to believe but a lie. This is why much of the world today is wide open for deceivers and false prophets. Of course, the Devil doesn?t always show himself to be the evil and destructive spiritual force that he is. Quite the contrary. He and his agents frequently portray themselves as messengers of light and goodness. The apostle Paul explains, ?Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness?(2 Corinthians 11:14-15). He is the arch-deceiver.
Unfortunately, one reason a lot of people get caught up in the dark side of the spirit world is because they?ve been disillusioned by the apparent absence of spiritual reality in traditional religions. A South African expert on Satanism attributes youth involvement in the occult to spiritually dead churches. Reuters reports,
?Satanism is increasing, especially the serious cases; murder, assaults,? Colonel Kobus Jonker, head of the police?s Occult Investigations Unit in Pretoria, said in an interview.
Jonker blamed what he calls the spiritual bankruptcy of establishment churches in South Africa for the tendency of teenagers to dabble in the occult. ?You can actually feel the deadness in many of our churches. There?s nothing going on. I don?t want to sit in a church like that.?
Two fields in which paganism and Satanism have made tremendous inroads are the popular music business and the computer gaming industry. Just take a look at the number of album covers and rock videos that come complete with all the symbols, liturgies, and rituals of witchcraft and the occult. Many computer games involve role playing with open worship of Satan and the netherworld. The sights and sounds of Hell have seduced and driven countless people into lifestyles of drugs, perversion, violence, and sometimes suicide. The most shameless acts of blasphemy and desecration are now socially acceptable in the name of audiovisual and multimedia entertainment and ?freedom of expression.?
The Beast That Is to Come
?The Antichrist is coming? (1 John 2:18).
The most outstanding and ominous sign of the end of the world as we know it, and which the Bible devotes some key chapters to, will be the rise of a world government headed by a Devil-possessed tyrant known as the Antichrist or ?the Beast? who is given authority ?over every tribe, tongue, and nation? (Revelation 13:7). Is the world heading toward a global government as this verse seems to imply?
The European Union now encompasses 27 nations, with more knocking on the door to be admitted. There is a European Parliament; the European Commission; a common currency, the euro, that a number of European nations have already adopted; and if the EU reform treaty is ratified, there will be a ?President of Europe.?
The African Union, which includes 53 African nations, was formed in 2001 and aims eventually to have a single currency, an integrated defense force, as well as other institutions of state, including a Cabinet for the AU Head of State.
In 2004, the nations of South America signed the Cuzco Declaration announcing the foundation of the South American Community, modeled after the European Union, including a common currency, parliament, and passport. The Asian Cooperation Dialogue?which includes 30 Asian countries, including the megastates of Russia, China, and India?declares that its aim is to ultimately transform the Asian continent into an Asian Community.
The United Nations is a global organization with 192 member states and is the hub for many organizations that affect and in some cases regulate our lives, such as the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Commission, the International Labor Organization, UNESCO, the International Court of Justice (the World Court), the International Criminal Court, and the World Bank.
Globalization of the economy is a reality. Numerous trade bodies and treaties are already in place, such as the World Trade Organization, ASEAN, NAFTA, and Mercosur. The idea of global governance where international agreements and protocols will govern international behavior is being championed by high-profile political commentators. When you start looking into it, there are many international and supranational bodies, treaties, and protocols that have at their core the idea of promoting regional, and eventually, global cooperation and integration.
The Jerusalem Peace Accord
It appears that the Antichrist will rise to power on a political platform of peace, security, and economic stability. Like Satan himself, who can appear as an angel of light, this man will deceive most of the world into thinking that he is a great man of peace, a hero.
The prophet Daniel wrote that ?he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue? (Daniel 11:21). He confirms with many an international protocol that Daniel called the ?Holy Covenant? (Daniel 9:27; 11:22-32).
Whether this world government the Antichrist heads is already in power or rises to power at the time this document is signed, we don?t yet know. What the scriptures do state, though, is that this covenant will have a planned duration of seven years and will be pivotal to his claim to world leadership. This pact will resolve the Middle East crisis (at least temporarily), a seemingly impossible task that has repeatedly eluded the best efforts by world leaders since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It seems the compromise between the Israelis and the Palestinians will include the central issue of Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, which is sacred to Jews (their Temple stood there before being destroyed by the Romans in ad 70) and to Muslims (the Dome of the Rock, part of Al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif complex, the third most revered holy place in Islam, stands there today). Scripture indicates that the Antichrist?s covenant will enable the Jews to rebuild their national temple, where they will revive their ancient rituals of animal sacrifice (Daniel 8:23-25; 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4), suspended when the Temple was destroyed. ?Jewish eschatology envisions the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem prior to the coming of the Messiah, and thus, adherents of Orthodox and Conservative Judaism anticipate a Third Temple.?
Much of the religious paraphernalia and building material for this temple have already been fabricated and stored, and the priests and temple attendants are already trained.
The biblical prophet Ezekiel (circa 623-571 bc) calls the Antichrist ?Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal? (Ezekiel 38:2). Scholars agree that the ancient land referred to as Magog would appear to be a powerful country or region of peoples to the north of Israel. Although there was no such land called Russia in Ezekiel?s day, the term Rosh is amazingly similar to ?Ros? (also spelled Rus), the name given to the people that settled along the major rivers of the land now known as Russia, circa 700-800 ad, and from which the terms ?Russia? and ?Russians? derive. Meshech and Tubal could be renderings of ?Moscow? and ?Tobolsk,? cities that weren?t to exist for one to two thousand years after Ezekiel lived. Moscow is the capital of Russia, and Tobolsk?until recent times?was one of the most important cities of Siberia. Since the cities didn?t yet exist in his time, it would be understandable that Ezekiel used names that were familiar to him and similar in sound. For these reasons many Bible students believe that the Antichrist will rise out of Russia.
There are also indications in Scripture that the Antichrist could have something to do with Egypt (Daniel 8:22-26). Visions recorded in chapters 2 and 7 of the book of Daniel indicate that the Antichrist will be associated with ten ?kings? of nations that were once part of the Roman Empire, which included much of Western and Southern Europe. The book of Revelation says these ten will ?give their power and authority to the beast? (Revelation 17:13).
The Great Tribulation
Although most of the world will initially hail the Beast as a political savior, three and a half years after the enactment of the seven-year covenant, he will revoke the peace pact and manifest his satanic nature. At this time he apparently will invade Israel and establish himself in Jerusalem, making that city his world capital (Daniel 11:45).
His government will then outlaw all religions, except the worship of the Antichrist and an image of himself that will somehow be empowered to speak and ?cause as many as would not worship [it] to be killed? (Revelation 13:14-15). Jesus said that when you see this image, the ?abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place [temple] ? then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world? (Matthew 24:15,21). Thus the name given to this period is the ?Great Tribulation.? It will be a time when the Beast and his regime will institute a ruthless repression and persecution of believers in God (Daniel 7:21,25; 8:23-24; 11:31-35; 12:7,10; Revelation 13:5-7).
It is at this time that the Antichrist government tries to impose globally the infamous ?666? financial system, which we?ll cover next.
The ?Mark of the Beast?
?He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on [in] their right hand or on [in] their foreheads, that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666? (Revelation 13:16-18).
This prophecy is remarkable. Think about it: Nearly 2,000 years ago the apostle John, who prior to meeting Jesus had been a fisherman by trade and had been called an ?uneducated and untrained? man (Acts 4:13), predicted that a global economic system will one day be instituted in which everyone will be forced to receive a number, without which they will not be able to buy or sell. Only in this era of computers and electronic commerce could this prophecy be fulfilled.
There are currently a number of methods commonly used for purchasing items. You can use cash, you can write a check, you can use a credit card, or you can use a debit card that instantly deducts the amount from your bank account and deposits it into the account of the merchant.
Smart cards take this several steps further. They look like an ordinary credit card, but there?s a big difference: They have a tiny computer chip embedded in their plastic. These electronic marvels not only give you instant access to your bank account, but they can also contain (or access) your passport information, your medical records, driver?s license, photographs, biometrics, credit history, and other data. Hundreds of millions of smart cards are in use across Europe in the form of health cards, SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards (which turn your phone into a smart card), and ePurse cards. Smart cards are at the heart of the eEurope initiative. Germany ran full trials of their electronic health card in 2006. Other European states and regions already have an equivalent card program in operation. Over time the card could become a kind of medical passport entitling holders to medical care anywhere in the EU.
A parallel program is the biometric passport (AKA, epassport) which began being issued by many countries in 2006. Although not involving commerce, this does involve an attempt at fail-safe identification. Epassports not only contain your name and personal data in printed form, but an RFID chip embedded in the cover contains the same information in electronic form along with biometric information. There are, however, many privacy concerns, as the information on the chip is not secure from being scanned by identity thieves intent on obtaining your personal information.
We are well on the way to eliminating cash. Advocates of a cashless society have many compelling reasons for it. A primary one is that cash is often used to fund international terrorism, and is the mother?s milk of drug smugglers who frequently deal in cash a suitcase. With no cash, the sale of illegal drugs would be greatly hampered. In fact, law enforcement agencies say that to eliminate cash would eliminate many or even most kinds of criminal activity.
The ID Hurdle
Before cash, checks, and credit cards can be phased out completely, an absolutely foolproof identification system must be developed and implemented to prevent identity theft.
Retailers must be sure that the person presenting a card for a transaction is actually the owner of that card.
Various biometric ID systems have already been developed, like fingerprint and hand readers, retinal scanners, and face readers. But for a completely cashless society to work, there would have to be a standardization of the many competing systems, and the scanners would need to be installed at every shop and office, no matter how big or small, where goods or services are sold.
While highly accurate biometric scanners would be very costly to install everywhere they would be needed?not to mention the expensive infrastructure they would need to speedily access the databases where people?s biometric details are stored?microchips encased in plastic smart cards and the scanners to read them are a much more cost-efficient alternative.
Your Own Personal Microchip Implant
A cheap and workable solution would be to take a chip similar to those used in smart cards and place it under the skin of each man, woman, and child. It wouldn?t even have to store all your personal data, but just a unique identifier. All your data could be stored in gigantic networked databases and your identification code would access it. Once the chip is implanted, it could be read by an inexpensive scanner, similar in function to the ones that read bar codes in your local grocery store. You would then become your own smart card?and the very expensive problem of making sure that the owner of the card is who he says he is has been solved!
The chipping of people has quietly begun rolling out in the U.S., via Applied Digital Solutions? VeriChip. In May 2002 the ?historic chipping of the Jacobs family? took place. This family and several other volunteers had a chip with a unique identifier injected under their skin. About the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, it can be read by a handheld VeriChip scanner. The Jacobs family suffers from various ailments and the storage of their medical history provided the logic behind their volunteering to be the test cases. Already, though, Applied Digital Solutions are advertising their services for $200, along with a $10 monthly fee.
How long will it be till this chipping of people becomes the norm and we turn to it to facilitate all those daily functions such as shopping, etc.? It has already been adopted in several parts of the world as an identification and tracking system by such diverse groups as law enforcement agencies, vacation clubs, government departments, pet owners, farmers, and concerned parents who want to be able to keep track of their children.
VeriChip Corp. wants to get under the skin of 1.4 million U.S. servicemen and women. The company is hoping to convince the Pentagon to allow them to insert the chips, known as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips under the skin of the right arms of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen to enable them to scan an arm and obtain that person?s identity and medical history. The chips would replace the legendary metal dog tags that have been worn by U.S. military personnel since 1906.
Liz McIntyre, co-author with Katherine Albrecht of Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID, said that VeriChip is ?a huge threat? to public privacy.
?They?re circling like vultures for any opportunity to get into our flesh,? McIntyre said. ?They?ll start with people who can?t say no, like the elderly, sex offenders, immigrants, and the military. Then they?ll come knocking on our doors.?
A global cashless society is in the making. Fiber optics, satellites, and computer databases have the potential to control the world in a way that boggles the imagination. Many governments and private corporations worldwide are pursuing policies to eliminate cash and checks, while many other countries are testing various methods of doing business without physical currency. For the first time, the hi-tech means of fulfilling the chilling vision the apostle John received nearly 2,000 years ago is here.
The Power Behind the Throne
The coming world leader will demand the world?s worship not merely because he has a severe ego problem.?He will be empowered or possessed by Satan himself. ?The dragon [Satan] gave him his power, his throne, and great authority? (Revelation 13:2).
Satan has always wanted to be God. This is why he fell in the first place. The prophet Isaiah wrote, ?How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! ? For you said to yourself, ?I will ascend to heaven and rule the angels. I will take the highest throne. ? I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.? But instead, you will be brought down to the pit of hell, down to its lowest depths? (Isaiah 14:12-15 TLB).
Watch Out for 666!
What Satan is really after when he causes the Antichrist government to set up the coming global financial system is to gain control over the people of the world and to get them to bow down and worship him. This is why the Bible warns, ?If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God. ? [T]hey have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name? (Revelation 14:9-11).
The book of Revelation states six times that worshiping the Beast and receiving his Mark leads to damnation. There is a definite link between the two, though at this point in time it is not clear exactly what that will be. At first glance, it would seem the Mark is simply an economic and identification system, but from what the Scriptures indicate, it can lead to much more. Beware!
So when you see the world government arise and its leader demands your allegiance, your loyalty, and even your worship, don?t fall for it. Regardless of the economic incentives offered or the retribution that threatens those who refuse his Mark and number, give your love and worship to the true God, your Creator, who loves and cares for you, and who has promised that He will see you through the days ahead if you put your trust in Him. The Bible says, ?The people who know their God will be strong? (Daniel 11:32). (For more on this subject, see The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist, also from Aurora Production.)
The Second Coming
?Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other?
Here Jesus is telling us that the world?s darkest period of tribulation and horror will abruptly end with the dawning of the brightest day?the day Jesus Christ returns to gather His people to be with Him!
The book of Revelation tells us that prior to Jesus? return, the Antichrist will be doing his damnedest to wipe out all who refuse to worship him and refuse to take his Mark. At the same time it makes clear that God will in turn be unleashing terrible plagues and judgments upon the Antichrist and his forces. So although it will be a time of great trouble for believers, it will also be a time of even greater trouble for their persecutors.
The Bible spells out exactly how long this period of ?great tribulation? will last: 3? years, or 42 months, or 1,260 days (Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 13:5; 12:6). So on the day that the coming world leader breaks that covenant and sets up his image and demands the world?s worship, we will know exactly how long it will be till Jesus returns.
Bye-Bye Beast, and Hello Heaven!
The world will be shocked by the awesome sights and sounds that will herald Jesus? Second Coming. When the greatest sign of all is revealed, Jesus Himself coming in the clouds, supernaturally beaming God?s power and might around the world, those who have rejected Him and worshiped the Beast will be thunderstruck. ?Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him? (Revelation 1:7).
But for those of us who know and love the Lord, His return will bring us greater joy and deliverance and freedom than we have ever known! God?s people who have died since Jesus? days on Earth will be miraculously resurrected in new supernatural bodies, bursting out of their graves and ascending to meet Him in the air. Those of us still alive on Earth will be instantly transformed with new bodies as well, and we?ll soar into the clouds to meet the Lord! Jesus will snatch His people out of the reach of their anti-Christ persecutors and whisk them away to the grandest, most thrilling victory celebration that?s ever been held?an event known as the ?Marriage Supper of the Lamb?in Heaven! (Revelation 14:14-16; 19:6-9). Meanwhile, the horrific plagues of the wrath of God will be poured out upon the Beast?s forces. Jesus will then lead the superhuman host of Heaven as it returns to Earth to defeat and destroy the Beast and his wicked empire in the climactic battle known as ?Armageddon.? The name is derived from a hill in the valley of Jezreel, near Haifa, Israel, under which the ancient city of Megiddo is buried (the Hebrew word Armageddon means ?the height or mount of Megiddo?). Although the armies of the Antichrist gather at Armageddon, it seems that the focal point of this decisive and horrendous battle will be Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:1-5; Revelation 14:20). It will mark the end of man?s cruel rule on Earth, as God Himself, through Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, and His heavenly forces, take over the world to rule and reign and run it the way it should have been run all along, if man had not disobeyed God and gone his own selfish way! And so begins a period known as the ?Millennium,? a thousand years of peace and the building of paradise on Earth (Revelation 19:11-21; 20:1-4). (For more on this exciting period to come, don?t miss From the End to Eternity, from Aurora Production.)
Faith to Face the Future
We are certainly living in exciting times and are on the threshold of some cataclysmic changes!
Seeing how prophecies from thousands of years ago accurately predicted world conditions today should encourage you in a number of ways. First of all, it?s reassuring that God not only has the power to foresee the future, but that He cared enough about us to tell us what is going to happen in advance. As Jesus said, ?I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe? (John 14:29).
Similarly, when you realize that the current state of the world was foretold so specifically, it stands to reason that the biblical prophecies which have not yet been fulfilled will also come to pass. A world government with a bestial leader and enforced financial system will arise. Persecution of those who refuse to cooperate with the Antichrist regime will take place, but at the same time God will miraculously care for and empower His people to keep them even in trying times. And then God will intervene when Jesus Christ returns to rescue His people, defeat the forces of evil at the Battle of Armageddon, and establish His everlasting kingdom of love on Earth.
No Need to Fear
As these awesome final events of the Endtime begin to unfold, you don?t have to be in fear or confusion, wondering what?s going on. Although Jesus warned that in the very last days ?men?s hearts would be failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth? (Luke 21:26), He also said that those who know and love Him could face these same events positively and victoriously.
He made it clear that as the final signs of the end came to pass, His return to rescue His people was that much closer: ?Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption [deliverance] draws near? (Luke 21:28). We may not like everything that is happening, and some of it may look pretty bad, but we know the happy ending. In previous persecutions of Christians throughout history, many of which were just as vicious as the ones to come in the Great Tribulation, the people of God as a whole have come through victoriously, stronger, and in many cases greatly multiplied in numbers.
Although the Great Tribulation is a time of great troubles, most of those troubles befall the Antichrist and his followers, not the followers of God. Jesus will do many miracles to empower and protect His people. ?The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits? (Daniel 11:32).
If you have faith in God and His Word, and you are living close to Him, then even if there?s war and turmoil, confusion and chaos on the outside, you can have peace on the inside?in your own heart?through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.
The Best Preparation for the Future
You can prepare for the future?and for all eternity?by receiving Jesus as your Savior. He loves you, and will be with you and will guide you through whatever perilous times you may encounter.
The Bible tells us that ?God is love? (1 John 4:8). He is the Spirit of love, and He loves you and wants you to know and experience and revel in His love. But God is so great, so almighty, He is far beyond our finite human understanding. This is why He sent Jesus, His Son, to the world: to show us His love and to help us understand what He, God Himself, is like.
?For God so loved the world [you and me], that He gave His only begotten Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in Him should not perish [be separated from God?s love], but have everlasting life? (John 3:16). God loves you so much that He gave Jesus, who lived and died in this world so that you could hear His message of truth and receive the free gift of eternal heavenly life.
If you don?t yet know Jesus personally, you can receive Him and all the wonderful things He has to offer you right now. Even if you have questions and doubts about Him, He understands, and if you reach out to Him, He will make Himself real in your life. He says, ?I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. If you hear My voice and open the door, I will come into you? (Revelation 3:20).
Will you give Him a chance? He?s waiting for you. Just sincerely pray the following simple prayer:
Dear Jesus, I ask You to come into my heart. Please forgive me for all the wrongs I?ve done, and give me Your gift of everlasting life. Help me to love You, and help me to share Your love and truth with others. Amen.
Jesus said, ?I have come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly? (John 10:10). Receiving Jesus not only guarantees you a brighter future, but a more fulfilled present. May His presence fill and bless your life in every way.
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The parenthetical references following Bible quotations indicate the book, chapter, and verse where the passage may be found.