What is the Mark of the beast? Is it literally a mark? It says we are not too take the the mark. It again says something about you can’t buy or sell without the mark. I’m confused what this means. I’ve heard that in the last days, the government will inject you with a chip, under your skin, is that the mark of the beast? Thank you
The microchip RFID technology has been around for years. And it has met with strong resistance from Christians because of how it is all too reminiscent of the mark of the beast. This theory has caught a lot of steam due to a lack of understanding about the end times prophecies. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. A lot of people tend to believe it. But to put it bluntly, it just ain’t so.
The Church’s New Testament Manual says the following regarding the mark:
This may symbolize that the wicked show by their actions (hands) and beliefs (heads) that they do the will of the beast and accept his ideology. However, the precise meaning of “the mark” has not been revealed.
It is a commitment to do the will of the beast, it is not a matter of having us physically altered against our will. We would only be written out of the Lamb’s Book of Life because of our own choices, not something done against our will. That would be counter to the principle of agency.
The “mark” will be an indicator that we’ve decided to both believe (head) and do (hand) the will of the beast.
LONG ANSWER: Well, it’s quite long, if you’re willing to read it.
My response below is a thorough look at the three primary locations that the mark of the beast is mentioned in the Bible: (BTW, I’ve looked elsewhere in scriptures. I cannot find any other sources. Just a few others in Revelation where it is more or less simply mentioned in passing).
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Rev 13:15-17
Verse 15 sounds pretty terrible. If you don’t worship the beast, you will die. If we took this to be complete and absolute, we would have to believe that no believers would be left alive. This cannot be because we’ve been told that the priesthood will never be taken off the face of the earth again. Therefore, this would most likely be taken to mean a large portion of the population. Or it could simply mean a large portion of the population around the beast’s immediate circle of influence.
Verse 16 tells us that the beast causes all to receive the mark. But this is following the statement that says only those who worship the beast will survive. This would imply that those who worship the beast are the ones receiving the mark. However, the Greek word ποιέω /poieō/ (translated to English as “causeth”) has alternate meanings other than “forcing” someone. It more often means “leading” or “committing” or even “preparing”. This sounds like there is a choice being made. It is not forced. But as with many things involving the adversary, it includes deception.
Next, we have to take a closer look at the statement about the right hand and the forehead. I’ve heard the common myth that it is similar to a credit card or ATM card held in the hand with a PIN memorized in one’s head. Well, that sounds all sensational and all. But it doesn’t fit the imagery found in the Book of Revelation. Remember that all the imagery found in the Revelation of John is that found in ancient Jewish tradition. Such traditions would not include a modern invention like a credit card with a PIN. Nor would it be a microchip.
The Greek word used to “receive” is actually δίδωμι /didōmi/. But this is not a very clear translation. This is “receive” in the same sense that we receive the sacrament. In other words, it is describing a religious ordinance. However, the prophesied action may not be obviously religious. There are many things that are done in the secular world that are indeed “ordinances” which we perform to show our devotion to the forces of evil or to the material world. It just “looks” secular. But any ideology that takes us further from the Church of the Lamb is actually the Church of the Devil (1 Ne 14:10).
The word “mark” can mean a simple mark or stamp type of device. But based on context, I’m going to use an alternate (but also accurate) translation. The Greek word χάραγμα /charagma/ can have a religious connotation which is often used to denote an idolatrous image (see usage in Acts 17:29).
Now look at the words right hand and forehead. Notice that I said “and” while the KJV uses the word “or”. But the Greek word here is not a simple translation to English. Just consider it a mixture of “and/or” in this context. That would help lead into the next point here:
The mark in the hand and forehead is very similar to the Jewish mechanism known as the Tefilin. It is a religious device that Orthodox Jews use in prayer. One might compare it to a Catholic using a rosary during their prayers of penance. The Telifin requires that a small box is strapped to the forehead (often considered a phylactery). The arm strap is on the off-hand of the individual. According to John, those who worship the beast wore it on the right hand, meaning the worshiper is left-handed. This symbolically means that the individual would be left-handed (or in other words, sinister). Again, this is not meant to be literal, but archaic symbolism.
See the following articles about the origin of the term “sinister:
Is it a requirement to take the Sacrament with the right hand?
Why is it the practice in the Mormon Church to take the sacrament with the right hand?
Is it necessary to take the sacrament with one’s right hand? Does it really make any difference which hand is used?
As you can see, this is not something FORCED upon us. It is something that would be voluntarily done by the one CHOOSING to worship the beast. All of this really refers to a religious worship of something sinister which we fall for because were are slowly led away from the iron rod, through the mists of darkness, to the river of filthy water.
Verse 17 is where, as you mentioned, it states that those not willing to accept the mark of the beast will not be able to go to buy and sell. But there are two readings of this. Either could be true.
1) Some translations do not have the word “And” at the beginning of verse 17. Thus the reading would be “That no man might buy or sell…” In other words, that was the stated goal (to keep people who worshiped the Lamb from buying or selling). But it was not necessarily the reality that was achieved.
2) Literally, the word used “to sell” usually indicates doing so “at a marketplace”. So, it sounds like those resisting the beast will have to come up with a different economic system, like, say, the Law of Consecration or something. But who on earth would live such a principle? And where would they do so outside of, maybe, The New Jerusalem?
And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. Rev 16:2 (also see comments on Rev 19:20) below.
The vial poured upon the earth is the Lord’s wrath going forth among those who worshiped the beast. So, just do everything you can to stay close to the Church of the Lord rather than the Church of the Devil. As Nephi tells us:
…wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. — 1 Ne 14:10
Finally, we are told a third time that all those who had the mark were also those who worshiped the image.
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. Rev 19:19-20
The “and” here includes a meaning of “also” in the original Greek. Since there is a dearth of punctuation in ancient texts, it is difficult to follow. The meaning of the “and” isn’t separating two categories of people, but rather giving redundant descriptions of the same people. It may more clearly be rendered as:
…them that had received the mark (which also worshiped his image). These both (the beast and his false prophet) were cast…
What is the mark of the beast, exactly? I don’t know. But it seems that it is something that involves our falling away from the Lamb of God, to worship something else entirely. If we were to look at it right now, we’d all confidently say “Never in a million years!” But oh, how easily we are led away little-bit, by-little-bit until we get to where our object of worship is nothing like the God of Love or the Prince of Peace. In fact, we may not even know we’re worshiping. We’re just completely devoted to something…
Oh… but that’s not the same thing as worshiping. We’re just devoting all our time, talents, means, and energy to building it up. That’s all.
(In case you didn’t catch the sarcasm, that is, indeed, worshiping).