“This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”Revelation 13:18
The Biblical meaning of a false prophet is someone who speaks falsely “in the name of God.” Therefore, I believe the end-times False Prophet will emerge from within a Judeo-Christian context, having an outward appearance of a godly man of the “cloth” but at the same time speaking blasphemous lies in the name of Jesus. The False Prophet will also possess immense supernatural powers, using signs and working wonders to deceive the world.
Beyond using supernatural and spiritual powers, however, the False Prophet is described as using two additional methods of influence during the great tribulation.
- The Image of the Beast
- The Mark of the Beast
Many have undertaken the task of trying to decipher what these two mysteries may be. In full disclosure, I don’t claim to know what the image and the mark of the Beast will be, but I do have some thoughts concerning the possibilities.
The Image of the Beast
“And by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.”Revelation 13:14
What is the image of the beast? Some have proposed that it is some type of satanic statue or idol that will be set up in the Third Temple, which will involve the abomination of desolation [see Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4].
Others still have suggested that it will be some type of holographic/virtual image that the Beast uses to appear before the masses.
Consider what the Greek word, image, means in Strong’s Concordance.
- Strong’s 1504 eikṓn (from 1503/eíkō, “be like”) – properly, “mirror-like representation,” referring to what is very close in resemblance (like a “high-definition” projection, as defined by the context).
When we understand that Jesus Himself is called the “image” of the invisible God — the exact imprint of His nature and likeness — it helps provide some context to the “image” of the Beast. The image of the beast will most likely be some type of human-like representation of the Antichrist. Here are some possibilities.
- The image of the Beast could be some type of cyborg replica of Antichrist who is given “life” by the False Prophet. By life, I believe that either artificial intelligence or a demonic spirit is in view.
- The image of the Beast could be some type of genetic hybrid who resembles the Antichrist and is given “life.”
But why would the Beast — who already will be a man in physical form — need a human-like replica of himself?
I believe the answer is most likely found in the second half of Revelation 13:14. The Beast — or the human leader — apparently will suffer some type of mortal wound and either appear to die or actually die, only to be brought back to “life” as the image of the Beast. All things considered, this could be a pseudo-miracle performed by the False Prophet that astonishes the whole world and causes them to worship the Beast, whose mortal wound was healed.
If we understand Satan’s desire to mimic and pervert all that God has done, then it is not unreasonable to believe that the Antichrist will perform some type of “resurrection” from the dead to imitate Christ. I am of the opinion that this demonic resurrection will produce the image of the Beast, further deceiving the lost inhabitants of the earth to worship him. Any failure to follow suit will most likely result in martyrdom.
“And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.”Revelation 13:15
The Mark of the Beast
“Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.”Revelation 13:16-17
Finally, we see the False Prophet using economic control over the masses, preventing anyone to buy or sell without first being “marked,” either on the right hand or the forehead.
What is this mark of the Beast?
The Greek word for mark used here in Strong’s Concordance is number 5480 xáragma. It can refer properly to an engraving (etching), brand or stamp and also can refer to an identification symbol or badge, giving irrefutable connection between parties. Think of the Jews in the Holocaust who were forced by the Nazis to wear the star of David for identification. Notice that the mark is also called the “number” of the name of the Beast, or 666.
Once again, I can’t be dogmatic about this mark, but here are my thoughts.
- The mark of the Beast is at the very least a universal identification system that can be globally monitored through modern technology.
- The mark of the Beast could employ some type of microchip or nanotechnology that can implanted into the skin of willing individuals or delivered via some form of vaccination or inoculation campaign.
- The mark of the Beast will be in some way outwardly recognizable and visible as to distinguish between those who have taken it or not.
- The mark of the Beast, in my interpretation, is the “seal” of the Antichrist, which is the antithesis of the seal of the Holy Spirit.
- True believers who are sealed with the Holy Spirit and who possess the mind of Christ will refuse to voluntarily take the mark, even if it costs us our lives.
Although the Beast and his kingdom will be concentrated in the Middle East, his reach and control will be global because of the technological component of the mark. Global tracking and data gathering has never been an option until now, and the Antichrist will take full advantage of GPS monitoring systems and 5G technology.
The Revelation of Jesus warns believers that the kingdom of darkness and the rule of Antichrist will last 42 months (3.5 years) and that we must be prepared not only to face the Beast, but also to be willing to suffer and die in resistance to his satanic system. This is just one of many reasons why I believe the church will be present on the earth during the great tribulation — or the last 3.5 years — before the return of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself gives a personal call to the saints to have endurance through this time of great trouble.
Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
“If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.”
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.Revelation 13:7-10
Furthermore, I believe only those who are seduced, deceived, or intimidated by the False Prophet to take the mark — and do so willingly — will be taking the seal of the devil and deliberately rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not believe a true believer who is sealed with Holy Spirit should worry that he or she will somehow be tricked or forced into the taking the mark of the Beast. For those who truly belong to Christ, they will not love their lives, even unto death. The words of Jesus ring true.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.19When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” [Matthew 10:16-23]
Those who willingly take the mark, however, are consciously pledging full allegiance and giving themselves over to the Beast. Their end is sealed.
And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.”Revelation 14:9-10
We are living in the last days. May all God’s people be prepared for what is coming upon the earth in the years to come. We will need God and His presence and power more than ever, and we will need one another like never before.
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.