When the book of Revelation talks about the mark of the beast, what is it referring to?
Revelation 13:16-18 (ESV)
16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave,[a] to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
Now upon hearing this passage, most people immediately assume that the mark has to be technological in nature because you obviously need it if you want to buy or sell anything. And anytime we see an advancement in the area of retail technology, it’s always seen as one step closer to the end times – credit cards, using your smart phone to pay at the check out.
In August last year, NBC did a feature on a Wisconcin based company that made’s it’s employees have a microchip surgically inserted into their hand - and of course people were jumping to conclusions.
But let’s take a step back for a second. First of all, you don’t necessarily need digital technology to mark someone’s forehead or hand as a means of identification. In the first century, tattooing was common practice used by the Romans. In Ezekiel ch9, God declared that he was going to bring judgment upon the city of Jerusalem by saying that
Ezekiel 9:4 (ESV)
“Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”
And let’s not forget the during world war 2 in nazi germany, Jewish people had ID numbers tattooed to their bodies. So the text of Revelation 13 doesn’t necessarily have to be a reference to modern digital technology.
But interestingly, consider the first three verses of the next chapter:
Revelation 14:1-3 (ESV)
14 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads.2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
So why is it that whenever there’s a new technology that’s brought out where your financial details and ID are stoned on your person, this text is not used by people to say that they carry the mark of the lamb and have been chosen to represent the last days remnant?
So what is the actual mark on the forehead that BOTH of these texts can be referring to?
May I suggest that the answer can be found in Deuteronomy 6
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 You shall love the LORDyour God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
This is referring to both the greatest commandment to “love the LORDyour God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” as well having a deep reverence for the word of God overall, that we are to keep it close, teach it to children, whether you stand up or sit down, when you’re awake or sleeping, keep it in your hand and in your mind. So this is symbolic imagery, but the point is very clear.
That being said, what is the mark that Revelation is referring to? It’s not necessarily a physical mark on the body, but rather the question of what law do you live by: do live by the law of God, or do you live in lawlessness? You can’t have both.
- SATAN DECEIVES THE WORLD