“Do you think it is the mark of the beast?”
I have been asked that question or something similar more times in the past year than in all my other years of ministry combined. Previously I would try to have a Biblical discussion about the topic and do some teaching. Lately, I have taken a different approach entirely.
My response now is, “Can you tell me what chapter of the Bible the mark of the beast is located?” Occasionally I double down and say, “Have you ever read the book of Revelation from beginning to end?” Then, if I am really wound up, I may ask if they have ever read any part of the Bible?
I am usually greeted with hostility. How dare I not answer their question and instead probe into their Biblical knowledge? What kind of a pastor am I?
My response is based on my experience. The majority of times I am asked this question, it is people looking for one of two things. One, they want someone to confirm their conspiracy theories and not affirm a Biblical understanding. Two, they are looking to argue and want to get into a heated discussion about their views which are rarely based on the Bible.
Honestly, I enjoy teaching the Bible. However, most of the questions I get about the end times are not seeking the truth. They are sound bites meant to generate confirmation or argumentation. I am not into that as a pastor or a believer. If you really want to know what the Bible says, then try reading it, and we can talk about the scriptures together.