If you had asked me a year ago if I thought end time events might occur during my lifetime, my answer would have been “No.” Today, I’m not so sure. We are in the midst of the greatest global crisis since World War II. After a period of relative peace and prosperity (at least here in Israel), this microscopic virus appeared, endangering health, causing isolation, fear, confusion and depression.
Now Israel has become the world leader in vaccinations per capita. Not everyone sees that as a positive statistic. In fact, we have received emails from abroad and calls from worried congregation members raising concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, that it might even be the “mark of the beast” spoken of in the book of Revelation. Whether a vaccine is safe and ethical, each person must decide for themselves by careful research and prayerful consideration.
However, regarding whether the COVID-19 vaccine is a candidate for being the mark of the beast, we can get to the bottom of that fairly quickly. In order to have the mark of the beast, the beast has to be on the scene first, right? The Bible is clear on important issues, and being able to recognize the antichrist is quite important. According to Revelation 13, he is a charismatic leader who will:
- Miraculously survive a fatal head-wound causing many to worship and fear him
- Be given “authority over every tribe, people, language and nation” for 3 1/2 years
- Be boastful and blaspheme God, heaven and the host of heaven
- Be given authority to persecute and kill the people of God.
However, the beast is not the one who makes people take his mark.
The Second Beast – the false prophet
The false prophet, according to Revelation 13:11-18, is the beast’s PR man (and more) who:
- Forces people to worship the beast
- Performs miraculous signs and wonders
- Gives “life” to an image of the beast and kills those who refuse to worship it
- Forces all people to take the mark of the beast to be able to “buy and sell”
What happens to those who take the mark of the beast? They will be thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 14:9-11)
Putting the facts together
Considering the specific identification credentials Revelation 13 gives about the antichrist and his false prophet, are there any two characters on the world stage right now who fit that description? No.
Know your God and use logic
God honored us with the freedom of choice. He is the God of life, but He gives us the freedom to choose between life and death:
“…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
God would NEVER let people choose death without their knowledge, which means: you cannot accidentally take the mark of the beast! It will be a choice. It will be a tough choice, but a clear choice, nonetheless. Tricking people into choosing death is something Satan does. Not God.
Be alert and of sober mind… (1 Peter 5:8)
In this challenging season, it is critical to spend more time in the Word and in God’s presence: one of the main “signs of the times” is the deception of believers (Matthew 24:24). If we know the voice of the Shepherd, the “thief” will not deceive us.