08 August, 2006

How To Survive Without The Mark Of The Beast (Chap 2)

As prophecized, Satan (or Anti-Christ) will rule the world (Rev 13:7-8; Dan 12:11-12) in the last days of the earth's history for approximately 3-1/2 years or 42 months; a period referred to in the Bible as 'a time, and times, and half a time' (Rev 12:14). One of the hallmarks of what the Anti-Christ will do during his reign, is to cause everyone to receive a 'mark' or the number '666' on their forehead or their right-hand, which is actually the name or the number of the Beast (Rev 13:15-18). This event is understood by the church to be the forming of the world's central monetary and banking authority with '666' as its prefix. Those who will not receive this 'prefix' will understandably not be able to trade since they are not part of the world's monetary and banking system.

Stern warning is given in the Bible against receiving this 'mark'. They will face the fierce end-time wrath of GOD (Rev 14:9-12); their names will not be written in the book of life (Rev 13:8-10). Therefore, be warned. Endurance is needed of believers during the last days. Whoever goes to captivity, to captivity he goes.

How then shall Christians survive during this 3-1/2 years without being able to trade? The period of Anti-Christ's rule is indeed shortened by the grace of GOD, so that the salvation of the elect will be preserved (Matt 24:22); yet even 3-1/2 years may be too long to stay alive physically if we work but cannot get paid, we cannot buy anything whether be it food or petrol, be housed or move around to fellowships to stay encouraged.

Will the church of GOD really be dependent on the charities of the unbelievers during this time? And will help be likely to be forthcoming, now that we know that end times are likely to be times of financial and economic distress having now some foretaste of it? During Hitler's time, we know that those who help the Jews had to do so at the risk of their own lives. Such were the degree of general hatred, distaste and intolerance directed at that race at that time that demanded their annihilation. Have no doubt that during the period of time that when Anti-Christ will rule the earth, the anti-Christ spirit in terms of the hatred of Jews and Christians should be in full expression. We may not find it quite imaginable yet how our days can be altered from the ones of the present moderation the church experience in most civilized states.

There is no answer. Of course, we have to be ready to face up to whatever may turn up to be the case whether there is an answer or NO. Many Christians believe that somehow GOD would supernaturally provide for us like He sent ravens to Elijah to feed him (1Kings 17:4-7) or angels will bring bread (1Kings 19:5-8) or we will supernaturally not feel hunger eventhough we may not have eaten. The Bible is full of GOD's promises of supernatural providence during times of need. Yet even so, many Christians who will not receive the '666' mark may suffer depravation, humiliation and even starvation, except for the charaties of the unbelievers. Futhermore, how then shall Christians dissuade others from worshipping the beast and receiving his mark when they are dependent on those who shall do so?

While the Lord may not shrink back from denying His people the opportunities to gain great eternal rewards by suffering for Him; I do not think that it is Him to allow unnecessary sufferings when distress and sufferings will already be common affairs in the last days. His angels will be busy helping us and indeed the Lord will be careful with each child for his preservation. The Lord is able to provide out of nothing being the Creator of all things (Is 41:17-20). However, while we rely on the Lord at all times, our faith does not prevent us from getting food and other provisions for our household and the community, if it is in fact in our ability to do so.

At the present moment, aside from supernatural providences, the church does not have much idea of how to help itself, during this time when they shall be forced to worship the Beast or have their wealth taken away and their supplies cut off. Talking to Christians, some even thought of prostituting themselves by receiving the mark of the Beast and keep other Christians alive. They thought that somehow some redeeming grace should be extended to them for doing this at the end of the age since they would have given more than just cups of cold water to those who are brothers of Christ (Matt 10:42).

So far, the best idea I have heard is that of migrating to countries with excess agricultural lands. It was suggested to buy farmlands and learn to cultivate and produce food. At least we will still have food to eat if we do not have anything else. It is possible for this project to be undertaken by a few families or even some local churches if there are enough who believe that they should prepare themselves in this way.

But escaping to rural areas to start farms will mean a transfer of wealth from Christians to the secular world instead. For example, Christians will have to leave many jobs pre-maturely as they make and execute plans to move their families out to farms. These extra-number of jobs will be left to non-believers, whether in governments, schools, hospitals, factories or other businesses. There will be many more added positions for promotions and filling. Christians will have to abundant their houses in cities and many assets like cars, furnishings will have to be left behind or sold as they cannot be brought along by vacating Christian families. There will be many Christian businesses available for taking over quite cheaply.

Christians will eventually have to start liquidating stocks and shares, as they need to turn their assets into land. Possessions of stocks and shares will become non-effective anyway as Christians will eventually not be able to sell them in the financial markets or even receive dividends. They are indeed better off being liquidated earlier than later at opportunistic times. The non-Christian are by default left to inherit all the financial rights that Christians cannot exercise because the later will not receive the mark of the Beast.

It could well be that the '666' mark of the Beast is a device of the enemy to wrangle wealth from the Christians as well as to control the whole world (Rev 13:7). Whether the church should then give up wealth and retreat away from cities is a matter to be considered but a transfer of wealth to the enemy or to the secular unbelieving world has not been prophecised.

Christians cannot hope to overcome by avoiding or escaping political persecutions in the last days. Cities will be the physical arenas for last day spiritual contests with the Evil One. Capitals and cities are gateways and major wealth, communication and control centers of nations. To abandon our cities is to abandon the world’s cities’ populace and so our nations, especially most of our developed nations. We can sacrifice our earthly lives but we should not abandon the nations.