FAQ: What Do We Say When People Claim the Covid Vaccine is the Mark of the Beast? by Adriel Sanchez for Core Christianity
GNN Note – What John describes in the Book of Revelations is very specific. All one has to do is compare and contrast. / END
I’ve heard this idea floating around that the COVID-19 vaccine is the mark of the beast that’s in the book of Revelation. I know that vaccines are controversial right now, and I know it feels like this could be the end of the world after the past couple of years we’ve had. And, of course, Jesus did teach us to always be ready—he comes as a thief in the night (Matt. 24:42–44). The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent, and we’re called to look forward to that coming in hope, living in a way that honors the Lord in light of that great reality—the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But contextually there’s really nothing that would lead us to conclude that the COVID-19 vaccine is the mark of the beast. Revelation 13:11–18 says,
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
The mark of the beast is not something that people accidentally take. This is really about idolatry and false worship. The “number of a man” there is a reference to humanity: Man was created on the sixth day, and God rested on the seventh day. Six throughout the Bible is the number of imperfection—the number of man—and if we put our hope in man, we will be condemned.
The problem with idolatry is that we turn around and worship the creation rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25). The beast is leading people into this false worship, and these people are identified with the beast and with that false worship of the beast. I think that’s really what the what the number 666 is all about—it’s a symbolic figure for identifying with this idolatry.