This month is a prophetic
update on current events in light of scripture. There are many
developments around us in the news that are of interest to us,
and sometimes concern many believers. What do the times we currently
live in mean to the average Christian, and what should we do?
There was a recent
news release by a company called Applied Digital Solutions which
is manufacturing what some people consider "the mark of the
Beast" in the book of Revelation. This product called VeriChip
is described as "a miniaturized, implantable identification
device that has the potential to be used in a variety of security,
financial, and other applications. About the size of a grain of
rice, each VeriChip product contains a unique verification number."
The computer chip is in a tiny sealed glass tube and is designed
to be implanted under the skin through a small incision. This
incision would naturally leave a "mark" where it healed.
It then communicates it's identification number with radio waves
whenever a sensor is passed over it. The VeriChip company is offering
a $50 discount to the first 100,000 customers! I'm not interested!
But you can see what it looks like at www.adsx.com/prodservpart/verichippreregistration.html.
13:16-18 says, "He (the Beast) 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 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."
As it stands now,
most all Americans, "both small and great", have received
a number that is 324 (123-45-6789). It is called our Social Security
number. When the Social Security Act was signed by President Roosevelt
in 1935, Americans were told it would only be used for Social
Security purposes. But now, I have to use that Social Security
number "to buy and sell". I am frequently required to
recall that number from memory in my "forehead" and
write it on my checks with my "right hand". I have been
turned down for a purchase when I did not have my driver's license
to prove my "number" that was stored in memory in my
"forehead". I have even been required to produce my
original Social Security card to be able to be hired for a job
(it is usually required on the federal government's I-9 employment
When I first saw
this "mark of the Beast" chip at my local veterinarian's
office in 1995, the chip was being used to implant and identify
expensive animals, and the related identification numbers in the
chip were 333 3 digits, 3 times, separated by dashes. It
is very conceivable that to number everyone in the world (perhaps
allowing for country codes or embedded birth dates), the size
and format of such an identification number would be expanded
to 666 6 digits, 3 times, separated by dashes like our
current Social Security numbers.
of human nature, from both experience and the Bible, is that most
people react in fear to developments like this, and sort of pull
back, and want to hide from the world until it is all over. Peter
did this when Jesus was being tried before Pilate, and out of
fear Peter denied three times even knowing Jesus. But that is
not what God wants for His disciples. The Bible tells approximately
365 times, "Fear not". Fear and faith are opposites.
And God says, "Without faith it is impossible to please
11:6), "The just shall live by faith"
3:11), and "Whatever is not of faith is sin"
No one is ignorant
about the escalating of events in the Middle East. Jesus said
we would "hear of wars and rumors (anticipation) of wars"
24:6). But Jesus said in the next sentence of this verse,
"See that you are not troubled." Believers
need to be an obvious example of those who do not live in fear.
We are supposed to stand out as different, and people should be
able to see the difference that faith makes in our lives.
Are we in the "end
times"? Yes, but so was the Apostle Peter when he said, "The
end of all things is at hand" (1st
Peter 4:7). Peter said that almost 2,000 years ago, so God
certainly moves slower than we would. Yes, we are closer to the
end now than Peter was 2,000 years ago, but that does not guarantee
that Jesus will return in our lifetime. However, around 20,833
people die every hour worldwide (from This Blue Planet,
Moody Press, page 261). If you consider that at least two-thirds
of those people are not saved, that means over 13,000 people go
to Hell every hour! So the issue is not when is Jesus coming back,
but rather how many people can we reach for the Lord while we
are still here on earth until Jesus returns!
So the unfolding
of prophetic events occurring right before our eyes the
possible mark of the Beast, war in the Middle East, etc.
as told by the Bible should do several things for us:
events should strengthen our faith in the integrity of the Word
of God. The Bible can be believed. It is the only "supernatural
book" on the planet it knows the future. It is a map
on how to get to Heaven, an instruction manual on spiritual truth,
and a guide to better living while we are still on the earth.
Prophetic events should motivate us to live by the Book. And we
also need to remember that we are going to be judged by the Book!
events should motivate us to serve God and be involved in ministry
both in person and vicariously through our finances. If
we only have perhaps dozens of years left instead of hundreds
of years, we need to get busy. And we need to invest financial
offerings into ministry, so we don't get to Heaven and keep asking
angels to "kick us" for not sowing into God's work!
(You can't take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.)
events should be shared with unbelievers to help them come to
the Lord. We can add our own "commentary" on the news
to those unbelievers we come in contact with. The Bible's fore-telling
of prophetic events can encourage people's interest in the Bible
and spiritual issues. We should watch for opportunities.
events should encourage us to more accurately define our purpose
on the earth and what God has called us to do. If you knew for
certain you only had 25 more years to live what would you
do? I recently did a 5 tape teaching series based on the Finding
Your Place in Ministry workbook by Jay McSwain. Each letter
of the word PLACE has an accompanying aspect to your life.
P is for your Personality type, L is for
Learning your spiritual gifts, A is for understanding
your natural Abilities, C is for Connecting
the things you have "passion" for to know how God wants
to use you, and E is for understanding how God can work
the Experiences you have had together for good and your
purpose in life. Information on obtaining this teaching series
is available below.
What should the unfolding
of prophetic events not do for your life? Prophetic events should
not make you store up food to last during the years of Tribulation,
you should not hold off on college or career plans because you
think there is no time left, you should not burn your Social Security
card (it is not the mark of the Beast), and you should not be
fearful and hesitant to go about life as normal. I am planning
to die of old age I am not betting my life and family and
career on some calendar date somehow picked for the return of
Jesus. If He comes back in the next few years, it will make me
very happy. But if He tarries until after the end of my life,
I will have lived a full and satisfying life. I would encourage
you to behave like He is returning tomorrow, but make plans like
He will tarry for decades.
Doing business until