Mysterious and kind of scary, most Christians have heard of the “mark of the beast" but aren’t quite sure what it is. The reference to this mark comes from the Book of Revelations, and became a part of end times pop culture thanks to books and movies like “Left Behind” and “The Mark.” It is commonly understood that this “mark” will be placed either on the forehead or the right hand, representing allegiance to the government of the antichrist sometime before the second coming of Christ.
We don’t know everything about this mark, but one thing is certain: come the end of time, you definitely won’t want to get the mark of the beast. Revelations 14:10 says that whoever has the mark will “drink of the wine of the wrath of God.”
So what does the mark look like?
There are a lot of theories about what this mysterious mark might look like and how it might be administered. People have imagined the mark as a microchip embedded in the skin, a tattooed number, an ID card, and more. While there’s no way to totally know what form the mark of the beast might take, here are several popular theories:
1. Microchip: One theory is that the mark is a microchip implanted in your hand that allows you to do financial transactions. This would make it possible to be a cashless society. If you need to pay for something, the store could scan your hand. There are already instances in current day where microchips are being placed just under the skin as tracking devices and medical ID chips.
“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 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.” (Revelation 13:16-17)
This idea was popularized by the best-selling “Left Behind” series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Fans of the series have imagined detailed explanations for how the mark (called “The Mark of Loyalty” in the series) might be interpreted.
2. Tattoo: There are some that believe the mark be will a number tattooed on the skin of the right hand or forehead. It would be similar to the numbers tattooed on the arms of holocaust survivors.
3. ID Card: A final theory is that the mark of the beast could be an ID card issued by the government that will show allegiance to the antichrist. Some think that the RFID (radio frequency identification) cards that are currently in circulation are similar to this idea of the mark of the beast.
Some Christian scholars think that the mark could be more of a metaphor. In the Bible, the head and hands often refer symbolically to thoughts and actions. Thus the mark would be a belief or action that the person has which will set them apart from the followers of Christ. What do you think the mark of the beast will look like?
The mark of the beast is often referenced in apocalyptic movies that take place in the future. Movies like this are very popular and tend to have interesting plot lines about what life would be like if there was a breakdown of civil order.
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