“Hi George, although you’ve discussed towards this direction, I want you to clearly explain what the mark of the beast is and how a believer can avoid it. Is it a chip? How do I understand the book of Revelations?” – Anonymous
The book of Revelations and other eschatological documents isn’t an independent book, it’s interpretation lies on the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles.
When studying Revelations, don’t cloud your eyes with uncertainties, don’t expect something out of the boundaries of the Gospel. Unlearn what you were taught in Children’s Church back then and stick to the basics. Many people come into the book of Revelations with preconceived ideas, ideas born out of wrong teachings and when they read, they are trying to read other meanings into it other than reading meaning out of it.
Stick to the basic.
When studying the Book of Revelation, look through the lens of the Gospel and the Epistles. All the answers you seek have their foundations in the gospel.
Always bear in mind that believing in Jesus is the only way to be saved and not accepting Jesus is the only way to perish. We are not saved by works, we cannot be saved by works and we will not be saved by works under any circumstances. The Bible says
“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” – Ephesians 2:9 NLT
We are saved by Grace and as long as salvation is concerned, that’s the only formula. There is no long or short cut. Once you think otherwise, you will miss some vital truth in Revelations.
For example, when studying about the mark of the beast and how those who receive it will perish, there is no point trying to know what that mark is and how to avoid it. Let’s read
“He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die. He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead.” – Revelation 13:15-16 NLT
Observe what it is all about, it is about worship! The beast is requiring worship of which anyone who doesn’t oblige would be put to death. This is the same narrative that Daniel and his friends faced in Babylon. So, there is an opportunity for one to reject worshipping the beast even if it means facing death!
For example, in Islamic extremist territories, people are put to death for their faith. This portion of the Bible isn’t suggesting what is out of the normal. People have been dying for their faith and so it wouldn’t be a new thing for those who would be on earth at that time. It continues
“Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.” – Revelation 13:18 NLT
The number here is metaphorical but we know what the message implies. Those who would be deceived into refusing to accept Jesus but worship the beast will be convinced by false prophets, by men! This beast will operate using the instrumentality of humanity. It won’t be hidden, it will be obvious! Those who will accept the mark of the beast will be aware that they are rejecting Jesus. What is this mark of the beast?
Look back at the basics again for answers. The Bible says
“And you also became God’s people when you heard the true message, the Good News that brought you salvation. You believed in Christ, and God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised.” – Ephesians 1:13 GNB
We see a concept in the above verse, those who heard the gospel and believed were brought to salvation. As a result of their belief in Christ, God put his stamp of ownership by issuing them the promised Holy Spirit. This means that believers bear in themselves the mark of Christ as a result of their faith and allegiance to him.
In the same manner, the mark of the beast is the stamp that comes as a result of the rejection of salvation which Christ offered, it indicates allegiance to the beast. For example, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve submitted to Satan by obeying satan and disobeying God. They handed authority to satan and lost certain things to him. Satan confirms this by saying to Jesus
“I will give you all this power and all this wealth,” the Devil told him. “It has all been handed over to me, and I can give it to anyone I choose. All this will be yours, then, if you worship me.”- Luke 4:6-7 GNB
Remember, in Genesis, the world was given to man but here, Satan is laying claim to its ownership. This is because Adam, through disobedience handed it over to him. We also see how it was handed over to him, it was through worship. So, the forbidden fruit is all about unbelief because if they had believed God, they would not have fallen. The mark of the beast is also all about unbelief.
Using the concept of salvation, we bear the mark of God as believers but those who reject the gospel bear the mark of the beast. Another simple word we can substitute here for the mark is “identity”.
Using our basic formula to interpret the mark of the Beast we know that anyone who believes cannot perish under any circumstances and therefore a believer can not receive the mark of the beast. On the other hand, anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus is already judged and will perish. This means that whatever the mark of the beast means is unbelief!
How are we able to come up with this conclusion without having to try unmasking any politician, Pope or hidden agenda which some people often do in a bid to attribute the mark to man? It is because we had to stick to the basic truth of the Gospel.
In the Epistles, we see that we bear the mark of Christ as believers and we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit as we saw initially in Ephesians 1:13. There is comfort in knowing this truth!
There is no logic, no more, no less. No ups, no down, no analysis of technology, no unmasking of anyone and no speculations.
Whatever God’s judgement will be is based on the judgement that has been passed already.
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” – John 3:18 NLT
You see… The truth is clear.
The moment your understanding of Revelations starts drifting away from the Basic doctrine of the Epistles, it is an indication that you are already getting it wrong. Retrace your steps back and start studying again.
Paul wrote saying
“Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.” – Galatians 1:8-9 NLT
The basic truth of the Gospel is the final and anything more or less is cursed whether it is coming from an Angel in heaven, a Prophet or a Pastor. This is eschatology made easy.