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Revelation 13 goes on to say that the beast will have a mark.  Only those who willingly worship the image of the beast will recieve this mark.  Without this mark a person will not be able to buy or sell anything.  The beast will have total economic control.                              

I used to believe that this passage meant that some kind of future world dictator will rule the world with some kind of super computer.  With this computer system he will be able to keep tabs on every person.  Each "One World Citizen" will receive his mark.  No one will be able to buy or sell any goods or services without this special mark.                                     

I now believe that all of that makes for great science fiction.  I do not see any of that as some future Orwellian possibility.  Think for a moment.  Could one man possibly keep track of every last person on every Pacific island, every mountian village in India, or every corner of the Amazon or Congo jungles?  Besides the beast is described as having seven heads.  A seven headed politician would look strange on CNN.                               

So how are we to interprete that last verses of Revelation 13?  Let's remember that the dragon, the beast and the false prophet all refer to Satan himself.  They form a sort of unholy trinity.                    

What is meant by the image of the beast, worship of the image of the beast, and the mark of the beast?  It is written that those on the Earth will make an image of the beast.  What is meant by this?  Remember shortly after the Israelites fled from Egypt, Moses made a prolonged stay on Mt. Sini in communion with the Lord.  During that time the Israelites made an image of a golden calf.  They claimed that this was the god that brought them out of Egypt.  God's glory was being taken from Him and given to an idol - an image.                        

Now no one in our modern era worships golden calves.  But in our time the three biggest things we worship are power, money, and pleasure.  Now none of these things are evil in themselves.  It is the human centered philosophies that all have their roots in our sin nature that cause us to put them before God.  That is what's evil.  Our worldview becomes human-centered even self-centered rather than God-centered.                               

Hence we can say that the image of the beast is the grand collection of all the false religions, false doctrines, worldly philosophies, and earthly values that unsaved people uphold.  Any way of living or any type of "-ism" that is not Christ-centered is all part of the image of the beast.  The image of the beast is out there in our fallen world.  We as believers are to have nothing to do with it.                        

When we follow the world's way of thinking and living then we are worshipping the image of the beast.                               

We worship the image of the beast when:                 

*  We follow a false gospel                   

*  When we live as though God does not exist                  

*  We treat people like things and things like people                       

*  We do a humanitarian act and give no glory to God              

*  We put the things of this world ahead of God               

*  We substitute religion for salvation                   

This of course is just a partial list.  The world's three biggest problems are bitterness, corrupt morals, and non-eternal values.  When we live and think like the world, we are worshipping what the world worships.  This is why Satan is called the god of this world.                  

When we worship the image of the beast we continue to receive and re-receive on a perpetual basis the mark of the beast.  Here I agree with Harold Camping.  This is not a literal mark like some kind of computer barcode.  It is a spiritual mark that only God can see.  It is a mark that shows that that person's soul is owned by Satan.                                      

Now all of this is figurative language.  In Revelation 14:1 it says that God will write His name on the foreheads of the 144,000.  Is that to be taken literally?  Will God take a Sharpie and write "Jehovah" on each person's forehead?  No, that is symbolic language.  Likewise the mark of the beast will be a spiritual rather than visible mark.                                    

What is meant by buying and selling?                 


"And that no one may buy or sell except one who has  the mark or the name of the beast" (Rev. 13:17)               

Does this have anything to do with buying and selling goods and services?  Will it be possible for faithful Christians to buy or sell anything in some future system?  In this instance what buying and selling refers to will be the Christian's ability to share the Gospel and live a godly life.  Our secular world is becoming more and more hostile to the Gospel message.  We have already addressed the issue of "hate speech".                       

Imagine talking with someone who is in a false cult and saying, "You my friend have a false hope of Heaven." and have that person say, "How dare you insult my religion with your hate speech.  I ought to report you."                                       

Imagine owning your own business and being told by government regulators that you must do this or that or refrain from doing this or that.  But to follow their rules you must hide or violate your convictions.  In California, Christian day-care centers are not allowed to advertize in the yellow pages that they are Christian.                           

Here is a true story.  A college science student at a major Division I southern university (I won't embarrass  the university by mentioning its name) was told that he would not receive a recommendation from his faculty only because he did not believe in Darwin's UNPROVEN theory of evolution as fact.                        

For people with no religious convictions such restrictions would not be a problem.  But for a believer such restrictions would create pressure to compromise.  As the world at large becomes more and more ungodly, it will be ever more hostile against those who wish to live godly in Christ Jesus.  Buying and selling will become more and more difficult.                     

In recent times the term "mark of the beast" is being used quite often in  regards to the coronavirus vaccine.  Wild conspiracy theories claim that the vaccine contains a micro-chip that will become a forerunner to the "mark of the beast".  This type of thinking, that is based on fear and ignorance rather than facts, is becoming common among extremists. An article from, Pastor Says 'They're Preparing the Structure for the AntiChrist' with the COVID-19 Vaccine, Tells Congregants Not To Take It, by Amanda Casanova dated December 14, 2020, shows that the vaccine is being given a "scarlet letter"  when infact lives are at stake.  When that article was released the American death toll from COVID-19 hit 300,000.  That's roughly the same number of Americans that were killed in World War II!  "There's an awful lot of information floating around, particularly on social media, that frankly doesn't represent truth." says National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins.                          

Let all of us allow God's Spirit to direct our understanding when it comes to Bible.prophecy.

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