UNDERSTANDING SCRIPTURE: The Mark Of The Beast

I am well aware that this is a very controversial subject.  I am not asking you to accept what I am going to share with you in this post.  I am just asking you to read it and consider my argument.

The Book of Revelation talks about a mark that all people will have to receive close to the end of time.  If you do not have this mark, you will not be allowed to buy or sell.  This mark is also connected to the number, 666.  Here is the passage from which these prophecies come:

Revelation 13:16-18   New American Standard Bible (NASB)

16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, [a]to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is [b]six hundred and sixty-six.

OK, here is where I am going to ask you to set aside everything you believe about the Beast and his mark and follow me as I follow Scripture and only Scripture.  This will necessarily take some time, so this post will not be short.  But I beg you, if you believe, stay with this post.  If you do, I suspect that, by the time I finish my case, you may come to the realization that the Church has missed something very important to our salvation.

WHAT IS THE BEAST?

The first thing we have to understand is the nature of the Beast.  Many people believe it is another representation of ‘The Antichrist,’ but Scripture does not actually support this.  First, Scripture does not describe a single person called ‘THE Antichrist.’  I know what we have been taught, but it is true, and the Apostle, John, is very clear on this (read more here).  However, Scripture does talk about an end-times leader, but it calls this figure ‘The Assyrian.’  So, for the rest of this post, I will refer to this end-times leader not as ‘THE Antichrist,’ but by the name Scripture gives him: the Assyrian.

Next, we need to understand the symbolism in prophecy.  In the Book of Daniel, a ‘beast’ is defined as a kingdom:

Daniel 7:16-17   New American Standard Bible (NASB)

16 I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the [a]exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth.

Now, here is where we have to read carefully, paying attention to the greater whole of the passage so we can understand it in full context.  From this reading, we may conclude that a beast is a person, but the angel goes on to tell Daniel that the beasts are actually kingdoms that exist on the earth:

Daniel 7:23  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

23 “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.

As the story unfolds, the angel tells Daniel that the first beast he saw was Babylon (the Lion Beast), then Medo-Persia (the Bear Beast) and Greece (the Leopard Beast).  These beats correspond with the head, chest and thighs of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue.  Both Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel were given visions of the times of the Gentiles.  Both visions were of the same thing, the same path of history — as it relates to the Holy Lands (i.e. Israel and Jerusalem).

At this point, I want to point out that the Church believes the fourth beast was Rome, but the Scriptures never name the fourth beast!  So, for now, let us set aside any conclusions we have as to the identity of the fourth beast — especially since we have not yet determined whether or not it is even related to the beast in Revelation.  What is important now is that we have seen that Scripture defines a beast as a kingdom.  This means we should not draw the conclusion that the beast in Rev 13 represents a man.  So what does it represent?

Well, we know that the Beast is a kingdom.  We are also told it is red (symbolic of Satan) and that it has ten heads.  In Scripture, a head can be a symbol of authority or dominion.  Scripture also tells us there will be seven kingdoms or dominions that will war against God’s people (i.e. Israel).  Revelation tells John that, in the First Century:

Revelation 17:10  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.

In this passage, we are not only told the heads are kings (as in the kings of Daniel’s vision), but also mountains (another symbol of kingdoms), but we are told that five were in the past, one was still in existence and one was yet to come.  This kingdom that is yet to come is not just a seventh kingdom, but even an either.  That is what the head with the mortal head wound is trying to tell us. It is also likely that this corresponds to the legs of iron and the feet of iron and clay in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  Daniel told him his dream represented only four kingdoms, so the iron in both the legs and feet may be intended to tie the two together.  Whatever this last kingdom is, it will rule over the Holy Lands before Christ returns and will have suffered a mortal wound but will come back to life.  This is how it can be seen as both the seventh and the either kingdom or head.  But this does not tell us what this last kingdom is, or even if it is THE Beast of Rev 13.  All we know is this:

1st Kingdom was Egypt

2nd Kingdom was Assyria

3rd Kingdom was babylon

4th Kingdom was Medo-Persia

5th Kingdom was Greece

6th kingdom (and still existing in John’s time) was Rome

7th kingdom is never identified in Scripture, but notice something here.  If the last kingdom is Rome, this would mean Rome would have to be the 6th, 7th and 8th kingdom.  This would place Scripture in contradiction with itself, so we should question whether or not Rome is actually the last beast.  What’s more, we should be open to the strong possibility that the last beast may be the Beast of Rev 3, which would place it above all the previous beasts.  This would explain why Rev 17 describes the beast as having seven heads: it is made up of all seven of the kingdoms that will war against God’s People and the Holy Lands throughout the times of the Gentiles.

Now hold on to this and follow me to a passage in Daniel that many believe is proof of the Antichrist and connects him to the Beast of Rev 13:

Daniel 9:26  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the [a]Messiah will be cut off and have [b]nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And [c]its end will come with a flood; even to the end [d]there will be war; desolations are determined.

Since Rome was in power when Jerusalem was ransacked and the Temple destroyed, most people see this as a sign that Rome will be the final beast and the ‘Prince who is to come’ is ‘The Antichrist.’  But this is because we bring per-conceived beliefs to Scripture.  Instead of reading what God’s Word actually says, we read these beliefs into His Word, instead.  If we would just read a little further, we would find something that strongly suggests this ‘Prince’ is not a man, but a spiritual being (in this case, a demon).  Consider what the angel tells Daniel in these passages:

Daniel 10:13  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was [a]withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.

Daniel 10:20   New American Standard Bible (NASB)

2Then he said, “Do you [a]understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the [b]prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the [c]prince of [d]Greece is about to come.

Daniel 10:21   New American Standard Bible (NASB)

21 However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who [a]stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.

We need to pay attention here.  This angel tells Daniel that he has come from fighting against the Prince of the kingdom of Persia, that the Prince of Greece is about to come, and that the only ally standing with Him for Daniel (and the Jewish People) is the Archangel, Michael, who is referred to as the prince of Israel  (NOTE: if he is the angel described in Dan 10: 5-6 is Christ: see description of Christ in Rev 1:12-16).  Now, if this were all we had, we could conclude that these ‘Princes’ were actual men, but I doubt that a mere man could hold up an angel of the Most High God for twenty-one days.  But we have more than this.  The angel refers to ‘the kings of Persia.’  A different word is used.  Instead of ‘Prince,’ the angel says ‘kings,’ which — taken together — would seem to indicate these ‘Princes’ are spiritual rulers of these kingdoms (beasts).  It stands to reason, therefore, that the Beast in Rev 13 is a kingdom lead by a spiritual being and not necessarily a man.  Furthermore, when we read the word translated as ‘he’ in relation to the Beast of Rev 13, we should consider that it may refer to this spiritual being and not an actual human man.  In this sense, a beast is identified with its spiritual ruler, much in the same way as Christ is considered to be one with and the head of His kingdom, which is depicted as a mountain that will spread out throughout the entire world:

Daniel 2:34-35  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

34 You [a]continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed [b]all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

So, looking only at what the Scriptures actually say, we can see that the Beast of Rev 13 is most likely an earthly kingdom with a spiritual ruler.  Now let us consider what the mark of this Beast may be.

WHAT IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST?

 First, the passage about the mark of the Beast — one more time:

Revelation 13:16-18   New American Standard Bible (NASB)

16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, [a]to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is [b]six hundred and sixty-six.

Notice that this passage says a person will have to have either the name of the Beast, or the number of his name marked on their hand or head to buy or sell.  Then it says the number is that of a man.  It does not say the number is the same as the name of the Beast.  There is no equivocation here, so we should not assume the man and Beast are one-in-the-same.

Next, we need to understand that the phrase translated as “on the hand or on the forehead” could have also been translated as “in” the hand or forehead.  In this case, it becomes a Hebrew idiom meaning something we have internalized: a practice that has become part of our nature. In short, it is what we believe and do.  In this case, the mark may not necessarily be something visual, it could be part of our being; our ‘heart,’ if you will.  And there is Scripture to support this position.  In this passage, Ezekiel is seeing a vision, so he is “in the spirit:”

Ezekiel 9:4-6   New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst. But to the others He said in my hearing, “Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. [a]Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.” So they started with the [b]elders who were before the [c]temple.

The Lord tells the angels to mark God’s people; those who long for God’s righteousness and justice.  But in this passage, which recounts the same event from the historic records of Chronicles, the writer does not mention this mark — because he does not see it: it is only visible in the Spiritual world:

2 Chronicles 36:17   New American Standard Bible (NASB)

17 Therefore He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or infirm; He gave them all into his hand.

So it is very possible that the number or mark we all fear is not necessarily something physical, but a Spiritual mark that the angels and demons can see, but we cannot.  If this is the case, the mark differentiates God’s people from those of the world and the ruler of this world, Satan.  But, if the mark is not physical, then how can it be said that no one will be able to buy or sell without it?  This is the part I want you to consider and pray about, as it is very important.

God tells us to trust in nothing and no one else but Him and Him alone.  He condemns Israel for trusting in man-made idols, false gods and earthly alliances.  In fact, God’s Word specifically says this is why He judged Israel: because Israel exalted itself and trusted in its own abilities rather than in God.  So what if we should be looking for how this command is connected to the mark of the Beast.

The Beast is an earthly kingdom with a demonic ruler.  In short, it is a government controlled by Satan.  Rome was such a government.  When Caesar told the Christians to renounce Christ and bow to him and he would let them live, the Christians refused.  That is because Christ commanded us to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but to God that which is God’s.  Worship belongs to God and only God.  So the Christians refused and willingly submitted to Caesar, which meant their deaths.

Today, if you live in the Middle east and you are a Jew or Christian, it is probably that you are going to be told to either convert to Islam, pay the poll tax or die.  If you pay the tax, you will be forced to wear the symbol of Islam on your sleeve or around your head or you will not be allowed to buy or sell (In fact, Islam may well be the last Beast, but that is the subject for another post).  However, the time is coming when, if you are a Christian living in the Western world, you may be told to submit to the ‘Politically Correct’ demands of Secular Humanism or you will not be allowed to buy or sell.  How?  Once the Supreme Court makes gay Marriage a ‘Constitutional Right,’ anyone and everyone who believes in God’s Word and Law will be labeled a ‘bigot’ and will fall under anti-discrimination laws.  These laws will then be used to force people to accept the dictates of Secular Humanism, go without buying or selling, or die.

Now here is the key to this: if you bow to the demands of either of these two earthly forces — Islam or Secular Humanism — or to any other enemy of God, you are accepting the mark of the Beast.  In other words, you are placing the earthly authority over that of God’s.  Instead of going to the lions, you will be renouncing Christ and bowing to Caesar.  So why has the Church been teaching that we should be looking for a physical mark?  Because Satan is a master of deception, and by deceiving us into looking for this mark, he can distract us from what is truly a Spiritual danger: accepting the demands of his Beast!

Cling to God and God’s Word — even if it means death.  For Christ told us:

Luke 9:24   New American Standard Bible (NASB)

24 For whoever wishes to save his [a]life will lose it, but whoever loses his [b]life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

ADDENDUM: AS TO THE NUMBER 666

First, we should recognize that some of the earliest surviving manuscripts of Revelation do not show the Roman numerals for 666, but something which some former Muslims have said is the abbreviated symbol of Jihad and the inscription we see on the black flags of Kuhrasan.  Now, make of that what you will, but I have seen pictures of these manuscripts, and they do, in fact, show something other than the Roman number 666.  It may also be that these former Muslims are aware that Muhammad claimed the number 666 as being the number of Islam and the Qur’an.

Second, we need to pay close attention to what the Scripture actually says and not what we think it says.  The Scripture reads:

for the number is that of a man; and his number is [b]six hundred and sixty-six.

We should not assume this refers to s single individual, let alone the Assyrian.  It could very well mean man, in general terms.  Add to this that, in the Scriptures, the number ‘six’ is symbolic of man.  Also, in the Hebrew culture, when an author or speaker wants to stress something, they will often repeat it twice or even three times.  This means that the number 666 — if that is really what the Scriptures say — could mean that the mark of the Beast is that of man and man’s work.  In short, man believing that he is his own god, just as many Secular Humanists have boasted in the past.

Finally, we should be aware of the only other place where we find the number 666 in Scripture:

1 Kings 10:14   New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Wealth, Splendor and Wisdom

14 Now the weight of gold which came in to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold,

It must be remembered that Solomon turned from God and relied on his own wealth, power and wisdom.  So the 666 in Revelation could very well be pointing us to those who have been Spiritually marked as relying on themselves and the things of this world rather than on God.

6 responses to “UNDERSTANDING SCRIPTURE: The Mark Of The Beast

  1. Reblogged this on The Rio Norte Line and commented:

    This is not a post I would normally re-blog to the RNL, but given the Supreme Courts ruling today and its relevance to the subject of this post, I thought I should offer it — for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see.

  2. Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    Very good work and it all makes perfect sense. Give this post serious consideration in the days to come for we are being tested!

  3. Over every Kingdom there is a ruler.

  4. Pingback: PROPHECY IN THE HEADLINES: The Two-Horned Beast Is Making An Image Of The Leopard-Bear-Lion Beast | The Oil in Your Lamp

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