"Wisdom is needed to understand this. Let the one who has understanding solve the number of the beast, for it is the number of humanity*. His number is 666." (Rev 13:18)
The world is gradually coming to an end. Much of what Jesus Christ prophesied is happening. let's take the number 666 literarily for a minute - the verse says it is the "number of humanity". How many people do the sociologists say are in the world today? 6 Billion plus. Could the number 666 be the final census that will be taken by the Great One Himself?
Look at it this way, despite all the catastrophes that have befallen man; the bubonic plague of the "Dark Ages" (1300s) killed an estimated 25million people in Europe alone , and "took" about 35million Asians. The Spanish Flu that broke out in 1918 killed an estimated 40 million people, the 1st and 2nd world wars killed another 70million between them. Despite all the bombings, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, chemical disasters, man is inexorably attaining the critical mass that will signal the end of the world - 6 Billion, 6 Hundred and 60 million people.
This is why we could never actually know or be able to know when the end of the world will be. It is impossible for all the organisations and governments of the world, assuming they even agree to work together and not lie to give the exact figure for the world's population, Only one person can do that - the maker of all the earth and the universe, "... the Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come" (Rev 4:8). He knows what happens to every bird. He says even our hair is numbered. Take the plant and animal kingdoms for example; as man done as much damage to them as he has done to himself ?(bible verse - man dominates man to his own injury) yet a lot of plants and animals have become extinct. And despite everything man has experienced from the forces of nature and various disasters of his own making, we still continue to increase in number nonetheless (bible verse on increase and populate the world) - that shows there is a higher purpose which we will ultimately fulfill - that of God's.
I do not pretend to know the mind of God - I can't even tell for certain what the next person is thinking about. But God in his infinite wisdom has given us clues - probably more than enough to see us through. We must use those clues or else go down at the final count. The Bible says "...He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches..." (Rev 2:7) And where or what is the church? The church is you and I. Jesus said the kingdom of God is in you (and I). We are not to search for it in the North or South. We are to look inwards where the spirit dwells.
The bible says when the word has been preached to all nations, when everyone has been given a fighting chance; a chance to exercise his/her will in the choice between good and evil, then the end will come. Is it so difficult to see the trend in how the Gospel is spreading (like wildfire) throughout the world? We must note also, that the great pretender (to the throne) is doing his best (that's a subscript "h" in "his" to show how low he has fallen) to create parallel imitations to confuse the situation and give "alternatives" for people to believe in. Like a pastor I know says, man is a spirit being and so whether he likes it or not, he will believe in something - whether it is God or multiple gods or even if he "believes" on the absence of a higher order, he still believes in something. The danger here is that a man may be able to fool himself enough to believe that he believes in nothing. But vacuum is against the law of the Universe - even space is filled with planetary bodies and debris. History is replete with people who "saw" the light (or at least discovered too late that it existed) on their deathbeds. Charles Darwin whose wife was a firm believer had one major concern on his deathbed, that his unbelief would separate him and his wife forever, and that it would leave his ever-loving wife alone in heaven while he spent eternity in some other place. Some people will say that Charles Darwin probably sent (and is still sending people in droves to hell by his book, "The Origin of Species", but the same way no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, is the same way no one can damn you to hell without your consent - not even the devil. in the final analysis everyone is responsible for his actions. That is all due to free will.
It is said that there is enough Nuclear arsenal stockpiled to destroy the world 6 times over. Do you think that left to the devil he wouldn't have arranged for some scenario where those Nuclear devices will be set off either through war or by "accident."? But the faith of the world is not in his hands. God does not believe in the world; he believes in and knows individuals (you and I).
So make the right decision. If you are undecided, someone will make it for you - with your consent (knowingly or otherwise); and it will be ascribed to, and binding on you!
Finally, remember, we are over 6 Billion at the moment, and the one who is coming with his reward in his hands to give to every one according to the works of his/her hands (Rev 22:12) is watching and counting. And when we reach the critical mass; when that last baby draws breathe and utters its first cry, it will resound in heaven. That cry will be a war cry; a signal to take up arms, and down here on earth it will be "judgment day!"
* New Living Translation's (NLT) alternative rendition.
Humans are usually numbered in thousands, and tens of thousands in the bible. Even John talks of seeing uncountable multitude worshipping before the throne (Rev 7:9), yes, uncountable by human standards, but God knows every one of them and "he has got your number."
Sources: Internet (http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat1.htm for deaths due to the 2 world wars)
Time: 1a.m. (27/01/2005)
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