What Happens to Babies Given the Mark of the Beast?
What Happens to Babies Given the Mark of the Beast?
From Brandy via email:
Dear Pastor Guzik, I watch a lot of your bible study break downs and find you easy for me to understand and i watch your Q and A me and one of my best friends we talk about the end times prophecy and about the rapture and great tribulation and we were talking about the babies and children and we are a little stumped… what about those babies and children who are forced with the mark of the beast by their parents are they damned to hell? Or does Christ redeem them?
Summary answer: No one who is forced to take the mark of the beast, or who has it imposed on them against their will, has truly taken the mark of the beast – this includes babies, children, or anyone else.
I can say this because five times in Revelation, where the mark of the beast is mentioned, it is mentioned in association with worshipping the beast and his image. In other words, truly receiving the mark of the beast will be an act of worship, a pledge of allegiance to a satanic, God-opposing ruler and the state he stands for.
Of course, there are some who take all this as symbolic, and they think it’s kind of silly for people like me to think that there will actually be a prominent, world dominating leader in the very last days, who will require all to worship himself, his state, his image, to receive a mark as evidence of that worship and submission, and that people will not be allowed to buy and sell without that mark. For those who think all this in Revelation is symbolic, not actually true, then – whatever. I’m of the thought that if it doesn’t mean what it says, then it can mean anything or nothing, and doesn’t really matter. I think it does matter.
He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God…. the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
…a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.
Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.
Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Brandy’s question was specifically about babies and children, and I think here that the principle of accountability applies. You’ll notice that I didn’t say age of accountability, because the Bible gives no specific age – but it does give a principle.
The Concept of Accountability
Many are dismissive of the “age of accountability” but the principle is established in the Scriptures – not according to a specific age, but as a concept. We can’t say exactly when a child becomes accountable, but we see the principle in many passages.
In Deuteronomy 1:35-39 God indicates a difference in moral culpability between children and adults:
Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers… Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. (Deuteronomy 1:35-39)
We find this principle at work with Israel in the wilderness, when God held the adult generation of Israel guilty of their sin of unbelief in entering into Canaan, yet did not hold the children to the same account (Numbers 14:29-33).
Isaiah 7:16 speaks to the same principle:
For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings. (Isaiah 7:16)
Paul said that he was once alive apart from the law – plausibly, before he was of age to understand his culpability before God.
I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. (Romans 7:9)
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. (Romans 7:11
It is true that we are born with an Adamic nature, and that we sin because we are fundamentally sinners. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that God does not condemn individuals on the basis of having the Adamic nature alone – guilt under their own sins is also a basis for judgment:
One should not deny the idea of inherited sin or even inherited guilt from Adam; the concept is clearly taught in Romans 5-6. Yet, it can be said that this inherited sin/guilt from Adam is not enough alone to guarantee hell for those who die in the womb, in infancy, or before they come to adequate capability to understand their responsibility before God.
Therefore, we don’t think that children before their accountability are saved because they are innocent or because they deserve it. They are saved by the mercy of God, extended on the basis of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross and at the empty tomb. God is “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4), and we have grounds to hope – even believe – that this mercy is extended to children.
What can I say to people who don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead?
I think that’s a very interesting question. I would divide those people into two categories. First of all, I am assuming that the people who claim Jesus did not rise from the dead also do not claim to be believers. Wonderful books have been written, and extensive work has been published on YouTube, about proofs of the resurrection.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is truly one of the greatest attested facts of the ancient world. People might say that we can’t reliably know anything about the ancient world, about Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, or Cicero, or whatever figure you want to come up with. But in my perspective, if we can know anything from ancient history, we can know that Jesus Christ is raised from the dead. Therefore, we present this as a historical fact. The glorious thing about Christianity is it is founded on historical fact, not theological or philosophical speculation. That’s what I would say to someone who does not believe.
Now, if someone claims to be a believer, yet they don’t believe that Jesus really rose from the dead, they need to be warned. That is a disqualifying denial of the faith. The early church in the book of Acts, and throughout the New Testament letters, was established on the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That’s what they preached in their sermons.
So, I would give a strong warning that to deny that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is a denial of the faith itself. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Christ didn’t rise from the dead, then we are in fact dead in our sins and destined for hopelessness and judgment.
Some great videos on this have been put out recently. Alisa Childers has had some great stuff recently on the reliability of the resurrection. J. Warner Wallace has tremendous stuff on the reality of the resurrection. Frank Turek is another person I would recommend. And I’m sure that my friend Mike Winger has some great stuff on the reliability of the resurrection as well.
What is ‘the gospel’? What are the key areas I should address while sharing the gospel to an unbeliever?
I love this question. Let me state it as clearly as I can. The gospel is the good news. The word gospel means good news. The gospel is the good news about what God has done to rescue humanity through the person and work of Jesus Christ, especially what Jesus did at the cross, and in His resurrection. That’s the good news. I would recommend you read the first few verses of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, where Paul very plainly says what the gospel is.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 – Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
That’s the gospel. That’s the good news. The gospel is rooted in historic events, not in theological speculation, not in philosophies, but in things that really happened.
We all need to be rescued by God, or saved, if you want to use that term. I understand that it can be a very difficult thing to persuade people that they need to be rescued or saved when they don’t feel it at all. There are some people in my own life who are very close and dear to me, yet I honestly think they just don’t perceive that they have any need to be saved. They’re fine with salvation being for the people who do sense a need. This is something we pray for, that the Holy Spirit will work within people a sense of great need.
Here’s what I would say to that person or to anybody. We know that in the medical world, it is entirely possible for a person to feel just fine, yet they could have a life-threatening disease or situation in their life which will kill them if they don’t address it. Sometimes sin is like that. Sometimes the disease of sin and separation from God works in us so obviously that we know we need a Savior. But there’s other times when it works behind the scenes. Just as someone can be very close to death without realizing it at the time, medically speaking, so it is with those who need rescue from sin.
So, that’s what I would say: that we need to be rescued, and that there is gracious provision for us in Jesus Christ. I’ll say it one more time. The gospel is the good news of what God has done to rescue fallen humanity, both men and women, through the person and work of Jesus Christ, especially His death on the cross and His resurrection. Announce that good news. That’s what you can do for them.
Does John 6:37 confirm Calvinism, or is there free will in a person’s response to the Gospel? This verse seems like both.
John 6:37 – All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
Could you please explain John 6:37- “All the Father gives to Me, shall come to Me”? Do you feel this confirms Calvinism or that there is a free will in a person’s response to the gospel? This verse seems like both.
Yes, God is at work within people to draw them to Himself. Some Calvinists and some people in the Reformed camp make an error here. It’s not that they emphasize how salvation happens from God’s perspective, but that they seem to neglect how the work of salvation appears legitimately from a human perspective. Whether it’s intentional on their part or not, they give the impression that there’s nothing you can do. God’s either going to save you or not save you; if He saves you, you’re fine, and if He doesn’t save you, too bad, but you are a completely passive agent. And if God wants you to believe He’ll make you believe. That’s the impression some people can give.
Now, I believe with all my heart that a person cannot repent and believe unless God does a prior work in them. But let’s make it clear, God won’t believe for a person. God won’t repent for a person. There is some element of that person’s agency involved, some element of their choice. God forbid that we would base everything on how things feel, to the sinner or to the person coming to Christ, but neither can that experiential element be ignored, that they feel they can choose to accept it or reject it. People can look back across the centuries and see that God’s hand was at work the whole time, and how He was moving things at the moment, according to His wonderful predestination. Yes, praise the Lord, but that’s not how it feels to the person at the time.
We don’t want to deny the primacy of God’s work, and how no one can come to the Father, unless the Spirit draws them. That’s what Jesus said. We glory in that. However, we don’t want to neglect how God works in the real lives of those whom He is calling to Himself. And those people need to be called to make a decision, and to choose for Christ. There’s nothing wrong with calling people to make a decision. Is it possible that a call to decision can be made theatrically, manipulatively, or relying too much on emotion? Yes. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t make a good call to decision. “Choose ye this day whom you will serve.”
What is the difference between the times of the Gentiles and the fullness of the Gentiles?
Jesus used the phrase the times of the Gentiles in Luke 21:24, and Paul used the phrase the fullness of the Gentiles in Romans 11:25. They are related concepts, but they’re not exactly the same thing. There is not universal agreement on these things among believers. I am a dispensationalist. I believe that there’s a difference between Israel and the Church, and that God’s covenant with Israel is not the same as the New Covenant which God made with the Church, the people of His redemption. I don’t believe that salvation is found under the Old Covenant, but only as it points to Christ.
I believe that the times of the Gentiles describes the time when God has His redemptive focus on the Gentile world, and not upon Israel. I say “focus” advisedly, because it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care about the salvation of Israel. No, of course He does. But in His plan of the ages, as it is unfolding in real time, right now we are in the time of the Gentiles when His redemptive focus is upon the Gentiles more so than Israel.
I believe that when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, a certain number of Gentiles which God has appointed to be saved, then God will once again turn His redemptive focus back towards Israel. He knows the end from the beginning. I believe the fullness of the Gentiles coming in is connected with many things having to do with the end times, with what I would call the “Sunday” of the week of Daniel, the catching away of the Church, the last seven years, and so on.
I would relate these two concepts this way. I would say that the fullness of the Gentiles triggers the end of the times of the Gentiles. And the times of the Gentiles end when God turns His redemptive focus once again upon Israel. I want to stress that idea of a redemptive focus. While God’s focus is on the nations, of course the Jewish people can be saved, and God is moving among them. And of course, Gentiles can be saved and will be saved in Jesus Christ even when God’s redemptive focus is once again set upon Israel. It just has to do with how God has laid things out in His unfolding plan of the ages.
Can a person remarry after adultery and divorce?
If a man commits adultery before being a Christian, then he gets divorced, and now both he gets converted and also the other woman does, is he allowed to marry that woman who he adulterated with in the past?
People have been made new creations in Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 7:20, Paul mentions a very helpful principle in talking about marriage, divorce, and remarriage: Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.There is a sense in which salvation in Christ pushes a restart on these things. If there’s sin in your past, repent of it. If you are divorced for ungodly reasons or premises, things not permitted by the word of God, then repent.
There is a dangerous idea in some segments of the Christian world today that the only way you can repent of sin is by ending your present marriage and going back to your original marriage. No, that is trying to repent of a sin by sinning again. I’ve got a whole video on this on my YouTube channel, called Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage.
Repentance is real. But to assume that the only way to repent of such sin is to divorce your present spouse, and go back to a prior spouse? I don’t think that’s Scriptural. I don’t think it’s wise. I think that that’s trying to fix one sin by committing another sin.
Wherever is a person at today, that is where they can honor God. If they have sinned in the past, let them confess that sin and repent of it. And then, whatever their marital situation is right now, glorify God in that situation. If they’re married, then let them be the best husband or wife they can be in that marriage, glorifying God in that marriage. If they’re single, they can prayerfully consider who they may marry in the Lord, in a way that would honor God. But they don’t have to complicate it with things from the past.
Who do the 5 foolish virgins represent in the parable of Ten Virgins (Matthew 25)?
Who do the 5 foolish virgins represent in the parable of Ten Virgins (Matthew 25)? There seems to be many interpretations.
Good question. I think this is one of the parables that tends to be over-interpreted. It’s very possible for us to over-interpret the parables. We do that by trying to make every small point of the parable rich with theological meaning. But that’s usually a trap in interpreting the parables.
The parables are intended to communicate a significant meaning. And we can easily get into trouble by assigning great theological significance to every minute aspect of the parable. So, what’s the big lesson of the parable of the five foolish virgins? Well, it’s simply this: be ready. And who do the foolish virgins represent in this parable? They represent those who aren’t ready.
We should be ready for the return of Jesus Christ. Friends, that’s one of the reasons why I am dispensational and premillennial. One of the several reasons why I am premillennial is that I think Jesus wants us to be ready and waiting for His return. He doesn’t want us to live with an attitude that says, “Well, after we win the whole world to Christ and we’ve Christianized every nation, ten thousand years from now, then Jesus will return.” Friends, I don’t think that we’re going to Christianize the nations anytime in the next year. It’s never a good thing to say, “I can guarantee you that Jesus Christ is not going to return the next year.” Jesus told His people to be ready.
People will respond from that camp, and say, “Well, of course we need to be ready, not for the return of Jesus, but because we could die at any time. Any one of us could have a heart attack or get hit by an automobile, and we’d instantly be with Jesus, so we need to be ready for that.” You’re absolutely right. But that’s not what Jesus was talking about when He said to be ready for His return.
Let’s be honest. The Parable of the Ten Virgins was not telling people to be ready because you could die at any moment. The parable of Ten Virgins tells us to be ready because the bridegroom is returning. Any attempt to make it say that we should all be ready to die and appear before Jesus is just not what the parable means. Period. You’re twisting it. I’ll go so far to say that people who advance this idea should be a little bit embarrassed. Do you know the purpose of these parables about readiness? They are Jesus’ exhortations about their readiness for His return, His second coming.
Yes, it is absolutely true that we should be ready to die and meet our Lord at any moment. Praise the Lord for that. But that’s not what those parables are about. That’s not what Jesus’ exhortations to readiness were all about. He didn’t say, “Be ready because you might die at any moment.” He said, “Be ready because I am coming quickly.”
How do you succinctly explain to a person that righteousness does not come by the law, yet it is still good to obey God’s laws?
First of all, it’s pretty easy to explain that righteousness doesn’t come by the law. How good must we be to earn our own righteousness? Well, I think we would need to be perfect. If there’s anything people understand, it’s that they’re not perfect. So, if you have to be perfect to be justified by your own works, then we all know that’s impossible.
Now, how do you convince people that, even though we’re not justified or put in right relationship with God on the basis of our works and good deeds, it is still nevertheless important that we honor God with our lives? We should do this in honor to God, in obedience to God, and in gratitude to God for all that He has given us.
I think there needs to be a little bit of a warning to people in the Christian world. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Jesus knows better than anybody that we cannot keep His commandments perfectly, and that we will sin. That’s why the same Jesus who said, “If you love Me keep my commandments,” is the same Jesus who spoke by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
So, there is forgiveness. But a healthy believer should desire to please the Lord and to honor Him with their life. If there is no evidence of that, that’s concerning. It’s concerning for a person to say, “I’m saved, and I love Jesus, I just have no interest in obeying Him.” Brothers and sisters, God has given us a higher calling.
During the Tribulation, are Christians going to starve to death because we do not have the mark of the beast?
First of all, I’m of the opinion that the Church will be caught up and taken away to meet the Lord in the air, as described in 1 Thessalonians, before the Great Tribulation. However, that doesn’t mean your question is irrelevant. It just means that your question applies to those who come to faith during the Great Tribulation. And it’s a very real and relevant question for them. Will they starve to death?
Some will starve to death because they suffer persecution from the business government. Many Christians will be martyred during the Great Tribulation, out of those who have come to faith after the catching away of the Church. So yes, that’s a harsh truth. But it’s true.
Listen, persecution, adversity, and tribulation are things which Christians should be prepared for now, even though I do not believe that we who are believers today will go through the Great Tribulation. There’s no short list of trial and tribulation that could await believers today, before the catching away of the Church, before the Great Tribulation.
Could you explain 1 Corinthians 7:14? We are only saved and sanctified by personal faith in Jesus – not sure what Paul means a spouse is sanctified by their spouse and their children?
1 Corinthians 7:14 – For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.
I’ll be straightforward with you; this is a difficult passage. Here’s the complicated part of your question. This verse is commonly, and I think rightfully, understood to indicate that children are wholly set apart to God when there is a believing parent in the home. What that exactly means, I don’t think we know; the Scriptures don’t tell us. We kind of have the sense that it means that this applies to underage children while they are still not yet fully accountable. See the beginning of this Q&A where I talked about this principle of accountability. I don’t believe the Bible talks about an age of accountability, but it certainly talks about the principle of accountability, and how children are less accountable before God than adults are. While there is definitely a guilt inherited by Adam, there’s reason to believe that God does not judge a person for heaven or hell based only upon the guilt inherited from Adam, but also upon their own sins for which they are accountable. That’s another issue to discuss.
The sense here is that before children come to a place of accountability before God – not determined by a specific age, but according to a principle – they are wholly set apart for God by the presence of a believing father or mother. Here’s the difficulty with that. Paul uses a similar terminology about an unbelieving spouse. Does that mean that an unbelieving spouse is also saved by the presence of a believing spouse? I would say no, I don’t believe so. I believe that in this case, Paul is using the idea of sanctified, or being made holy, as somewhat different in application for context.
I believe that there is a blessing and a unique goodness that God has for an unbelieving spouse, through the presence of a believing spouse in the home. But there’s another dimension of this blessing that is for the children in a home where there is a believing spouse. That’s the distinction I would make between the two.
So, what is this sanctification of them? There is something set apart about that home, but not unto salvation for the spouse. We’re not saved by genetics. We’re saved by the person and work of Jesus. But there is something good, holy, and special in that home because of the presence of a believing spouse. I will admit that it’s a difficult passage.
What is the biblical view on the death penalty?
What is the biblical view on the death penalty? Why take a life when there is still hope for someone to find the truth or is it just capital punishment?
I appreciate your question. This topic is fresh on my mind, because I’ve been teaching through the book of Genesis on our YouTube channel. I recently recorded a teaching from Genesis 9, where God makes His covenant with Noah, and with all of creation and humanity. In that covenant, God says that He will require life from the life of one who sheds it (see Genesis 9:5-6). Right there in the early chapters of Genesis, God gives mankind the instruction and mandate to carry out capital punishment against murderers, as a universal law for humanity.
Now, it doesn’t mean that every killing appropriately deserves the death penalty. But I think surely it means that some will. God says that a land is defiled by murders who are not brought to justice. Not all killings are the same, and not all murderers are the same. But certainly, I believe the death penalty is justified in some cases.
In Romans 13:1-5, Paul talks about the authority of the civil magistrate. He asks a rhetorical question, “Has God given the magistrate or civil ruler the sword in vain?” No. Why would a civil ruler have a sword to execute people? Look, I know that this goes against modern sensibilities. I’ve read and appreciated some of the arguments against capital punishment. One argument that I sympathize with is that it gives the state too much power. People object that capital punishment is not fairly applied. I get all that. But it’s hard to believe that it is just for every murderer to live out their natural days, while the blood of person they murdered cries out for justice.
I understand this principle goes against the sensibilities of the modern age. I understand this is something that the Western world has moved on from, and they think it’s ridiculous. But biblically, I have not seen a convincing case against capital punishment.
One final thought. Capital punishment (the death penalty) exists in the United States, the country where I live, but it’s a mess in the way that it’s applied. It’s a mess. Someone only goes to their death penalty 25 years after the murder has been committed. That’s not justice. That’s not right. And there’s an argument to be made that it’s unfairly applied. I don’t doubt that there have been at least some cases where someone who was innocent of a crime was executed. There are problems with the death penalty. But I don’t see how somebody gets around the commandment to Noah, the practice in the Old Testament, and the reinforcement of it by Paul, by the inspiration of Holy Spirit in Romans 13.
Is the point of the Ten Virgins parable in Matthew 25 that, if a person is saved yet later commits a sin, he will go to hell?
No, that’s not the point of that sermon. The point of the Parable of the Ten Virgins parable in Matthew 25, is that believers should be ready for the return of Jesus Christ. The point is not about sin which makes somebody lose their salvation. No, it’s really that believers should be ready for the return of Jesus Christ, and they should take readiness seriously.
In the book of Exodus, why did God want to kill Moses?
Probably because Moses had disobeyed God by not circumcising his children. God probably gave a specific command to Moses about doing this and Moses neglected it. And his wife wasn’t happy about it either.
Is speaking in tongues still necessary for the Church today?
It is a gift that God gives to the church today. It’s not necessary for each individual believer, but it is a gift of God and those who have it can exercise it to edification. But it is not necessary for salvation, or even for a mature Christian life. It’s a gift of God.
Are dead unbelievers waiting for the last judgment, or are they already in the lake of fire (Hell) described in Revelation 20?
They are waiting for the final judgment. They are in the place called Hades in the New Testament, or Sheol in the Old Testament, awaiting the final judgment. The final judgment will happen after the thousand-year reign of Christ (the Millennium). It is called the Great White Throne Judgment, mentioned in Revelation 20. Only after that will people be cast into the lake of fire.
What videos from YouTube do you recommend for the resurrection?
I would recommend people like Alisa Childers, J. Warner Wallace, Sean McDowell, Frank Turek, and Mike Winger.
What is your favorite “systematic theology” book? And what is your favorite ministerial and leadership book you love to read?
For systematic theology: Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem. I’m much more of a biblical theology person than a systematic theology person. But Grudem is good.
My favorite ministerial or leadership book that you love to read is The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin.
Buy this book if you haven’t already. It’s great for everyday Christians, but it’s great for those in ministry especially. It’s probably the most helpful book I’ve read on ministry and leadership, even though it’s not specifically written for ministry leaders. It’s written for the Christian life. But believe me, it’s very relevant to ministry and leadership.
Is it “progress” if my nonreligious/nonbeliever friends return to traditional houses of worship in an attempt to get right with God? Should I be happy they’re making an attempt to take things seriously, even if they don’t go “all the way”?
Yes, I think it’s progress. Certainly, a person can make some initial steps towards God and Jesus Christ without following through. But we all know how it is, that initial steps often result in further steps. We should be grateful for those initial steps, and we should be praying for such future steps from people that we know and love and care about.
Did Adam truly understood the significance of his actions causing the fallen state of man?
What are your thoughts concerning if Adam truly understood the significance of his actions causing the fallen state of man? And do you think he thinks of it daily in the spiritual state where he is now?
I think it would be impossible for Adam to fully appreciate the consequences of his sin. It’s mind boggling to think of it, isn’t it? I just don’t see how Adam could have any capability or resource for understanding that. So, I would say no. I don’t think that he was actually capable of understanding the full significance of his sin and the repercussions of it in our own lives.
So, is Adam still tormented day and night in the life beyond, by thinking about what he did? I think he would know that he messed things up as the first Adam, but would also find great comfort in the fact that God has brought redemption through the second Adam. His tears are wiped away in heaven, just like everybody else’s tears.