Original Research - Special Collection: Festschrift for Prof Stephan Joubert

What has the beast’s mark to do with the COVID-19 vaccination, and what is the role of the church and answering to the Christians?

Rantoa Letšosa
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6480 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6480 | © 2021 Rantoa Letšosa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 January 2021 | Published: 05 August 2021

About the author(s)

Rantoa Letšosa, Department of Practical and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) escalated into a real pandemic within 3.5 months and had caused 183 000 deaths in 2020. The complexities of COVID-19 since the end of 2019 and throughout 2020 left a mouth full and the second wave has not least to be said. The purpose of this article is to challenge the response of the church in a time when her voice is mostly needed. During the lockdown Level 5, churches were amongst the many trends that had to close their doors to the believers and the community. This was a great shock because churches throughout history have been known as safe havens and anchorages. Churches helped with answers to unanswered questions, and in some instances, confessional statements and creeds were born. In the case of COVID-19, a lot of conspiracy theories went viral about COVID-19 and the vaccines that were still in their research stage. Lots of speculations rose as to the cause of this pandemic. The implementation of 5G was viewed as the cause of the coronavirus at the beginning of 2020, and much had to be done to correct this fallacy. Another controversial fallacy was the link of the vaccination with the beast’s mark, as was recently also insinuated in Chief Justice’s prayer. Questions have already been asked, what is the voice of the church in this regard? Congregation deals with this in different ways. Hence the relevance to the question, how timely can exegesis be to contemporary ecclesiology? What would be relevant hermeneutics that could assist in embodying faith in a corona-defined world?

Contribution: This article strives to develop an interpretation of 666 that could be relevant to the questions asked and suggest a way forward in embodying faith in a corona-defined world and beyond.


666; mark of the beast; vaccination; COVID-19; Rev 13:16–18


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Crossref Citations

1. Religious perspectives on Vaccination: Mandatory Covid-19 vaccine for SA Churches
Jonas Sello Thinane
Pharos Journal of Theology  vol: 103  year: 2021  
doi: 10.46222/pharosjot.10312