The Marks of the Beast

A useful essay on the three most common responses by Christian pastors concerning the relationship between eschatological prophecy and the current vaccines and vaccine mandates:

In my observation, there appears to me to be roughly three types of pastors when it comes to whether we are seeing the beginning of the Mark of the Beast in our current day. The first kind is the pastor who is absolutely convinced that this is the Mark, and that this is the beginning of the tribulation. I know good guys who are convinced that this is the case and have been saying so publicly for some time now. Sometimes they are willing to give a little bit and say it may just be a precursor, but they are generally very adamant this is the Mark. The continued Beastly behaviour of our governments is not quickly proving these guys wrong.

The second kind of pastor is the one who wants no talk of the Mark of the Beast around him in relation to our current context. He rejects outright any thought that we may be entering the tribulation. He recognizes that many people have thought many things were the Mark of the Beast in history, and they were all wrong. He is the guy who is quick to point out that this is a healing device, the government may not be handling this situation ideally, but they are seeking to get to people a medical treatment that can end this pandemic. For this pastor, to apply the teaching of the Mark of the Beast here is unnecessary fear mongering. Yes, there is coercion, some of these pastors think the coercion is wrong, others think it a necessary evil to get the vaccine numbers up. These pastors are the most likely to see any talk of the tribulation and Anti-Christ in this time as irresponsible.

The third kind of pastor, and this is the category I would put myself in, is the pastor who is very concerned with the Beast-like behaviour of the government, but also recognizes along with the pastors in the second category that there are countless examples of predictions about the end times being wrong, and so is also hesitant to call this the Mark of the Beast. However, there is another key difference between pastors in this group and the second group. We see many of the hallmarks of the Beast-like behaviour of governments in this time, and from this we observe an old pattern at work. A pattern about how evil works, and a pattern about how we are to find richness and application from Revelation in every era from the time of Nero until now.

I’m not a pastor, but if I were, I would be in the third category myself. Anyhow, I highly recommend the essay as a useful exercise in educated critical thinking about the interaction between theology and quotidian existence.