“Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.” – Revelation 13:16-17

Almost every time I’ve done a prophecy seminar I have someone come up to me and ask me what the mark of the beast is and whether they have it. There are all kinds of views out there about what the mark of the beast truly is. Some say it will be a barcode printed on the forehead or right hands of individuals. Others point to rfid technology and chips that can be placed under the skin as likely mark of the beast candidates. Are these physical marks therefore what the Bible means by the mark of the beast?

Certainly as you read Revelation 13:16-17, the mark of the beast has a clear economic link. Those who have the mark can buy and sell, those who don’t can’t. If one cannot buy or sell, one cannot live very long, at least not without supernatural help… It isn’t impossible that the mark of the beast will be linked to a physical mark or some sort of technology. The key point to keep in mind however is that it doesn’t necessarily need to be thus linked. There is a deeper issue involved in Revelation 13, namely the question of worship. Those who worship the first beast are the ones who receive the mark of the beast.

Definition of Worship

How would we define worship? In reading a blog article entitled, Defining Worship, Pt 1 by Bob Kauflin, I found these two definitions.

Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are – mind, emotions, will, body – to what God is and says and does. (Warren Wiersbe, Real Worship, p. 26)

“Worship of the living and true God is essentially an engagement with him on the terms that he proposes and in the way that he alone makes possible. (David Peterson, Engaging with God, pg. 20)

All of us worship someone or something. We get our beliefs, our values, our traditions from somewhere. For some of us it comes from family. For most of us, media plays a huge role in the definitions of our sense of right and wrong. Some of us look to certain celebrities for cues on what kind of life we want. Others latch onto causes. Regardless of where we get our sense of right and wrong and our purpose and meaning in life, every single human being worships.

Does God have an exclusive right to us?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Does God have an exclusive right to us over anyone or anything else in our life? If you believe the Bible as I do you’d want to look in there for an answer to this question. In the Bible we find in Genesis 1-3 that God is our Creator. Adam and Eve made the choice to disobey God to drastic consequences. In the Old Testament (the first two thirds of the Bible), we find that when God’s people were careful to follow God’s laws, God would provide for them, protect them and guide them. When these same people took their cues from their surrounding neighbours and culture, God’s protection and provision was withdrawn to often devastating result.

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.” – Deuteronomy 7:9-11

If God is all powerful and is the source of all life and if we owe (as the Bible teaches) our very life and existence to him through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we do in fact owe God our allegiance and worship.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

So what is the mark of the beast?

Everyone who doesn’t have a relationship with God will receive the mark of the beast. We receive the mark of the beast if we don’t love God with an agape love. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged edition defines agape love as total commitment and total trust in God. There is ultimately no shades of grey with God. We all have to choose. We will either surrender ourselves to God and follow him fully and with full confidence or we will side with the first beast, with Satan and the world and will ultimately be destroyed when Jesus Christ comes back.

God doesn’t ask for much… Only everything and everyone we hold dear. Are you willing to follow God wherever he leads you? If not, you may one day be in danger of receiving the mark of the beast…