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Back To The Future – Sermon #33


Revelation 13:16-18


Intro: We have arrived at a passage of Scripture that has caused more speculation that possibly any other. For centuries people have been trying to decipher the Mark of the Beast. People actually fear the number 666.

      I was in a store making a purchase, and the total of my purchases came to $6.66. This has happened on more than one occasion. Nearly every time, the clerk has tried to get me to buy something else so she won’t have to ring up $6.66. I always pay the $6.66 and use the opportunity to witness to the clerk and to give a brief explanation of the Mark of the Beast. It is a wonderful witnessing opportunity.

      There is a lot of speculation concerning what the Mark of the Beast is all about. There is much misinformation concerning this subject as well. These verses give us some of the information we need to understand just what the Mark of the Beast is. We won’t learn everything we would like to know, but we will learn enough to know that no Christian in this room needs to be afraid of the Mark of the Beast.

      So, let’s look at these three verses today. Let’s see if we can dispel some of the mystery surrounding the Mark of the Beast. There are some characteristics of the Mark of the Beast that I want to point out to you today as I preach about The Mark Of The Beast.



(Ill. There has been much speculation concerning what the Mark of the Beast might be. Some believe that it might be some sort of a barcode system that is tattooed into the skin. People would then have to scan their code to access their money to buy and sell. Laser tattoos can be produced that are invisible to the naked eye, but which show up under ultraviolet light. (Ill. If you have been to Carowinds or Six Flags and left the park they stamped your hand with an invisible stamp. When you came back in, you passed your hand under an ultraviolet lamp and the mark became visible.)

      Scientists have developed tiny microchips the size of grains of rice. These chips can carry all of your medical and financial information and they can be read with a simple scanner. These chips are already being used in pets, and there is talk of placing these microchips in babies to prevent kidnappings and mistakes at the hospitals. It is possible that technology of this nature could be used to fulfill this passage. It is also possible to place GPS transmitters in chips the size of jelly beans. With these transmitters, people can be tracked regardless of where they are in the world.

      Of course, technology has advanced to the place where people can be identified instantly by scanning their fingerprints, (Ill. My computer), and the retinas of their eyes. DNA technology is advancing at such a rate that simple genetic testing will soon be possible almost instantly. Who knows what the devil will use? There are certainly enough resources available to him in these days.

      As you know, the use of plastic currency is quickly replacing cash as the standard in business transactions. It has been suggested that the Mark of the Beast will actually be a credit card system of some sort. This is already being used in many cases for food stamps and other government services. Whether we like it no not, we are headed toward a cashless society. It makes sense! Without cash, crooks and drug dealers have a more difficult time. Without cash, there is less likelihood that people could hide their income from the IRS. We are moving in that direction.

      Again, whether we like it not, we have already been reduced to a number. Everywhere you go you need your Social Security number and your driver’s license number. It’s already this way in Sweden and Israel. Everyone has a number! Computers like numbers better than names, and you can be sure that computers will be involved with whatever system the Antichrist devises. The stage is set and the minds of people are prepared for some system of public identification.

      We are on the verge of a seeing a national identification card for citizens of our country. Given all the problems we are having with illegal immigration, there is a rising cry for some sort of identification card or system that can identify who is and who isn’t an American citizen.

      While we cannot know for sure what the Mark of the Beast is, we can learn something about how it will be utilized in that day.)

A.  The Scope Of This Mark – “causeth…all” – The word “causeth”, means “to force”. We are told that all people of all classes will be required to wear this mark in the bodies. Everyone, from the most common of men to the most famous of celebrities, will bear this mark in their bodies. It will be a universal mark. For once in this world there will be no favoritism and no discrimination. Every person from the savage in the darkest jungles of Africa to the executive living in the New York penthouse will receive the Mark of the Beast.

B.  The Situation Of This Mark – “in the right hands, or in their foreheads” – This mark will apparently be place either in the hand or in the forehead. The word “mark” comes from a word that means “a stamp, an imprint, something carved”. Whatever this mark is, it will reside in the flesh, and it will be permanent. People will not be able to alter it or counterfeit it. It will be placed where it can be easily seen.

C.  The Source Of The Mark – The “he” in verse 17 refers to the False Prophet. If you remember, he is the one who causes the world to worship the Antichrist. He is the one who causes the image of the Antichrist to move and speak. He is the leader of the one world religion that will dominate the world during the Tribulation. He will devise this marking system and he will see that it is carried out.

      Ill. It might help us to understand this if we consider what was happening in the Roman world during John’s day. In the Roman world, there were millions of slaves. A slave would be marked by his master with either a brand or a tattoo of a symbol or a number. It was Roman law in those days for people to worship the emperor. The Roman emperors had declared themselves deity and they demanded the worship of their subjects. This emperor worship involved the Roman citizen going into a temple set apart for emperor worship. The citizen would take a pinch of incense, place it on a flaming altar and say, “Caesar is god!” the worshiper would them receive a mark, signifying that he had fulfilled his duty to the emperor.

      This is exactly what we see in this passage. The world will worship the Antichrist, Rev. 13:4, 15. When they do, they will receive his mark. It will be a statement if their allegiance to him and to his government. They will be identified as his servants.


  I.  A Mark Of Identification


 II.  v. 17              IT IS A MARK OF ISOLATION

A.  The Power Of This Isolation – The mark will be tied to the economy. People will be required to produce the Mark of the Beast in order to be able to buy or sell. This, in itself, will be a great enticement for people to receive the Mark of the Beast. In order to hold a job, to get credit, to access bank accounts, or to do something so mundane as buy a loaf of bread, will require a person to have the Mark of the Beast.


      (Ill. Imagine what this might involve – A young mother goes to the store to buy formula for her baby. She lacks the Mark of the Beast and she is not allowed to purchase her products. A man stops for gas at the gas station. He does not have the mark and he is not allowed to buy. A family shivers in the dark and the cold because they cannot buy utilities without the Mark of the Beast.)


      This mark will instantly divide the world into two camps. The Mark of the Beast will declare who worships the Antichrist and who does not. It will prove to be a mark of isolation.

B.  The Purpose Of This Isolation – The Antichrist will use the Mark of the Beast to control the world. Everything in the world during the Tribulation will be controlled. Food, housing, medicine and medical care will all be dispensed only to those who have the Mark of the Beast. This mark will give the Antichrist instant power over every person everywhere in the world.

      Ill. A man who had lived under Bulgaria’s communist regime remarked: “You cannot understand and you cannot know that the most terrible instrument of persecution ever devised is an innocent ration card. You cannot buy and you cannot sell except according to that little, innocent card. If they please, you can be starved to death, and if they please, you can be dispossessed of everything you have; for you cannot trade, and you cannot buy and you cannot sell, without permission.” (Cited in W. A. Criswell, Expository Sermons on Revelation [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1969], 4:120–21)

C.  The Persecution Of This Isolation – There will be many who will refuse to accept the Mark of the Beast. The 144,000 Jewish evangelists will not take the mark. Their converts will refuse to take the mark. There will be literally millions of people around the world who will refuse to bow to the Beast or to his image. They will reject the ministry of the False Prophet. These people will suffer greatly for their decision.

      They will not be able to buy food, clothing or medicine. They will be refused medical treatment. Many, no doubt, will starve to death in order that they might not dishonor the name of the Lord Jesus. These people will be hunted down and persecuted to the death because of their defiance, 13:15; 6:9. These people will pay a terrible price for their faith in Jesus, but they will be rewarded greatly when they leave this world, Rev. 7:9-17!


(Note: We are not being persecuted for our faith in Jesus today, but we are a marked people. The world is ramping up its hatred of the Lord Jesus and of those who follow Him. We can expect to see this kind of hatred intensify as we move closer to the end.

      Believers in this day need to continue to take a stand for Jesus in spite of what they might face for doing so. We need to be faithful to Him, even unto death, if necessary.)


  I.  A Mark Of Identification

 II.  A Mark Of Isolation



A.  It Reveals The Name Of The Beast – We are told that the mark is tied to a number and that this number is tied to the name of the Beast. This has led to some wild speculation over the years. In ancient times, number values were attached to Greek and Hebrew letters. Using what is known as “gematria”, which is an ancient form of numerology, a number is assigned to each letter in the alphabet. These numbers are then used to seek hidden meaning in words. The people who believe in such things believe that numerical equivalents in names and words in not coincidental, but providential. The Beast’s name, when it is known, will yield the number “666”.

      People have used this system to propose many different possibilities as to who might be the Antichrist. They have taken the letters in people’s name added up the numerical value and declared that this person or that person had to be the Antichrist. They have suggested Adolph Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Back in the 1980’s some people believed that Gorbachev was the Antichrist because that huge birthmark he had on his head.

      The fact is. We do not know who the Antichrist is. We can do all sorts of numerical gymnastics, but we will still be in the dark concerning his identity. But, when he appears, the people living in that day will have all the information they will need to be able to identify the Antichrist.

B.  It Reveals The Nature Of The Beast – We are told that the Beast’s number is “the number of a man”. His number is “666”. Six in the Bible is the number of man. Man was created on the sixth day. This number is just short of the number of completion or perfection, the number 7. The number six is seen several times in the Bible. When it is in view, it always comes up short.

      When Nebuchadnezzar made his idol in Daniel 3:1, it was 60 cubits by 6 cubits. When Goliath came out to meet David, 1 Sam. 17, he was six cubits and a span tall and carried a spear whose head weighed 600 shekels.

      The Antichrist will be the pinnacle of human achievement. He will be the brightest, most powerful human the world has ever seen, outside of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will be a remarkable man, but he will still fall short of completion and perfection. His number declares his deficiency.

      Man is represented by the number six. God is represented by the number seven. Seven speaks of completion and perfection. God is perfect and complete, whether you are speaking of the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit. He is a “777”. Satan and his unholy trinity can never compete with God. They will give it their best, but they will still be just “666”. They will never be complete and perfect because they lack God!


(Note: Why would anyone choose this number? We have to assume that if the Antichrist is the ruler of the world, he must me able to choose his own number. Why 666? He may do it to stand in defiance to God. After all, the Lord has declared that the devil’s superman will wear this number and be defeated. He may do it out of pure rebellion.

      Of course, this number might just be for God’s people to be able to recognize him when he comes. Either way, this number will declare his name and his nature. When he comes, the people of God will be able to identify him and thus refuse his mark.)


Conc: One of the practical lessons we can take away from this passage is this truth: Satan always marks his people. He marks their bodies, their souls and their minds, (Ill. The truth of this). He marks his people. On the other hand, God seals, 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; Rev. 7:2-8. Satan marks those who give themselves to him. God seals those who come to Him through Jesus. He seals them for Himself and He seals them for all eternity!

      There are some terrible days coming on this earth! Satan is going to have free reign down here for several years and billions will be brought under his grip for time and eternity. Every one of these people who take the Mark of the Beast are destined for eternity, Rev. 14:9-12. They cannot take the Mark of the Beast, worship Satan and then be saved. If they bow to him, they are lost forever! That is a terrible truth! Do not let that happen to you! Come to Jesus while there is time to be saved. If you are left here after the Rapture and you survive the wars, the famines, the death and disease, you will take the Mark of he Beast and you will go to Hell. It does not have to be that way!

      To Satan, you are nothing but a number. If you will come to God, He will call you by your name, Rev. 2:17; 3:5. Ill. A census worker came to the door of a home and asked the lady of the house about the number of her children. She had several and she began the name them out loud, “Let see, there’s Billy, Jimmy, and Sally. There’s Sue...” He interrupted her and said, “Ma’am I don’t care about their names I just want to know their number.” She said, “Sir, my children do not have numbers. They have names!”

      You can have a name or you can have a number. If you have a name you will have a place in Heaven when you leave this world. If you receive a number, you will go to Hell forever. Which do you want today?


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