Opinions on faith and life

The Mark of the Beast?


I was just reading this article on technology to use a cell phone as a wallet, and thought to myself about all the panicky, knee-jerk responses there always are to such things. Surely this time we are looking at the Mark of the Beast. Before this it was the RFID chip, before that the UPC, etc. Anything to do with buying and selling that might be controlled by a global entity is quickly run up the flagpole, on a flag that surely includes an animated GIF of Chicken Littles running in circles.

But what does scripture actually say about this mark? As I explain in my commentary on Revelation under 13:1–13:18 The first and second beasts, third paragraph:

We should note that it is this second Beast, not the first, who makes everyone accept an inscription on their forehead or right hand, one that undoubtedly signifies loyalty to the first Beast. As such, it cannot be forced on anyone but must be accepted voluntarily— though the price of rejection will be death. (As a side note, it is quite ironic that the same people who have always denounced God for this same sadistic choice will eagerly line up to accept that very choice from Satan.) Without such a pledge of loyalty, no one will be allowed to buy or sell.

So not only does the continual claim of the latest technology being the Mark amount to crying wolf and thus desensitizing people to real threats and prophecies, it’s based upon erroneously believing that the Mark itself is a means of exchanging currency, rather than something more like a license or identity papers. Some may read that and think, Well then, the Mark is a personal ID system like RFID, but it is not our personal ID at all, but only that of the Beast; not an individual ID but a collective ID. That is, every Mark will say/mean the same thing. Thus it cannot be RFID or UPC or one’s personal wallet.

There really will be a literal Mark of the Beast, without which no one will be permitted to buy or sell (by whatever means, even cash). But without a clearly-defined and undisputed world Beast whose name or insignia is globally recognized, and without everyone knowing it is a pledge of loyalty, nothing can be the Mark of that Beast. You can’t be tricked into it or have something in use today turned into the Mark in the future. If you haven’t pledged loyalty to a world ruler and taken the inscription of his name, and can still buy and sell without such a thing, you have not taken the Mark of the Beast.

With that out of the way, we can pay better attention to more important things: always being prepared spiritually for Jesus’ sudden return, spreading the gospel, watching the signs in nature and society as a Bride watches for her Groom, and being the kind of people who won’t be ashamed when He comes.