MARK  OF  THE  BEAST !!


From  the  "Bible  Advocate"  -  a  publication  of  the  Seventh  Day  Church  of  God,  Denver,  CO.  USA  -  Nov/Dec. 2014


Question


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.


Keith Hunt