I’ll know the Beast when he comes! FIFA #3; the Beast #8

I’ll know the Beast when he comes! FIFA #3; the Beast #8 December 12, 2022

As I write this post, I, along with 2 billion others, am anxiously looking forward to the closing matches in the World Cup.

This is my third post on FIFA and the Beast (see post 1; post 2). In this series of posts, I have noted that this World Cup has been covered in the blood of the thousands who have died in the process of constructing the venues and the needed infrastructure in Qatar—a country with zero world-class venues in 2010 when they were first awarded the WC 2022.

It is my sincere hope that while we watch the games and root for our teams we do not lose sight of the thousands of migrant workers who died, or the tens of thousands who labored in conditions that can only be described as “slavery.”

You may think that I am exaggerating the facts by using the term slavery. But that is precisely what it is.

NB: slavery may take many forms. Most of us consider slavery as the owning of another person for the purpose of exploiting them: often for labor. The Legal Information Institute at Cornell defines slavery as “the practice of forced labor and restricted liberty.”

Tens of thousands of migrant workers were brought into Qatar a dozen years ago under a system known as kefala. The end result was cheap, and at times free, labor. Not only was their labor exploited, but the working conditions were unfathomable and their living conditions were inhumane (for details, see this article by Human Rights Watch).

The system of kefala was adopted in the 1950’s In many Middle Eastern countries in order to assist with the rapid economic surge.

The system has been used in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Though, in the last few years, both Bahrain and Qatar “abolished” the system. The Council on Foreign Relations reports, the “reforms are poorly enforced and do not amount to abolition.”

Under the kefala system, the state gives employers permits to hire foreign workers. This means that the employer becomes the worker’s sponsor. The result is a system in which the worker is completely dependent on the sponsor (the employer).

The Council on Foreign Relations notes, “because workers’ employment and residency visas are linked and only sponsors can renew or terminate them, the system endows private citizens—rather than the state—with control over workers’ legal statuses, creating a power imbalance that sponsors can exploit.

In Qatar, many employers required migrant workers to hand over their passports.

Hence, slavery. The workers lived in inhumane conditions. They received little, and at times, no pay. They were unable to level a complaint. They were not free to change jobs. And they could not leave.

NB: Numerous human rights organizations have documented the inhumane working conditions, the withholding of pay, and the excessive number of deaths. (See: Human Rights Watch; Amnesty International; the 1 hour ESPN E:60 report with Jeremy Schaap. Or do you own google or YouTube search.

Why do I bring all this up?

Because this is what the Beast does.

The Beast exploits our desire for pleasure. Because we love sports, we look past human rights violations. And once the games end we forget about the abuses.


So then, as we watch the World Cup come to an end this week, as we enjoy the sport, as we are enamored with the beauty of the newly constructed cities and venues, let us not forget the lives that were abused and those that were lost in order to make this event a reality.

A final word:

If you read the book of Revelation and study any end-times literature, and conclude that because of your knowledge, because you have studied the Scriptures, you can surely spot the Beast when he comes, boy do I have news for you. You have already been deceived by the Beast!

In fact, we should all be warned: we are all tempted by the lure of the Beast!

This is why the book of Revelation stresses, “to the one who overcomes” (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).


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About Rob Dalrymple
Rob Dalrymple is married to his wife Toni and is the father of four fabulous children, and two grandchildren. He has been teaching and pastoring for over 33 years at colleges, seminaries, and the local church. He has a PhD in biblical interpretation. He is the author of four books (including Follow the Lamb: A Guide to Reading, Understanding, and Applying the Book of Revelation & Understanding the New Testament and the End Times: Why it Matters) as well as numerous articles and other publications. He is currently completing a commentary on the book of Revelation titled, “Revelation: a Love story” (Cascade Books, pending 2024). You can read more about the author here.

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