Ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11, many Americans, especially those who travel, have been subjected to increasingly restrictive and intrusive government policies and laws which have eroded privacy and other constitutional freedoms, in the name of “national security” interests.
In addition, many in Congress are now advocating a National ID (NID) card. They argue that an NID card will be beneficial to US citizens and will be a viable means for protecting us from further attacks. Promoters of the NID card warn that if future attacks are not prevented, they could lead to the loss of tens of thousands, rather than just thousands of American lives.
Before the September 11 attacks, Americans would have considered the idea of an NID card as unwarranted. However, with the threat of additional terrorist attacks looming, the number of Americans willing to defend or fight for their constitutional rights grows smaller every day. It is because of these rapid changes in our social infrastructure that I believe an NID card will soon become a reality.
If we are living on the threshold of an NID card, then the question that needs to be answered is, “Will this card be the mark of the beast, as it pertains to biblical prophecies found in the book of Revelation?” Several books and movies have been written on the subject, but many people have never read or studied the actual passages in the Bible that pertain to the mark of the beast. The purpose for this article is to carefully examine what the Bible teaches about the mark.
This article will cover two passages, found in the book of Revelation, dealing with the mark of the beast. These passages are from the New King James version of the Bible with my interpretive comments in bracketed italics to assist the reader in understanding the symbology used. Though there is no room in this article, the book of Daniel and other places in the Bible can be used as supportive texts for these interpretations. My comments to these verses in Revelation are consistent with the futurist, literal view held by many prophecy commentators, including the authors of the popular Left Behind book series.
Rev 13:11 Then I saw another beast [the right-hand man of the Antichrist, also known as the “False Prophet”] coming up out of the earth [rising to global power], and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon [looks innocent but speaks with the threats and power of Satan. Many believe this False Prophet will be the leader of a false world religion during the tribulation period]. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence [the first beast is the Antichrist described earlier in the chapter], and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed [the Antichrist will somehow recover from a deadly wound, and the False Prophet will force the inhabitants of the earth to worship him as a resurrected god].
He [the False Prophet] performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men [as a counterfeit to the real prophet of God, Elijah, who called down fire in 2 Kings, Chapter 1]. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”
The reader should realize that the apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation, was transported into the future and told to write the things which he saw (Rev. 4:1). He saw the False Prophet forcing the inhabitants of the world to worship images of the Antichrist that the False Prophet is able to make speak. It is possible that these inhabitants of the world will be forced to bow before public television images, or big screen projections in football and soccer stadiums. The Antichrist will demand that all those in the “congregation” who are not bowing must be put to death. No matter how this is actually fulfilled, those who refuse to worship the Antichrist will be killed, and this point is important in our discussion of the mark of the beast.
Vs. 16: “He [the False Prophet] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 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.
It is important to carefully analyze verses 16 and 17 to see if taking the mark of the beast can be equated to accepting an NID card.
First, all people on the face of the earth will be required to have a mark placed on their hand or forehead. Some translations of the Bible say “in” the hand or forehead, but the Greek word used here is “Epi,” meaning on or upon.
Secondly, this mark is defined as “the name of the beast” OR “the number of his name.” In the English language, number characters are different from letter characters. There are some languages where the letters are also equated with numbers (Greek and Hebrew for example). In this latter case, names or words can have a numeric meaning. Since the requirement to take the “mark” will be globally enforced, some areas of the world will see it as a name, while others, because of their alphanumeric alphabet, will see it as a number, which is also a name.
Finally, the inhabitants of the earth will have to take this mark in the right hand or forehead, or they will not be able to enter into commerce. There are many in the world who do not have a right hand, but everyone who is interested in buying and selling has a forehead. Since the person cannot buy or sell without the mark, there is a need for it to be seen (or possibly scannable) by the seller of goods before the transaction can take place.
Vs.18 “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.”
The Antichrist will have a name which will convert to the numeric value of 666 in languages that can do so.
Before moving to the next verses found in Revelation 14, let’s summarize the above in light of the proposed NID card. The current congressional discussions (and/or articles by security companies advising them) associated with an NID involve including personal information such as health records; banking information; biometrics such as palm or finger prints, retina scans, etc.; your religion, nationality, citizenship and the like. There is no talk about placing a world ruler’s name on the card, nor is there a call to certify our allegiance to him.
More important, they are not talking about putting this information on our right hand or forehead. Also, our NID card is for Americans only. Other nations will be prohibited from using our card. Therefore, the current NID plans are NOT a fulfillment of the mark of the beast prophecy, but nevertheless, could be a preparatory step for things to come! For the sake of understanding more about the mark of the beast, which must come to pass some day, we will continue with Revelation 14:9.
“Then a third angel [of God] followed them [the previous angels discussed in earlier verses], 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 [also called the lake of fire or the eternal hell] in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb [Jesus]. 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. Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”
A little background will help to understand the above. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, as well as the angelic hosts. Satan, an angel, rebelled against God and fell from heaven (Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:12-19, Luke 10:18). Other angels joined Satan in rebelling against God. The Bible refers to Satan’s fallen angels as demons or unclean spirits. These terms in the New Testament are used interchangeably (Luke 8:27-29, 9:41-42).
Demons primarily influence mankind by deceiving them into worshiping idols instead of the living God. The idol itself is nothing (Isa. 44, 1 Cor. 8:4), but, in a spiritual sense, behind every idol there is a demonic power (1 Cor. 10:20?21, Rev. 2:13, 9:20, Deut. 32:17). The deception includes the ability for Satan (or his demons) to possess people. As such, the possessed will sometimes demand that the people bow down and worship them. This could have been what motivated Hitler, Stalin and Mao (to name those in our generation) to demand that statues be made of their likeness and that these statues or their pictures (images) be venerated by all. Those who refused to worship were either imprisoned or killed.
Revelation 13:2 says that Satan himself gives the Antichrist his power, throne and authority. Satan will possess and use the Antichrist to mock God by showing that most of the world would rather bow in worship to an image of this evil man (who survived a deadly wound) than to bow to, and worship, the true and living God and His living Messiah, Jesus.
God knew this would be Satan’s plan through the ages and tried to warn man in the first two of the ten commandments.
Exodus 20:2-5: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me” (NKJ).
Anyone who bows to an image of the Antichrist, and worships it, is blaspheming God by joining in Satan’s mockery against God and His Messiah, Jesus.
In the Old Testament, the High Priest was to come to God with a gold plate attached to the turban of his head garment, at his forehead. This plate was inscribed with, “Holiness to the Lord” (Exodus 28:36-38). Satan perverts true worship for God by having man put the name of the Antichrist on his hand or forehead as he comes to worship the Antichrist.
In Revelation 3:12 God says He will write on those who love Him the name of God. Again, Satan perverts this by writing the name of his Antichrist on the hands or foreheads of those who are willing to sell their souls in order to buy bread or stay alive.
It is important to know that in Revelation 14:9, two things are required to irrevocably condemn the soul of a person during the time of the Antichrist. They must worship the Antichrist AND receive his mark on their forehead or on their hand. I believe the Lord required this inclusive statement in order to give grace to those who may at first (in ignorance) worship the Antichrist’s image but not take the “mark” of allegiance. In this case, they can repent of their foolishness and worship God instead. But once they worship the Antichrist AND allow themselves to be marked with his name, their souls are forever damned.
In summary, the mark of the beast is much more insidious than the current plans for an NID card. Americans will not be taking the mark if they accept a government issued, national identification card. This will be true even if the NID is a Smart Card which contains all your personal or medical records, could be required to receive medical care, must be shown at commercial establishments to buy and sell. But, someday, according to the Bible, people will be required to worship a world leader, and be marked in their right hand or forehead with his name. Without this worship and “mark” they will be imprisoned or killed by the Antichrist (Revelation 13:7, 13:10, 13:15, Daniel 7:25).
Can we know if we are getting close to the time of the “mark?” Many believe we came close sixty years ago when a man rose to power with the intent to rule the world. He was possessed with evil, hatred and murder. Although his message of death should have been repulsive to all, the deceived masses of Germany worshiped him. In religious fervor they saluted him with, “Heil Hitler.” But God prevented him from succeeding in his evil plans.
In addition, Hitler’s generation lacked the technology and infrastructure to allow a literal fulfillment of Revelation 13 and 14. Not until the advent of the computer and its application in global finance, and the ability to database billions of people, could the whole world be brought into the submission of a world ruler by his ability to restrict buying and selling.
In the future, another ruler will arise and offer a solution to the world’s problems. His solutions will require complete submission by the world’s population. This man will be possessed by Satan himself. Satan will use him to try and rid the world of those who love and fear the true God. He will do so by finding and killing those who refuse to bow to his image or to take the “mark” of his name.
Could this need for a global leader rise out of the need to solve the global terrorist problem? Since September 11th, Tony Blair of England and others have made frequent speeches trying to persuade their countrymen, Europe and the members of the United Nations with the need to form a World Government. Since a world government is increasingly being promoted, we may see the predictions of Revelation come true in our lifetime.
In light of this, I appeal to the reader to consider the condition of your soul. Are you saved and assured of going to heaven? If not, it means you are lost and on your way to the lake of fire. It means you have already been deceived by Satan to reject the Savior, Jesus. If you have been deceived to reject Jesus, you will likely be deceived to worship the Antichrist, take the mark, and damn your soul, or be killed by the Antichrist while in an unsaved condition, which also damns your soul.
All those who have sinned are deceived and damned. But God did not want any to perish. It is Satan who wants to kill and destroy. God wants to give life and save. God sent His Son, Jesus, to suffer and die on the cross for our sins. Jesus provided a way for all those who come to Him with a humble, repentant heart to be saved. This is the choice all men and women must make. Either remain proud like Satan, and die in your sins, or realize your frailty, humble yourself and worship the God who created you. If you worship God, through Jesus the Savior, then Satan will hate you, but your soul will be saved for all eternity. Please listen carefully to the following words of Jesus:
Matthew 10:27-28: “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”