MARK OF THE BEAST !!
From the "Bible Advocate" - a publication of the Seventh Day Church of God, Denver, CO. USA - Nov/Dec. 2014
In Revelation 13:16-18, is John warning against taking microchips into our hand or body? Is that the mark of the beast?
The theme of worship is the background of Revelation 13. Worship is specifically mentioned five times and directed to both the dragon and the beast. The two-horned beast of verse 11ff uses different methods to enforce worship of the first beast: deceive people with impressive miracles, confer death upon the non-compliant, and limit buying and selling to those who would comply.
Many nations in history, including Babylon (Daniel 3), have issued decrees on worship. Financial pressure and the death penalty have often been used for leverage. Worship has not been part of modern talk about microchips for business transactions. If they are used, microchips will not likely be the only option. Business tries to increase the ways to pay a bill, not make it harder. Microchips fit the same category as Social Security cards and bar codes. Both had their turn to be suspects as mark of the beast.
— Elder John Lemley
Given the nature of Revelation, I tend to interpret this entire passage symbolically, rather than literally. The symbol was a powerful one for John's readers, who would likely think of phylacteries worn on Jewish hands and foreheads. These small boxes marked a people that belonged to the one true God and who were committed to worshipping and obeying Him alone. When John speaks of a mark on the forehead or hand that shows one's belonging to the beast, he is referring, not to a literal mark but to an allegiance, a loyalty, a belief system. He is referring to those who have not committed themselves exclusively to God and the Lamb.
Those who insist most strenuously that the "mark of the beast" be taken literally usually insist that "the beast" be interpreted as a smooth-talking, charismatic, human politician! But despite many claims to take the text of Revelation literally, everyone who interprets the book is compelled to interpret its symbols symbolically. As New Testament scholar Craig Koester says, "The question is not whether to read the text symbolically, but how to read its symbolism" (italics his).1
It is far more consistent to interpret the mark as symbolic along with the beast than it is to arbitrarily decide that the beast is a symbol but the mark is not.
(NOW THAT IS USING GOOD OLD HUMAN LOGIC; IF THE "MARK" IS LITERAL [IN SOME WAY] THEN THE "BEAST" IS A LITERL BEAST - Keith Hunt)
Thus, I think it wise to consider the mark of the beast symbolic of a socio-economic system in which false worship is connected to commerce. Such a situation was familiar to the first readers of Revelation. Koester explains:
Those who sought to advance themselves socially or economically would have wanted to participate in the local trade guilds, although the social life of these guilds often included rituals and meals in honor of a pagan deity. Business contracts typically went to those who were on good terms with Roman authorities, including those who were involved in the deaths of Christians ... As sales were made, people used coins that bore the images of Rome's gods and emperors. Thus each transaction ... was a reminder that people were advancing themselves economically by relying on political powers that did not recognize the true God.2
Such systems exist in modern cultures to varying degrees. However, a microchip in itself hardly qualifies as a link between religion and commerce. Those who desire to avoid the mark of the beast need not fret over technological advances. Rather, they should focus on what is explicitly emphasized in Revelation: unabashed worship and unwavering loyalty to God and the Lamb in the face of a sinful culture that pressures us to worship and serve at the altars of power, money, pleasure, and exploitation.
— Elder Israel Steinmetz
1. Craig R. Koester, Revelation and the End of All Things, 134.
2. Ibid., 131-32.
AND THAT I MAINTAIN IS THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER, AS I'VE COMMENTED BEFORE ON THIS TOPIC, UNDER THIS PROPHECY SECTION.
IT IS NOT SIN TO HAVE A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER; A DEBT CARD; TO DO MONEY TRANSACTIONS ON YOUR COMPUTER. EVEN HAVING SOME LITTLE TAG ON YOUR WRIST THAT YOU FLASH AT A SCREEN; OR HAVE IM-PLANTED UNDER YOUR SKIN. IF THE GOVERNMENT GIVES YOU FREEDOM TO WORSHIP GOD ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH, NONE OF THESE PHYSICAL THINGS TO DO COMMERCE WITH, ARE SIN. BUT IF THE GOVERNMENT TELLS YOU HOW TO THINK [FOREHEAD] AND HOW TO WORK [HAND], BY HAVING TO FOLLOW ITS LAWS [WHICH IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS WHOLE BEAST WORSHIP] AND DISOBEY GOD'S LAW; YOU BECOME AN ENEMY OF GOD AND A FRIEND OF A SYSTEM THAT OPPOSES GOD'S TRUTHS AND WAY OF LIFE.