What are your thoughts about this?
- I have written you previously but i have other questions too. I am eighteen years old and i am not able to drive yet. Also, my family does not go to church. Will God punish me if i am not able to go every sunday or as often as i like? You also said that taking the mark of the beast will only give an extra few months of life. How do you figure only months?
Going to church is good if you can find a good church. That's hard to do now. It is better to not go to church than to go to a bad one where your spirit is not properly nourished with the Truth and Love of God. Finding a good church that is spiritually alive, that honors God and shows true Christian Love to EVERYONE often takes a lot of looking. Many many churches today focus on rejecting people based on their own prejudices but Jesus said, 'Whoever comes to me I will in no way cast out!'
God is far more interested in what you do, with your heart, than with what church you attend or if you go. You may not be able to attend regular services but remember what Jesus said:
Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door [i.e of your heart], and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Open your heart to God. That is what He requires:
Micah 6:6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Church does not save anyone -- God does.
I would suggest getting a "red letter edition" of the Bible. "Red letter edition" means one that prints Jesus' words in red letters. I would suggest a King James Version if you can handle the language (its beautiful but can be difficult to read if one is not used to it), if not, a New American Standard Bible (NASB) or a New King James Version will do in my opinion.
[Note: the NKJV would be my least recommended version, it is also contaminated by the NIV source materials but for the most part is not THAT bad].
Then read ONLY the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) -- paying special attention to the words of Jesus -- until you feel you understand what he was teaching. Reread the Gospels several times. Jesus' words are the most important of all and they are in Gospels.
"Red Letter Editions" are available most everywhere Bibles are sold. I would NOT get an NIV (New International version), a Message Bible, a CEV (Contemporary English Version), a Good News Bible, a Living Bible, etc. They are frauds in my opinion. Again, I would suggest a King James Version if you can handle the language, if not, a New American Standard Bible (NASB) or a New King James Version. There are no other translations I would recommend.
I'm not sure how much information you want about the Tribulation Period. [Based on our previous conversations] You seem to be very concerned about these things and a lot of information about what is coming may just make you more worried (this is why I asked your age: a while back I shared a bit too much info with a 16 year old and her mom wrote saying I had freaked her out). Some of this is pretty heavy.
--- You also said that taking the mark of the beast will only give an extra few months of life. How do you figure only months?
According to the prophets the Tribulation Period will last just under seven years:
Matt 24:22 And except those days [i.e. the last seven years] should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake [i.e. the Jews] those days shall be shortened.
At some point the coming world ruler will sign a seven year peace treaty with Israel. When that document is signed the final seven years of this age will begin.
During the first three and a half years (known as "the Tribulation") most people will accept the coming global ruler (Rex Mundi) as a good and pious man. He will be seen as the greatest humanitarian in history. Gradually people will begin believing he is even more.
Most Jews (maybe all but 144,000 of them) will believe the Great Leader is their long awaited Moshiach (Messiah) and he will authorize the rebuilding of their Temple in Jerusalem (the last Temple was destroyed in 70 CE by Rome).
The sitting Pope at that time (maybe this will be Pope Benedict or maybe another, we wont know until the Antichrist is in power) will declare that he is the Second Coming of Jesus and MOST Christians will accept him as such. Most organized Christian denominations will join with Catholicism in his service.
Likewise key Muslim imams will agree that this man is Jesus returned. It is not clear where Imam Mahdi will fit into their acceptance of the Antichrist (Islam believe both Jesus and this future descendant of Muhammad -- Imam Mahdi -- will rise to power at the same time).
Buddhists will determine that he their Maitreya Buddha, Hindus that he their Lord Kalki and so on through the various religions. Through the False Prophet Rex Mundi will unite the religions of the world. Agnostics will hail him as the World Teacher and everyone will marvel at his glory, power and wisdom. This will be the beginning of the unified world religion known in the prophecies as Babylon the Great. The Pope (at THAT time) will be the False Prophet and global religious authority in service to the Beast (Antichrist).
During these first three and a half years the Mark of the Beast will almost certainly be implemented as an optional way to declare ones devotion and loyalty to the Great Leader and his New World Order (Novus Ordo Seclorum). At some point the Rex Mundi (global ruler) will sign his seven year peace treaty with Israel. When that document is signed the final seven years of this age will begin.
During these first three and a half years I do not THINK anyone will be required to take the Mark of the Beast and it will PROBABLY not be required for commerce during those years.
I Thessalonians 5:3 ... For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
Roughly three and a half years after the treaty is signed with Israel the Rex Mundi (Anti Christ) will declare that he has established global peace and security. When he makes this declaration: "... then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
Of this announcement Jesus says:
Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation...
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes....
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
During the second (just under) three and a half years the Mark of the Beast will be made mandatory:
Revelation 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Exactly what the Mark of the Beast will be and exactly what the number 666 means is open to debate. We all have our ideas: an implant, a tattoo, a DNA splicing...
The final three and a half years are called "the Great Tribulation."
Do understand that "the end of the age" does not mean "the end of the world." Messiah will come just before the end of the Seven Years, defeat the Antichrist and establish God's Kingdom 'for the elect's sake'.
So... assuming you will be smart enough to not voluntarily accept the Mark of the Beast during the first three and a half years and assuming it will take some time for the global government to implement the mandatory system world wide once the Leader gives the order... it may only be a matter of months to a couple of years to survive once the Mark becomes mandatory until Messiah comes and establishes the Kingdom of God.
Understand however that from the prophecies of the Bible (and those of the people who are currently at work establishing his New World Order today) it is clear that most people will not survive the final seven years whether they take the Mark or not.
The cost of taking the Mark is entirely too great, in part because those who take the Mark are damned by God along with Lucifer according to the prophets. Exactly what it means to be damned by God is debated... but you don't want it! ANYTHING would be preferable to accepting the Mark.
Keep your faith in God according to the Light He has granted you thus far. Study the Bible, draw ever closer to God.
Philippians 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Feel free to write back if you wish more information or have further questions.
~ John of AllFaith