Revelation 13:1-18; 14:9-11
A new world leader emerged, and seemed to have all the answers.
Never had Seth felt so terribly alone. His parents and brother were gone. Gone! Raptured! And he was left behind! The icy terror that gripped his heart felt like a knife twisting and cutting inside him.
Going back to the television, he found that the first reports were coming in. Then all regular broadcasting was discontinued as report after report was analyzed and discussed. What did it all mean? Seth knew, and so did many others. A few of them had a chance to give their views on the air.
Sunday dragged by. Seth just lay on the couch, numb with hopelessness and despair, watching the television. Once he tried to text some of his friends but his service was down and the messages wouldn’t go through. He didn’t even bother calling his grandparents or his aunts and uncles—he knew they’d be gone too.
On Monday when Seth turned on the television he heard some staggering news. A new world leader had emerged overnight. Amazingly, heads of governments around the world readily accepted his rise to power, almost as if they knew it was coming. A few hours later, Seth listened to the new leader’s inaugural address. He was a powerful, persuasive speaker. Obviously a brilliant man, he seemed to comprehend the world’s problems perfectly and to have a solid grasp on how to solve them. Seth was impressed and moved by his words.
However, chills soon began to course up and down Seth’s spine as the new leader continued his speech. Not only was a new world government and economic order being established, but the man also said that mankind was about to take a giant leap forward in evolution. He said a new age was dawning where the human race would step forward into a higher consciousness that would bring about true peace and understanding between all people.
With horror Seth realized that he was listening to the Antichrist. But what was even more horrible was that he found himself caught up in a strange spell that seemed to grow more powerful with each sentence the new leader spoke. This man wasn’t just convincing, he sounded almost like he was more than human. Especially when he explained to the world that he was responsible for the disappearance of those who were true followers of Jesus Christ. Seth could hardly believe his ears as he heard the Antichrist say that he had sent those people into another dimension. He said that since they were a hindrance to the step up on the evolutionary ladder, they needed to evolve for a time in this other dimension. Then they would be brought back. The Rapture was being powerfully explained away!
What followed made Seth sick to his stomach. The Antichrist spoke of a coming initiation into the glorious New Age. As he heard it described in glowing and compelling terms, Seth knew what he was leading up to—the mark of the beast! However, the speech finished without anything being said about that. Seth turned the television off and began to cry uncontrollably as terror of the future swept over him.
In the next few days, Seth numbly watched the news media falling over themselves with praise for the new leader. All over the world, people were ecstatic about the prospects for the future. Leaders from the world’s many religions sang the praises of this amazing man. Even well-known, professing Christians spoke in glowing terms of the Antichrist! Seth couldn’t believe it. Didn’t they realize who he was? How could people who should know what the Bible says be so blind? But as time went on, he began to wonder if maybe it were his parents who had been mistaken. After all, the world was quickly moving toward a unity like he had never seen before or even imagined possible.
Then the announcement came. Everyone, the whole world over, was to report to the nearest New Age center for instruction about the new world religion. At the end of a week of teaching, a personal initiation would take place. Each person would be expected to give his full allegiance to the new leader. If they chose not to, they would not be allowed to buy or sell or receive wages.
As Seth headed down to the crowded center, he felt like one of a flock of sheep. Something was gnawing inside of him, telling him that maybe he shouldn’t go. Yet, it seemed as if he had no choice. If he didn’t go, he wouldn’t be able to eat. Besides, all that stuff about the Antichrist was probably just a fairy tale. This new leader was an incredibly wonderful man and it was obvious the world was going to be a better place because of him. So, Seth went through the fascinating training.
When the time for his initiation came, Seth was ready to do anything for the new leader. He said the vows that were required and then signed a covenant. After that, he was ushered into another room where the mark would be applied. He was asked whether he preferred to have it in his forehead or his hand. Seth extended his hand to the woman with the marking machine. Just before the mark was applied, Seth abruptly pulled his hand back. The woman looked at Seth without saying a word. Shaking his head and smiling, Seth extended his hand again. The mark was applied. Seth was now fully one with the Antichrist.