2009-02-22_1157_Church

Last week, we looked at Jesus’ warning about the days that would precede His return. The concerns about wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes may dominate our thinking, but the first thing He said about what will happen during that time to come was, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray” (Matthew 24:4–5).1

And, we also considered this question Jesus asked: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).

Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:4-5 and His question in Luke 18:8 should trouble us.

This is why.

The Book of Revelation tells us about a man, which it calls a beast—more accurately, a second beast—which will have stunning power. He will possess not only spiritual power, but political and economic power:

“It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name” (Revelation 13:13–17).

This beast will perform great signs.

It will tell people to make an image of the first beast.

It will give breath to this image as well as the ability to speak. It will appear to have life, the kind of life that we are familiar with.

He will cause people to worship this now life-like image.

He will cause everyone to take a mark. If people don’t take this mark, they cannot buy or sell. This would effectively cause “mark deniers” to possibly become homeless, suffer great privation, and be in danger of starvation.

So, we come back to Jesus’ warning. Do not be led astray by those coming who claim to be “the Christ,” the Messiah. The Deliverer. The Savior.

The one who saves people.

The one who rescues people.

And we return to His question: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Christian, what will you do when you are faced with either giving in to taking the mark, or very possibly starving to death? Not being able to buy gasoline? Not be able to buy…anything? Will you yearn desperately for a “deliverer”? Yes, you will.

However, which deliverer will it be? The one who will give you instant help because you take the mark, or One who will not immediately help you—but will give you eternal life after a time of trouble and suffering?

If you are alive during this time, will you have faith?

1All scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society

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