Bible Question:

Mark of the Beast - Does the mark of the beast come before or after the rapture?

Bible Answer:

The question we are concerned with is when does the mark of the beast occur? The answer is that the mark of the beast will occur during the tribulation. But when and where in the tribulation will the mark of the beast occur? What follows is an explanation of the future timeline and the mark of the beast.

Mark of The Beast

The Rapture

We need to ask where are we in the biblical timeline? When will the tribulation start? The following two studies will provide a summary answer. They are “Where are we on the biblical timeline?” and “The Church Is Missing.” It is important to know that the coming tribulation is an unprecedented time of suffering since God will be pouring out His wrath upon an unbelieving, disrespectful and Christ rejecting world. The tell-tale signs of the approaching future tribulation are wars, earthquakes, famine and plagues. That is the message of Matthew 24:7-14; Mark 13:7-8 and Luke 21:10-11.

Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. Luke 21:10-11 (NASB)

It is important to note that in Mark 13:7 Jesus said,

. . . do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end. Mark 13:7 (NASB)

Additionally, the tribulation will not occur until the good news about Jesus Christ spreads throughout the entire world. Eventually, the rapture will occur, followed by the tribulation (see The Church Is Missing and “Does the rapture occur before the tribulation period?“). We are waiting for the spread of the gospel throughout the entire world. When the rapture occurs, all the Christians will be removed from the earth. If you would like to know if people can be saved after the rapture read, “Can people become saved after the rapture?

The chart below provides an overview of the order of future events beginning with the rapture—the removal of the church, that is, “The Church Is Missing.”

Timeline of The Future

The rapture will occur first (believers are removed) followed by seven years of tribulation (a period of suffering), the second coming of Christ at the battle of Armageddon, the millennial kingdom (1,000 year period), judgment, and then eternity in heaven or hell.

For an outline of events that will occur in the tribulation read the following:

What will happen in heaven during the tribulation period?
What are the 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 signs and 7 bowls of Revelation? — The Tribulation

The study in the book of Revelation will provide more information about the tribulation.

Mark of The Beast

The mark of the beast occurs at the middle of the tribulation period. Since the tribulation is a seven year period, the mark of the beast will be required at the half way mark or 3.5 years into the tribulation. In the tribulation, two very powerful individuals will gain incredible power. Both are empowered by Satan. The first one is a political leader (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4; Revelation 13;1-10) who is called the Antichrist. He is the leader of a future world government. The second beast is called the false prophet (Revelation 13:11-18; 19:20-21). He is a religious leader. This is the one who forces people to receive the mark “666” in order to buy or sell (Revelation 13:16-17). The study Prophecy of the Future will provide a summary of these prophetic events.

Who are the Antichrist and False Prophet? The answers are found in the following studies:

The Evil Messiah
The Antichrist, part 1
The Antichrist, part 2
The Antichrist, part 3
The False Prophet
How can we know who is the antichrist?

When the Antichrist does appear, his identity will be obvious. He will sit in the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15) and declare himself to be God. Scripture refers to this as the abomination of desolation.

Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) . . . Matthew 24:15 (NASB)

. . . who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 (NASB)

After the antichrist and the false prophet gain power, the mark of the beast will be required by anyone who wants to buy or sell anything. Those who refuse the mark of the beast will be threatened with death. We can expect that civil authorities will attempt to kill them for rebellion and for threatening the social order. Another question, “Will those in the Book of Life have to refuse the mark of the beast?” explains what happens to those who become Christians during the tribulation.


The rapture comes first at the beginning of the tribulation and the mark of the beast, “666,” occurs after the rapture at the middle of the tribulation. Christians will not be present during the tribulation period but many who remain will be saved after they begin Searching for God and believe in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. We can only assume that people in order to learn and understand will listen to past recorded sermons, read books including the Bible, and watch videos. Many will have their sins forgiven as they believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior and depend on Him. But many will also die during the tribulation. Now is the time to be Searching For God and believe in Jesus and let Him take over your life.

Suggested Links:

Prophecy of The Future
Symptoms of a Problem
What will happen in heaven during the tribulation period?
What is the Battle of Armageddon? Which nations will be there?
Does two men in the field, one taken and one left refer to the rapture?
Are Elijah and Moses in the intermediate state?
When are the Old Testament saints resurrected?
Will war occur before Gog and Magog are defeated in Ezekiel 38-39?
What happens to those with mortal bodies who are in the millennium?
Where are we on the biblical timeline?