Generation of the Beast?

Every day we are inching toward the one-world government predicted by Scripture. But it is not biometric computer chips, the proliferation of surveillance cameras or the NSA’s spying on American citizens that has me concerned. What alarms me is a new mindset that is becoming entrenched in the world. I believe people are getting frightfully close to openly welcoming the “man of sin.”

One thing that has puzzled me over the years is how it could be possible for billions of people to willingly take the “mark of the beast” in spite of the fact that it has been foretold in Scripture. Yet, it seems that spiritual forces are quietly at work which are bringing people to the point of willingly yielding their souls to Satan.

To accomplish such a feat has entailed a decades-long scheme that has been both comprehensive and brilliant in its scope. Unquestionably, there are many factors at work, but I believe the two primary keys the enemy is fostering within humanity are Cynicism and Delusion.

The devil has known that before he can present himself as a viable object of man’s worship, he must first destroy the testimony of the Church. Belief in the biblical claims about the character of Jesus Christ is the center of the Christian faith. It is not organized religion. It is not systematic theology. It is not emotional worship in a mega-church. It is a relationship with a Person. Satan understands this better than most Christians and he is ruthlessly working to destroy the trust in Jesus Christ that forms the basis for this relationship

I believe the “last days” spoken of in Scripture began in the late 60’s. There was a definite change in the corporate mindset of mankind. A powerful spirit of rebellion was birthed in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in 1968 which then swept across America and subsequently spread throughout the rest of the world. It was this movement that birthed the drug culture, the sexual revolution and all the vices that came with them.

God’s answer to what Satan spawned was the Jesus People Movement of the early 70’s. Hollowed out young people entered the kingdom of God by the droves—myself included. A wave of expectation for the return of Christ swept through our ranks. Books such as Hal Lindsey’s “The Late, Great Planet Earth” became bestsellers. But in our exuberance, we overlooked the fact that Paul had said that the Second Coming would not occur “unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

The fervor surrounding the coming of the King gradually gave way to a growing disillusionment. Before long, “mockers… following after their own lusts” were sneeringly questioning the return of Christ. “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Peter 3:4) A new Cynicism began to emerge regarding biblical prophecy.

Nevertheless, the Church shrugged off this disenchantment and only seemed to grow stronger. In the early 80’s, the Evangelical Movement seemed to explode in America and around the world. Then the scandals started. People began to wonder if there were any Christian leaders they could trust. Faith-destroying Cynicism deepened.

Even as believers were losing trust in their leaders, their own indulgence in television and later the Internet began gutting Christians of a real love for Jesus. Personal devotions were seen as unnecessary or even legalistic. Christians continued with “a form of godliness,” but their hearts were being stolen by the devil. Callousness opened the door to greater unbelief.

After some forty years of this relentless assault upon the veracity of Christianity, it seems that Satan has finally achieved his great goal of destroying the testimony of God’s people. The bright faith that thrived during the Jesus Movement has now given way to a deep and powerful Cynicism.

The second phase of his plan has also taken time to unfold. First the Internet, then email, then cell phones, then texting. Each new technological advance has deepened man’s addiction to the cyber world.

Perhaps the most impactful piece of the Internet realm has been social media. This new form of entertainment is altering every aspect of life for young people. Cyber space has allowed the youth of our day to create their own reality—online. In this pretend world, they can present themselves in any image they wish. It is all built upon an illusion that they want to believe about themselves and, in turn, present to the world.

One Internet observer wrote that social media is turning young people into “faux celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories.” He went on to say, “On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of ‘friends.’ They can delete unflattering comments. They can block anyone who disagrees with them or pokes holes in their inflated self-esteem. They can choose to show the world only flattering, sexy or funny photographs of themselves (dozens of albums full, by the way), ‘speak’ in pithy short posts and publicly connect to movie stars and professional athletes and musicians they ‘like.’ Using Twitter, young people can pretend they are worth ‘following,’ as though they have real-life fans, when all that is really happening is the mutual fanning of false love and false fame.”

When I read this man’s comments, I was struck with the sense that young people are being indoctrinated into deep narcissism—a sort of corporate and widespread Delusion. And that word—Delusion—immediately reminded me of what Paul predicted about the generation who will embrace the Antichrist:

“The lawless man is produced by the spirit of evil and armed with all the force, wonders and signs that falsehood can devise. To those involved in this dying world he will come with evil’s undiluted power to deceive, for they have refused to love the truth which could have saved them.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)

These words take on a whole new meaning in light of the cyber world of make-believe which is currently fashioning our culture. Of course, unbelievers have always been deceived about their spiritual condition. But in order to get the people of the world to the place where they will ignore clear-cut biblical prophecies about the Antichrist and openly worship him, Satan must first bring them into a new level of Delusion. Social media may only be a precursor to even more powerful forms of media that the enemy will use to influence people. Who knows what is coming next?

Is it possible that the kids playing down at the schoolyard are part of the “Generation of the Beast?” Only the Lord knows the answer to that question. But I do believe that before it is over, Cynicism and Delusion will each play a major role in bringing people to the point that they will willingly—even gladly—yield their hands and foreheads to the mark of the beast.

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