New technology is scary, and as a Christian, we are warned about the "mark of the beast." This mark ends up in the hands and on the foreheads of people living through the "time of Jacob's trouble", more commonly know as the "great tribulation."
I first heard of Bitcoin in early 2015 and spent months learning as much as I could.
This left me reading the white paper several times, learning what cryptography was, and how the public and private keys of asymmetric cryptography make this so special. It was a mind bender, but I'm glad I took the time to learn everything I could. That being said, I don't expect the average person to take the time to learn how Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) works at such a deep level.
The lack of time most people have to spend on learning a new and profound concept leads many to believe things that may not be true. Since I am a follower of Jesus and spend time around others of the faith, I hear theories about Bitcoin that are not true. The main idea is that Bitcoin is the mark of the beast.
Is Bitcoin the mark of the Beast?
First, let us see what the Bible says about the mark of the beast:
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six.
In this passage "he" refers to another beast that John sees that has "two horns like a lamb" and speaks "as a dragon" (Rev. 13:12). This beast causes everyone to receive the mark. The mark is forced into the right hand of the person or on the forehead. Verse sixteen alone tells me that Bitcoin is not the mark of the beast in and of itself.
Could Bitcoin be used in the Beast System?
Yes, it very well could.
Look at Revelation 13:17, there is a monetary system that the mark will use for trade and commerce. Bitcoin, or another cryptocurrency, could fill that slot very easily. However, people seem to forget that we have credit cards and mobile payments within the traditional banking system now.
Our current bank system is already a good candidate for the beast monetary system.
It's all electronic today.
The only way to be 100% sure you are not using a currency that may end up used in the beast system would be to trade gold and silver.
Using or owning Bitcoin is not damning a person to the wrath of God any more than using your bank account to buy food today. The Bible makes it obvious that taking the mark is a serious matter in Revelation 14:
9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Receiving the mark is very serious, and we need to pay attention. But just because a new technology comes along and disrupts our day to day life does not automatically mean its evil. If you adhere to the "pre-trib" rapture than there is no way a believer alive today would ever have the chance to take the mark. The people that come to believe in Jesus after the rapture are the ones that need to worry about taking the mark of the beast.
Focus on what Matters
It's time we stop fretting over technology and let God handle the future. We are here to bring him glory and spread the seeds of the Gospel. To make the world know we all are wicked and have no chance of getting to heaven without Jesus Christ. Arguing over subjects like if Bitcoin is the mark of the beast is helping no one.
Some doctrine is worth fighting over to some extent because it will otherwise lead people down the dangerous path of thinking they are saved when they are not. Such as going to a church building once a week and thinking that's enough or praying a pray but there is no change to the person's life.
Some doctrine is worth arguing, but Bitcoin as the mark of the beast is not.