Thank you, my dear friend, for this very timely question. I can see that you are wanting to honor the Lord Jesus in rightly dividing the Scriptures. My response, however, would be to say that this verse would not refer to the governmental urging to submit to the COVID vaccine. I do realize that there are a lot of concerns these days regarding the governmental actions of the United States to require vaccinations, and whichever side of this concern you are on, I do not believe that this particular Scripture is applicable.  Here is my rationale, and I will not try to land on the question of the vaccine so much as to the order of the end times. The Word in Revelation 13 pertains to a time halfway through the great tribulation, which has not yet begun. What I think we are seeing today constitutes “the signs of the times”: we see wars and rumors of wars, violence, and social unrest all over the world, the breakdown of marriages and the home, natural disasters almost weekly, and diseases like COVID. But the tribulation period will be far worse, and beyond any experience of man thus far in the history of the world. As to the idea that the actual tribulation period has not yet begun, I borrow heavily from Matthew 24:1-22. Please consider verses 21-22: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened”. Thus, I think that when the actual tribulation starts, the level of evil and of troubles will expand exponentially beyond anything yet experienced in this world, and so much so that unless those days were limited by the Lord, all mankind would be destroyed. Now, in Acts 2, we see the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell in Christians, and so it has been over the centuries. I personally believe that the influence of Christians and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the world since Pentecost in Acts 2 have formed a restraining action on evil; but when the Christians are raptured, and removed from the earth, this restraining influence will be gone, and in those days, evil will rage freely upon the earth, and the judgments of God will begin to be poured out on an unbelieving and rebellious world.  So, when does the actual tribulation begin? The true “tribulation period” does not begin until after the Lord Jesus has removed (through rapture) His church from the earth, which is the body of all true believers today. We read in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words”. Then in Revelation 3:10, we read, “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth”. This last verse should afford much comfort to Christians today that we will not experience the woes of the actual great tribulation.

So, in summary, I do not believe that the vaccine mandates have to do with Revelation 13, since that portion of Scripture occurs in the midst of what we know as the Great Tribulation, and we are there yet. The actual tribulation will be much worse than any of the signs of the end times that we are seeing today, and again, I believe that the Lord will come and receive His saints unto Himself before the actual tribulation period begins. With the saints of God gone to the glory, so will the Holy Spirit go, so the world will be left without His influence. The time of the Great Tribulation will be seven years, and in the midst of this period, the anti-Christ will be revealed for “42 months” or 3.5 years. I believe that it is this last 3.5 years that Revelation 13 falls into, and that the mark of the beast will be some type of sign that must be born on the foreheads or right hands of the people of this earth in order for them to participate in any kind of commerce. (SF)  (494.3)