The high standard of living and lifestyle within most of the industrialized nations is often exemplified by owning a home, having two cars in the garage, a couple of healthy kids, and a good career or two. It also may involve having the latest digital technology that includes one or more computers, flat screen TVs, tablets, and smart phones. Getting food, clothing, and other items usually involves nothing more than driving to the nearest store and buying anything you need or want. Giving up this convenient life for an existence on the run with only the things you can carry on your back would be one of the most difficult things imaginable. Yet the Lord says that refusing the Mark and separating ourselves from the coming end times system will be an absolute necessity. In fact, after the Mark of the Beast is predicted in the book of Revelation, the very next chapter provides this dire warning about being branded for death:
“…If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb;
“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
Now you can understand why it’s so important to be aware of the prophecies dealing with the last days and the revealing of the Antichrist. It’s not because we enjoy studying about the most evil dictator who will ever live. It’s not even because we may be fascinated by all the prophecies that are being fulfilled in our generation, although we are. The reason we need to know and comprehend these things is so that we will not be deceived into following the Antichrist and his system. The danger is that the empire is destined to rise with an incredible amount of positive spin and hype from politicians, the news media, and global organizations. Every story on the news will be 24/7 non-stop discussion about the formation of the one-world government and its dynamic leader. Deception will rapidly spread throughout the globe and it will be transformed into a frenzy of excitement for the rise of a new age of peace. Celebrations will take place. People will dance in the streets. The wave of enthusiasm will be like an unstoppable force that will catapult the Antichrist into the most prominent political figure in history. Every person who is duped by the charisma, excitement, smooth talk, and delusion of the Antichrist and his New World Order will also end up willingly taking the Mark and worshiping the Beast and his image.
Unfortunately, these acts will also forever separate them from the Lord of the universe. Though it may sound incredible, obtaining the Mark of the Beast and in effect swearing allegiance to Satan’s empire will instantly and permanently brand each person an enemy of God. There can be no turning back, no repentance, and no forgiveness for aligning yourself with the Beast. Therefore, every man, woman, and child who willfully receives the Mark in his hand or forehead and worships the Beast and his image will be in reality buying a ticket for a one-way trip to a never-ending hell of fire and torment!
The apostle John states in no uncertain terms in this prophecy that all those who receive the Mark and worship the Beast and his image will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the angels and in the presence of Christ himself. This is the eventual judgment that God will pour out upon the entire empire of the Beast. John warns that in the end the followers of the Antichrist will experience the full wrath of God that was originally reserved only for the Devil and his angels (Matt. 24:41) and is synonymous with the lake of fire, which is described as the final judgment place later in the book of Revelation (Rev. 20:11-15). This smoke-filled fiery lake is also the final place of judgment for everyone who rejects the forgiveness of God through Christ. However, this is not a place where the wicked will be consumed and destroyed or cease to exist. The judgment of fire is never-ending according to this prophecy. John says that they will have no rest day or night and that their torment will continue for all eternity, which is forever and ever and ever and ever and ever… The followers of the Antichrist and his system will have no relief from the pain and suffering of judgment and no possibility of parole or forgiveness. By taking the Mark they will align themselves with Satan’s kingdom and the Antichrist and condemn themselves to being eternally cut off from the goodness and forgiveness of God.
In today’s world, people may call this kind of talk fear mongering, scare tactics, or even hate speech. However, the God of the universe has placed these prophecies and warnings within the Bible for the good of all his people. Just as the other predictions of the last days have come true or will come true as the Second Coming draws near, so too will the Empire of the Beast suffer this severe wrath of God when Jesus returns. This judgment will be well deserved. By the time the Lord comes, the Antichrist and his followers will have persecuted and killed millions of Christians for refusing to take the Mark and refusing to worship his image. In addition, the actions of the Antichrist will nearly cause the destruction of all life on the Earth through the effects of World War III and its accompanying nuclear holocaust. The Great Tribulation will bring death and destruction all across the globe of such magnitude that Jesus says the world has never seen anything like it, nor will it ever be seen again (Matt. 24:21-22). Seeing that the Antichrist and his followers will do such unimaginable evil, what should their judgment be if not the full wrath of God poured out without mixture?
These very clear predictions about the Mark of the Beast and its consequences also are designed to make nonbelievers think about the truth of Christ as they see these events being fulfilled. The fulfillment of prophecy when the Antichrist arises and the Mark is instituted will be one of the most powerful witnesses to the reality of God and the Good News of the nearness of Christ’s Kingdom. Many people will see this truth and flee to safety through faith in Jesus (see: Escape to Safety). The book of Revelation promises that those who become believers and come out of the Great Tribulation having been washed in the Lamb’s blood will stand before the throne of God and their number will be more than any man can count (Rev. 7:9-14).
Some may ask, “What if we are forced into receiving the Mark against our will”? If by forced you mean held down and made to get the Mark in your hand or forehead through brute strength, then that is far different from willingly taking it. It may be that some will actually become forced into getting marked by physical coercion. It may even be that this will be done to Christians as a way of humiliating them or torturing them; however, forcibly being marked against your will is not the same as willingly going along with the Antichrist and his system. If I was to be forcibly marked against my will, as soon as I was able, I would cut the mark back out of my body! What God is saying in Revelation 14 is a warning against willfully worshiping the Beast and willingly getting his mark. Someone could hold you down and mark you or force you to bow through physical power, but they could never get you to willingly follow the Antichrist’s system unless you made that decision on your own accord.
However, that being said, there is a difference between being physically forced into getting the Mark and deciding to get the Mark as a result of physical threats. The Antichrist’s empire will severely persecute anyone who does not follow their dictates, including worshiping the Beast and getting his Mark. Many people will suffer physical hardships, incarceration, torture, and even death because they will decide to follow Christ and not the Antichrist. If you are threatened with death, then death it may be rather than follow the Antichrist. It is better to refuse to follow the Beast and as a consequence have this mortal body suffer and be killed then to avoid a brief period of persecution by going along with the Beast’s system and suffer God’s wrath for all eternity! Those that are persecuted and killed for the sake of Christ at the end shall be resurrected with glorious, perfect, and immortal bodies and will live forever in His presence.
For those who follow Jesus in the last days nothing can be more important than to understand these prophecies. The Lord wants us to know what is ahead, because there will come a time in the not-too-distant future when there will be a distinct dividing line drawn between the believers and the nonbelievers; between the followers of Christ and the followers of the Antichrist; and between the goodness of God and the evil of Satan. This will be an indelible line that cannot be crossed twice. Once the nonbeliever willingly receives the Mark of the Beast or worships his image there will be no turning back from a certain fate of eternal damnation. Likewise, if a follower of Christ should be tempted to get the Mark in order to survive during the Antichrist’s reign, let him understand now that that very act will constitute an unforgivable sin with no way to recover from it.
WARNING: some false teachers and false prophets have set up web sites or published books that indicate that it will be all right for Christians to take the Mark of the Beast in order to purchase food and necessities while not worshiping the Beast and thus not suffer condemnation. One woman who runs a popular web site even claims that she received this information from the angel Michael, and she routinely publishes her own personal “revelations” about the last days. Do not be deceived; this type of teaching blatantly contradicts the Bible. This message is NOT TRUE and such instructions are straight from Satan himself meant to confuse and potentially deceive the faithful! The warning in Rev. 14 is clear. Every believer and nonbeliever must understand right now that the Mark of the Beast is a major turning point in the last days. When the mandate goes forth to get a Mark in the right hand or forehead, every person will be required to make a final decision that will affect his or her soul for all time! God wants you to see the reality of these predictions and as a result decide to follow the only One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life: the Son of God, Jesus Christ. As the prophecies of the end times come true in this last generation, God is showing everyone the power that is only present in his Word. He is warning us beforehand of the evil to come so that we can avoid it and be saved. No other book contains such prophecies and no one but Christ can rescue us from the trouble in the end of days.
This is why it is so important to understand this prophecy of John. The followers of Christ must avoid the Mark of the Beast at all costs and refrain from worshiping the Beast and his image. This will be a true and difficult test of faith: to find safety and live forever, we must separate ourselves from the temporary things of this world that today provide us with life. Remember, Jesus said that all those who seek to save their lives will ultimately lose them and those that lose their lives for his sake will find life everlasting (Matt. 16:25). Christ also warned that in the last days
“…he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved…”
For Christians to live eternally, every believer will soon have to give up the temporal and temporary comforts of this life and completely turn away from the system of the Beast. It will be frightening to have our lives uprooted when the Antichrist arises, but it is something we must endure and overcome if we are to be saved when Jesus returns. For those who put their trust in Christ, however, God will help them through the time of Great Tribulation to reach the ultimate release of life when Jesus returns!
From these predictions of the Mark of the Beast, it also becomes apparent that the Final World Empire will be an economic powerhouse with unified financial policies throughout the globe and not just a loose political alliance of nations. Those that control the economy of the world actually have one of the most powerful weapons to control the nations of the world. The diversity of political viewpoints within the Beast will be held together through the parallel deceptions of economic advantage and security. All nations will quickly adopt the Mark of the Beast and worship the image of the Beast or be cut off. The “strong delusion” (2 Thess. 2:11) that God will send upon the world as the Antichrist rises to power and the Mark is instituted will ensnare everyone who hates the Lord today. They will excitedly and eagerly follow the Beast and its system.
This doesn’t mean that the political parties of the world, which today range from far right to far left and from democratic to tyrannical, will instantly disappear. Rather, the nations will all agree to cooperate as one entity and they will give their power and sovereignty to the Beast—all because of the dramatic excitement and deception, which will accompany the Antichrist’s rise. At that time, it will be so enticing for the nations of the world to go along with the new system that it won’t be hard to find converts. In fact, as soon as the major industrial powers consolidate their ranks behind the Antichrist’s new system and the commerce of the Mark, it will be impossible for any other part of the world to remain outside. Every nation will either go along with his New World Order or be economically outcast. The rich, the poor, the free, and the enslaved will all be forced to follow and worship the new Empire of the Beast.
Next: The Cashless Society