It’s true that not being able to buy or sell is mentioned in Revelation 13:17 as one of the ways God’s people will be persecuted in the last days. However, there is a growing number of Christians in all denominations, who are focusing on how this threat to our shopping ability will come about.
All kinds of wild speculations are being considered. Some are suggesting it could come about with a microchip implanted under the skin, tracking apps on our phone, taking away the cash supply, and a myriad of other petty things we should avoid. Even wearing a face mask or getting a vaccine are frowned on, as they condone the government telling us what to do.
Perhaps it would be more productive to expend our energies in getting away from “how” these events occur and look rather to the “why” they WILL happen, when God sees fit to set up His heavenly Kingdom on earth.
It is quite obvious from several chapters in Revelation that our worship is what counts in this apocalyptic scenario. And more importantly, WHO we worship. Will it be our Creator…or Satan, who gives power to the beast and his image?
A lot of people think worship has to happen in a church, but God prefers it to happen in our hearts (John 4:24). The government can’t take that kind of worship away from God’s faithful, no matter how hard it tries.
“How” we worship is something else we must get back to, as well. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17) are perhaps the simplest way God could spell it out for us; and yet, we often fail to implement the love required to keep God’s Law. Both love to God (the first four) and love to man (the last six).
The Old Testament prophets were adamant about two sins the people of God were repeatedly committing (Micah 6:8). One was idolatry (impacting their love for God), and the other was social injustice (not taking care of “the least of these”, Matthew 25:40–which hindered their love for man).
We are also seeing in this pandemic a call to both of these kinds of love. People for too long have worshiped the wrong things–mall shopping, going to restaurants, bars, and sporting events. Although these activities may not be wrong in themselves, we have placed them on too high a pedestal, and grown too materialistic in our lifestyles. God wants to be first place in our affections, and rightly so (Matthew 22:37). Perhaps this is why these things are being curtailed during this pandemic. God is calling us back to worship Him only.
It should also be no surprise that a call to social justice is once again being heard in our country, and even around the world. God is just as concerned about how we treat each other, as how we treat Him. We cannot turn a blind eye, or even worse, a threatening look, on those who are feeling the call to be activists against social injustice. If we want to take a stand on any issue right now, we should be speaking out for “the least of these”, and advocating for anyone who is downtrodden and suffering unbearable hardships in this world.
Our Seventh-day Adventist pioneers were on the right track in the 1800’s. Keep in mind that this was a period of immense social injustice, with the issue of slavery becoming so rife that it split the United States in two, resulting in thousands of lives lost during the Civil War. Many, if not all, of our church leaders were openly on the side of the abolitionists. They wrote about it profusely, calling slavery what it was: a cruel system of human ownership that should be abolished. Some even wrote after the war that injustices were not erased with emancipation of the slaves, but was replaced with another form of racial hatred and fear after Reconstruction.
Even today, we see social injustices in almost every part of the world.
How long will we be silent? How long will we be passive? What are you speaking out for and doing during this time of crisis in the world? Let’s remember the “big stuff”.
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