What is the World Coming to? (Part 9)
Greetings precious people,
I do hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and that you are enjoying this holiday season. God is so very good to us. He has blessed us with so much.
In todayís article Iíd like for us to continue to examine, from Godís Word, what the world is coming to. We have seen in past articles that during a time known in the Bible as "the last days", "the Tribulation", "the day of Christ", and others, that God will be dealing with a stubborn, rebellious, Christ rejecting world. He will do this through a number of means. As we have seen in past studies, He will bring judgement upon this world through three sets of seven judgement known as "The Seal Judgements", "The Trumpet Judgements", and "The Vial Judgements". We will begin to look at the Vial Judgements next week. But, in this weekís article, I would like us to look at another event that takes place during this time.
God will remove His influence that He has through the Church. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the church at Thessalonica, had this to say, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-7, "Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way."
From these verses, and others that we will look at, we see a number of things occurring. First, is that event known as the "Rapture of the Church." We have looked at this event in previous articles. In taking the Church out of the world scene, God removes His influence that He has on this world through the Church. The Church, which is made up of individuals that have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, are the "light and salt" to this world. Light as you know, drives out darkness and enables people to see. Salt in ancient days, was used as a preservative and an antiseptic. Once this influence is removed from the world, it will be a terrible place to be. In removing the influence of the Church, God will give man his heartís desire to live a life of unbridled sin.
Two events that will mark this are what Paul terms "the falling away" and the revealing of the "man of sin". The term "falling away", comes from the Greek word "apostacia" which means a departing, a turning away from the faith. There will be many that "call themselves" Christians that will turn away from true Biblical faith. They will believe all kinds of lies rather than the truth. We see this happening in much of the Church today. There are many that do consider themselves to Christians that do not believe the Bible. They believe in Evolution rather than Creation, nor do they believe in the Flood. They do not believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ. They do not believe in Heaven and Hell or in the need to be "Born Again". The present departing from the Faith is a precursor to a much greater event soon to come.
The third event that Paul speaks of is the revealing of the ĎMan of Sin,í also known as the Ďanti Christ.í Listen to what further description Paul gives concerning this person, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, "And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
I bring this to your attention because it goes along with what John says in the Book of Revelation. In Revelation 13:11-18, "Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and 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."
Among many things that will take place during the time of the Tribulation will be as part of the anti Christís rule, he will make everyone take his mark. Exactly what form this will be we do not know. It may come in the form of a surgically implanted microchip or a bar coded tattoo. What we do know is that with out it you will not be able to survive. You will need it to buy and sell.
Did you happen to see the banking commercial? I thought it was quite interesting. It was a line of people standing in a long line at a bank and when a particular man gets up to the teller, he is directed to another more expedient line. The next scene is a line of people with a bar code attached to their foreheads and the teller has a personís head down on the counter top running his forehead across a scanner. How interesting! I donít think it is too far off.
Recent scientific developments bring us much closer to this becoming reality. You can now have a micro chip inserted under the skin of your pet so that if little bowser or kitty gets lost they can be located by satellite. This microchip has all kinds of information on it. This process is also being suggested to our military personnel. Think of all the conviences of this for your daily life. There will no longer be the need to carry money. No worry about stolen checks or credit cards. It will all sound so good.
Once a person receives the mark of the Beast, his or her fate is sealed. They will have reached the point of no return. There will be no hope for them. But there is hope now. The only hope is faith in Jesus Christ. Turn to Him now and let Him place His mark on you.
Next week we will be looking at the final set of Judgements known as the Vial Judgements. It would be good for you to read Revelation 15 and 16. Until then, may the Lord draw you close to Him.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine