The Mark of the Beast
The Mark of the Beast is a religious symbol because acceptance of it is associated with the worship of the beast. It is not an outward mark or it could be forced on those who are opposed to it. Those who refuse the mark keep the commandments of God. Modern technology doubtless will be involved in its enforcement.
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Rev 13:16-17)
The acceptance of this mark is sternly warned against in Revelation 14:
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (Rev 14:9-12)
Receiving the mark is closely associated with worship. In the Jewish New Testament verse 12 reads:
"This is when perseverance is needed on the part of God's people, those who observe his commands and exercise Yeshua's faithfulness." (Rev 14:12, The Jewish New Testament)
In the Forehead or the Hand
Why is it that the mark of the beast is put in either the hand or forehead when the seal of God is put only in the forehead?
The mark of the beast can be accepted either by mental assent or by going along with it even if in disagreement. The Seal of God can only be accepted by mental assent. A person is not going to decide: "I don't agree with this seal of God but I will go along with it anyway even though it means persecution, starvation separation from all my friends and family." God will not force His seal on anyone.
Another significance of the seal of God being in the forehead is that that is where we make decisions. It also brings out that it is important to keep our mental machinery working well. If we are alive at the time the mark of the beast is being imposed, the last decision we make in this life may be the most important one we ever make.
It seems there are two different actions required of all people one leading to the other. The order, logically, must proceed from restrictions on buying or selling to the more extreme measure of a death penalty. How could the false prophet restrict the buying and selling of people whom he has already killed? This is shown in the diagram below emphasizing that it will be personal choice that determines the outcome:
The more extreme law may come a considerable time after the initial law requiring the mark in order to buy or sell.
To understand the mark of the beast we also need to understand the seal of God which it is contrasted with. A seal or mark is essentially the same thing - something that distinguishes a person or item from others. Often it would indicate authenticity and/or a finished product, like a seal of approval.
The first use of such as term occurs early in Genesis:
"And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark (H226) upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him." (Gen 4:15)
In this case, it was a visible mark and it was used to distinguish Cain from others.Was that a visible mark? The original word is "oth" (H226) which is translated 60 times as sign or signs and only this once as "mark."
"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." (Rev 13:18)
The number seven represents God's number or perfection. Six falls short of seven and is the number of man - it was the day of the week on which man was created. The number 666 is not the mark of the beast but it is another identifying clue as to who the beast it.
There is an idiom - "I've got your number" which has a meaning like: "I know what you're up to" or "I've got my eye on you." It can also be "To understand someone closely; to have an insight into their thoughts, actions, and character."
Some people link the origin of "the number of the beast" with the concept of gematria (the system of assigning numerical values to words or letters). For example consider the title Vicarius Filii Dei. The term has been used in connection with the pope and his tiara or crown. By counting the Roman numerals present in the words (a "u" is counted the same as a "v") and adding them up, this result is obtained:
Babylonian mathematics was based on the sexagesimal system, in which the basic counting units were the numbers 6 and 60 (still evident in our marking of time). 60 was the number of the Babylonian supreme gods which may explain why Nebuchadnezzar's image was 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide.
The amulet worn by Babylonian priests contained a mysterious configuration of numbers in a grid of 6 squares wide and 6 long. The sum of the numbers in each row and column and corner-to-corner diagonal is 111. Add the sums for all 6 columns or rows and you get 666. Add up the numbers in all the boxes and you get 666. Draw a 6 by 6 square grid and try to figure that out yourself!
There are many other interesting details about the number six: Man was created on the sixth day of creation. He was assigned to work for six days each week. Jesus was accused six times of having a devil. Carbon, the main element of which man and life is made has 6 protons, neutrons and electrons. Here is an interesting detail about king Solomon:
"Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold," (1 Kings 10:14)
Receiving the mark of the beast or the seal of God, consisting of the names of the beast (v17) and of God, denotes conformity to the character of Satan or God. To be identified with someone's name is to take on that person's character.
Here is an excellent video presentation about the mark of the beast.
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