With the advent of technology for implanting computer chips, many Christians have wondered whether this type of device might comprise the mark of the beast. Since possessing the mark will enable one to buy and sell, a chip giving access to one’s bank account would meet that description. Therefore, this technology could be paving the way for the appearance of the Antichrist.
Though Christians often find themselves focusing on the mark of the beast, we often lose sight of the fact that God marks foreheads also. One historical incident where this was the case is recorded in Ezekiel 9:1-4. The context entails God bringing Ezekiel to Jerusalem to point out to him the gross wickedness of its inhabitants, which Ezekiel records in Ezekiel 8, and to show him the resulting judgment that He will bring, which is recorded in Ezekiel 9. That chapter starts as follows:
Then he cried in my ears with a loud voice, saying, “Bring near the executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand.” And behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his weapon for slaughter in his hand, and with them was a man clothed in linen, with a writing case at his waist. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing case at his waist. And the LORD said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” (Ezekiel 9:1-4 ESV)
Two verses later God instructs the executioners not to touch those possessing the mark.
In Revelation 7 we find the 144,000 being given the seal of God on their foreheads, and John records that they were protected from one of the plagues. Therefore, we see that God at least in these two cases marks His people in times of trouble.
It is of special interest that the ones in Ezekiel on whom the Lord put a mark so as to be spared judgment were those “who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed….” We might have thought that God would have spared those who had been faithful witnesses or had lived righteous lives, and in all probability this was the case with those who were given this mark. Nonetheless, in this case God especially singles out those deeply burdened by the evil of the day.
This concern of God has special application to today because this quality is notably absent in most evangelical churches. I have found this to be the case in practically every church I have attended. It is as if our brothers and sisters are not being persecuted, abortion is not occurring, our children are not being corrupted in public schools at our expense, businesses not compliant with homosexual demands are not being sued and closed by our own government, etc.
Church has become an alternate universe where the evils outside do not exist, and we pretend that Joe’s upcoming appendectomy represents our greatest concern. The evangelical church experience entails living in a let’s pretend world for 75 minutes a week. It seems very artificial and phony, playing church.
Obviously we do not want people to fake concern for societal degradation that is offensive to God, but this passage connotes that such a response to evil should come naturally to healthy believers. What is missing in today’s church that is short-circuiting that response?
I believe it is the church’s teaching that God loves and accepts people unconditionally, which connotes that He is okay with them regardless of how they live. Therefore, if God is okay with them, why should we “sigh and groan” over their behavior? Until we see God as the Bible describes Him and see sin as He does, we will fail to qualify for His mark on our foreheads.