A wave of fear and unease has enveloped the world. Not merely because folks are afraid of getting the coronavirus, but because everything is coming unraveled around them. Sports, events, camps, and conferences are getting canceled. The economy is getting hammered. Businesses are being closed. Public and private assemblies are being banned. The world seems to be melting down, and men have no idea whether they must face the unfolding crisis for a few more weeks, a few more months, or a year. They have no idea whether their community is going to be partially spared or slammed like Italy.
But the societal troubles that Christians face from this threat are being exacerbated by prophetic speculation that is making the rounds, especially on social media. Some of this stuff is so far removed from what the Bible actually teaches that it borders on theological quackery. Supposed experts are stoking fears that the current crisis will introduce mandatory implanted chips and cashless society for the entire world, that the mark of the beast is just around the corner (only months away), and that folks are going to ignorantly take it, completely unaware that some seemingly innocuous bit of technology will seal their eternal doom.
Worse, these fear mongerers prey on fearful believers, informing them that they could preserve themselves from accidentally taking the mark of the beast if they would subscribe to and trust Joe Smokeblower’s Prophetic Prognostications. He will keep them up to date on every one of the 101 cutting-edge technologies that could be used to sneakily foist the mark upon mankind.
Folks, don’t be unsettled by these rumors. Though the current crisis is undoubtedly promoting and hastening the implementation of a cashless world, it is unlikely that we will find ourselves in a plastic-only society when the dust of the current upheaval settles, much less discover that the mark of the beast has surreptitiously materialized in our midst. Moreover, your family, friends, and acquaintances are not going to be tricked or duped into taking the mark, completely oblivious to what it really is.
No one is going to accidentally or ignorantly take the mark of the beast. This is clear from Revelation 13, which lays out the circumstances surrounding its implementation. Men are already worshiping the antichrist when the false prophet arrives on the scene and introduces the image and the mark of the beast. So unless and until we see men bowing to a world dictator, the false prophet calling down fire from heaven on the international news, and men bowing to an image of the beast that the false prophet has brought to life, there is ZERO reason to worry about the mark of the beast. No matter what the mark ultimately proves to be, these circumstances alone authenticate the mark as the mark. Any physical mark or technological implant that men receive prior to that time is not the mark of the beast, no matter how unwise, Big Brotherly, or apostate it seems.
Make no mistake, the mark will not be covertly administered through a pretend or real vaccination that involves a stealthy chip implant, the chip being the mark of the beast. Nor will it be overtly administered through a chip implant whose stated purposes are limited to medical, financial, or security matters. Nor will it be any similar implant situation. The mark is not covert. It is not furtively given under the cover of a sophisticated conspiracy. I hope no one misunderstands what I am saying here and accuses me of not believing that the mark will involve advanced implant technology like implantable computer chips and RFID. I do believe it will involve this technology, or this kind of technology at any rate. I am simply saying that the mark of the beast is more than mere technology, that it will be taken willingly (not ignorantly), and that it will be administered with full disclosure (not a conspiratorial cover-up).
The mark is an intelligent, public profession of identification with the antichrist. It will be similar to taking the Nazi swastika or being a card-carrying communist in the old Soviet Union. Men will be proud to take the mark. They will take it because they will really believe that the antichrist is the super-man, the god of all human gods. They will believe his platform—political, religious, economic, environmental, educational. They will think that he is the world’s best hope for a bright future. They will gladly bow to him because they already bow to self (the altar of Worthy Self) and to the spirit of the world. They are not changing masters. They are not switching from neutral to committed. They are simply publicly ratifying what has already been true in their heart for a long time.
On top of this, men will choose this madcap course of worshipping the antichrist and taking his mark despite an explosion of light in the world that exposes their insanity and wickedness. Like cockroaches scurrying from cover when the light goes on, they will turn their backs on the miracle-filled ministry of the two prophets, the Spirit-annointed ministry of the 144,000 witnesses, and the Spirit-authenticated ministry of millions of Jews around the world who will preach the gospel with the same signs that were given to the church at Pentecost. And they will close their eyes to the many prophecies that have already been fulfilled up to that point. They will be sinning against light that is equally as bright, if not brighter, than the light that men witnessed in the ministry of Christ and his apostles. Like the Pharisees, they will be rejecting light so bright that it is utterly wicked madness to reject it. They will be guilty of the unforgiveable sin against the Holy Spirit. The truth is, by the time these men take the mark of the beast, they will have already crossed the line in their hearts. They will have already seared their conscience by willfully turning away from light they knew was light. The mark of the beast is the capstone on their career of rebellious unbelief, not the doorway that leads to it.
So, in closing, though the stage is obviously being set in this world for the last act—for things like the seventieth week, the antichrist, the mark of the beast, and the rapture of the church—the curtain has not yet risen for the last act, and it is most likely a little ways off yet. This is not the end of the world … yet. The mark of the beast is not mere months away … yet.
Eyes wide open, brain engaged, heart on fire.
Lee W. Brainard
*Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash