The Bible warns us against the coming Anti-Christ and the Mark of the Beast (Revelation 13:16-18). According to Scripture, those who receive this mark, either in the right hand or the forehead, are forever damned to the Lake of Fire and Brimstone. There is no possible forgiveness left from God once the mark has been accepted by the individual. It is tragic that I’ve heard a “free grace pastor” teach his congregation that even if they took the mark, God could still forgive them, even though this is in direct contradiction to the Bible (Revelation 14:9-11).
DECEPTIONS WITHIN THE CHURCH
We are living in a time of DECEPTION, and therefore, the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit must become our only standard of truth. The Holy Spirit will NEVER violate any part of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, but will remind us of what we have already studied and learned, as well as illuminate and explain connections within the Scriptures.
And as prophesied about the last days, we are now in that time of strong delusion and deception, even within the Christian faith, as the pastor above illustrates. Nor is he an isolated case, there are many pastors, ministers, Bible teachers, and TV evangelists who are teaching half-truths, deceptions, and errors from the pulpits in America today. For example, I was listening to a well-known TV pastor or evangelist, who said in his sermon:
The life and teachings of Jesus were part of the Old Testament, and since we, as Christians, are not under the Old Testament, then we are not under the teachings of Jesus either. All that’s relevant for us, as Christians, today is from the cross on, and that’s all.
And he is not the only one teaching this either. This is why we need to read and study the Bible for ourselves, so we can see if what we are being taught lines up with the revelation of the WHOLE BIBLE, not just parts here and there.
DECEPTIONS WITHIN SOCIETY
But not only do we need to be wary of what is being taught within the church today, but we also need to be wary of what our society and culture is teaching us today as well. We’re being taught to see all religions as being equally valid, that there’s more than just two genders, male and female, that there’s nothing wrong with pre-marital sex, that adultery, homosexuality, incest, and even beastiality can be practiced and one can still be “a Christian.” I’ve seen people online claiming to be “Christian Witches,” “Christian Wiccans,” and even “Christian Prostitutes,” not to mention that there are gay priests and pastors, and even now a LGBTQ baptismal. These are all things that God rejects in His Word, the Bible. Rather than telling these people that they need to repent and turn away from their lives of sin, they’re being embraced into the various ministries and leadership positions of the church.
FIVE ANTI-BIBLICAL AMERICAN VALUES
But not only do we find deceptions being accepted within our churches and society, but there are also anti-biblical attitudes which are also clearly evident within the American society as well. And these attitudes are held by both those outside and inside of the church. And the one consistency we see in all of the following five attitudes and beliefs is that they exclude God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is these attitudes and beliefs which will make the accepting of “the Mark of the Beast” something that people will freely accept; many of them will not have to be forced to accept it at all.
1. Self-Determination: “This is my life; I’ll live it my way“
This belief asserts that the individual is master over his or her own life, and is, therefore, free to choose how to live that life: what to believe, say, eat, what career to choose, who to sleep with, marry, etc. This attitude and belief is seen reflected in songs like “I Did It My Way,” or even in TV commercials that encourage people to “Have It Your Way.” When I was teaching college English, I read many essays, written by students, men and women, who made assertions like this concerning their lives, including students who said they were Christians, but argued, for example, that abortion was a woman’s right because “It’s her body, she can decide what she wants to do with it, and no one else should be able to tell her to do otherwise.”
There are several problems with this position. First of all, it doesn’t recognize that the “right” that the woman had was having sex with a man. The pregnancy was the result of that choice. Consequently, the option to terminate a pregnancy teaches men and women, that they don’t have to take any responsibility for the choices that they make.
Secondly, the pro-abortion argument is based on the exceptions and rare instances, not the rule. According to statistics, only 5% of pregnancies are the result of rape, incest, and may endanger the mother’s life. 5%. So even if we agree that not all women report a rape and we triple the statistic, that would still only be 15%, a far cry from the majority of the cases. That means that AT LEAST 85% OF ABORTIONS ARE USED FOR BIRTH CONTROL. At least 85% of abortions could be prevented if the man, woman or both would simply plan ahead and use contraceptions.
A final problem with this attitude and belief is that it is in direct opposition to what is taught by the early Christians and the Scriptures. For example, one of the earliest Christian writings outside of the New Testament is called the DIDACHE (pron. “Did-ah-kay“), or “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” and its dated between 75 – 150 C.E. There were Church Fathers who argued that it should be included in the New Testament, since it was written during the same time period as much of the New Testament, or at the latest, fifty years afterwards, but they did not win out. In Didache 2:1-2, it says,
The second commandment of the teaching is: “You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery”; you shall not corrupt boys; you shall not be sexually promiscuous; “you shall not steal;” you shall not practice magic; you shall not engage in sorcery; YOU SHALL NOT ABORT A CHILD OR COMMIT INFANTICIDE. “You shall not covet your neighbor”s possession.”
The “corruption of boys” being done by many Catholic priests is a clear violation with this teaching as well, as all as we can see, and men and women being “sexually promiscuous,” and abortion and infanticide. These are NOT new beliefs of the Christian faith, but they date all the way back to the time period of the Apostles themselves.
Also, the Bible teaches us that we no longer own our bodies, because God “purchased” us by Jesus’ death. The Bible teaches that when we give our lives to God and make Jesus the Lord of our lives, we are making Him our “Master” or “Owner.” This is what the word “Lord” means, “Master, Owner.” The word “redeemed” means to be “bought” or “purchased,” and Jesus redeemed us with His own blood, which He shed for us on the cross. So how can we say, “It’s my body; I’ll do what I want”? If that’s the case, then did you take your life back from Christ?
Biblically, if you are a Christian, then you may be the steward or manager of your life and body, but you are NOT the owner, Christ is. So biblically speaking, what right do you have to end a life in a body that doesn’t even belong to you, since you are no longer the owner of that body? This is why Paul writes in Galatians 2:20,
I AM CRUCIFIED with Christ; nevertheless, I live, yet NOT I, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME, and the life which I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loves me and gave His life for me.
Notice that we are “crucified with Christ,” and that it is no longer we who live, but it is Christ who lives in us now. Our bodies are the Temple of God. It belongs to Him, not to us, so what right do we have to tell God what we are going to do with what belongs to Him? On the other hand, if you’ve taken your life back from Him, then yes, you have the right to do with it as you will. But if you have ownership, just understand, that means that God doesn’t.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN? FOR YOU HAVE BEEN BOUGHT WITH A PRICE; therefore glorify God in your body. (I Corinthians 6:19-20; emphasis mine)
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, EVEN DENYING THE MASTER WHO BOUGHT THEM, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned. (2 Peter 2:1-2; emphasis mine)
Worthy are You [Jesus/Yeshua] to take the book, and to break its seals; for You were slain, and DID PURCHASE FOR GOD WITH YOUR BLOOD Men [and women] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. (Revelation 5:9; emphasis mine)
We can see this same attitude over and over again throughout Scripture. For example, we see this attitude in the young Jewish virgin girl, name Mary (Heb. Mir’yam), Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) mother, when visited by the angel Gabriel. After receiving the news that she was going to conceive and give birth to a son, and she was to name Him “Jesus” (Heb. Yeshua) and further prophecies regarding His coming rule and reign upon the earth, she responded by saying,
Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)
The term “bondslave” here in the New American Standard Bible is translated in the King James Version as “handmaiden,” but the Greek word here, doulos, means “slave.” In John MacArthur’s book Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ, he notes the following:
Whenever it [the Greek word doulos] is used, both in the New Testament and in secular Greek literature, it always and only means slave. (16)
Interestingly, he also notes that the word “slave” (Gk. doulos) “appears 124 times in the original [Greek] text” (15). But “in almost every English version – going back to both the King James Version and the Geneva Bible that predated it,” the word “slave” has been translated as “servant” due to “the stigmas attached to slavery in Western society” (17). So in Mary’s response, she is acknowledging God as her “Master,” and she is agreeing to do what He has said.
Slavery in ancient Israel and in the first century, C.E., though, was not like it was in America. In fact, if the Colonists had actually followed the Bible, there never would have been slavery in the United States. Biblical slavery was designed so people could pay off their debts. They didn’t have welfare or food stamps back then. So, for example, Jacob wanted Rachel to be his wife, but he did not have the money to pay for the dowry, so he indentured himself (or became Laban’s slave) for a period of 7 years, so that he could work to pay off the price of the dowry. This is how it worked in the ancient world. Both sides agreed to the terms, and once the debt (or amount) had been paid and the terms satisfied, then the individual was allowed to go free. America, though, violated this model over and over again.
On the other hand, there were slaves who were treated and cared for better being someone’s slave than they would be as a “free man.” So in response, the person would choose to be that person’s slave for life. This is what was known as a “bondslave.” How one became a “bondslave” is described in Exodus 21:5-6,
And if the servant [slave] shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free. Then his master shall bring him unto the judges, he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
So in the ancient world, the wearing of an ear-ring identified one as a “bondslave.” Even the word “Lord,” I discovered has “slave connotations.” Like most people today, I have used the word “Lord” in reference to Messiah [Christ] the majority of my life, but I used it just thinking that it meant “God.” I used it that way because I heard other people use it and how they used it. But as I said, the word “Lord” actually means “Master” or “Owner.”
God is called “Lord,” because He created all things; therefore, He owns everything that He created. Just like any artist today, if they create something, they own what they created. But man and woman sinned, and by so doing, they rejected Him and His claim of ownership. And when they did this, they did not gain the freedom that they believed they would, but they were enslaved instead to sin and to the kingdom of darkness.
This is why Messiah (Christ) came to die for us, so He could free us from sin, and bring us back into fellowship with God and to be a part of His kingdom. By His suffering and death on the cross, Messiah (Christ) redeemed or “purchased us” for Himself. So when we acknowledge what Messiah has done and we give our lives to Him, and we accept Him as our “Lord” and “Savior,” we are giving Him the “ownership rights” to our lives; and therefore, we do not belong to ourselves. We now belong to God. He now becomes the rightful Owner and Master of our lives, not us. Consequently, to say “This is My life, and I will do what I want with it” is a clear denial and recognition of God’s right of ownership. It is a belief or attitude that’s clearly represented by the Mark of the Beast.
2. Self-Sufficiency & Independence: The belief that I am to be self-sufficient and take care of myself.
This is also a belief that runs contrary to Scripture, because it excludes God and His Son, the Messiah Jesus (Heb. Yeshua). It is the belief that “I don’t need anyone else to help me, I can do it myself.” In America, this belief is looked upon as an ideal, something to strive for. We in America have been taught by our society and culture that this is what it means to be an adult. However, when we look to Messiah (Christ) as our model, we find a very different ideal. Jesus (Yeshua) never went about doing His own will, but the will of His Father (God):
I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 5:30)
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me (John 6:38).
For example, Jesus (Yeshua) sought only to do the Father’s will, not His own, in regard to what He said and taught, His doctrine, which was given to Him by the Father:
My doctrine is not Mine, but His [God’s] that sent Me. (John 7:16)
For I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak. (John 12:49-50)
If a man love Me [Jesus], he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loves Me not keeps not My sayings [or teachings]: and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me. (John 14:23-24)
So over and over again, we see in the Gospels that Jesus (Yeshua) lived a life that was completely dependent upon God in every way: what He said and what He did. And sometimes this was a struggle for Him. This is most clearly evident in His prayer while in the Garden of Gethsemane:
Father, if You be willing, remove this cup [His upcoming passion] from Me; nevertheless NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE. And there appeared an angel to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:42-44; Emphasis Mine)
Even though Jesus (Yeshua) suffered great agony here in the Garden, He still submitted Himself to the will of the Father. Paul highlights this in his epistle to the church at Philippi:
HE [Jesus/Yeshua] HUMBLED HIMSELF, and BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS. Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus [Yeshua] every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [Heb. Yeshua HaMoshiakh] is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11; Emphasis Mine)
Jesus (Yeshua) lived His life totally dependent and obedient to God in all things, and as a result, God rewarded Him by elevating Him to the second highest position of authority in all of creation. Although as God, Jesus already had this position, but as a human being, He did not. It had to be given to Him. Only God the Father is higher in authority than He is now. Consequently, Jesus (Yeshua) is our role model on how we are to live our lives. We must ask ourselves each day: Are we seeking to be dependent upon God? Are we obeying God in all things? Do we seek His will in all that He taught from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21? Or are we seeking to do our will instead? Who do we see on the throne of our lives whenever we need to make a decision?
3. Self-Dependence: The belief that we can fix whatever problems arise ourselves.
Again, when we seek to fix our own problems, instead of looking to God and the leading of His Spirit, we are leaving Him out of our lives, and by so doing, we are embracing the attitudes and beliefs of the Beast. Am I saying that it is wrong to fix problems that arise? No, I am saying that it is wrong when we try to do it on our own and leave God and Jesus (Yeshua) out of it. We must learn to work WITH the Lord to get things done, not APART from Him. You may think your way will work best, but He may have a much better way, if we would only listen to Him.
4. Compassionate Diplomacy: The belief that through diplomacy and compassion we can solve any conflict peacefully, whether at the local, national, and international levels.
Again, am I saying that diplomacy is wrong? No, but even in diplomacy, we should seek the mind and will of God in the matter. God has insights into situations that we just do not have. He does not just look on the surface of the situation like we do; instead, He can see into the very hearts and thoughts of all those involved. He can also see the past, the present, and the future all at the same time, we cannot. Therefore, it is to our benefit to seek His wisdom and counsel in any matter.
5. Trust in Human Potential: The belief that with the right time and technology, we can make this into a better world.
This is a belief held by many, and although science has discovered and invented many wonderful things, God is the one who gave us the capability to make such discoveries and inventions. But He also gave us a free will, so we may choose what to do with that capability, either to use it to do good or to do evil. Science has been used to do good, such as to create medicines to heal, but it has also been used to do evil, such as create weapons of mass destruction, like chemical weapons or the atomic bomb.
Why are these the attitudes that make one susceptible to receiving the “Mark of the Beast”? Because God and Jesus (Yeshua) are not a part of any of them; it is the attitude that people can face issues, problems, and fix their own lives without God and His Son, and this is evident in the number 666. Because man was created on the 6th day, the number 6 represents man. Notice here we have the first 6 (man) being brought together with the last 6 (man) through the efforts of the middle 6 (man): man being reconciled with man through man. There’s no God, no Jesus, no Gospel, no new birth. Everything is done by human effort and human effort alone.
Therefore, in contrast to the various Christian movies that deal with the end days, such as the Thief in the Night series and Left Behind series, I do not believe that people will be forced to receive the Mark of the Beast; instead, I can see many people receiving it because it will already fit into their own American beliefs and values. For many people today, God is an aspect of their life, something they do on Sundays, but He is not the center of their life. And there are many people today who believe that Jesus is “a way” to God, but He’s not the only way. Therefore, opening the door to the receiving of the Mark.
Therefore, only those who have Jesus and the Bible as the center of their lives will not be deceived, but will see through the deception and will not take the Mark. It is my prayer that your eyes will likewise be open, and that you will also see the dangerous position we are in as a nation, as we continue to go step-by-step towards the embracing of the kingdom of the Anti-Christ.