Does the mark of the beast come before or after the rapture?
The next major event in human history, from God’s perspective, is the preaching of the gospel throughout the entire world (Matthew 24:14), and then comes the rapture. We are awaiting the spread of the gospel throughout the entire world. When the rapture occurs all the Christians will be removed from the earth. The illustration below provides an overview of the order of future events. The rapture comes first (saints are removed) followed by seven years of tribulation (a period of suffering), the millennial kingdom (1,000 year period), and then an eternal life in heaven or hell.
The mark of the beast occurs during the tribulation period. In the Tribulation, two very powerful individuals come to 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 the 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). Who are these individuals? Who will be these beasts? The world will not know for sure until it happens at the middle of the tribulation period. But when he does appear he can be identified as the one . . .
. . . 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. (NASB) 2 Thessalonians 2:4
The rapture comes first at the beginning of the Tribulation and the mark of the beast, “666,” occurs after the rapture and sometime after the middle of the tribulation. Christians will not be present during the tribulation period but many will be saved as they search to understand what has happened. We can only assume that they will listen to past recorded sermons, read books about Jesus, and watch recorded videos. Many will have their sins forgiven as they believe in Jesus and depend on Him. Many will also die as a result of disbelief. Now is the time to believe in Jesus and let him take over our life.
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