In this article, I will very plainly explain the following four questions concerning the mark of the beast.
- What is the mark of the beast?
- When will this mark of the beast prophecy be fulfilled?
- What is the significance of the number 666?
- Why would God allow something like the mark of the beast to take place?
What is the mark of the beast?
The mark of the beast and the number 666 have been a subject of much interest for many centuries to those who are interested in Bible prophecy. The Bible clearly predicts that one day the government of the world, underneath the power and influence of a powerful world leader, will cause everyone to receive a mark on their right hand or foreheads in order to be able to buy or sell. This mark is known in Bible prophecy as the mark of the beast. This will be some type of actual marking that will be visible so that it will be easy to spot who is in the system and who is not. The word beast is used in reference to the world leader prophecy speaks of called the Antichrist. This will happen as the Antichrist does his best to get the world under his dominion and control.
This prophecy comes from the inspired Word of God in the book of Revelation:
Revelation 13:16-18 “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or 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 it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”
For many centuries people had doubts about how any government in the world would be able to control the flow of commerce, and all buying and selling by just placing a mark on someone. It would seem as though it would be easy to just sell things on the black market using cash. If you take the mark with the understanding that this will be used in a cashless society, using biometrics, and that the mark is somehow necessary for all of this to work it makes complete sense. Suddenly, you can see how the government could literally control all buying and selling of goods.
But the mark of the beast is more than just a means to get involved in a future economic system. It is also a mark that has spiritual implications. To take the mark of the beast is to pledge allegiance to Satan’s superman- the Antichrist. It is a very dangerous thing for anyone to do as the Bible clearly says that anyone who takes the mark will be spiritually damned for all eternity.
When will this mark of the beast prophecy be fulfilled?
According to the Bible’s prophetic time table, this prophecy will be fulfilled sometime after the rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) when millions of believers are “caught away” to meet Christ and be with him. This dramatic intervention by God in the world will cause our world to be plunged into great chaos. Imagine waking up one day and millions of people are missing. A closer investigation will reveal the one characteristic that they all had in common. They were all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. A short time after the Rapture occurs, there will come upon the earth a horrendous time in the history of humanity. The Bible speaks very plainly of a 7-year period called “The Tribulation Period.” (Matthew 24:21, Revelation 7:14; 13:5) According to the book of Daniel, the Tribulation Period will begin when Israel and a world leader that is known to prophecy followers as the Antichrist (Daniel 7:25, 1 John 2:18, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Revelation 13:3) confirm a 7-year covenant (Daniel 9:27). We know that the Antichrist will not make an announcement that he is fulfilling that demonic role, but will go buy some type of human name.
It is during this 7-year period that the Antichrist will endeavor to exert extreme governmental control over the population of the world. Without a doubt, the turmoil caused by the rapture will help to produce an environment where such a marking of those in the system will be deemed necessary and such economic policies will be widely accepted.
These things haven’t happened yet, but those who understand and watch Bible prophecy can easily see that we are moving closer to that day. I have written an article on this website entitled “How the World is Heading Toward Mark of the Beast Technology.” In that article, I share three factors that can easily be observed in our culture that make the fulfillment of this prophecy highly probable.
What is the significance of the number 666?
Revelation 13:18 says “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”
Some have tried to insist that the number 666 will somehow be used in the actual mark of the beast. It could be but I doubt that it will be something that plain. Across many centuries there has been many who have tried to figure out who the Antichrist is calculating a man’s name in order to get it to add up to 666. For example, I remember when Ronald Wilson Reagan took office. There is six letters in three names, thus 666, yet he didn’t turn out to be the Antichrist. I think that no one will really be able to discern who the beast is until he steps into power. While it is fun to look at these things, it is not really possible at this point to “calculate the number of the beast.”
What we do know from a biblical perspective that numbers and names have meanings. The number six implies imperfection. Often, numbers are used as symbols in the Bible. Seven typically represents completeness or perfection. Six, being one short of seven, can denote something incomplete or flawed in God’s eyes, and it can be associated with God’s enemies.
1 Chronicles 20:6 “Yet again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, with twenty-four fingers and toes, six on each hand and six on each foot; and he also was born to the giant.”
Daniel 3:1 says, “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.”
The Bible sometimes stresses a matter by stating it three times. When the cherubim in heaven cry “Holy” three times it is to emphasize God’s holiness as in Isaiah 6:3. So the name 666 powerfully emphasizes that God views this greatest of all human leader and his political systems as a gross failure. He will have been unable to bring lasting peace and security—things that only God’s Kingdom will achieve.
I also am fully convinced that in the day when the man of lawlessness is revealed, those who are watching with Biblical understanding will be able to identify him through numerical values placed on his name.
Why would God allow something like the mark of the beast to take place?
It may seem to those who live on planet earth during those seven years that God has lost control of the planet. It may seem like Satan is in control as the Antichrist makes his covenant with Israel, and then breaks it, or as he sits in the newly rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and proclaims himself to be God, or as he imposes upon the human population strict governmental control. But nothing is farther from the truth. Satan is not in control. God has written prophecy showing his influence over the planet. Let’s face it: history told in advance to prove that He is God.
It is true according to the following verses that those who take the mark of the beast in their hand or forehead or who worship the beast and his image will be eternally damned in hell. The Bible clearly portrays this:
Revelation 14:9-11 “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Some may think that God is unjust in allowing the Antichrist to bring such things into the world, but I want to assure you that God is sovereign, and he has a purpose in all of this. The highest value that God has is for those he has created to choose Him. The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” God doesn’t want anyone to miss out on the good things he has planned in the ages to come. However, God is holy, and just. He will not allow sin and unrighteousness into heaven. God has shown his love by providing a way for people to be clothed in a righteousness that God will accept. The good news is that Jesus Christ took our place on the cross, satisfying the wrath of God. To get into heaven, God requires that we have saving faith. Saving faith turns from sin and chooses to believe God. When we trust in the work Jesus did on the cross, and put our faith in Him, we are given the righteousness of God.
We have had the awesome privilege to live in the age of grace. Since Jesus ascended into heaven, for the last 2000 years. God has waited patiently for men and women to choose to believe in Him. Millions have found eternal life by placing their trust in what Jesus did at Calvary. His grace and kindness has allowed people to wait to choose Him. You have that option as long as you have life.
However, as the age of grace draws to an end, God is going to cause people to make a choice. After the rapture, biblical knowledge will be well known through-out the world. And so as the final seven years of the age draw to a conclusion. The world will have to decide. Take the mark of the beast and be damned. Or refuse it and be saved. I believe that millions will refuse the mark, but in that day it will come with a cost. Those who refuse the mark will be beheaded.
It is far better to decide for Christ today. While the primary purpose of the article is to share information about prophecy. It does cause one to ask these questions. Am I right with God? Have I accepted the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross? Am I living in such a way that I please the One who died in my place? Am I doing everything I can to share the Good News of salvation to a world that it headed toward The Tribulation Period?