Forced Conversion

I’ve been troubled by the recent story of the two journalists who were forced by their Palestinian kidnappers to accept Islam as a condition of their release. I’m not linking their story or names because I don’t know certain details about their experience, but it does make me question.

In Revelations 13:16-18, it says:

He [The Beast out of the Earth] also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.

There are a lot of theories on what this means, including RFID tags and national ID’s and so forth, none of which yet ring true to me. But let me ask these questions –

  1. When the beast “forces everyone” to receive a mark, what type of force could this be?
  2. Could being forced at gunpoint to accept a religion fulfill this prophecy?
  3. If you were forced at gunpoint to accept Islam, how would you respond?

I’m not sure any of us could be 100% sure of what our answer would be, though I believe my answer would be to go ahead and shoot me, I’m not renouncing my love for the Lord. Scriptures that I’d lean on include –

Luke 16:1-8, the Parable of the Shrewd Manager. I’ve often stumbled over this parable, but it appears to commend dishonesty if used shrewdly to further the kingdom of God. I’m sure I badly misinterpret the meaning of this, but could it not imply that if you have loved ones to protect that you can be dishonest? This doesn’t ring true to me, so I’m certain I’m wrong here.

Luke 14:26-27 seems to offset the above. The love of Jesus is second to none and cannot be trumped by love for others. If you’re not willing to die for Jesus, you’re not His disciple.

What do you think you would do in their situation, and why?