What is the Mark of the Beast?

What is the Mark of the Beast?

What is the Mark of the Beast? Could It Be Around the Corner…?

What is the mark of the beast? That’s a question that’s on many minds right now.

After all, over the past several months, COVID-19 has thrown our world into a panic. It has sickened millions. Killed hundreds of thousands. It has upended entire economies. And governments around the globe have taken increasingly strict measures – locking down entire states, forcing businesses to close, ordering people to stay home, and arresting those who don’t comply.

And through it all, talking heads, politicians, medical experts, and YouTube personalities bombard us with their takes on the crisis…

Fortunately for you, I’m not here to give you my opinion about masks, hydroxycloriquine, or Bill Gates.

I want to talk to you about something much more sinister… something THEY don’t want you to know about. Why? Because they know that as long as they can keep the wool pulled over your eyes, you’ll remain a scared little sheep, tuning in and hanging on their every word.

So, what is the topic of today’s post?

The Mark of the Beast… 666.

On May 1, the US Congress introduced a bill directly tied to the Coronavirus outbreak. According to the text, it’s “to authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to eligible entities to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19, and related activities such as contact tracing, through mobile health units and, as necessary, at individuals’ residences, and for other purposes.”

If that wasn’t ominous enough… just look at the number that happened to get attached to this legislation…

That’s right… H.R. 6666. What? Did they think that by adding an extra 6, they’d be able to fool us?

So, what are the deeper connections that this legislation, an upcoming coronavirus vaccine, the deep state, and the new world order have with Biblical prophecy?

Absolutely nothing.

What is the Mark of the Beast? Not What You Think.

The Mark of the Beast is not a piece of US legislation. It’s not an RF chip or your social security number. It’s not even Sunday worship like the Seventh-Day Adventist, Uriah Smith, proposed. And that number, 666, it’s not a reference to Hitler, any of the popes, Ronald Reagan, or Barney the Purple Dinosaur. And yes, people have proposed all those names and more.

So, if the Mark of the Beast isn’t any of those things, and if it isn’t a reference to those people, then what is it?

Revelation isn’t What You Think

Well, before we try to understand what the Mark of the Beast is, we really need to take a step back and ask what Revelation is. As Richard Bauckham says in his little book The Theology of the Book of Revelation, “Misinterpretations of Revelation often begin by misconceiving the kind of book it is.”

Think about it like this, if I handed you a copy of C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia and said, “Check out this history book…” You might go on a quest throughout the United Kingdom, knocking on doors and asking if you can try stepping into any wardrobes that might be on the property. But that quest – though well-meaning – would be destined for failure.

Why? Because the Chronicles of Narnia isn’t a history book. It’s a Children’s fantasy novel. And because it’s a children’s fantasy novel, it has certain characteristics that make it different from history or biography.

Now, I’m not saying that the Book of Revelation is fiction or fantasy. I’m simply saying that Revelation isn’t a newspaper. And that’s clear if you just read… pretty much any of it. This is a book full – from cover to cover – of symbols. Just in Revelation 13 alone, the chapter that includes the ‘mark of the beast’, there’s also a red dragon, a seven-headed beast that looked like a mix between a leopard, a bear, and a lion, and another beast that “had two horns like a lamb, but…spoke like a dragon.”

Almost nothing in the book of Revelation after chapter 3 is meant to be taken literally.

Context is Key

That’s why most people who make YouTube videos about Revelation or the Mark of the Beast being legislation or RF chips don’t really deal with what Revelation says. They quote a single verse or two and then start telling you what it means by reading out of the newspaper.

So, for example, they’ll read Revelation 13:16-18…

“And he 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 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. 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 six hundred and sixty-six.”

Then, they’ll go into talking about immunizations and H.R. 6666 and whatever else they want to scare you with.

The Early Church Could Understand the Mark of the Beast

But they won’t bring up the fact that John wrote “Let him who HAS understanding calculate the number of the beast…” And he wrote that two thousand years ago. Which means, it sounds an awful lot like John intended and believed that the Christians who lived back would be able to understand what he was talking about. But if he was talking about H.R. 6666 or any of the other stuff that people like to bring up… well, then no one could understand it for 2,000 years.

John Wrote Revelation to Encourage the Persecuted Church

And by the way, John didn’t write Revelation to give Christians a detailed timeline of end-times events. He wrote it with a couple of purposes in mind. According to Kenneth Gentry, the chief reason was to “steel the first century church against the gathering storm of persecution, which was reaching an unnerving crescendo of theretofore unknown proportions and intensity”. The Roman Empire was persecuting the Church. And the temptation to compromise was ever present. God gave them the Book of Revelation to remind them that he would judge those wicked people doing the persecuting and that he would ultimately rescue his people.

Our problem is that we read Revelation as if it’s primary purpose is to be a history book written from the past and as if it was addressed to us. But it wasn’t. Just take a look at the address on the front of the letter…

He writes, “John, to the seven churches that are in Asia.” And just to be certain we get the message, John addresses individual memos to each of those seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. He writes to the congregation in Ephesus, in Smyrna, in Pergamum, in Thyatira, in Sardis, in Philadelphia, and in Laodicea.

I don’t see any letters addressed to First Baptist of Dallas, TX or Second Presbyterian of Manhattan.

John didn’t address Revelation to us. He addressed it to them. Just like Paul’s letter to the Romans or the Ephesians.

Now, this doesn’t mean that this letter wasn’t written for us. Even though it was written to individual congregations in particular places and made up of particular people, it was intended for the whole people of God – in all places and at all times. But we don’t discover their meaning by stripping verses or words out of context and then interpreting them through the lens of MSNBC or Fox News. Instead, like all of Scripture, we should interpret Revelation by first, understanding what it meant for them, and then, understanding what it means for us.

Whose Mark is it?

And those end times experts who want to scare you won’t talk about who the he is that “causes all” to have the mark. Most people would probably assume that the “HE” in this place is the antichrist. That’s why people are obsessed with trying to figure out what name adds up to 666 when its letters are converted to numbers. But did you know that the “Antichrist” is never mentioned in the book of Revelation?

The word ‘antichrist’ appears four times in the whole Bible, all of which are in John’s letters. And none of which seem to indicate a singular, end-times person. Instead, John said that, two-thousand years ago, “even now many antichrists have appeared.” And he notes that “every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist.” For John, the antichrist is more of a spirit and less of an individual person.

So, according to Revelation, who does cause his mark to be on the hands and foreheads of people? If you go back and read Revelation 13:11, you’ll discover the answer: “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.” This is the beast that puts the mark on their hands and foreheads and leads them to worship a false idol. So, who is this? Well, we’ll get to that in a moment…

The OTHER Mark in Revelation

But first, it’s important to recognize that those prophecy prognosticators also won’t bring up the fact that the Mark of the Beast isn’t the only Mark in the book of Revelation. Just as the ‘Beast’ puts his mark on the foreheads or hands of his followers, God puts his ‘mark’ or ‘seal’ on the foreheads of those who belong to him. This ties back into the Old Testament book of Ezekiel where that prophet was told to “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.”

This is the background to Revelation 7, where we read that an angel has “sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” So, just as the Beast of Revelation 13 marks his followers, so does God. Now, does this mean that God is going to give us an RF chip? No. Because the mark isn’t a physical mark. It’s something spiritual. In other places throughout the New Testament, God’s Spirit seals believers (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13, 4:30). Now, if the mark of God is spiritual… and we’re talking about a highly symbolic book here… then wouldn’t it make sense that the mark of the beast is too?

What if all of this sealing and marking language is talking about ownership… God marks those who belong to him. Others are marked as belonging to… well, let’s think about that. This whole vision in Revelation 13 begins by noting that “the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.” And later on, John tells us exactly who the dragon is: “the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan.”

And according to John, when the beasts start appearing, it is the dragon that “gave his authority to the beast.” And the people who go along with the beast “worshiped the dragon.”

What’s the deal with all the sixes?

The last thing we should consider is the number itself: 666. Numerous people have tried to convert different names into numbers using an ancient method called gematria. So, A would equal 1, B would equal 2, etc. It would be similar to Roman Numerals. The problem is, lots and lots of names can add up to 666. And though there’s some decent evidence that the Roman emperor Nero’s name could fit the bill. And he was known for being the most hostile emperor toward Christians in the first century. I think there may be a better way to understand this number.

In Greek, the phrase “calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man” could also be translated “for the number is that of humanity or mankind.”

In other words, this mark could be signifying the fact that Satan’s followers have not experienced that spiritual birth that Jesus talked about in John 3. They don’t have God’s Spirit – the Spirit that seals them and empowers them to live lives of holy love. They have the mark of fallen humanity. And this idea is strengthened by the number itself.

Remember, throughout Revelation, numbers are highly meaningful and symbolic. Many people know that the number 7 is a number of perfection. Hence, the seven days of creation. The seven spirits before God’s throne. The seven churches, representing the whole Church throughout time and space.

Well, six is one shy of seven. It’s incomplete. It’s like baking a muffin – just shy of perfection. Add some icing, turn it into a cupcake, and then you’ve got a seven.

Humankind is greater than the animals kingdom because they have the ability to reason, create art, do science and philosophy. But we’re just shy of the angels. We are fallen.

But Why 666?

So, why three sixes instead of just one? Well, if there’s anything the story of the Tower of Babel teaches us, it’s that humanity desperately wants to be god. That’s why John Calvin called the human heart an idol factory. We’re really good at finding other things to worship and at worshiping ourselves.

So, we try to climb up into heaven. We reach for that trinitarian 777 (you know, the father, the son, and the Spirit) but come up just short… with a 666. This is probably why we see three dark forces in Revelation 13. The dragon, the first beast, and the second beast. It’s an elaborate parody of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The second beast even appears to be slain “and his fatal wound was healed”. You know, just like the second person in the Trinity appeared defeated on the cross but rose from the dead? And there are other parallels as well. Remember, it’s the third dark force in Revelation 13 that gives his followers a mark just as it’s the third member of the trinity, the Spirit, that marks or seals believers.

Bringing it all Together

So, think with me for a moment…

What if John is painting a picture of a situation where there are two major forces in the world. God is the head of one. Satan of the other. You might call one the ‘Kingdom of God’ and the other, ‘The Domain of Darkness.’ Both spiritual forces want your loyalty or allegiance. Both manifest in physical forms – God’s Kingdom in the Church; Satan’s through oppressive governments and other fallen institutions. Both make extravagant promises – God promising eternal life; Satan promising immediate pleasure. But only one can deliver. And only one has victory.

This battle offers no neutral ground. We are either allied to the Holy Trinity – God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit – and we receive his mark. Or, we ally ourselves to the unholy trinity – the Dragon, the seven-headed beast, and the beast with the two horns like a lamb – and we receive their mark.

In other words, the mark of the beast isn’t something you have to be worried about in the future. It’s something we need to be concerned about right now. If you have not turned to Christ in faith or joined the Kingdom of God. If you haven’t received his mark – the mark of his Holy Spirit. Then you already have the mark of the beast.

Fortunately, you don’t have to remain allied to the unholy trinity. You can experience the freedom and life of God’s Kingdom. And all you need to do is heed the call in Revelation 18… “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues.” There is hope for all… anyone who repents and begins trusting King Jesus can receive his mark. And be kept safe no matter what any politician or government or anyone else does.

3 thoughts on “What is the Mark of the Beast?

  1. Great Study! Love the way you presented it. You looked familiar to me… then it dawned on me that I met you at Pastor’s Fellowship a few years ago. I consider myself blessed to have found you on this site.

  2. This is an excellent interpretative analysis. But I am inclined to think that the Seal is Baptism in the Trinitarian formula. For it is through this Sacrament that we are initiated into the Church and receive the Holy Spirit.
    Matthew 28:19-20
    New International Version

    19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    1. Michael,
      Thanks for the comment. I can see that and would agree that the giving of the Spirit and baptism are very closely related (see Acts 2:38). But there are several places in the New Testament where the Holy Spirit is explicitly equated with God’s “seal” (see 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13, 4:30). That’s why I would lean that way.

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