The students will be able to relate the fact that the spirit of antichrist will culminate in a person known as the Antichrist, who will be revealed during the Tribulation. He will deceive the nations and cause “all . . . whose names are not written in the book” to take his mark—a mark which will seal their eternal doom.
The word “antichrist” comes from the Greek word “antichristos.” The prefix anti has two meanings; “against” or “instead of.” Thus, the word antichrist may mean either an enemy of Christ or one who usurps Christ’s name and rights.
The Old Testament gives evidence of a general Jewish belief in a hostile person or power who in the end time would bring an attack against God’s people—an attack which would be crushed by the Messiah. Paul gives a full description of the working of the Antichrist, the “man of sin,” in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. The Thessalonian Christians may have been under the erroneous impression that the “day of Christ” was at hand, for Paul tells them that before that day could come two things would have to take place—an apostasy and the revelation of the man of sin, the son of perdition.
The idea of marking people has been seriously proposed. The September 20, 1973 “Senior Scholastics” magazine suggested this in an article titled “Public Needs and Private Rights—Who Is Watching You?” “All buying and selling in the program will be done by computer. No currency, no change, no checks. In the program, people would receive a number that had been assigned them tattooed on their wrist or forehead. The number is put on by a laser beam and cannot be felt. The number on the body is not seen with the naked eye and is as permanent as your fingerprints. All items of consumer goods will be marked with a computer mark. The computer outlet in the store which picks up the number on the items at the check stand will also pick up the number on the person’s body and deduct the amount from the person’s ‘Special Drawing Rights’ account. . . .” Years have passed. How much closer we are to having this idea in operation today!
The name Antichrist introduces to us one who is absolutely opposed to Jesus Christ. The spirit of antichrist is already in the world, working in the children of disobedience. As Jesus Christ is the express image of God, so it appears that the Antichrist is the culminating manifestation of Satan. Also known as the Beast, his coming is through Satan who gives him power to work signs and lying wonders. His reign during the Tribulation will be ushered in by flatteries, prosperity, and a call for peace, but he will cause all, both small and great, whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, to take a mark which seals their doom.
Role Play: A store clerk and a father with a hungry child. The father does not have the mark and wants to buy something. Have two people take sides.
Plan to show a movie such as, “Thief in the Night,” during the time your Sunday school class is studying this series of Sunday school lessons.
Take a credit card or UPC symbol to class and discuss how these might lead into the mark of the Beast.
Have a brainstorming session, using an overhead projector or chalkboard to record ideas regarding what restrictions might be placed on those who refuse to take the mark of the Beast. Your list might begin with not being able to buy or sell, and should move on to explore possibilities such as no privilege to attend school, travel, or receive emergency care, or governmental benefits. The point of the exercise should be to make plain the nearly impossible situation one would face by refusing to take the mark.
Bring a baby’s I.D. bracelet from the hospital, a “dog tag” bracelet giving name and address such as children wear, and an I.D. card or driver’s license. Point out that those methods of identification can be lost or forged. An invisible mark on a person would be so much more efficient. Use these objects to stimulate a discussion on how logical and practical the mark will seem when it is presented to people.