Matt Chandler says mark of the beast 'active even now,' clears up misconceptions about '666'

Matt Chandler is lead pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas.
Matt Chandler is lead pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. | Screenshot/The Village Church

The Village Church Pastor Matt Chandler has said he believes the mark of the beast is “active even now in this moment of history that we're in” and cleared up common misconceptions about the number 666 as outlined in Revelation 13.

In an Instagram video posted over the weekend, the 49-year-old Texas-based pastor said many people are familiar with the idea that the mark of the beast could be advanced technology, like a credit card, a phone or a chip embedded in people’s hands.

However, Chandler emphasized that these interpretations miss the core message of the book of Revelation. According to the pastor, the key to understanding the mark of the beast lies in the symbolic use of numbers within Scripture. 

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“I think this is to miss the point that's been made in the book of Revelation,” he said.

“The perfect number is number seven, and so if seven is complete, six is incomplete,” said Chandler. “We also know that the number three means complete. And so 666, the mark of the beast, is really to show that the work of the enemy is completely — three sixes — incomplete. And so this is, really, what the enemy produces: complete incompleteness.”

The pastor stressed that the mark of the beast “is not Elon Musk putting something in our brains or something like that." Instead, the number 666 on people’s foreheads is meant to symbolize “ideological belief,” and the number on people’s hands depicts “the practice of that ideological belief.”

In today's world, Chandler said he sees parallels in the increasing ideological requirements within certain sectors, particularly in the business community. 

“I think the way you’re even seeing this today,” he said, “is there are certain, especially in the business community now, ideological beliefs you must have in order to participate in the economy. And I think we’re going to see this get worse.” 

“That means I believe the mark of the beast is active even now in this moment of history that we’re in,” he concluded.

Chandler is also promoting his new book,The Overcomers: God's Vision for You to Thrive in an Age of Anxiety and Outrage, in which he draws on Revelation to impress upon Christians that no matter how daunting the world might seem, they are “uniquely wired, uniquely gifted and uniquely placed for this moment for all of God's purposes.”

In a recent interview with The Christian Post, the pastor explained that over the last 150 years, Revelation has been “hijacked,” read solely as a prophecy for End Times events and shaped by modern circumstances like conflicts and natural phenomena. 

“But [Revelation] actually got hijacked in the '70s, in particular, and it became this really scary, terrifying thing. It's always been a bit confusing because it's apocalyptic,” he said, adding that the book must be understood within its original context to understand its power. 

“For 2,000 years, [Revelation] put steel in the spines of Christians, empowered and encouraged them to live boldly as overcomers,” he said. “I'm taking that phrase straight from the letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3, where Jesus says, ‘To he who overcomes.’ To each one of the churches, He has this promise that if you'll overcome, here's the reward.’”

“I’ve got this burning belief that however disorienting these times are, they’re times God’s placed us here,” he said. “Nobody’s coming to bail us out. … C.S. Lewis isn’t coming, G.K. Chesterton isn’t coming to assess the political climate. And God's not panicked about that; God's actually pretty excited. He thinks He's got the right team on the field.”

Chandler is not the first pastor to warn against misinterpreting the meaning of the mark of the beast; in 2021, evangelist Franklin Graham cautioned against believing that the “vaccine passport” chip implant developed by a Swedish company was the mark of the beast.

“Christians around the world are wondering if COVID-19 is being used as a way to condition the world population to accept a mark like this, whatever form it may take,” Graham said.

“If a scannable chip under the skin can contain vaccine information, adding other personal information and financial data could be a short step away. This may sound frightening, but people who have put their faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, don’t need to be afraid. We should not live in fear. God told us what was coming in His Word. Make sure that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life by repenting of your sins and putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.”

After a Wisconsin-based company let employees get microchips implanted in their hands, Jerry Newcombe from D. James Kennedy Ministries also warned about such conclusions.

“World leaders from Mikhail Gorbachev to Ronald Reagan have been falsely accused of being the Antichrist,” he wrote in an op-ed for CP. “And microchip fears have stoked prophetic speculations for years — but many biblical scholars note that Revelation is not pointing to some inadvertently-adopted technology, but is speaking symbolically of those who cast their lot with the opponents of Christ for societal approval.”

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