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by Jacob Ninan
Through the centuries of Christianity there have always been speculations about the identity of this person, the Antichrist. Many have been named and proved to be wrong. But every time people think that the end is near, they feel strongly that the Antichrist is going to be revealed, and start speculating again.
Another pastime of many Christian teachers and writers has been to try and interpret the meaning of 666, ‘the number of the Antichrist’. Even though many theories have been proposed, none seems to satisfy every aspect.
In connection with this number 666 is the competition to identify the means with which the Antichrist would control buying and selling of things (Rev.13:17). The coming of computers saw a great boost of interest in this direction, and there have been tracts describing computers named 666 somewhere in Europe (!) which were going to control every financial transaction in the world. When credit cards came, it fuelled a lot of expectation in this connection, thinking that now the Antichrist would have the means to control transactions, and some Christians began to warn against the use of credit cards! When the Aadhaar numbers were introduced in India, there were many pastors warning their people not to register for it, under the assumption that if your name was in that register you would automatically come under the control of the Antichrist! Body implantable chips became another topic of discussion, and every time a tinier chip or a less invasive way of scanning gets discovered, preachers begin to shout, “This is it!” But neither has the Antichrist been discovered nor has his modus operandi established.
But what seems to escape the attention of many is that it is more important to identify the Antichrist’s character and how he would act according to it. He is the anti-Christ. He is the personification of everything that is against Christ or opposed to Christ. His fury against Christ is going to be directed against the disciples of Christ, those who want to follow Him and become Christ-like. He wants to do his best to make sure that less and less people get to know Christ, more and more people follow another Christ, those who know Christ get distorted images of Christ in their mind, those who follow Christ get discouraged and give up, etc. In all this, he is the ‘anointed one’ (meaning ‘Christ’), but his anointing is from Satan.
One thing that is said clearly about the Antichrist is that when he becomes fully in control of the world, no one would be able to buy or sell anything without his mark on their forehead or their right hand. This is one way he would encourage everyone to follow him and discourage them from following Christ. People would choose to submit to the Antichrist in order to be able to survive, rather than face suffering, when they are unable to buy or sell. Even though most discussions on this subject have been on how he would physically control transactions, let us look at the basic issue involved here. If we understand that having the mark of the Antichrist is not so much about what physical means he will use to control transactions, but about how people can actually qualify to receive his mark, then things become clear. Then what we need to do is avoid getting into that category. It is a spiritual qualification, rather than about any actual physical means of control. We can understand that, to become eligible to receive his mark, we would need to agree to be subject to him, and that would be to give up being subject to Christ, or to give up having Christ as the Lord of our lives!
Let us look at some practical examples. In India, for many years now, it has become common practice to declare the value of property you buy or sell as something lower than the actual sale price. This is because of a desire for the buyer to cut down on the stamp duty on the transaction and for the seller to reduce his income tax. As a result, many people ‘undervalue’ their property on their sale deeds and exchange the difference with the actual price as ‘black’ (unaccounted) money. What they are doing is to falsify the facts to the government in order to reduce expenses. We can say that nowadays it is almost impossible to buy or sell property in India without black money. There are still a few who stand for their principles on this and are willing to suffer as a result. Can we see how even Christians have learned to bow down to the Antichrist in order to be able to ‘survive in this world’ because ‘everyone does it’? This has been done without any computer, credit card or microchips! Our focus on identifying the physical means of control by the Antichrist has turned our attention away from the actual way the spirit of the Antichrist has gained power over people’s minds!
Look at examples of what is happening in the US. Under the government rules that control healthcare and insurance cover, employers are to provide for women employees to abort their babies. Because of such regulations, Christian employers, who are morally opposed to abortion, are being put under pressure and some of them are choosing to close down their firms, rather than compromise their Christian values. The Antichrist is putting people under a squeeze, saying that they cannot carry on with their business without bowing down to him and compromising their values.
Another ruling by many US States wants employers to employ people without making any ‘discrimination’ on the basis of someone’s ‘sexual orientation’. This looks ‘humane’ until we look at the predicament of a Christian organisation carrying out Christian work being compelled to employ a homosexual.
After same sex marriages have become legal in the US, service providers cannot object to provide services to such weddings. So we hear of Christian photographers, bakers, motel owners, etc., who refuse to oblige same sex couples being forced to quit their business rather than face the heavy penalty threatened by the government. Their religious freedom, or their freedom to believe and act upon their convictions, cannot be guaranteed now. The Antichrist is saying, “Bow down to me if you want to survive. You cannot buy or sell without my mark.”
Christian psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors, who want to help people who have become homosexuals as a result of early traumatic experiences such as child sexual abuse, are now not allowed in several US States to ‘treat’ such cases to bring relief to the victims.
In India, schools and colleges are being put under pressure to include yoga in their curriculum, and text books are being revised to make them saffronised. Christians find themselves being compelled to go along with the declaration that all religions are right.
Are these not illustrations of how people are being pressurised more and more to bow down to anti-Christian values and practices? Are not people who give in to such pressures receiving the mark of the Antichrist on their lives?
The apostle John noted that even then, in the days of the early church, there were many antichrists already at large (1Jn.2:18). If we watch the developments now, we can see how this ‘spirit of the antichrist’ is working in many ways. Is it not this spirit that we should be careful about, rather than which microchip is going to be used? Shouldn’t we be more concerned now about how we can keep ourselves pure for Christ in these increasingly evil days than about understanding who the Antichrist is in person or what 666 means?
-- Editorial in the Light of Life magazine, October 2015
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