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THE MARK OF THE BEAST
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads" (Revelation 13:16).
USA Today had a news story on February 27 titled, "Tech Outfit Wants to Get Under Your Skin" (www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/2002/02/27/human-computer-chip.htm). Here is the entire news story, without comment:
Tech outfit wants to get under your skin
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Florida technology company is poised to ask the government for permission to market a first-ever computer ID chip that could be embedded beneath a person's skin.
For airports, nuclear power plants and other high security facilities, the immediate benefits could be a closer-to-foolproof security system. But privacy advocates warn the chip could lead to encroachments on civil liberties.
The implant technology is another case of science fiction evolving into fact. Those who have long advanced the idea of implant chips say it could someday mean no more easy-to-counterfeit ID cards nor dozing security guards.
Just a computer chip - about the size of a grain of rice - that would be difficult to remove and tough to mimic.
Other uses of the technology on the horizon, from an added device that would allow satellite tracking of an individual's every movement to the storage of sensitive data like medical records, are already attracting interest across the globe for tasks like foiling kidnappings or assisting paramedics.
Applied Digital Solutions' new "VeriChip" is another sign that Sept. 11 has catapulted the science of security into a realm with uncharted possibilities - and also new fears for privacy.
"The problem is that you always have to think about what the device will be used for tomorrow," said Lee Tien, a senior attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group.
"It's what we call function creep. At first a device is used for applications we all agree are good but then it slowly is used for more than it was intended," he said.
Applied Digital, based in Palm Beach, Fla., says it will soon begin the process of getting Food and Drug Administration approval for the device, and intends to limit its marketing to companies that ensure its human use is voluntary.
"The line in the sand that we draw is that the use of the VeriChip would always be voluntarily," said Keith Bolton, chief technology officer and a vice president at Applied Digital. "We would never provide it to a company that intended to coerce people to use it."
More than a decade ago, Applied bought a competing firm, Destron Fearing, which had been making chips implanted in animals for several years. Those chips were mainly bought by animal owners wanting to provide another way for pound workers to identify a lost pet.
Chips for humans aren't that much different.
But the company was hesitant to market them for people because of ethical questions. The devastation of Sept. 11 solidified the company's resolve to market the human chip and brought about a new sensibility about the possible interest.
"It's a sad time ... when people have to wonder whether it's safe in their own country," Bolton said.
The makers of the chip also foresee it being used to help emergency workers diagnose a lost Alzheimer's patient or access an unconscious patient's medical history.
Getting the implant would go something like this:
A person or company buys the chip from Applied Digital for about $200 and the company encodes it with the desired information. The person seeking the implant takes the tiny device - about the size of a grain of rice, to their doctor, who can insert it with a large needle device.
The doctor monitors the device for several weeks to make sure it doesn't move and that no infection develops.
The device has no power supply, rather it contains a millimeter-long magnetic coil that is activated when a scanning device is run across the skin above it. A tiny transmitter on the chip sends out the data.
Without a scanner, the chip cannot be read. Applied Digital plans to give away chip readers to hospitals and ambulance companies, in the hopes they'll become standard equipment.
The chip has drawn attention from several religious groups.
Theologian and author Terry Cook said he worries the identification chip could be the "mark of the beast," an identifying mark that all people will be forced to wear just before the end times, according to the Bible.
Applied Digital has consulted theologians and appeared on the religious television program the "700 Club" to assure viewers the chip didn't fit the biblical description of the mark because it is under the skin and hidden from view.
Even with the privacy and religious concerns, some are already eager to use the product.
Jeff Jacobs in Coral Springs, Florida has contacted the company in hopes of becoming the first person to purchase the chip.
Jacobs suffers from a number of serious allergies and wants to make sure medical personnel can diagnose him.
"They would know who to contact, they would know what medications I'm on, and it's quite a few," he said. "They would know what I'm allergic to, what kind of operations I've had and where there might be problems."
Applied Digital says technology to let the chip to be used for tracking is already well under development.
Eight Latin American companies have contacted Applied Digital and have openly encouraged the company to pursue the internal tracking devices. In some countries, kidnapping has become an epidemic that limits tourism and business.
In a related news story (December 19, 2001), the Los Angeles Times said:
Implantable chips have long been discussed by technologists and denounced by those who object on religious grounds or fear their use by a totalitarian state. But the company that did the test, Applied Digital Solutions of Palm Beach, said the specter of terrorism is shifting attitudes. The direct union of man and computer is no longer dismissed out of hand.
"The bottom line is, when people are trying to regain their peace of mind, they're more open to new approaches," said Keith Bolton, Applied Digital's chief technology officer.
"As some people wring their hands about the invasion of privacy and civil liberty, a whole other generation is going to go, 'Cool! I've always wanted to embed technology in my body.' It's going to be fashion," [an expert] said. One sure sign that teenagers will love it is if it terrifies their parents."
The Times went on to say that a chip which "transmits signals from a distance" will be coming in a few years ( Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2001, pp. A1, A42, A43).
Those who are concerned "on religious grounds" have in mind Revelation 13:16-17:
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark…" (Revelation 13:16-17).
I could go into great detail regarding Bible prophecy here, but I will not do so. I will simply say that there are two figures presented in the first seventeen verses of Revelation thirteen. The first is the beast that rises out of the sea (v. 1). This is the person generally called "the Antichrist," the final world dictator. The name "antichrist" is given in I John 2, where we are told that "antichrist shall come" (I John 2:18). The word "antichrist" is from the Greek word "antichristos." Vine tells us that the word "can mean either against Christ or instead of Christ, or perhaps, combining the two, 'one who, assuming the guise of Christ, opposes Christ'" (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Revell, 1966, pp. 61-62). The first beast is the final Antichrist.
The second beast comes out of the earth (v. 11). He is the false prophet who promotes the worship of the Antichrist. The first beast, the Antichrist, is called "the man of sin, the son of perdition" in II Thessalonians 2:3. In that passage, we are told that he "opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (II Thessalonians 2:4). The second beast is the false prophet who will promote the worship of the Antichrist as God. We are told in Revelation 13:15 that the false prophet will "cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed" (Revelation 13:15). Then we are told that he will force everyone on earth to receive "a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads" (Revelation 13:16).
Now I want us to think about three things concerning "mark" in the Bible.
I. First, the use of "mark" in the Book of Revelation.
The Greek word translated "mark" is found eight times in the Book of Revelation. The word "mark" in Revelation 13:16, and the other seven passages, is a translation of the Greek word "charagma." It means "to scratch," "to etch," or "to engrave." The idea in Revelation 13:16 is that something is scratched or engraved in the right hand or the forehead. The USA Today story said that the company making the microchips "appeared on the religious television program the '700 Club' to assure viewers that the chip didn't fit the biblical description of the mark because it is under the skin and hidden from view." That's a nice "spin" but it isn't an accurate evaluation. None of the verses telling about the "mark" say that it is visible to the naked eye, and the word "mark" itself does not mean a visible mark. The Greek word means something "engraved" or "scratched." An "implanted" chip would fit this Greek word better than an outward mark, because it would be scratched or engraved under the skin! Nothing in the Bible says that the mark is visible to the naked eye.
As we approach the time when the actual mark is given, we can expect all kinds of "spins" and reasons for it not being the Biblical mark. I believe that many "progressive" Baptist preachers will take the mark, and laugh at those who don't - because there will be some "spin" or explanation they can use to comfort themselves into thinking it really isn't the mark of the Beast. Many preachers will take the mark and laugh at those who do not.
Now we learn several things about the mark in the Book of Revelation:
1. First, it will be placed in the right hand or the forehead (Revelation 13:16). The preference is for the mark to be placed in the right hand. The reason that some will receive it in the forehead is because they have no hands. This seems to be the simplest explanation.
2. Second, no one can buy or sell without the mark (Revelation 13:17). Your hand or forehead will probably have to be "scanned" for you to make purchases and transact business. Everyday life will be very difficult for those who do not receive the mark. That's why so many "progressive" evangelical Christians will think of some excuse for taking the mark. As Francis Schaeffer pointed out, they have accommodated on every other point - why shouldn't they accommodate on this as well? (cf. The Great Evangelical Disaster).
3. Third, those who take the mark will go to Hell. Please turn in your Bible to Revelation 14:9-11, where we are told that those who receive the mark in their forehead or hand (14:9) will be "tormented with fire and brimstone" (14:10). This is a description of eternal Hell for those who receive the mark.
4. Fourth, we are told that those who receive the mark will have no rest day or night "for ever and ever" in Hell (Revelation 14:11).
5. Fifth, we are told that those who "have gotten the victory…over his mark" will be in Heaven (Revelation 15:1-3). So, those who receive the mark will go to Hell, and those who refuse the mark will go to Heaven. This is perfectly clear Bible interpretation. There is no speculation here. You will notice that I don't go into the small details of prophecy. I'm just giving you the big, easy-to-understand picture. If you take the mark you go to Hell. If you reject the mark you go to Heaven. I personally think that some who reject the mark will remain unsaved - such as Jehovah's Witnesses, but this is only a projection based on things that happened in Hitler's Germany and in the former Soviet Union.
6. Sixth, those who receive the mark will experience an incurable sore when the first bowl judgment occurs (Revelation 16:2).
7. Seventh, we are told that the beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet, "which deceived them that had received the mark of the beast" will be cast alive into Hell (Revelation 19:20).
8. Eighth, we are told that those who are beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the word of God, "neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands," will be resurrected and reign with Christ for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4).
These, then, are the eight times that the "mark of the beast" is mentioned in the Book of Revelation. I do not believe that this microchip we are reading about is the mark - but I believe that it could well lead to the mark. I will not, therefore, take the microchip into my hand or forehead!
II. Second, I want you to consider the two uses of the word "mark"
in the Old Testament.
There are two striking instances of a "mark" being put on someone in the Old Testament. Both of these come to mind readily if one knows the Bible.
The first is the mark of Cain, given in Genesis 4:15,
"And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him" (Genesis 4:15).
The Hebrew word for "mark" here is "owth," which means "sign" or "token" (Strong's). Dr. McGee says "I do not know what the mark was. There has been a lot of speculation, and I do not know why I should add my speculation to all of it" (Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1981, volume 1, p. 31). That is a sensible position. All we know from the Bible is that the "mark" was not described, but whatever it was, it was an identifiable "sign" or "token" that God's protection was upon him. MacArthur comments, "At the same time, the mark that saved him was a lifelong sign of his shame" (MacArthur Study Bible, note on Genesis 4:15). Henry comments,
God stigmatized him (as some malefactors are burnt in the cheek), and put upon him such a visible and indelible mark of infamy and disgrace as would make all wise people shun him, so that he could not be otherwise than a fugitive and a vagabond, and the off-scouring of all things (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson, 1991, volume 1, p. 35).
The "mark of Cain" very simply shows that God knows and identifies those who refuse salvation by the Blood (cf. Genesis 4:4-7; Jude 11). The Scofield note on Jude 11 correctly says that Cain is a type of a lost man "who rejects redemption by blood" (note on Jude 11).
The "mark of Cain," then, means that God knows who is lost. He marks the lost. He identifies them.
The second great illustration of a "mark" in the Old Testament occurs in Ezekiel, chapter nine:
"And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof" (Ezekiel 9:4).
Again, we are told:
"Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark …" (Ezekiel 9:6).
MacArthur correctly comments, "The mark was the indication of God's elect…He was marking the elect. The marked ones were penitent and were identified for protection" (Ibid., note on Ezekiel 9:4). This is an illustration which shows that God "marks" and identifies the saved.
We often hear people in our day say, "No one can tell who is lost and who is saved." But they are wrong. The "mark of Cain" and the "mark of Ezekiel" show us that God can tell who is marked for salvation and who is marked for damnation.
In II Timothy 2:19 we read, "The Lord knoweth them that are his." God can tell the difference between who is saved and who is lost. He can "discern between the righteous and the wicked."
These two markings - of the saved and of the lost - are also both given in the Book of Revelation. In Revelation 7 we are told that God will seal his servants "in their foreheads" (Revelation 7:3). In Revelation 13 we are told that the "false prophet" will put "a mark" in the right hand or forehead of the lost (Revelation 13:16). Thus, both the saved and the lost are clearly marked. Whatever else these two signs mean, they certainly mean that much. These two instances show that God notices the marks of those who are saved, and He also notices the marks of those who are lost. Which mark do you have? When God looks at you, does He see the mark of salvation on you? Or does He see that you are marked for Hell?
III. Third, I want you to think about the marks in the hands of Jesus Christ.
The marks in Christ's hands are foretold in two places in the Old Testament Scriptures.
In the prophetic twenty-second Psalm we are told of the Messiah, "They pierced my hands and my feet" (Psalm 22:16). There we are plainly told that Christ would have a mark in His hands.
The second time we are given this prophetic information is in Zechariah thirteen:
"And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then shall he answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends" (Zechariah 13:6).
Keil and Delitzsch declare, "The expression 'between the hands' can hardly be understood in any other way than as relating to the palms of the hands…" (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament in Ten Volumes, Eerdmans, 1973, volume X, p. 395).
The very next verse (Zechariah 13:7) is quoted, as prophetic of Christ, in the New Testament (cf. Matthew 26:31). The commentators with insight into typology see that Zechariah 13:6 points to the wounds in Christ's hands. So say Matthew Henry; Jamieson, Fausset and Brown; and J. Vernon McGee. MacArthur, always eager to downgrade Christ and the Blood atonement, fails again here.
"What are these wounds in thine hands? Then shall he answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends"
After Christ rose from the dead, He said to the Disciples:
"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet" (Luke 24:39-40).
Here we see the marks of the nails in the hands of Christ, as He held them up for the Disciples to examine.
Yet one Disciple was absent. He was Thomas. Later Christ came and we are told:
"Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing" (John 20:27).
Christ told Thomas to put his finger into the marks of the nails in His hands.
It is ten thousand times more important to understand the marks in the hands of Christ than to understand the mark of the beast. Millions will be in Heaven who had no understanding of the mark of the beast. And yet not one person will be in Heaven who does not understand that Christ bore marks in His hands to pay for our sins on the Cross. Not one person will be in Heaven who does not understand that the Blood of Christ was poured out from those marks in His hands to wash away your sins.
Five bleeding wounds He bears, Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers, They strongly plead for me.
"Forgive him, O forgive," they cry, "Nor let that ransomed sinner die,"
Nor let that ransomed sinner die!"
("Arise, My Soul, Arise!" by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).
When my life work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.
I shall know Him, I shall know Him, and redeemed by His side I shall stand,
I shall know Him, I shall know Him, By the prints of the nails in His hands.
("My Saviour First of All," by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).
Scripture Read Before the Sermon: Revelation 13:11-18.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"In Times Like These" by Ruth Caye Jones (1944).
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."
THE OUTLINE OF
THE MARK OF THE BEAST
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads" (Revelation 13:16).
(Revelation 13:17, 1; I John 2:18; Revelation 13:11; II Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 13:15-16)
I. The use of "mark" in the Book of Revelation,
II. The use of "mark" in the Old Testament, Genesis 4:15;
III. The marks in the hands of Jesus Christ, Psalm 22:16;