GUYANA: Biblical Reference: “Mark Of The Beast” Linked To COVID-19 Vaccines – By Mosa Telford

Some people have been linking the biblical references about a mark of the beast to COVID-19 vaccines. In this era where facts and misinformation are amalgamated, it can be difficult to differentiate truth from untruth? But do truth and untruth remain unchanged? Or do they change depending on the time and the people?

Global connectivity through the worldwide web has exposed us to a wealth of information. But we are constantly bombarded by the noise of the world and we must filter what we take in, for while information can enlighten us, it can also influence irresponsible behaviour and decisions.       

In a world where faith is the force that influences how many live their lives, even when we are faced with evidence that what believe to be true might not be, we often refuse to disbelieve. Perhaps, because we are unable to fathom a reality that exists outside of our beliefs systems. Our minds may not allow us to comprehend what is happening because being conditioned has diminished our power to cope.

I am no expert on Biblical scripture to expound on interpretations about the mark of the beast. And I cannot recall most of the details that were taught when I was a child of religion. Those who have tried to teach about these interpretations have spoken of the apocalypse and then a saviour returning. But from time immemorial, mankind has been preparing for the end. Oppression, discrimination, and hopelessness have been threads throughout history. So-called apocalyptic events have come and gone but the Earth remains. Horrible periods like the trans-Atlantic slave trade occurred and still a saviour did not appear to end the misery of those enslaved.

Many Christians feared that the world would end in 1666 because 666 has been labeled the number of the beast, based on the scriptures. In other circles of awareness, 666 is what would be described as an angel number that is about balance and reconnecting with your spirituality.

There was the Great London Fire, which occurred between September 2 and 6, 1666 and destroyed a large part of London but of course it did not end the world. In the 1800s, a religious leader, William Miller, preached about the end of the world, which was to happen in 1843 and then 1844. In the 1980s, a Taiwanese religious leader, Hong Ming, predicted that there would be demons and floods that would wipe out mankind. There were also doomsday predictions for 2012, inspired by a misinterpretation of the Mayan calendar.

The scripture I have seen circulating in reference to what is happening in our world now is Revelation 13: 16-18: “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. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark of the name of the beast or the number of his name. 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.”

Recently, in Guyana and other parts of the world, vaccination cards have been required to enter certain spaces. I understand why some are looking to scripture to explain or understand these new orders. Tensions are high. Peace has been replaced by frustration. Everything has been changed so quickly that it is difficult for many to comprehend or keep up.

But we are still here. If there were ever to be an end of the world, it would probably occur because of how we have treated the planet. COVID-19 will not end us but who knows what pandemics will look like in the future. The damage to the Earth continues because of our excesses. Climate change continues to occur. In a conversation with a friend this week, he reminded me that stars die. Without the sun life will cease to exist on planet Earth. Perhaps one day the sun will die and that will be the end of mankind.

I regard all this talk about the mark of the beast being linked to COVID-19 as an indication of people holding on to what they believe, convincing themselves that indeed it is true, using it as coping mechanisms, and also fear. It is also about holding on to the hope that they will be saved, either in this life or after death.

Could beliefs be detrimental though? Yes. Whether it is detrimental to one’s mental or physical health, beliefs can limit our experiences and keep us ignorant. Many have spent their time waiting on doomsday, waiting for a saviour to come, waiting for a new Earth, so much so that they have done little to influence change in the present.

We have seen many occurrences of what I consider examples of the “beast”. I say everything that violates our freedoms and makes life difficult is a mark of the beast. The wars that have occurred, slavery and colonialism, those, too, are marks of the beast. When enslaved Africans were branded like cattle and stripped of their identity, their dignity and brutalized for centuries, that, too, was a mark of the beast. Poverty is a mark of the beast. In Guyana, daily, we are grappling with crime, from people being murdered to robberies and accidents; the beast is terror and fear. The fear of people being uncertain about the future. The fear of dying without achieving your goals. The fear of being treated like a stranger in the land of your birth. The beast is racism. It is our unwillingness to question those we have assigned as our leaders. It is us when we do not question anything, do not challenge the status quo, and simply wait to be rescued.

I do not believe that vaccines are the mark of the beast and there are many religious folks who also do not believe this. COVID-19 is reminder that our time here is transient. Whatever you believe about what is happening now, make the choices that you believe are best for your lives and also do your part to help protect our society and maintain our freedoms. The beast could be the reflection we see in the mirror if we remain willfully ignorant, disseminate false information, live in fear, and do nothing to better the society.

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