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Bible Basics- Mark of the Beast

By Frank Kelly


One subject that has caused a lot of worry and confusion over the years can be found in Revelations Chapter 13:6-7, where one runs across this passage.

 And he (the beast) causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead, and he provides that no one should 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.  

The mark of the beast. It’s interpretations over the centuries have caused confusion and fear for some; internet conspiracy for others, and for some seemingly stable Christians the profession to avoid implanted robot chips and such. But could a Christian really be doomed because they made a simple decision about technology? Would God actually let one of His own be lost by one choice? Should we be on a constant watch for this mark? What does this passage basically mean and how can we actually apply it to our lives or know when it’s being used for the latest conspiracy theory?

I want to take a basic look at this Scripture so we can have a basic understanding of what it means. Like most Scripture, if we have a fundamental base, we can understand the basic truths of the passage which we can later build on as we grow. We can then know basic misinterpretations. To get this basic understanding, we first need a basic context.

Context -

 The Book of Revelation is the last book in the Bible. It is mostly thought to be written by John the Apostle while exiled to the Greek Isle of Patmos in the 80’s AD.  It starts with a narrative to the seven Churches of Asia, then describes a series of prophetic visons which culminate in the return of Christ. He explains the things He sees with his understanding of that time and we assume there is at least some mystery from God involved, so symbolism is employed.

Chapter 13 describes two beasts; one described as “coming from the sea,” whom people wonder at and follow, and a second beast that “comes out of the earth,” and his purpose is to promote the authority of the first beast. The people willingly take the mark of the beast to be able to conduct their lives. This is important context...

 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; and they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast?"           Revelation 13:3-4

So, as we understand the basic context and then begin to take a specific look at Revelations 13 to try and understand what the mark of the beast is, and what it’s not, I think we can ask two questions…

1) Is the event described with symbolic language?

2) Is this word used in other places to help us understand it better?


The Exploration-

So how does the Bible use those terms in other places? We see it used in Revelation 7:2-3,

And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”

We see another example in Revelation Chapter 22:3-5,

And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond-servants shall serve Him; and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever.

 We also see this phrase, worded a little differently in Eph 1:13

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

These passages show a variety on the theme of “marking.” A Greek interpretation of our first “mark” indicates, like a stamp, which could be a bodily mark like cattle would be branded. It could also indicate something like an official stamped document, swearing loyalty to the beast.

In the case of Revelation 22, it indicates by God’s name “being on their foreheads,” that they will be known as His…an actual physical mark would not even be necessary. That type of symbolism could also apply to the mark of the beast, but it isn't clear.

I used some of those examples because they were a good Segway into another question..

Can a Christian lose their salvation by making a wrong choice during this time?

It is best to let Jesus answer Himself.

                                    John 10:27-30

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.  “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. “I and the Father are one.

So the answer to a real Christian accidentally accepting the mark by making a wrong choice is NO.


The Takeaway-

1) Once you are “marked” (or saved) as belonging to Jesus, it is permanent. It is consistent. It can’t be undone.

2) The Mark of the beast will not be something Christians do by accident…it’s a willing symbol of identification by the evil one on someone who does not have the mark of God. People who try to get to Heaven by “trying to be a good person,” instead of being a believer in Christ throughout their life already are already marked on the inside. You can’t avoid it under your own power. 

3) We don't specifically know what the "mark' is, but we do know any marks, documents, implanted computer chips, or such would be in conjunction with worshipping the beast and is simply the fulfillment of a choice we long ago made in our own hearts.

 On the secondary issue of understanding, the word “mark” can be specifically used in a variety of ways, and given in the context of much symbolic language, interpretation is needed People can come to different specifics on the word mark at any given time in long as that interpretation doesn't contradict consistant scripture.

4) Understanding prophecy as we are enabled by God should come secondary to our primary job now…understanding our relationship with God through Christ and developing that to it’s fullest. Then, we will already know we are “sealed” and the events of Revelation will simply be marking the beginning of paradise with Jesus.

5) We are not permitted to know some specifics at this point. John ends the chapter with a mysterious identity of the beast relating to 666. I think John’s contemporaries might have understood, but it is a mystery to us.

 According to Jesus, we are also not permitted to know when this will happen.

Mathew 24:35-36

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

As Jesus told the Apostles in Acts Chapter 1: 7,

"It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority." 

So, anyone who does contend to know specific dates, can be dismissed. It directly contradicts Scripture.

We instead, are told repeatedly by Jesus throughout the Gospels to get ready (our spirit) now because the “time is at hand.”.

So the final word on the Mark of the Beast, is, although any Christians alive at this moment might face trials, the mark is the final step of rejection that one has pursued their whole life, willingly, and having full knowledge of God in the process. For Christians, it marks the beginning to an end of one age and the beginning of a new life with God, forever and in person.

Salvation through Christ now, is the real key to avoiding the mark.

I hope this gave you a basic understanding of a much talked about subject, which you can build on keeping that foundation.

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