He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
Revelation 13:16-18 NKJV
The mark of the beast is here. It has not yet been implemented, obviously, but the technology is here; and, it is far more sinister than we could have possibly imagined.
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Revelation 14:9-11 NKJV
We understand whomever receives this mark forfeits ALL HOPE. They cannot change their minds. They are literally selling their souls and all sales are final. No refunds, no exchanges. They will spend an eternity in the lake of fire, with no reprieve, and there will be nothing they can say or do about it. But why is that? Could it simply be:
He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
John 12:25 NKJV
We know that Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. Out of fear, presumably for his own well-being, he chose his life over the Lord. Yet, he was forgiven. Why? He repented, obviously. Not just a “Hey pal, I’m sorry. I should’ve stuck by you. My bad”. Rather, it was a gut-wrenching, desperate, brokenness. He had already declared Jesus as the Christ. He had already acknowledged He was the Way. He had a profound moment of weakness, for which he was profoundly sorry. He did not choose his life after that, but rather died a martyr.
So why won’t people who take the mark have that chance? What if someone takes the mark out of fear, but then later repents and wants to follow Christ even to the point of death?
The logical answer to that is they WON’T change their minds. Perhaps it is more accurate to say they CAN’T. They will be physically/ cognitively incapable of changing their minds.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Romans 1:28-30, 32 NKJV
The KJV says “reprobate” mind in place of “debased”. According to Strong’s, “reprobate” comes from the Greek word αδόκιμος, or adokimos, meaning unapproved, rejected, worthless.
Perhaps this is what happens upon taking the mark of the beast, only modified a bit. The evil deeds listed above are the magnified results of someone who has been turned over to a reprobate mind, a mind rejected by God and essentially worthless.
But people have done incredibly wicked things and then, by God’s grace, have been born again into Christ….so they couldn’t have had a reprobate mind. They still had a choice. Right?
Certainly. But there comes a time when a man can reject God so many times, blaspheme the Holy Spirit, until God says “Fine. Have it your way”. Such a person made the ultimate decision to reject God.
So as it will be for those who take the mark, but allow me to suggest more.
In the next post, I will suggest why and how taking the mark is the final rejection of God and a decision that will leave its bearers incapable of repenting and thus being saved. Stay tuned.