The book of Revelation describes the "mark of the
beast" as a symbol of loyalty to the Antichrist. There are
fears the mark will be forced upon everyone, and a microchip
will be the method used as implementation. Neither of
those statements are true according to the Bible.
Fear-mongering or conspiracy theories have led to confusion
about the mark of the beast. Described here is how and
where the mark will be applied, what the mark will likely be,
the latest technology, and the ultimate penalty for those who
willingly accept the mark.
1. The mark is not symbolic, but a literal mark placed on the forehead or on the hand. Bible passages that describe the mark of the beast are found in the book of Revelation:
"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. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name." Revelation 13:16-17 (NLT)2. What does the original Greek say about the mark? Note that in every instance where the word on is in bold, it is a literal translation of the original Greek word "epi," a primary preposition meaning "on" or "upon" (see Strong's Concordance, index #1909). Definitions include:
"A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: 'If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.'" Revelation 14:9 (NIV)
"The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image." Revelation 16:2 (NIV)
"Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:4 (NASB)
on, at, by, before
2) of position, on, at, by, over, against
3) to, over, on, onto, at, across, against
The Greek "epi" is
also related to the Greek "epheco" meaning to hold
upon or to mark.
3. Is the
mark placed on
the skin? In each of the Revelation passages
describing the mark of the beast, we are told the mark is placed
on the forehead or
hand, not in or under. No Greek words are
used to suggest the mark is placed in, beneath or under the
skin. The Greek word for in is "en", and
is also a primary preposition that has a more distinct meaning
denoting position (Strong's #1722). Also not referenced is
the Greek primary preposition "hupo" meaning under
or beneath (Strong's #5259), further indicating the mark
is literally placed on
There is further
scriptural evidence that Satan's mark will be placed on the skin, and will be a
mockery of God's protective mark given to His servants during
the tribulation period. Satan will mark those who choose
him, just as God marks those who have chosen Him:
We can derive from scripture that the mark of the beast will not be a microchip or other type of implant placed under the skin.
"Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." Revelation 7:3 (NIV)In the above passages, again the same Greek word, "epi" is used, meaning on in English.
"They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads." Revelation 9:4 (NIV)
4. How will the mark be applied?
When considering advancements in technology, prophecy scholars
and students alike understand that data collection technologies will be critical
to the implementation of the mark, which may be applied by a
laser tattoo using permanent
invisible RFID ink. RFID (Radio Frequency
Identification) ink can be read through the hairs of animals for
tracking and other purposes. In 2007 the ink was first
made available in the marketplace with a tattoo made up of
numbers separated by markers like bar codes. The application process was developed by Somark Innovations, and is
applied by a geometric array of micro-needles and an ink
capsule, used to tattoo animals in a matter of seconds. A
spokesman said the company had created a synthetic biometric
fake fingerprint with bio-compatible chipless RFID ink, that
could also be used to track and rescue soldiers.
Future applications of the
ink could be with laser-etch machines which apply tattoos on the
surface of the skin. The use of infrared light, bar code
readers and various wireless communications are other rapidly
developing technologies. Experts in the the field of
nanotechnology consider RFID ink groundbreaking. Research
on neural interfaces that provide a two-way connection between
the human nervous system and computers is rapidly
expanding. Merging technologies such as "ambient
intelligent environments" open the way for the use of nano-scale
devices placed on the human body. This "molecular
computing" allows biological and artificial components to
communicate physical and psychological information received by
scanners and sensors which are rapidly decoded and acted on.
Other experts suggest this
artificial communications technology can be telepathic, and
could lead to the creation of an advanced internet where
everyone is permanently connected by a "global brain" leading to
a myriad of mind controls. A chipless RFID tattoo being
used as a wireless (WiFi) direct neural interface has endless
possibilities. For example, nano-scale electronic
components can now be printed on various substances, including
skin, using "electronic ink."
|The popular journal Science revealed in 2011 that a new micro-electronics technology, called an epidermal electronic system (EES), has been developed by an international team of researchers from the U.S., China and Singapore. The scientists had a goal to develop electronic technology that could "integrate with the skin in a way that is mechanically and physiologically invisible to the user." Forces called "van der Waals interactions" (attractions between molecules) dominate the adhesion at the molecular level, so these electronic tattoos adhere to the skin without any glues and stay in place for hours. The devices are wireless, nearly weightless and require so little power they can fuel themselves with miniature solar collectors or by picking up stray or transmitted electromagnetic radiation.||
This image from J. Rogers, University of Illinois shows an epidermal electronic system.
What is remarkable about this technology is that the devices are less than 50-microns thick (slightly thinner than a human hair), and are as soft as skin. The developers claim the hair-thin electronic patch technology will have many uses in the medical field, and could transform medical sensing, computer gaming and even spy operations.
In 2004 The Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) approved implantable chips that would
provide easy access to individual medical records. Applied Digital Solutions,
based in Delray Beach, Florida manufactures what it calls
"VeriChips," claiming their chips saves lives and limit injuries
from errors in medical treatment. They also expressed hope
that such medical uses would accelerate the acceptance of
under-the-skin ID chips as "security and access-control
devices." A New York based company, Lightning GPS, claims to
offer "the next-generation in GPS tracking solutions" which
includes injectable GPS tracking systems (currently used for
short-term tracking of animals).
claim the U.S. government has developed an advanced GPS
technology called the "Wide Area Augmentation System" (WAAS)
which is used specifically for precision tracking.
This system thought to be several times more accurate than
any commercial product in the marketplace.
Digital Angel, a
company that produces Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and RFID
microchips, claims its products are utilized around the world to
"save lives, ensure the safety of our food supply, reunite loved
ones and improve the quality of life." The company says it
has become "a leading developer of technologies that enable the
rapid and accurate identification, location tracking, and
condition monitoring of what is important to people."
Applications of their products include identification and
monitoring of livestock, pets and fish. This includes
chips, tags, and bracelets for people.
Each of these items can be removed, and are certainly not the method of implementation for a permanent "mark". In fact, prophecy teachers suggest these are precursors to the actual mark. These technologies continue to be widely used, particularly in pets and livestock, and many people regularly have chip implants for medical and other purposes. Has technology "left behind" chip implants?
5. More Bible passages describing a mark:
The earliest Bible reference to a mark is that placed on Cain:
"The Lord replied, 'No, for I will give a sevenfold punishment to anyone who kills you.' Then the Lord put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him." Genesis 4:15 (NLT)Ezekiel chapter 9 speaks of a mark of God on the foreheads of the righteous. This parallels the mark (also called the "seal" of God) seen elsewhere in the book of Revelation:
"He said to him, 'Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.' Then I heard the Lord say to the other men, 'Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all–old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin right here at the Temple.' So they began by killing the seventy leaders." Ezekiel 9:4-6 (NLT)When the Israelites were delivered out of Egypt, God told them to tell their children, and to celebrate annually with a seven-day feast, called the "Feast of Unleavened Bread" (unleavened bread reflected the fact that the Israelites had no time to put leaven in their bread before their hurried departure from Egypt). The feast takes place during the Hebrew month of Nisan (March–April on the Gregorian calendar) immediately after Passover. Additionally, the Israelites were told to memorialize the law during the festival:
"And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt. Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year." Exodus 13:9-10 (NASB)This symbolized the mark of the Lord; an Israelite's thinking and works were to be according to the law, or the Word of God. The law was binding by placing the word of God on the hand and forehead. To this day the Jews put scripture in little boxes and tied them on the backs of their hands and on their foreheads. The mark of the beast is just the opposite, thinking and works are according to the world, the flesh, and the devil.
6. The Bible does not reveal the type of mark. There are some prophecy commentators who suggest the mark will be an emblem of the kingdom of the Antichrist. The mark will be a symbol of irrevocable allegiance to the Antichrist. There are those who are convinced the mark will be a simple barcode or UPC symbol containing specific data on every person. The next generation of barcodes are two dimensional, called QR (Quick Response) codes used for product tracking in manufacturing, quick URL entry, advertising and much more. They are showing up in just about every venue people are needing information. Smart phone applications provide subscribers easy scanning of these codes. Could this be a component of the mark?
Others think the mark could have electronic
(nano) capabilities that could allow the Antichrist's world
government to control thoughts and moods. Some experts
say that controlling moods could sufficiently control
thoughts. Whether the mark will be visible is
unclear, though the Antichrist will likely boast of his mark
which suggests it would be visible. If we
consider two places most accessible on the human body, then the
hand and forehead are places usually not covered by clothing.
7. Does the Bible indicate the mark will be a choice, or forced? An overwhelming majority of scholars say the mark cannot be forced, though scriptures state the mark will be necessary to buy or sell. The mark may contain a unique emblem or symbol that identifies each individual as an "authorized" citizen, and therefore purchases of goods, finding jobs, travel and other necessities may be simplified. Likely some kind of global ID system (biometric IDs) will be put in place before the mark is established. It is likely that many of those who do not possess the mark (who aren't already killed) will die of starvation. Still, millions will survive. What of the tribulation saints? Will they be forced to take the mark? Many Bible authorities suggest it is impossible, and there are a growing number of prophecy teachers who believe the tribulation saints will also have the mark of God. Can a person reject both the Lord and the mark of the beast? Not according to scripture:
inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast–all whose
names have not been written in the book of life belonging to
the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world."
Revelation 13:8 (NIV)
All those without that mark
will be killed or forced into hiding, but they will not be
forced to receive it:
given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so
that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the
image to be killed."
The exceptions are the
144,000 witnesses. They are already marked. They
can't be killed. Thus, the mark of the beast is given to
those willing to accept it. Again, it cannot be
forced. This involves a willful rejection of God,
something a true Christian could never do.
8. The penalty for accepting the mark. Could the mark be incompatible with human DNA? Some prophecy experts think so. In Revelation 16:2,11 we are told the mark becomes grossly infected, then spreads causing the whole body to break out in painful sores. The long term effect is that skin all over the body is compromised. Because human skin is an organ, the implication is that the body rejects the mark, as if it doesn't belong, like those who suffer organ rejection after a transplant. As the body becomes engrossed in agonizing sores, the mark is rendered useless, having the secondary effect of collapsing the Antichrist's economic system.
Receiving the mark is also
idolatry, and is an act of worship (in this case, a form of
devil-worship). Remember, the Antichrist will enter the
temple and proclaim he is God, and will demand worship.
Worship of other gods is idolatry, and is repeatedly forbidden in
the Bible, notably in the second of the Ten Commandments:
"You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me." Exodus 20:3-5
We know from scripture that anyone who accepts
the mark will not be able to reverse it. The mark will be
binding (permanent), and it will represent permanent
separation from God, much like sin causes eternal
separation from God for those who refuse to accept the salvation
offered by Jesus Christ. There is no turning back.
That's the final penalty.
Article by Tim Osterholm. Email comments .