Will the mark of the beast from Revelation 13 be a microchip implant -or- national vaccine -or- national ID card -or- a scheme of Bill Gates, Google, etc., etc....?
The rampant speculation on the nature of the mark of the Beast currently circulating the internet is mostly nonsense. The Bible is abundantly clear concerning what the mark will be and when it will occur, and given what the Bible says, we can say with assurance that virtually every speculation popular today is wrong.
First, the timing of the mark is very specific. Scripture teaches that the mark of the beast comes at a certain point in history, and we have not yet reached that point.
The mark of the beast is called the mark "of the beast" because a man called "the beast" brings it into existence. The beast is also known as the antichrist, and according to the Bible, he institutes the mark when he takes command of the entire world at the midpoint of a seven-year period called Tribulation (for a complete understanding of these circumstances, please watch our Revelation Bible study).
So until the Antichrist is ruling the entire earth, there can be no mark, and since the Bible says the beast and his mark do not appear on earth until the midpoint of the seven-year Tribulation, then the mark cannot exist in any form prior to the Tribulation.
Furthermore, the Tribulation itself only begins after the Church has been removed from the earth at the resurrection, often called the Rapture, as Paul teaches:
2Th. 2:1 Now we request you, brothers and sisters, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,
2Th. 2:2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
2Th. 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
2Th. 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
Paul says the coming of the Lord (i.e., the Rapture) comes before the day of the Lord (i.e., the Tribulation), and the day of the Lord does not come until the man of lawlessness (i.e., the Antichrist) is revealed. Therefore, since the Tribulation has not started and the Antichrist has not yet been revealed and the Church has not yet been removed, then there is no way the mark can exist today.
Consequently, we can say with 100% confidence that no Christian alive today will ever encounter the mark of the beast. We will not be present on the earth when the beast and his mark arrive. This truth bears repeating. It is literally impossible for a Christian today to take the mark of the beast. Moreover, no set of circumstances in the world today (i.e., the distribution of a national vaccine, a new national ID card, microchip implants, etc.) is connected in any way to the future mark of the beast.
Therefore, any suggestion that a "mark of the beast" exists today in any form is simply myth, speculation, and sensationalism fueled by biblical ignorance. If believers choose to receive a vaccine or an ID card today, they are not in danger of sinning by taking the mark, since the mark is only given during the Tribulation after the Church is removed at the Rapture. (For a thorough understanding of the Rapture, please watch our video presentation Rapture).
Secondly, the mark of the Beast that will be required during Tribulation will be very different from any of the suggestions floating around the internet today (i.e., microchip implant, vaccine, ID card, etc.). Scripture tells us plainly what form this mark will take:
Rev. 13:16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free people and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,
Rev. 13:17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.
Rev. 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.
Scripture says the mark taken during Tribulation will be the name of a man or 666, the number of his name in Hebrew. In other words, the mark will specifically communicate a human name or the number "666," which will be clearly visible on the person's body, either on their forehead or hand. Obviously, a vaccine or a microchip implant does not fit this description, and proper interpretation of Scripture does not permit speculating beyond what is given.
It's important to note that the Bible never specifies the way the number of the antichrist will be applied to the body. The Bible only describes it as a "mark," and the Greek word for mark in Revelation 13 is charagma, which means "to sharpen, engrave, stamp, or impress." This description strongly suggests the mark will be a tattoo or fire branding into the skin. Again, this description does not match the modern alternatives often suggested by internet conspiracy theories.
Finally, the belief that the mark will be based on technology like a chip or some scheme of Bill Gates or Google is extremely unlikely because of the circumstances present on earth at the midpoint of Tribulation. As Pastor Armstrong explained, the worldwide destructive effects of the seal and trumpet judgments that precede the mark will completely eliminate all modern technology and infrastructure. Among other disasters, the Bible says these judgments during the first half of Tribulation result in virtually all cities of the world being leveled, mountains and islands sinking, a majority of the earth's population being killed, and the entire world rocked by immense earthquakes, hail storms, waters turned to blood, etc.
When we consider the cumulative effect of these worldwide disasters, it's impossible to expect that the world's technology will still be operating in the manner we take for granted today. Consider how easily our basic services like electricity, water, and the internet are commonly interrupted by "normal" disasters like hurricanes, ice storms, and floods? One local disaster typically wipes out power and other basic services for days or weeks.
Now consider what would happen to these same services after the relentless, worldwide devastation created by the unprecedented onslaught of God's judgments? Undoubtedly, the world will be plunged into darkness with no electricity, no running water, and certainly no internet anywhere in the world. Furthermore, given the magnitude and repetition of these disasters, it's also likely that once these services are lost, they will never be restored for the duration of the Tribulation.
Obviously, without electrical power, there can be no computing which means no internet, and the loss of such things will also render all other technology (like microchips) instantly useless. Therefore, the mark of the beast must be something rudimentary that does not depend on power or technology nor can it be easily faked or removed. Therefore, we can safely assume that when the mark comes following the Tribulation judgments, it will take the form of an indelible physical marking, like a tattoo or more likely a firebrand.
Therefore, Christians should avoid speculating on future events beyond what is given explicitly in the Bible.