The Bible says a day will come when the whole world will be ruled by an evil dictator—the Antichrist. This one man will dominate the world politically, economically, and religiously (Revelation 13:1-18). People will actually worship him (Revelation 13:12), and he will force them to accept a mark on the right hand or forehead (Revelation 13:16). If they refuse, they will lose all ability to buy or sell anything.
For years, people have wondered what this mark will look like, and while we can speculate, we’re no closer to knowing what the mark will look like than we’ve ever been. Having said that, we do know that the implementation of this mark is not some far off event centuries in the future. How can I be so sure? Because Jesus Himself said so.
When His disciples asked Him to reveal the signs of His coming and the end of this age (Matthew 24:3), He responded by telling them to look for specific signs. Once we see those signs, Jesus says He’s coming (Luke 21:28).
Those signs include:
· The Jews back in Israel (Ezekiel 39:28, Isaiah 11:12, Psalm 107:3)
· The Jews back in Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:4-8, Luke 21:24-28)
· The appearance of the exponential curve (Matthew 24:3-8)
· Israel surrounded by enemies (Psalm 83:4, Psalm 83:12, Ezekiel 11:14-17, Ezekiel 35:10)
· The Gospel preached throughout the world (Matthew 24:14)
While this is far from a comprehensive list of signs, all of these signs have either been fulfilled or are in the process of being fulfilled in our lifetime. So if Jesus is returning soon, the Antichrist and the mark of the beast should also appear soon. Looking around the world today, do we see any indication the mark of the beast is near?
Yes. We do.
First, modern technology makes marking and tracking people much more viable on a global basis. Think about when the book of Revelation was written. Would it have been possible for the Roman Empire to mark and track its citizens? Not really. Not to the point that Rome could control all economic transactions. But it’s not so difficult for us to imagine such a system in our day and time.
Second, we’re seeing the reversal of a three century trend toward greater individual freedom and liberty in the Western democratic nations. The spirit of the American Revolution has given way to a mentality where the “common good” trumps individual liberty.
For example, do you think New Yorkers of a generation ago would’ve tolerated government regulation of the size of their soft drinks? How about bans on table salt in restaurants? Yet, that’s what we see today, and most Americans remain unconcerned with this erosion of liberty.
Need another example? How about the serious debate over forcedgovernment vaccination following a few cases of the measles in California? It’s becoming clear that more and more people today have come to accept a large and intrusive government. And that sets the stage for the most intrusive and oppressive government in history – the Antichrist’s global empire.
According to the book of Revelation, acceptance of the mark of the beast is a choice. In other words, millions will willingly embrace the mark of the beast and worship the Antichrist. And those same people will support a government policy to exclude and punish those who refuse the mark (Revelation 13:17), with some even being beheaded for their refusal to take the mark (Revelation 20:4).
Does this sound ridiculous? It shouldn’t. This totalitarian mindset has taken root in every area of the world. We see it in the United States where serious consideration is given to forced government vaccinations. We see it in Germany where people support policies that imprison parents for homeschooling their children. We see it in Australia, where “consorting” or simply associating with the “wrong person” (wrong being defined by the government) can land you in prison. We see it in every country in the world, where big government attempts to micromanage every last minute detail of human life.
The willingness of so many people to assert the government’s authority to do these things is frightening. It should give everyone cause for concern, especially Christians. Why?
Because while I don’t think any of these actions are the mark of the beast (or even close), I believe they set the stage for it. Widespread acceptance of such intrusive governmental authority sets a dangerous precedent. Before long nothing is beyond the scope of governmental power. And the Bible reveals that in the end times, governmental power over the people will be absolute.
But there is a way to guarantee your freedom from any government, no matter how oppressive. How? Give your life to Jesus Christ. The Bible says that if you follow Jesus, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). And Jesus says if He sets you free, you are truly free (John 8:36).