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COVID Vaccine Is 'Absolutely Not' the Mark of the Beast, Leading N.T. Scholar Says

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Tuesday, October 12, 2021
COVID Vaccine Is 'Absolutely Not' the Mark of the Beast, Leading N.T. Scholar Says

COVID Vaccine Is 'Absolutely Not' the Mark of the Beast, Leading N.T. Scholar Says

One of America’s leading evangelical scholars is rejecting speculation that the COVID-19 vaccine could be the "mark of the beast," as mentioned in Revelation.

Thomas Schreiner, a long-time New Testament professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author or editor of 10 books, said Sunday in a series of tweets that he’s often asked about the issue and is “grieved” that some are embracing it as true.

"I am working on a major commentary on Revelation in the Baker series," Schreiner tweeted. "When I am out speaking and now via email I am being asked more and more whether the vaccine is the mark of the beast. My answer: absolutely not! There is no exegetical or theological basis for such a view."

"I am grieved that some are worried and anxious about this matter," added Schreiner, who joined the Southern Seminary faculty in 1997. "Rest assured. What it means to side with the beast is a much more serious matter than whether to take a vaccine."

Schreiner's concern about the theory spreading is legitimate. A Google search for "mark of the beast" leads to articles not about theology but instead to multiple articles discussing the theory. Like Schreiner, the articles say the vaccine is not the mark.

Revelation 13 mentions a beast that "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."

Although evangelicals are divided over the passage's meaning as it relates to the End Times, every major evangelical scholar has rejected the theory that it references the vaccine.

Curtis Chang, a senior fellow at Fuller Theological Seminary and the founder of the website ChristiansAndTheVaccine.com, also has said the vaccine is not the mark of the beast. Instead, Chang argues, the COVID vaccine is a blessing from God.

"If you want to locate the vaccine in Revelation, don't equate it one to one with the mark of the beast," Chang said. "Rather, locate the vaccine as a hopeful pointer, a compass indicating God’s promise that he himself will return one day to end all suffering and death."

Nearly 80 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 68 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.

A new French study of 22 million people over the age of 50 found that a fully vaccinated person is 90 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19. The study was published Monday.


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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.