THE SCRIPTURE STATES that the mark of the Beast is “the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six” (Rev.13:18) or 666.
The mark of the Beast will not occur until the mid-point of the seven-year Tribulation and those who receive the mark do so either in their right hand or in their forehead. It will be essential to wear this mark or one will not be able to buy or sell.
There has been a lot of speculation as to what the mark will be and how it will be administered. Some have suggested the number 666 is already on the Visa Card. Others suggest it is a tattoo or a computer chip imbedded under the skin.
Modern technology and the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has given rise to a host of possibilities. The potential for computers to store vast amounts of information and the application of AI has made it possible for the entire world population to be monitored, analysed and controlled. Accordingly, some have suggested the systems are already in place for Antichrist to establish a one world Government with absolute control over every individual on the face of the planet. But is this so?
That Antichrist will establish a one-world Government at the mid-point of the seven-year Tribulation there can be no doubt. Scripture could not be clearer on this point. We read that
“all the world will wonder after him” and it will be said, “Who is able to make war with him?” “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and
poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev.13:16-17).
There can be absolutely no doubt about the universal reach of the Beast during the second half of the seven-year Tribulation but how will he achieve it and will he use computers and AI? Will computers be available at the mid-point of the Tribulation?
A few thoughtful moments about the first half of the Tribulation might provide us with answers.
Immediately after the Rapture the seal judgments will begin and after a short period of peace (1Thess.5:3), terrorism will burst upon the world to such an extent that one quarter of the world population will suffer (Rev.6:4-8). Then there will be another Arab war. Egypt will be smashed by Israel and the Beast (Dan.11:40-42; Isa.19) as the political head of Europe.
Then Russia with her Islamic associates will sweep into Israel (Ezek.38:1-9) causing the Jews to turn to Jesus Christ (Ezek.39:22) but not before two thirds of the nation perishes (Zech.13:8-9). The invading armies will be decimated by God when Israel turns to the Lord and only one sixth of the force will escape to Siberia (Joel 2:20). They won’t be able to return to Russia because Russia and “the isles”, most likely the US, will be burned (Ezek.39:6) probably from a shoot-out between the two great nations.
In the land of Israel the stench of death will be so great that it will “stop the noses of passengers” and it will take seven months to bury the rotting bodies strewn all over the country.
There will also be a global earthquake at this time (Ezek.38:19; Rev.6:12) that will shake the nations and this will be followed by the Trumpet Judgments in which one third of the globe will be burned, one third of the oceans turned to blood and one third of the ships will perish! (Rev.8:1-10) The world will experience a Pandemic caused by demonic activity and men will seek death but not be able to find it (Rev.9:6).
Finally there will be an Asian War that will slay one third of the human race. India; China; Pakistan; Japan,; Bangladesh; Korea and other Asian countries will erupt. With the Pacific Ocean already turned to blood and all the shipping in it destroyed this will not be a naval battle but a land battle involving 200 million men.
China, India, Pakistan and North Korea are all nuclear powers and a war of these proportions will most likely be nuclear. The devastation will defy description and only Europe will appear to survive relatively unscathed.
With such universal destruction and loss of life the entire world economy, and environment will change. We cannot assume that systems operating now will operate then.
If shipping is devastated the transport of coal, iron ore, oil and manufactured goods will cease. Coal-fired power stations will cease to produce electricity, transport systems will shut down and cold storage of food will cease.
We are told that those who maintain and operate advanced computer programs and AI require enormous amounts of electricity but the global devastation existing at the mid-point of the seven year Tribulation will cause black outs that will disrupt everything connected to the power grid so that high-tech systems may not be able to effectively operate. Even cars may be useless if fuel is not available.
Obviously there will be some areas affected more than others for we know that, at the end of the Tribulation, the ships of Tarshish (USA/UK) will be the first to bring the Jews back to the land (Isa.60:8-9) and even some planes will fly for Isaiah says “who are these that fly as a cloud?”
Nevertheless vast areas of the world will be devastated and global communication will be difficult. Antichrist will have a global reach but there will still be a remnant who refuse the mark of the Beast and these will have to survive to be among the “sheep” nations at the end of the Tribulation. Jesus said that unless those days of Divine wrath are shortened (curtailed), no flesh would be saved alive. The judgments will be curtailed when the seven thunder judgments are cancelled (Rev.10:4).
Mobile warfare will be difficult without fuel and Zechariah seems to indicate that horses will be used in battle at the end of the Tribulation for he states:
“In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of
Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness” (Zech.12:4).
It is in such a time as this that Antichrist will seek to finally accomplish victory and secure his global goverment. His edicts will be universal and he will seek to control every human being on the planet but it will be in the context of Divine judgment falling upon earth and during Antichrist’s reign in the second half of the Tribulation, those judgments will focus on the kingdom of the Beast for we read, “his kingdom was full of darkness” (Rev.16:10).
We should also remember that God has promised protection for His people during the reign of Antichrist. The 144,000 Jewish preachers in the first half are “sealed” for protection from the effects of the Trumpet judgments (Rev.7:3) and when Israel flees from Antichrist at the mid-point of the Tribulation, God has “a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there 1,260 days” (Rev.13:6) which is the entire reign of Antichrist.
Before Israel turns to Christ and trusts in Him two thirds of those “in the land” will perish (Zech.13:8-9) but the remaining third will fight back against Antichrist with the Lord on their side. It seems that they will have great victories against Antichrist such that the governors of Judah will be “like a torch of fire in a sheaf…and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem” (Zech.12:6).
Two million Jews who are all, male and female, militarily trained with the best weapons will be a hard nut for Antichrist to crack especially when “the Lord goes forth to fight against those nations as when He fought in the day of battle” (Zech14:3).
At the end of the Tribulation Antichrist will seek to gather “all nations” against Jerusalem to battle (Joel 3:2) which means that Israel has reoccupied the city after having to flee as they did when Antichrist took over (Matt.24:15-
21). The final conflict at the battle of Armageddon will be at Jerusalem and “the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women
ravished; and half the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city” (Zech.14:2).
There is no doubt that Israel will be back in Jerusalem for the final days of the reign of Antichrist for Zechariah states:
“Judah shall fight at Jerusalem” (Zech.14:14).
It is in this battle that the horses are struck with blindness and madness.
So will the mark of the Beast be a computer chip requiring electricity to scan or will it be a physical branding or tattoo. I believe that when all the circumstances prevailing at the time are considered it is unlikely to be a computer chip and could simply be a branded number or tatoo. However I am just relieved that I will not need to worry about it because 1,260 days before Antichrist comes to power every believer in Jesus Christ on earth will be raptured to heaven. This is “the blessed hope” to which we who have found Christ as our personal Saviour look, in full assurance of faith.
If you have not acknowledged your sin and placed your trust in the One who shed His blood on the cross so that you could be forgiven, then NOW is the day of salvation. The Tribulation will come “as a thief in the night” – when least expected. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom.10:13).