I am curious whether or not a person can receive the mark of the beast before the tribulation. I know someone who wrote the number of the beast on their forehead and now wants to follow Christ. Can they be saved?
Revelation 13:16-18 says, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”
The mark of the beast will have to be in one of two specific places, “…in their RIGHT HAND, or in their FOREHEADS.”
Then there will be choices for one of three possible marks: “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the MARK, OR the NAME of the beast, OR the NUMBER of his name.”
In regard to the “mark,” we have no idea what design it will be, so it would be impossible for someone today to knowingly take the “mark” of the beast. Marks or symbols do not always stand for the same thing over time. A check mark (ü) used to be a symbol that you answered a question incorrectly. Now, if you have that symbol on your clothes, it represents the Nike corporation and its athletic gear. No one knows what “mark” the beast is going to use to represent his evil kingdom. It may be a design which now exists, or it may be some new design which he makes. The point is that now, at this present time, there is no “mark” that is specifically attributed to the beast, so it would be impossible to “take his mark.”
In regard to the “name” of the beast, no one knows his name, so it would be impossible for someone right now to knowingly be tattooed with his name. In the Bible, there was more than one “Judas” and more than one “Simon,” etc. Whatever name a person is tattooed with today, has no specific meaning to the beast, because there could be many people living right now that have that same name.
In regard to the “number” of the beast, we do know that his number is going to be “666.” Even this number, though, is probably going to have to appear in a very distinctive fashion, or it would be easily counterfeited. Remember, just like money is counterfeited today, because it is that with which we buy and sell, even so the mark of the beast will face the same counterfeiting attempts by people so they can “beat the system.” In working with computers, you know that there are many different “fonts” from which a person may chose. In dealing with financial matters, there are many different inks with which they are now printing money (inks that change color with the moving of the bills, etc.). To maintain absolute control over the buying and selling on this planet, the beast is going to have to have a very distinctive and permanent mark which he can place upon people that cannot be easily duplicated. So there is no way to know, right now, how exactly even that number will be placed upon people. It is very foolish to scoff at the seriousness of this matter, and have “666” tattooed upon a person’s flesh right now. But even if a person did, it would probably not be accepted as the legitimate “mark” or “number” of the beast when the Tribulation Period starts. That person would probably have to have the “official” number in its distinctiveness placed upon his flesh.
So the bottom line is that a person can still get saved right now, no matter what he might have foolishly tattooed upon his flesh. The devil wants people to think that they have done things so bad that God will not save them. That is just another one of his tactics to keep people from getting saved. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
What is sad is that even many Christians are tattooing their bodies now. “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, NOR PRINT ANY MARKS UPON YOU: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:28). Just 20 years ago, who would have ever dreamed that so many people would now be walking around with tattoos covering their flesh? It is just another sign that the time is very short. It is all preparing people for the Tribulation Period and the taking of the mark of the beast. To many people, it will be no big deal, because their bodies are already covered with marks — that will be just one more. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:11-12). “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).