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.

Who are the 144,000?

You might know someone who claims to be one of the 144,000. Probably you have met someone who claims to know who the 144,000 are and how to become part of their number. Are the 144,000 found in the Bible? Who are they? What will happen to them? Can you become one of their number?

The 144,000 are mentioned in the book of Revelation and can be found in two chapters- chapter 7 and chapter 14. The Bible does not give many particulars about this group. The book of Revelation does not give the least hint that a person can do anything to become part of their number.

In Revelation 7 the 144,000 are described as the servants of God with a seal on their foreheads that indicates they are His and protected by Him from the tribulations about to come upon the world. They are called the 144,000 because that is the exact number of individuals sealed unto God in this way. “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Revelation 7:4) These servants of God are of the descendants of Israel. Twelve thousand will be chosen from each one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Only biological descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be in this group.

Revelation 14 adds a few more details to their description. “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” The one hundred forty-four thousand are pure Jewish men who have devoted themselves to God. They are marked out by God and are the first ones in the tribulation to trust Jesus for salvation. They are saved, sealed by God and sent out serve Him.

This group of men live completely dedicated to God. Contrary to how some present them, they men do not earn their place by their holiness. They are first chosen and sealed by God. Following their selection they then live Godly lives in a very wicked, dangerous time.

The selection of these men takes place during the time of the tribulation. No one today can claim to be part of this group. Only after the rapture of the church and the rise of the anti-Christ will God choose these men.

The brotherhood of 144,000 men does not receive a special place in the highest heaven that has been reserved for the very best. They are servants chosen by God to minister for Him during the tribulation. The 144,000 will remain faithful to Jesus throughout the tribulation. At the end of the tribulation they will stand on Mt. Zion with Jesus at His return. They will serve Jesus during His conquest over the armies of the antichrist and His establishment of the millennial kingdom.

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.

Is Everything about to Change?

According to a handful of teachers about Bible prophecy the series of lunar eclipses that started last year is a sign from God that something significant is about to happen in the world, probably in relation to Israel. This predication is based on the idea that when the Bible says the moon will be turned to blood it is referring to a full lunar eclipse, also called a blood moon. A quick online search of the Bible reveals the phrase blood moon is not found anywhere in the Bible. The phrase is a modern one that possibly originated in the 1800’s. Though the blood moon is not found in the Bible, the question still remains, does the “moon be turned to blood” refer to a full lunar eclipse or a special series of eclipses?

The moon being turned to blood is most likely not intended to teach that the moon will change its substance to become actual blood. Instead, the phrase seems to be describing an event which causes the moon to take on a deep red color like that of blood. Though the phrase blood moon is descriptive of the appearance of the moon during the lunar eclipse, the assertion that it is descriptive of a lunar eclipse tetrad is uncertain at best. The coloration of the moon during a full eclipse is not that different from the deep orange of a moonrise occuring just after sunset. Why are harvest moons not on the prophetic booksellers table? Despite the efforts of modern authors, no evidence exists to suggest that the writers of the Bible or the original readers would have understood “moon turned to blood” in terms of an eclipse. We cannot today make a passage mean something it never meant.

The Bible teaches that something will happen which will cause the moon to take on a deep crimson hue. To understand if this most recent series of blood moons is a fulfillment of the Biblical prophecies, one must look to the Bible. The reference in Joel 2 declares the moon being turned to blood will be associated with the sun be darkened and wonders of fire and smoke in the skies. Revelation 6 expands on these events teaching that at this time the stars will begin to fall from the sky. Most importantly for our understanding, and most destructive to the theories devised by blood moon speculators, is the timing of the moon being turned to blood. Revelation 6 describes these horrible cosmic events as taking place during a time called The Tribulation. The Tribulation is a seven year period of intense suffering unlike anything ever seen before. The catastrophes of that time will not be natural but supernatural. The violence and destruction of those seven years will be unmistakably different from the earthquakes, hurricanes and tragedies happening today. The moon will not be turned to blood before the tragedies begin but in the middle of a series of horrific events. Since the world is not engaged in another world war, and since the world is not stricken with near universal famine, and since a quarter of the earth’s population has not been struck down in painful death, and since the sun has not been blotted out of the sky, and since the world has not been shaken with an earthquake that moves the mountains and islands out of their place, and since the stars are not falling out of the sky, then I can say with Biblical certainty these lunar eclipses are not fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. (Revelation 6:1-17) The moon being turned to blood is a horrible happening preceding the day of Jesus. It is not a sign given for speculation, but one part of the wrath of God being poured out on mankind. God has already communicated in His Word all that mankind needs to know about the return of Jesus. He is not using eclipses to reveal special information about the end of the world.

Will everything change as one author foretells? I have no doubt that significant events will continue to happen in the years ahead. Those looking for proof of their conjectures will find ample evidence in the normal wars, catastrophes and political upheavals of the world. Those looking for Biblical truth will find the lunar eclipse is a sign that the celestial bodies are still spinning as God has ordained. When the moon is turned to blood mankind will know already know something is happening and God’s wrath is being poured out on humanity.