This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of a person. Its number is 666. Revelation 13:18
If you, or someone you know, is concerned about possibly taking the mark of the beast, please read on…
“Oh, no!! Bill Gates (or Hillary Clinton, or the CIA) is going to implant microchips in us all. It’s the mark of the beast!”
“Oh, no! The vaccine they are making for COVID-19 has 666 manipulated into its molecular structure. It’s the mark of the beast!”
For as long as I can remember, people have been coming up with all kinds of conjectures about what the mark of the beast will be and how it will be introduced into society. If memory serves me correctly, when Social Security Numbers first came out in the United States, some people were convinced that they would all eventually have 666 as part of their make up. I believe the same thing happened with credit cards. Some folks were convinced that they would lead to a cashless society and, hence, to the mark of the beast.
Heaven forbid that we read the Bible to actually discover the truth of the matter.
What the Bible Says
For as much press as this issue has received, there are actually only seven verses, all in the Revelation, that actually speak to the mark of the beast. Of those seven verses, only three of them inform us as to what the mark is and how it is used. The rest tell what happens to those who take the mark, as well as what happens to those who don’t. An examination of some of these verses will provide us with some much-needed information that will help to clear up a lot of misconceptions.
First, however, a little context will be helpful. In Revelation 13:1 – 10, a beast rises up in the power of the beast mentioned in Revelation 12 (Satan). He will be in power for 42 months (3 1/2 years) and will speak out against the one true God. This is the antichrist, or, as Paul refers to him in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 – 4, the man of lawlessness.
A second beast rises up in Revelation 13:11. It acts on behalf of the first beast and causes people to worship him. Most scholars call this beast the False Prophet. Then we read,
16 And it (the second beast) makes everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of its name.
18 This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of a person. Its number is 666. Revelation 13:16 – 18 (parenthesis added)
There are several things we learn from this:
- The mark is associated with the worship of the first beast (the antichrist).
- The mark is enforced by the second beast (representing the antichrist).
- The mark is placed on the right hand or on the forehead (most people seem to know this).
- There is nothing subtle about the introduction of this mark. It is not something that will somehow be sneaked into the general populace.
- The mark is either the first beast’s name (when was the last time you heard that emphasized?) or the number of his name.
There are also a few things we don’t know:
- We don’t know the identity of the antichrist (the first beast) regardless of what some well-meaning (?) people on YouTube may think or say.
- We don’t know the identity of the false prophet (the second beast).
- We have no idea what this mark will be. Will it be a tattoo? Will it be a brand (ouch!)? We simply don’t know, nor will we know until the antichrist is finally revealed.
- We are also not sure the method used to calculate the number of antichrist’s name. Both the Hebrew and Greek alphabets have numerical values attached to them. We are not sure which one John had in mind, or if he was referring to something else altogether. (In my early years there were people who swore that Henry Kissinger’s name came out to 666)
Here is the truth of the matter: Unless something is associated with a specific person, and the worship of that person, it is not the mark of the beast.
And There’s This…
The truth of the matter is, there will be people who will triumphantly resist taking the beast’s mark in the last days. Look at Revelation 15:2 – 4 (emphasis added).
2 I also saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had won the victory over the beast, its image, and the number of its name, were standing on the sea of glass with harps from God. 3 They sang the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb:
Great and awe-inspiring are your works,
Lord God, the Almighty;
just and true are your ways,
King of the nations.
4 Lord, who will not fear
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All the nations will come
and worship before you
because your righteous acts
have been revealed.
By God’s grace, these mentioned here resist the pressures of the antichrist and refuse to worship him or take his mark. It reminds me of what Daniel wrote concerning the Jews who refused to bow to the persecution of the Roman Emperor Antiochus.
With flattery he will corrupt those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will be strong and take action. Daniel 11:32
Those who resist the beast, even to the point of death, will be resurrected to reign with Christ once He returns.
Then I saw thrones, and people seated on them who were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and who had not accepted the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:4
That’s a pretty handsome reward for faithfulness!
Here is what I want you to see from all this: You will not accidentally take the mark of the beast any more than you will accidentally go to a tattoo parlor and get a tattoo.
Let that issue be settled in your mind once and for all.
Let’s Be Like…
Instead of running around trying to figure out numbers and names and theories, let’s be like the 144,000 in Revelation 14:4. It says of them,
…these follow the Lamb wherever he goes.
Whether it is in these times, the end-times, or any other time, following the Lamb and letting Him be the focus will always be the strength and security of those who are living in the Reign.