IS THE COVID VACCINE THE MARK OF THE BEAST?
I have had this question posed by more than one person (and even had a call on it specifically recently). It’s a question that seems to be troubling more Christians that you might think – and to make matters worse, it is further complicated by some contrary and highly passionate (though misguided) teachings. The question is this: “Is the COVID vaccine the Mark of the Beast?”
To tackle this question, we must first understand that there is a prophetic timeline given to us in God’s Word that lays out the sequence of events in the End Times leading up the “Great Day of the Lord.”
The Prophetic Timeline of the Last Days
First, there is the “Church Age” (referred to most often in other passages as “The Time of the Gentiles”). This era starts with the Ascension of Christ (as described in Acts 1:9), the initial formation of the church and the descending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; through the present age described in Revelation chapters 1 – 3) and culminating in the Rapture of the Church (Acts 1:11; Rev 4:1; 1Th 4:16-17; 1Co 15:51-54; Mt 24:39-41). Though a thorough discussion of the Rapture is beyond the scope of this Blog, if the Lord so leads, perhaps I’ll tackle that topic in a later Blog.
Sometime after the Rapture, a period known as “The Tribulation” (in Old Testament prophecies concerning the same era it’s known as “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble”) begins. This is not the “trials and tribulations” of being a Christian, but rather a specific seven-year time period as predicted by the prophet Daniel and described in the latter chapters of Revelation. This “Tribulation” begins with the signing of a seven-year peace treaty with Israel as brokered by a global Satan-inspired leader known as “The Antichrist” in Bible prophecy.
The Rapture of the Church
Consider the following passages:
Acts 1:11: “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Rev 4:1: After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
1Th 4:16-17: 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
1Co 15:51-54: 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory” [Isa 25:8]
Mt 24:39-41: 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
The next event on God’s prophetic calendar is the Rapture. Revelation 4:1-2 is one of the passages that describes / illustrates this event. The first thing to happen to John after the description of “the seven churches” is that he is suddenly taken up into Heaven (the imagery is that of him being raptured (“snatched up”) to Heaven). John represents the last remaining apostle and member of the “Church Age.” He is taken by invitation of Christ Himself (“voice like a trumpet” – Rev 1:10; Jn 14:2-3) and he illustrates what will happen to God’s people when the Church Age has run its course: Heaven will open; there will be a voice and the sound of a trumpet; and the saints will be caught up to Heaven (1Th 4:13-18; 1Co 15:52). Then God’s judgment of Earth will begin soon thereafter.
There are several key characteristics of the Rapture as illustrated in Rev 4:1-2:
The location of this event is right for the Rapture as Revelation 4 – 5 presents a vision in Heaven and Revelation 6 introduces the Tribulation.
The absence of any mention of the Church in the rest of Revelation indicates that it isn’t on Earth during the Tribulation.
The extensive use of Old Testament language and symbols in Revelation 4 – 18 indicate Israel, not the Church during this period of time. The “Church Age” is the “time of the Gentiles” (in which we are presently). The “Tribulation” is “The Time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) and is a seven-year period as predicted in the prophecy of the “Seventy Weeks” (Daniel 9:24-27) (there are many prophetic principles and teachings such as this that we may (Lord willing) dive into in later Blogs).
It is also interesting to note the similarities between (Revelation 4:1-2) and other passages that illustrate or speak to the Rapture (Jn 14:1-3; Ro 8:19; 1Co 1:7-8, 15:51-53, 16:22; Php 3:20-21, 4:5; Col 3:4; 1Th 1:10, 2:19, 4:13-18, 5:9, 5:23; 2Th 2:1; 1Ti 6:14; 2Ti 4:1, 4:8; Tit 2:13; Heb 9:28; Jas 5:7-9; 1Pt 1:7, 1:13, 5:4; 1Jn 2:28-3:2; Jude 21; Rev 2:25, 3:10)
The Great Tribulation
This seven-year Tribulation is divided into two periods. The first half is simply referred to as “The Tribulation” (which can be confusing since the entire seven-year period is also referred to as “The Tribulation”) and the last half is referred to as “The Great Tribulation.” The first 3½ years of the Tribulation are bad; but things get significantly and swiftly worse in the last 3½ years (thus it is “The Great Tribulation”).
This is where “The Mark of the Beast” enters the picture.
The Mark of the Beast
16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man [humanity’s number]. That number is 666.
There are some key characteristics to note about this Mark of the Beast:
· It is instituted on a global scale during The Great Tribulation (Rev 13)
· You cannot buy / sell without it
· The recipient of the Mark is prominently marked on their right hand or forehead
· It is the key component of a global cashless system requiring a “mark” – which could be an implant or digital tattoo in order to purchase the necessities of life / conduct business of any kind
· The representation of the number “666” is derived from the number “6” as this base number is the number of mankind (man was created on the 6th day). The Antichrist will be “Man3” (Man to the highest extent of humanism Satan can take him)
· Once someone takes the Mark of the Beast, (s)he will have arrived at the point of no return and can no longer be saved (Rev 14:10-11)
· Is it possible that the Mark of the Beast has a biological component as (Rev 16:2) states that those who have the Mark later have painful sores all over their bodies – indicating that something biological about it will cause these sores. Whether the “Mark” itself has an inherent biological component or it causes a biological reaction isn’t clear, but a reaction occurs nonetheless as a judgment from God.
It is important to note that God’s people are also “marked.” He marks those who are His (such a mark is unseen in the natural realm, but prominent in the Spiritual realm).
Consider Ezekiel 9:1-6: Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, “Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city, each with a weapon in his hand.” 2 And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar. 3 Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side 4 and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” 5 As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. 6 Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple.
Also consider Revelation 7:2-4: 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
And Revelation 9:3-5: 3 And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes.
And finally, Ephesians 1:13: 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit
So having studied all of this together, we reach the following conclusions:
1) Christians in the Church Age will not be here when the Mark of the Beast is globally implemented (though we may witness the technologies and framework being established for it – as we no doubt are today)
2) Tribulation Christians will know it is the Mark of the Beast – the Spirit will clearly reveal this to them – and they will have no doubt whatsoever that it is what it is.
3) The COVID vaccine is not required to buy / sell / trade.
4) Church Age Christians are still here; so the COVID vaccine cannot be the Mark of the Beast since it is implemented during the Tribulation and on a global scale during The Great Tribulation.
Whether or not you take the COVID vaccine is a matter between you and God and should be decided based upon the prayerful consideration of your own health concerns and concerns for the health of your loved ones. Get it (or don’t get it) based upon prayerful and thoughtful consideration of God’s will in this matter, but not because you are afraid it might be The Mark of the Beast.
Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™