Could a COVID-19 vaccine be the “mark of the beast”? This was a question “Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff ran across recently. When Kanye West said the answer is “Yes” and added that having microchips inserted into our bodies will prevent us from getting into heaven, Hanegraaff thought the topic was worth addressing.
“For millions of [West’s] followers, this is no small thing,” said Hank Hanegraaff on his July 13 broadcast. “If indeed being vaccinated is tantamount to taking on the mark of the beast, and if this in tandem with having a computer chip inserted into the body will keep someone out of heaven, this decision on the part of a Christian is suddenly one of the most, if not the most, significant decisions that person could possibly make.”
Hank Hanegraaff: This Is Misleading and Dangerous
In an interview with Forbes about his 2020 presidential bid, Kanye West said,
When they say the way we’re going to fix Covid is with a vaccine, I’m extremely cautious. That’s the mark of the beast. They want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven. I’m sorry when I say they, the humans that have the Devil inside them.
The term “mark of the beast” comes from Revelation 13, where John describes seeing a beast coming out of the earth to deceive the people of the world. The beast has power to perform signs and to lead people to worship a different beast that had previously arisen from the sea. The end of the passage says,
[The 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 its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.
It is not new for people to debate the meaning of the beast’s mark or of the number 666. The idea that the COVID-19 vaccine could be the “mark of the beast” (and that Bill Gates could be one of the primary people responsible for it) surfaced online even before West made his comments. While some might see people’s speculations on these topics as fringe theories not worth addressing, Hank Hanegraaff clearly believes they are concerning enough to confront on his show. And he finds West’s perspective to be “tenuously tethered to thin air” and “as misleading as it is dangerous.”
If we do not know how to interpret the Bible correctly, then we will interpret it in a way that is nonsensical, and other people will conclude that the Bible is nonsense. Hanegraaff said the reason he knows West is wrong is “by learning to read the Bible in the sense in which it is intended.” The mark of the beast is neither a vaccine, nor is it a microchip. Rather, said Hanegraaff, “The mark of the beast is obviously a parody of the mark of the Lamb.”
Revelation 14:1 says, “Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
Hanegraaff believes that just as the former mark symbolizes that people have identified with the beast, the latter mark symbolizes that people have identified with the Lamb. The Bible Answer Man pointed out that the location of the beast’s mark is on the right hand and the forehead, and the location of the Lamb’s mark is also on the forehead. Hanegraaff drew a connection between the areas where people receive their marks and a set of instructions God gave in the Law for the Israelites to commemorate that he set them free from slavery.
In Exodus 13, God commands Israel to eat unleavened bread for seven days to remember what God has done for them. He tells Moses, “This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”
According to Hank Hanegraaff, this is just one example of how foreheads and hands in the Old Testament are symbols of people’s beliefs and behavior. He concludes, therefore, that when it comes to the mark of the beast, “Identifying with Satan’s kingdom is what will keep you out of heaven, not being vaccinated.”
Instead of fearfully avoiding vaccinations, Hanegraaff encouraged his listeners to “with fear and trembling, resist the temptation to be conformed to the evil systems of this world, systems that play fast and loose with biblical monikers and traffick in selling and sensationalism.” Rather than giving undue attention to the words of social icons, we should love and hunger for the words of God.
“How about loudly accepting the mark of the Lamb?” asked Hanegraaff. “How about offering up your body as a living sacrifice?” We do this by letting God’s word transform us. If we allow Scripture to shape us, those divine words will be a sign to us that God saved us from bondage to “superstitious ideologies” that hurt our witness to the world.