I was listening to a teaching on eschatology given at a church camp by one of my favorite all-time teachers. Gordon Anderson has been president of North Central University for many years, but I was privileged to have him as a teacher when I was a student in my undergrad program before his appointment as president. Listening to his teaching on “end times” reminded me of his teaching as his student.
One thing he would constantly talk about in those days was the symbolism and how we get it wrong. We go around looking at our right hands and checking our foreheads saying, “Whew! No mark of the beast today!” But, he speculated, what if it wasn’t a “mark” but a selling out to the world’s system? We can go around all day long saying, “No mark yet!” and have sold out to the allegiances of the gods of this world.
I reflect on that today as I continue to be stirred by the insanity of our culture and what gets us upset… or not. And quite frankly, what gets us upset in one area often dictates we somehow can’t get upset in another area. And THAT, I would contend, is a sign we’re wavering in our allegiances and we may have a bit of the “mark” in us.
Why is it we can’t be horrified by the actions of Planned Parenthood selling human body parts AND be upset by “Cecil the Lion” being killed?
Why is it we somehow have to “choose” between being ALL for the police or ALL for #BlackLivesMatter?
What is it we have to be ALL for Israel (as evangelicals) and never for Palestinians?
Why can we not be deeply concerned by poverty in our country and still desire people to earn a good living and live a good life?
Maybe the “mark” of the beast is seen in blind loyalty to such marks as “Planned Parenthood” and the “NRA” and yet we go around thinking we’re still somehow totally loyal to Christ at the same time.
Maybe the “mark” of the beast is seen in blind loyalty to a political party or being labeled “progressive” or “liberal” or “conservative” and that has become more of our “mark” than our allegiance to Christ.
We are really struggling in our Christian walk these days and it’s not because Christ is confusing. It’s because we’ve allowed marks to be applied to identities other than that what is the “mark” of Christ… and we’re confusing “brand” loyalty with “CHRIST” allegiance.
If we don’t get this figured out soon, those identifying too closely with any other allegiance than Christ will find themselves swept under in the next wave of whatever liberal or conservative garbage that washes ashore.
My greater fear is so many may have taken a mark and just not realized it yet. Then, the cost will come. Not a pretty day.
God help us.