What is the Mark of the Beast?

The mark of the beast is a favorite theme of prophecy enthusiasts. Speculation about the mark is rampant. Popular candidates for the mark of the beast include retail bar codes, credit cards, tattoos, RFID chips and worshiping on Sunday. The mark of the beast is discussed in Revelation 13 and mentioned again in Revelation 14.

The mark of the beast is a mark that everyone who worships the Antichrist will receive in their right hands or in their foreheads. Those who refuse to worship the Antichrist will not receive the identifying symbol. The mark of the beast is not received voluntarily. It will be required for any commercial transaction so those without the mark will be unable to buy or sell anything.

Imagine a worldwide government requires a specific form of identification for any commercial transaction. When people go to their local government office to receive the ID they must worship an image of the Antichrist before they will be given the required token. Any who refuse to worship the Antichrist will be denied the mark. This scenario is probably not be the way it will play out but the government of the Antichrist will in some way require all people to worship the Antichrist before they receive the mark of the beast.

The mark of the beast will be associated with the name and the number of the name of the Antichrist. Revelation 13:18 says the number of the Antichrist is six hundred sixty-six. The mark of the beast will bear some kind of direct relationship to 666, possibly it will be the number itself or in some way will include the number.

Will this mark be a tattoo, an embedded chip, a permanent sticker, a bioluminescent injection or some unimagined technological innovation? We don’t know. The Bible gives no other details about the nature of this mark because the technology used to give the mark of the beast is not important.

The most important aspect of the mark of the beast is its relationship to the worship of the Antichrist. All those alive when the Antichrist reigns will be divided into two clearly defined groups of people. The minority group will be those who trust Jesus for salvation and refuse to worship the Antichrist. They will not refuse the mark itself. They will refuse the worship of the Antichrist required to receive the mark. Because they refuse to worship the great world leader they will be sentenced to death and forbidden the mark of the beast.

The majority of mankind will receive the mark. They will reject Jesus and instead offer their worship to the Antichrist. They then will be allowed to buy and sell, but the Bible warns that all who receive the mark of the beast will suffer eternal torment in the lake of fire. (Revelation 14:9-11) Just to be clear, they will not be condemned by God because they have received the mark of the beast. They will be condemned by God because they rejected Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The evidence of their rejection of Jesus is their willingness to worship to Antichrist.

The mark of the beast will only appear in the second half of the Tribulation after the Antichrist has risen to power. It will be visible proof that a person has worshiped the Antichrist. The mark of the beast will be the clear dividing line between those who follow Jesus and those who reject Him. Only the saved will refuse the mark of the Antichrist because their allegiance is given to Jesus alone.

What is the Battle of Armageddon?

Despite the fascination Armageddon holds for many people it is only mentioned by this name once in the Bible, Revelation 16:16. “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” The book of Joel calls this same pace “the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14) because it is where God begins His final judgment on living humanity for their continual rebellion against Him.

The Battle of Armageddon is the great final battle between rebellious humanity and Jesus. The stage is set for the Battle of Armageddon by the rebellion of rulers in the antichrists empire who gather together in war against the him. The armies of the antchrist and the armies of the rebel kings end up Palestine. The Bible specifically says God orchestrated world events to draw all these forces together in the valley of Megiddo as the place where He would execute His judgment upon them. As these two great armies (probably the majority of the fighting forces in the world) face off, Jesus descends from Heaven to the Mt. of Olives. The armies of the world turn against Jesus, allying themselves together in their great hatred for Jesus. The armies of mankind meet the armies of God in battle at the valley of Megiddo.

The Battle of Armageddon does not appear to be a protracted war. It is the end a brief war between the antichrist and other nations of the world. The slaughter during the battle will be great but all one sided. The armies of rebellious mankind will be completely destroyed. Jesus will send a flesh eating plague on the armies attacking him. Those not killed by the plague will be confused by the Lord and will begin to fight and kill their own comrades. The antichrist and the false prophet will be captured and thrown into the Lake of Fire. The remaining enemy combatants will be killed by the word of Jesus ending the battle of Armageddon and establishing Jesus’ worldwide kingdom.

Though it comes at the end of a world war, the Battle of Armageddon is a not a great world war in which the armies of men gather together against one another and wreak havoc upon the earth. This battle of Armageddon is the final act of rebellion by men who have completely reject Jesus as God and Savior. The men in this battle will be given over to their rebellion against God and even the sight of Jesus returning to earth in His glory accompanied by a massive army of saints will not sway their hearts to believe.

Will the end times judgments be like Noah’s flood but harsher?

The return of Jesus will be preceded by a seven year period of time called the Tribulation. The book of Revelation gives significant detail about the events of that time. The tribulation is a time of God’s judgment on the world. Aside from the flood, the tribulation is the single greatest outpouring of God’s judgment on mankind for sin. The tribulation is the last great judgment of the nations of the earth. God promised in Gensis 9:11 that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. Of all the horrible things that happen during the tribulation catastrophic flooding is never mentioned. Is the judgment of the tribulation like the judgment of the flood?

During the flood in Noah’s day, God destroyed every breathing thing on the earth except those in the ark. The flood began with 40 days of violent rains and the breaking up of the earths crust to release the fountains of the deep. The waters continued to rise for about six months until they covered the whole world. A little over a year after the beginning of the flood the earth was sufficiently dried and recovered for those on the ark to come out onto a transformed world.

Unlike the flood, the tribulation will last for seven years and none will be escape the horrors of that day. Unlike the flood, the tribulation will be made up of many different kinds of terrors. Some of the terrors will be natural, some economic and some demonic. Some will involve massive war, some will be men persecuting men, all will be the supernatural judgment of God. Revelation describes the catastrophes of the tribulation in such a way that it appears they will be a series of horrible events, some overlapping the others. The judgments of the tribulation will move the world forward to the final world war that will immediately precede the return of Jesus.

The troubles of the tribulation will be varied. They will include horrible famine, extensive war, earthquakes that overthrow mountains and rearrange geography, hundred pound hailstones that fall and fire that destroys a third of the trees and all grass on earth. One third of the ocean will be turned to blood, killing a third of the sea creatures and destroying a third of the ships on the seas. One third of the fresh water will become poisonous killing a third of humanity and later all the water in the oceans and rivers will be turned to blood. Men will be afflicted with horrible sores, burned by extreme heat from the sun and then terrified by the fall of sudden, painful darkness. The destruction will be celestial. The stars will fall from the sky, the sun will be blotted out, the moon turned red as blood, The horrors of that day will be so great men will hide themselves in caves and mountains to try to escape the destruction. God will release demons from their imprisonment to bring torments upon men and to lead massive armies into battle.

Estimates of the death tolls during the tribulation reach as high as 85% of humanity. Like the flood God’s wrath will wreak havoc on the world. As in the days of Noah God’s judgment on sin will be unleashed on humanity. The tribulation will be very different from the flood in its disasters, but most importantly it will be different in its purpose. The tribulation will not just be the execution of God’s wrath. The tribulation will bring about the restoration and repentance of the nation of Israel. The tribulation will prepare the world for the kingdom of Jesus and the final fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. The flood was the second great earthly judgment on mankind, and the tribulation is the last. They share many similarities but have some very important differences that makes the tribulation a unique event in human history.