Kenneth Copeland, multi-millionaire televangelist and advisor to former Republican President Donald Trump, raised many eyebrows this week after hinting that he needs money for a private jet due to airlines imposing Satanic vaccine mandates.
Copeland called vaccine mandates "the mark of the beast," the symbol of allegiance to Satan spoken of in the biblical Book of Revelation which brings God's wrath to all who accept it.
Copeland, who already owns not only several private jets but also his own airport, made the statement during a fundraising telethon Tuesday on his television network The Victory Channel.
See the moment below.
Many travel industry experts say they expect airlines to begin implementing vaccine mandates amid pressure from other countries like Canada, which recently mandated vaccination for commercial travel, and indications that the U.S. government is considering making such a rule as well.
For Copeland, this trend has a decidedly sinister subtext and he warned ministers to seek alternate means of travel.
"The time has come for ministries... to have some other method of travel other than the airlines.
"You get into this situation, 'We're not gonna let you fly unless you're vaccinated.' Well, to me, that's the mark of the beast."
The "mark of the beast" features heavily in the "end times" prophecies of the Book of Revelation in the Bible.
While historians say the Book of Revelation is likely an elaborate allegory about the fall of Rome written in a time when writing such things would have been punishable by death, Christians believe the book warns of a time of great turmoil just before Christ returns to the Earth.
The story goes that during this time, all people will be forced by an evil world leader to either pledge allegiance to Satan with "the mark of the beast" in order to be allowed to "buy or sell," or to refuse the mark and be martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ. Those with the mark go to hell, and those who refuse it go to heaven.
So Copeland's rhetoric isn't exactly new. But using it to get people to send him money for a private jet is definitely a new, unhinged spin on an old favorite—especially for a guy who already owns private jets so he can avoid the "demons" he believes haunt commercial airliners.
This all left a very bad taste in people's mouths on Twitter.
Copeland is a close ally of former President Trump.
He served on an advisory committee for his 2016 campaign.