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Imagine if you will, the greatest earthquake mankind has ever known has just occurred. The earth is still exploding from the aftermath of erupting volcanoes. Smoky darkness covers the earth like a blazing inferno.
Not knowing what awaited me, I emerged from the deep dark hiding place that has saved my life. Peering through the heavily blackened air, it becomes apparent that what used to be a sprawling city landscape, has now been reduced to rubble. I fear that few, if any, have survived.
Walking through the remains of the city, searching for signs of life, any life, I began to hear a distant, but faint voice. At last, someone has survived! Iím not alone! Excitedly, I began running toward the voice anxiously searching for their location. Along the way signs of death are everywhere. As I came closer and closer, the voice became clearer and clearer. Finally, I located the voice and itís desperate cry for help. It sounds like a manís voice. Peering through the rubble, I looked frantically where this person may possibly be. Buried under one hundred tons of rock, steel and debris, I desperately attempted to free him. But after hours of digging, I realized the hopelessness of the situation. As the hours pass, his voice faded into obscurity. That night I would hear many faint voices trapped deep beneath their rocky graves. Helpless to their situation, I knew that there was little hope that any would survive.
The next morning, the reality of what had happened was becoming apparent. The sun was out but barely visible through the black smoky sky. Other survivors were now beginning to surface searching for family and friends.
As we gathered, something strange happened. A group of beings that looked like men appeared flying in the sky. It was unlike anything we had ever seen. They hovered just above the city and began proclaiming a message they said was from God. As we listened, this is what they said:
ďÖ Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: And worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: And they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.Ē (Revelation 14:7, 9-11)
Needless to say, this struck fear into the hearts of everyone present. On the one hand, if we donít take the mark, weíll be put to death. On the other hand, if we take the mark, we face the eternal wrath of God.
Suddenly, as quickly as they appeared they were gone, leaving us to ponder what our fate would be. For in that day there will be no easy decisions nor altars of compassion. But one thing was made clear, from that point on we knew that life would never be the same.