Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Mark of the Beast Riddle - Paul Rolland - email@example.com
Current Medical & Ecommerce Device Technology;
Over two months ago, I had a total knee replacement (ouch, is an understatement). Shortly before my Father-in-Law passed away, he had a special hearing implant. I have seen military vets with varying degrees of implants and prosthetic devices. Do you know of anyone of with a pacemaker and any other type of technological/medical implant? In 2017, most of us following eschatological developments were acutely made aware of the company in Wisconsin that started offering its employees, 'implantable micro-chips' in their hand so they could buy a bag of stale chips in the cafeteria vending machines and to open doors! What a personal price to pay by these employees so they don't have to reach in their pocket to grab 75 cents or buck to buy a bag of chips, and all that (pun intended). What could be cooler than using an iphone or other smartphone to pay for chips, than by using an implanted micro-chip (not the kind that can be eaten)? For the mobile technology addicted crowd, an implanted micro-chip is the next wave of coolness. I wonder how long they will have to wait in line for version 2.5 of this "new mobile device miracle". What do all these have in common? They are all technological implants of one kind or another. Yeah, so what? They can all wear out, break down, be replaced, be removed, be improved, be modified, something "better" always comes along, etc. Again, they are all man made devices and not inherently evil.
Let me ask you a question. Does my knee implant make me any less human or an imager of God (or Christian, saved by Christ's Grace)? Does an older person's pacemaker make him/her any less valuable in the eyes of God? A military vet that has lost a limb and had it replaced with a prosthetic device, does he/she lose their chance at salvation because of a man-made device becoming part of their body? Of course not, the Bible doesn't mention anything about being saved or a person losing their chance of salvation due to some type of device or technology becoming part of that person. A man-made device does NOT change or corrupt my unique genetic being as an imager of God! Even with "implants", we are still human (although imperfect as a result of mankind's fall). Why wouldn't an implanted micro-chip, RFID chip or some other unknown or future electronic device (implanted or otherwise) no be considered a "Mark". Wouldn't an electronic device be needed to conduct a buy/sell transaction?
Genetic Corruption of the Imagers of God;
What sinful activity really angered God at the beginning of the Bible? Genesis (6:1-5) goes into detail about fallen angels (sons of God as opposed to sons of Man), who left their first estate in heaven to mate with human women (daughters of men that were seen as 'fair'). This unholy mating of angelic beings with human beings created a hybrid race of Nephilim (giants, mighty men, men of renown). The Nephilim were such an abomination, that God cast the fallen angels (watchers) who spawned these beings, into the bottomless pit/abyss with chains. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day (Jude 6). God also instructed the Israelites to kill the various clans of these giant hybrid angels/humans. Does Goliath the Philistine (and his two brothers) come to mind? How about... And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight (Numbers 13:33). For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man (Deuteronomy 3:11). All the kingdom of Og in Bashan, which reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants: for these did Moses smite, and cast them out (Joshua 13:12).
Outside of the eschatological community, bringing up the concept of the Nephilim is either mocked, completely ignored, brushed off as non-biblical or as fairy tales, discredited, incorrectly interpreted or altogether avoided because of the unsettling connotations and repercussions that result from the evidence of giants having existed in antiquity. Among the evolutionists, evidence of giants totally confounds their anti-creation theory of evolution. Some people are either scared of or are uncomfortable with the evidence of hybrid humans or giants having lived. If you are still not convinced of the biblical proof of Nephilim, I strongly suggest that you research the fantastic work done by Rob Skiba (a Christian researcher) and review the cornucopia of physical evidence he painstakingly provides. I am only bringing this topic up as a case in point about the extremely dangerous outcomes of genetic manipulation of the human genome. God hates it (genetic manipulation and species hybridization) and destroyed it via the Israelites and Flood. God takes great offence with any corruption, meddling or manipulation of his created beings aside from what He designed and created them to be. He specifically created man and woman in His image (Genesis 1:26-27, 5:1-2). God also created what is believed to be nine distinct classifications of angelic beings or heavenly host. He creates specifically, purposely and according to His will and plans. Speaking about the destruction of the giant hybrid angelic/human Nephilim, does the "Flood" come to mind?
Prior to the Flood, Genesis (6:8-13) goes into detail about how ... The whole earth being corrupted and for all flesh being corrupted upon the earth. God saw the earth as being so filled with violence (not only among men, but extreme violence caused by the Nephilim) that he decided to destroy everything (all flesh). There is some evidence that also suggests that animal hybrids were also created by either the fallen angels or by men who were taught how to do this. However, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, was a just man and perfect in his generations (Genesis 6: 8-9). I believe perfect means being uncorrupted genetically when taking into account the generational context of this verse and the conditions of "flesh" on the earth at this time. In the days of Noah, apparently all flesh became genetically corrupted including men and animals. Although there are several reasons why God saved Noah and his family (including no genetic corruption), you have to understand why God also wanted to save a portion of the animals that were not genetically corrupted and still pure as God had originally intended and created them to be. Humans and animals on the ark were meant to re-populate the earth, after the flood, with uncorrupted, pure genetics. God wiped the slate clean and started over with genetically pure human and animal specimens.
Where does Satan come into play in all of this? One of the main lies and deceptions (of many) that he has used throughout the Bible and history was to tempt mankind by offering a false, counterfeit immortality. After the Devil tempted Adam and Eve in the garden with eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge (good/evil), God did not want Adam and Eve to eat fruit from the tree of life ... and live forever (immortal, in a fallen state), (Genesis 3:22). Only Christ can provide true, genuine, righteous immortality based upon our spiritual rebirth and the glorious transformation of our fleshly bodies (1 Corinthians 15:49-55). Over time, as God revealed the genetic lines that the Messiah was to come from, the Devil made it a priority to attack the genetic lines of those people in an attempt to thwart God's plan by genetically corrupting the messianic family tree by various means. This obviously failed. The point is that genetic manipulation is a major strategy used by Satan to deceive mankind with a counterfeit immortality and attempt to derail God's plans (past, present and future). The Devil's main strategy has always been to corrupt and counterfeit anything God has created or declared very good (Genesis 1:31).
Today's Genetic Knowledge and Technology - CRISPR;
Per the U.S. National Library of Medicine: Genome editing (also called gene editing) is a group of technologies that give scientists the ability to change an organism's DNA. These technologies allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome. Several approaches to genome editing have been developed. A recent one is known as CRISPR-Cas9, which is short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9. The CRISPR-Cas9 system has generated a lot of excitement in the scientific community because it is faster, cheaper, more accurate, and more efficient than other existing genome editing methods. Genome editing is of great interest in the prevention and treatment of human diseases. Currently, most research on genome editing is done to understand diseases using cells and animal models. Scientists are still working to determine whether this approach is safe and effective for use in people. It is being explored in research on a wide variety of diseases. It also holds promise for the treatment and prevention of more complex diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, mental illness, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Ethical concerns arise when genome editing, using technologies such as CRISPR-Cas9, is used to alter human genomes. Most of the changes introduced with genome editing are limited to somatic cells, which are cells other than egg and sperm cells. These changes affect only certain tissues and are not passed from one generation to the next. However, changes made to genes in egg or sperm cells (germline cells) or in the genes of an embryo could be passed to future generations. Germline cell and embryo genome editing bring up a number of ethical challenges, including whether it would be permissible to use this technology to enhance normal human traits (such as height or intelligence). Based on concerns about ethics and safety, germline cell and embryo genome editing are currently illegal in many countries.
Popular Mechanics, March 10, 2017: Chinese Scientists Genetically Modify Human Embryos. This marks the first time CRISPR has been used on viable human embryos. Chinese scientists have successfully edited the genetic information of human embryos. The researchers used CRISPR to remove genetic mutations from a handful of viable human embryos and have published the results in the journal Molecular Genetics and Genomics. CRISPR has been one of the biggest breakthroughs in genetics in the past decade. It lets scientists target a specific section of DNA, remove it from the genome, and even replace it with something else if they wish.
EXPRESS, July 18, 2017: China unveils gene technology to create SUPERHUMANS. ARMIES of SUPER-SOLDIERS were a step closer to reality after China announced it was genetically engineering hyper-muscular SUPER-DOGS. The dogs, which are test tube bred in a lab, have twice the muscle mass of their natural counterparts and are considerably stronger and faster. The canine genome has been especially difficult to engineer and replicate - but its close similarity to the human genome means it has long been the prize of geneticists. Now, the Chinese success has led to fears the same technology could be used to create weaponized super-humans. David King, director of Human Genetics Alert (HGA), voiced his fears over what is widely viewed as the first step on a slippery slope. He told express.co.uk: "It's true that the more and more animals that are genetically engineered using these techniques brings us closer to the possibility of genetic engineering of humans. "Dogs as a species, in respect of cloning are very difficult, and even more difficult to clone human beings. "There's no medical case for it, the scientists are interested in being the first person in the world to create a genetically engineered child. They're interested in science and the technology and their careers. They will continue pushing the regulations for it. That does set us on the road to eugenics. I am very concerned with what I'm seeing." "But some have criticized the experiments, citing ethical concerns" Mr. King said: "This is the way it is likely to proceed if the law is changed, first of all they will use it for medical purposes, most likely to treat a genetic condition". "In terms of genetic engineering we will be seeing this more and more". The director of HGA, and independent body, claimed there are multiple examples of eugenics going on already, citing women who are intelligent and beautiful are paid more for their eggs in the US. Mr. King said: "It's not scaremongering. "I'm seeing the beginning of a campaign within the scientific community to legalize human genetic engineering. We've seen how it happened with the thee-parent embryo. I can see the same thing building up with genetic engineering".
Today's Surveillance State Technology;
Major governments around the world are pursuing and using advanced technology on their citizens to build large databases of very specific, private information. Some governments are building these under the guise of "tracking the criminal element in society and determining the probability of the next crime", others are creating a civilian database to collect and centralize economic activity. The major governments of the world are somewhat late coming to the civilian big data collection party. All major banking and credit institutions around the world are already connected electronically in a way that enables the processing of transactions and fund transfers in mere seconds. These recent developments would have been unthinkable in the 1960's, 70's or 80's (before the advent of personal computers) or smartphones. An astute prophecy student and technologist can easily see how these developments play into the Tribulation scenario of being able to be centrally controlled by the new world order system.
India's Surveillance System:
Bloomberg, January 9, 2017: Snowden Joins Outcry Against World's Biggest Biometric Database; Former U.S. intelligence-contractor-turned whistleblower Edward Snowden joined critics of India's digital ID program. An Indian journalist who faces police charges, reported that personal details of over a billion citizens enrolled in the program could be illegally accessed for just $8 paid through a digital wallet. Named Aadhaar, the program is backed by the world's biggest biometric database, which its operator is the Unique Identification Authority of India, or UIDAI. This isn't the first time Snowden has spoken against Aadhaar. On Jan. 5th (2017), he tweeted: "It is the natural tendency of government to desire perfect records of private lives. History shows that no matter the laws, the result is abuse." Several Indian activists allege the program provides legal sanction for the creation of a surveillance state.
Bloomberg, December 13, 2017: World's Biggest Biometric Database Grows in India Amid Doubt; Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pushing Indians to link their digital IDs to a host of services such as credit cards and cellphones. Aadhaar is a unique 12-digit number assigned to Indian residents, backed by their fingerprints, iris scans and certain demographic details. Some lawyers and activists, such as Shyam Divan, say that once linked to various services it will offer the government a web of information about each individual that will violate the person's privacy. "The Aadhaar Act purports to provide legal sanction to a program that lays the framework for real time surveillance of every Indian," Divan said. Indians are mandated to link their Aadhaar to:
* Government-issued Permanent Account Numbers, which help track tax filings
* Bank accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, mutual funds, pension plans
* Social welfare benefits such as cooking gas subsidies
* Mobile numbers
Enrollments to Aadhaar have increased by about 80 million over the past year -- roughly the entire population of Germany -- as pressure built on citizens to either link or forfeit these services. Modi has embraced and extended Aadhaar's scope far beyond what was envisioned earlier. Newspapers continue to carry reports about poor or disabled Indians -- such as leprosy patients -- who are denied food and pensions because they either lack an Aadhaar number or the fingerprints and iris scans needed to apply for one. A right to privacy, activists say, means the government can't force Indian citizens to hand over their unique biometric data to the government in order to receive basic government services.
China's Surveillance System:
Activist Post, December 30, 2017: China's Ministry of Public Security, which oversees the database, has amassed biometric information for more than 40 million people, it was reported in 2015. The Communist country has the world's biggest database of DNA information according to a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) just this year. For comparison, in the US, the FBI's national DNA index has 12.7 million offender profiles. "Mass DNA collection by the powerful Chinese police absent effective privacy protections or an independent judicial system is a perfect storm for abuses," Sophie Richardson, China director at HRW said. "China is moving its Orwellian system to the genetic level." A follow-up report published earlier by the human rights watchdog group revealed that there was even a program which has gathered biometric data--including fingerprints, iris scans, blood-type, and DNA--on millions of residents in six regions in Xinjiang in 2017 under the guise of a free public health program providing physical examinations. A recent BBC exposÃ© into the network of facial recognition CCTV cameras in China's biggest city, Beijing, illustrates how effective a surveillance network is at identifying, tracking, and interdicting any targeted or wanted individual within minutes. All the more unnerving is China's progress in developing a system of ranking individuals based on a citizen score linking social media and big data to create a digital caste system for human beings. Something akin to a credit score showing your loyalty to the state.
Russia's Surveillance System:
Activist Post, December 30, 2017: Expanding Worldwide Trend - National Biometric Databases; Russia is to start a biometric database for financial services starting next summer (2018), the Central Bank of Russia said in a statement. The biometric database will incorporate images of faces, voice samples and, eventually, irises and fingerprints.
United States Surveillance System:
Activist Post, December 30, 2017: Here in the U.S. the DHS is planning a biometric facial recognition database for border checkpoints and to create the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) to store 500 million people, including many US citizens' identities within its system. HART will no doubt link into the FBI's NGI (Next Generation Identification System.) The Electronic Frontier Foundation is currently working with allied organizations to oppose mandatory national ID cards and biometric databases. According to EFF's website, there is an expanding list of countries that have introduced biometric ID databases including Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Peru, and Spain. That list will soon include other countries within the European Union.
... And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name (Revelation 13:16-17).
... And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosover receiveth the mark of his name (Revelation 14:9-11).
... And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of god (Revelation 15:2).
... And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image (Revelation 16:2).
... And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgement was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand year (Revelation 20:4).
...And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man (Luke 147:26). Corruption of flesh, extreme violence, extreme sin, extreme abominations, extreme evil. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them (Revelation 9:6). And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory (Revelation 16 8-9). These two verses directly, and several other verses indirectly, suggest that men may have somehow attained the ability to withstand extreme elements and afflictions, up to and including the ability to not die. However, they will still experience extreme and unbearable affliction, pain and torment. This would provide further evidence of some type of genetic manipulation or enhancement was in play. A counterfeit immortality? Some prophecy teachers/students have suggested that the scorching heat will be seven times (7X) hotter than today's hottest temperatures on earth. From a scientific standpoint, this extreme heat could be representative of massive solar flares reaching the earth. It is an extreme and sad irony, that people during the Tribulation will perhaps stand in line to get the Mark of the Beast, thinking of the lie of immortality, and then once having this counterfeit, satanic ability, wishing that they could die. Be careful of what you want, you might get it! If God wouldn't tolerate genetic manipulation and hybridization during the times of Noah, why would he allow it during the Tribulation? God is the same then, now and always. He doesn't change, nor does his Word change. Now, in this day and age, mankind has the ability (if unrestrained by any authority) to make the same mistake, as in the days of Noah, to genetically manipulate the human genome. Big governments are already using advanced technology and A.I. to monitor their citizens' behavior, travels and financial dealings to see if they are a threat to the ruling establishment. However, it doesn't take much stretch of the imagination to think that the restraints that currently exist to prevent human genetic manipulation, or to prevent abuse of citizens' privacy, could easily and quickly fall by the wayside during the Tribulation. The technology to conduct cashless transactions in milliseconds is already here and used exclusively by international financial institutions. The only entities left to be added to this system, are individual citizens around the world.
What does all this techno-geno-babble have to do with the Mark of the Beast (as opposed to the number of the Beast)? My belief (based upon what the Bible says) is that the Beast will use a form of deception and lies that requires/entices people to receive a form of genetic enhancement, or manipulation. This could be used as a proxy for men to be resistant to the pestilences that occur during the Tribulation period. This could also be used as a lie that suggests science can make men immortal by not having to die by the diseases and genetic ailments that have plagued mankind since mankind's fall. This of course does nothing to address the spiritual death of mankind. People during the Tribulation will not be concerned with their "spiritual health or status", let alone of repenting, giving Gold glory, and accepting Christ. Which deceived person would not want to have a counterfeit immortality? (there is that age old deception again). What could a mark look like on the hand or forehead? This could be in the form of a biometric marker or fleshly signature that is caused by genetic manipulation or process. It could also just be as simple as a satanic graphic tattoo, stamp, logo or branding. This could also be a number that is obviously descriptive in nature. 365/24/7 means something to most people (this describes something that occurs 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Go online and check out how CERN uses the interplay of 666 in their logo. Revelation (13:16-17) clearly states that this will be a mark, the name, or the number of his name (of the beast). The mark destroys a human's status as an imager of God and bastardizes the element of God that was initially created in that person. Which is why I believe there is a genetic component to the mark. As such, deceived members of the Antichrist's system can be identified in three different physical, visible manners. How could a person make a worldwide purchase by only having a symbol, biometric mark, name or number on their hand or forehead? Won't they need a credit card, smartphone, micro-chip or physical device of some kind (implantable or otherwise) to conduct an economic transaction?
Today, biometric scanning is used throughout the world by major governments to monitor their civilians and is growing exponentially. Scanning captures detailed facial features, iris patterns, fingerprint patterns, and even voice pattern recognition and DNA. Instead of scanning a credit or debit card, or even a micro-chip, all the Beast's system has to do is scan a person's face or hand (that has the visible signature, mark or number). The system electronically acknowledges the mark (in the same manner as when a scanner reads someone's iris to determine their identity), which then activates the decision (go, no-go) algorithms, which in turn authorize electronic transfer of cashless funds. It is all done electronically, behind the scenes in milliseconds. The electronic system then knows (via stored information in the world's databases) that the person with the Beast's mark, number, name is part of the new world system and is then allowed to buy and sell. No need to have cash, a credit card, or even a device implant. It is well known that countries and the credit card companies are pushing hard today to do away with cash. All international banking and fund transfers are electronic. The only parties using cash, are individual citizens, making private purchases. Bitcoin, Crypto-Currencies are also some recent attempts at developing "cashless electronic currency". Russia, India, Europe and the U.S. are all pursuing electronic scanning technology and data management systems with aims at various goals, including, but not limited to, economic monitoring. It doesn't take much to see how these systems can easily coalesce together into one network during the Tribulation. This new world economic system is nothing more than financial databases, transaction systems and protocols being tied together, founded on a common data scheme which pulls in data from biometric scanners all over the world. This was unthinkable even five years ago.
Why does God specifically declare that anyone who takes the Mark of the Beast will be lost forever and is beyond salvation, even with the grace being communicated throughout the entire earth by the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-13), three witnessing angels (Revelation 14:6-11), 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Revelation 7:4) and Christians' testimonies/witnessing by refusing to take the mark, prior to their martyrdom (Revelation 20:4). The mark is physical as opposed to a spiritual engraving and means that these people have figuratively crawled into bed with Satan, and there they will stay to receive God's wrath and to eventually be thrown into the Lake of Fire with Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet (Revelation 13:9-11, 19:20, 20:10). The mark, number, name represents a betrayal of God and a compromise with evil. Conversely, the Bible says the forehead of every believer in Christ is reserved for the "name of my God". Christ promises, I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem ... And I will write on him My new name (Revelation 2:12). And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads (Revelation 14:1). So, there you have it. The wicked choose to have the Mark of the Beast written on their foreheads, all Christians (and the Jewish 144,000 redeemed/sealed by God) have the name of God written on their foreheads.
Taking into account everything that I have stated, including recent, cutting edge technological advancements, this letter will only make sense to folks "who have eyes to see and ears to hear" living during the past several years. I don't think people living prior to the smartphone or computer era (let alone to the very recent genetic era) would have any comprehension or belief of the things stated here in. During the Tribulation, many lies will be told to deceive men about the benefits of taking the mark and being part of the new world system. Some people will interpret these benefits (erroneously) as being cool and having no risk whatsoever. The analogy of "sheeple" will rise to a new level. Another sad irony is that these people will most likely line up to receive the mark as if it were the next great smartphone release. I believe there is strong Biblical connections between verses in Genesis and Revelation that tie together the genetic manipulation scenario that could produce the Mark of the Beast. In my analysis, biometric scanning, worldwide database technology and genetic modification does away with the need to have any physical device on a person's physical being (implanted or not in order to conduct economic transactions. The Beast will need a failsafe system to correctly identify who is in the satanic kingdom/system and who is not. A physical device (implanted or not) is NOT a failsafe mechanism for detecting someone's allegiance to the Antichrist or to enable them to participate in the new world economic system. The only way to salvation during the Tribulation period is for a person to believe in Christ AND refusal to take the Mark of the Beast, to the point of martyrdom (beheading)... And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4). As of today, we still do not know exactly what the mark, number or name of the Beast will be. We can only consider what God reveals to us in His time and what we see on the near horizon. I surmise that the mark will be revealed, once the church has been raptured, the Beast comes on the scene, the Tribulation period has begun and the new world order system coalesces into place.
In His Service.
Night Watchman Ministries
The Antichrist: Is He a Real Person? - By Sally Law -
I have had a few interesting conversations with people from different walks of life about the antichrist. I really like to hear what people perceive and believe about the end times. Since I am a lover of eschatology, I am always ready for a good discussion, always praying for an opportunity to share the gospel of Christ!
Is the antichrist a man or a computer? This is actually a great question. Let's look at the scriptures to see what God says.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 "Now, we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called God or object of worship so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."
The scripture here refers to the antichrist as a man, a lawless one at that, and the son of destruction. He will destroy many lives during his reign. He also exalts himself above all so- called gods and our God, and takes a seat in the third Jewish temple to be worshipped.
Sounds like a human to me. Let's look further!
The book of Daniel in chapter 8 also speaks of this man, the antichrist. In Daniel's vision, given to him by God of the latter days, it says starting in verse 23:
"In the latter period of their rule, when the transgressors have run their course, a king will arise, insolent and skilled in intrigue. His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will. He will destroy mighty men and the holy people. Through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by influence. He will magnify himself in his heart. He will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of Princes, but he will be broken without human agency" (Daniel 8:23-25).
Let's recap these human attributes:
1) He is living in the end times.
2) He will be a king or leader of a country; scripture hints he will rise to power suddenly.
3) Insolent: this means rude, disrespectful, contemptuous.
4) Skilled in intrigue, he will wow people (and have many likes on Facebook). But he will have a dark, sinister side that will be fleshed out. He is a liar.
5) He will be mighty with the power of Satan and all those who align themselves with him.
6) He will destroy and kill all who oppose him - the tribulation saints and Jews who refuse to take his mark on their hand and forehead.
7) He will magnify himself in his heart. History repeats itself. Satan did this and look what happened.
8) He will destroy many while they are at ease. He confirms a peace covenant with Israel and then breaks it. He does it for his own purpose and plan. He does not know peace, only destruction.
9) He comes against the Prince of Princes, the Lord Jesus Christ. He loses, of course! Please read Revelation for this overwhelming victory of the Lamb!
10) Broken without human agency. This means he did not die by the hands of another person. This could mean sickness or an accident. In this case, he is slain by Jesus. Read the details in Revelation!
Daniel was exhausted and sick for days after this vision!
This does not sound like a robot or a computer image. This is a flesh and blood human being, a man, a very bad man possessed by Satan and allowed by God, during a specific point in time, to do these things. The Bible speaks of this; Jesus speaks of this to his disciples in the gospels in Matthew 24.
The phrase "abomination of desolation" is giving the reader of this passage a clue to who this person is! He emphasizes for the reader to have understanding. He wants the reader to read the book of Daniel so you know the context of what he is saying. The antichrist is the abomination of desolation. They are one and the same.
This person is a real person; and when he is seen in the holy place, the third temple, the Jewish remnant must flee from his presence-a don't look back, grab the babies, we are out of here now, pray there is no snow on the mountains of Israel as you flee to them, kind-of-flee!
I see in the above scripture of 2 Thessalonians that we may have a glimpse of this man before the rapture. I have definitely seen the apostasy spoken of, characteristic of the last days, here and now. I know we are close.
But I know my Jesus, and I can't wait to hear the trumpet to come on up! My husband and children, grandchildren with me!!
Nearing Midnight: Last-Days Sorceries - Terry James -
It's almost like watching a war in much the same way people used to observe Civil War battles. The towns people would, in some cases-particularly early in the conflict-get their picnic goods together and sit in what they thought to be secure positions with their families to watch the blue and gray combatants go at it.
I feel sort of like that at the moment.
There is an end-times war going on-building toward Armageddon-and the individual battles are fascinating.
I've noted with amusement and a degree of schadenfreude the leftist, Hollywood types have their accusations against Donald Trump bounce off his administration and stick on them. The sexual harassment charges have made manifest their hypocrisy.
Satan has appeared to have been losing the battle as of late on several fronts. Of course, we know that neither he nor his minions, whether demonic or human, will ever give up their assaults until the war is over. They will seem to win many battles right up until the gathering at Armageddon.
Evidence of the battles Lucifer and his legions will continue to fight is observable in the conflict Attorney General Jeff Sessions has initiated regarding marijuana sales. It is a civil war in its own right.
The old devil never ceases to amaze in his ability to deceive and cajole. He not only has a majority of people clamoring to make "Mary Jane" accessible on a national scale, thus eventually making the nation unable to think clearly, he finessed the controversy into a political poison dart aimed at the president he is desperate to see removed from the reigns of power. The following hate-Trump news outlet piece illustrates my point, I hope.
As of late Friday, POLITICO Magazine could not find a single member of Congress who had issued a statement in support of Sessions' actions. In the end, this is a self-inflicted pot crisis that could prove to be a critical test of Trump's ability to maintain his base.
"There's a lot of old white men who are marijuana users, and the marijuana is keeping them alive," Segerblom said from his cell phone while driving around Las Vegas. "Trump is going to have fewer to vote for him if he doesn't keep marijuana legal."
Sessions' antipathy for a drug that has lost much of its stigma among a wide cross section of Americans has only galvanized disparate factions in Congress to protect an industry that is expected to generate $2.3 billion in state tax revenue by 2020. (https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/06/jeff-sessions-marijuana-legalization-congress-216251)
I'm sure that among that 70 percent of Americans who are said to support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes are many who regularly read this column. There are those within my own family who think it is something that should be allowed without resistance.
It is the so-called recreational usage that is embedded within the satanic ploy that makes the battle plan an end-times issue in my view. It is the proverbial slippery slope to open more and more avenues to national inability to think rationally.
America already is plagued with that malady to an unacceptable degree. A glaring example is that at least half of the nation has been deluded into believing that supporting the murder of babies in their mothers' womb and same gender partners engaging in sexual relations is natural and not abnormal.
The prophetic Word of God has things to say about this drug-induced delusion at the time of Christ's Second Advent approaches.
John wrote about those rebellious earth dwellers who would populate the planet at the very end, as Armageddon nears:
"Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts" (Revelation 9:21).
Again, John, with dictation from Jesus Christ, writes the following: "And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived" (Revelation 18:23).
The word "sorceries" here is from the Greek pharmakeia (#5331 in Strong's). There is some connection here to the word "pharmacy."
The following is informative about the use of the Greek term chosen for use.
Okay. Now lets ensure that we correctly understand this:
The root meaning of this group of Greek words [magos, mageia, pharmakeia, pharmakeus] is "druggist" "poisoner" or, "giver of potions." These particular "sorcerers" were persons able to prepare and dispense potions. But why did they dispense these potions? Was it in order to give relief from illness?
Absolutely not! It was in order to stimulate hallucinations or visions! We must understand that it was long part of pagan religious practice to administer potions, or drugs, which would encourage hallucinations! There is, of course, a direct parallel here to modern illicit drug taking. But these original "pharmacists" were involved in the black arts and in demonology; the basic idea was that taking certain potions could bring one into contact with the spirit world, and that this was to be desired. But the fact that the modern English word "pharmacy" happens to be derived from pharmakeia frankly proves absolutely nothing! Do people visit doctors in order to be given drugs which will bring them into contact with the spirit world? Of course not!! People visit medical practitioners in order to have an illness diagnosed, to be treated for sickness, or to gain relief from illness! Yet there are some extremist charismatic ministries around today which teach that we sin when we visit a doctor just because the word "pharmacy" happens to be related to these Greek words!
We must understand that on several occasions the Bible backs up the principle that sick people should look around for remedies for their sickness. This is a very clear biblical principle!...
While the English word "pharmacy" is indeed derived from a group of Greek words used to describe those pagans who used potions to encourage hallucinations in those who wanted to contact the spirit world, to suggest that modern medical pharmacists are in any way associated with the "black arts" is as ludicrous as to suggest that when my friend took penicillin for a very serious infection, he was really more interested in contacting spirits!!! (By the way, my friend was healed and gave the full glory to God who alone is our healer). (Robin A. Brace-2005, Sorcery in the Bible, Pharmakeia and Modern Medicinewww.ukapologetics.net/pharmakeia.html)
The battle waged by Satanic forces to bring in last-days sorceries, according to Bible prophecy, will be a victory in their column. We are, in my opinion, witnessing the beginning of their winning that battle in our beloved nation. But, one battle won't win this war. We have God's Word on that truth!
Media Continues to Ignore Worldwide Christian Persecution - By Sean Savage -
While Christianity traces its birthplace to the Middle East, that region has been arguably the most hostile area for the religion in recent years. A new report by the Christian charity group Open Doors has found that most of Israel's neighbors, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinian territories, are among the world's most dangerous places for Christians.
Susan Michael, U.S. director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), told JNS that "Islamic extremism originated in the Middle East and is the main cause of persecution of Christians in the world today. It is a dangerous and violent ideology that must be stopped."
Egypt's embattled Christian minority, which comprises roughly 10 percent of the country's population and stands as the largest Christian community in the region, has been the frequent target of Islamic terrorism. Coptic churches in Alexandria and Tanta were struck by suicide bombers last April, killing 45 people on Palm Sunday. Last December, at least eight Christians were killed in a terror attack on a Coptic church south of Cairo.
According to the Open Doors report, Egyptian Christians suffer in "various ways" such as pressure on Christian converts to return to Islam, severe restrictions on building places of worship and congregating, and violence.
"Egyptian Christians have had significant attacks and pressure from extremist elements seeking to impose sharia standards on minority faiths, as well as from ISIS factions that want to use Christians as a useful target to undermine the Egyptian government and economy," David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, told JNS. He added that the report "shows that people who want to make a decision to explore or practice the Christian faith face great cultural pressure, if not violence."
Adel Guindy, the former president of Coptic Solidarity, a U.S.-based human rights organization that promotes equality for Coptic Christians in Egypt, told JNS that the situation for the Copts has worsened considerably under President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi--despite his rhetoric in support of Christians and against radical Islam--and has reached "an all-time high."
"El-Sisi is quick to blame it on 'external forces,' [but] it is in fact homegrown. It's a direct result of a permeating hate culture that dominates the entire public space," Guindy said.
"Furthermore, the 'big violence' events that attract international media's attention are in fact a mere tip of an iceberg of systemic and systematic discrimination and persecution that amount to a state-sanctioned 'war of attrition,'" he said.
The rest of the Middle East
Elsewhere, the Open Doors report noted that Christian converts in Jordan face "a great deal of persecution, Christians in the Palestinian territories (Gaza Strip and West Bank) are "caught in the middle of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict," and that "Islamic militant groups are the clear threat" to Syrian Christians.
"The persecution of Christians in Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian territories does not necessarily come from their governments, but from their populations who have been indoctrinated with Islamic theological teachings that are hostile to non-Muslims. It will take a significant amount of years of intentional education to change that attitude," said ICEJ's Michael.
The report identified North Korea as the country where Christians face the highest level of discrimination, followed by Afghanistan and Somalia. More than 3,000 Christians were killed worldwide due to their faith last year.
Other Middle Eastern and North African countries that were ranked among the top 10 most dangerous places for Christians were Libya, Iraq, Iran and Yemen.
"Whether in North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, the Palestinian territories or elsewhere, the persecution of Christians has reached near-epidemic levels," said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
"We urge world leaders and international organizations like the U.N. to bring this crisis to the top of their collective agenda and seek to protect endangered Christian minorities and all people of faith."
The persecution of Christians in Muslim-majority countries presents a stark contrast to the world's only Jewish state, where the Christian population has steadily increased in recent years to about 170,000, according to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics. Israeli Christians enjoy freedom of worship, and even regularly outperform their Jewish and Muslim counterparts in high school matriculation exams.
"The Arab-Christian minority in Israel is a minority within a minority and faces some challenges, but they are citizens of a democracy that protects their freedom of speech and freedom of religion," Michael said. "This is in such contrast to the Muslim countries around them, where Christians and their places of worship are regularly attacked.
There is a growing number of Christians voluntarily serving in the Israel Defense Forces in order to protect their country and their freedoms from the forces of Islamic militants wanting to destroy Israel."
Vice President Mike Pence is slated to visit Israel, Egypt and Jordan from Jan. 19-23. According to his spokesperson, Alyssa Farah, Pence is expected "to reaffirm our commitment to work with the U.S.'s allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations."
Coptic Solidarity's Guindy said that Pence, who is a devout evangelical Christian, should take the opportunity to press Egypt's El-Sisi on human rights and the protection of Christians.
"It's certainly important to engage Egypt as a partner in the war against Islamic terrorism. But this should not come at the expense of human rights, civil society and upholding equal citizenship rights for all--including, and especially, Christians and others who do not belong to the Sunni-Muslim majority," he said.
Michael said that Pence "should require that [countries where Christians are widely persecuted] educate their people to be peaceful and respectful of religious minorities by placing controls on their imams, school textbooks and the media; and make future U.S. financial assistance contingent upon them doing so."
The future for Mideast Christians
Guindy said that recent trends "make it difficult to predict" whether Mideast Christians can survive "the current tsunami" of persecution.
"The picture is rather gloomy, and the fact that Christians' presence in the Middle East has shrunk from one-fifth of the population a century ago to barely 3 percent today speaks volumes....Islamist pressure, coupled with the West's lack of action beyond hollow words of sympathy, make it difficult to be realistically optimistic," he said.
Daily Jot: The aftermath - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is the one who started the firestorm of President Donald Trump disparaging poor nations that happened to be of African descent. It took just one leftist who often has exaggerated the truth for political gain to fan the flames of racism once again in America. The theme of the left has been to declare certain things-whether true or not, or even partially true-characterize them as racist, homophobic, misogynist, Islamophobic, or whatever phobia casts a doubt on a person's character, and then paint those who support that person politically with the same broad brush. This is what has happened with the alleged remark by the President.
Timed perfectly for the holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., Durbin hit a home run in further establishing an international narrative that America is racist because it has a racist president and, therefore, the people who support him or voted for him are also racist. Al Sharpton, for example, told TMZ, "You don't have to spray paint the N-word over the Oval Office and sleep with a KKK hood to be racist. If you have racist policies, say racist things, operate in a racist manner you are a racist, period end of story." Congressman John L. Lewis (D-GA) told ABC's The View that he boycotted the Trump inauguration because, "The movement taught us to withdraw from evil. And I never felt that his election was legitimate."
Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) told MSNBC, "his statements that he made clearly shows that he wants to make America not great, but wants to make America just white..." On The McLaughlin Group, leftist Bill Press said of those who voted for Trump, "So, you got 35 percent of the most extreme wacko racist-I don't know-rednecks in the country." Joel B Pollak, Senior Editor of Breitbart News, summarizes: "Durbin knew exactly what he was doing when he leaked, or distorted, the president's remarks. He was confirming Trump's image in the minds of his critics, mobilizing forces of fear and division - such that a black librarian could tell the Los Angeles Times on Sunday that Trump would "love to take us back all the way to slavery."
This week is likely a pivotal moment in the Trump presidency. The leftists have nailed a narrative that slots Trump AND his supporters as racists-this is a deep hole to dig out of. Especially when the 24-7 news media repeats it with impunity. We cannot control what the left or the news media is doing. We cannot control Trump's word usage, although someone needs to help him with this. We can control what we are doing and saying. It is a time to dismiss this vile and untrue rhetoric and build our case for living out Luke 6:31, "And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise." It is unfair to stereotype everyone as a racist who disagrees with liberal politics. They accuse others of the very thing they do.
Daily Devotion: Work It Out - By Greg Laurie -
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. -Philippians 2:12
During the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s, people came to California from all around the world because they had heard there was "gold in them thar hills." Apparently some people imagined they would arrive and find chunks of gold just lying around in the streets. Well, there was a lot of gold in California back then, but people quickly discovered that the gold wasn't as plentiful as they'd hoped. Yes, a lot of gold was in the mines, but it was necessary to work hard and stay with it in order to find that mother lode.
This is the idea the apostle Paul was conveying to the saints in Philippi when he wrote, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). We need to work out what God has worked in. We need to discover what God has done for us.
However, we don't work for our salvation; we work it out. Salvation is a gift from God. We are told in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." So we don't work for it; we work it out.
Remember, Paul was directing this statement to believers. The idea of working out one's salvation is referring to living out one's faith-carrying it out correctly. In fact, the term work out carries the meaning of working to full completion. So we need to carry it to the goal.
As believers, the work of God is in our hearts, but we need to live it out. Like the gold seekers in California's early days, we need to mine it. That means carrying to the goal and fully completing our own salvation with fear and trembling.
FROM THE HEART
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