Getting the mark of the beast is the same as losing your soul
It’s not certain what the mark of the beast really is (we can only speculate) but it’s absolutely certain that it’s not possible to enter the kingdom of God if you choose to get this mark in the future when it’s going to be offered. I don’t believe that this mark will be forced on people who have no choice in the matter – like newborn babies – because it wouldn’t be a righteous judgment to send people to the lake of fire due to something that is outside of their control. I also don’t believe it’s a mark that we will get by mistake, without realizing what it really is. Since our souls are involved, I believe it’s going to be a very clear choice, so that we will know what is at stake.
John MacArthur usually gets his theology views twisted (see for instance this article) and that includes the issue of the mark of the beast. He claims that it’s possible to take the mark of the beast as long as you don’t worship it, but the Bible doesn’t give such assurances. He starts with making the mistake to use a pretribulation rapture as a foundation, which the Bible doesn’t teach. Saints will be on earth at the same time as Antichrist, and that means that they will have to go through at least part of the tribulation until they will see Christ. On the other hand, they will escape the wrath of God, but that’s not the same as the tribulation.
Saints are being warned from taking the mark of the beast throughout the book of Revelations, and it wouldn’t be logical to warn christians for something that they will never have to face or endure.
Below we can read that those who, at this point, do not have their names in the book of life (there is only one book of life), will be the same as those who will worship the beast, and they will naturally also have the mark of the beast if they also choose to worship him. This is interesting to note, because according to Rev. 20:15, those who are not in the book of life will be those who end up in the lake of fire. So the option we have are 1) being in the book of life, or 2) worship the beast.
If anyone refuses to worship the beast, he will be killed by the beast, but at least the beast doesn’t have power over our souls. It also says that ”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”, but this must means ”all kinds of people from all across the world”, because we know that not every single person will choose to take this mark – namely those who we previously read about, who will be killed due to refusing the mark.
Rev. 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the SAINTS, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the SAINTS.—15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.16 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:17 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.18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Below the angel says that if any man worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark, he will have to go through the wrath of God and and shall be tormented with fire and will have no rest day or night. So based on the below passage, we can read twice that this horrible promise seems to be for:
- whosoever worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark in his forehead, or in his hand
- whosoever worships the beast and his image (again)
- whosoever receives the mark of his name
Rev. .14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.12 Here is the patience of the SAINTS: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Below we can read that there will be a certain amount of people who will get victory over the beast, over his image and over his MARK. We know that they won’t be able to claim victory if they worship the beast and/or take the mark:
Rev. 15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
There will be a grievous sore on those who have the mark of the beast, according to the below passage, and on those who worship his image. We can read about the blessings involved for those who are being prepared and who keep their clothes, which means that there is such an alternative – for those who have not taken the mark or worshiped the beast:
Rev. 16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.—15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Those who will be cast alive into the lake of fire will be 1) them that had received the mark of the beast, and 2) them that worshiped his image – which seem to be one and the same people:.
Rev. 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Those who will live and reign with Christ for a thousand years are those who:
- were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God
- and who had not worshiped the beast
- and who had not worshiped the beast’s image
- and who had not received the beast’s mark on their foreheads/hands
All others will not live again until 1000 years have passed, and will be thrown in the lake of fire (the second death). The choices are 1) not being involved with the beast in any way – either worshiping him or taking his mark – which means you have your name in the book of life, or 2) being involved with the beast – worshiping him and taking his mark – which means your name is not in the book of life:
Rev. 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.—14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
How do we endure the tribulation?
How is it possible to endure the great tribulation? We must be very close to God (praying, reading his word, singing worship songs, fasting, etc) and live according to the Spirit. If we are lukewarm and live too much in the world, the temptations around us will be much too difficult to endure. We must live in the promise that we will be getting power to overcome, and the holy Spirit is our guide.
Deut. 4:30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;31 (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
Matt. 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Matt. 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.—29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
The question to John MacArthur was ”once the person takes the mark, is there any possibility of Him coming to Christ?”
John answered: —-”Now, the question is, if you’re living in the Tribulation period, and you take this mark, in other words, you identify with the beast’s empire, will you still be able to be redeemed? And I think the answer to that is yes. Yes! Otherwise there would be no salvation of anybody in the end of the Tribulation; and you’ve got to have the salvation of folks in the end of the Tribulation.”
Since MacArthur still has the recordings and transcripts on his website (it’s the year 2013) as per this site, one must assume that this is still his view until he claims something else.
A good article from Charisma News here about John MacArthur and his war on charismatic christians.