I received this question about the mark of the beast:
I was wondering if you have considered Rev 13:17 where it says, “no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
Today cash is slowly being done away with and replaced with either debit cards and credit cards. People can sometimes even pay using an eye scan or fingerprint identification. Are these possibly the mark of the beast?
And how could this affect believers? How else are believers and to live when there is no cash money anymore?
So, is it wrong to use one of the alternate sources besides cash money today?
First, it is not sinful to use a credit card or cell phone to pay for things. These things are not tied to the mark of the beast. Indeed, that will not happen until the middle of the seven-year Tribulation period.
Church Age believers will not be in the Tribulation. We will be raptured before it starts (1 Thess 4:16-17). So we do not need to fear displeasing God by using credit cards and the like.
However, you may be right that the technology which will be used in the Tribulation already exists today. But it is not the technology which is sinful. It is the mark of the beast which is sinful. Not until the technology is linked with the mark of the beast will using it be sinful.
Second, during the Tribulation people who have not taken the mark of the beast will likely be able to buy things using gold, silver, or barter. Gold and silver have been the currencies of choice for thousands of years. Even today in our largely cashless society, people turn to gold and silver as a hedge against inflation and disaster. Oklahoma and Utah have passed laws that make gold and silver coins legal tender in their states. In April of 2017, a Texas State Senator introduced a bill that would make gold and silver coins legal tender in Texas as well. This might become a movement spreading across the U. S.
Of course, purchasing things without the mark of the beast will certainly be dangerous in the Tribulation. A merchant might turn in the person trying to pay with gold or silver. We know that many Jewish believers will be jailed during the Tribulation (e.g., Matt 25:36, 39, 43, 44). Likely many Gentile believers will be jailed as well, but we are not told that directly. But surely there will be an underground economy and some merchants will be willing to take gold, silver, diamonds, and so forth.
We do know that at the end of the Tribulation the Lord will return and will save Israel and her believing citizens from the Gentile nations seeking to destroy them (Rom 10:13; 11:26). The Lord will not allow all believers to be killed in the Tribulation (Matt 24:22; 25:31-46). Many Jewish and Gentile believers will survive the Tribulation. While Scripture does not tell us how they will get around the restrictions to buy and sell, we know they will.