In October 2004 the Food and Drug Administration approved the marketing of a microchip implantable under the skin of humans for medical identification. Paranoid prophecy pundits immediately began touting Verichip technology as the mark of the Beast spoken of in Revelation 13. Contrary to such newspaper eschatology, there is no biblical basis for believing that the mark of the Beast is a silicon microchip.
First, biblically, the mark of the Beast is a parody of the mark of the Lamb. Just as the mark on the foreheads of the 144,000 in Revelation 14 symbolizes identity with the Lamb, so the mark in Revelation 13 symbolizes identity with the Beast. Likewise, when Jesus says that on him who overcomes he will write “the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God . . . I will also write on him my new name” (Revelation 3:12), we intuitively realize he does not have a magic marker in mind.
Furthermore, the forehead and the hands are Old Testament symbols of a person’s beliefs and behavior (cf. Exodus 13:9; Deuteronomy 6:8; 11:18; Ezekiel 9). In other words, what you believe and how you behave mark you as either belonging to God or belonging to Satan. As such, John’s reference to the mark of the Beast in Revelation is securely tethered to Scripture. Conversely, the notion that the mark of the Beast is Sunday worship, a social security card number, or a silicon microchip has no biblical basis whatsoever.
Finally, the mark of the Beast is not something that can be taken inadvertently. It is the intentional denial in thought, word, and deed of the lordship of Jesus Christ. Thus, rather than fearfully avoiding microchip technology, we should with fear and trembling resist the temptation to be conformed to the evil systems of this world. Instead, we must boldly accept the mark of the Lamb by offering our bodies as living sacrifices and by being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12).
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville:W Publishing Group, 2007).
“This observance will be for you like a sign on your
hand and a reminder on your forehead
that the law of the LORD is to be on your lips.”