The Mark of the Beast is probably one of the most misrepresented and misunderstood passages of the Bible.
Because of its intrigue and mystery it is also one of the most speculated sections of prophecy. Most Christians are jaded by the topic and often wary to address its significance. Let’s face it, the internet is littered with websites from zealots that have horses on clouds of fire which have painted the picture that Christians are all crazy conspiracy theorists. Some people are legitimate front runners while the majority are false prophets. However, there are some simple applications of this passage that will allow you to test the times.
It is good to neither obsess or be ignorant of this prophecy.
Simply stated, during the Tribulation there will be a centralized currency that is neutral and not tied to one particular government. It will be a global currency tied to a central government and global economy. A ‘mark’ or identifier will be used in order to buy and sell.
“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. 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 13:16-18
How do we handle this passage? How do we accurately portray this passage in an educated, non-sensational fashion?
It should be noted that all prophecy is intended to lead people to Jesus. Prophecy points to Jesus. It pointed to His first advent and points to His second advent. Prophecies are telescopic meaning they have multiple fulfillments. There are immediate applications and then ultimate fulfillments. In the end, correct interpretation of Biblical prophecy points people to Jesus and the accuracy of the Bible.
The leading indicator to discern the signs of the times is technology, here is why.
Wars, natural disasters, dictators etc have all occurred with varying frequency throughout history. Technology, however, is consistent with steady upward trending growth. Technology is the new Tower of Babel and a leading indicator of our position in the Biblical timeline.
For example, the internet has created a global economy and this became clearly evident during the financial collapse of 2008 and subsequent contagion.
The overemphasis of Dispensational eschatology in the 1980’s and 1990’s (proliferated through the Left Behind Series) created not only a generation of jaded Christians in relation to end times prophecy, but also a generation of mockers. I encourage everyone not to be a fool that mocks but to be educated, informed and open to the Holy Spirit’s leading while discerning all information.
Does the Mark of the Beast feel far-fetched? Let’s put it into practical, modern day terms.
- 666 or the “number of man” that everyone receives is not much different than the American Social Security number which is 123-12-1234 digits. This future number will likely be a 6-6-6 digit number (123456-123456-123456 ) which can handle the entire world population.
- Your cell phone is your first wearable technology. Although not physically on your person, it is almost always with you. Phone numbers used to be tied to an address but now they are tied to a person. Your phone number 123-123-1234 is a similar system. The convergence of phone numbers with Facebook profiles is illustrative of these numbers being tied to your identity. Scanning your cell phone to pay combines all three components: your number, your social identity, and your payments.
- Digital currency, such as Bitcoin, will be used in this system. Why? Because gold can be mined and dollars can be printed. Digital currency is more easily controlled, tracked and monitored. Because you can only buy or sell through this system it suggests gold, precious metals and gems (that can be mined from the ground) would be replaced as well as paper currency that can be printed to worthlessness. People would have the opportunity to trade in current assets for this currency when the transition occurs.
I recently shared a Facebook post from the United States Air Force of wearable, biosensor technology. All this implies is that the technology to enforce such a system is available today, all we need is a catalyst. A war or economic collapse… maybe even both.
The internet, wearable technology and digital currency are all signs that point to the infrastructure needed for the Biblical, Tribulation system.
I am not going to suggest a timeframe but share these things so that you pay attention.
The prevailing trend is for Christians to hide behind Matthew 24:36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” This is often used as a default response in order cover or justify ignorance of Biblical prophecy. However this is based on a misinterpretation of the passage.
The point was to keep the disciples focused on the mission at hand, spreading the Gospel rather than sitting and waiting on Christ to return. The same general message applies to all disciples including ourselves. However, Jesus did instruct future disciples to discern the season, no different than when summer changes to fall and winter. In fact, many parables and passages suggest being ready for the ‘owner’ to return.
Living in a spirit of readiness holds loosely to the things of the world, is actively engaged in the Gospel movement and is aware, by education and the Holy Spirit, of the environment in which they live.
A comprehensive understanding enables you to speak clearly and articulate intelligently the current day application of Scripture to our highly educated, and highly skeptical, culture. It can be an asset to which the Holy Spirit will move and prepare people to receive and follow Jesus before it is too late.