None of us are infallible. Not even Pope Frances. Obviously. We all hear people say things that we know are incorrect, but we’re able to pass it off as a verbal gaffe and not worry about it. After all, we’re human and make mistakes, right? But when a couple of renowned Bible teachers make a statement that is not only, in my humble opinion heretical but dangerous, we are obligated to stand up and say something.
On September 27, 2013, radio talk-show host Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend, a Biblically based talk show, had Dr. Jimmy DeYoung as his guest. In part of the interview, Howse asked Dr. DeYoung if he remembered a huge controversy some time ago, involving a statement made by John MacArthur, Pastor of Grace Community Church in California.
Howse stated that years ago, during a Wednesday night question and answer forum, Pastor MacArthur gave what I consider to have been an extremely dangerous answer to the question a gentleman posed: During the Tribulation, can a person still be redeemed if they’ve taken the mark of the beast? MacArthur said “Yes.” Surprised? Yeah, me too! When I heard the audio clip, I nearly fell off my chair and blew Diet Coke out of my nose.
Pastor MacArthur answers by saying that during the 7 year Tribulation, God will accomplish two purposes; He will judge the earth with a series of holocausts and He’ll redeem His people, Israel. He goes on to say the following:
“During this time, the antichrist will establish his rule. Now, in order to function in the economy of the antichrist, you have to take the mark of the beast, the number of man, or 666, in your hand or forehead.” He mentions that computers are moving us towards a cashless and even cardless economy.
The mark “will be scanned instead of carrying cards—that’s how you buy and sell and it’s automatically debited from your bank account. The question is, if you’re living during the Tribulation and you take this mark or, in other words, you identify with the beast’s empire, will you still be able to be redeemed? And I think the answer to that is ‘yes.’ Yes!”
“Otherwise, there would be no salvation of anybody in the end of the Tribulation, and you’ve got to have the salvation of folks in the end of the Tribulation. You’re gonna have the Jews redeemed; you’re gonna have, according to Revelation 7, an innumerable number of Gentiles redeemed, so many that they can’t even be counted across the face of the earth.”
“So I don’t think the fact that someone takes that, is a sentence to permanency anymore than you being a part of this world’s system once in your life means you have to be a part of the system all your life. Well, especially since the 144,000 don’t start their ministry until the second half. That’d make it a little tough.”
HUH?? He doesn’t ‘think’ it would be a sentence to permanency? Pardon me, but this man is a very well respected, long time Bible teacher, author, Pastor and radio host, and he doesn’t ‘think’ it would be a problem? Well, I don’t give a flying rat’s patoot WHAT he thinks! The only thing that matters is what God thinks, and we find that in the Bible. And FYI, the Bible is VERY clear about this issue!
Revelation 13:16-17 talks about the False Prophet, saying “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
Chapter 14:9-11 continues “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.’”
Now, notice what verses 12-13 say: “’Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’” And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
What does it mean to ‘worship?’ According to Strong’s Concordance, the word for worship is ‘proskuneo,’ which means, “to bow the knee to show reverence or homage.” OK, what about the Greek word for ‘mark?’ It’s ‘charagma’ meaning, “stamp—imprinted mark stamped on the forehead or right hand as the badge of the followers of the antichrist.”
I tried to give Pastor MacArthur the benefit of the doubt; after all, he is a big pooh-bah in the Christian community and I’m…well, I’m just me. So, I wondered if he was looking at these verses in a different light. For instance, it says that those who worship the beast and his image AND receive the mark will be damned. Would it be possible to take the mark in order to buy and sell without worshipping the beast or his image?
The answer is in Revelation 20:4 “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” They didn’t worship OR receive the mark.
When I looked up the Greek for ‘witness,’ it was ‘marturia’ which means “what one testifies before a judge.” Take this all together and the Lord’s warning against taking the mark of the beast is abundantly clear. If you are stupid enough (YES, I said ‘stupid’) to be left behind after the Bride is rescued from the wrath of God, you had better NOT take that mark!
You will be forced to choose whom you will serve, and you’ll be expected to give ‘witness’ or verbalize your allegiance to your master. Take the mark, and join the New World Order society the antichrist will rule. Matthew Henry said it best in his commentary on these verses:
“The False Prophet allows none to enjoy natural or civil rights, who won’t worship the beast or his image. He makes it the qualification for buying or selling as well as for places of profit and trust. That they oblige themselves to use all their interest, power and endeavor to forward the dominion of the beast, which is meant by receiving his mark.”
Taking that mark means you swear allegiance to the antichrist, the False Prophet and the government, economic and religious system of the New World Order. In other words, in exchange for food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, a job and the chance to exist in their slave driven, repressive society, you literally sell your soul to the devil. This mark cannot be removed, excised, erased, masked, burned or destroyed. It will be permanent and irrevocable.
In fact, there are some Bible scholars who hold the very reasonable theory that in utilizing nanotechnology, the mark will literally alter your DNA, causing you to become a hybrid of some kind; part human—part something as yet unknown.
The book of Genesis tells us that fallen angels mated with human women and had offspring, called nephilim. These beings were hybrids God did not create, nor did He ever desire they exist. Because they were not fully human, they had no soul and therefore, were not redeemable. The same genetic perversion will likely take place in those who receive the mark of the beast, causing them to also become unredeemable.
Jesus will expect those who call on His name for salvation during the Tribulation, to be willing to die a martyr’s death rather than give allegiance to the beast. Revelation 15:2 says “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.”
They had gotten the victory over the beast. The Greek for ‘victory’ is “nikao” which means, “Christians that hold fast their faith even unto death against the power of foes, temptations and persecutions.” Now, you can try to hide from the soldiers, live in the woods, scavenge for food and water, never being able to rest, but they’ll catch you. The militarization of our state and local police forces is stark testimony to that. Kind of hard to dodge dogs, night vision and heat sensing technology for long.
What made me particularly sad and alarmed during that radio show, was that Dr. DeYoung actually agreed with Pastor MacArthur! After hearing MacArthur’s audio sound bite, Dr. DeYoung chuckled and said the following:
“Well, we’re looking at the same book. That’s what’s so interesting—that’s what we were saying. I mean, you know, that it’s not the unpardonable sin. The fact is, if nobody gets saved in the last 3.5 years because they have received that mark…there’s that unbelievable number of Jews that come to know Christ, that are living, that actually go into the millennial kingdom in natural bodies. That’s good that Brother John is looking at the same book I am, and that we came up with the same answers.”
I’d love to know what “book” he’s referring to, because it sure ain’t the Bible!
He continued, “The dear brothers and sisters who disagree; I don’t quite know where they’re coming from—I don’t need to know that, but just now, with that confirmation from another Bible teacher, and he’s a great Bible teacher; I’m just a beginner, but it’s great to see that and the confirmation that both of us believe that same thing.”
Well, THIS “dear sister” is coming from the angle of scripture and I am flabbergasted that two well known and respected Bible teachers could come to such an erroneous conclusion, despite the very clear teaching of the Word of God! This isn’t just a difference of doctrinal opinion here.
What they are declaring to hundreds of thousands of people who might look to them for spiritual guidance in days to come, could literally damn their souls to everlasting torment in the Lake of Fire! What are those guys thinking?? I’m stunned and appalled. And disgusted. And disappointed in the extreme. Just goes to show we can never put our full trust in a human being! NEVER.
The only source of truth is the Bible. If there is something you read that you don’t understand the Holy Spirit will be thrilled to give you insight and wisdom if you pray for them. James 1:5 promises “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Finally, a stern word of rebuke and warning to John MacArthur and Dr. Jimmy DeYoung; not from me, but from the Lord we all serve:
Revelation 22:18-20 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, ‘Surely I come quickly. Amen.’ Even so, come, Lord Jesus.