Chicken Little and the "Mark of the Beast."
I saw a news story today on the latest wave in the tide of cool tech--touted as the next step toward convenience, security, and efficiency. It's a chip about the size of a grain of rice implanted in the hand. Is this new tech? Not really. Do I think it's "the mark of the beast" from the book of Revelation? No. (But I do think it's part of the continuing effort to erode resistance against technology that may eventually be used in humanity's final days.)
About twenty years ago, scientists first tested microchips in animals. The first reported use of an RFID chip in a human was in 1998. A few years later, a company offered these chips as a means of identifying patients (and allowing immediate access to essential records) in hospital settings. Also, a number of people in a Florida senior living facility were implanted, supposedly as a means of keeping track of dementia patients who are prone to wandering off. There were a few glitches and the tech lost some popularity but it didn't go away.
Companies used the lull to work on the marketing, and now the concept of an implanted RFID chip in humans is once again ready for a roll out. Many people already have their pets implanted with chips, and nearly everyone reading this has at least one RFID chip in their wallet right now (in a credit card), but with today's national headlines about the company implanting chips in the hands of employees--I have little doubt that there will soon be "It's the 'mark of the beast'!" posts amongst some groups of Christians and others who love doomsday prophecies.
The Bible and "the mark of the beast"
Christians need to be careful here and not become the Chicken Littles of our day, shrieking about an imminent calamity that never seems to arrive. False predictions of doom only serve to numb people to the Gospel. If we want to discuss "the mark" as it fits into prophecy about the Last Days, we should look at what the Bible says about it. If we do, we'll see that several pieces of the puzzle are not yet in play.
First of all, the gospel hasn't been preached to the entire world. (Matt. 28:19, Mark 16:15 Acts 1:6-8, Rev. 14:6-7)
At this moment (while there are endless conspiracy theories about secret societies etc.) there is currently no person or worldwide governing agency in place that can force unilateral acceptance of a single economic system. (Revelation 13:16-17)
There are many "beasts" mentioned in the Bible and they are not all the same. If we look at the beasts mentioned in apocalyptic books of the Bible, at least some of them are kingdoms or entities that have authority (rather than individual people). The beast that makes people get "the mark" is a person with the power of Satan, with "authority over every tribe, people, language and nation," who blasphemes God (2Thess. 2:1-12, Rev. 13:3-6), receives worship, and also causes people to worship the dragon. (The dragon here is Satan—Rev. 12:9, Rev. 20:2). The beast is given the power wage war and to conquer—even to conquer the God's people who are on earth at the time of his reign (Rev. 13:5-8, Rev. 13:15-17). The only people who will NOT receive the mark are those whose names are written in "the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 13:8)
There is no one in the world today who meets these parameters. Also, a large percentage of Christians in the world are still free to do as they please.
The "mark of the beast" is connected to the name of the beast or the number of its name (Rev. 13:17, Rev. 14:11) and "receiving" this mark is connected with worshiping the beast (Rev. 13:8 & Rev. 14:9). This won't be something one does without awareness. An example (or shadow of what's to come) would be the millions of people who yielded to the power of Hitler -- they might have thought he was wonderful or feared him but they all knew who he was and the power he had to do what he wanted to do. People were pressured, taught, and eventually threatened in order to get them to submit to the power of the swastika and the teachings of the Third Reich. The people in Hitler's path didn't say "Adolf who?" So it will be in the last days. A charismatic, powerful person will rise up and eventually demand that all yield to his dominion. (Rev. 13) No one will do so unconsciously. The ultimate Antichrist won't be content to pull all the strings behind the scenes--his ego will demand open devotion and recognition above all else.
Nearly forty years ago, (two decades before they started experimenting with microchips in humans) the Lord put it on my heart to write SWORDSMAN, a book about people who live in the last days (and it includes a thread about a small chip that every person is told they must receive).
Christians should be aware of what's going on in the world, but that should serve to spur us to share the Good News of Jesus.
Other articles on the End Times:
Why did people in the Early Church think the rapture might happen any time? It probably isn't for the reasons you've been told.
What order did Jesus give to events of the Last days? What warnings did he give to people who would be living in those days?
A look at 2 Thessalonians and the sequence Paul gave for the last days
Bible Study on the End Times: