The Revelation of John the Divine is perhaps the most mysterious book in the Bible. Many scholars have attempted to decode it and ended up with widely divergent results. One aspect accepted by most evangelical Christians is the mark of the beast. This is supposedly a microchip or tattoo placed on the right hands or foreheads of every citizen by a coming world government.
The first time I heard of this mark was when the boys of Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind were taken to a place called Paradise Valley. As we lined up to enter the grounds, one boy warned everybody not to get their right hands stamped with a rubber stamp. “You’ll go to hell if you get that on your hand,” he exclaimed. I became frightened since I had absent-mindedly reached out my right hand when the attendant asked me to hold it out.
As a teenager, I attended a house church led by a man who claimed to be anointed by God and that he received special revelations. This church believed in storing up food for the three-and-a-half years when those who didn’t take the mark couldn’t buy any from the shops. As the years passed, I bought some survival gear from a mail order company. I believed we would be on the run from the global government police and would have to hide in the wilderness.
Hank Hanegraaff, a radio talk show host, recently made a paradigm-changing statement on his show, The Bible Answer Man. He said this mark was a mark of character, not anything physical. Hank explained that the prophecy John gave was only to the seven churches in Asia, not to twenty-first-century believers. The great tribulation occurred during the reign of Nero and the letter was written to those people at that time. The only unfulfilled prophecy mentioned in it is the return of Jesus Christ.
The more Hank Explained, the more his interpretation of the book made sense. Since the prophecy wasn’t sealed, and since first-century Christians could never reckon the number of the name of a twenty-first-century beast, the book was addressed only to them.
I purchased the audio book of The Apocalypse Code from Hank’s web site and listened to it. It’s obvious to me that I and my fellow congregants were worrying for nothing. Revelation is written in symbols that would be familiar to Old Testament readers. Modern day Christians lack the understanding of those images and become hopelessly muddled when they try to decipher them. Hank’s logical interpretation not only corrects these errant ideas but gives us encouragement. We do but wait for Christ to return and put the world right.