The Vaccine and the Mark of the Beast

I recently attended an online meeting of the Prophetic Witness Movement, an organisation chiefly concerned with Christ’s return. It was followed by Q and A, during which Alec Passmore, the speaker, was asked if he thought the Covid Vaccine was the Mark of the Beast. To those unfamiliar with the term, it is something spoken of in Revelation 13:16-18:

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. 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. (ESV)

This seems to refer to some future event for which Bible believers are keen to gain understanding and rightly guard against. Not taking the vaccine, which is a global initiative, is likely to stop one travelling abroad and might even be a requirement for entering shops, restricting one's ability to buy and sell. Yet I am satisfied that this vaccine is not it and Dr Passmore said the same. Now there might be some valid reasons to avoid a vaccine, but this is not one of them. I’ve received a few spirited messages from people regarding me as a false shepherd for failing to warn people against ‘taking the mark’. Being a shepherd also means cautioning people against knee jerk reactions and dangerous assumptions. I am old enough to recall people saying that barcodes were the mark. Without those black and white lines being scanned, no food could be bought and sold. In fact, barcodes proved to be useful technology, reducing retail costs and making food cheaper. So what makes me so sure about this one?

Firstly, a vaccine is not a mark. Although it might temporarily leave one, it will soon disappear. Furthermore, I see no compulsion connected to its receipt. Of course, this might change, but right now, it is voluntary and a welcome development.

Secondly, the Beast’s mark will be bound up with idolatry and rejection of Christ:

A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. (Rev 14:9-10, NIV)

Somehow, taking the mark will be tantamount to rejecting Christ and His gospel. It will involve a conscious and deliberate denial of our gracious God and His truth. The above passage makes it clear that it will be a salvation issue. Those who insist the vaccine is the mark must ask themselves if the God of heaven will ‘unsave’ millions of Christians who have themselves vaccinated against illness.

Thirdly, the mark is given on the hand or head. It would be an unusual vaccine which was administered through these limbs.

Fourthly, Revelation 19:20 makes it clear that receiving the mark is not only a denial of Christ but a false worship of some Satanically-inspired human figure:

Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. (NKJV).

Despite Mr Johnson’s success in vaccinating Britain far more efficiently that his European counterparts, I do not see him receiving worship, nor urging the worship of another. Although the mark is beyond our current level of understanding, it will be perfectly obvious when it appears. In the meantime, there may be calls for more international cooperation regarding pandemics, a greater role for the UN, or for further restrictions of liberties. We should keep an eye on all this; the real Beast and his horrible mark will arrive at some point. This is not that time. Remember that the passage in Revelation 13, which decribes the mark, states:

'This calls for wisdom'.

Would that some Christians were as wise as they are zealous. 

Image by torstensimon from Pixabay