by Mark Nickles
Social media can be a good resource for staying current with family and friends, i.e. pictures and videos, and a good way to find folks with common hobbies and interests. Other than that…., well, it seems to be good for riling people up needlessly. Case in point: recently, a particular Facebook page (which I won’t promote) ran a story about thousands of people in Sweden having microchip implants placed in their hands to replace credit cards and cash. Almost instantly came the “mark of the beast” warnings and worries. I would like to at least TRY to put these worries to rest, adopting the premise that there is absolutely no reason to believe these implants are the aforementioned “mark”.
My primary point is taken from Revelation 13, verses 16 and 17, which is the chief passage dealing with this issue. We will examine it with these verses in view, which say that one of the beasts “forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark”.
First, the happenings in Sweden did not fit the biblical narrative because no one was being forced to receive the implants. It was a voluntary activity, which, while perhaps not the wisest decision, was left completely to choice.
Second, a person can still participate fully in commerce of any kind, even if they don’t have the implant. Scripture clearly indicates that the absence of the mark of the beast would keep a person from buying and selling, which is not the case here.
Thirdly, scripture states that the mark will be received on the right hand, or the forehead. This is the most important point, so let’s break it down. Why the right hand? In ancient times, the right hand represented the physical power of an individual. For instance, a king might say that he would wipe out his enemies “with his mighty right hand”. Isaiah 41:10 notes God promising to support the nation of Israel with His “righteous right hand.” Why the forehead? Receiving a mark on the forehead signified a public profession of loyalty. Applying these facts to the goings-on in Sweden, receiving this implant has nothing to do with pledging all of a person’s might, strength or loyalty to anyone. It is simply being offered as what some see as a convenience. Personally, I’m satisfied using my credit or debit card, and I still like dealing with cash. Call me old-fashioned.
Serving God through Jesus Christ is a choice. Scripture indicates that the challenge of the end-times will be a call for people to devote themselves first and foremost to the entity called “the beast”. In other words, people will not be “tricked” into denying Christ. After all, you can’t be swindled out of your identity in Jesus; your salvation in Him is eternally, lovingly secure.
Mark Nickles is a husband, father of three, and a pastor in Northeastern Oklahoma. Copyright, Mark A. Nickles.