No one in their right mind wants to take the mark of the beast, but with all the theories of who the antichrist is, and what the mark of the beast is, how can we be sure that we don’t take it by innocent error? I’ve heard moderately convincing arguments that the antichrist/beast is Prince Charles, the papacy, and Islam, among others. I’ve heard reasonable people try to explain that the mark of the beast is bar codes on grocery items, social security numbers, and chips embedded into our hands. For fun, I typed “what is the mark of the beast” into Google and got over two million hits. “Who is the antichrist” produced well over a million hits. I’m not recommending the use of Google to determine Biblical truths, only using that to show how many different ideas there are.
We are about to start the most exciting month in God’s calendar – a month that teaches us what to expect when our Saviour returns to this earth. Just as Yeshua's’ first coming and his death and resurrection fulfilled the spring holy days, many Bible scholars believe that His second coming will fulfill the fall holy days. These days occur in the seventh Biblical month and consist of the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
No doubt about it, Scripture is clear that many frightening events will occur in the last days of this earth’s history. Wars, earthquakes, pestilence, famine, and other events are foretold, which most reasonable people would anticipate with trepidation. We’re told that in the end, “men’s hearts will be failing them for fear” (Luke 21:26). Yet we are repeatedly told not to fear. In fact, those who are fearful are first on a list of those who will die the second death of the lake of fire, lumped in with murderers, idolaters, and liars! (Revelation 21:8) How is it that fear can be considered such a sin?
On December 21, 2010 there was a total lunar eclipse. There hadn’t been a total lunar eclipse on a winter solstice in nearly four centuries, since the year 1638. It has only happened one other time since the birth of Christ, so this was a rare spectacle indeed. We are told that the heavenly bodies are given for signs (Genesis 1:14), and how wise men discerned the heavens to know of the first coming of the Messiah (Matthew 2:2). We should also expect signs at his second coming. As I was looking out at the reddened moon, God immediately brought to my mind a passage that appears three times in Scripture: Joel 2:3, Acts 2:20; and Revelation 6:12. "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come."
When Yeshua (Jesus) tells us the signs of his second coming, he quotes Daniel by telling us, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place … for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (See Matthew 24:15-21 for complete quote.) Daniel 12:11 tells us that this abomination that maketh desolate will start a final count of 1290 days until the end of days, so recognizing it is very important to understanding Bible prophecy of the very end of time. But what does this phrase mean, and how will we recognize it when it happens? The following word study gives us some excellent clues.
Mankind has been asking the same question for centuries or more. How long will these things be? When will be the time of the end? Asking “how long” or “when” is a common event in Scripture. David asked how long in Psalm 6:3. Isaiah asked how long in Isaiah 6:11. Habakkuk asked how long in Habakkuk 1:2. The disciples asked Yahshua (Jesus) when in Matthew 24:3. The saints at the end of time ask God how long in Revelation 6:10. More examples could be given.
Ephesians 4:4-6 tells us that there is one body of believers, one Spirit of God, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all. Yet too many people seem to believe that there are two bodies of believers (Jewish from the Old Testament and Christian from the New Testament) and two Gods (one of laws from the Old Testament and one of grace from the New Testament). Nothing could be further from the truth.