THE MARK OF THE BEAST

A few days ago I was asked this question:

‘What are your thoughts/views/belief in regards to protection for Christians from evil control (mark of the beast)? Example: what if the "vaccine" for covid-19 is laced with a microchip with mark of the beast markings and we are forced/mandated to have it?’

I find questions like this both sad and disturbing. Not because I feel personally threatened by such human speculations, but because the popularity of such speculations and the fear generated by them indicate a mindset that has not yet grasped the completeness and grand certainty of the salvation we have in Jesus Christ. In addition, it takes the believer’s focus off Christ and onto the ‘beast’ and his ‘mark’. In doing so, it honours the evil one more than it honours our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here, with slight modifications, is what I wrote in reply:

I suggest you read through all of this study on Revelation 13, not just the bit about the 'mark of the beast'.

Briefly, it is clear in Revelation 13 and other scripture texts that true Christians do not, indeed cannot, receive 'the mark of the beast'. It is only 'the inhabitants of the earth' that the second beast deceives (Revelation 13:14). This phrase 'the inhabitants of the earth' is repeatedly used in Revelation to refer to unbelievers (for example, 6:10; 11:10; 13:8; 17:2,8). They are those whose names are not in the Lamb's book of life. They are those who persecute believers. They are those upon whom God's judgement will inevitably fall. The term 'the inhabitants of the earth' does not include Christians.

So for Christians to fear that they might inadvertently receive 'the mark of the beast' is quite out of place. The 'mark' is nothing physical. The various theories that pop up and produce fear of a particular physical 'mark' are nothing more than human ideas generated by the evil one as he tries to deceive us.

Christians have already been 'marked' by God as his possession, guaranteed eternal salvation, and thus protected against both deception by the evil one (and his 'beasts'), and against God's judgement. Read 2Corinthians 1:21, 22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13,14; Revelation 7:3.

To suggest, as some obviously do, that the 'mark of the beast' is anything specifically modern, such as a social security number, bank card, or a microchip in a vaccine, is to make Revelation 13 totally irrelevant not only to its first readers but also to most generations of the church. It also trivializes and secularizes something that is essentially a spiritual matter.

The big question, the important question, posed by the whole of the Bible is:

Whose 'mark' is evident in the way we think (forehead) and the way we live (right hand)?

In our thinking/believing and in our actions, do we express the deceptions and the destructive actions of the evil one, or do we image our heavenly Father, as we were created to do, and as we were saved to do?

Believers have been rescued by God from the dominion of darkness and placed by him into the kingdom of his Son (Colossians 1:13), removed forever from Satan's authority. Satan and his associates may harm us physically, even kill us, but they are powerless to sever us from Christ (Romans 8:31-39). We are safe forever in Christ. So do not be afraid of the speculative ideas thought up by humans about the 'mark of the beast'. Those human ideas originate with the evil one, whose purpose is to unsettle us and distract us from our Lord Jesus Christ and the secure salvation we have in him.

We trust in him. And because we trust in him, and because we trust him, we have rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).

It is important to remember that this second ‘beast’ who ‘forced everyone’ to receive a mark is also called the ‘false prophet’ (16:13; 19:20; 20:10). While the first beast has obvious reference to various human governments, this second beast has obvious reference to human beliefs. His performance of ‘great and miraculous signs’ (13:13) identifies him with deceptive ideologies, both religious and secular (see Matthew 24:24; 2Thessalonians 2:9, 10). This connection with these two passages informs us that it is impossible for him to deceive those whom God calls his own. He can only deceive ‘those who are perishing’.

Whereas the issue of the first beast ‘calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints’ (13:10), this matter of the second beast ‘calls for wisdom’ and ‘insight’ (13:18). ‘Wisdom’ and ‘insight’ must be applied by the saints in order to discern the origin of any philosophy or religion. Any teaching that differs from the word of God and the testimony of Jesus (referred to so frequently in Revelation) is of human origin and inspired by Satan (1Timothy 4:1,2), and must be rejected.

Let us not fear any speculative, physical ‘mark of the beast’. Rather let us be alert and wise to recognize the source of what we hear, asking the question: Is this idea, this teaching, true to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, and therefore both liberating and protective? Or does it bear the mark of the deceptive and destructive lies of the evil one?

© Rosemary Bardsley 2020