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 (Revelation 13:17 KJV)
COVID-19 has not only claimed lives but has sown seeds of deep-seated division—and confusion — in the political, medical, and Christian communities in the United States. Time alone will not heal this situation. As a physician and minister, I am appalled at some opinions about COVID-19, especially amongst Christians.
I had a conversation with a beloved Christian brother about COVID that opened my eyes to the depth of the ocean of misinformation and strange beliefs about COVID. After telling him I am a doctor, I care for COVID-19 patients, I have seen patients die with me as the doctor, and I have watched the devastation of this disease on families as we watch COVID-19 snatched their loved ones, this brother had the audacity to tell me COVID-19 does not kill people. Based on his own research, he concluded people die from their medical comorbidities and not from COVID-19 and that all this thing about COVID-19 and the vaccine is a political agenda. He then made the most shocking comment I ever heard since the pandemic began— that we, the doctors, are deceived. In fact, he sent online videos to educate me just in case he could help me escape the deception and “find the truth.” He spends hours online reading and watching videos from other “experts,” including some doctors who prove that COVID-19 is a sham. I still lack words to describe this attitude in a way that shows love and respect.
I have not yet recovered from this beloved brother’s comment. I understand his points and agree that some things about this virus and the treatments may be odd or not fully understood. For example, he does not wear a mask, is not vaccinated, and has not had COVID-19! I pray he doesn’t and that he stays healthy with his family. But that is not the way medical science and public health work.
This brother is not alone. Some strange beliefs and opinions about COVID-19 continue in the Christian circle. My advice to Christians is this: Give to Caesar what is Caesar and to God what is God. We must be careful not to mix up the things of God with straightforward medical or scientific questions. Sometimes faith and science coincide head-on, but not in this case. One misapplication of biblical truth is the rejection of the COVID-19 vaccine based on teachings that it is the mark of the beast.
No, the COVID-19 vaccine is not the mark of the beast or 666. The Mark of the beast is not something you will take by mistake. Someone will not sneak behind you and put a chip on your head or hand without your consent and complete agreement. This mark or 666 is a willing devotion or loyalty to serve the devil, just as you had the mark of God on your forehead when you accepted Christ and devoted your life to Him(Revelations 14:1). God’s people, said to have God’s mark on their foreheads in Revelations 14:1, do not have some scar, implant, or chip on their foreheads! No one forced Christ on you when you received Him into your heart. You knew what you were doing and chose to do so. The mark of the beast will similarly be a willing surrendering of people’s lives to the devil. The mark is primarily symbolic, indicating this loyalty to Satan. However, it will most likely involve some physical proof of allegiance to the antichrist. Whatever the case, the COVID-19 vaccine is not a subtle way to stamp 666 on you without your consent!
Yes, when the antichrist comes, he will use the everyday systems we are already using! If you think about how the world functions today, it becomes obvious how easy to have something physical to prove that you belong to a group to have special privileges. Think of cards, badges, or even facial recognition today! That the antichrist will use a computer when he comes does not mean computers are evil, does it? So that you know, the antichrist will also use cars or airplanes to move around. We probably do not think about these, and we will not even accept to stop using cars just because the antichrist will someday use them. The world is doubtless ready for the antichrist, but we need the wisdom to know how to live today.
COVID-19 vaccine is not the mark of the beast. There are questions about the novelty of the technology and long-term safety. Although the technology is safe based on available data so far, it can be manipulated by people with evil intentions. None of us reading this text will stop using the internet because scammers, pedophiles, occultists, or terrorists use it for their evil plans. Again, wisdom is profitable to guide and to see differences in the affairs of life.
Whatever the case, and whatever your belief, COVID-19 should cause no division amongst God’s people. When our opinions trump brotherly love, we can easily be divisive and argumentative, thereby hurting relationships amongst us Christians. We know we have moved out of God’s will and are running our course if this occurs.
We all have the right to believe whatever medical information we want. It is intriguing to see some Christians distrust medical science or doctors but turn to the same medical system when things go downhill. As I taught in one of our live Bible studies, God is not against medical science. There is value in education and professional training. There is a reason for organizations such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or National Institutes of Health( NIH), with experts spending hours reviewing the available information. History has taught us that experts can be wrong or sometimes respond inappropriately based on strange undisclosed agendas. Still, we should know where we stand before saying the CDC, the FDA, or related medical organizations are wrong about COVID-19. Internet browsing and reading do not make a medical professional fit to judge medical information the way these experts do, who ha spent their lifetime in the medical profession’s art, craft, and science. The internet or freely available information is not a replacement for professional education.
Also, as Christians, it is worth reminding ourselves that we should leave our opinions about medical issues or politics outside before we enter God’s House, that is, any community of believers. We should not take God’s name into medical debates.