May 16

As luck would have it (to quote Bullwinkle), we’ve talked on and off for the last couple weeks about proper Bible interpretation and knowing the Word and then I find this article:

  1. Why is accepting a vaccine for COVID-19 not taking the Mark of the Beast? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. What, exactly, is the Mark of the Beast? (I mean, what does it look like? Where will it be administered on one’s body? What color is it? When will it be required? Etc.?) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  3. By the way, just who is the Beast? (Name? Nationality? Is he alive right now?) ________________________________________________________

God is glorified when we spend time with Him and when we spend time in His Word. But, Christians are like sheep who continually want to do their own thing, their own way, and then go off course and stray. Many don’t study the Bible but get their Christian food from bumper stickers, one-liners, quotes from music artists, and even from secular concepts. No wonder American Christianity is so anemic today!

Still others look for something new continually. They don’t know or even care about their Bibles, yet they seek after new prophecies and a “word from the Lord”. They seek after signs (which Jesus said marks a wicked and adulterous generation—Mark 16:4). I once had a pastor ask why would God give us any more revelation when we don’t even know what He’s told us (in our Bibles) already? I like what Steve Lawson says:

  • “Do you want to hear the audible voice of God? Read the Bible out loud.”

I think a third group has improper Bible study methods or ideas. We need to know how to study the Bible for ourselves, and we need to know why we believe what we believe. Many of my students at Liberty University (in my BIBLE classes) do not come into the class with a solid method of studying their Bibles. They believe all sorts of odd things, or take verses way out of context, or even feel studying the Bible means asking God for magical answers but never doing any work themselves. However, the majority of them, when they finish my class, are thrilled to now know how they, as average Christians, can study and understand the Word for themselves!

Your pastors’ job is to primarily teach the Bible, and heavy doses of it. That’s what the Bible actually tells pastors they are to be doing (I. Timothy, II. Timothy, Titus, Hebrews). You (the church) are to be learning the Word and living the Word (James, I. Peter, I. John). Together, we are a force against world, the flesh, and the Devil as all three are relentlessly assaulting us with lies, half-truths, discouragement, and defeat. When we know the Word and stand on it, nothing can shake us or rattle us. We are immovable!

With that in mind, we come back to End Times Prophecy as laid out in the Bible, and as opposed to false ideas being propagated around the U.S., we come to some biblical truth that is necessary for us:

  1. We do NOT know when Jesus is coming back for His church (the Rapture of I. Thessalonians 4:17). It is imminent, but when He does, it is then that we get pulled out of the earth beforethe Tribulation.
  2. We do know that the Mark of the Beast will be administered by the leadership of the publicly known one-world leader whom the Bible calls “the Beast”. Right now, no one is in this position, therefore no one is administering the Mark.
  3. We do NOT know who the Beast is or will be (he could be your next door neighbor, or he could live on the opposite side of the world (which is more likely), or he may not even be born yet). It would appear that he is not revealed until afterthe Church is Raptured.
  4. The Beast will have Satanically-empowered worldwide, dictatorial control (there will be opposition, but he will be effectively and decisively in control of the world), and all will be forced to worship his image (Revelation 13:11-14)
  5. We do NOT know what that mark is or will be, but it will be forcibly placed in/on either the right hand or the forehead as per Revelation 13:16, and no one can buy or sell without it (verse 17).
  6. Thus, we know that the Mark of the Beast is NOT a COVID-19 vaccine, a currently offered rice-sized microchip in one’s arm, or even getting a big old tattoo of 666 on one’s forehead (in fact, Revelation 13:18 says it has to be calculated which means it is not a blatant 666). A microchip maybe where this leads someday, or it may be an invisible bar code that can be scanned, or some other mark (Who knows? Maybe it’s a branding).

We, as Christians, need to know our Bibles so we don’t look like superstitious, naïve simpletons such as the lady in this article (and I fault her church and pastor above all else for not teaching her the Bible). We need to know our Bibles so we can glorify God and have peace and confidence. We need to know them so we can accurately transmit biblical doctrine to others. We need to know them so we can preach the clear and biblical Gospel of grace and warn people of the judgment to come.

We don’t know when the end of the world will be (it could be a thousand years from now, it could be next week, it could be after the World Series assuming baseball resumes this year). We don’t know much, in fact, other than the Old Testament and New Testament prophecies which were not written so we could look for the Beast under every rock and in every corner, but which were written so that we would know God better, know that He has a plan to judge and eradicate sin in the universe, and to know that we will rule and reign with Him in eternity. The information about the Beast, the False Prophet, and the Dragon (the unholy trinity as found in Revelation) may be primarily recorded (this is just a guess) to serve an evangelistic function once the Church is removed from the earth so that the lost, looking for answers, will find the judgment they are in already predicted and laid out in Scripture, and then maybe be led to Jesus and not take the Mark.

  1. What then, do you have to fear (about COVID-19, the Apocalypse, the Mark of the Beast, Satan)? ___________________________________
  2. Arrange these in the biblical order which we believe (from our study of Scripture) that they will occur (fill in the blanks with the corresponding numbers):
    1. Seal Judgments ___
    2. 2ndComing of Jesus (He steps foot on the Mount of Olives) ___
    3. Beast & False Prophet cast into the Lake of Fire ___
    4. 2 Witnesses ___
    5. Rapture of the Church ___
    6. 144,000 of every tribe of Israel ___
    7. Satan cast into the Lake of Fire ___
    8. Bowl Judgments ___
    9. Millennial Reign of Christ ___
    10. Trumpet Judgments ___
  • Peter 3:13-17 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.
  1. Let’s analyze this great passage about suffering for Jesus (the doctrine of suffering is a very prominent doctrine within the New Testament, by the way):
    1. Are we promised that we won’tsuffer for righteousness’ sake? __________________________________________________
    2. If we suffer, then what is our state of mind to be?_______________________________________________
      1. This word means “happy” (see Acts 5:41)
    3. Sanctify means to separate. How can you ensure Jesus is separated in your heart as Messiah? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
    4. When you are challenged about your fatih, how can you make a defense or even demonstrate that you have hope if you are not founded and grounded on the Word? ___________________________________________________
    5. Are we to be rude and harsh with the lost when standing for Jesus? ______________________________________________
      1. This does notmean we can’t be firm and authoritative.
    6. Lastly, even though we may be slandered for serving Jesus and living righteously, we are told to keep a good conscience (which is the ability to determine what is good and what is evil). How can keeping a good conscience help put your accusers to shame? (you may need a commentary or two to understand this principle) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ has a few nice charts you can view on the sequence of End-Times events (without getting overly detailed):