Question: "Is it possible to unknowingly take the mark of the beast?"


The mark of the beast has been a popular topic among Christians and non-Christians for centuries, gaining momentum in recent times. As our world becomes increasingly chaotic, talk of the apocalypse abounds. As our world becomes more technologically advanced, some worry that they might accept the mark of the beast unknowingly.

The Mark of the Beast in the Bible

The apostle John recorded a vision in Revelation that gives us some details about the mark of the beast. John sees two beasts in his vision. The second beast exercises authority and performs miracles on behalf of the first beast. The second beast “also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16–17). From this description, we know that the mark of the beast, whatever it is, will be forced on all people, not just certain populations. We also know that the mark is tied to commerce and will be required for any type of financial transaction. People will be forced to take this mark on the right hand or in the forehead, and somehow the mark will incorporate the name of the beast or the number representing his name—a number that verse 18 identifies as 666.

The Mark of the Beast — Public Opinion

A simple internet search for “mark of the beast” will open an endless jumble of speculation and conjecture. Some believe the mark of the beast will be akin to the chip found in today’s “smart” credit cards. The thought is that a similar chip will be implanted in the skin (where it cannot be lost) and give the bearer access to his or her financial data. Others believe that the mark will be a tattoo or a type of bar code. Another theory is that the mark of the beast will involve artificial intelligence or a genetic modification to “boost” humanity to the next level of evolution. Some worry that many have already taken the mark of the beast unknowingly and point to the COVID-19 vaccinations as the vehicle to administer it. Such claims agitate people’s fears unnecessarily. The mark of the beast does not exist yet. And when, in the future, the mark is forced on the world, it will be impossible to receive it unwittingly.

Timing of the Mark of the Beast

Before the mark of the beast can be foisted on people, the beast himself (the Antichrist) will need to be in power, aided by the second beast (the false prophet). Looking at Revelation 13, we find these events taking place before the mark of the beast is decreed:

• the Antichrist rises to power (verse 1)
• the Antichrist is healed of a deadly wound (verse 3)
• people openly worship the dragon (Satan) and the Antichrist (verse 4)
• the false prophet performs miracles on behalf of the beast, including calling fire from heaven (verse 13)
• the false prophet constructs an image of the beast and causes it to speak (verses 14–15)
• the image of the beast orders the death of anyone who will not worship it (verse 15)
• the false prophet orders everyone to receive the mark of the beast (verses 16–17)

We believe that these events will take place after the rapture of the church (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12). Since the Antichrist isn’t yet on the world stage, at least openly, there is no mark to be taken yet.

Unknowingly Taking the Mark of the Beast

The fact that we don’t know what form the mark will take can cause apprehension in some. However, according to the Bible, unknowing acceptance of the mark is impossible. Taking the mark will be a deliberate act of worshiping the image of the beast (Revelation 13:15–16). The signs of who the beast is will be unmistakable, and no one will accidentally worship him. People will have a choice. That choice will carry severe consequences one way or the other (see Revelation 13:17 and 14:9–10), but the choice will be clear.


Regardless of what the mark of the beast is finally revealed to be, God has a proven track record of allowing individual choice (see Genesis 2:16–17). We all have a choice to make in this age concerning Jesus Christ. How much better it is to accept Christ today and avoid the perilous time of the coming Antichrist.