Throughout the centuries, the doomsday dread has captivated the hearts and minds of the religious and irreligious alike.
Of all the articles that I have written in this space, none has elicited such a flurry of responses as the one on the link between the Huduma Namba and the Mark of the Beast. Hundreds have written appreciating the clarification on the matter, with many confessing that they had indeed been afraid of the possibility of unknowingly receiving the dreaded Mark of the Beast. What is amazing is that these expressions have come from a wide cross section of our society – young and old, educated and uneducated, leaders and ordinary folk alike.
Interestingly, similar fears manifested at the introduction of the “Plastic Money” such as Dinners Club, American Express, and others. Predictions were that the use of these cards would facilitate an easy way of capturing vital personal information that would be used to enforce the worship of the Beast. Many around the world therefore refused to use plastic money. The story was the same when the PIN number was introduced in Kenya in the early nineties. Many were fearful, especially because it was said no one would access critical government services without the vital number. Almost thirty years later, neither the plastics nor the PIN fears have materialised. Truth be told, though few would care to admit, we all seem to have an undeclared belief that the universe as we know it will not last forever – and we do not want to be caught unawares.
Throughout the centuries, the doomsday dread has captivated the hearts and minds of the religious and irreligious alike. While some have looked to prophecies to predict the future, others have relied on scientific projections to understand the possible fate of humanity. What is amazing, however, is how these have tended towards an interesting convergence in the long run. For example, when the Apostle Peter predicted the end of the world, he declared, “The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” Although these words then seemed like an impossibility, science has brought them into the realm of possibility.
In a recent BBC documentary, entitled Hot Planet, Iain Stewart and Kathy Sykes explored the world’s leading climate scientists’ vision of the planet’s future. According to the documentary, scientists predict that if global temperatures continue to rise at their current rate, planet Earth will become dangerously warmer before the end of this century. The documentary concludes that, “If the Earth’s temperature increases to three degrees warmer than the average pre-industrial temperature, the impact on the planet will be catastrophic. Across the Earth, ways of life could be lost forever as climate change accelerates out of control.” Could Apostle Peter have seen the melting of the polar ice and its crushing with great noise?
Interestingly, whereas sceptics try their best to dismiss doomsday predictions, they nonetheless engage in strenuous activities that betray their false sense of confidence. At the turn of the millennium, the world was held on tenterhooks over the possibility of a global catastrophe dubbed Y2K – an abbreviation for year 2000. As 1999 ended, scientists feared that computer programs storing year values as two-digit figures would cause catastrophic problems in computerised systems.
Predictions were that many critical services would be interrupted or destroyed. Consequently, governments, companies, and individuals spent billions of dollars in reprogramming computers. But behind this flurry of activities one could detect palpable angst that the world could come to a calamitous end in the hands of scientists. Messages of a possible end of the world became prevalent. Thousands even travelled to Jerusalem to await Jesus return. But come January 2000, nothing happened. In fact, many of the programs written prior to Y2K are still in use.
Unfortunately, such consistent wolf cries could easily dull our hearts and minds to the actual reality of a possible end of the world. But truth be told, like a long and exciting soap opera, this world is unfortunately headed towards a close. The signs are there and it is possible to know and be prepared – without speculation or undue sense of anxiety. There are basic principles that can help us distinguish fact from fiction, and thus move us from sensationalism to objectivity in understanding end time events. When such principles are applied to such matters as Credit Cards, PIN, or Huduma Namba, it readily becomes clear why they cannot possibly be the Mark of the Beast. We explore some of these principles next week.
- The writer is the Presiding Bishop of Christ is the Answer Ministries. [email protected]