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What Is the Mark of the Beast? | The Antichrist

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 26, 2022 3:00 am

What Is the Mark of the Beast? | The Antichrist

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 26, 2022 3:00 am

Some might think a cashless society might be kind of handy—just scan and scoot. But today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how the mark represents allegiance to the Antichrist! It’s something far more consequential than an alternate form of identification. In effect, it identifies us with the powers of darkness. It’s a hard-hitting message, and one of the studies our listeners requested the most over the past 12 months. We’re kicking off our series of top 10 messages today.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.

If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. Coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out from Revelation how the Great Tribulation will change nearly everything about life here on planet Earth. There is coming this charismatic world leader, the Antichrist, who will introduce a cashless society requiring everyone to take a mark. No one will be able to buy or sell or engage in any kind of commerce without the mark of the beast. Some might think a cashless society might be kind of handy.

Just scan and scoot. But today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how the mark represents allegiance to the Antichrist. It's something far more consequential than an alternate form of identification.

In effect, it identifies us with the powers of darkness. It's a hard-hitting message, and one of the studies our listeners requested the most over the past 12 months. We're kicking off our series of top 10 messages today. So I went to the market the other day, and I bought a few groceries. And as I was leaving, they had a nice little flower section. And I was looking around at different flowers, and I usually get my wife orchids.

She favors those. But then I saw something I rarely see. They had tulips. And I thought, well, those are beautiful. So I paid for them. And they cost a little more than I thought they should, but they were so impressive. I thought, I've got to give her these tulips. And as I'm walking in my car, I'm looking at them saying, what a marvel of God's creation. They're so perfect. They almost look fake.

I can't believe these things. So I get home, and I wanted to cut the stems, you know. And so I get a knife out, and they're not cutting.

I get a stronger knife out, still not cutting. I thought, wow, I didn't know tulips had stems that were so tough. So Kathy comes home a little later, and I said, I got you some tulips. And so then she went to cut the stems, and she said, Greg, these tulips you bought me are fake.

I bought my wife fake tulips. So why are we talking about flowers? You're asking.

I have no idea. I just wanted to tell you that story. No, seriously. There is coming a world leader on the scene who's going to be, for lack of a better description, a fake Christ. A phony Jesus. He's called the anti-Christ. The prefix anti not only means against, and he will be against Christ and his followers, but it also means instead of. Jesus said in the last days, there will come those that will say, I am Christ. And that's exactly what this man will do.

But he's a pretender. And we all know his number, don't we? It's 666. More people probably know that number from the Bible than John 3.16, which says, For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, and whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. We don't know that, but we know 666. We get nervous about that number.

If it's in your social security number, maybe you want to change it. If they give you a new phone number and it has 666, I don't know if I want that number. We know that number is connected to evil. We know that it points to something ominous, and indeed it does. The Bible teaches that there is coming this charismatic world leader, the Antichrist, who will introduce a cashless society requiring everyone to take a mark. No one will be able to buy or sell or engage in any kind of commerce without the mark of the beast. And by the way, this may be one of the most intriguing issues in all of the Bible.

There's been more speculation, more sensationalism, more silliness about this topic than any of the other last day's events. Now, maybe ten years ago, if I was teaching on this, I would illustrate with some things I read in the news about how close we are to this mark. But I don't even need to do that anymore, do I? We all know that the tech is pretty much here where we could be identified by a mark. We read of microchips being implanted in pets. And now in some cases even in humans. I just saw a video for a well-known website where they are saying you don't need a wallet anymore.

You can just scan your hand or wave your hand and make your purchase. I hear that Elon Musk, the creator of Tesla and SpaceX has implanted a little chip into the brain of a chimpanzee. And I saw a chimpanzee playing a video game with this artificial intelligence added. So clearly we can see this tech is already here.

Think about this. The Bible predicted this technology that the antichrist will harness and use for evil purposes 2,000 years ago. John is on an island in the middle of nowhere. And the Lord gives to him what we call the revelation, which is the unveiling of the eternal, the unveiling of the future. At this time there were no computers or tablets or smartphones.

This was the age of spears and stones and wood. This was incredible that John would have this kind of insight. And by the way, that's why you can believe the Bible. It's the one book that dares to predict the future.

Not once, not twice, but hundreds of times with 100% accuracy. Okay, so let's read that passage that refers to the mark of the beast. Revelation 13 verse 16 says, He 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 can 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 that is understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. So God has predicted the future, hasn't He? And by the way, that's not risky for the Lord. It wouldn't be any more risky for God to predict the future than for you to tell me what you had for dinner last night.

I hope you can remember what you had. And so when the Lord speaks of the future, it's easy. Why? Because God lives in the eternal realm. So everything is in a continuum to Him. So when He says this will happen, He knows it will happen exactly as He says it will. I love this passage, Isaiah 46 verse 9. The Lord says, Do not forget the things that I've done through history, for I am God.

I alone, I am God, and there's no one else like Me. Only I can tell you what is going to happen before it happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.

How true is that? So the Lord has told us this is coming. We know it will. But we don't know when it will happen exactly.

There's a lot of speculations, and I mentioned recently conspiracy theories that people come up with about the Antichrist, trying to identify him, which is a bad idea, and it's futile, and trying to figure out what the mark of the beast might be. Now, because of the coronavirus, we have the vaccines that are available to the public. And on more than one occasion, I've read articles about, Is the vaccine the mark of the beast? If you take the vaccine, are you indeed taking the mark of the beast? So I'm going to answer that right now to the best of my ability.

The answer is no. It is not the mark of the beast. No one's going to take the mark of the beast accidentally. Because in fact, as we study Scripture, we realize it's not just taking the mark on your right hand or forehead. It's a pledge of allegiance to the Antichrist himself.

No one is going to take it by accident. And by the way, the Antichrist will not be revealed until the rapture of the church. So if you know who the Antichrist is, and you think you know what the mark of the beast is, congratulations.

You missed the rapture. Now, I'm being facetious, of course, because we don't know. So the point is, it's pointless to try to identify Antichrist or even the mark that he will use. Let me summarize. The mark of the beast is future.

Not past or even present yet. The mark is a visible, literal brand of sorts. The mark will be given as a sign of devotion to Antichrist and as a passport to commerce. And here's the thing.

You'll know it when you're getting it. There's even an angel that is going to fly through the heavens, warning people to not take the mark. So no one's going to do it, again, by accident. So don't freak out if you go to Disneyland and they put a stamp on your right hand. It's okay. You have not taken the mark of the beast.

But when this mark is employed during the great tribulation period, that lasts for seven years. There's going to be a one-world government, a new global economy, ruled by one man. I was watching a business news channel the other day.

They were talking about the changing economy. And one financial expert said, and I quote, The real reform, the real answer to all this is some kind of a banking union where everyone signs on board. There needs to be some kind of banking overlord, a banking union that everyone will bow down before.

I thought, wow, he may have just described the antichrist. Yes, he'll be an overlord, if you will. And in this case, people will technically bow down before him. You'll have a choice during the tribulation period. You can either take the mark and worship the antichrist or starve.

Basically no mark, no merchandise, no seal, no sale. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of today's message in just a moment. But you know, Pastor Greg, many people are looking for hope these days, especially young people. They want to be part of something bigger. And I know we have some big plans to reach them in the coming new year, don't we?

We do, Dave. And let me say, here's where you won't find hope. You won't find hope in the culture. You won't find hope in technology. You won't find hope even, in many ways, in politics.

Now, all of these things have their place. But hope, that comes from God. I like this acronym of hope that I heard, H-O-P-E, holding on with patient expectation. The Bible brims with hope. And that is our message that we want to share with this young generation and all generations, that there is hope for them in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And we want to offer this hope to as many people as possible in this coming year through our outreach ministries, which of course include A New Beginning. I'm asking you to join us at Harvest and become a partner.

A partner is just a friend that makes a regular commitment to us each and every month. They stand by us, and that enables us to respond to the opportunities that are coming our way. I think we would all agree we live in, in many ways, a hopeless world. But through Christ, we have hope. Life without God is a hopeless end. Life with Him is endless hope. Join us and become a part of our team, and let's reach the world with a much-needed message of hope.

Yeah, that's right. And you know, it's the most strategic time of the year, and maybe the most strategic time in our history with the plans we have for ministry in the new year. Your investment can go further than ever. So please get in touch today to become what we call a Harvest partner. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. While Pastor Greg is offering some important insight about the end times today, and specifically the time of the Great Tribulation, let's continue today's study of prophecy. One thing is clear. We've never been closer to the Lord's return than we are at this moment. Now, it's not all bad news, because the Bible promises a new beginning. The Bible promises a new world when righteousness will reign supreme. Light over darkness. Good will prevail over evil. And isn't that good news? Because we read so much bad news right now.

Horrible, awful things that happen every day in this fallen world of ours. Why are things going to be so much better? The Bible says in Isaiah 11, 9, the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth.

How wonderful that will be. Right now, the knowledge of the Lord does not fill the earth. Many don't even want to hear what God has to say. One of our passions here at Harvest Ministries is to get the gospel to as many people as possible and to reach unexpected people in unexpected places. And indeed, the Bible tells us before Christ comes back, the gospel will be preached all around the world. And then one day, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.

But before that comes, it's going to get pretty dark. And that's what Revelation 13 is telling us with the emergence of this antichrist figure. Now, the antichrist does not act alone.

He has a partner in crime, and that person is identified as the false prophet. Revelation 13, verse 11 says, I saw another beast. And remember, beast is not a description of how they appear, but more a description of their character. Another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

So a lamb is a passive creature. A dragon, as we already know, is Satan. So the devil's speaking through him. But he appears, oh, I suppose, religious and pious like a lamb. He has all the authority of the first beast in his presence, the first beast being the antichrist. He causes the earth and those that dwell in it to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed.

Antichrist survives that assassination attempt. And here's the verse, verse 16. And he causes both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or their forehead. So he's sort of implementing this mark in the culture. And again, this is in the future.

So here's the thing. We wonder, why would anybody take the mark of the beast? And the answer is given to us in 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2, verse 9, which says, speaking of antichrist, this evil man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and wonders. He will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those who are on their way to destruction. Listen, because they refuse to believe the truth. It's not that they haven't heard the truth. They refuse to believe the truth that would save them. So God will send a great deception upon them and they will believe the lie. They'll believe the lie. What is the lie? The lie that people in the tribulation period will believe. The lie is pretty much the same thing that goes back to the Garden of Eden.

Satan was peddling this thing way back when. Remember our first parents, Adam and Eve, were there at the garden, there at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By the way, the Lord said you can enjoy all this garden. Just steer clear of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Scene two, Adam and Eve at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

A lot of times we get ourselves into trouble without the devil's help. So there they were standing at the tree and the snake comes to them, the serpent, the devil, and says, has God said you can't eat of every tree in the garden? Go ahead and eat of this fruit for in the day you eat you will become as a god knowing good and evil. Now people always say when Adam and Eve ate the apple in the garden. The Bible never says it was an apple. I don't know about you.

I wouldn't even be tempted by an apple. Who knows what it was. It probably glowed and pulsated with light.

Maybe it had its own theme song. I don't know. But when they saw the tree and the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasant to look upon and desirable to make them wise, they ate of it and then sin entered the world. But what is the lie that Satan was propagating? The lie is simply this. Don't believe the word of God. Believe something in its place. Hey, we believe the lie sometimes too. The devil will whisper in our ear, God doesn't love you.

Why do you even follow him? He's against you. That's a lie. Sometimes the devil will say, go ahead and do this thing. No one will ever find out. You'll get away with it. Well that's certainly a lie.

He'll say, it'll be fun. And he'll whisper into our ears these things that are not true. And the only way to know the lie from the truth and to know good from evil is to have a good working knowledge of the Bible. All of us have been deceived by sin at some time in our life. All of us have known something was wrong but we went for it anyway.

Right? And if you did, that means you listened to the lie. So now we're in the tribulation period and Satan is pulling out all of the stops for this last big play. He's wanting people to take this mark. I'm sure there will be a lot of pressure for people to take the mark. I'm sure all the celebrities on social media will say, I got the mark.

Did you? Have you got the mark yet? Make sure you get the mark.

The mark is awesome. The anti-Christ is great. And people will be swept up into this and take the mark. Terrifying times coming during the Great Tribulation. Pastor Greg Laurie pointing out what Revelation tells us about the time of the rapture of the church. And there's more to come from our series of most requested messages here on A New Beginning. Well, we're in the studio right now with some special guests. Pastor Greg is joining us, of course, and his wife Kathy is here today. It's always a pleasure to have Kathy. And we also have author Sally Lloyd-Jones. And what a treat to have Kathy Laurie and Sally Lloyd-Jones here with us on the program.

They've classed up the place, Pastor Greg, I've noticed. Sally has that beautiful British accent. And Kathy, I know you love Sally's writings.

You've told us that so many times before. Her writings are, they're just, they're like treasures and I would never get rid of a book by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Even though my grandchildren are now, some of them are teenagers, I still want to see these books. She calls this the board book, which is a book for babies that are, it's durable because babies throw things, bite things, and drool all over things. But this book will stand up to that. But honestly, this book is a book for everyone. The words and the concept behind it, Sally, what inspired you to take a psalm, one of the most beautiful and beloved psalms in Scripture, Psalm 139, and spell it out so simply and yet so profoundly for children and for adults? Well, thank you for your lovely words.

That's very generous. I think we all live in this really strange time. I'm sure every generation said that, but we're in a strange time. And a friend of mine once said, no one's too young for the truth.

He was a writer who died a few years ago, but I've never forgotten that. And I'm often thinking, you know, children are little tiny humans and they need what we need. We know that we need comfort and we need hope, especially now. So I thought, well, babies do too. And what if you can convey the comfort that God's given us through the word so that they can hear it? And I think the lovely thing is the Bible is written in lyrical language and it's a love story and a love letter to us from God because we're his children. So in a way, babies are obviously his children, but so are we. So adults and children are both really in the same position.

We have God as our loving Father. So I wanted to write it in a way that would encourage babies. And I always know that if I do a good job and I really work hard to distill what's true, then sometimes what God does with that is he ambushes the adults because it's in such simple words and it's got pictures.

But I think the adult hasn't got their defenses up and it can go straight to their heart. So that was one of the inspirations. I love quotes.

I collect them. One of them is from Simone Weil, and she said, quote, Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity, end quote. And then this one from Georgia O'Keeffe, quote, Nobody sees a flower, really. It is so small it takes time.

We haven't time. And to see takes time. Like to have a friend takes time, end quote. And I thought, how beautiful that. Paying attention is a kind of generosity. And to see something truly is something like loving. And then I thought, you know, we're in a world right now where we're so we're in an age of distraction.

We know we have our iPhones. Our attention is fragmented. It's really hard to focus.

It's really hard to even read a book. But the Bible says God isn't distracted. We have his full attention. And more than that, there's this lovely truth in this psalm that he can't stop thinking about. And I just thought, well, that is so if I could have a little child know that the God of the universe can't stop thinking about the little baby who is so small. But that's how God is.

He always is after the one and the smallest and the nittlest. That's right. So I'm in studio with my wife, Kathy, with Sally Lloyd-Jones. We're talking about Sally's new book, Known. And it's a paraphrase of part of Psalm 139. It's a beautiful book illustrated by Jago. Order a copy so you can see it for yourself and read it to your little ones. And we'll offer you this book, Known, by Sally Lloyd-Jones for your gift of any size this month to help us continue on teaching the Word of God and proclaiming the gospel.

Yeah, that's right. Get in touch and ask for your own copy of Known, Psalm 139. We so much appreciate the partnership of our friends. And your investment right now can go further than ever before. There are some very exciting ways we're reaching out with the good news right now, and your investment touches lives. So thanks for partnering with us here at this important time of the year.

And we want to thank you by sending you the new book called Known, Psalm 139 by Sally Lloyd-Jones. And we'll only be able to mention this resource a short time longer. Just call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's 24-7, phone number 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well next time, Pastor Greg guides us into the 14th chapter of Revelation, where we consider the 144,000 and the mark they carry as God's own. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-26 05:05:06 / 2022-12-26 05:15:15 / 10

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