The mark of the beast is some kind of seal that followers of the Antichrist will take in allegiance to him. The prophecy of Revelation 13:16–17 says that the image of the beast “forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.”
We don’t know what this mark will look like. A while ago, some thought it was a stamp or tattoo of the number 666. More recently, people thought it might be a bar code. Now a popular speculation is that the mark of the beast will be an implanted microchip that allows people to access their digital currency. But we honestly have no way of knowing what form the mark of the beast will take.
Some people fear that they have already taken the mark of the beast. They may have blasphemed God at some point or made some impulsive statement of allegiance to the Antichrist. They may worry about the chip in their credit card. Others have been told that their act of worshiping the Lord on Sunday instead of the Sabbath constitutes accepting the mark of the beast. There is one significant reason why it is impossible to get the mark of the beast now:
The mark of the beast does not exist yet.
A literal reading of Revelation and other end-times prophecy in the Bible shows that there is a schedule for the end-times events. Daniel prophesied of seventy weeks (seventy sets of seven years) that mark the time of God’s interaction with Israel. Sixty-nine of those weeks have passed since Daniel’s writing. The final week will be what we call the tribulation, which is when the Antichrist, or the beast, will rise to power. This ruler will join together ten nations (Daniel 7:24–25; Revelation 17:7) and make a deceptive treaty with Israel (Daniel 9). The mark of the beast cannot exist until the beast himself is in power during the tribulation.
Another reason believers in Jesus Christ should not fear getting the mark of the beast now is the rapture of the church. In the rapture, Jesus will take all believers, living and dead, from the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 1 Corinthians 15:50–54). Although people will still come to know Christ after the rapture, all those who trust Jesus before the rapture will be taken to be with the Lord. According to pretribulationism, believers who live in the church age will never have an opportunity to receive the mark of the beast.
So, there is nothing anyone can do today to get, take, or receive the mark of the beast. Implanted chips, bar codes, tattoos, blaspheming, saying out loud, “I follow the Antichrist and accept the mark of the beast”—none of these will give you the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast cannot exist without the “beast,” or the Antichrist demanding it.