There may be an underlining thought out there that we are nearing the time when the Antichrist will cause everyone to receive a mark to buy or sell. I bring this up because I usually receive emails asking about something I have recently written. However, I have received multiple emails about this topic in the last two weeks without writing about it.
First off — is the mark of the beast a chip?
That is what everyone assumes. The Bible does say it will go “in” the right hand or forehead. 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:”
Before the microchip, people theorized it would be a tattoo (ink going under the skin, therefore “in” the hand). That evolved into a bar code; now, the popular thought is the microchip.
If the Antichrist’s mandate is coming soon, then a microchip is the best current guess.
That leads us to when this will happen.
The known sequence of Biblical prophecy is this:
1. Next on the schedule is the rapture of the church. The Bible does not tell us when this happens. It tells us no one knows except God the Father (Matthew 24:36).
2. Sometime soon after the rapture, it could be simultaneous, but there will probably be a gap of a few weeks. The Antichrist will sign a covenant with many nations concerning the city of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:27). This signing ceremony is the beginning of the seven-year tribulation period.
3. Sometime during the tribulation period, the proclamation of the mark occurs. Most prophecy gurus believe the mark will come at, or near, the halfway point,three and a half years into the Tribulation (Revelation 13:16).
4. The seven-year Tribulation ends with the return of Jesus Christ at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-21). At this point, Jesus establishes His 1,000-year reign over the earth (Revelation 20:1-4).
How soon before all this begins to play out? The Parable of the Fig Tree gives us a hint as to when. Matthew 24:32-34 — “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
In Scripture, the fig tree is symbolic of the nation of Israel. I believe the tender branch and leaves coming forth are a reference to Israel’s rebirth and the reacquisition of the city of Jerusalem. Israel became a nation again in 1948, but it did not retake Jerusalem until 1967. So, about the generation that “shall see all these things,” is it talking about the nation’s rebirth — 1948, or the retaking of Jerusalem — 1967?
In the prophecy of the seventy weeks, where we get the sequence of events for prophecy, it specifically mentions “thy people” (Israel) and “thy holy city” Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24-27).
Because of that, I believe both events must have happened for the generation clock to start.
Look back up to Matthew 24:34, “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
If the interpretation is correct, the generation that sees Jerusalem regained by Israel will be the generation that will see it all happen.
Now, what is a generation? Depending on who you read, the definition is different. Some people believe a generation is 40 years — the time it took for Moses’ generation to die off in the wilderness. Some believe it to be 70-80 years (see Psalm 90:10).
This is what I think a generation is: When God punished Israel for not going into the promised land, He told Moses that everyone passed their 20th birthday on the day they refused to enter the land would die in the wilderness (except for Joshua and Caleb). Those under 20 years old would eventually enter the promised land, but not until those over 20 died.
In other words — a generation is everyone 20 and over on a particular date. On June 7, 1967, Israel retook Jerusalem. Therefore, the youngest person of the generation to witnesses the fig tree’s parable is anyone born before June 7, 1947. Since that generation shall not pass until the fulfillment of all prophecy, there will be people born before June 7, 1947, still alive when Jesus returns at the end of the tribulation period.
The youngest of the fig tree generation is currently 73 years old. I understand there may be a few that live to be 110 and a handful slightly longer than that. Still, either way, if the interpretation is accurate — 40-50 years is on the extreme long end of the time we have left.
The clock is ticking. The mark is coming.