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What is the Mark of the Beast?-Pastor Mark Doane

As technology rapidly advances many Christians are concerned that they may accidentally get the mark of the Beast or the Covid vaccine passport is the mark.   On one hand, the mark could theoretically be as simple as a tattoo – something available during the days of the early church. On the other hand, technology has made the possibility of the mark much more serious as electronics and technology are easier to track, monitor, and reduce loopholes.  So what is the mark?  Scripture doesn’t give us much information on the mark, but what little we have is helpful because, while it doesn’t identify the mark outright, it does eliminate anything which is not the Mark. Two passages in particular are helpful: Revelations 13:16-17 and Revelation 14:9-10.

First, the mark is physical in nature.  The Greek word for mark was used to describe an impressed mark on a coin, seal, die, or as a physical brand mark.  While this could be a metaphor it would seem that it is not used this way since John says it will be placed on the right hand or forehead.  Whatever it is will be physical and placed specifically on the right hand or forehead. Second, it is universal.  Revelation 13:16 says that “he causes all… to be given a mark.”  John specifically identifies three distinct groups of people (rich vs poor, etc.) who will get the mark, but we can boil these groups down into the elite and the commoner; both will be forced to get the mark.  In other words, wealth and privilege do not exempt people from the mark.  Moreover, the beast’s domain is described in Revelation as a worldwide coalition (Revelation 13:1).  This implies that the mark will be a worldwide identification, not just national or regional.

Third, the mark permits basic economic activity.  Only those who have the mark will be able to buy or sell.  Those who refuse the mark will be unable to purchase the basic necessities of life: food, drink, shelter, or warmth.  This has caused many to believe that the mark is financial in nature, for example, a computer chip which operates like a debit card inside the body.  This is certainly possible, perhaps likely, though not definite. The mark could be required to make a purchase (like an ID for alcohol) rather than actually be means of purchasing. Either way, we won’t know for certain until the mark is created.  Finally, the Mark is obtained through worship of the beast.  This does not necessarily mean worship in the sense of our Sunday worship service – though that is a possibility.  Worship in the Bible is seen as verbal praise and non-verbal actions which express worth of the one being worshiped.  Worship in this case could just as easily be marking a box which says something to the effect of: “by marking this box you agree that such and such is a god who deserves full allegiance.”  This might not be verbal worship, but it certainly is a form of worship.

Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly what the mark of the beast is.  On the other hand, it provides enough information so that, when the mark comes onto the world stage, the believers living at that time will absolutely know what the mark is.  It will be physical, located specifically on the forehead or right hand, enforced worldwide for the purposes of obtaining the necessities of life, and only given to those willing to worship – either verbally or non-verbally – the beast (antichrist) as god.  In conclusion, the mark certainly does not presently exist and there is no possibility that a Christian could get the mark without knowing that it was the mark of the beast.


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