If one were to click on the search bar on google and type in keywords such as “mark of the beast” or “666”, then there would be results for pages upon pages of videos, articles, and blog posts proposing the idea that the mark of the beast, mentioned in Revelation 13:16-18, is a microscopic chip implanted into the right hand or in the forehead.
Those who propose this idea point to great technological advancements that have occurred over the course of only a few decades. Concerning technology, it is very true that innovations have provided a means in which RFID and medical implant chips are being used to great extents. We also have bar codes on purchases, chips on debit/credit cards, and identification chips for security clearance. These inventions are genuinely really incredible; they are inventions that seem mundane to us, but pure genius only decades ago.
However, many Christians are not in awe of these inventions but in fear. Because many Christians are being taught that the mark of the beast is going to be a chip that will determine whether you can buy or sell, the more frightened they become when advances in implant technology occurs. The question is this: do we have a reason to be frightened? Is the mark of the beast indeed a chip that the government will enforce upon everyone for class distinctions in the national economy?
The answer to whether the mark of the beast pertains to an object is in Scripture, specifically in Revelation 13. Beginning in verse 8 (ESV) it says, “…and all who dwell on earth will worship it [the Beast], everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” So the first thing that is established is that worship is involved. Those who are not of the elect of God seem to follow the beast mentioned in Revelation 13, and refuse to believe in Christ, so much so that the unbelieving murdered the ones who refused to worship the Beast.
The subject of worship returns in Revelation 13:15 (ESV): “And it [the second Beast] was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.” Not only is the issue of worship brought up again, but now there is an “image” of the beast, an idol. This image represents the Beast’s persona, his celebrity.
What we know about the devil is that he is a liar, a narcissist, an evil being, and a rebel against God and His people. So it would make sense that the image of the beast would be anything that drew attention away from God and into sin. How can we conclude that?
Revelation 13:16-17 (ESV) not only brings to light what the mark of the beast is exactly, but also the idolatry of those who follow after the beast, “Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. [verse 18 tells us that its 666].” Unlike many other preterists, I strongly believe that the beast mentioned in Revelation 13 is not Nero, but Satan himself. But this text clearly shows that those who have the mark of the beast have three distinct characteristics: 1) The worshippers of the image of the beast are of a diverse group, 2) They buy and sell accordingly to their worship of the image of the beast, 3) The name or number of the beast is marked on their forehead or right arm.
Notice the diversity of those who except the mark: “small and great, rich and poor, free and slave” and they are all united in the worship of the image of the beast. Today, many people who refuse to worship God live in the world. They are not united in God’s eyes because of their stature, wealth, or identity, but because of their unbelief. Also, notice that those who live according to the flesh spend a lot of money on sin. The yearly revenue for porn is $97 billion (more than the revenue of the NFL, NHL, and MLB combined). The average American spends $80 billion a year on cigarettes and consumes over 556 alcoholic drinks a year. This present culture is one about spending and spending and spending to the point where the mall has become a sanctuary. There’s plenty of evidence of Satan’s influence in the national and global economy.
The final thing to understand about the mark of the beast, is that it is meant to be on the right arm and in the forehead. One would think that this is just a coincidental description, but these two parts of the body have great symbolism. The frontal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for one’s logic, perception of information, and voluntary movement, is located directly behind the forehead. Not only that, the right hand is symbolized in the Bible as having to do with the heart’s desire and the identity of a person. So the people who worship the beast, now have a mark that is placed in the areas that are associated with the logic and the passion of the person.
In John 4:24 (ESV), Jesus said this regarding the mind and emotion, “those who worship Him [God] must worship in spirit and truth.” Jesus makes it very clear that those who worship God will regard Him in the logic of the mind and in the deepest passions of the spirit. The devil clearly wants to mimic everything God is, so what better way to mimic God than to create a way in which he can cause the people to worship his image in the same manner that God demands worship? But how do we know that the worship of the beast will not be a chip planted in the right hand or forehead?
In Deuteronomy 6:5-8 (ESV) it says, ” You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” The mark of the Lord is the word of God that is bound as a sign on our hands and between our eyes (the forehead). Therefore, in the same way the mark of the beast is Satan’s lies and deceits that sway the hearts of sinful man, and cause the person to reject God. Man rejects God because of his love for sin, and because Satan is bound as a sign on the hands and foreheads of men.
It is mentioned in Revelation 20:4 (ESV) that believers of Christ didn’t have the mark of the beast and it says that it was because “…they had not worshipped the beast…”. The worship of the beast is always followed by the mark of the beast. This is constantly portrayed throughout Revelation, signifying that the worship of the beast brings about the mark of the beast, which is a mark of damnation. This means that it can’t be a chip, since even now there are medical patients who require chip implants even in the head. Instead, the mark of the beast is a sign of an unrepentant heart that rebels against God, since those who believe in Him don’t have it.
As for those who believe, we should not fear when news of advances in chip technology arises. We should be more concerned that we have neighbors, co-workers, classmates, friends, family, etc. who might have the mark of the beast because of their rejection of Christ and the salvation that accompanies Him. We must compel those who live without Christ to come to Him, so that they will receive the mark of the Lord as mentioned in Revelation 14:1 (ESV): “Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads.” And who are these 144,000? In verses 4-5 (ESV) it says, “These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.” God is the redeemer of sinners, and we must be grateful that we are a part of the symbolic 144,000 that describes the believers of Christ.
Knowing this, let us not be anxious of worldly things that may fear us and distract us. Let us never interpret Scripture through current events, but through Scripture itself. Finally, may the body of Christ be concerned for the souls of those who do not have the mark of the Lord on their hands and foreheads. May we be compelled to bring the good news of Jesus Christ, so that they might be brought into a marvelous light and make Christ their true desire.
Soli Deo Gloria.