The mark of the beast has been the subject of endless speculations (to which I will now add my own thoughts), because of the gravity of the punishment for receiving the mark for those whose are alive in the days of the Great Tribulation. Clearly, this is something important to get right, or there wouldn’t be coming a special announcement delivered by an angel of heaven. But what could it be?
And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.Revelation 13:15-18, NASB
Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.Revelation 14:9-12, NASB
Let’s start with a foundational premise. First, if the Lord’s return is truly near, and I would say that I think it is, then the technology for the mark of the beast has to be already in development, and we can reasonably begin to think about what its precursors currently are. If the Lord’s return is not truly near, then obviously attempting to really guess at what’s coming would be futile. Could someone from the 1800s have even conceived of the majority of the technology that exists today? Of course not. For example, just look at the opening picture for this post,1 which is an anonymous Russian Christian depiction of the mark of the beast being applied, circa the 1800s.
Therefore, with that premise in mind, what could we be looking for? Well for one, Scripture says that at the time of the mark the whole world will follow after the first beast and that the second beast will cause them to receive a mark, or they will not be able to buy and sell. Since it seems to involve the whole world, we are probably also looking for a transition to global government. We’ve seen a strong push towards this recently under the coronavirus lockdown, but the momentum has been building for the past decade and began as far back as 1945 with the creation of the United Nations (UN). For example, look at the emergence of movements like Global Citizen, sponsored by the World Health Organization, and the development of the global citizenship ideology that has been widely discussed at the UN. Next, the control of buying and selling also implies a new world monetary system and identification system. Well, there has certainly been talk of a new global digital reserve currency, so we are currently on track for that, too. There is also a push for permanent, universal, and global ID, such as ID2020 that is sponsored by companies like Microsoft. On the website, they talk about some important technological ideas that I think will ultimately also be requirements for the technology of the mark. They want the ID to be implantable, uniquely identifying, impossible to copy, issued at birth, and durable until death. That is a real challenge. . . but it may possibly shed some light on the question of why the mark is “on the right hand or forehead.” One reason could be that, in order for the implantable ID to be durable until death, it would actually be better for it to be placed in two different parts of the body, so that, in the case of injury to one area of the body containing the mark, the person will still be identifiable because they will have a second identifying mark in another area. Anyway, that’s just an idea, but my point is that these things are being developed very seriously for reasons that seem reasonable in our current technological world, but prophetically are also leading us inexorably towards what looks very much like coming prophesied events.
Consequently, we can see that all of these things are currently under development in the world and have advanced to a state where they could conceivably be implemented in just a few years. And as for global governance, one could consider that the UN, WHO, IMF, and other global governmental institutions already form a type of de facto global government. Hence, in reality, we already have a super-federal system which is operating with some level of authority over almost every country in the world, which in turn are acting somewhat like states under this de facto federal-type system. But, just how will a new governmental, monetary, and personal ID system become an issue that deserves punishment by fire and brimstone?
So this is my main and final point and it has to do with why the continuous evolution of technology in our lives will not suddenly become the mark of the beast. In other words, I don’t think it will be possible to inadvertently get the mark of the beast (As in, Oops, I got a vaccine shot and didn’t know it had an implantable microchip!) It has to be something that is akin to bowing down before Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol (Daniel chapter 3). Why? Well, to explain it, let me first tell you about the process of going from a citizen of another country to a naturalized US citizen. Here is the oath that all naturalized citizens must take:
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America
In order to become a citizen of the United States, we require that foreigners who desire to become US Citizens must entirely renounce all other allegiances. Okay, that makes sense. We don’t want people acting as agents of other countries, while enjoying the rights and privileges of full citizens. But, recognizing this recent invigorated push for global citizenship, considering the oath in the naturalization process, and understanding this push for a new form of implantable, durable digital ID, all got me thinking. Someday, when the mark of the beast truly has arrived, along with a global governing system, I think that the issuing of the mark will also be accompanied by an oath. The oath will really be their main objective and it will require conscious and sincere acceptance, just like becoming a citizen of the US. The mark will just be the proof that the oath was taken, and it will be the reward that allows one to join and participate in the new Antichrist global system. The oath will contain something about renouncing all other allegiance and fidelity to “any foreign prince, potentate, state, sovereignty, or god…” or words to that effect. It will probably also have something about pledging to worship the beast, or a similar statement that in reality will be equivalent to bowing down before Nebuchadnezzar’s statue of gold.
And that will be where, if not before, that as Christians we just won’t be able agree to that…
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.Matthew 10:32-33, NASB
1 Anonymous. “Walters Ms. W917 – Apocalypse with commentaries by Andrew of Caesarea” (c. 1800), from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Walters_Ms._W917_-_Apocalypse_by_Andrew_of_Caesarea_f.136v_The_mark_of_the_beast.jpg