With fair regularity, stories appear in the media about technology that will allow the Beast to number and track every person on earth. People believe that either a number or bar code will be imprinted on the foreheads or hands of those who will be permitted to buy or sell. Lately, the stories have been about implantable microchips that will store vital information about each of us. Such stories are widely circulated, but no proof exists that any of them are part of a worldwide conspiracy. These reports are based on a misunderstanding of Revelation 13.

The "Beast" mentioned in Bible prophecy is a governmental system, headed by an evil human dictator (see Daniel 2:26-45; 7:1-8, 15-27; 11:36-45; Revelation 17:7-18). When Jesus comes, He will personally throw both that dictator and his "False Prophet" accomplice into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).

Receiving the Beast's number, name or mark has to do with giving allegiance to the government this dictator will establish and to the false religion that will be an integral part of that system. The Bible uses the symbols of the forehead and the right hand to represent one's loyalty by thought and work—mental and physical allegiance. The Scriptures teach that God's law is to be uppermost in our lives (Deuteronomy 6:8; 8:3).

Satan the Devil will be the spiritual power behind the Beast (Revelation 13:2), and he invariably counterfeits God's way to deceive even true believers into forsaking the truth (II Corinthians 11:13-15; Matthew 24:24). The Beast's system will therefore be a counterfeit of God's, and its mark—or identifying sign—a counterfeit of God's sign, the Sabbath (Exodus 31:13-17; Ezekiel 20:12). It is more likely, then, that the mark of the Beast will be an enforced "day of worship"—and it will not be the seventh-day Sabbath!