Yesterday at this time I was watching the memorial service of "the king of pop." There has been an incredible outpouring of grief and love in the wake of Michael Jackson's death, and I have personally come to have a much more positive view of him than I've had probably at any other time in my life. I think Michael was a person with a compassionate heart who did much to relieve suffering wherever he saw it. I also think that among his friends were a number of very vocal believers in Jesus, and I feel certain that he had many chances to hear the Gospel and hope to see him in Heaven one day.
As I was watching the ceremony, a few things impressed me. One was the sight of the coffin... basically a "king" in a box. It's humbling to think that a person who shook the world with his music and dancing and humanitarian work, the person who spawned what might almost be considered a music empire... that person was right there, in a metal box, and would never leave it again. Funerals are always a sobering thing, and this one maybe more than many because of the impact that Michael had on the world.
I was watching the coverage on CNN's Web feed, and along the side of the video was a place where people could post comments via Facebook. One person posted that Michael is "the King of Kings". Presumably that person did not know that saying that is near blasphemy, because "King of Kings" is a title reserved for Jesus Christ (see 1 Timothy 6:13-16, Revelation 17:14, and Revelation 19:16). Michael Jackson was extremely influential, and putting all opinions about his personal life aside, the man made some catchy tunes... and he had the whole world moon-walking! But he wasn't a political leader at all, and I have no idea which "kings" the person considers him "king" of (the king of the king of rap? the king of the king of dancing?) I know the person was expressing appreciation for Michael's accomplishments, but it kind of shows how easily people will appropriate religious imagery, even names of God Himself, when they feel emotionally moved.
Something one of the commentators mentioned stuck with me. She said that the memorial service might possibly be "the most viewed event ever." In this day and age, television signals go around the world, both via satellite/wires/TV signals and Internet streams. There are places in the world where people could view this memorial where they would not have been able to view the funeral of the King of Rock & Roll, or even the funeral of Princess Diana which occurred much more recently. The Internet has basically made it so that people almost literally everywhere can watch an event unfold. It seems like prophecy is on its way to being fulfilled in ways never before possible. Revelation 13:1-4 tells us that in the last days, the person best known as "the Antichrist" (represented in those verses by a "beast") will have a "mortal wound" on "one of its heads," but instead of dying, the "beast" is healed, and "the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast" (emphasis mine). When in history has it been possible for "the whole earth" to experience something at once?
Another incident in the book of Revelation where the whole world participates in an event at one time occurs in Revelation 11:7-13, where two witnesses who are speaking of the true God are killed (by the "beast") in the streets of Jerusalem, and left to lie there for three and one-half days. During that time "some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies." The whole world will know what's going on (and presumably the whole world will know it when, at the end of the three and a half days, God raises them both from the dead!) It is only relatively recently in history that the whole world could actually even know about a single event within three days... in the time of John the Revelator it would have taken longer than that to get word of an event from one end of the known world to another.
I hope it doesn't seem like I'm equating Michael Jackson to the Antichrist, because I am absolutely not. Michael was a good guy, and in the wake of all this, I wish I had gotten a chance to know him personally. But the "spirit of antichrist" (which is actually just rebellion against God) is out there now, and the person who will become the Antichrist may well be out there too... the pieces are falling into place. Maybe the event that will one day eclipse the memorial service of the fallen King of Pop will be the memorial service for a world leader who died of a bullet, a blow, or slice to the head, or a brain aneurysm... but then gets up out of his coffin! If you see that day come, I pray that you will turn to Jesus Christ and make Him your Lord; the days that follow that event will be a lot less fun than the days following the funerals of beloved rock stars. Will people call him the "King of Kings" when that happens? Will they believe it when they say it?
Will that day supplant yesterday as "the most viewed event ever?"