The Mark of the Beast

Yes: we need another opinion regarding the mark of the beast.

But I suspect you’ll find this one a bit more palatable. I will not be talking about barcodes, RFID chips, or any other such elementary things. Instead, we’ll leave those details to the ones who don’t do much beyond converting surface material into foundations, who look for present-day evidence for clues to what might be coming in the future.

I’m going to take a more historical view of the material.

Where does the idea come from?

It comes from the book of Revelation; written by John in the first century.

Who Was it Written To?

That’s an easy answer:

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,

Revelation 1:4 NASB

Who Were the People of the Seven Churches of Asia?

That’s a bit more difficult to answer, but let’s consider who they were not.

They were not people who had a copy of the New Testament as we know it today.

Their Bible was the Hebrew Bible, or what we commonly refer to today as the Old Testament. While that seems self-evident, it’s an important detail widely overlooked by those who would create eschatological interpretations of the Book of Revelation. It’s why you hear more about the physical characteristics of the Mark of the Beast than what the Seven Churches would have understood it to be.

What does the Book of Revelation say about the mark?

And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause all who do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, and he decrees 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.

Revelation 13:15-17 NASB

Okay then… shouldn’t we be looking for the mark?

No, you shouldn’t. You should be looking for something else. The language of the letters and the book of Revelation is specific to the context and culture of the Seven Churches – specifically, the people of that era.

Due to who they were, when they lived, and the context of their scriptures, the assemblies of the Seven Churches of Asia would have understood things differently from us regarding ornaments of the right hand and the forehead.

What’s Special about the Right Hand and the Forehead?

What’s notable is that God commanded a particular behavior of Israel.

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up.

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NASB

You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

Deuteronomy 11:18 NASB

His Word Becomes Our Philosophies

If we break it down a little further, we see that the ideas of God are to be in our hearts. We must teach them to our sons and daughters. We talk about His ideas when we are at rest, traveling, and throughout the day.

If His ideas are so often on our minds and part of our everyday conversation, then it quickly follows that we’re using God’s ideas as a foundation for our lives to varying degrees. As such, we have His word on our minds; we have His word as a guide to the works of our hands. His word begins to develop our worldview; it affects how we think, act, and converse.

We see this example in James:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.

James 4:13-15 NASB

An Outward Representation, A Reminder of Inward Position

God said His word was to be bound to our hand and our foreheads “as a sign.” The literal act of binding these scriptures to our bodies is not what affects change. The change has already been effected in our hearts, so the visible bindings are outward representations of who we are, what we are made of internally.

In today’s vernacular, it is similar to inviting all of your unchurched friends to your baptism. It’s like inviting those same people to your house for Bible Study. It’s the explanation why we’re no longer interested in participating in the self-destructive behaviors we once indulged in.

A Bit About the Beast

When the Seven Churches read about the Beast of the Revelation, they were not confused about who or what it was. They simply looked to their scriptures and found where God had spoken of such a creature before. But specifically, they would have looked for a similar context. In this letter, John repeats what Daniel said…

The Beast as a Kingdom

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.

Daniel 7:23 NASB

Which feathers precisely into the description of the Beast of Revelation, as a person:

The Beast as a Person

When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them …

Revelation 11:7 NASB

The Beast as a Form of Governance

And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

Revelation 13:2 NASB

The Beast as an Entity worthy of Worship

{and} they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?

Revelation 13:4 NASB

A Bit About Worship

Let’s just call out the elephant in the room: the act of simply going to church, singing songs, and listening to someone babble about this or that once a week is not worship. That is not to say some cannot find such an environment, a place where they can worship God to a limited extent.

Worship is so much more.

Worship encompasses the entirety of one’s life. It is the daily, continuing result of a surrendered soul, and our hearts disclosed to Him, declaring that God is among us.

… but if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25 NASB

Entire books have been written on worship. I’m certain that a few paragraphs cannot do it justice. Nevertheless, we have in error redefined worship, and that error needs to be corrected.

Worship of the State

In his 1944 work Omnipotent Government, Ludwig von Mises defined Statolatry as being literally the worship of the State and analogous to idolatry.

Statolatry asserts the glorification and aggrandizement of ‘State’ or ‘Nation’ is the object of all legitimate human aspiration at the expense of all else, including personal welfare and independent thought. Thus, Statolarty can be observed to exceed simple patriotism, and it might best be described as super-patriotism or chauvinism.

People who worship their political party or State put their faith in an idea – or philosophy – that adherence to a given system of beliefs will solve society’s ills. When we do such a thing, when we trust the party’s philosophies or the State to care for us and solve our problems, we are practicing Statolatry – we are worshiping The Beast.

A Forerunner to the Mark of the Beast

In late 2020 and early 2021, the world’s nations began mass manipulation, which was the idea that all people should be vaccinated and carry a card of such proof. People without evidence – the mark of obedience to a philosophy – would be denied certain services and privileges, such as shopping at the local grocery store or access to places of business and employment. This is precisely the idea and system that will be enacted during the tribulation:

… 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.

Revelation 13:17 NASB

Summary

The mark of The Beast is not as simple as a physical mark that will be forced upon people. It’s not simple as being injected with an RFID tag that links people to bank accounts and medical records. Instead, it’s about something seemingly more benign, something many people are unaware of.

It’s about the system that can manipulate the narrative, manipulate the thought.

The Mark of the Beast begins with mental slavery and bondage. After that, it is all about controlling the prevailing narrative. It’s not about the facts; it’s about what you’re being told to feel, what you’re being told to believe, how you’re being instructed to behave.

It ends with a literal stigmata.

Unfortunately it’s all entirely voluntary.

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